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    Ch. 31 - James the First

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    Chapter 31
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    'OUR cousin of Scotland' was ugly, awkward, and shuffling both in
    mind and person. His tongue was much too large for his mouth, his
    legs were much too weak for his body, and his dull goggle-eyes
    stared and rolled like an idiot's. He was cunning, covetous,
    wasteful, idle, drunken, greedy, dirty, cowardly, a great swearer,
    and the most conceited man on earth. His figure - what is commonly
    called rickety from his birth - presented a most ridiculous
    appearance, dressed in thick padded clothes, as a safeguard against
    being stabbed (of which he lived in continual fear), of a grass-
    green colour from head to foot, with a hunting-horn dangling at his
    side instead of a sword, and his hat and feather sticking over one
    eye, or hanging on the back of his head, as he happened to toss it
    on. He used to loll on the necks of his favourite courtiers, and
    slobber their faces, and kiss and pinch their cheeks; and the
    greatest favourite he ever had, used to sign himself in his letters
    to his royal master, His Majesty's 'dog and slave,' and used to
    address his majesty as 'his Sowship.' His majesty was the worst
    rider ever seen, and thought himself the best. He was one of the
    most impertinent talkers (in the broadest Scotch) ever heard, and
    boasted of being unanswerable in all manner of argument. He wrote
    some of the most wearisome treatises ever read - among others, a
    book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout believer - and
    thought himself a prodigy of authorship. He thought, and wrote,
    and said, that a king had a right to make and unmake what laws he
    pleased, and ought to be accountable to nobody on earth. This is
    the plain, true character of the personage whom the greatest men
    about the court praised and flattered to that degree, that I doubt
    if there be anything much more shameful in the annals of human

    He came to the English throne with great ease. The miseries of a
    disputed succession had been felt so long, and so dreadfully, that
    he was proclaimed within a few hours of Elizabeth's death, and was
    accepted by the nation, even without being asked to give any pledge
    that he would govern well, or that he would redress crying
    grievances. He took a month to come from Edinburgh to London; and,
    by way of exercising his new power, hanged a pickpocket on the
    journey without any trial, and knighted everybody he could lay hold
    of. He made two hundred knights before he got to his palace in
    London, and seven hundred before he had been in it three months.
    He also shovelled sixty-two new peers into the House of Lords - and
    there was a pretty large sprinkling of Scotchmen among them, you
    may believe.

    His Sowship's prime Minister, CECIL (for I cannot do better than
    call his majesty what his favourite called him), was the enemy of
    Sir Walter Raleigh, and also of Sir Walter's political friend, LORD
    COBHAM; and his Sowship's first trouble was a plot originated by
    these two, and entered into by some others, with the old object of
    seizing the King and keeping him in imprisonment until he should
    change his ministers. There were Catholic priests in the plot, and
    there were Puritan noblemen too; for, although the Catholics and
    Puritans were strongly opposed to each other, they united at this
    time against his Sowship, because they knew that he had a design
    against both, after pretending to be friendly to each; this design
    being to have only one high and convenient form of the Protestant
    religion, which everybody should be bound to belong to, whether
    they liked it or not. This plot was mixed up with another, which
    may or may not have had some reference to placing on the throne, at
    some time, the LADY ARABELLA STUART; whose misfortune it was, to be
    the daughter of the younger brother of his Sowship's father, but
    who was quite innocent of any part in the scheme. Sir Walter
    Raleigh was accused on the confession of Lord Cobham - a miserable
    creature, who said one thing at one time, and another thing at
    another time, and could be relied upon in nothing. The trial of
    Sir Walter Raleigh lasted from eight in the morning until nearly
    midnight; he defended himself with such eloquence, genius, and
    spirit against all accusations, and against the insults of COKE,
    the Attorney-General - who, according to the custom of the time,
    foully abused him - that those who went there detesting the
    prisoner, came away admiring him, and declaring that anything so
    wonderful and so captivating was never heard. He was found guilty,
    nevertheless, and sentenced to death. Execution was deferred, and
    he was taken to the Tower. The two Catholic priests, less
    fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham
    and two others were pardoned on the scaffold. His Sowship thought
    it wonderfully knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning
    these three at the very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as
    usual, he had very nearly overreached himself. For, the messenger
    on horseback who brought the pardon, came so late, that he was
    pushed to the outside of the crowd, and was obliged to shout and
    roar out what he came for. The miserable Cobham did not gain much
    by being spared that day. He lived, both as a prisoner and a
    beggar, utterly despised, and miserably poor, for thirteen years,
    and then died in an old outhouse belonging to one of his former

