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he suffered for acting upon. The cause of the extraordinary attachment to his memory may be fully discovered in the words of his friend Sir George Ratcliffe: “ He died a martyr for the church and the king." But there never was a more unfounded notion : he encouraged a system, which,--however, he merely adopted from a view to self-aggrandizement,—that had nearly occasioned the utter ruin of both the one and the other, while it led to the untimely death of his royal master.
He was thrice married, first, at a very early age, to Lady Margaret Clifford *; then to Lady Arabella Hollis ; and lastly, within a year of Lady Arabella's death, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Godfrey Rhodes, a lady whom he preferred to a daughter of the Earl of Cork, though he was, at the same time, so ashamed of the connection, as beneath his rank, that he concealed the marriage, which was a private one, for about a twelvemonth. By the first he had no children, but he had three by the second, a son and two daughters, (another son by
* The authors of the Biog. Brit. have questioned the date of this marriage, making it much later, because, in setting out with his essay, towards the life of Strafforde, Sir George Ratcliffe complains of the decay in his memory, which would prevent him from doing Strafforde justice in sundry particulars, and they think the marriage too early in his life, but, in truth, Ratcliffe's statement is not an apology for incorrectness, but for having so little to relate, as he immediately writes this, “ But seeing my unfaithful memory hath lost part of the occurrences which concerned my Lord, I am loth to let slip the remainder.” In dates he is remarkably correct so far as his Essay goes ; he certainly was better able to judge regarding the probability of his patron's marriage than these writers ; and he never could be mistaken in this respect, as, if he had, the son to whom the Essay was addressed, could have corrected the error.
that wife died young,)--and two by the third, -a son, born two years after the marriage, who predeceased himself, and a daughter, whom he left an infant *.
* Lady Arabella is said to have been remarkably beautiful and accomplished, and he always spoke of her memory with the highest respect, as his saint, &c.; while Sir George Ratcliffe tells us that he carried him out of bed to receive her last blessing. But perhaps the fair reader may not deem his attachment to have been of a very exalted nature, or his affection long-lived, when she reflects that he was talking about a third marriage within not many months of her death, and actually formed his third connection within the year. She died in October, 1631 ; and, from a letter by him to Mountnorris, on the 19th of August following, it appears that he had then declined a mara riage with the Earl of Cork's daughter. Lett. and Disp. vol. i. p. 73. Ratcliffe tells us that he married next October ; but from the following letter it may be doubted whether that event had not occurred earlier, though Ratcliffe might either not chuse to mention it, or might himself be a stranger to all the truth. “ Madam, Hone in little much to say to you, and, in short terms, to profess that which I must appear all my life long, or els one of us must be much to blame. But in truth I have that confidence in you, and that assurance in myself, as to rest secure the faulte will never be made on either side. Well, then, this little and this much, this short and this long, which I aim at, is no more than to give you this first written testimony that I am your husbande, and that husbande of yours, that will ever dischardge those dutyes of love and respect towards you which good women may expectt, and are justly due from good men to dischardge them with a hallowed care and continued perseverance in them; and this is not only much but all things which belongs me, and wherein I shall treade out the remainder of life which is left me ; more I cannot say, nor perform much more for the presentt, the rest must dwell in hope untill I have made it up in the ballance that I am, and must be, noe other than your ever-loving husbande, Wentworth.” York, soth October, 1632. From a postcript to this letter, about a paste for the teeth, one box to himself another to her, it appears that the lady was in London, (nay, he desires her to speak to Ratcliffe for the paste,) and he does not by his letters appear to have been from York that month, (See his Let. and Disp. during that month, and even August;) whence we may conclude that the connection was of an earlier date, or that he had sent her off immediately after the ceremony. But is there not something mysteri
The children were by act of parliament restored to their blood and estate *.
ous in this matter? Though privately married, surely the lady needed not have been afraid, as she evidently was, of being discarded like a cast-mistress, since she might have easily proved the marriage. She had answered this letter in a humble strain, and he wrote thus, on the 19th of November, “ Dear Besse,” (the former cold Madam, probably tended to freeze the Lady,) “your first lines were wellcum unto me, and I will keepe them, in regard I take them to be full as of kindnesse soe of truth. It is no presumption for you to write unto me, the fellowship of marriadge ought to carry with it more of love and equality than of any other apprehension,” &c. The continued strain of the letter is in itself exceedingly good ; but she had cause to lament the want of equality, nay, downright degradation, since he did not acknowledge her as his wife, and kept her at a distance-strange condition for a newly-married woman-nay, sent her into Ireland next January (1633) under the charge of Sir George Ratcliffe, while himself did not follow till July after. See Biog. Brit. Wentworth, Ratcliffe, et seq. But the writers of the Biog. Brit. appear to pay no attention to dates, for while they mention that she went with Ratcliffe to Ireland in January, 1633, they say that Wentworth did not think proper to carry her over himself, but left her to the care of his trusty friend Ratcliffe, &c. whereas he himself went only in July, 1633; and if they mean that she was brought over in January, 1634, they are equally wrong, as Ratcliffe states the matter precisely. Indeed, after Wentworth acknowledged the marriage, there was no occasion for living longer separate. Ratcliffe tells us that Strafforde consulted him and Greenwood on all his domestic as well as public affairs. See Laud's Letter,
* Journals, 15th June, 1641. Nothing regarding Strafforde has been treated with common justice. The usual clause in a bill, pro re nata, that it should not be drawn into a precedent, and which is a proper restraint upon the ordinary courts, to which alone it is applicable, has been represented as an implied admission of the illegality of the bill: Even the restoration of the children has been laid hold of by Mr. Hume as a confession of injustice. Yet it may safely be remarked, that had parliament refused that concession, their conduct would have been stigmatised as the height of barbarity. In the concession they merely followed the example which had been set them in various cases by the family on
The principal officers of state, as we have al- Officers of ready mentioned, had tendered their resignations Sale resign.
