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much fuperior to the vain and criminal glory of con- CHA P. quefts; but requiring ages of perfeverance and attention XLVII. to perfect what had been fo happily begun.
A LAUDABLE act of justice was, about this time, executed in England upon lord Sanquhir, a Scots nobleman, who had been guilty of a base affaffination upon Turner, a fencing-mafter. The English nation, who were generally dissatisfied with the Scots, were enraged at this crime, equally mean and atrocious; but James appeased them, by preferring the severity of the law to interceffion of the friends and family of the criminal ".
B Kennet, p. 688.
С Н А Р.
CHA P. XLVIII.
Death of prince Henry.Marriage of the Princefs Elizabeth with the Palatine.Rife of Somerfet. marriage.Overbury_poisoned. -Fall of SoRife of Buckingham.Cautionary towns
merfet.Rife of Buckingham.
СНАР. HIS year the fudden death of Henry prince of XLVIII. T Wales, diffufed an univerfal grief throughout the
nation. Though youth and royal birth, both of them ftrong allurements, prepoffefs men mightily in favour of the early age of all princes; it is with peculiar fondness, that hiftorians mention Henry: And, in every respect, his merit seems to have been extraordinary. He had not reached his eighteenth year, and he poffeffed already more dignity in his behaviour, and commanded more refpect, than his father, with all his age, learning, and experience. Neither his high fortune, nor his youth, had feduced him into any irregular pleafures: Business and ambition feem to have been his fole paffion. His inclinations, as well as exercises, were entirely martial. The French ambassador taking leave of him, and asking his commands for France, found him employed in the exercise of the pike; Tell your king, said he, in what occupation you left me engaged. He had conceived great affection and esteem for the brave Sir Walter Raleigh. It was his faying, Sure no king but my father would keep fuch a bird in a cage B. He feems indeed to have nourished too violent a contempt for the king, on account of his pedantry and pufillanimity; and by that means ftruck in with the reftlefs and martial spirit of the English nation. Had he lived, he had probably promoted the glory, perhaps not the felicity, of his people. The unhappy prepoffeffion, which men commonly entertain in favour of ambition, courage, enterprize, and other warlike virtues,
A The French monarch had given particular orders to his minifters to cultivate the prince's friendship; who must foon, faid he, have chief authority in England, where the king and queen are held in fo little estimation. See Dep. de la Boderie, vol. i. p. 402. 415. vol. ii. p. 16, 349.
B Coke's detection, p. 37.
engages generous natures, who always love fame, into C H A P. fuch purfuits as deftroy their own peace, and that of the XLVIII. reft of mankind.
VIOLENT reports were propagated, as if Henry had been carried off by poifon : but the phyficians, on opening his body, found no fymptoms to confirm fuch an opinion. The bold and criminal malignity of mens tongues and pens fpared not even the king on that occafion. But that prince's character seems to have failed rather in the extreme of facility and humanity, than in that of cruelty and violence. His indulgence to Henry was great, and perhaps imprudent, by giving him a very large and independant fettlement, even in fo early youth.
THE marriage of the princefs Elizabeth, with Fre- 1613. deric, elector Palatine, was finished fome time after Febr. 14. the death of the prince, and served to diffipate the grief, Marriage which arose on that melancholy event. But this marri- of the age, though celebrated with great joy and feftivity, pro- Elizabeth princefs ved, itself, an unhappy event to the king, as well as to with the his fon-in-law, and had ill confequences on the reputati- Palatine. on and fortunes of both. The elector, trusting to fo great an alliance, engaged in enterprizes beyond his ftrength And the king, not being able to fupport him in his diftrefs, loft entirely, in the end of his life, what remained of the affections and esteem of his own fubjects.
EXCEPT during feffions of parliament, the hiftory of this reign may more properly be called the hiftory of the court than that of the nation. A most interesting object Rife of had, for fome years, engaged the attention of the court: Somerset. It was a favourite, and one beloved by James with fo profufe and unlimited an affection, as left no room for any rival or competitor. About the end of the year 1609, Robert Carre, a youth of twenty years of age, and of a good family in Scotland, arrived in London, after having paffed fome time in his travels. All his natural accomplishments confifted in good looks: All his acquired abilities, in an eafy air and graceful demeanour. He had letters of recommendation to his countryman lord Hay; and that nobleman no fooner caft his eye upon him than he discovered talents fufficient to entitle him, immediately, to make a great figure in the government. Apprized
Kennet, p. 690. Coke, p. 37. Welwood, p. 272.
