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TO THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
I DESIRE in this, which I now presume to write to your grace, to be understood, that my bow carrieth not so high, as to aim to advise touching any of the great affairs now on foot, and so to pass it to his majesty through your hands; though it be true, that my good affection towards his majesty, and the prince, and the public, is that which will last die in me; and though I think also his majesty would take it but well, if having been that man I have been, my honest and loyal mind should sometimes feed upon those thoughts. But my level is no farther, but to do the part of a true friend, in advising yourself for your own greatness and safety; although, even in this also, I assure myself I perform a good duty to the public service, unto which I reckon your standing and power to be a firm and sound pillar of support.
First, therefore, my lord, call to mind oft, and consider duly, how infinitely your grace is bound to God in this one point, which I find to be a most rare piece, and wherein, either of ancient or late times, there are few examples; that is, that you are beloved so dearly, both by the king and the prince. You are not as a Lerma, or an Olivares, and many others the like, who have insinuated themselves into the favours of young princes, during the kings', their fathers', time, against the bent and inclination of the kings: but contrariwise, the king himself hath knit the knot of trust and favour between the prince and your grace, wherein you are not so much to take comfort in that you may seem to have two lives in your own greatness, as in this, that hereby you are enabled to be a noble instrument for the service, contentment, and heart'sease, both of father and son. For where there is so loving and indulgent a father, and so respective and obedient a son, and a faithful and worthy servant, interested in both their favours upon all occasions, it
cannot be but a comfortable house. This point your grace is pricipally to acknowledge and cherish.
Next, that, which I should have placed first, save that the laying open of God's benefits is a good preparation to religion and godliness, your grace is to maintain yourself firm and constant in the way you have begun; which is, in being, and shewing yourself to be, a true and sound Protestant. This is your soul's health. This is that you owe to God above, for his singular favours; and this is that which hath brought you into the good opinion and good will of the realm in general. So that, as your case differeth, as I said, from the case of other favourites, in that you have both king and prince; so in this, that you have also now the hearts of the best subjects, for I do not love the word people, your case differeth from your own, as it stood before. And because I would have your reputation in this point complete, let me advise you, that the name of Puritans in a Papist's mouth do not make you to withdraw your favour from such as are honest and religious men; so that they be not so turbulent and factious spirits, or adverse to the government of the Church, though they be traduced by that name. For of this kind is the greatest part of the body of the subjects; and besides, which is not to be forgotten, it is safest for the king and his service, that such men have their dependence upon your grace, who are entirely the king's, rather than upon any other subject.
For the Papists, it is not unknown to your grace, that you are not, at this time, much in their books. But be you like yourself; and far be it from you, under a king and prince of that clemency, to be inclined to rigour or persecution.
But three things must be looked unto: the first, that they be suppressed in any insolency, which may tend either to disquiet the civil estate, or scandalise our Church in fact; for otherwise, all their doctrine doth it in opinion. The second, that there be an end, or limit, of those graces, which shall be thought fit for them, and that there be not every day new demands hearkened to. The third, that for those cases and
graces, which they have received, or shall receive, of the state, the thanks go the right way; that is, to the king and prince, and not to any foreigner. For this is certain, that if they acknowledge them from the state, they may perhaps sit down when they are well. But if they have a dependence upon a foreigner, there will be no end of their growing desires and hopes. And in this point also, your lordship's wisdom and moderation may do much good.
For the match with Spain, it is too great and dark a business for me to judge of. But as it hath relation to concern yourself, I will, as in the rest, deal freely with your grace.
My lord, you owe, in this matter, two debts to the king: the one, that, if in your conscience and judgment you be persuaded it be dangerous and prejudicial to him and his kingdoms, you deliver your soul, and in the freedom of a faithful counsellor, joined with the humbleness of a dutiful servant, you declare yourself accordingly, and shew your reasons. The other, that if the king in his high judgment, or the prince in his settled affection, be resolved to have it go on, that then you move in their orb, as far as they shall lay it upon you. But mean while, let me tell your grace, that I am not of the general opinion abroad, that the match must break, or else my lord of Buckingham's fortune must break. I am of another opinion; and yet perhaps it will be hard to make you believe it, because both sides will persuade you to the contrary. For they that would not have it go on will work upon that conceit, to make you oppose it more strongly. They that would have it go on will do the same, to make you take up betimes, and come about. But I having good affiance in your grace's judgment, will tell you my reasons why I thus think, and so leave it. If the match should go on, and put case against your counsel and opinion, doth any man think, that so profound a king, and so well seen in the science of reigning, and so understanding a prince, will ever suffer the whole sway of affairs and greatness to go that way ? And, if not, who should
be a fitter person to keep the balance even than your grace, whom the king and prince know to be so intirely their own, and have found so nobly independent upon any other? Surely my opinion is, you are likely to be greater by counterpoise against the Spanish dependence, than you will by concurrence. And therefore, in God's name, do your duty faithfully and wisely; for behaving yourself well otherwise, as I know you will, your fortune is like to be well either way.
For that excellent lady, whose fortune is so distant from her merits and virtue, the queen of Bohemia, your grace, being as it were the first-born or prime man of the king's creatures, must in consequence owe the most to his children and generations; whereof I know your noble heart hath far greater sense than any man's words can infuse into you. And therefore whatsoever liveth within the compass of your duty, and of possibility, will no doubt spring from you out of that fountain.
It is open to every man's discourse, that there are but two ways for the restitution of the Palatinate, treaty and arms. It is good, therefore, to consider of the middle acts, which may make either of these ways desperate, to the end they may be avoided in that way which shall be chosen. If no match, either this with Spain, or perhaps some other with Austria, no restitution by treaty. If the Dutch, either be ruined, or grow to a peace, of themselves, with Spain, no restitution by war.
But these things your grace understandeth far better than myself. And, as I said before, the points of state I aim not at farther, than they may concern your grace, to whom, while I live, and shall find it acceptable to you, I shall ever be ready to give the tribute of a true friend and servant, and shall always think my counsels given you happy, if you shall pardon them, when they are free, and follow them, when they are good. God preserve and prosper you.
TO THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. (a)
THERE is a suit, whereunto I may, as it were, claim
and faithful servant,
This 23d of January, 1622.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
TO THE EARL OF OXFORD. (b)
My very good Lord,
LET me be an humble suitor to your lordship, for your noble favour. I would be glad to receive my writ this parliament, (c) that I may not die in disho
(a) The duke's answer to this letter, dated at Newmarket, the 28th of January, 1623, is printed p. 580 of Vol. V.
(b) Henry Vere, who died in 1625. He was lord great chamberlain of England.
(c) That met February 19, 1623, and was prorogued May 29,