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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at this Tyme. For I cannot conceave that His Ma tia and
Your Lordships are soe uncharitablie mynded towards
our Familie, but that you desire wee should have a Being
in this Work! in some Sorte like ourselves, though apoore
unfortunate Companie.

" I am glad that the Consideracon of the Busines is
left in a Sorte to Your Lordships who understande the
OccatOns of a Nobleman's Expence, and not to them that
make Men poore according to Reporte ; and I am very
confident Your Lordships will observe that deuine and
morall Law, to doe as you would be done unto, which
Pointe I will not staie uppon longer, but humblie entreate
that You will moue His Ma t,e on my Behalfe. For I knowe
Flis Ma tie to be the leaste touched with the Humour of
Covetousnesse of anie Prince in Christendome, and six
Yeares' Imprisonemente tells my weake L T nderstanding



a.d. that it ought to be a sufficient Expiacon of anie Offence
1504-1 32 m y (3 onsc j ence can accuse me of.

" Though my Losses have byne greate alreadie, I should
be ashamed to clamor too much in a Money Matter if
I spoke in my owne Voice, (all I have, being at His
Ma ties Service) ; but since I cry in the Voices of Children
and others, that hath and must taste of the Bitternesse of
my Misfortunes, without Likelyhoode of ether Helpes
than from myselfe, I hope you will pardon me.

" Not repining at anie Mans good Happe, or searching
the Causes, but greaving at myne owne euill P'ortunes to
be soe often called uppon, and so hardly, towards the
undoing of my House ; noting His Ma ties gratious Favours
to others, and remembring His Ma ties most noble Promiss
to my Wife (uppon Occasion of shee laying open the
Greatness of the Fine for Faultes of that Nature) that he
would never hurte her or her Children therby, maketh me
rather to pleade for them with Earnestnesse.

" 16 October, 161 1."

It was at this juncture that Lord Salisbury showed his
animosity by advising the King to adopt the unpre-
cedented course of sequestrating the Earl's estates, and
appointing his own Receivers to intercept the rents.

Northumberland, in the first instance, looked upon the
proposed proceeding as a mere menace intended to
spur him to increased efforts for raising the necessary
funds :

" For Your Lordship pressing the Fyne soe earnestlie,"
he writes to Lord Salisbury, " and beeing so eger to sende
out Processe uppon my Landes, I should wonder att it,
but that I knowe Lord Treasorers loue to see the Kings
Coffers full ; but this smalle Droppe of myne will scarce
make a Shew of anie Flood of His Ma ties Side, and dis-
cover a greate Number of bare Schoales on ours. There-



fore I pray Your Lordship, out of Your Noblnes, that you a.d. i6ii
will slow this Course what You may, without Prejudice of
your Dutie ; and further than that, I cannot with Reason
demande, if You be cofhanded by higher Powers than
your owne Affections ; hoping that Tyme and Reason may
make some more favourable Motions in His Ma des Mynde;
since I must needes thinke (out of Elkes' owne Reportes),
that a King that could aduise him, in the verie Course of
Venemous Accusations, to deliver nothing upponSuspition
without greate Probabilities ; to saie nothing but that was
true, and with the leaste rather than the moste, for it was
not the Life's of Men that be desired, but to knowe the
Truth ; I saie, my Lord, that such a iust, worthie and noble
Prince, cannot affect with an earnest Desire the Ruin of
our State if he weare not thruste forwards either by
Covetousnesse, or Revenge, of others.

