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profusely squandered away. Another main part of 16 the regal authority was the wards, which anciently the crown took into their own management. Our kings were, according to the first institution, the guardians of the wards. They bred them up in their courts, and disposed of them in marriage as they thought fit. Afterwards they compounded, or forgave them, or gave them to some branches of the family, or to provide the younger children. But they proceeded in this very gently: and the chief care after the reformation was to breed the wards protestants. Still all were under a great dependence by this means. Much money was not raised this way: but families were often at mercy, and were used according to their behaviour. King James granted these generally to his servants and favourites: and they made the most of them. So that what was before a dependence on the crown, and was moderately compounded for, became then a most exacting oppression, by which several families were ruined. This went on in king Charles's time in the same method. Our kings thought they gave little when they disposed of a ward, because they made little of them. All this raised such an outcry, that Mr. Pierpoint, at the restoration, gathered so many instances of these, and represented them so effectually to that house of commons that called home king Charles the second, that he persuaded them to redeem themselves by an offer of excise, which indeed produces a much greater revenue, but took away the dependence in which all families were held by the dread of leaving their heirs exposed to so great a danger. Pierpoint valued himself to me upon this service he did his country, at a time when
things were so little considered on either hand, that the court did not seem to apprehend the value of what they parted with, nor the country of what they purchased.
other er- Besides these public actings, king James suffered reign? S much in the opinion of all people by his strange way of using one of the greatest men of that age, sir Walter Raleigh; against whom the proceedings at first were much censured, but the last part of them was thought both barbarous and illegal. The whole business of the earl of Somerset's rise and fall, of the countess of Essex and Overbury, the putting the inferior persons to death for that infamous poisoning, and the sparing the principals, both the earl of Somerset and his lady, were so odious and inhuman, that it quite sunk the reputation of a reign, that on many other accounts was already much exposed to contempt and censure; which was the more sensible, because it succeeded such a glorious and happy 17 one. King James in the end of his reign was become weary of the duke of Buckingham, who treated him with such an air of insolent contempt, that he seemed at last resolved to throw him off, but could not think of taking the load of government on himself, and so resolved to bring the earl of Somerset again into favour, as that lord reported it to some from whom I had it. He met with him in the night in the gardens at Theobald's: two bed-chamber men were only in the secret: the king embraced him tenderly and with many tears: the earl of Somerset believed the secret was not well kept; for soon after the king was taken ill with some fits of His death, an ague, and died of it. My father was then in London, and did very much suspect an ill practice in the matter: but perhaps doctor Craig, my mother's uncle, who was one of the king's physicians, possessed him with these apprehensions; for he was disgraced for saying he believed the king was poisoned. It is certain no king could die less lamented or less esteemed than he was. This sunk the credit of the bishops of Scotland, who, as they were his creatures, so they were obliged to a great dependence on him, and were thought guilty of gross and abject flattery towards him. His reign in England was a continued course of mean practices. The first condemnation of sir Walter Raleigh was very black: but the executing him after so many years, and after an employment that had been given him, was counted a barbarous sacrificing him to the Spaniards. The rise and fall of the earl of Somerset, and the swift progress of the duke of Buckingham's greatness, were things that exposed him to the censure of all the world. I have seen the originals of about twenty letters that he wrote to the prince and that duke while they were in Spain, which shew a meanness as well as a fondness that render him very contemptible. The great figure the crown of England had made in queen Elizabeth's time, who had rendered herself the arbiter of Christendom, and was the wonder of the age, was so much eclipsed, if not quite darkened, during this reign, that king James was become the scorn of the age; and while hungry writers flattered him out of measure at home, he was despised by all abroad, as a pedant without true judgment, courage, or steadiness, subject to his favourites, and delivered up to the counsels, or rather the corruption of Spain. The puritans gained credit as the king and theTneP,iri
bishops lost it. They put on external appearances of great strictness and gravity: they took more pains in their parishes than those who adhered to the bishops, and were often preaching against the vices of the court; for which they were sometimes punished, though very gently, which raised their re18putation, and drew presents to them that made up their sufferings abundantly. They begun some particular methods of getting their people to meet privately with them: and in these meetings they gave great vent to extemporary prayer, which was looked on as a sort of inspiration: and by these means they grew very popular. They were very factious and insolent; and both in their sermons and prayers were always mixing severe reflections on their enemies. Some of them boldly gave out very many predictions; particularly two of them who were held prophets, Davison and Bruce. Some of the things that they foretold came to pass: but my father, who knew them both, told me of many of their predictions that he himself heard them throw out, which had no effect: but all these were forgot, and if some more probable guessings which they delivered as prophecies were accomplished, these were much magnified. They were very spiteful against all those who differed from them; and were wanting in no methods that could procure them either good usage or good presents. Of this my father had great occasion to see many instances: for my great grandmother, who was a very rich woman, and much engaged to them, was most obsequiously courted by them. Bruce lived concealed in her house for some years: and they all found such advantages in their submissions to her, that she was
counted for many years the chief support of the par-
Gowry's conspiracy was by them charged on the Gowiy« king, as a contrivance of his to get rid of that earl, c°D*pi who was then held in great esteem: but my father, who had taken great pains to inquire into all the particulars of that matter, did always believe it was a real conspiracy". One thing, which none of the historians have taken any notice of, and might have induced the earl of Gowry to have wished to put king James out of the way, but in such a disguised manner that he should seem rather to have escaped out of a snare himself, than to have laid one for the king, was this: upon the king's death he stood next to the succession to that (the) crown of England; for king Henry the seventh's daughter that was married to king James the fourth, did after his death marry Dowglas earl of Angus: but they could not agree: so a precontract was proved against him: upon which, by a sentence from Rome, the marriage was 19 voided, with a clause in favour of the issue, since born under a marriage de facto and bonajide. Lady Margaret Dowglas was the child so provided for. I did peruse the original bull confirming the divorce. After that, the queen dowager married one Francis Steward, and had by him a son made lord Methuen by king James the fifth. In the patent he
0 Melvil makes nothing of it. S.