    This plot got rid of, and Sir Walter Raleigh safely shut up in the
    Tower, his Sowship held a great dispute with the Puritans on their
    presenting a petition to him, and had it all his own way - not so
    very wonderful, as he would talk continually, and would not hear
    anybody else - and filled the Bishops with admiration. It was
    comfortably settled that there was to be only one form of religion,
    and that all men were to think exactly alike. But, although this
    was arranged two centuries and a half ago, and although the
    arrangement was supported by much fining and imprisonment, I do not
    find that it is quite successful, even yet.

    His Sowship, having that uncommonly high opinion of himself as a
    king, had a very low opinion of Parliament as a power that
    audaciously wanted to control him. When he called his first
    Parliament after he had been king a year, he accordingly thought he
    would take pretty high ground with them, and told them that he
    commanded them 'as an absolute king.' The Parliament thought those
    strong words, and saw the necessity of upholding their authority.
    His Sowship had three children: Prince Henry, Prince Charles, and
    the Princess Elizabeth. It would have been well for one of these,
    and we shall too soon see which, if he had learnt a little wisdom
    concerning Parliaments from his father's obstinacy.

    Now, the people still labouring under their old dread of the
    Catholic religion, this Parliament revived and strengthened the
    severe laws against it. And this so angered ROBERT CATESBY, a
    restless Catholic gentleman of an old family, that he formed one of
    the most desperate and terrible designs ever conceived in the mind
    of man; no less a scheme than the Gunpowder Plot.

    His object was, when the King, lords, and commons, should be
    assembled at the next opening of Parliament, to blow them up, one
    and all, with a great mine of gunpowder. The first person to whom
    he confided this horrible idea was THOMAS WINTER, a Worcestershire
    gentleman who had served in the army abroad, and had been secretly
    employed in Catholic projects. While Winter was yet undecided, and
    when he had gone over to the Netherlands, to learn from the Spanish
    Ambassador there whether there was any hope of Catholics being
    relieved through the intercession of the King of Spain with his
    Sowship, he found at Ostend a tall, dark, daring man, whom he had
    known when they were both soldiers abroad, and whose name was GUIDO
    - or GUY - FAWKES. Resolved to join the plot, he proposed it to
    this man, knowing him to be the man for any desperate deed, and
    they two came back to England together. Here, they admitted two
    other conspirators; THOMAS PERCY, related to the Earl of
    Northumberland, and JOHN WRIGHT, his brother-in-law. All these met
    together in a solitary house in the open fields which were then
    near Clement's Inn, now a closely blocked-up part of London; and
    when they had all taken a great oath of secrecy, Catesby told the
    rest what his plan was. They then went up-stairs into a garret,
    and received the Sacrament from FATHER GERARD, a Jesuit, who is
    said not to have known actually of the Gunpowder Plot, but who, I
    think, must have had his suspicions that there was something
    desperate afoot.

    Percy was a Gentleman Pensioner, and as he had occasional duties to
    perform about the Court, then kept at Whitehall, there would be
    nothing suspicious in his living at Westminster. So, having looked
    well about him, and having found a house to let, the back of which
    joined the Parliament House, he hired it of a person named FERRIS,
    for the purpose of undermining the wall. Having got possession of
    this house, the conspirators hired another on the Lambeth side of
    the Thames, which they used as a storehouse for wood, gunpowder,
    and other combustible matters. These were to be removed at night
    (and afterwards were removed), bit by bit, to the house at
    Westminster; and, that there might be some trusty person to keep
    watch over the Lambeth stores, they admitted another conspirator,
    by name ROBERT KAY, a very poor Catholic gentleman.