" But if there be no Remedie, neither any Compassion
to be raised or sturred upp upon noe Consideracons, then
God's Will be done. Yett, I must confesse, I cannot
choose but hope for better ; the Reasons I neede not
express, neither goe beyonde the Seas to fetch them.
They are not farre off ; they must needes be written in
your Harte, as they are written in myne ; and as they
have byne written in my Papers to your Lordship verie

The sequestration, however, took place ; x Salisbury
proceeded to cancel, and grant, leases upon his own
terms, and without communication with the Earl, who,
no longer able to doubt the ill-will of his professed
friend, now offers this dignified remonstrance :

" My Lord, — I understande that His Ma tie , by your
Lordship's Advise, (for soe the Wordes of the Lease

1 See Appendix XVI. where the value of the Earl's lands in North-
umberland is set forth in the document which appoints Ralph Ashton
the King"s Receiver.



a.d. importe) hath granted Leases to the Receivers of several
1564-1632 c ount i es under the Exchequer Seale, of my Landes, for
the Levying of a Fyne imposed upon me. Your Lord-
ship's Sicknesse hath byne the Cause of my forbearing
to write or sende ; for I holde it neither charitable nor
honest, in one's owne Particular, to urge a Remorse of
Consience, whereby the Spirritt of a dying Man may be
troubled ; x but rather to forgive under Silence.

" But since now your Lordship is uppon Recoverie,
and that the World confidentiie affirmeth you are out of
Danger, and that my Business drawes to soe nigh a Point
of Execution, lett me putte you in Mynde that this Parte
which you have like to have played, must come again to
your acting at one Tyme or other ; for your Foote must in
the Ende touch the Grave, and I knowe noe Man (be he
never soe free a Libertine) but loves to leave a Memorie
of good Deedes, rather than of badd ; if there weare
nothing els to be regarded.

" The Thinsre itselfe that is in Hande is extraordinarie,
and not to be paraleld ; for first, it is the greatest Fyne
that ever was imposed- upon Subject. Fynes upon noe
Man hath byne taken neere the Censure [? Sentence], but
first much qualified, and then installed at easie Conditions.
To be levied in this Fashion is not used, or if lett, yett
ever for the Benehtt of the Owner, and not to his Ruine.

" By this Course taken I see not but Receivers may
make what Accompts they list ; pay the King at Leisure,
yet I not quitted of Halle that is gathered ; my Landes
spoyled, my Mouses ruinated, my Suits-in-Law receive
Prejudice, my Officers imprisoned that st'ande bounde
for me, my Debts unsatisfied, Reliefe by borrowing taken
away. My Brothers and Servants must suffer, my Wife,
Children and myselfe must starve. For the Receavers

1 Lord Salisbury had then just recovered from a dangerous illness,
but had a relapse three months later, under which he succumbed.



are, by theire Leases, to accompt but once in the Yeare ; a.d. 1612
for which Service of gathering they have their Rewarde,
25. in the Pound, besides Gaine in retayninge the Money
in their Handes, and Commodities in manie Waves els.

" In all this Provision for them, I finde not a Thought
of one Penny either for Wife or Child or myselfe ; soe as
theire wants nothing but strewing the Land with Sake to
make it a Patterne of severe Punishment ; and whether
these Things should pearce into the Harte of a humane
Man, I leave to Your Lordship to thinke of.

" I laye not downe these Miseries that must fall out of
Necessitie, as amazed or out of Passion ; for Tyme hath
made me very obedient to hard Fortunes ; but to give
your Lordship a Feeling of my Cause, that hath ever
seemed to be a Pattriot for the Libertie of our Countrie
and of the Nobilitie (wherein m wee joyed to have you of
our Socictie) z and not a Producer of new Presedents that
must, first or last, fall on you or yours, or on those which
you wish well unto, and generallie to all Subjects.

" This Extremetie is soe unusuall as none heares of it
but wonders. For mvne owne Parte, I holde this Prin-
ciple almost infallible ; that when Things are acted by
wise Men contrarie to all Reason, there may well be con-
cluded some Misterie to lie hidden which appears not,
or somewhat desired secretlie, that will not be asked

" As for the Queen's Debts to be this way satisfied 2

1 The sarcasm implied in the great Earl's condescending recognition
of the norms homo in the ranks of his order, is the only instance on
record in which his long suppressed sense of injury and injustice seems
to have overcome the calm and courteous tone of his habitual bearing
towards his persecutors.