14th Oct. 1633, about the marriage in Let. and Disp. vol. i. p. 125. On the back of Wentworth's first letter to his third wife were written these words in a female hand. “ Tom” (the first child) “ was borne the seventeenth of September, being Wednesday, in the morning, betwixt two and three o'clock, and was christened of the seventh day of October, 1634,” Biog. Brit. It is a little odd that Clarendon should have known so little of Strafforde’s family, as to say that he had all his children by Lady Arabella, (Hist. vol. i. p. 188.) and it is strange
the throne, and particularly in the case of Sir Everald Digby's son, though Sir Everald's treason was of the blackest kind-the gunpowder plot. And, for my part, I am not disposed to give him entire credit for the conscientious part he performed in that plot. It is true that false religion had satisfied his scruples; but did he not expect temporal power as a reward for religious zeal? Of late, many exertions have been made to put an end to the attaint of the blood in the case of treason ; but the reasoning used has not convinced me. It is the protection of the laws which has enabled every individual to succeed to title and estate from his ancestors; and when he endeavours to destroy all law, it is but fair that he should forfeit them for his posterity: he breaks the condition on which he was permitted to enjoy them. Besides, a man will frequently be deterred from the perpetration of an enormity out of regard to his children when he might not otherwise be restrained; and, in that case, severity to the individual is mercy to the community. I suspect that people's reasoning on this subject is apt not to be unmixed: that they, in considering the point, call to mind the instances of men who have either been unjustly condemned, or have merely been unsuccessful in a noble struggle for the liberties of their country-such as the cases which occurred in the two next reigns, and have taken place in other states--and that the feelings inspired by these instances warp the judgment in deciding upon the propriety of extending the penalties to the heirs: But this is assuredly an unfair view of the question ; since on all hands the enormity of the crime, and the necessity of terrible punishment are assumed, the guilt being that of individuals heading a faction to destroy that system under which the community at large chuse to live.
with a view to their places being bestowed upon the chief popular members, on condition of their
that Strafforde, whose private letters shew that he was much attached to his child by the third wife, should never allude to her, nor to his wife, when he paused in his speech : but the rhetorical effect would have been spoiled. Rushworth, vol. viii. p. 773 The authors of the Biog. Brit. I suspect, have fallen into a mistake in supposing, from a passage in a letter, that he had more daughters by his third wife, forgetting that he then included his two former daughters : see a letter to his wife, to whom he professed great attachment, in Somers' Tracts, vol. iv.
“ He was much defamed,” says Ratcliffe “ for incontinence, wherein I have reason to believe that he was exceedingly much wronged. I had occasion of some speech with him about the state of his soul several times, but twice especially, when I verily believe he did lay open unto me the very bottom of his heart: One was, when he was in a very great affliction upon the death of his second wife ; and then, for some days and nights, I was very few minutes out of his company. The other time was at Dublin, on a Good-Friday, (his birth-day) when he was preparing himself to receive the blessed sacrament on Easter-Day following. At both these times, I received such satisfaction as left no scruple with me at all, but much assurance of his chastity.” It is clear from this, that his character had been noted on this account before the death of Lady Arabella ; because, otherwise, Ratcliffe would not, at her death, have required to have his scruples removed. Ratcliffe continues : “ I knew his ways long and intimately, and though I cannot acquit him of all frailties, (for who can justify the most innocent man,) yet I must give him the testimony of conscientiousness in his ways, that he kept himself from gross sins,” (was not the affair with Chancellor Loftus's daughter-in-law a gross sin ? or was it merely a frailty ?) " and endeavoured to approve himself rather unto God than unto man, to be religious inwardly and in truth, rather than outwardly in shew." The same Ratcliffe celebrates his justice, &c. only admitting that “ he was exceeding choleric.”
In Strafforde's case, as well in the instances of cotemporaries, was sadly exemplified the misery of those “ who hang on prince's favours"-and the baseness of the men. Williams, whom he had courted, he afterwards tried to ruin. Weston, Earl of Portland, to whom Wentworth professed the most ardent devotion, had scarcely