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served, that Winwood informs us, Sir Robert Killigrew was commit. ted to the Fleet, from the council table, for having some little speech with Sir Thomas Overbury, who called to him as he passed by his window, as he came from visiting Sir Walter Raleigh."

Soon after the committal of Overbury to the Tower, proceedings were commenced by the guilty lovers for procuring a divorce between the earl of Essex and his countess, on the pretence of physical incapacity on the part of the husband. The earl himself eagerly embraced the only expedient which seemed to offer itself for getting rid of a bad woman, by whom he knew himself to be hated, and whom he had long ceased to love. The king also lent himself to the disgraceful transaction, and exerted himself in the progress of the suit with the warinth and partiality of an advocate. A special court of delegates was appointed for the trial, and every means used which bribery or intimidation could effect to obtain the wished-for divorce. Yet, after the most strenuous exertions of all parties, it was only by a majority of seven to five that the marriage of the earl and countess of Essex was pronounced null. Overbury lived not to be made acquainted with the judgment. On the preceding day he expired in prison, with evident symptoms of having had poison administered to him.

Two years after the whole labyrinth of guilt connected with the death of the unhappy prisoner was unravelled. An apothecary's appren. tice, who had been employed in making up certain poisons for Elwes, the governor of the Tower, had stated this fact in public, and Elwes himself had made some very incautious avowals to the earl of Shrewsbury. Secretary Winwood conveyed the intelligence to the king, who ordered Sir Edward Coke to make the most rigorous and unbiassed scrutiny into the whole affair. The lord-chief-justice executed his task with more than ordinary zeal. But, while the accomplices in Overbury's murder, Weston, Turner, Franklin, and Elwes, received the punishment due to their crime, the principals themselves, Somerset and his countess, were pardoned, and restored to liberty.

Sir Thomas Overbury was the author of several works both in prost and verse, which were very popular in those days. His • Characters, or Witty Descriptions of the properties of Sundry Persons,' are written in a quaint but lively style, and show him to have been an acute observer of character and manners, with a quick perception of the ludicrous.

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Egerton, Lord Ellesmere.

BORN A, D, 1540.-DIED A. D. 1617.

This eminent statesman and lawyer was the son of Sir Richard Egerton of Ridley in Cheshire. He was born about the year 1540. He went to Oxford in 1556, and after three years' study there, removed to Lincoln's inn, where he applied himself with great diligence to the study of the law. It is traditionally related of this young counsellor that the first favourable impression which he made at the bar arose out of the following circumstances :—He happened to be in court when a cause was trying, in which it appeared, that three graziers had placed a joint-deposit of a sum of money in the custody of a woman who lived

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in Smithfield, upon condition that she was to account for it again to theni upon their return to demand it together ; but that one of the graziers soon after returned, and by persuading her that he had been commissioned by his two partners to receive the whole deposit, prevailed upon her to deliver up the whole sum which had been deposited in her hands, with which he immediately absconded. The other two partners instituted an action against the woman to recover their money, and judgment was likely to go against her, when Mr Egerton stepped forward, and solicited permission to speak on the point as 'amicus curiæ.' Having obtained the permission of the judges, he recapitulated the conditions upon which the defendant had taken charge of the money, and these being allowed to be such as above stated, “ then," said the young counsellor, “the defendant is ready to comply with the agreement. The plaintiffs only can be charged with any violation of it. Two of them have brought a suit against this woman for repayment of a sum of money, which, it appears by the agreement, she was only to pay to these two and to the remaining partner jointly, on their all coming together to demand it. Where, then, is the third partner? Why does he not appear? Why do not the plaintiffs bring their partner aloby with them? When they have done this, and so fulfilled their part of the compact, the defendant is ready to fulfil hers. But till then, I apprehend, she is entitled by law to remain the custodier of the deposit." This reasoning appeared so ingenious to the court that it turned the cause, and a verdict was found for the defendant.

On the 28th of June, 1581, Egerton was appointed solicitor-general, and in 1594 he was advanced to the dignity of attorney-general. These successive appointments were conferred upon him in consequence of his great legal proficiency. He was knighted soon after. Upon the death of Sir John Pickering, in May, 1596, the great seal of England was placed in his hands by Elizabeth, who is said to have conferred this high trust upon Egerton against the wishes of her prime minister.

Ellesmere was ever a zealous servant of the crown, yet he contrived to stand well with the public at the same time. Indeed few public characters have preserved a reputation so free from blemish. His conduct towards Essex was in the highest degree honourable and friendly ; and had that unfortunate nobleman consented to be guided by the advices of the lord-keeper, after his rupture with Elizabeth, there is little reason to doubt that he would have escaped his untimely fate.

Ou James's approach to London, to receive the crown of England, the lord-keeper waited upon him at Broxbourn, in Hertfordshire, and was confirmed for the present in his office. He was at the same time gratified “for bis good and faithful services,” with the title of Baron Ellesmere. On the day before James's coronation he was appointed lord-chancellor of England, which high office be filled for more than twelve years with equal dignity, learning, and impartiality. “Surely," says Lloyd, “all Christendom afforded not a person which carried more gravity in his countenance and behaviour than Sir Thomas Eger. ton, insomuch that many have gone to the chancery on purpose only to see his venerable garb-happy they who had no other business—and were highly pleased at so acceptable a spectacle. Yet was his outward case nothing in comparison of his inward abilities, quick wit, solid judgment, ready utterance." Lord Ellesmere was chosen chancellor

of the university of Oxford on the death of Archbishop Bancroft. He proved a munificent and discerning patron of literature and learned men; among others, Archbishop Williams owed his first advancement to him, and Sir Francis Bacon enjoyed his patronage.

