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fell; ultimately becoming more powerful than the latter nobleman, and as great a favourite with Prince Charles as he was with the king. He bore himself with great hauteur even to such men as the Lord Chancellor Bacon, who was compelled to dance attendance for days together in his ante-chamber among his servants, ' sitting upon an old wooden chest, with his purse and seal lying by him on that chest.' His brothers and male relatives were married to heiresses (sometimes compulsorily), and the female branches to the richest and noblest of the aristocracy; while all alike trafficked in titles and places, lodging about the court, and making the most of their lucrative interest.
But though this excited the jealousy of the courtiers, the people in general were not thoroughly roused against the favourite, until he had fomented the Quixotic expedition of Prince Charles into Spain, and accompanied him thither. The popular dislike to the Spanish match was intense, and the fear of popish innovation excessive : the favourite was therefore loudly condemned by all. At the same time, he was on the most intimate terms with his sovereign and prince, and the letters which passed between them evince a familiar intimacy which has scarcely a parallel in history. James addressed him as 'My sweet hearty,' 'My sweet Steenied and gossip,' 'My only sweet
1 This was no Christian name of the Duke's, but is a Scotticism for Stephen, bestowed on him by the king, who is said to have done so because the favourite's good looks reminded him of representations of St. Stephen, depicted with beautiful features, in accordance with Acts
and dear child;' and tattled about the favourite's family affairs more like an old nurse than a king. Charles addressed him as “Steenie,' and consulted him on every subject of importance; while Buckingham returned the familiarity by addressing the king as ‘Your sowship;' or, ‘Dear dad and gossip;' and subscribing himself, “Your humble slave and dog, Steenie ;' with, 'I kiss your warty hands,' etc.
Buckingham was raised to the dukedom while at Madrid, in order that he might be elevated in the eyes of the Spaniards; but his dissipation and insolence disgusted them, as much as his freedom of speech and manners before the prince.
The infirmities of James, and the strong friendship of his son, kept Buckingham at the head of affairs until the death of the king. On the accession of Charles to the throne, the favourite assumed a still more powerful position; but this favouritism, and Buckingham's mal-administration, rendered him very unpopular; while the public plunderings of the favourite and his family knew no bounds. On the very day that the Duke was denounced in the House of Commons, his physician, Dr. Lambe-generally termed the Duke's devil'—who was believed to deal in the black art, and instigate the Duke's worst acts, was attacked in the streets of London, and so ill-treated that he died during the same day. A doggerel rhyme of fearful import then became current:
• Let Charles and George do what they can,
A paper was affixed to a post in Coleman Street, upon which were the three lines quoted at p. 143, and this addition : ‘Let the Duke look to it; for they intend shortly to use him worse than they did the doctor; and if things be not shortly reformed, they will work a reformation for themselves.'
The Duke's life had been attempted at Rhé by a Jesuit armed with a three-edged knife ; and an account of the event, with a woodcut of the knife, had been published on his return, to endear the Duke to all good Protestants. Popular feeling, however, ran counter to this. Sir Symonds D'Ewes relates that some of his friendes had advised him how generally he was hated in England, and how needfull it would bee, for his greater safetie, to weare some coate of maile, or some secret defensive armour; but the Duke slighting, saied, “ It needs not; there are no Roman spirits left."' Lady Davis, who had become celebrated for the foretelling of events, had confidently predicted the death of the Duke in 1628. A Latin distich was also in very general circulation. A copy, preserved in the Ashmolean Ms., states it to have been made some few monthes before he (the Duke) was murthered, by John Marston.' An apparition was also stated to have announced the Duke's fate ; but Clarendon considers this story was planned by the Countess and the person to whom it was said to have appeared, to inspire the Duke with a livelier regard to his own safety.
The following week the King and Duke journeyed in the same coach to Deptford. He parted with the king, and proceeded to Portsmouth, where a more sudden fate than
Lambe's awaited him, and is thus described in a letter sent by Sir Dudley Carleton to the Queen on the afternoon : * This day, betwixt nine and ten of the clock in the morning, the Duke of Buckingham, then comming out of a parlor into a hall, to goe to his coach, and soe to the king (who was four miles off), having about him diverse lords, colonells, and captains, and many of his owne servants, was by one Felton (once a lieutenant of this our army) slaine at one blow with a dagger knife. In his staggering he turn'd about, uttering onely this word “ Villaine !" and never spake word more ; but presently plucking out the knife from himselfe, before he fell to the ground, hee made towards the traytor two or three paces, and then fell against a table, although he were upheld by diverse that were neere him, that (through the villaine's close carriage in the act) could not perceive him hurt at all, but guess'd him to be suddenly overswayed with some apoplexie, till they saw the blood come gushing from his mouth and the wound so fast, that the life and breath at once left his begored body.'
The house in which the murder was committed is now standing in Portsmouth (No. 10, High Street), but has been so repeatedly altered, both within and without, in converting it first into an inn and then into a private house, that it retains scarcely any of its old features.
Howell says that Felton ‘had thought to have done the deed’ in the room where the Duke was being shaved, after rising from bed, 'for he was leaning upon the window all the while.'
Wotton thus describes the murder : "The Duke came with Sir Thomas Fryer close at his in the
very moment as the said knight withdrew himself from the Duke, the assassin gave him, with a back blow, a deep wound into his left side, leaving the knife in his body, which the Duke himself pulling out, on a sudden effusion of spirits, he sank down under the table in the next room, and immediately expired.'
Sir Symonds D'Ewes, who was related to the Duchess of Buckingham, in his account of the murder, says: The Duke having received the stroake, instantlie clapping his right hand on his sword-hilt, cried out, “God's wounds!
, the villaine has killed me !"?
Felton had sewed in the crown of his hat, half within the lining, a written paper, which ran as follows : “That man is cowardly base, and deserveth not the name of a gentleman of souldier, that is not willinge to sacrifice his life for the honor of his God, his kinge, and his countrie.
Lett noe man commend me for doinge of it, but rather discommend themselves as the cause of it ; for if God had not taken
; away or harts for or sinnes, he would not have gone so longe unpunished.—JNO. FELTON.'
At the death, the paper was not found, and what had become of it was not known for a certainty. It was long in the possession of Mr. Upcott, and had been found among the Evelyn papers at Wotton, endorsed twice over in John Evelyn's handwriting, 'A note found about Feiton when he killed the Duke of Buckingham, 23 Aug. 1628.' Sir Edward