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true, that in those matters, which, by your majesty's commandment and reference, came before the table concerning Sir Edward Coke, I was sometimes sharp,
it may be too much; but it was with end to have your majesty's will performed; or else, when methought he was more peremptory than became him, in respect of the honour of the table. It is true also, that I disliked the riot or violence, whereof we of your council gave your majesty advertisement by our joint letter; and I disliked it the more, because he justified it to be law; which was his old song. But in that act of council, which was made thereupon, I did not see but all my lords were as forward as myself, as a thing most necessary for preservation of your peace, which had been so carefully and firmly kept in your absence. And all this had a fair end, in a reconcilement made by Mr. Attorney, (b) whereby both husband and wife and child should have kept together. Which, if it had continued, I am persuaded the match had been in better and fairer forwardness, than now it is.
Now for the times of things, I beseech your majesty to understand that which my lord of Bucking ham will witness with me, that I never had any word of letter from his lordship of the business, till I wrote my letter of advice; nor again, after my letter of advice, till five weeks after, which was now within this sennight. So that although I did in truth presume, that the earl would do nothing without your majesty's privity; yet I was in some doubt, by this his silence of his own mind, that he was not earnest in it, but only was content to embrace the officious offers and endeavours of others.
But, to conclude this point, after I had received, by a former letter of his lordship, knowledge of his mind, I think Sir Edward Coke himself, the last time he was before the lords, might particularly perceive an alteration in my carriage. And now that your majesty hath been pleased to open yourself to me, I
(b) Sir Henry Yelverton.
shall be willing to further the match by any thing, that shall be desired of me, or that is in my power.
And whereas your majesty conceiveth some dregs of spleen in me by the word Mr. Bacon; truly it was but to express in thankfulness the comparative of my fortune unto your majesty, the author of the latter, to shew how little I needed to fear, while I had your favour. For, I thank God, I was never vindicative nor implacable.
As for my opinion of prejudice to your majesty's service, as I touched it before, I have done: I do humbly acquiesce in your majesty's satisfaction, and rely upon your majesty's judgment, who unto judgment have also power, so to mingle the elements, as may conserve the fabric.
For the interest, which I have in the mother, I do not doubt but it was increased by this, that I in judgment, as I then stood, affected that which she did in passion. But I think the chief obligation was, that I stood so firmly to her in the matter of her assurance, wherein I supposed I did your majesty service, and mentioned it in a memorial of council-business, as half craving thanks for it. And sure I am now, that, and the like, hath made Sir Edward Coke a convert, as I did write to your majesty in my last.
For the collation of the two spirits, I shall easily subscribe to your majesty's answer; for Solomon were no true man, if in matter of malice the woman should not be the superior.
To conclude, I have gone through, with the plainness of truth, the parts of your majesty's letter: very humbly craving pardon for troubling your majesty so long; and most humbly praying your majesty to continue me in your grace and favour, which is the fruit of my life upon the root of a good conscience. And although time in this business have cast me upon a particular, which, I confess, may have probable shew of passion or interest; yet God is my witness, that the thing that most moved me, was an anxious and solicitous care of your majesty's state and ser
vice, out of consideration of the time past and pre
God ever preserve and bless your majesty, and send you a joyful return after your prosperous journey.
The KING to the LORD KEEPER, in answer to his Lordship's letter from Gorhambury, of July 25, 1617.
RIGHT trusty and well beloved counsellor, we greet you well.
Although our approach doth now begin to be near London, and that there doth not appear any great necessity of answering your last letter, since we are so shortly to be at home; yet we have thought good to make some observations to you upon the same, that you may not err, by mistaking our meaning.
