Page images

chaplains, &c., and full of Parliamentary and politicoreligious business in public."* Being on intimate terms with Cromwell, the latter addressed a letter to Col. Robert Hammond, the Governor of Carisbrooke Castle (where Charles I. was in captivity), dated London, January 3rd, 1647-8, “ from my Lord Wharton's, near ten at night.” He also wrote letters to Wharton on several subsequent occasions.

1. On September 2nd, 1648, from Knaresborough, after the battle of Preston, in which he had routed the Scots, under the Duke of Hamilton, who had become opponents of the Parliamentary army, and had invaded England for the purpose of restoring the King to power on his secret engagement to acknowledge the Presbyterian discipline in England, he congratulated Lord Wharton on the birth of the "young Baron” (the first Marquis), and adds: “My love to the dear little Lady [Jane Goodwin] better to me than the child. The Lord bless you both." (Letter Ixviii.)

2. On January ist, 1649-50, after the death of Charles I., Cromwell wrote to his noble friend, of whom Carlyle remarks; “He is not now of the Council of State ; having withdrawn from all management, into a painful, inquiring condition. One of our zealous Puritans and Patriots, but much troubled with cautious dubitations; involved in 'reasonings,' in painful labyrịnths of constitutional and other logic, for the present. Of which sort there are now many. Who indignantly drew the sword, and long zealously fought and smote with it, nothing doubting; and are now somewhat astonished at the issue that has come of it! Somewhat uncertain whether these late high actings, executing judgment on your King, abolition of your House of Lords, and so forth, are owned by the Eternal Powers or not owned.” “ If,” wrote Cromwell, “I know my heart, I love you in truth. . . . You were desired to go along with us ; I wish it still. . . . My service to the dear little lady; I

• Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches.

wish you make her not a greater temptation 'to you in this matter than she is !” (Letter cxviii.)

3. On September 4th, 1650, the day after the battle of Dunbar, in which Cromwell, now Lord General, carrying the war into Scotland, defeated the Presbyterian army, he wrote : "I was untoward when I spake last with you in St. James's Park. I spake cross in stating my grounds; I spake to my judgings of you ; which were: That you,—shall I name others ?-Henry Lawrence, Robert Hammond, &c., had ensnared yourselves with disputes. . . . The results of your thoughts concerning late Transactions I know to be mistakes of yours, by a better argument than success." (Letter cxlvi.)

4. Again, on August 27th, 1651, from Stratford-onAvon, on the eve of the battle of Worcester (when a final conflict with the Scots was imminent), he wrote to “ dubitating Wharton”: “Now, again, you have opportunity to associate with His people in His work; and to manifest your willingness and desire to serve the Lord against His and His people's enemies.

I am persuaded it needs you not, save as your Lord and Master needed the Ass's colt to show his humility, meekness, and condescension ; but you need it, to declare your submission to, and owning yourself the Lord's and His people's. If you can break through old disputes, I shall rejoice if you help others to do so also.

Thanks to you, and the dear lady, for all loves, and for poor foolish Moll ” [his daughter Mary, on a visit to Lord Wharton's eldest daughter, Elizabeth). (Letter clxxxi.)

5. Although Wharton drew back entirely, yet his friendship with Cromwell did not cease. A project was set on foot for Henry Cromwell, then in Ireland, to marry Lady Elizabeth, but was not carried out owing to some "just scruples of the lady” (who became the wife of Lord Willoughby). “My lord,” Cromwell wrote, June 30th, 1652, “if there be not freedom and cheerfulness in the noble Person, let this Affair slide easily off, and not a word more be spoken about it.”

[ocr errors]

In subsequent years, Wharton had considerable influence with the Lord Protector, and sometimes applied to him for assistance on behalf of others. He was made a member of his Privy Council and of his House of Lords, but he never acted in either capacity. He was also named as a visitor of the new Durham University, which Cromwell founded by Letters Patent (1657), but which was never fully established.

“ The incomparable old Lord Wharton could not more than many others bring himself to think well of a single person [as supreme magistrate]; but, admitting such magistracy, he openly confessed General Cromwell to be the fittest prince in the universe for that station. The Protector was the cope-stone which jointed together that fabric which the civil war had reared



“In all thou undertak'st be careful still
That none of thee can speake deserved ill ;
And see when that is done thou need'st not care
For ill men's censure—'tis the common fare.”