    All these arrangements had been made some months, and it was a
    dark, wintry, December night, when the conspirators, who had been
    in the meantime dispersed to avoid observation, met in the house at
    Westminster, and began to dig. They had laid in a good stock of
    eatables, to avoid going in and out, and they dug and dug with
    great ardour. But, the wall being tremendously thick, and the work
    very severe, they took into their plot CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, a
    younger brother of John Wright, that they might have a new pair of
    hands to help. And Christopher Wright fell to like a fresh man,
    and they dug and dug by night and by day, and Fawkes stood sentinel
    all the time. And if any man's heart seemed to fail him at all,
    Fawkes said, 'Gentlemen, we have abundance of powder and shot here,
    and there is no fear of our being taken alive, even if discovered.'
    The same Fawkes, who, in the capacity of sentinel, was always
    prowling about, soon picked up the intelligence that the King had
    prorogued the Parliament again, from the seventh of February, the
    day first fixed upon, until the third of October. When the
    conspirators knew this, they agreed to separate until after the
    Christmas holidays, and to take no notice of each other in the
    meanwhile, and never to write letters to one another on any
    account. So, the house in Westminster was shut up again, and I
    suppose the neighbours thought that those strange-looking men who
    lived there so gloomily, and went out so seldom, were gone away to
    have a merry Christmas somewhere.

    It was the beginning of February, sixteen hundred and five, when
    Catesby met his fellow-conspirators again at this Westminster
    house. He had now admitted three more; JOHN GRANT, a Warwickshire
    gentleman of a melancholy temper, who lived in a doleful house near
    Stratford-upon-Avon, with a frowning wall all round it, and a deep
    moat; ROBERT WINTER, eldest brother of Thomas; and Catesby's own
    servant, THOMAS BATES, who, Catesby thought, had had some suspicion
    of what his master was about. These three had all suffered more or
    less for their religion in Elizabeth's time. And now, they all
    began to dig again, and they dug and dug by night and by day.

    They found it dismal work alone there, underground, with such a
    fearful secret on their minds, and so many murders before them.
    They were filled with wild fancies. Sometimes, they thought they
    heard a great bell tolling, deep down in the earth under the
    Parliament House; sometimes, they thought they heard low voices
    muttering about the Gunpowder Plot; once in the morning, they
    really did hear a great rumbling noise over their heads, as they
    dug and sweated in their mine. Every man stopped and looked aghast
    at his neighbour, wondering what had happened, when that bold
    prowler, Fawkes, who had been out to look, came in and told them
    that it was only a dealer in coals who had occupied a cellar under
    the Parliament House, removing his stock in trade to some other
    place. Upon this, the conspirators, who with all their digging and
    digging had not yet dug through the tremendously thick wall,
    changed their plan; hired that cellar, which was directly under the
    House of Lords; put six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder in it, and
    covered them over with fagots and coals. Then they all dispersed
    again till September, when the following new conspirators were
    admitted; SIR EDWARD BAYNHAM, of Gloucestershire; SIR EVERARD
    DIGBY, of Rutlandshire; AMBROSE ROOKWOOD, of Suffolk; FRANCIS
    TRESHAM, of Northamptonshire. Most of these were rich, and were to
    assist the plot, some with money and some with horses on which the
    conspirators were to ride through the country and rouse the
    Catholics after the Parliament should be blown into air.

    Parliament being again prorogued from the third of October to the
    fifth of November, and the conspirators being uneasy lest their
    design should have been found out, Thomas Winter said he would go
    up into the House of Lords on the day of the prorogation, and see
    how matters looked. Nothing could be better. The unconscious
    Commissioners were walking about and talking to one another, just
    over the six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder. He came back and
    told the rest so, and they went on with their preparations. They
    hired a ship, and kept it ready in the Thames, in which Fawkes was
    to sail for Flanders after firing with a slow match the train that
    was to explode the powder. A number of Catholic gentlemen not in
    the secret, were invited, on pretence of a hunting party, to meet
    Sir Everard Digby at Dunchurch on the fatal day, that they might be
    ready to act together. And now all was ready.

