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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 esteem; 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.f 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.
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 quoted by Mr. Lodge, says, that “the Earl was in the general opinion of the world deemed guiltless of any considerable misdemeanor; but his Countess had rendered him very odious by extorting money from all persons who had any matters to dispatch at the Treasury; Sir John Bingley, the Treasurer's Remembrancer in the Exchequer, being the chief agent in making her bargains.” He adds that Wilson too, a writer never inclined to palliate the faults of James's court or government, says that “The Earl, being a man of a noble disposition, though too indulgent to his too active wife, had retained the King's favour, if he had taken Sir Edward Coke's counsel, and submitted ; and not strove to justify his own integrity, which he maintained with a great deal of confidence, till it was too late, for then his submission did him little good; but his wife's faults being imputed to him, he was fined thirty thousand pounds and imprisoned in the Tower.” * · In July, 1618, he was removed from his office of Treasurer; after which he was allowed to retire into the country, where he remained five or six months. In the spring of the following year he underwent several examinations; and then had leave to go to his seat at Audley End, but without his lady. On the 20th of the ensuing October he was brought publicly before the Star
Chamber; and in November received his sentence of fine and imprisonment, was again committed to the Tower in the same month, released after nine days' confinement, and was received by James with kindness in less than two months from his release. Thus neither the proceedings against the Earl, nor the conduct of the King, evinced any public resentment against the former. The large fine, too, was mitigated by the King to seven thousand pounds, but not before he had caused an examination, by a committee, into the state of his embarrassments, which he had grievously represented to His Majesty.
The misfortunes of Suffolk, however, did not end here. His heir, the Lord Howard de Walden, was captain of the band of pensioners, and a younger son was attached to the Prince's household. James, with all his evident predilection for Suffolk, thought it consistent, under the circumstances, that the sons should be visited for the sins of the father; and he therefore ordered Suffolk to prevail on them, by his influence, to relinquish their employments. Suffolk entreated the King most earnestly not to insist on so cruel a measure against his innocent sons, aggravated by imposing on their father the unnatural task of advising, even compelling, them to a course that must lead to their ruin. But the King was inexorable. The Earl therefore addressed to him the following letter :
Most GRATIOUS SOVERYN,—Your princly favour in delevirng me and my wyfe out of the Tower, must and shall ever be acknowledged by us with all humble thanks ; and now be pleased to geve me leave to be an humble suitor to Your Majesty that out of the tender compassion of Your pryncely hart, you wil be pleased to cast your eye upon the meserable estate of your dystressed, afflycted and owld servant, now brought into fear of recovery of your Majesty's favour; and so wretched my case ys as the lytle hope that remayned in me to lyve in Your Memory was my two Sonns' servyse to Your gratious self and the Prince. Yt is now required of me to impose upon them the resygnation of their places, which, wyth all humyleytie I beseech you to geve me leave to say, I wolde sooner use my power over them to wyll them to bury themselves quycke, than by any other way than in forcement to geve up their places of servyse, which onely remayns to me to be either my dying comfort, or my lyving torment. Besydes they are now past my government, being both married, and have children ; only I have a paternall care of them, which I most humbly beseech your best judging Majesty respectyvely to way how unhappy I must of necessyty think myself yf I should be the perswader of that mysfortune to my chyldren that ther chyldren within a few years wolde curse me for, either lyving or dead.
Upon all thes just considerations, most Gratious Master, geve me leave to turn my cruell and unnaturall part of perswading them to yeld to that for which I should detest myself to my humblyest desyer, upon the knees of my hart to begg humbly of Your Majesty that whatsoever fåvor you have ever had to me for any servyse done, that Your Majesty wyl be pleased to spare the ruyn of these two young men, whom I find so honestly dysposed in ther desyer of spending ther fortunes and lyves in Your Majesty's and your pryncely sonn's servyse, as yf your displeasure be not fully satisfyed with what I have suffered already, that you lay more upon