Paul Hentzner.

Travels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites online

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many domestic practices, were, methinks, works of inspiration, and
of no human providence, which, on her sister's departure, she most
religiously acknowledged - ascribing the glory of her deliverance to
God above; for she being then at Hatfield, and under a guard, and
the Parliament sitting at the self-same time, at the news of the
Queen's death, and her own proclamation by the general consent of
the House and the public sufferance of the people, falling on her
knees, after a good time of respiration, she uttered this verse of
the Psalm:


And this we find to this day on the stamp of her gold, with this on
her silver:


Her ministers and instruments of State, such as were PARTICIPES
CURARUM, or bore a great part of the burthen, were MANY, and those
MEMORABLE; but they were only FAVOURITES, and not MINIONS; such as
acted more by HER princely rules and judgments, than by their OWN
wills and appetites; for we saw no Gaveston, Vere, or Spencer, to
have swayed alone, during forty-four years, which was a well-settled
and advised maxim; for it valued her the more, it awed the most
secure, it took best with the people, and it staved off all
emulations, which are apt to rise and vent in obloquious acrimony
even against the prince, where there is ONE ONLY admitted into high


The principal note of her reign will be, that she ruled much by
faction and parties, which she herself both made, upheld, and
weakened, as her own great judgment advised; for I do dissent from
the common and received opinion, that my Lord of Leicester was
ABSOLUTE and ALONE in her GRACE; and, though I come somewhat short
of the knowledge of these times, yet, that I may not err or shoot at
random, I know it from assured intelligence that it was not so; for
proof whereof, amongst many (that could present), I will both relate
a story, and therein a known truth, and it was thus: Bowyer, the
Gentleman of the Black Rod, being charged by her express command to
look precisely to all admissions in the Privy Chamber, one day
stayed a very gay captain (and a follower of my Lord of Leicester)
from entrance, for that he was neither well known, nor a sworn
servant of the Queen; at which repulse, the gentleman (bearing high
on my lord's favour) told him that he might, perchance, procure him
a discharge. Leicester coming to the contestation, said publicly,
which was none of his wonted speeches, that he was a knave, and
should not long continue in his office; and so turning about to go
to the Queen, Bowyer, who was a bold gentleman and well-beloved,
stepped before him, and fell at Her Majesty's feet, relates the
story, and humbly craves Her Grace's pleasure, and in such a manner
as if he had demanded whether my Lord of Leicester was King, or Her
Majesty Queen: whereunto she replied (with her wonted oath, GOD'S-
DEATH) "My lord, I have wished you well, but my favour is not so
locked up for you that others shall not participate thereof; for I
have many servants unto whom I have, and will, at my pleasure,
bequeath my favour, and likewise resume the same; and if you think
to rule here, I will take a course to see you forthcoming; {23} I
will have here but one MISTRESS, and no MASTER; and look that no ill
happen to him, lest it be severely required at your hands:" which so
quailed my Lord of Leicester, that his faint humility was, long
after, one of his best virtues.

Moreover, the Earl of Sussex, then Lord Chamberlain, was his
professed antagonist to his dying day; and for my Lord Hunsdown, and
Sir Thomas Sackville, after Lord Treasurer, who were all
contemporaries, he was wont to say of them, that they were of the
tribe of Dan, and were NOLI ME TANGERE, implying that they were not
to be contested with, for they were, indeed, of the Queen's nigh

From whence, and in many more instances, I conclude that she was
absolute and sovereign mistress of her graces, and that all those to
whom she distributed her favours were never more than tenants-at-
will, and stood on no better terms than her princely pleasure, and
their good behaviour.

And this also I present as a known observation, that she was, though
very capable of counsel, absolute enough in her own resolution;
which was ever apparent even to her last, and in that of her still
aversion to grant Tyrone {24} the least drop of her mercy, though
earnestly and frequently advised thereunto, yea, wrought only by her
whole Council of State, with very many reasons; and, as the state of
her kingdom then stood, I may speak it with assurance, necessitated

If we look into her inclination, as it was disposed to magnificence
or frugality, we shall find in them many notable considerations; for
all her dispensations were so poised as though Discretion and
Justice had both decreed to stand at the beam, and see them weighed
out in due proportion, the maturity of her paces and judgments
meeting in a concurrence; and that in such an age that seldom
lapseth to excess.