    But, now, the great wickedness and danger which had been all along
    at the bottom of this wicked plot, began to show itself. As the
    fifth of November drew near, most of the conspirators, remembering
    that they had friends and relations who would be in the House of
    Lords that day, felt some natural relenting, and a wish to warn
    them to keep away. They were not much comforted by Catesby's
    declaring that in such a cause he would blow up his own son. LORD
    MOUNTEAGLE, Tresham's brother-in-law, was certain to be in the
    house; and when Tresham found that he could not prevail upon the
    rest to devise any means of sparing their friends, he wrote a
    mysterious letter to this lord and left it at his lodging in the
    dusk, urging him to keep away from the opening of Parliament,
    'since God and man had concurred to punish the wickedness of the
    times.' It contained the words 'that the Parliament should receive
    a terrible blow, and yet should not see who hurt them.' And it
    added, 'the danger is past, as soon as you have burnt the letter.'

    The ministers and courtiers made out that his Sowship, by a direct
    miracle from Heaven, found out what this letter meant. The truth
    is, that they were not long (as few men would be) in finding out
    for themselves; and it was decided to let the conspirators alone,
    until the very day before the opening of Parliament. That the
    conspirators had their fears, is certain; for, Tresham himself said
    before them all, that they were every one dead men; and, although
    even he did not take flight, there is reason to suppose that he had
    warned other persons besides Lord Mounteagle. However, they were
    all firm; and Fawkes, who was a man of iron, went down every day
    and night to keep watch in the cellar as usual. He was there about
    two in the afternoon of the fourth, when the Lord Chamberlain and
    Lord Mounteagle threw open the door and looked in. 'Who are you,
    friend?' said they. 'Why,' said Fawkes, 'I am Mr. Percy's servant,
    and am looking after his store of fuel here.' 'Your master has
    laid in a pretty good store,' they returned, and shut the door, and
    went away. Fawkes, upon this, posted off to the other conspirators
    to tell them all was quiet, and went back and shut himself up in
    the dark, black cellar again, where he heard the bell go twelve
    o'clock and usher in the fifth of November. About two hours
    afterwards, he slowly opened the door, and came out to look about
    him, in his old prowling way. He was instantly seized and bound,
    by a party of soldiers under SIR THOMAS KNEVETT. He had a watch
    upon him, some touchwood, some tinder, some slow matches; and there
    was a dark lantern with a candle in it, lighted, behind the door.
    He had his boots and spurs on - to ride to the ship, I suppose -
    and it was well for the soldiers that they took him so suddenly.
    If they had left him but a moment's time to light a match, he
    certainly would have tossed it in among the powder, and blown up
    himself and them.

    They took him to the King's bed-chamber first of all, and there the
    King (causing him to be held very tight, and keeping a good way
    off), asked him how he could have the heart to intend to destroy so
    many innocent people? 'Because,' said Guy Fawkes, 'desperate
    diseases need desperate remedies.' To a little Scotch favourite,
    with a face like a terrier, who asked him (with no particular
    wisdom) why he had collected so much gunpowder, he replied, because
    he had meant to blow Scotchmen back to Scotland, and it would take
    a deal of powder to do that. Next day he was carried to the Tower,
    but would make no confession. Even after being horribly tortured,
    he confessed nothing that the Government did not already know;
    though he must have been in a fearful state - as his signature,
    still preserved, in contrast with his natural hand-writing before
    he was put upon the dreadful rack, most frightfully shows. Bates,
    a very different man, soon said the Jesuits had had to do with the
    plot, and probably, under the torture, would as readily have said
    anything. Tresham, taken and put in the Tower too, made
    confessions and unmade them, and died of an illness that was heavy
    upon him. Rookwood, who had stationed relays of his own horses all
    the way to Dunchurch, did not mount to escape until the middle of
    the day, when the news of the plot was all over London. On the
    road, he came up with the two Wrights, Catesby, and Percy; and they
    all galloped together into Northamptonshire. Thence to Dunchurch,
    where they found the proposed party assembled. Finding, however,
    that there had been a plot, and that it had been discovered, the
    party disappeared in the course of the night, and left them alone
    with Sir Everard Digby. Away they all rode again, through
    Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to a house called Holbeach, on the
    borders of Staffordshire. They tried to raise the Catholics on
    their way, but were indignantly driven off by them. All this time
    they were hotly pursued by the sheriff of Worcester, and a fast
    increasing concourse of riders. At last, resolving to defend
    themselves at Holbeach, they shut themselves up in the house, and
    put some wet powder before the fire to dry. But it blew up, and
    Catesby was singed and blackened, and almost killed, and some of
    the others were sadly hurt. Still, knowing that they must die,
    they resolved to die there, and with only their swords in their
    hands appeared at the windows to be shot at by the sheriff and his
    assistants. Catesby said to Thomas Winter, after Thomas had been
    hit in the right arm which dropped powerless by his side, 'Stand by
    me, Tom, and we will die together!' - which they did, being shot
    through the body by two bullets from one gun. John Wright, and
    Christopher Wright, and Percy, were also shot. Rookwood and Digby
    were taken: the former with a broken arm and a wound in his body

