Edward Barrington De Fonblanque.

Annals of the house of Percy, from the conquest to the opening of the nineteenth century (Volume v.2 pt.1) online

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as readie to sacrifice his Life for you and Yours ; and
although these are but small Ceremonies of my Dutie and
humble Acceptance and acknowledging of them, as being
common Trafficks from Prisoners and Men stuno- with
Afflictions, yett are they such as wee can present Princes
with no others.

11 Therfore, good Madam, give me leave, I beseach
you, to wish for better Occasions wherein I may make
good that I have vowed to you. If Fortune denie me
of such a Happinesse, then doe I presente the humble
Prayers cf a Prisoner (to God), that hath leisure to doe
that, and means to do nothing els to demonstrate his Faith.

"Tower, XX of August, 1606."
i 285


a.d. The relations between the Earl of Northumberland

1504-1032 anc j ^j s w j£ e | iac j b een the reverse of happy ones; but

self-willed, high-tempered, and imperious as the lady
had frequently shown herself under unquestionable
provocation, the misfortunes which had now overtaken
her lord developed all the kindly qualities of her im-
pulsive nature. Past neglect and injuries were forgotten,
mutual recriminations were silenced, and she became,
in every quarter where influence could be effectually
exerted, the most untiring petitioner and advocate for
the Prisoner in the Tower.

Like the Earl himself, she did not contemplate the
possibility of his prolonged captivity ; and even after the
severe sentence had been passed they both believed
that since the original charges had been reduced from
" heynous treasons " to " matters of errors," that " the
sweatening of the Kings Displeasure," x would only be
a matter of time.

Encouraged by such hopes he writes to the King on
2nd March, 1607 : —

" I beseech Your Ma' ie pardon my now sending this
Letter as my Sollicitor, humblie topraie Your Ma tiei Con-
sideracion and Thought of my Libertie, since shee (to
whome before I comitted that Chardge is soe heavie, as
well shee cannot attende and waite Your Ma ties greate
Affaires in Parlemente,) hath withheld me, that I durst
not be too importunate. Besides, I knowe Your Ma t:ei
noble and worthie Harte cannot forgett him that ever
vowed his Faith and Service with that Zeale that I have
done ; I saie a Zeale as noe Creature, nor myne owne
Conscience, can soe much as laie the least Spott of Un-
faithfulnesse to my Chardge. I will therefore onlie
humblie pray Your Ma ties Favour, and attend with

1 These expressions occur in a letter from Northumberland to Lord
Exeter, dated 20th July, 1606.



Patience your Pleasure ; not doubting but one day my a.d.^6o6
inward Affections wilbe as playnlie sincere to Your
Ma tic , as my outwarde Actions hath byne well ment and

And again shortly after : —

" I knowe out of your pryncely Mynde Your Ma tie
cannot but some tymes thinke of me, that did ever strive
to win your Favour. I was the Man that never to my
Knowledge harboured a Conciete that moght give Your
Ma tie a just cause of Displeasure against me. I had
long since devoted my Thoughts to your Service,
following the Steps of my Ancestors. That Bonde,
besides now the Bonde of Dutie, I owe Your Ma tie , I
can never shake off, nor ever will, be I fortunate in
your Eies or not."

In the following June the Queen paid Lady North-
umberland a visit at Syon, bringing her assurances of
her continued efforts to soften the King's resentment,
which graciousness the Earl thus acknowledges :

" It pleaseth Your Ma tie euerie Day soe to adde new
Favours on our poore Familie that I must, from myselfe,
and for them, presente you still with one and the same
Gifte : an unprofitable Servants Devotion ; and sing still
and soe often one Noate : Thankes, Thankes, Thankes,
and nothing but Thankes ! Thus I desire to ende my
Letter before it be almoste begonne, least I prouve
tedious, beino- Banckrout of all other Occasions to rend
open my Brest, that you may see my Harte how much it
is Your Ma ties .

