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glory of his age and nation, whom he caused to be executed after a respite of a great num-'
him by taking from him his post oscaptain of the guards, and giving it to Sir Thomas Erjkin, a Scotish favourite. In July, 1603, he was confined on accountof a plot in which he was said to be engaged with the lords Cobham and Grey, and several priests, and gentlemen, in order to extirpate the king and his issue; set the lady Arabella on the throne; give peace to Spain; and tolerate the Romish religion. On the 15th of November the same year he was arraigned at Winchester for these things; and after having had the civil and polite appellations of viper, traytor, and odious man, who had a Spanish heart, and was a spider of hell, bestowed on him by the famous Coke, attorney-general: after having been dignified with these titles, he was brought in guilty, tho' not the least shadow of a proof was brought against him. I fay not the least shadow of a proof; for whoever will read his- tryal, or any impartial accounts which are given of it, will not help standing amazed to find how it was possible, after the desence he made, upon such wretched allegations to convict him. But he was out of favour at court; like Sydney, he was talked to death by the lawyers; and in those times when the crown was against a man, he was almost sure of being condemned. When I consider the bitterness, severity, and almost malice which appeared in the council for the crown, against the state prisoners in this, the foregoing, and some of the subsequent reigns, I cannot help thinking, that the gentlemen of that prosession are very much 'altered for the better. They have more regard to truth, justice, and humanity; and consequently, though they may not have as many cases, precedents or statutes to cite, or pervert as Coke had, yet are they vastly more valuable. I hope the reader will pardon a digression, into which indignation ac Raleigh's vile treatment drew me. I now go on with the narration. Upon Sit Walter's condemnation, all his lands and offices
ber of years, without the least colour of a pretence: and likewise by his saving Somerset,
were seized, and himself committed close prisoner to the Tower. But the iniquity of his sentence was visible to all. The king of Denmark, queen Anne, prince Henry, all thought him innocent, after having examined (») Ra- into his crimes; (a) and even James, I believe, did ieigh*» not deem him guilty. He respited his sentence, and iVr°rkS' s 'suffered him to enjoy his fortune seven years after. Then ,p 'Sherburn castle was thought a thing worth having by Ker, (afterwards earl of Somerset) and though it was entailed on his children, means were found, for the want of one single word, to have the conveyance pronounced invalid, and Sherburn forseited to the crown. After sixteen years imprisonment, Sir Walter proposid. his voyage to Guiana; got his liberty, gave in his scheme of his intended proceedings to James, who after having given him power of lise and death, and a proper commission, revealed his designs to Gondamore, and thereby rendered, them abortive. Upon his returning unsuccesssul through the fault of his master, and other causes, at the instigation of the Spanish ambasfador, he was seized, imprisoned, and, to the admiration of all men, on his old sentence beheaded. In charging James with betraying fcaleigh to the Spanish ambasfador, I do him no injustice ; as will appear from a letter of Sir Walter's to secretary Winwnod. " It pleased his majesty "so little to value us, as to command me upon my "allegiance, to set down under my hand the country, "and the very river by which I was to enter if, to set *' down the number of my men, and burthen of my "ships, and what ordnance every ship carried, which "being known to the Spanish ambasfador, and by him "sent to the king of Spain, a dispatch was made, and '' letters sent from Madrid, before my departure out "of the Thames; for his first letter sent by a bark of "advice, was dated the 19th of March, 1617, at "Madrid, which letter I have here enclosed sent to
"your Jet, and his lady, [zzz] from that punishment
"your honour j the rest I reserve, not knowing whe"ther they may be intercepted or not." (b) The rea-^j Rale;gh*f der, no doubt, is shocked at such vile treatment of so ;works, Vol. worthy a man, and cannot fail of being silled with 367. horror at it. The sentence in the sirst place was unjust; his imprisonment was a monstrous hardship; but the execution of his sentence cruel and abominable.