To consider them apart, we have not many precedents of her
LIBERALITY, nor any large donatives to PARTICULAR men, my Lord of
Essex's book of PARKS excepted, which was a princely gift; and some
more of a lesser size to my Lord of Leicester, Hatton, and others.

Her rewards chiefly consisted in grants and leases of offices, and
places of judicature; but for ready money, and in great sums, she
was very sparing; which, we may partly conceive, was a virtue rather
drawn out of necessity than her nature; for she had many layings-
out, and as her wars were lasting, so their charge increased to the
last period. And I am of opinion with Sir Walter Raleigh, that
those many brave men of her times, and of the militia, tasted little
more of her bounty than in her grace and good word with their due
entertainment; for she ever paid her soldiers well, which was the
honour of her times, and more than her great adversary of Spain
could perform; so that when we come to the consideration of her
FRUGALITY, the observation will be little more than that her BOUNTY
and it were so woven together, that the one was {25} stained by an
honourable way of sparing.

The Irish action we may call a malady, and a consumption of her
times, for it accompanied her to her end; and it was of so profuse
and vast an expense, that it drew near unto a distemperature of
State, and of passion in herself; for, towards her last, she grew
somewhat hard to please, her armies being accustomed to prosperity,
and the Irish prosecution not answering her expectation, and her
wonted success; for it was a good while an unthrifty and
inauspicious war, which did much disturb and mislead her judgment;
and the more for that it was a precedent taken out of her own

For as the Queen, by way of division, had, at her coming to the
crown, supported the revolted States of Holland, so did the King of
Spain turn the trick upon herself, towards her going out, by
cherishing the Irish rebellion; where it falls into consideration,
what the state of this kingdom and the crown revenues were then able
to endure and embrace.

If we look into the establishments of those times with the best of
the Irish army, counting the defeat of Blackwater, with all the
precedent expenses, as it stood from my Lord of Essex's undertaking
of the surrender of Kingsale, and the General Mountjoy, and somewhat
after, we shall find the horse and foot troops were, for three or
four years together, much about twenty thousand, besides the naval
charge, which was a dependant of the same war; in that the Queen was
then forced to keep in continual pay a strong fleet at sea to attend
the Spanish coasts and parts, both to alarm the Spaniards, and to
intercept the forces designed for the Irish assistance; so that the
charge of that war alone did cost the Queen three hundred thousand
pounds per annum at least, which was not the moiety of her other
disbursements and expenses; which, without the public aids, the
state of the royal receipts could not have much longer endured;
which, out of her own frequent letters and complaints to the Deputy
Mountjoy for cashiering of that list as soon as he could, might be
collected, for the Queen was then driven into a strait.

We are naturally prone to applaud the times behind us, and to vilify
the present; for the concurrent of her fame carries it to this day,
how loyally and victoriously she lived and died, without the grudge
and grievance of her people; yet the truth may appear without
detraction from the honour of so great a princess. It is manifest
she left more debts unpaid, taken upon credit of her privy-seals,
than her progenitors did, or could have taken up, that were a
hundred years before her; which was no inferior piece of State, to
lay the burthen on that house {26} which was best able to bear it at
a dead lift, when neither her receipts could yield her relief at the
pinch, nor the urgency of her affairs endure the delays of
Parliamentary assistance. And for such aids it is likewise apparent
that she received more, and that with the love of her people, than
any two of her predecessors that took most; which was a fortune
strained out of the subjects, through the plausibility of her
comportment, and (as I would say, without offence) the prodigal
distribution of her grace to all sorts of subjects; for I believe no
prince living, that was so tender of honour, and so exactly stood
for the preservation of sovereignty, was so great a courtier of the
people, yea, of the Commons, and that stooped and declined low in
presenting her person to the public view, as she passed in her
progress and perambulations, and in her ejaculations of her prayers
on the people.