" I understand how evill you were waited on at Sion
by your little Servants ; theire Wills weare good though
their Endeavours nought ; and Your Ma ties Acceptance
soe noble as, because I may not saie what I would, I will
close up my Lipps and will my Penne to yeald noe more
Inkeforthe Present."



a.d. To this period belong the following letters claiming

15 ll! 32 the intercession of two powerful statesmen, but very
doubtful allies :

To the Earl of Northampton. 1
"My Lord,

" Your noble and free Dealing with me ; your
kind Demonstracos to my Wife ; your well Wishes to
my House ; your tender Care of Nobillitie that I have
knowne of Old, and consequentlie of their Posteritie
which I knowe in your Harte you wishe should not
receave Blowes herafter for anie present Turne, and
your Travell at this Tyme to redresse that dangerous
Abuse creeping on in our State, I mean the Corruptions
of our Navie, hath made me forbear to trouble you
otherwise than with ordinarie Salutacons, ordinarie Re-
membrancies, with ordinarie Entreats, to assist and
remouve from me the Title and Name of Prisoner. For
that I have soe long understood my Lord of Northampton
to have knowne my Affections, and those of my House,
to the King to have bine so stifle, cannot choose but
have a Feelinge for the State I live in ; for I am sure
to your Lordship it can doe noe good to have me kept
from Wife, from Children that now requires a watchful
Eie of Parents, from House, from Gardens, from pettie
Pleasures ; or to hasten on Invalidities which I cannot
complayne of euerie Tyme as I feele them happen or
encrease. Neither can my Imprisonment give the State
anie Satisfaction for Dangers where there are none ; for
it cannot chuse but understand that there is noe Earle.

1 Lord Henry Howard, who figured so prominently in the secret
negotiations with King James before the death of Queen Elizabeth,
had been created Earl of Northampton within little more than a year
after James's accession to the English throne. The unsuspicious
Northumberland, trusting in his professions, continued to co:i>:cLr
him a friend and well-wisher.



of what Oualitie soever, that is able to move the least a.d. 1607
Thing in it, as now the Foundations stande. Neither do
I conceave anie Reason the Kinor should show this
heavie Hande uppon him that never offended him in
Worde or Deade, but ever one of the forwardest in his
Service, longe, longe before this Tyme. And shall a
Suspicion continew such an Example, as will make others
that doe follow (for want of Courage or Wills) to
remove those Conceits out of his Minde, to bear the
Burden of this Presedent (precedent), if it should fall into
the Handes of one that weare sharplier disposed than the
King, our Maister, is ?

" My Lord, you have noe Sonnes but Posterities ; you
have seene manie Yeares, and so manie fewer have you
to compt. The young ones that belong to us are
manie, and are like to take manie Daies after us ; therfore
you, that are noblie born and ancient, remember that
Presedents are apt to be produced to satisfie Mens
Malices that are rising. Presedents in our State are
of greater Force than in others, and the longer they
are continewed the stronger they are. If your Lordship
were but Noble of a Day, I would not speak in this
Fashion, but flie to put you in mind of your Lordship's
last Letter, in which you give me this Comforte : that
when some Things weare settled, and some Tyme past,
you would be readie to move His Ma tie to slacke the
Raynes ; in which you shall doe yourself Honor, not dis-
please the World, neither receave Shame, and make me,
as I am,

" Your Lordships true Friend and Cousin to
dispose of,


11 19 June, 160;."

VOL. II. 289 U



1 5 64-1 63 2 To THE Earl of Salisbury.

" My Lord —

" The End of this Letter is but to entreat you to
be a Meanes for my Libertie. I will not use the Tyes of
Friendship for Arguments, neither will I goe about to line
you with pecuiniarie Offers ; for I knowe your minde and
Disposition too well in these Cases ; and to produce the
Reasons of Use you might make of me, were idle, because
my Fortunes are at soe low an Ebb, as they are likely
never to be of Worth to anie Boddie. The Perswasions
that I minde to flie unto are thease : that it is honor-
able to helpe Men that are in Affliction ; not that you
should aide me as I am, Northumberland, a private Man
that is laid aside ; but that you should aide Northumber-
land as he is one of the Company of your Ranke, for in
these cases Presedents, be they good or lie they heavic,
are of great Consequent to those must follow us. Ther-
fore your Lordship should doe a meritorious Act to
Posteritie that shall succeede, in helping me ; and noble
Deedes are worthie in themselfes which Way soever they
looke, whether to Friends, Men indifferent, or to Enemies.
Good my Lord, laie your Hand uppon your Brest, and doe
as you would be donne unto. If you would desire no
Helpe if you weare in my Case, then give me none ; »
you would, then put your helping Hand to give me some,
and let not the Wills of others draw you aside for doinge
Goodnesse. I will saie no more, for I have said enough
to you that are wise, and so with my Well-Wishes I rest

" Your Lordships, to doe you Service,


"This 27 July, 1607."