    It was the fifteenth of January, before the trial of Guy Fawkes,
    and such of the other conspirators as were left alive, came on.
    They were all found guilty, all hanged, drawn, and quartered:
    some, in St. Paul's Churchyard, on the top of Ludgate-hill; some,
    before the Parliament House. A Jesuit priest, named HENRY GARNET,
    to whom the dreadful design was said to have been communicated, was
    taken and tried; and two of his servants, as well as a poor priest
    who was taken with him, were tortured without mercy. He himself
    was not tortured, but was surrounded in the Tower by tamperers and
    traitors, and so was made unfairly to convict himself out of his
    own mouth. He said, upon his trial, that he had done all he could
    to prevent the deed, and that he could not make public what had
    been told him in confession - though I am afraid he knew of the
    plot in other ways. He was found guilty and executed, after a
    manful defence, and the Catholic Church made a saint of him; some
    rich and powerful persons, who had had nothing to do with the
    project, were fined and imprisoned for it by the Star Chamber; the
    Catholics, in general, who had recoiled with horror from the idea
    of the infernal contrivance, were unjustly put under more severe
    laws than before; and this was the end of the Gunpowder Plot.


    His Sowship would pretty willingly, I think, have blown the House
    of Commons into the air himself; for, his dread and jealousy of it
    knew no bounds all through his reign. When he was hard pressed for
    money he was obliged to order it to meet, as he could get no money
    without it; and when it asked him first to abolish some of the
    monopolies in necessaries of life which were a great grievance to
    the people, and to redress other public wrongs, he flew into a rage
    and got rid of it again. At one time he wanted it to consent to
    the Union of England with Scotland, and quarrelled about that. At
    another time it wanted him to put down a most infamous Church
    abuse, called the High Commission Court, and he quarrelled with it
    about that. At another time it entreated him not to be quite so
    fond of his archbishops and bishops who made speeches in his praise
    too awful to be related, but to have some little consideration for
    the poor Puritan clergy who were persecuted for preaching in their
    own way, and not according to the archbishops and bishops; and they
    quarrelled about that. In short, what with hating the House of
    Commons, and pretending not to hate it; and what with now sending
    some of its members who opposed him, to Newgate or to the Tower,
    and now telling the rest that they must not presume to make
    speeches about the public affairs which could not possibly concern
    them; and what with cajoling, and bullying, and fighting, and being
    frightened; the House of Commons was the plague of his Sowship's
    existence. It was pretty firm, however, in maintaining its rights,
    and insisting that the Parliament should make the laws, and not the
    King by his own single proclamations (which he tried hard to do);
    and his Sowship was so often distressed for money, in consequence,
    that he sold every sort of title and public office as if they were
    merchandise, and even invented a new dignity called a Baronetcy,
    which anybody could buy for a thousand pounds.