CHAP. Apprized of the king's paffion for youth, and beauty, XLVIII. and exterior appearance, he studied how matters might
be fo adjufted, that this new object fhould make the 1613. ftrongest impreffion upon him. Without mentioning
him at court, he affigned him the office, at a match of tilting, of prefenting to the king his buckler and device; and hoped that he would attract the attention of that monarch. Fortune proved favourable to his design, by an incident, which bore, at first, a contrary aspect. When Carre was advancing to execute his office, his unruly horse flung him and broke his leg in the king's prefence. James approached him with pity and concern: Love and affection arofe on the fight of his beauty and tender years; and the prince ordered him immediately to be lodged in the palace, and to be carefully attended. He himself, after the tilting, paid him a visit in his chamber, and returned frequently during his confinement. The ignorance and fimplicity of the boy finished the conqueft, begun by his exterior graces and accomplishments. Other princes have been fond of chufing their favourites from among the lower ranks of their fubjects, and have reposed themselves on them with the more unreserved confidence and affection, because the object has been beholden to their bounty for every honour and acquifition: James was defirous that his favourite fhould alfo derive from him all his fenfe, experience, and knowledge. Highly conceited of his own wifdom, he pleafed himself with the fancy, that this raw youth, by his leffons and instructions, would, in a little time, be equal to his fageft minifters, and be initiated into all the profound myfteries of government, on which he fet fo high a value. And as this kind of creation was more perfectly his own work than any other, he seems to have indulged an unlimited fondnefs for his minion, beyond even that which he bore to his own children. He foon knighted him, created him Viscount Rochefter, gave him the garter, brought him into the privy-council, and, though at first without affigning him any particular office, bestowed on him the fupreme direction of all his business and political concerns. Agreeable to this rapid advancement in confidence and honour, were the riches heaped upon the needy favourite; and while Salisbury and all the wifeft minifters could scarce find expedients fufficient to keep in motion the o'erburthened machine of go
vernment, James, with unfparing hand, loaded with CHA P. treasures this infignificant and ufelefs pageant D.
IT is faid, that the king found his pupil fo ill educated, as to be ignorant even of the lowest rudiments of the Latin tongue; and that the monarch, laying afide the fceptre, took the birch into his royal hand, and inftructed him in the principles of grammar. During the intervals of this noble occupation, affairs of state would be introduced; and the stripling, by the afcendant which he had acquired, was now enabled to repay in political what he had received in grammatical inftruction. Such fcenes, and fuch incidents, are the more ridiculous, though the lefs odious, as the paffion of James feems not to have contained in it any thing criminal or flagitious. Hiftory charges herself willingly with a relation of the great crimes, or the great virtues of mankind; but the appears to fall from her dignity, when neceffitated to dwell on fuch frivolous events and ignoble perfonages.
THE favourite was not, at first, fo intoxicated with advancement, as not to be fenfible of his own ignorance and inexperience. He had recourfe to the affistance and advice of a friend; and he was more fortunate in his choice, than is ufual with fuch pampered minions. In Sir Thomas Overbury he met with a judicious and fincere counsellor, who, building all hopes of his own. preferment on that of the young favourite, endeavoured to inftil into him the principles of prudence and difcretion. By zealoufly ferving every body, Carre was taught to abate the envy, which might attend his fudden elevation: By fhewing a preference for the English, he learned to escape the prejudices, which prevailed against his country. And fo long as he was contented to be ruled by Overbury's friendly counfels, he enjoy-. ed, what is rare, the highest favour of the prince, without being hated by the people.
To complete the measure of courtly happiness, nought was wanting but a kind miftrefs; and where high fortune concurred with all the graces of youth and beauty, this circumstance could not be difficult to attain. But it was here that the favourite met with that rock, on which all his fortunes were wrecked, and which plunged
D Kennet, p. 685. 686, &c.