And, truly, though much may be written in praise of her providence
and good husbandry, in that she could, upon all good occasions,
abate her magnanimity, and therewith comply with the Parliament, and
so always come off both with honour and profit; yet must we ascribe
some part of the commendation to the wisdom of the times, and the
choice of Parliament-men; for I said {27} not that they were at any
time given to any violent or pertinacious dispute, the elections
being made of grave and discreet persons, not factious and ambitious
of fame; such as came not to the House with a malevolent spirit of
contention, but with a preparation to consult on the public good,
and rather to comply than to contest with Majesty: neither dare I
find {28} that the House was weakened and pestered through the
admission of too many YOUNG HEADS, as it hath been of LATTER times;
which remembers me of the Recorder Martin's speech about the truth
of our late Sovereign Lord King James, {29} when there were accounts
taken of FORTY gentlemen not above TWENTY, and some not exceeding
SIXTEEN years of age; which made him to say, "that it was the
ancient custom for old men to make laws for young ones, but there he
saw the case altered, and there were children in the great council
of the kingdom, which came to invade and invert nature, and to enact
laws to govern their fathers." Such {30} were in the House always,
{31} and took the common cause into consideration; and they say the
Queen had many times just cause, and need enough, to use their
assistance: neither do I remember that the House did ever
capitulate, or prefer their private to the public and the Queen's
necessities, but waited their times, and, in the first place, gave
their supply, and according to the exigence of her affairs; yet
failed not at the last to attain what they desired, so that the
Queen and her Parliaments had ever the good fortune to depart in
love, and on reciprocal terms, which are considerations that have
not been so exactly observed in our LAST assemblies. And I would to
God they had been; for, considering the great debts left on the
King, {32} and to what incumbrances the House itself had then drawn
him, His Majesty was not well used, though I lay not the blame on
the whole suffrage of the House, where he had many good friends; for
I dare avouch it, had the House been freed of half a dozen popular
and discontented persons (such as, with the fellow that burnt the
temple of Ephesus, would be talked of, though for doing mischief), I
am confident the King had obtained that which, in reason, and at his
first occasion, he ought to have received freely, and without
condition. But pardon this digression, which is here remembered,
not in the way of aggravation, but in true zeal of the public good,
and presented IN CAVEAT of future times: for I am not ignorant how
the genius and spirit of the kingdom now moves to make His Majesty
amends on any occasion; and how desirous the subject is to expiate
that offence at any rate, may it please His Majesty to make a trial
of his subjects' affections; and at what price they value now his
goodness and magnanimity.

But to our purpose: the Queen was not to learn that, as the
strength of the kingdom consisted in the multitude of her subjects,
so the security of her person consisted and rested in the love and
fidelity of her people, which she politically affected (as it hath
been thought) somewhat beneath the height of her natural spirit and

Moreover, it will be a true note of her providence, that she would
always listen to her profit: for she would not refuse the
information of meanest personages, which proposed improvement; and
had learned the philosophy of (HOC AGERE) to look unto her own work:
of which there is a notable example of one Carmarthen, an under
officer of the Custom House, who, observing his time, presented her
with a paper, showing how she was abused in the under-renting of the
Customs, and therewith humbly desired Her Majesty to conceal him,
for that it did concern two or three of her great counsellors, {33}
whom Customer Smith had bribed with two thousand pounds a man, so to
lose the Queen twenty thousand pounds per annum; which being made
known to the Lords, they gave strict order that Carmarthen should
not have access to the back-stairs; but, at last, Her Majesty
smelling the craft, and missing Carmarthen, she sent for him back,
and encouraged him to stand to his information; which the poor man
did so handsomely that, within the space of ten years, he was
brought to double his rent, or leave the Custom to new farmers. So
that we may take this also in consideration, that there were of the
Queen's Council which were not in the catalogue of saints.