[zzz] He faved Somerset and his lady from thq punishment which the laws had justly doomed them to, for their crimes.] Robert Ker had been sirst one of the king's pages; being dismissed from this post, he went into France, and from thence returning, thro* accident he was taken noiice of by James, and quickly was made gentleman of the bed-chamber, and became sole favourite. In 1613, he was advanced to be lord high treasurer of Scotland, and the fame year was raised to be a peer of England, by the stile and title of viscount Rochester. Soon after he had the garter, and was created ear) of Somerset, and made lord chamberlain of the houshold. A little before this, he had become intimate with the wife of the earl of Essex,- Frances Howard, (laughter of the earl of Suffolk, who, in order to make way for her marriage with him, got a divorce from her husband. Soon after they were married; and soon after one of the most iniquitous actions was done, that we read of in history.——Sir Thomas Overbury, the friend of Somerset, and one to whom he owed, as Sir Thomas himself fays, " more than to any soul li"ving, bo;h for his fortune, understanding and reputa"tion :" [a) he, I fay, endeavouring, to diiiuade him (a) Win. from the match, thereby incurred the hatred of him, woo,3, Vo1and his lady. For refusing to go as ambassador II'*E''*7S" abroad, which Somerset advised him to refuse, he was clapt up into the Tower, and there consined many months; and by a variety of poisons, made use of by the agents of the earl and his lady, which cruelly tormented him, was at length put an end to, and it was given
which the laws had justly doomed them to,
f/0 See Sir out that he died of the pox. (b) But the truth could
Francis Ba- not; be long concealed. Villiers now began to supplant
""hear" Somerset, and soon got the ascendency. Every man
raignment endeavoured to raise the one, and pull down the other.
of the earl The murther was discovered. James came to the
frt "an"" knowledge of it, and uttered the deepest imprecations
truth against himself and posterity, if he spared any that were
brought to founf] guilty. (<r) But his resolution remained not.
time, p. 52. The instruments were brought to their deserved end;
LonJ. 1651. but those who made use of them escaped. On the 24th of
+t°- May, 1616, the countess of Somerset was brought to
(1. 1.)' ner trval, ai)d tne earl the next day; the first, after some
denials in the court, confessed the fact, and begged for
mercy; the other stood upon his innocency, and was
found guilty; as there can be no doubt but that he was.
All mankind expected upon this, that the judgment
against them would have been executed. But on the
contrary, a pardon was granted the lady, " because
"the processe and judgment against her were not as
"of a principal (fays the pardon) but as of an accessary
(/> See the * ' before the fact." (d) As for the earl he had a remil
ultr'" sion under the Sreat seal of Eng,and» °ct- 7» i624» and brought to was suffered to enjoy the greatest part of his estate, and light by time thought himself but ill-used that he was not restored to (i)lcraw- tne whole, (e) And such was the favour shewed unto surd's tives, him by James, that tho' he was convicted of selony, p. 401. and nis arrns were n0t permitted to be removed out of the *zi.3' P chapel of Windsor; and upon his account it was ordered " that selony should not be reckoned amongst the *' disgraces for those who were to be excluded from the "order of St. George; which was without precedent."
(/) Camb- (f) -This was the justice of James. One of the best
den's annal' 0f his subjects was executed for no real crime; two of °f *hc^m-tne woruV of them escaped punishment for the blackest pieathist. and most detestable. It is the duty of kings to protect p. °46' the innocent, and punish the guilty. It is the part of a just king, as well as of an honest man, to render unto
every by reason of their abominable crimes. $a~ merset, indeed, had been a favourite and to
every one is due. Honour and praise should be bestowed on the deserving j ignominy, shame and punishment should follow those who trample under foot the facred laws of society, and humanity. But "James permitted not these to follow (as far as he could help it} the crimes of Somerset and his lady, tho' none were more deserving of them. Princes it must be owned have a right to relax the rigor of the laws, or suspend their execution in some cases. But then there ought tobe a just reason for it. Whereas in the cafe of Somerset, as well as of his lady (tho' a respect to her father, friends and family are mentioned as a motive to the pardoning of her) hardly one of those causes of relaxing punishment mentioned by the civilians are found, (g) But^) SeePufi. there certainly was a reason, whatever it was, for this senders, B. favour shewed to Somerset. Mr. Mallet has quoted f7,c^jsect' some passages from the original letter of Sir Francis c/otiusde Bacon (a name always to be valued by the lovers of j«>-ebelli ,c learning) then attorney-general, and particularly em-j?"'^*^ ployed in this very affair, from whence it appears that 25, 26. James shewed an fxtream solicitude about the earl's behaviour at his tryal and the event of it; that he w*». afraid lest by his insolent and contemptuous behaviour at the bar, he should make himself incapable or unworthy of favour and mercy j which, together with the letter written by him after his, condemnation to the king, in a stile rather of expostulation and demand, than of humility and supplication, makes him conclude, and, I think, not unjustly, that there was an important secret in his keeping, of which the king dreaded a discovery, (b) Some have thought the discovery (*) Mallet', dreaded, was the manner of prince Henry's death, j^on '°rJ which, was believed to have been by poison; but if I 65-72, g'vo. may be allowed to offer a conjecture, for I deem it noLond,1740. more, it was the revealing of that vice to which James Jnd^aba,a* seems to have been addicted, (/) that was the object of (O^eenote his fear. Whether in this conjecture I am right, the [°eJ, leader,will determine.