In 1615, a fierce attack was made upon him by the lord-chief-justice, Coke, in consequence of his repealing a judgment at common law, and committing the defendants to prison for contempt of court on their refusing to obey his orders. Coke threatened him and the whole chancery with a præmunire in the Star chamber, upon the statutes 27° Edward III. and 4° Henry IV., for granting relief in equity after judgment had been given in the king's bench ;' but the lord-chancellor vindicated his own proceedings with great spirit ; and the matter being referred to the king's attorney, solicitor, and sergeant, they were of opinion that these statutes did not extend to the court of chancery.

In May, 1616, he was constituted lord-high-steward for the trial of the earl of Somerset and his wretched wife, on the charge of procuring Sir Thomas Overbury's death in the Tower by poison. After their conviction, he resolutely refused to affix the great seal to the extraordinary pardon which James “ of his mere motion and special favour,” chose to grant these illustrious criminals. Lingard represents Ellesmere as clinging with the most vexatious pertinacity to the emoluments of office, though his age and infirmities admonished him to retire. This is not a fair representation. Long before he finally retired from public life, he had solicited his release from the toils and cares of office from the king, and that too from a scrupulous apprehension of his incompetence to bear its fatigues and discharge its important duties as he ought to do, as well as from a becoming desire to devote the evening of his long life to serious preparation for its close. These sentiments he conveyed to the king, at two different tiines, in letters ; and it was only with the greatest reluctance that James at last consented to accept his resignation. On the 7th of November, 1616, he was advanced to the dignity of Viscount Brackley, and on the 3d of March following, at his own special request, the seals were placed in the hands of Sir Francis Bacon. He died within twelve days thereafter. On his deathbed he frequently made use of the apostolic expression, “ Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo!"

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Sir Ralph Winwood.

BORN CIR. A. D. 1565.-DIED A. D. 1617.

Sir Ralph Winwood, “a gentleman well-seen in most affairs, but most expert in matters of trade and war," was born about the year 1565, at Aynho, in Northamptonshire. He studied at Oxford, and was proctor of that university in 1592. In 1599, he attended Sir Ilenry Neville to France, in the capacity of secretary; and, during Sir Henry's absence from Paris, was appointed English resident there. In 1603, he was sent to the States of Holland by James I. In 1607, he was knighted, and appointed joint-ambassador with Sir Richard Spencer to the States.

· Bacon, vi. St; Cabala, 31, 33.

When James' theological zeal was roused by Vorstius' treatise on the Nature and Attributes of the Deity, he employed Winwood to signify to the States his royal displeasure with the professor. Winwood executed the singular commission with all zeal, knowing that he could not adopt a more effectual method of recommending himself to his master than by gratifying his ostentatious pedantry to the very utmost. For a time the States resisted both James and his ambassador, but the importunity of the latter at last prevailed, and poor Vorstius was driven from his chair. He rendered a better service to his country in the discovery which he made of Sir Thomas Overbury's poisoning.

In 1614, Winwood was made secretary of state, in which office he continued till his death, which occurred in 1617. His state-papers, or 'Memorials,' were collected, and published in three volumes folio, in 1725. They throw little light on the secretary's character, but sufficiently evince him to have been an industrious pains-taking servant of the crown. Lloyd, in his usual style, says, "the natures and dispositions, the conditions and necessities, the factions and combinations, the animosities and discontents, the ends and designs of most people were clear and transparent to this watchful man's intelligence and observation, who could do more to King James by working on his fear, than others by gainsaying his pleasure."

Sir Walter Raleigh.

BORN A. d. 1552.—died a. D. 1618.

THIS distinguished statesman and writer, who flourished in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., was born in the year 1552, at Hayes, a farm rented by his father, in the parish of Budely, Devonshire. The patrimonial estate was Fardell near Plymouth. The family-name was one of antiquity, but seems to have varied in its orthography from RALE or RALEGA, to RALEGH, RAULEIGH, or RALEIGH, in which latter form it is generally written. The mother of Sir Walter Raleigh, and the third wife of his father, was the daughter of Sir Philip Champernon of Modbury. At the age of sixteen, he entered as a commoner both at Oriel college and Christ-church, Oxford, and he continued in the university three years. It is doubtful whether he ever was as has been generally supposed-a student of the Middle Temple; Hooker says that he spent in France "a good part of his. youth in wars and military services," and that he was trained "not part but wholly gentleman, wholly soldier." His first military service was performed in France as a gentleman volunteer, in the corps of his maternal uncle, Henry Champernon. In 1575, he returned to England, but resumed his military career under Sir John Norris, in the Netherlands. In 1578, he accompanied his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Raleigh, in a voyage of adventure to Newfoundland, which proved, upon the whole, disastrous. On his return, he was employed, under the earl of Ormond, governor of Munster, in quelling the rebellion, which had broken out in that province,-a piece of service in which Raleigh seems to have evinced less of humanity than marked his subse. quent character.

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