Now, as we have taken a view of some particular motives of her
times, her nature, and necessities, it is not without the text to
give a short touch of the HELPS and ADVANTAGES of her reign, which
were NOT without {34} paroles; for she had neither husband, brother,
sister, nor children to provide for, who, as they are dependants on
the Crown, so do they necessarily draw livelihood from thence, and
oftentimes exhaust and draw deep, especially when there is an ample
fraternity royal, and of the princes of the blood, as it was in the
time of Edward III. and Henry IV. For when the Crown cannot, the
public ought to give honourable allowance; for they are the honour
and hopes of the kingdom; and the public, which enjoys them, hath
the like interest with the father which begat them; and our common
law, which is the inheritance of the kingdom, did ever of old
provide aids for the PRIMOGENITUS {35} and the eldest daughter; for
that the multiplicity of courts, and the great charges which
necessarily follow a king, a queen, a prince, and royal issue, was a
thing which was not IN RERUM NATURA {36} during the space of forty-
four years, {37} but worn out of memory, and without the
consideration of the present times, insomuch as the aids given to
the late and Right Noble Prince Henry, and to his sister, the Lady
Elizabeth, which were at first generally received as impositions for
knighthood, though an ancient law, fell also into the imputation of
a tax of nobility, for that it lay long covered in the embers of
division between the Houses of York and Lancaster, and forgotten or
connived at by the succeeding princes: so that the strangeness of
the observation, and the difference of those latter reigns, is that
the Queen took up much BEYOND the power of law, which fell not into
the murmur of people; and her successors took nothing but by warrant
of the law, which nevertheless was received, THROUGH DISUSE, to be
injurious to the liberty of the kingdom.

Now before I come to any mention of her favourites, for hitherto I
have delivered but some oblivious passages, thereby to prepare and
smooth a way for the rest that follows:

It is necessary that I touch on the religiousness of the other's
reign, I mean the body of her sister's {38} Council of State, which
she retained entirely, neither removing nor discontenting any,
although she knew them averse to her religion, and, in her sister's
time, perverse to her person, and privy to all her troubles and

A prudence which was incompatible to her sister's nature, for she
both dissipated and presented the major part of her brother's
Council; but this will be of certain, that how compliable and
obsequious soever she found them, yet for a good space she made
little use of their counsels, more than in the ordinary course of
the Board, for she had a dormant table in her own privy breast; yet
she kept them together and in their places, without any sudden
change; so that we may say of them that they were then of the Court,
not of the Council; for whilst she AMAZED {39} them by a kind of
promissive disputation concerning the points controverted by both
Churches, she did set down her own gests, without their privity, and
made all their progressions, gradations; but for that the tenents of
her secrets, with the intents of her establishments, were pitched
before it was known where the Court would sit down.

Neither do I find that any of her sister's Council of State were
either repugnant to her religion, or opposed her doings; Englefeild,
Master of the Wards, excepted, who withdrew himself from the Board,
and shortly after out of her dominions; so pliable and obedient they
were to change with the times and their prince; and of them will
fall a relation of recreation. Paulet, Marquis of Winchester, and
Lord Treasurer, had served then four princes, in as various and
changeable times and seasons, that I may well say no time nor age
hath yielded the like precedent. This man, being noted to grow high
in her favour (as his place and experience required), was questioned
by an intimate friend of his, how he had stood up for thirty years
together, amidst the change and ruins of so many Chancellors and
great personages. "Why," quoth the marquis, "ORTUS SUM E SALICE,
NON EX QUERCU," I.E., "I am made of pliable willow, not of the
stubborn oak." And, truly, it seems the old man had taught them
all, especially William, Earl of Pembroke, for they two were always
of the King's religion, and always zealous professors: of these it
is said that being both younger brothers, yet of noble houses, they
spent what was left them, and came on trust to the Court, where,
upon the bare stock of their wits, they began to traffic for
themselves, and prospered so well that they got, spent, and left
more than any subjects from the Norman Conquest to their own times;
whereupon it hath been prettily spoken that they lived in a time of

To conclude, then, of all the former reign, it is said that those
two lived and died chiefly in her grace and favour: by the letter
written upon his son's marriage with the Lady Catherine Grey, he had
like utterly to have lost himself; but at the instant of
consummation, as apprehending the unsafety and danger of
intermarriage with the blood royal, he fell at the Queen's feet,
where he both acknowledged his presumption, and projected the cause
and the divorce together: so quick he was at his work, that in the
time of repudiation of the said Lady Grey, he clapped up a marriage
for his son, the Lord Herbert, with Mary Sidney, daughter to Sir
Henry Sidney, then Lord Deputy or Ireland, the blow falling on
Edward, the late Earl of Hertford, who, to his cost, took up the
divorced lady, of whom the Lord Beauchamp was born, and William, now
Earl of Hertford, is descended.

