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portant information for the life and ministry of both. The settlement of the kingdom on the accession of Elizabeth; her correspondence with Mary Queen of Scots; two of the celebrated Casket letters in French, numbered by Burghley's own handone a clumsy imitation of Mary's hand, and suspiciously manipulated; the various intrigues carried on by noble and ignoble agents on both sides; the hopes and disappointments of the Howards; the Anjou and Alençon marriage; the preparations for the Armada; the brilliant and impetuous career of Essex; the disputes, intrigues, and jealousies fomented by the succession and the reign of James I.; the Bye Plot, the Gunpowder Plot, the designs of Garnet, the divided counsels of the seminary priests and the Jesuits, the marriage and escape of Arabella Stuart:-these, and many more, are presented in unbroken succession to the reader. With these guides he may thread his way securely through the dark shadows of the past. Theirs are the freshness and vivacity of contemporaneous narrative, the vividness of eye-witnesses and actors in the scene before him. Here are the letters traced by the hands of men like Wolsey, hurled from the height of greatness to dishonour; or of others like Essex, penning his last lines, as the moments fast ebbed away, the night before his execution. Here are the sighs and tears of despairing wives and relatives, watching intently for the least ray of mercy. The pangs, the hopes, the anxieties, the disappointments, the anguish of poor humanity, the intrigues of the great, the necessities of the fallen, are here consigned to minute and perpetual memory, the only living and tangible element that remains of those who have long since crumbled into dust. All else has perished. These poor sheets of paper, once warm beneath the hands of those who traced the characters inscribed upon them, of kings, queens, princes, statesmen, the prosperous and the miserable, the triumphant and the dying, the noble and the ignoble,-these form a visible and material bond, that brings the present, by undying sympathy, into close proximity with the past. Over these pages has passed the breath of other centuries. The eyes of distant generations have wandered over their contents. The spirit which once animated them is before us, not as in the imagination of the poet, or in the narrative of the historian, but in its native sincerity, unalloyed and undisguised.
The collection at Hatfield is enriched by the letters of Edward VI., Katharine Parr, Donna Maria, Elizabeth as Princess and Queen, Mary Queen of Scots, James I., Ann of Denmark, Francis II., Henry IV., Philip II. and Philip III., Catherine de' Medici, Arabella Stuart, Princess Elizabeth the daughter,
Henry and Charles the sons, of James I. With these is a host of brilliant but inferior satellites: the Emperor of Russia, Philip and Maurice of Nassau, William Elector Palatine of the Rhine, the dukes and princes of Anhalt, Holstein, Saxony, Brandenburg, and Würtemberg, omnia magna loquentes. But more interesting to the English reader is the correspondence of men whose names are famous in the annals of his country. Of these scarcely one is absent. Among them are to be found the Duke of Norfolk and others who bore the name of Howard; Sir Nicholas Bacon and his two sons, Anthony and Francis the philosopher; the Dudleys, including among them the celebrated Earl of Leicester and his countess; the Somersets, the Montagues, the Greys, the Hattons, the Clintons, the Throckmortons, the Cobhams, the Hunsdons, the Wentworths, the Harringtons, the Percies, the Talbots, the Sidneys, the Lumleys, the Poulets, the Parkers, the Stanleys, the Mildmays, the Dorsets, the Petres, the Egertons, and others the dii minores of the collection-too many to enumerate. For the mature and declining years of Elizabeth and the earlier years of James I., we have Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of the Bodleian Library; the brilliant Earl of Essex ; his intimate friend Southampton; Sir Walter Raleigh, Carr, and the Duke of Buckingham; Sir Fulke Greville, the most thoughtful poet of that or any age, the great dramatist only excepted; Sir John Davis, excellent alike as historian, lawyer, and poet; Sir Edward Dyer; Secretary Davison; Coryate, dear to the lovers of quaint books; Hilliard, the portrait-painter, carver, and gilder, who decorated Elizabeth's tomb in Westminster Abbey; Overbury, the victim of a lady's revenge; Sir Henry Savile, the editor of St. Chrysostom, and many others. Nor must we altogether omit the Churchmen, were it only for the curious information afforded by their letters as to the state of their different dioceses and the condition of the clergy, or the uncompromising