2 " The Queen intends to beg the Earl's fine to pay her debts, and
the Countess is trying to compound for his libertie ; but it is not likely
to succeed." — Sir Allan Percy to Dudley Carleton. Add. MSS., British
Museum, vol. x:d. 67. See Northumberland's letter to the Queen,
January, 16 13, and the footnote appended, p. 324.



a.d. and by these Meanes, it is not sensible to Men that either
15 12! 32 understand what the Greatness of Majesty of a Queen of
England is, or what a Subject's Debt of this Nature can
avayle her. What is it then you would have ? What would
you compass ? It is not, I hope, the Ruin of my Family ?
or my Vexation, to give Food for Matters of Splean ?
Deal noblie therefore ; lett me knowe what it is your
Desire to effect, and I shall soon give Answere whether I
can or cannot ; for Your Lordship knoweth, and none
but you (who was privie to all my Actions) knoweth so
well, how little I have deserved this.

" Perhapps you will saie that the King commaunds this
to be done. I know the King's Commaunds in theise
Money Matters is ofte to give but seldome to take, and
all the World knoweth the Nobleness of his Disposition
if but Reason be sounded in his Eares ; for the Nature
of Censures in the Star Chamber are ad fcrrorem, non
adruinam. Men are putt into the King's Hands that he
may use Mercy, not Rigour, of Sentence ; and this hath
beyne Your Lordship's owne Conceite of that Court, as
unwilling to be there farther than Dutie comaunded,
where nothing was to be pronounced but Lashings and
Slashings, and Finings and Imprisonings.

" I write not nowe, neither have done anything
heretofore, out of Wilfullness ; but meerlie out of Feare
howe my Actes and Words might take Interpretacon,
and whether I have had cause or noe, I leave it to
the Knowledge of God, and the Consciences of Men.
Neither could anie Durance of my Carcase, or Discon-
tentment of Mynde, have sturred me upp to deliver
this but in private, had I not perceaved an eminent
Approach of starving of a poor Companie of Creatures,
that, for anything I knowe, never wished you Harme.

" And soe with my Well-wishing for Your Lordship's
Strength, I rest Your Lordship's poorest Allie in England



for the Tyme, for I have just nothing as matters are a.d. 1612
handled." 24 May.

Lord Salisbury's death, a few weeks later, appeared to
the Earl's friends to remove an adverse influence, and to
afford a fair opportunity for more effectual appeals to the
royal clemency.

" The Countess of Northumberland had access yester-
day to the King about her Lord's fine, which is now of
late earnestlie urged, and direction given how and where
to levy it ; seeing he will take no order himself for his
best advantage. She had gracious audience, and is in
great hope of abating the best part of it." I

On the strength of her favourable reception, Lady
Northumberland, now addressed this petition to the

"Your Ma tIes Pleasure, most Gratious Soveraigne,
signified by Mr. Lieutenante on Sondaie the 7th June,
that your Ma tie was resolved to take into your owne
Handes all my Lord's Lands and Possessions, till his Fyne
of 30,000/. imposed uppon him weare paid, because My
Lord hath not given Your Ma tie Securitie for the Payment
of 20,000/. within two Yeares, and Mr. Chancellor of
the Exchequer's hastie Proceedinge by graunting of
Leases and sending forth Injunctions to put the Lessees
in Possession, according to this Your Majestie's Pleasure,
hath inforced us to be humble Suppliants to your
Majestie for Grace and Mercy ; who doe sensiblie and
clearlie see painted before our Eies the extreame Miserie
that thereby wee shall endure. For daily Experience
makes manifest that honorable Birth, if it wants Means
to support itselfe, is of all Conditions of Life the most
unfortunate. This course, if Your Majestie should con-
tinew, taking therebie away all Meanes of our present

1 John Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, 25th March, 161 2.
Birch's James the First, vol. i. p. 165.



a.d. Maintenance or future Preferments, will abase us in that
15 4-1632 reS p ect beneath the Meanest.