THOMAS, LORD FAIRFAX. Lord Wharton was about 36 years old when he withdrew and buried himself in the country. “With the exception of a few months,” he says, “I had neither house nor lodging in London (from 1648] till 1659, when the coming Restoration was plain to me." (Letter to Von Spaen.) During those years he seems to have only occasionally visited his seats at Wharton Hall, Healaugh, or Aske. At the last-named place his beloved mother died in 1654.

He did not, indeed, forget the responsibilities which his relation to the places just mentioned laid upon him. As an illustration of the manner in which public charities are often abused, it may be mentioned that, as owner of the lordship of Aske, he gave the aldermen and burgesses of Richmond, September 30th, 1656, the sum of £ 20 “as a stock to be employed from time to time for ever by the aldermen and twelve head burgesses, and bestowed in coals, and laid up for the use of the poorer sort of inhabitants in winter time; the stock to be preserved and made good for the relief of the said poor, or to be otherwise employed for their good in such manner as the said Lord Wharton and his heirs and assigns, owners of the lordship of Aske, shall appoint." An agreement to this effect was signed by the aldermen and burgesses; but it is recorded (1744) that this charity has been totally sunk and embezzled by negligence and default of the trustees, and has been so for more than forty years (Clarkson's “ Richmond”).

* Life of Ambrose Barnes.

His principal residence, from the death of Arthur Goodwin, in 1643, was at UPPER WINCHENDON, where several of his children were born, and where his wife, Lady Jane, was buried. The Parish Register contains the following entry : "1658. The most noble, pious, and virtuous Lady Jane Wharton died at Wooburn, Wednesday, the 21st April, and was buried here to-day, 23rd.” The house was subsequently improved, if not rebuilt, by his son the Marquis; purchased as part of the Manors of Winchendon, Waddesdon, and Westcott by the trustees of John, Duke of Marlborough, under a decree of the Court of Chancery, in February, 1725, and was soon afterwards demolished.

About 1658 Lord Wharton removed to the old Manor House of WOOBURN (some sixteen miles distant). This house was in former days a palace of the Bishops of Lincoln, and adjoining its domestic chapel there was a prison, associated with painful memories of early Protestant martyrs. It was called Little

Little Ease, , apparently because it was not large enough to permit a prisoner to stand upright or to lie at length, and in it Thomas Chase, of Amersham, was privately strangled for heresy (1506), and Thomas Harden, of Chesham, and others, were confined previous to their being burnt

at the stake. After several changes the Manor came to Queen Elizabeth, and was granted to the Goodwin family.

The mansion was repaired, enlarged and refurnished by Lord Wharton, who spent nearly £40,000 thereon. He had, it is said, a good taste in architecture, and gardening, and possessed the finest collection of original paintings by Van Dyck and Sir Peter Lely of any nobleman in England. The buildings were of great extent and magnificence, the hall and upper apartments being of large proportions, and the gallery, containing numerous portraits of the Wharton family, being 120 feet long. When, over fifty years later, Lord Wharton's grandson, the Duke, ran heavily into debt, the collection was sold to Sir Robert Walpole; of whom the spendthrift Duke remarked (1726) bitterly, and with a vain prediction : “He bought my family pictures, but they will not be long in his possession; that account is still open.” They were sold by Walpole's grandson, the third Earl of Orford, to the Empress Catherine of Russia, and are now preserved at the Imperial Palace, in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. The mansion was demolished in 1750, and the materials sold for £,800.

According to tradition Lord Wharton hid £60,000 in Westwood, Wooburn, during the Revolution, and after the Restoration, forgetting where he had buried it, had to have two acres of ground cleared before the money could be found. But the story is an improbable one. He found it necessary to mortgage his estate at Healaugh, in order to enable him to pay for the improvements made at Wooburn, so that he would have little money to hide in the earth; and the danger of being robbed of what he possessed was greater after the Restoration than before.

The frontispiece is taken from the portrait of Philip, fourth Lord Wharton, by Van Dyck, which was lent by the Czar to the trustees of the Royal Academy for its Exhibition, 1900.

« PreviousContinue »