The first observation we are to make is, that, whereas you would invert the second sense, wherein we took your magnum in parvo, in accounting it to be made magnum by their streperous carriage, that were for the match, we cannot but shew you your mistaking therein. For every wrong must be judged by the first violent and wrongous ground, whereupon it proceeds. And was not the thefteous stealing away of the daughter from her own father (a) the first ground whereupon all this great noise hath since proceeded? For the ground of her getting again came upon a lawful and ordinary warrant, subscribed
(a) Lady Hatton had first removed her daughter to Sir Edmund Withipole's house, near Oatlands, without the knowledge of Sir Edward Coke; and from thence, according to a letter of Mr. Chamberlain, dated July 19, 1617, the young lady was privately conveyed to a house of the lord of Argyle's by Hampton-Court. "Whence," adds Mr. Chamberlain," her father, with a warrant from Mr. Secretary [Winwood] fetched her: but indeed went farther than his warrant, and brake open divers doors before he got her."
scribed by one of our council, (a) for redress of the former violence: and except the father of a child might be proved to be either lunatic, or idiot, we never read in any law, that either it could be lawful for any creature to steal his child from him; or that it was a matter of noise and streperous carriage for him to hunt for the recovery of his child again.
Our next observation is, that whereas you protest your affection to Buckingham, and thereafter confess, that it is in some sort parent-like; yet, after that you have praised his natural parts, we will not say, that you throw all down by a direct imputation upon him; but we are sure you do not deny to have had a greater jealousy of his discretion, than, so far as we conceive, he ever deserved at your or any man's hands. For you say, that you were afraid, that the height of his fortune might make him too secure; and so, as a looker-on, you might sometimes see more than a gamester. Now we know not how to interpret this in plain English otherwise, than that you were afraid, that the height of his fortune might make him misknow himself. And surely, if that be your parent-like affection toward him, he hath no obligation to you for it. And, for our part, besides our own proof, that we find him farthest from that vice of any courtier,
(a) Secretary Winwood, who, as Mr. Chamberlain observes, in the letter cited in the note above, was treated with ill language at the council-board by the lord keeper, and threatened with a premunire, on account of his warrant granted to Sir Edward Coke. His lordship, at the same time, told the lady Compton, mother of the earl of Buckingham, that they wished well to her and her sons, and would be ready to serve the earl with all true affection; whereas others did it out of faction and ambition. Which words glancing directly at secretary Winwood, he alledged, that what he had done was by the direction of the queen and the other parties, and shewed a letter of approbation of all his courses from the king, making the whole table judge what faction or ambition appeared in his carriage: to which no answer was returned. The queen, some time after, taking notice of the disgust, which the lord keeper had conceived against secretary Winwood, and asking his lordship, what occasion the secretary had given him to oppose himself so violently against him, his lordship answered," Madam, I can say no more but he is "proud, and I am proud." MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain, October 11, 1617.
that ever we had so near about us; so do we fear, that you shall prove the only phenix in that jealousy of all the kingdom. For we would be very sorry, that the world should apprehend that conceit of him. But we cannot conceal, that we think it was least your part of any to enter into that jealousy of him, of whom we have heard you oft speak in a contrary style. And as for that error of yours, which he lately palliated, whereof you seem to pretend ignorance; the time is so short since you commended to him one (a) to be of the barons of our exchequer in Ireland, as we cannot think you to be so short of memory, as to have forgotten how far you undertook in that business, before acquainting us with it; what a long journey you made the poor man undertake, together with the slight recommendation you sent of him; which drave us to those straits, that both the poor man had been undone, and your credit a little blasted, if Buckingham had not, by his importunity, made us both grant you more than suit, for you had already acted a part of it, and likewise run a hazard of the hindrance of your own service, by preferring a person to so important a place, whom you so slightly recommended.
Our third observation is upon the point of your opposition to this business, wherein you either do, or at least would seem to, mistake us a little. For first, whereas you excuse yourself of the oppositions you made against Sir Edward Coke at the council-table, both for that, and other causes; we never took upon us such a patrociny of Sir Edward Coke, as if he were a man not to be meddled withal in any case. For whatsoever you did against him, by our employment and commendation, we ever allowed it, and still do, for good service on your part. De bonis operibus non lapidamus vos. But whereas you talk of the riot and violence committed by him, we wonder you make no mention of the riot and violence of them,
(a) Mr. Lowder. See the letter of the earl of Buckingham, of the 5th of July.