*These letters are of much deeper interest than might be expected from episcopal correspondence in general. They afford clear information as to the religious faith of the gentlemen and noblemen in different parts of England. Thus, in a report of the Bishop of Worcester, which embraced the county of Warwickshire, we find that the Combes, associated by tradition with Shakespeare, had become recusants, like many others in the same county, and were distrusted by the Government. To Mr. Thomas Combe' the poet bequeathed his sword; a clear indication—not the only one-of Shakespeare's regard for gentility. This may help to explain something of that sense of humiliation betrayed in the Sonnets, at his profession as an actor and tragedian; and the sorrowful tone in which he vindicates his dramatic writings from the fools and fightings,' the bear-baiting and Bartlemy shows, with which an indiscriminating public was too apt to confound them. There is scarcely any notice in this or similar collections relating to the drama-itself an evidence of the slight regard in which it was held,-with the exception of a letter of Lady Southampton, written to her
promising zeal with which those of the northern province especially persecuted the unhappy recusants. Among these are the archbishops, Parker, Grindal, Whitgift, Bancroft, and Abbot; the bishops, Jewell, Barlow, Sandys, Horne, Pilkington, Coxe, and others; all of whose names are associated with the work of the Reformation in England. Nor must we forget to add to the list two pathetic letters, written in his misery and disgrace, by Cardinal Wolsey to his quondam servant and secretary Gardiner, and a grand despatch, of sixty pages long, to the same Gardiner and his associate Foxe respecting Henry's divorce, and the excellent qualities of Anne Boleyn.
But we must resist the temptation to discursiveness, and we do so the more readily as we are anxious to say something of the career and character of the great statesman to whose care his descendants are mainly indebted for this remarkable correspondence. Father and son were alike eminent, though in different ways. If the one, amidst the storms of religious controversy a subject on which Englishmen feel strongly, and at this period of their history found martyrs on both sides ready to slay and be slain, in maintenance of their convictions-tided this nation innocuously into comparatively still water, the other displayed no less skill, moderation, and judgment, in handing over peacefully to a new and strange succession that supreme authority which had hitherto continued for so many years in a purely English race. We question whether any two statesmen ever had more grave or knotty problems to solve, compared with which our Chinese or Indian perplexities, and our difficulties with indigenous races, are little better than child's play. We doubt if any skill, moderation, or discretion less than theirs could have brought into tolerable fusion the conflicting dualism of this nation with less sacrifice of life, less tumult, and less insurrection. But, whatever may be the opinion of others on this head, of this we feel quite certain, that none would ever have accomplished such great objects with less fuss, observation, or pretentiousness; with less boastfulness of what they had done, perhaps with less national gratitude for doing it. The
husband, in which she refers to Falstaff and Dame Quickly as household names. Some sort of dramatic representation was considered indispensable at royal entertainments, and on one such occasion we find Cecil securing the services of Ben Jonson and his clever but somewhat conceited associate, Niny-go' Jones, as Jonson in his wrath was accustomed to call him. In a letter from Sir Walter Cope to Lord Cranborne, written in 1604, the following passage will be interesting to readers of Shakespeare: 'Babage is come, and says there is no new play that the Queen (Ann) hath not seen; but they have revived an old one, called "Love's Labour's Lost," which for wit and mirth, he says, will please her exceedingly. And this is appointed to be played to-morrow night at my Lord of Southampton's. See Mr. Brewer's report to the Historical Commission.
Vol. 141.-No. 281.
very ease and noiselessness with which, through their management, this nation took up its new position, in both instances, and passed safely through two of the most critical phases of its existence, have blinded men to the difficulty of the problems these ministers had to solve, and have equally blinded them to the industry, prudence, forethought, and moderation which provided for all contingencies and anticipated every difficulty. But on this we must insist no further. We turn to Sir Robert Cecil.