    These disputes with his Parliaments, and his hunting, and his
    drinking, and his lying in bed - for he was a great sluggard -
    occupied his Sowship pretty well. The rest of his time he chiefly
    passed in hugging and slobbering his favourites. The first of
    these was SIR PHILIP HERBERT, who had no knowledge whatever, except
    of dogs, and horses, and hunting, but whom he soon made EARL OF
    MONTGOMERY. The next, and a much more famous one, was ROBERT CARR,
    or KER (for it is not certain which was his right name), who came
    from the Border country, and whom he soon made VISCOUNT ROCHESTER,
    and afterwards, EARL OF SOMERSET. The way in which his Sowship
    doted on this handsome young man, is even more odious to think of,
    than the way in which the really great men of England condescended
    to bow down before him. The favourite's great friend was a certain
    SIR THOMAS OVERBURY, who wrote his love-letters for him, and
    assisted him in the duties of his many high places, which his own
    ignorance prevented him from discharging. But this same Sir Thomas
    having just manhood enough to dissuade the favourite from a wicked
    marriage with the beautiful Countess of Essex, who was to get a
    divorce from her husband for the purpose, the said Countess, in her
    rage, got Sir Thomas put into the Tower, and there poisoned him.
    Then the favourite and this bad woman were publicly married by the
    King's pet bishop, with as much to-do and rejoicing, as if he had
    been the best man, and she the best woman, upon the face of the

    But, after a longer sunshine than might have been expected - of
    seven years or so, that is to say - another handsome young man
    started up and eclipsed the EARL OF SOMERSET. This was GEORGE
    VILLIERS, the youngest son of a Leicestershire gentleman: who came
    to Court with all the Paris fashions on him, and could dance as
    well as the best mountebank that ever was seen. He soon danced
    himself into the good graces of his Sowship, and danced the other
    favourite out of favour. Then, it was all at once discovered that
    the Earl and Countess of Somerset had not deserved all those great
    promotions and mighty rejoicings, and they were separately tried
    for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, and for other crimes. But,
    the King was so afraid of his late favourite's publicly telling
    some disgraceful things he knew of him - which he darkly threatened
    to do - that he was even examined with two men standing, one on
    either side of him, each with a cloak in his hand, ready to throw
    it over his head and stop his mouth if he should break out with
    what he had it in his power to tell. So, a very lame affair was
    purposely made of the trial, and his punishment was an allowance of
    four thousand pounds a year in retirement, while the Countess was
    pardoned, and allowed to pass into retirement too. They hated one
    another by this time, and lived to revile and torment each other
    some years.

    While these events were in progress, and while his Sowship was
    making such an exhibition of himself, from day to day and from year
    to year, as is not often seen in any sty, three remarkable deaths
    took place in England. The first was that of the Minister, Robert
    Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, who was past sixty, and had never been
    strong, being deformed from his birth. He said at last that he had
    no wish to live; and no Minister need have had, with his experience
    of the meanness and wickedness of those disgraceful times. The
    second was that of the Lady Arabella Stuart, who alarmed his
    Sowship mightily, by privately marrying WILLIAM SEYMOUR, son of
    LORD BEAUCHAMP, who was a descendant of King Henry the Seventh, and
    who, his Sowship thought, might consequently increase and
    strengthen any claim she might one day set up to the throne. She
    was separated from her husband (who was put in the Tower) and
    thrust into a boat to be confined at Durham. She escaped in a
    man's dress to get away in a French ship from Gravesend to France,
    but unhappily missed her husband, who had escaped too, and was soon
    taken. She went raving mad in the miserable Tower, and died there
    after four years. The last, and the most important of these three
    deaths, was that of Prince Henry, the heir to the throne, in the
    nineteenth year of his age. He was a promising young prince, and
    greatly liked; a quiet, well-conducted youth, of whom two very good
    things are known: first, that his father was jealous of him;
    secondly, that he was the friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, languishing
    through all those years in the Tower, and often said that no man
    but his father would keep such a bird in such a cage. On the
    occasion of the preparations for the marriage of his sister the
    Princess Elizabeth with a foreign prince (and an unhappy marriage
    it turned out), he came from Richmond, where he had been very ill,
    to greet his new brother-in-law, at the palace at Whitehall. There
    he played a great game at tennis, in his shirt, though it was very
    cold weather, and was seized with an alarming illness, and died
    within a fortnight of a putrid fever. For this young prince Sir
    Walter Raleigh wrote, in his prison in the Tower, the beginning of
    a History of the World: a wonderful instance how little his
    Sowship could do to confine a great man's mind, however long he
    might imprison his body.