In a letter to Lord Northampton in the following year, a.d.ji6oj
the prisoner reminds the royal favorite that,

"The Black Oxe hath trode uppon your Foote here-
tofore, as well as it doth now uppon myne, and therefore
you knowe the Nature of Afflictions. I knowe you are
honorable, and the Overthrowe of noble Houses were
ever Greefes to you by what Occasions soever they
happened, whether out of Worthinesse, Negligences,
Indiscretions, Wastfulness, or what way els soever.
Thirdlie, wee have matched oft, and our Alliances are
reverted now of late, soe as those of yours and those of
myne hereafter, must be exceeding nigh in Blood.
Besides, lett me come nearer : your Lordship knowes
how my Affections have byne towards the King, our
Master, this manie Yeeres ; and for that Pointe I dare
appeale to you above anie Man, for noe Man hath
knowne it so long. And to add to all this, I may
challenge somewhat out of long Familiaritie from you,
in case that concerns not my Disloyaltie to the King,
to remember the Love hath byne, and to forgett little
Breaches if there have byne anie, and to assist my Wife,
a Sutor (who is now coming towards the King), with
your Helpes; not pressing you to anie Thing that
shalbe dishonest or unfitt for one of your Place to
saie. If I should write Volumes I could saie no more

than this."

To the King he writes at the same time praying for
the restoration of his favour as "the dearest Thing to
me in this World. In Your Maiestie's Hands onlie restes
my Happinesse or Misfortune ; and when your Ma* shall
in your Wisdome thinke that I have suffered enough,
then I humblie crave from you Comiseration ; and in the
meantyme pardon if I be too hastie, for in me it is Dutie,
and in Your Ma* Mercie, if you shorten the Tyme of my

Sorrows." . . .

291 u 2


a.d. But time went by and the King remained obdurate.

1564-1632 j t j s not tQ ^ believed that those upon whose inter-
cession the prisoner mainly relied — such as Salisbury
and Northampton, made any serious exertion on his
behalf. Indeed it is to be feared that their course was
in the contrary direction of neutralising the efforts of
more sincere friends; for James, with all his prejudice
and selfwilledness, was ever amenable to the influence
of those about him, and his ministers and favorites
could not have failed, had they made the attempt, to
soften his resentment, or even to convince him of his

" Let the offender prove," his Majesty had said to his
most importunate petitioner, " that Thomas Percy had
given him no warning of the intended crime," and he
would consider what he could do ; upon which the Earl
remarks : —

" At my last sollicking your Majesty by my Wife to
thinke of my Libertie, it pleased you to saie that you
would take your owne Tyme. I have not byne importu-
nate since, because I conceaved it disliked you ; though
it be a matter almost the dearest Thing Man enjoys.
Your Majestic hath byne a King manie Yeares, and can
judge of Offences. I will not therefore dispute of myne,
but must still be an Intercessor for myselfe to Your
Majestie for your Favour ; and I beseech you let the
former Desire of my House and selfe to doe you Service,
move you somewhat, since I doubt not but that I shall
see the Day that you will esteeme me to have byne
as honest and faithful a Servant as ever you had in
England. It pleased Your Majestie amongst other
Speeches uppon her (the Countess), urging of my
Inocence, to wish I could prove that Percie gave me
no Notice (the verie mayne Pointe of my Troubles) ;
but Your Majestic, that is soe g re ate a Sc holler, and see



judicious, cannot but know how impossible it is to prove a a.d. 160S
Negative." '

Neither evasions nor rebuffs discouraged Lady North-
umberland, however, whose zeal on behalf of her lord
remained unabated, and sometimes outstripped discre-
tion ; for she had urged her suit to Salisbury with such
feminine pertinacity and reproachful insistence, that the
wary statesman felt obliged to deny himself to her, 2 and
to explain his reasons for so doing to the Earl : —

"When I sent unto you, by Sir William W r ade, a
Relation of my Lady's sore dealing with me, in myne own
Perticular, I intreated him to lay this first Foundation :
that I made no Complainte, nor could say anything but
that which must increase your Lordship's Affection
towards her whom, in all my Observations, time hath
discovered to be a louing, earful, and a worthy Wife to
your Lordship. My End was onely to infuse into your
Lordship some little part of that which I found con-
venient you should know ; seeing the strange Course
that was taken with me. . . . But truely, my Lord, I
see that there remayns yet some Dreggs of the Dis-
courses which Sir Walter Rawlegh and others have
dispersed of me, that the way to make me break my Pace
is not always good Usadge, but somctyme to be spoken to
in a high Style, which Aspersion (seeming to savour of
servilitie) I was desirous that your Lordship should
know, when my Lady should give you any account of
her Talent, that though I forbare to returne any one
harshe Word to the contumelious Language she used in
chardo-ino- a man of my Place to be one of those that used
to devise Causes and Cullurs and Trickes to procure

