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field of Northampton, July 10, 1460. This peerage case, therefore, was singular in one respect,-namely, that in order to prove a common ancestor to Bertram seventeenth Earl, and Henry John eighteenth Earl, it was necessary to go back to a period of nearly 400 years.
A copy was given in evidence of an inscription from an ancient monument in the Church of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, erected to the memory of Sir John Talbot of Allbrighton and his two wives. This inscription, as far as related to Sir John's issue, was in the following words: • The Lady Margaret, hys first wyfe, bare to him three sonnes and five daughters, and ye Lady Elizabeth bare to him four sonnes and four daughters.' Major Talbot of Castle Talbot, county Wexford, who was brother of the late Countess of Shrewsbury, opposed Earl Talbot's claim in the House of Lords, and grounded that opposition upon his descent, as he alleged, from one of these younger sons of Sir John Talbot of Allbrighton by his first wife.—Sir Bernard Burke's Peerage, 1865.
GEORGE VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM,
ASSASSINATED BY JOHN FELTON.
HE murder of the Duke of Buckingham by Felton
was the first great home event in one of the
most eventful reigns recorded in English history. The prime favourite of two sovereigns, James I. and Charles I., for many years Buckingham had so conducted himself as to give great umbrage to the people; and the opinion generally held of him is expressed in this strong and coarse comment, current towards the end of his career :
*Who rules the kingdom? The King !
George Villiers (afterwards Duke of Buckingham) first appeared at the court of James 1. in 1614, and the political intriguers of the day set him up in opposition to the declining favourite Somerset. He was a man of attractive personal appearance, had been educated at the French Court, and at once fascinated the weak monarch, and rapidly made way in his affections. He heaped honours on him and his family; and Villiers rose as fast as Somerset 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 Steenie 1 and gossip,' 'My only sweet 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.
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
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