    And this mention of Sir Walter Raleigh, who had many faults, but
    who never showed so many merits as in trouble and adversity, may
    bring me at once to the end of his sad story. After an
    imprisonment in the Tower of twelve long years, he proposed to
    resume those old sea voyages of his, and to go to South America in
    search of gold. His Sowship, divided between his wish to be on
    good terms with the Spaniards through whose territory Sir Walter
    must pass (he had long had an idea of marrying Prince Henry to a
    Spanish Princess), and his avaricious eagerness to get hold of the
    gold, did not know what to do. But, in the end, he set Sir Walter
    free, taking securities for his return; and Sir Walter fitted out
    an expedition at his own coast and, on the twenty-eighth of March,
    one thousand six hundred and seventeen, sailed away in command of
    one of its ships, which he ominously called the Destiny. The
    expedition failed; the common men, not finding the gold they had
    expected, mutinied; a quarrel broke out between Sir Walter and the
    Spaniards, who hated him for old successes of his against them; and
    he took and burnt a little town called SAINT THOMAS. For this he
    was denounced to his Sowship by the Spanish Ambassador as a pirate;
    and returning almost broken-hearted, with his hopes and fortunes
    shattered, his company of friends dispersed, and his brave son (who
    had been one of them) killed, he was taken - through the treachery
    of SIR LEWIS STUKELY, his near relation, a scoundrel and a Vice-
    Admiral - and was once again immured in his prison-home of so many

    His Sowship being mightily disappointed in not getting any gold,
    Sir Walter Raleigh was tried as unfairly, and with as many lies and
    evasions as the judges and law officers and every other authority
    in Church and State habitually practised under such a King. After
    a great deal of prevarication on all parts but his own, it was
    declared that he must die under his former sentence, now fifteen
    years old. So, on the twenty-eighth of October, one thousand six
    hundred and eighteen, he was shut up in the Gate House at
    Westminster to pass his late night on earth, and there he took
    leave of his good and faithful lady who was worthy to have lived in
    better days. At eight o'clock next morning, after a cheerful
    breakfast, and a pipe, and a cup of good wine, he was taken to Old
    Palace Yard in Westminster, where the scaffold was set up, and
    where so many people of high degree were assembled to see him die,
    that it was a matter of some difficulty to get him through the
    crowd. He behaved most nobly, but if anything lay heavy on his
    mind, it was that Earl of Essex, whose head he had seen roll off;
    and he solemnly said that he had had no hand in bringing him to the
    block, and that he had shed tears for him when he died. As the
    morning was very cold, the Sheriff said, would he come down to a
    fire for a little space, and warm himself? But Sir Walter thanked
    him, and said no, he would rather it were done at once, for he was
    ill of fever and ague, and in another quarter of an hour his
    shaking fit would come upon him if he were still alive, and his
    enemies might then suppose that he trembled for fear. With that,
    he kneeled and made a very beautiful and Christian prayer. Before
    he laid his head upon the block he felt the edge of the axe, and
    said, with a smile upon his face, that it was a sharp medicine, but
    would cure the worst disease. When he was bent down ready for
    death, he said to the executioner, finding that he hesitated, 'What
    dost thou fear? Strike, man!' So, the axe came down and struck
    his head off, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

    The new favourite got on fast. He was made a viscount, he was made
    Duke of Buckingham, he was made a marquis, he was made Master of
    the Horse, he was made Lord High Admiral - and the Chief Commander
    of the gallant English forces that had dispersed the Spanish
    Armada, was displaced to make room for him. He had the whole
    kingdom at his disposal, and his mother sold all the profits and
    honours of the State, as if she had kept a shop. He blazed all
    over with diamonds and other precious stones, from his hatband and
    his earrings to his shoes. Yet he was an ignorant presumptuous,
    swaggering compound of knave and fool, with nothing but his beauty
    and his dancing to recommend him. This is the gentleman who called
    himself his Majesty's dog and slave, and called his Majesty Your
    Sowship. His Sowship called him STEENIE; it is supposed, because
    that was a nickname for Stephen, and because St. Stephen was
    generally represented in pictures as a handsome saint.

