Page images
[ocr errors]

I concLUDED my last Preface with the close of the administration of Sir Henry Sydney. I propose in this volume to give a brief sketch of the events which followed until the appointment of Sir Charles Blount, Lord Montjoy, so far as they can be gathered exclusively from the papers of Carew. But before passing to the acts of Sir Henry's successors, I cannot resist the temptation of placing before my readers an extract from a memorial, drawn up by this able and neglected statesman, entitled “A summary relation of all his services in Ireland.” A copious abstract of this document, containing the most minute and authentic information of the state of Ireland during his period of office, will be found in the second volume of this Calendar.” But as those who are curious in English history might possibly overlook it, and not expect to find in a memorial expressly devoted to the history of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth, personal notices of Edward VI, and the English court, I shall make no apology for introducing a verbal reprint of one portion of it here.

“And thus an end of my Irish discourse; and now to my great and high office of Wales, which I yet and long have happily and quietly held, having served in it full three and twenty years. A happy place of government it is, for a better people to govern, or better subjects to their sovereign, Europe holdeth not. But yet hath not my life been so domestically spent in Wales and the sweet

Marches of the same, but that I have been employed in other foreign actions; for, besides the three before-mentioned deputa

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tions in Ireland, I was twice sent into France, once into Scotland, twice to the seaside to receive the Dukes John Cassimere and Adolph Duke of Houlst. These two last journeys, though they were but Kentish, yet were they costly. It may be it was more of a Kentish courage than of deep discretion; well I remember allowance I had none, nor yet thanks. I was sent and did remain a good while at Portsmouth, in superintendency for the victualling of Newhaven. Oftentimes I was sent for and commanded to attend about the court for Irish causes, to my great charges. Truly, Sir, by all these I neither wan nor saved. “But now, by your patience, once again to my great and high office; for great it is, in that, in some sort, I govern the third part of this realm under her most excellent Majesty. High it is, for by that I have precedence of great personages and far my betters. Happy it is, for the goodness of the people whom I govern, as before is written ; and most happy, for the commodity that I have,

by the authority of that place, to do good every day, if I have

grace, to one or other; wherein I confess I feel no small felicity, but for any profit I gather by it, God and the people (seeing my manner of life) knoweth it is not possible how I should gather any. For alas ! Sir, how can I, not having one groat of pension belonging to the office I have not so much ground as will feed a mutton. I sell no justice. I trust you do not hear of any order taken by me ever reversed, nor my name or doing in any court (as courts there be whereto by appeal I might be called,) ever brought in question. And if my mind were so base and corruptible as I would take money of the people whom I command for my labour, commanded by the Queen, taken among them, yet could they give me none or very little ; for the causes that come before me are causes of people mean, base, and many very beggars. “Only 201. a week to keep an honourable house, and one hundred marks a year to bear foreign charges, I have. What house I keep I dare stand to the report of any indifferent man, and kept it is as well in mine absence as when I am present; and the councillors fare as well as I can be content to do ; but true books of accompt shall be, when you will, showed unto you, that I spend above 30l. a week. Here some may object that I upon the same keep my wife and her followers. True it is she is now with me, and hath been this half year, and before not in many years, and if both she and I had our food and house room free, as we have not in conscience, we deserved it. For my part I am not idle, but every day I work in my function; and she, for her old service and marks (yet remaining in her face) taken in the same, meriteth her meat. When I went to Newhaven I left her a full fair lady, in mine eye, at least, the fairest; and when I returned I found her as foul a lady as the small-pox could make her; which she did take by continual attendance of her Majesty's most precious person (sick of the same disease), the scars of which (to her resolute discomfort) ever since hath done and doth remain in her face, so as she liveth solitarily, sicut micticoraa in domicilio 8wo, more to my charge than if we had boarded together, as we did before that evil accident happened. “It is now almost one hundred years since this house was erected, and I am well assured that neither the Queen's most honourable household, nor any downward to the poorest ploughman's house, can be kept as they were 40 years ago, yet have I no more allowed me than was allowed 40 years ago. I confess I am the meanest and poorest man that ever occupied this my place, and yet I will and may compare. I have continued in better and longer housekeeping than any of my predecessors. I have builded more and repaired more her Majesty's castles and houses, without issuing of any money out of her Highness' coffers, than all the Presidents that have been these hundred years; and this will the view of the castle of Ludlowe, the castles of Wigmore and Montgomery, and the house of Tikenhill by Beawdeley justify. “And thus I end any further treating of my other great office of Wales; confessing both the one and the other to have been too high and too honourable for so mean a knight as I am ; yet how I have managed these offices I will take no exception to the report of public fame. With all humbleness and thankfulness I confess to have received the same of her Majesty's mere goodness, and more too, for she hath made me one of her Privy Council, and, that which was to my greatest comfort, she hath allowed me to be one of that most noble Order of the Garter, whereof I have been a companion, and I am sure the poorest companion that ever was, now full 19 years. “In these four dignities I have received some indignities which I would I could as well forget as I can refrain to write of And thus an end of my public estate; and now a little (dear Sir) for my private. Let me, with your patience, a little trouble you, not for any cause that I find or you shall see that I have to brag, but rather to show my barrenness. The sooner I do it, for that I hope, ere it be long, of friends and old acquaintance we shall be made more than friends and most loving brothers in all tender love and loving alliance. “When I was but 10 years of age, and awhile had been henchman to King Henry VIII., I was by that most famous king put to his sweet son, Prince Edward, my most dear master, prince, and sovereign, the first boy that ever he had; my near kinswoman being his only nurse, my father being his chamberlain, my mother his governess, my aunt by my mother's side in such place as among meaner personages is called a dry nurse, for from the time he left sucking she continually lay in bed with him, so long as he remained in woman's government. As that sweet prince grew in years and discretion so grew I in favour and liking of him, in such sort as by that time I was 22 years old he made me one of the four principal gentlemen of his bedchamber. While I was present with him he would always be cheerful and pleasant with me, and in my absence give me such words of praise as far exceeded my desert. Sundry times he bountifully rewarded me. Finally, he always made too much of me. Once he sent me into France, and once into Scotland. Lastly, not only to my own still-felt grief, but also to the universal woe of England, he died in my arms: within a while after whose death, and after I had spent some months in Spain,” neither liking, nor liked as I had been, I fancied to live in Ireland, and to serve as Treasurer, and had the leading both of horsemen and footmen, and served as ordinarily with them as any other private captain did there, under my brother-in-law, the Earl of Sussex, where I served during the reign of Queen Mary and one year after; in which time I had four sundry times, as by letters patent yet appeareth, the government of that country by the name of Lord Justice; thrice by commission out of England, and once by choice of that country; such was the great favour of that Queen to me, and good liking of the people of me. “In the first journey that the Earl of Sussex made, which was a long, a great, and an honourable one, against James Mack O'Nell, a mighty captain of Scots, whom the Earl of Sussex, after a good fight made with him, defeated, and chased him with slaughter of a great number of his best men, I there fought and killed him with my own hand, who thought to have overmatched me. Some more blood I drew, though I cannot brag that I lost any.

* “NotE.—My going to Spain was for the liberty of the Earl of Warwick and his brethren.”

« PreviousContinue »