1 Northumberland to the King, 7 th January, 1608.— Original Shite


2 "The Countess pleads so hard with Salisbury that he wont see
her again."— Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton, 15th September,
1 606. State Papers.



a.d. Favour and the contrary, whenever I listed ; yet I had

5 1 3 shown no such Stupiditie as not to declare unto her

Ladyship that I heild myselfe no way tyed to medle with
your Lordship or her Perticular beyond the Incidents of
my Place, further than I might list, or could, or should,
be deserved by good Usadge ; a matter which I know
your Lordship can well conceave, who knows best the
true Wisdome of Friendshipps, and uppon what grounds
one man is to expect from another the effects of private
Affection. . . . Although my Ladye's Words hath done
Harm to your Cause, yet they should be of no Conse-
quence to move me to doe, or not to doe, anything
therein, further than I should see just cause at any
Tyme. I have ever honoured her Vertue, and will doe
so still (though I am not suche a Stock not to see her
Passion), how much soever it may please her to injury
me . . . and believe me, that His Majestie's Favour
shall never make me forgett myself with Pride toward
any, though it hath wrought sufficient Confidence in my
Resolution to doe him Service, whensoever His Majesty
shall command me, whose Directions must ever be just,
seeing his Mynd is onely compounded of Honour and
Justice." "

Although the writer subscribes himself " Your Lord-
ship's loving Frend to Command " the tone of the letter
shows how little disposed he was to exert his influence.
and it was doubtless the display of this indifference and
coldness that caused the outbreak of temper attributed
to the lady.

The disgrace of Northumberland had in the first
instance extended more or less to all his relations and
dependents. His two brothers, Allan and Jocelyn, had
been committed to the Tower, and though, after some

1 There is no date attached to this letter, which must have been written
in September, 1606.

294 .


weeks' detention, liberated in the absence of all evidence a.d.
to implicate them, they had been deprived of the offices l6o6 ~ l6o{
they held under the Crown. Dudley Carleton, the Earl's
Secretary, had been kept a close prisoner for several
months, during which time he was subjected to repeated
and searching examinations. When finally acquitted
and set free, he found himself excluded from all prospect
of that public employment the most certain road to
which was, in those times, service in the household of a
great noble. He accordingly prayed his patron to make
him one of his " country farmers " since " the gates of
the Court are now closed to all connected with your
Lordship," to which the Earl replied in quaint terms,
and with much generous feeling- ; —

" Carleton, As desperatio hathe made yow a Monke,
soe hathe Necessite made me a Prisoner patient ; and so,
by Consequent, hathe giuen a Crosse Byte to many that
had any Dependancy or Hopes vppon me. If it had
proceded out of myne owen Fault, I shoold haue bene
sorry for my selfe ; but since it is not, I can beare it as a
Misfortun of the World whiche we are all subiect to. That
Grieffe that stickes by me is for other Mens sakes, that
. hathe deserued as littell Euyll as I haue donne. The
Strengthe of myne owen Mynde none knowes soe well as
my selfe ; and it is very stronge against all but that whiche
others suffer for me. If I had bene maculated with dis-
honest or false Thoughts to the King, or my Cuntry,
none could haue spyed it sooner then yowr selfe ; and soe
enoughe for that Matter. But, thoughe yow had runne into
a Course of trauellingabroade better to enable your selfe, 1
yett can I not but thinke of you as one had Dependency of
me ; and althoughe yow knewe (what) my Mynde was euer,
and soe gaue I yow Freedom to doe the best good yow

1 Carleton appears about this time to have sought employment in the
Low Countries.


a.d. coulde for yowr selfe, to whiche I euer promised my heln-

I564-1632 • TT 1 • , rr 1 • ,

— ° ing Hand ; soe now, since yow haue suffered with me,
I can but adde to that Charite rather then to substractc
from it ; for I must nedes see that the Court Gates are
shutt vpon yow for my sake, and Trauell abroade is barred
yow out of the same consequent. Theas Disputes with
my selfe makes me enter into the Examinaton of yowr
selfe and me relatiuely ; of my selfe and my Estate ; of yow
and the Means I may employ yow in. Hopes I haue
none left for being any Medler in Matters of State, soc
long as I Hue ; and euery Day soe long as I doe Hue,
I shall be lesse fitt by Reason of my Imperfection of
Hearing, and olde Age, whiche will comme vpon me daly,
desiring rest out of his owen Nature. Yowr Endeuors
hathe bend them selfes most that Way, and I holde it
Pitty that thos Parts should be lost in yow. I wold thos
that might make Use of yow knew yow but as well as I
doe. Well, to conclude, I am of the same Mynde I was
euer of : I leaue yow to yowr owen Lyberty, and yowr
beste Means to doe yowr selfe Good, to whiche I will put
my helping Hand by all Means I can. If it shall pleas the
King to giue me Lyberty to Lyue at myne owen House,
comme, and yow shall be welcom if yow be not other-
wyse prouided. Besides, in the meane Tyme, thoughe my
Means are littell to doe good for any, yett as a Badge
that yow are one of myne, somwhat yerely shall be
allowed yow, with out any tying yow from any other
Course. Out of myne owen Businesses yow know how I
can, or what is left for me to employ any Man ; for yow to
becomme now a Cloune, 1 nether is proper for thos
Endeuors yow haue begunne with, nether is my Estate
sutche as I know well how to place yow to yowr Contente-
ment. This whiche I will adde is noe more but to helpe