    His Sowship was driven sometimes to his wits'-end by his trimming
    between the general dislike of the Catholic religion at home, and
    his desire to wheedle and flatter it abroad, as his only means of
    getting a rich princess for his son's wife: a part of whose
    fortune he might cram into his greasy pockets. Prince Charles - or
    as his Sowship called him, Baby Charles - being now PRINCE OF
    WALES, the old project of a marriage with the Spanish King's
    daughter had been revived for him; and as she could not marry a
    Protestant without leave from the Pope, his Sowship himself
    secretly and meanly wrote to his Infallibility, asking for it. The
    negotiation for this Spanish marriage takes up a larger space in
    great books, than you can imagine, but the upshot of it all is,
    that when it had been held off by the Spanish Court for a long
    time, Baby Charles and Steenie set off in disguise as Mr. Thomas
    Smith and Mr. John Smith, to see the Spanish Princess; that Baby
    Charles pretended to be desperately in love with her, and jumped
    off walls to look at her, and made a considerable fool of himself
    in a good many ways; that she was called Princess of Wales and that
    the whole Spanish Court believed Baby Charles to be all but dying
    for her sake, as he expressly told them he was; that Baby Charles
    and Steenie came back to England, and were received with as much
    rapture as if they had been a blessing to it; that Baby Charles had
    actually fallen in love with HENRIETTA MARIA, the French King's
    sister, whom he had seen in Paris; that he thought it a wonderfully
    fine and princely thing to have deceived the Spaniards, all
    through; and that he openly said, with a chuckle, as soon as he was
    safe and sound at home again, that the Spaniards were great fools
    to have believed him.

    Like most dishonest men, the Prince and the favourite complained
    that the people whom they had deluded were dishonest. They made
    such misrepresentations of the treachery of the Spaniards in this
    business of the Spanish match, that the English nation became eager
    for a war with them. Although the gravest Spaniards laughed at the
    idea of his Sowship in a warlike attitude, the Parliament granted
    money for the beginning of hostilities, and the treaties with Spain
    were publicly declared to be at an end. The Spanish ambassador in
    London - probably with the help of the fallen favourite, the Earl
    of Somerset - being unable to obtain speech with his Sowship,
    slipped a paper into his hand, declaring that he was a prisoner in
    his own house, and was entirely governed by Buckingham and his
    creatures. The first effect of this letter was that his Sowship
    began to cry and whine, and took Baby Charles away from Steenie,
    and went down to Windsor, gabbling all sorts of nonsense. The end
    of it was that his Sowship hugged his dog and slave, and said he
    was quite satisfied.

    He had given the Prince and the favourite almost unlimited power to
    settle anything with the Pope as to the Spanish marriage; and he
    now, with a view to the French one, signed a treaty that all Roman
    Catholics in England should exercise their religion freely, and
    should never be required to take any oath contrary thereto. In
    return for this, and for other concessions much less to be
    defended, Henrietta Maria was to become the Prince's wife, and was
    to bring him a fortune of eight hundred thousand crowns.

    His Sowship's eyes were getting red with eagerly looking for the
    money, when the end of a gluttonous life came upon him; and, after
    a fortnight's illness, on Sunday the twenty-seventh of March, one
    thousand six hundred and twenty-five, he died. He had reigned
    twenty-two years, and was fifty-nine years old. I know of nothing
    more abominable in history than the adulation that was lavished on
    this King, and the vice and corruption that such a barefaced habit
    of lying produced in his court. It is much to be doubted whether
    one man of honour, and not utterly self-disgraced, kept his place
    near James the First. Lord Bacon, that able and wise philosopher,
    as the First Judge in the Kingdom in this reign, became a public
    spectacle of dishonesty and corruption; and in his base flattery of
    his Sowship, and in his crawling servility to his dog and slave,
    disgraced himself even more. But, a creature like his Sowship set
    upon a throne is like the Plague, and everybody receives infection
    from him.
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