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justice he introduced improvements which were received with gratitude by the country; and he made it his peculiar care to punish with severity those offenders who had defrauded the revenue or oppressed the people. But his reputation, and the ease with which he admitted suits, crowded the chancery with petitioners : he soon found himself overwhelmed with a multiplicity of business: and the king, to relieve him, established four subordinate courts, of which that under the presidency of the master of the rolls is still preserved.
Literature found in the cardinal a constant and bountiful patron. On native scholars he heaped preferment, and the most eminent foreigners were invited by him to teach in the universities. Both of these celebrated academies were the objects of his care: but Oxford chiefly experienced his munificence in the endowment of seven lectureships, and the foundation of Christ Church, which, though he lived not to complete it, still exists a splendid monument to his memory. As a nursery for this establishment, he erected another college at Ipswich, the place of his nativity.
But these occupations at home did not divert his eyes from the shifting scene of politics abroad. He was constantly informed of the secret history of the continental courts; and his dispatches, of which several are still extant, show that he was accustomed to pursue every event through all its probable consequences; to consider each measure in its several bearings ; and to furnish his agents with instructions before
hand for almost every contingency. His great object was to preserve the balance of power between the rival houses of France and Austria : and to this we should refer the mutable politics of the English cabinet, which first deserted Francis to support the cause of Charles, and when Charles had obtained the ascendancy, abandoned him to repair the broken fortunes of Francis. The consequence was, that as long as Wolsey presided in the council, the minister was feared and courted by princes and pontiffs, the king held the distinguished situation of arbiter of Europe.
THE EARL OF ESSEX. Thus, at the premature age of thirty-three, perished the gallant and aspiring Essex, At his first introduction to Elizabeth he had to contend against the dislike with which she viewed the son of a woman who had been her rival, and a successful rival, in the affections of Leicester. If he overcame this prejudice, it was not owing to personal beauty or exterior accomplishments. In these respects,, if we except the exquisite symmetry of his hands, he was inferior to many gentlemen at court. But there was in him a frankness of disposition, a contempt of all disguise, an impetuosity of feeling, which prompted him to pour out his whole soul in conversation; qualities which captivated the old queen, accustomed as she now was to the cautious and measured language of the politicians around her.
She insisted on his constant presence at court, and undertook to form the young mind of her favourite : but the scholar presumed to dispute the lessons of his teacher: and the spirit with which he opposed her chidings extorted her applause. In every quarrel his perseverance was victorious : and his vanquished mistress, in atonement for the pain which she had given, loaded him with caresses and favours. Hence he deduced a maxim, which, however it might succeed for a few years, finally brought him to the scaffold; that the queen might be driven, but could not be led ; that her obstinacy might be subdued by resistance, though it could not be softened by submission.
Contrary to the lot of most favourites, he had enjoyed at the same time the affection of the sovereign and of the people. To the latter he was known only by the more dazzling traits in his character, bis affability and profusion, his spirit of adventure and thirst of glory, and bis constant opposition to the dark and insidious poliey of the Cecils. His last offence could not, indeed, be disguised; but it was attributed not so much to his own passions, as the secret agents of his enemies, working upon his open and unsuspecting disposition. To silence these rumours, an account of his treason was published by authority, charging him, on his own confession, and the confessions of his associates, with a design to place himself on the throne. But the charge obtained no credit : and the popularity of the queen, which had long been on the wane, seemed to be buried in the same grave with her
favourite. On ber appearance in public she was no longer greeted with the wonted acclamations : her counsellors were received with loud expres. sions of insult and abhorrence. LINGARD.
THE EARL OF STRAFFORD. Thus fell the greatest subject in power, and little inferior to any in fortune, that was at that time in any of the three kingdoms; who could well remember the time, when he led those people, who then pursued him to his grave. He was a man of great parts, and extraordinary endowments of nature; not unadorned with some addition of art and learning, though that again was more improved and illustrated by the other; for he had a readiness of conception, and sharpness of expression, which made his learning thought more than in truth it was. His first inclinations and addresses to the court were only to establish his greatness in the country; where he apprehended some acts of power from the Lord Savile, who had been his rival always there, and of late had strengthened himself by being made a privy counsellor and officer at court: but his first attempts were so prosperous, that he contented not himself with being secure from that lord's power in the country, but rested not till he had bereaved his adversary of all power and place in court; and so sent him down a most abject, disconsolate old man to his country, where he was to have the superintendency over him too, by getting himself at the same time made lord president of the north. These successes, applied to a nature too elate and haughty of itself, and a quicker progress into the greatest employments and trust, made him more transported with disdain of other men, and more contemning the forms of business, than happily he would have been, if he had met with some interruption in the beginning, and had passed in a more leisurely gradation to the office of a statesman. · He was, no doubt, of great observation, and a piercing judgment, both in things and persons; but his too good skill in persons made bim judge the worse of things: for it was his misfortune to be in a time wherein very few wise men were employed with him; and scarce any (but the Lord Coventry, whose trust was more confined), whose faculties and abilities were equal to his : so that upon the matter he relied wholly upon himself; and discerning many defects in most men, he too much neglected what he said or did. Of all his passions his pride was most predominant; which a moderate exercise of ill fortune might have corrected and reformed; and which was by the hand of Heaven strangely punished, by bringing his destruction upon him by two things that he most despised—the people and Sir Harry Vane. In a word, the epitaph which Plutarch records that Sylla wrote for himself, may not be unfitly applied to him : “ That no man did ever exceed him, either in doing good to his friends, or in doing mischief to his enemies ;" for his acts of both kinds were most notorious.