1 With reference to Carleton's intention to turn farmer.


vow from sinking for the Present, with out any Barre of a.d.
farther retching out my helping Hand to yow hereafter, if * ° Zl
Fortun make me myne owen Man againe. Soe I rest this
20 August.

11 Northumberland." t

Sir Allan Percy, who had been bred a courtier, writes
to Carleton in the humorous strain which he appears to
have habitually affected : —

" I am sorry that you are so near to be Jack out of
Office, yet you need not despair of making a fortune
without either digging or begging ; for here there hath
beene a sore Battle fought last Wensday, when were
overthrown many of the Commanders ; and I doubt not
but by the helpe of some of my Friends, which my attend-
ance at Court hath purchased me, to procure you one,
though, it be but to attende the King's Dogges ; 2 which
you must rather obtain by Favor than by Merit, your
Experience hath bine so small in such waightie Affaires.
Thinke uppon this if the rest faile, for the Dogges run
very fleet, and lykelie the sooner to come to Pro-
motion." 3

Although Jocelyn and Allan Percy were known to
have displayed strong Catholic sympathies, and had
been with some difficulty dissuaded by their elder brother
from accepting service under the Spanish Crown in the
Low Countries, 4 the influence exerted by the Queen ap-
pears to have been more successful in their favour, than

1 Earl of Northumberland to Mr. Dudley Carleton, 20th August,
1606. — Original Stale Papers.

2 Evidently in allusion to James's favourites.

3 Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton, August, 1606. — State Papers.

4 In a letter dated 20th November, 1606, the Earl had informed
Lord Salisbury that his brother had expressed a wish to sell his annuity
and to seek his fortunes under the Archduke, to which proposal he had
declined to assent, ' ; for I have already suffered enough for other men's
faults." — Original State Papers.



a.d. on behalf of the unfortunate Head of the House, who
15 4-i 3 2 t h us returns his thanks for services rendered to his
brothers : —

" I beseech Your Ma tIe to accept from your poor-
Servante an humble Thankes, the greatest Service a man
tied by the Heeles can doe yovv. Yett since from m,
Power there can be no more expected I do laie them at
your Feete with the greatest Devotion I can. First,
Your Majesty's honorable speeches of my brother Allan
hath drawne on some Favours from My Lo. of Salisbury
towardes him ; then againe concerning myself the Care it
pleaseth you to take of me as to let me fall at any tyme
into your Memorie, which, I understand by my Wyfe, and
is a greater Joy and Comforte than I will labour to
expresse. But for both theis Favours I can, nor will, saie
anie more but that Your Majestie hath done like a worthy
Queene, and I will endeavour to serve vow and yours.
like an honest and grateful Servaunte. To honour vow,
to praie for yow, and to wishe faythfullie to Your Ma tie , is
all is lefte me ; those little Sacrifices he dedicates to yow
that humblie kisses Your Majesties Handes." ■

The Earl's dismissal from his offices under the Crown
had not only considerably reduced his income, but had
involved the loss of all patronage ; such of his kinsmen
and dependents as acted under him in public employments
being likewise deprived of their posts and thrown upon
his private resources for their maintenance. 2 His early
debts had bv this time assumed formidable dimensions ; he

1 Northumberland to the Queen, June, 1607. From a draught
letter in the Earl's handwriting.

3 Among many other similar records we find this grant by the Earl citeu,
4th December, 1606. " Sir George Whitehead an annuity of £-° ■'•
consideration that he had been dispossessed of his post of Lieutenant
of Tynemouth Castle, the keeping of which it has pleased the King to

Online LibraryEdward Barrington De FonblanqueAnnals of the house of Percy, from the conquest to the opening of the nineteenth century (Volume v.2 pt.1) → online text (page 25 of 31)