Lord Burghley was twice married; in the first instance, when he was twenty years old, and a student at St. John's College, Cambridge, to Mary, sister of Sir John Cheek, tutor to Edward VI. From this union the Exeter branch of the present family is descended. About two years after, and according to some authorities, in the year 1545, two years before the death of Henry VIII., he married Mildred, the eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cook, sister to Ann, the mother of Sir Francis Bacon, and to Elizabeth, the wife of John Lord Russell. He had by her one son, Robert, and one daughter, named Ann, married to the Earl of Oxford. Lady Mildred died in 1589. Like her sisters, Lady Russell and Lady Bacon, she had been well educated; and the letters of these ladies at Hatfield House show that their learning had not disqualified them for the active duties of life. Lord Burghley was absorbed in politics. Sir Nicholas Bacon was gouty and corpulent: he had reached the age when bodily exertion ceases to be agreeable. And though we will not do Lord Bacon the injustice to suppose that he had his mother in his mind when he wrote that curt passage in his Essays, Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses;' Lady Bacon, like her sisters, was a notable nurse and a strict housewife. She was by no means inclined to lay aside the rod long after her sons, Anthony and Francis, had attained the age of discretion. All three sisters-for of Lady Killigrew little is known -were strongly tinctured with Puritanism. They were great frequenters of sermons, preferring Travers to Hooker. Under these influences Robert Cecil was trained,† and had for his playmate Robert, the celebrated Earl of Essex, whose father was so much enchanted with Lady Mildred's good management, that he desired his son's education should be in Burghley's household.' In 1581, Robert Cecil was sent to St. John's College, Cam
*There is an original portrait of Lady Mildred at Hatfield House.
The date of Sir Robert's birth is unknown. Nor do the papers at Hatfield throw any light on the subject. It is assumed with some probability to be about 1563; that is, some years after Elizabeth's accession.
bridge; in 1584, according to the prevailing fashion of the time, he visited Paris to learn the French language, which he acquired to perfection, and attend the disputations at the Sorbonne. In the famous year of 1588, he was in the train of Lord Derby at Ostend. Even at this early stage of his career, Elizabeth, whose penetration and skill in judging the characters of men few will dispute, had distinguished him by marks of her favour. 'I received,' he writes to his father, a gracious message from her Majesty, under her sporting name of pigmy, bidding me take care of my health, and looking to hear from me.' Such personal allusions, even from royal lips, are scarcely agreeable; certainly were not agreeable to Sir Robert, who was then contemplating a marriage with Miss Brooke, sister to the notorious Lord Cobham, to whom he was united the year after. But he was too good a courtier to resent such reflections on his diminutive stature, and is yet a little too sensitive not to remonstrate. He tells his father that he had not presumed to answer her Majesty, but he had sent a letter to Mr. Stanhope, his cousin, which, I know, he will show her. I show I mislike not the name she gives me only because she gives it. It was interlaced with fairer words than I am worthy of.'
The tact and temper displayed on this occasion were admirable, but both were unavailing. Not only in her playful moments, but on grave occasions of State, Elizabeth continued to address him as the little man,' 'the pigmy,' the elf,' or expe, as she sometimes wrote it. He bore these sallies with admirable good temper and wonderful self-command. With the Queen herself it did him no harm; rather, it tended to augment his influence with her, of which she might have been jealous, had he possessed an exterior as commanding as Hatton, Leicester, or Raleigh, or, to his head and head-piece of vast content,' had added those personal attractions which might have tempted him, like others, to presume too much upon her favours.* From his youth to the close of her reign he was never subjected to those mortifications which fell so often to the lot of others. He rose rapidly in her good graces without ever experiencing a single reverse. Such unusual success was partly owing, no doubt, to his own tact, temper, and abilities, in which he was surpassed by none of his rivals; partly because Elizabeth felt somewhat piqued in defending him against his more brilliant opponents, and in justifying a preference so little in harmony with her supposed predilections. For though she never advanced a mere simpleton for his good looks, yet, like her father, if she is not belied,
According to the recumbent figure in Hatfield Church, his height was five feet and two or three inches.