I come now to present them to her own election, which were either
admitted to her secrets of State, or taken into her grace and
favour; of whom, in order, I crave leave to give unto posterity a
cautious description, with a short character or draught of the
persons themselves (for, without offence to others, I would be true
to myself), their memories and merits, distinguishing those of
MILITIAE {40} from the TOGATI; {41} and of both these she had as
many, and those as able ministers, as had any of her progenitors.


It will be out of doubt that my Lord of Leicester was one of the
first whom she made Master of the Horse; he was the youngest son
then living of the Duke of Northumberland, beheaded PRIMO MARIAE,
{42} and his father was that Dudley which our histories couple with
Empson, and both be much infamed for the caterpillars of the
commonwealth during the reign of Henry VII., who, being of a noble
extract, was executed the first year of Henry VIII., but not thereby
so extinct but that he left a plentiful estate, and such a son who,
as the vulgar speaks it, would live without a teat. For, out of the
ashes of his father's infamy, he rose to be a duke, and as high as
subjection could permit or sovereignty endure. And though he could
not find out any appellation to assume the crown in his own person,
yet he projected, and very nearly effected it, for his son Gilbert,
by intermarriage with the Lady Jane Grey, and so, by that way, to
bring it into his loins. Observations which, though they lie beyond
us, and seem impertinent to the text, yet are they not much
extravagant, for they must lead us and show us how the after-
passages were brought about, with the dependences on the line of a
collateral workmanship; and surely it may amaze a well-settled
judgment to look back into these times and to consider how the duke
could attain to such a pitch of greatness, his father dying in
ignominy, and at the gallows, his estate confiscated for pilling and
polling the people.

But, when we better think upon it, we find that he was given up but
as a sacrifice to please the people, not for any offence committed
against the person of the King; so that upon the matter he was a
martyr of the prerogative, and the King in honour could do no less
than give back to his son the privilege of his blood, with the
acquiring of his father's profession, for he was a lawyer, and of
the King's Council at Law, before he came to be EX INTERIORIBUS
CONSILIIS, {43} where, besides the licking of his own fingers, he
got the King a mass of riches, and that not with hazard, but with
the loss of his life and fame, for the King's father's sake.

Certain it is that his son was left rich in purse and brain, which
are good foundations, and fuel to ambition; and, it may be supposed,
he was on all occasions well heard of the King as a person of mark
and compassion in his eye, but I find not that he did put up for
advancement during Henry VIII.'s time, although a vast aspirer and a
provident stayer.

It seems he thought the King's reign was much given to the falling-
sickness, but espying his time fitting, and the sovereignty in the
hands of a pupil prince, he then thought he might as well put up,
for it was the best; for having the possession of blood, and of
purse, with a head-piece of a vast extent, he soon got to honour,
and no sooner there but he began to side it with the best, even with
the Protector, {44} and, in conclusion, got his and his brother's
heads; still aspiring till he expired in the loss of his own, so
that posterity may, by reading of the father and grandfather, make
judgment of the son; for we shall find that this Robert, whose
original we have now traced the better to present him, was inheritor
to the genius and craft of his father, and Ambrose of the estate, of
whom hereafter we shall make some short mention.

We took him now as he was admitted into the Court and the Queen's
favours, and here he was not to seek to play his part well and
dexterously; but his play was chiefly at the fore-game, not that he
was a learner at the latter, but he loved not the after-wit, for the
report is (and I think not unjustly) that he was seldom behind-hand
with his gamesters, and that they always went with the loss.

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Online LibraryPaul HentznerTravels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites → online text (page 5 of 9)