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As this armament was shortly recalled from the Downs, and the ships paid off, it does not clearly appear for what it was intended: it may reasonably be conjectured, however, that it was considered prudent to fit out a fleet of observation, arising out of the state of affairs at this period. A rebellion existed in Ireland, fomented by Catholic emissaries from Spain ; but the Queen's great enemy, Philip, had died in the preceding year, and some notions of peace were entertained with that power, at least were talked of.
At the same time a rumour of war with France was current in the public mind, absurd as it then was considered by politicians : but Monson, who was a most inquisitive officer, and busied himself in all affairs political as well as naval, seemed to think that the appointment of the Earl of Essex to Ireland, and the assembling of a Spanish fleet in the Groyne, with a view to Ireland, might have caused this naval armament. The Spanish squadron, however, passed through the Downs, while our ships were there, on their way to attack the Dutch in some of their ports; but on finding that the Hollanders had themselves—and, it may be observed, for the first time-fitted out a fleet of seventy-three sail, and sent it, as was supposed, to the Azores, to intercept the India ships of the Spaniards, this squadron went elsewhere to look for the Dutch. In the mean time the Hollanders, after keeping the sea for seven or eight months, and sacking a town on the Canary Islands, returned home: “after having,” as Monson tells us, “ lost their general and most of their men by sickness, the rest returned with loss and shame."'*
“ The only advantage,” adds Monson, “we received by the preparation made was, that our men were taught suddenly to arm; every man knowing his command, and how to be commanded, which before they were ignorant of, and who knows not that sudden and false alarms in armies are sometimes very necessary ?"|
Whatever the reason might have been, the alarm was so great that not only this fleet, but six thousand soldiers also were drawn together, and the fleet and army were placed under the supreme command of the Lord High Admiral, under the additional title of Lord Lieutenant-General of all England; under which title he was called upon to suppress the rebellion of Essex.
On the death of the Queen, King James, even before his arrival in the capital, appointed Lord Howard de Walden a member of his privy council, and in the first year of his reign made him lord chamberlain, and advanced him to the earldom of Suffolk. These extraordinary elevations, perhaps, arose out of a feeling of gratitude for the kind but criminal part which his father, the Duke of Nor* Monson's Tracts.
folk, took in the cause of his mother, the Queen of Scots.
It was Suffolk's duty as Lord Chamberlain, so soon as suspicion had been excited of that diabolical papist conspiracy, which was meant to destroy, at one blow, the King, the royal family, the Lords and Commons, to investigate, secretly but carefully, the proceedings of the conspirators; and it was owing to the Earl of Suffolk's scrutinizing attention, that the chief or most active conspirator, Fawkes, was discovered in the very act of preparation for the destructive explosion.
after this, Suffolk was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, where he was much esteemed and loved. On his first visit the public orator of the University addressed him, as was usual, in a Latin speech, to which the noble lord replied, “Though I understand no Latin, I know the sense of your oration is to tell me that I am welcome, which I believe verily, thank you heartily, and will serve you faithfully in anything within my power."
“ The Vice-Chancellor," says Fuller, “ laying hold on the handle of so fair a proffer, requested him to be pleased to entertain the King at Cambridge, a favour which the University had never been able to compass from their former great and wealthy chancellors. “I will do it,” quoth the noble Earl, “ in the best manner I may, with the
speediest conveniency.” It was a long time since His Majesty had been entertained at the University with such a magnificent treatment, which cost the noble donor more than five thousand pounds.*
In the twelfth year of James's reign, Suffolk was further advanced to the high office of Lord Treasurer of England, a situation for which his qualifications were by no means suited. . As a naval commander, he was brave, active, skilful, and looked up to by all the officers, with whom he was associated, with great respect and esteer; but in the affairs of the world he was a man of no great capacity. The minister he had succeeded was the Earl of Salisbury, one of the ablest servants that James ever possessed; but he left to his successor an almost insuperable difficulty—the task of supplying from an exhausted treasury the profusion of James himself and his young favourite. The title of baronet, invented by Salisbury, was an article of sale; and two hundred patents, of that species of knighthood, were disposed of for so many thousand pounds: each rank of nobility had also its price affixed to it: privy seals were circulated to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds: benevolences were exacted to the amount of fifty-two thousand pounds.
But all these had failed to replenish the treasury; and James was reluctantly compelled to summon a
* Fuller's Worthies. † Carr, soon after created Earl of Somerset.
Parliament, for hitherto he had valued himself upon his monarchical prerogative, and boasted openly of levying money on his subjects, without the formality of asking grants from the Parliament. The Commons, however, got the better of James, but not before he had committed some of the members to prison, and found it prudent to apologise; he also imprisoned in the Tower one of the principal officers of his Government, who, having owed all his honours to the King, little dreamt of such a measure; and it occasioned much surprise in the public mind. This delinquent was no other than his recently created treasurer, Suffolk, whom, at the same time, James dismissed from an office which he had held little more than four years; that is to say, from 1614 to 1618. In the last of these years, he was charged with having embezzled a large share of the money received from the Dutch for the cautionary towns ; it was on this charge that he was deprived of his staff of office, and, together with his Countess, committed to the Tower. The facts on inquiry proved to be true; but the Earl was held in such high estimation in public opinion, that the guilt was almost universally ascribed to the rapacity of the Countess. The public, however, found it difficult to acquit him of the knowledge of his wife's acts, and of the imprudence of conniving at or concealing her faults. The historian Carte, as