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to another. Disappointed in this object of his ambition, he retired to his seat at Sherborne, where he found many resources in the large fund he possessed of useful, intellectual, and elegant accomplishments. While the Queen's ministers were disputing and differing in their opinions regarding foreign policy, Raleigh, by dividing his time between Sherborne and the Court, continued to possess the favour of the Queen: while Essex, by his absurd conduct, had entirely lost it. “From this moment there seems reason to believe that Sir Walter became Devereux's avowed enemy."* There is, indeed, but too much reason to know it, by a secret and most disgraceful letter, under his own hand, to Cecil, urging him to put Essex out of the way.
After the death of Essex, Raleigh was called from Sherborne to undertake, in company with Lord Cobham, a secret mission to Flanders; and on his return was promoted to the government of Jersey, acting at the same time as Captain of the Queen's Guard. He also sat in the last Parliament of Elizabeth, as one of the Knights for Cornwall, in which he took an active part, and made several excellent speeches on a great variety of subjects. He still kept well at Court, but was out of favour with his pretended friends the Cecils. The time, however, was approaching when he was doomed to undergo a lamentable change. Early in January, 1602, the
Queen, who had long been in a declining state, was seized with a dangerous illness, which ere long proved fatal. By this event the fortunes of Raleigh underwent a total reverse. At the very commencement of James's reign he experienced nothing but coldness, suspicion, and neglect.
It was strongly suspected that the very man, Cecil, whom Raleigh had urged to destroy Essex, was now employed in working upon the mind of the new sovereign, to induce him to do the same thing for Raleigh; and if so-whether by the King through Cecil, or whosoever the agent may have been, it was done effectually. He held lucrative appointments; and James had needy favourites. The honourable post of captain of the guard was taken from him; his wine-patent was withdrawn; but these were of little moment, for in less than three months he was involved in a charge of high treason. It seems that Lord Cobham, a friend of Raleigh, a vain, weak, and disappointed man, courted the society of the discontented, and held foolish discourse against the government; that he had made offers to Count Aremberg of his influence to further a peace with Spain ; that he suggested Sir Walter Raleigh should be bribed with a pension, provided he laid aside his hostility to that power, and consented to promote their views; further, as was shown on the trial, that Lord Cobham offered Raleigh 8,000 crowns, which he, considering it to
be one of his idle conceits, slightly answered, he would tell him more when he saw the money,
This seems ridiculous enough, but it is all that was laid to the charge of Raleigh. There was, however, an awkward matter connected with it. A plot was discovered to be concerted by some popish priests against the king and the royal family, in which one of the principal conspirators was Mr. Brooke, brother to Lord Cobham, who had himself held intercourse with some of those traitors. These circumstances were quite sufficient for Cecil to work upon : the implication of Brooke rendered his brother suspected ; and Cobham being a friend of Raleigh, gave to the enemies of the latter the opportunity of throwing out doubts of his allegiance to the throne. Being at Windsor, he was summoned to a private meeting of the Lords of the Council, and examined as to Cobham's intercourse with Aremberg; Raleigh declared his belief that there was nothing of a treasonable nature between them. Being further pressed, he added, simply enough for a shrewd man, that La Rensy, servant of the ambassador, might be better able, than he was, to explain the nature of the correspondence between them.
Immediately after this, Raleigh received an order to remain a prisoner in his own house. Unfortunately, he had written to Cecil, what he had said to the Council, regarding La Rensy, and at the
examination of Cobham the letter to Cecil was artfully produced. On which his lordship, conceiving he had been betrayed, broke out into a furious passion, and accused Sir Walter of being privy to a conspiracy against the Government, and of some other offences—which this weak and timid peer retracted before he got down stairs, and again repeated the charges. On such false and frivolous pretences was the illustrious Raleigh indicted, and a true bill found by the grand jury, on which he was sent to the Tower, to await his trial for high treason.
The charges were, conspiring to dethrone the king-consulting with Lord Cobham to place the crown on the head of Arabella Stewart, for which 600,000 crowns were to be solicited from Aremberg-peace with Spain, and the establishment of popery—moreover, that, in a conversation between Cobham and the conspirators, it had been stated “there never would be a good world in England, till the king and his cubs were taken away”—and, lastly, that Raleigh was to receive a bribe of 8,000 crowns for his negociations with Aremberg
Among the Commissioners were some,-Cecil for one,—who were decided enemies of Raleigh; and the brutal and savage manner in which Coke, the king's attorney, conducted the prosecution, can only be considered as most disgraceful to a lawyer and a gentleman. “I will prove you,” he said, “the
notoriousest traitor that ever came to the bar. After you have taken away the king, you would alter religion. Thou art a monster; thou hast an English face, but a Spanish heart. Aremberg was no sooner in England, I charge thee, Raleigh, but thou incitest Cobham to go unto him, and to deal with him for money to bestow on discontented persons to raise rebellion in the kingdom.” Raleigh then said, “I do not yet hear that you have spoken one word against me ; if my Lord Cobham be a traitor, what is that to me?”
Attorney.--"All that he did was by thy instigaţion, thou viper! for I thou thee, thou traitor !”*
To which Raleigh coolly replied, “ It becometh not a man of quality and virtue to call me so; but I take comfort in it; it is all you can do."
Attorney." Have I angered you?”
This scurrilous and unbecoming conduct of the king's attorney was put a stop to by the Chief
* Mr. Tytler says this answer passed into a proverb, and furnished Shakspeare with one of his amusing touches in the character of Sir Toby Belch :
Sir Andrew Aguecheek.—“ Will either of you bear me a challenge to him ?”
Sir Toby Belch.-" Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief." .... “ If thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England, set 'em down." -- Twelfth Night.