"This Miserie, we assure ourselfes, Your Majestic
never meant to inflict uppon us ; and yett, if Your Ma i:e
shall either continew the Course begun, or lay soe heavy
a Burthen uppon My Lord, we doe apparently see, and
sensibly already begin to feele, that this Unhappiness
must and will inevitably light uppon us, and therefore to
us the greatest Miserie we can imagine or conceave.

" Your Ma tiC3 happy and gratious Government preach-
eth better things unto your Subjects, and therefore we
doe humblie entreate Your Ma tie to free us from those
Torments of Mynde, and gratiously be pleased to diminish
the Greatness of the said Fyne. And what Your Ma tie
shall be pleased to abate (which we hope will be a greate
Parte), to receive the Remayne by such an Instalment
whereby we may live, and be preserved like ourselfes ever
to maomifie Your Ma t:es Grace and Mercie towards us." '

It was evidently only his inability to comply with the
conditions imposed, that induced the Earl to make
repeated supplications for more favourable terms to the
obdurate monarch ; for on the subject of his imprison-
ment he continued to maintain a haughty silence.

His actual financial condition is exposed in the follow-
ing letter : —

" Most Gratious Soveraigxe,

" Mr. Lieutenant of the Tower delivered me the
other day Your Ma :ies Comaundmente, to me sorrowfull ;
for it carried with it an Argumente of Your Displeasure
still remayninge, a Burden, (besides the losse,) too heavie
for the aniicted Mynde of one who maketh it the onlie
Study of his Life to remove it out of Your Ma ties Harte.

1 Petition of the Countess of Northumberland and her children,
1 2th June, 16 1 2. Alnwick JJSS.. vol. x.



" The two Points hee delivered from Your Ma t!e was, a.d. 1612
that You tooke it euill that I had neglected to take Order
for that Sum Your Ma tie had sett downe ; and therefore
Your Ma" e held Yourselfe at Libertie and would have
the whole Fyne. The other, that I should not thinke
Your Ma tie soe simple, the Treasorer being- dead, to
whom the Care of gathering Your Ma tIcs Debts did
belonge, that I should conceave an Opinion that I should
not paie it therefore.

" First, I humblie beseech Your Ma ,ie upon my Knees
to give me Leave to utter myselfe trulie as Things are,
and again delyvering it in all Humilitie with a Mynde
full of Dutie, that Your Ma tie out of your Grace, would
pardon where my Penne shall seem to be lame, and make
out my true Intente where it may comitte an Interpre-
tacun of Error, without which it were a fearfull Thing to
putt Penne to Paper.

" Concerning my Neglect, as Your Ma tie supposes, the
Stay was out of Necessitie ; for being comaunded to goe
to the Lord Treasorer and the Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, the Treasorers Absence would not permitt the
one, and the Chancellor's pressing so extreamelie, forbidde
me the other. For Reason told me, and Experience
taught me, that in Money Matters, when Your Ma tle is
a Party, hee regardeth more your Profitt than our Wants.
Therefore, humblieapealing to Your Ma tie ' let me deliver
this much trulie : that if Your Ma tie would seaze into
Your handes all the Revenew that we, Your poor Sub-
jects, hath in the World to support us, and that you
would sell all our Goods to the verie Bedd I lie on ;
to allow us nothing to give us Bread to putt into our
Mouthes, neither to suffer Brothers, Kindred, Servants,
to enjoy such Pensions and Annuity as they have out
of my Landes ; yett that Summe of 20,000/. could not
be raised in two Yeares. Then I beseech Your Ma de



a.d. consider how impossible it is to me to give Satisfaction
1564-1632 w i t h ou t the Ruine or great Impaire of my Estate; and
to sell Land I cannot, but must parte with that for
20,000/. which is worth 40,000/., as all Men of any
Knowledge in buyinge and selling of Land must needes
understande. Besides, if it please but Your Ma tie to take
Notice, that 20,000/. in two Yeares is more than 60,000/.,
being; installed at the Rates used ; or the most that ever
was taken of any Subject, either of them that have
detayned -Your Ma ties owne Money out of Your Coffers,
or of Fynes of Men that had offended the State, either
by Insurrections or open Rebellions.

t{ To the other Parte of Your Ma ties Commaundmente,
that that putts from me the Comforte or Hope that may-
be receaved of Your Ma ties Mercy, if an Angell of Light
descended from Heaven, and should tell me soe, I must
confesse I could not beleave him, until I knewe that
our worthie Soveraigne, King James, had never done
a good Deede, never used CommiseracOn, never shewed
Mercy, but executed Extreamitie and ever thirsted after
his Subjects Estates.

"Till then (not to offend Your Ma tie ) I say I must
and will hope, even till the verie last Pennie be taken ;
and then I shall still hope it would be restored againe,
judginge myselfe by myne Integritie, and Your Ma tie by
Your Bountie." *

Nothing can be more unworthy than the huckstering
spirit displayed by the King personally in the measures
adopted for the exaction of the penalty ; nor was it until
the Council had represented the difficulties they foresaw
in enforcing the full demands of the Crown, that he con-
sented to remit one-third of the fine on condition ot the
balance being paid by annual instalments of 3,000/

1 Northumberland to the King, 12th June, 1612.


the Earl giving guaranteed bonds for the amount, and a.d. 1612
the sequestration on the estates remaining in force until
the entire claim should be satisfied.

(Upon this subject Lady Northumberland once more
appeals to the King in her usual outspoken tone : —

"The Chanc Ir of the Excheq r . signified Your Ma' 1 "
pleasure that 20,000/. should be paid by 3,000/. a Yeare ;
a Somme which Your Ma ne may understande cannot be
had without a great Hinderance to me and my Children's
Preferments. And because my Lord, uppon Hope of
Your Ma 1 " 65 more gratious ConsideracOn herein, hath not
promised Payment thereof, there are Leases made of all
his Landes to Your Ma ties Receavers of those Countys
where those Landes lie ; who have taken Possession
of them by Virtue of those Leases, and doe purpose
to receave the whole Revenue to Your Ma ties Use,
soe as wee are putt to one of these Extreamitys : either
to paie that which my Lords State cannot beare, or to
runne into a greater Inconveniance, that will be noe Way

Iproffitable to Your Ma tie , and ruinous to us.
11 I humblie entreate Your Ma tie to look into the
Chrystall of your owne Harte, and see there, whether
my Lorde hath done any Act that can meritte such
an Example of Proceedings for a Fine in the Starr
Chamber, that no Record, as it is conceaved, can in anie
Way equall, either in Greatnesse of the Fine, Greatness
of the Installment, or in this rare and unknowne Course
of Execution. And, therefore, I humblie beseech Your
Ma tie to be gratiouslie pleased to be informed of the
Presedents of the same Courts (whereof some are
herunto annexed), 1 how Your Ma tles noble Progenitors,
Kings and Oueenes of this Realme, have seazed, abated

1 An Extract from Records in the Star Chamber of Fines remitted or
reduced during the reign of Elizabeth was inclosed in this letter.

VOL. II. ^2 1 V


a.d. and installed them. Neither can I be perswaded that
1564-1632 your Ma des Wants will hinder this Grace and Favour.
how colorably soever pretended for this Proceeding.
For though the Leavyinge of soe greate a Fine of Money,
and in this Manner, is likely to proue the Undoinge of
me and my Children, whom Your Ma tie promised out
of your Grace you would never hurt with this Fine when
I was an humble Suitor to You ; yet it will be soe small
a Suply to Your j\fa tUs pretended Wants that it wilbe
scarcelie ,seene, much less felte ; and God forbidd that
one or two poor Creatures should suffer, because Your
Ma tie * Coffers are emptie.

" Farre be it from the Thought of anie good Subject to
beleave, that anie such formall Pretence will cause Your
Ma tie to lay so heavie a Burden uppon me and myne,
whose Yeares now are at hande most to require it, and
who in all our Actions have approved ourselfes dutifull
and loyall to Your Ma tie .

" Humblie also entreating Your Ma tle to revoke the
said Leases and to make a milder Sessation ; for it
Your Ma tie shall persevere in this Course (which God
forbidd), we are likelie to indure such Harme, as
none in this Case hath ever done in this Your happy

"And if please Your Ma tie but to remember, when 1
was an humble Suitor some sixe Yeares since for my
Lord's Libertie, when it had pleased Your Ma tie , out ol
Your gratious Disposition, to free my Lord Mordant.
and my Lord Stourton ; I then, laying open the Small-
nesse of the Offence my Lord was censured for, Your
M tU said it was not for those Censures that he was sec
restrained, though his owne Kindred laid it uppon hwi ;
but that Your Jfa iie must have a Care for the Safe tic oj
your owne Barnes. Which I hope Tyme hath given you
Understanding how little those Feares are to be fostered


in the Harte of a King ruling over dutifull Subjects ; a.d. 1613
and not to fall, after soe long a Tyme, to soe severe a
Course for Matter of Profit, because, as they saie, none
ever had soe greate Need as Your Ma tie hath." '

Equally direct, and to the point, is the Earl's repre-
sentation to the Queen :

" Pardon me, I beseech you in all Humblenes. If I
flie for Releef to Your Ma tie , I hope it will not be denied
me to give what Helpe you maie. Arguments I have
manie to induce me to it, some out of the stedfast
Beleefe I have of the Worthines and Iustnes of your
owne Minde ; others out of Experience that I have fovvnde
howe feelinge Your Ma tie hath byne of my Cause hereto-
fore, when Matters weare not soe well known, neither we
so tried, as Tyme hath made them now. . . . This Fyne
of myne is followed with that Severitie in seazing of
my Landes as the like hath noe Presedent in former
Tymes ; neither, I hope, will the like hereafter. And,
Madam, I cannot but out of common Understanding
conclude that all Subjects, of what Condition soever,
(unlesse it be that they must gaine by it), must needs
sorrowe in theire Hartes at the Course taken. How silent
or in what Fashion their Lippes moue (not for my sake,
— for soe were it Simplicitie and Vanitie in me to thinke,
but for their own sakes and their Posterities,) I knowe
they must greeve. Their Daintinesse to move His
Ma tIe for us in a Cause that so neerlie concerns them
all, cannot but begett a Thought in me that some hath a
Hande in the Busines, whom they will not displease,
howsoever it threaten the Ruine and Hinderance of
my two poore Daughters, Your Ma ties Servants, and
Your unhappy God-sonne, whose Fortunes relyes uppon

1 Countess of Northumberland to the King, 30th September, 1612. —
State Papers.

323 V 2


a.d. it. Therefore I most humblie entreat Your Ma tie to be
1564-1632 an intercessor for us, since none els will, or dare.

" Perhaps the common recieved Opinion, that to satisfie
Your Ma ties Creditors by Way of this Fine may be a
cause to seale upp Men's Lippes. How sprung, or how
begott in the World, I knowe not but of my Lord
Treasorers owne Proceedings and Reports. For I
assure Your Ma tie that he sent me Woorde, at the verie
first when the Speech of it was set afoote, that Your
Ma de had .begged it, 1 and afterwards, sollicking him
about it, he said that hee must not, neither would, deale
in it ; for that hee had like to have broken his Necke
in withstandinge my Lorde of Dunbarre when he was
a Suitor for the same not long before ; when I knowe
hee putt it (perhaps to other Endes than you then dis-
covered) uppon Your Ma ties good Opinion towards me.

" For this was one of his Principles often uttered : that

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 27 of 31)