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learnial character though noction require
“ for he esteemed the said earl," says Melvil, “a scorner of religion, a sower of discord, and a despiser of true and honest men; and therefore he refused to speak with him, or enter into acquaintance; for he was of a contrary nature, religious, true, and a lover of all honest men.” Arran, in resentment, did every thing he could to affront Walsingham ; but the latter, on his return, made a very advantageous representation to Elizabeth, of the character and abilities of king James. Hume observes, that Elizabeth's 'chief purpose in employing Walsingham on an enibassy
where so little business was to be transacted, was to learn, from a man of so much penetration and discernment, the real character of James. This young prince possessed very good parts, though not accompanied with that vigour and industry which his station required; and as he ex. celled in general discourse and conversation, Walsingham entertained a bigher idea of his talents than he was afterwards found, when real business was transacted, to have fully merited.” Lloyd, who imputes universal genius to Warsingham, says, that he could “as well fit the humour of king James with passages out of Xenophon, Thucydides, Plutarch, or Tacitus, as he could that of Henry king of France with Rabelais's conceits, or the Hollander with mechanic discourses.”
Sir Francis Walsingham was not only assiduous in the discharge of those important trusts which were immediately committed to him, or were connected with his office as secretary of state, but he was also zealous to promote every public-spirited design, especially what regarded trade and navigation, which the English were at this time extending with great success to all parts of the world. Among others he patronized the celebrated Hakluyt in his studies and discoveries, and also promoted sir Humphrey Gilbert's voyage for the settling of Newfoundland, by procuring him a 'sum of money and two ships froin the merchants of Bristol.
In 1586, that “the distance between the churches (of Rome and England) should be made wide enough,” Antony Wood informs us that a new divinity-lecture was founded at Oxford by sir Francis, “a man of great abilities in the schools of policy, an extreme hater of the popes and church of Rome, and no less a favourer to those of the puritap party.” In the letters which sir Francis addressed to the chancellor of the university on this occasion, he
Rome and informs us that in het a man of grea
says, “ whereas it is found by good experience, that the learning in popery, and in superstition, whereof our Eng lishmen of late years trained in the seminaries beyond the sea so greatly glory, and so much hurt her majesty's good subjects, wben they come to this realm from thence, hath by no means grown and taken' root so deeply in those seminaries as by certain public teachers in those seminaries that read and handle only common places of their false religion, which some call dictates, whereby the English Jesuits, and late made priests beyond sea, though in truth of small or no reading at all themselves, yet make a great shew of learning : I cannot but marvel, and much mislike, that in our universities here at home, as great care is not bad for advancement of true religion of God here professed, by some more lectures of divinity to be read, especially the handling the principal parts of our religion, whereby no doubt but that the ministry of the churches of this realm, which should spring from the university, would be not only better to deliver all true doctrine, but also to confute upon every occasion the contrary," &c.—The first lecturer nominated by sir Francis, was the celebrated Dr. John Rainolds (See RAINOLDS, p. 494), but the lecture was only of the temporary kind, and is supposed to have ceased on the founder's death.
In the same year, 1586, he displayed his usual sagacity and vigilance in the management of every thing relative to the detection of Babington's conspiracy against queen Elizabeth ; and in October was one of the commissioners appointed to try Mary queen of Scotland. In the course of this trial Mary indirectly charged sir Francis with coun. terfeiting her letters and cyphers, and with practising both against her life and her son's. Upon this sir Thomas rose up, and protested that his heart was free from all malice against the Scottish queen. “I call God," says he, “ to witness, that as a private person I have done nothing unbeseeming an honest man; neither in my public condition and quality have I done any thing unworthy of my place. I confess, that out of my great care for the safety of the queen and realm, I have curiously endeavoured to search and sift out all plots and designs against the same. If Bala lard (one of the persons concerned in Babington's conspiracy) bad offered me his assistance, I should not have refused it; yea, I would have rewarded him for his pains and service. If I have tampered any thing with him, why did
be not discover it to save his life?” With this answer queen Mary said she was satisfied; and she desired sir Francis “ not to be angry that she had spoken so freely what she had heard reported, and that he would give no more credit to those that slandered her, than she did to such as accused him.”
Soon after this sir Francis was made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. As to his share in baffling the designs of the court of Spain, Welwood, in his “ Memoirs," informs us that Walsingbam, by a refined piece of policy, defeated, for a whole year together, the measures that the Spanish monarch had taken for fitting out his armada to invade England. "The vast preparations,” he says, “ that were making for a considerable time in Spain, kept all Europe in suspense, and it was not certain against whom they were designed; though it was the general opinion they were to subdue the Netherlands all at once, which Spain was sensible could not be done without a greater force by sea as well as land, than had bitherto been employed for that service. Queen Elizabeth thought fit to be upon her guard, and had some jealousies that she might be aimed at : but how to find it out was the difficulty, which at length Walsingham overcame. He had intelligence from Madrid, that Philip had told his council that he had dispatched an express to Rome with a letter written with his own hand to the pope, acquainting him with the true de. sign of his preparations, and asking his blessing upon it, which for some reasons he would not disclose to them till the return of the courier. The secret being thus lodged with the pope, Walsingham, by means of a Venetian priest retained at Rome as his spy, got a copy of the original let, ter, wbich was stolen out of the pope's cabinet by a gentleman of the bed-chamber, who took the keys out of the pope's pocket while he slept. And upon this intelligence Walsingham found a way to retard the Spanish invasion for a whole year, by getting the Spanish bills protested at Genoa, which should have supplied them with money to carry on their preparations.” In our article of Thomas Sutton, founder of the Charter-house, we have mentioned that this gentleman was Walsingham's chief agent in getting these bills protested.
Of the remainder of sir Francis Walsingham's life we have few particulars. It appears, that, in 1589, he entertained queen Elizabeth at his house at Barn Elms, and,
as was usual in all her majesty's visits, her whole court Previously to this visit, the queen had taken a lease of the manor of Barn-Elms, which was to commence after the expiration of sir Henry Wyat’s, in 1600. Her interest in this lease she granted by letters patent, bearing date the twenty-first year of her reign, to sir Francis Walsingham and his heirs. Sir Francis, in addition to his other dig, nities, was a knight of the garter, and recorder of Col. chester. He passed his latter days mostly in this retire, ment at Barnes, and when any of his former gay com panions came to see him and told him he was melancholy, he is said to have replied, “No, I am not melancholy ; I am serious; and 'ris fit I should be so. Oh! my friends, while we laugh, all things are serious round about us ; God is serious, who exerciseth patience towards us : Christ is serious, who shed bis blood for us : the Holy Spirit is serioùs, in striving against the obstinacy of our hearts: the holy scriptures bring to our ears the most serious things in the world the holy sacraments represent the most serious and awful matters; the whole creation is serious in serving God and us; all that are in heaven and hell are serious :-how then can we be gay?"
Sir Francis Walsingham died April 6, 1590, at his town house in Seething-lane, so poor, it is said, that his friends were obliged to bury him in St. Paul's late at night, in the inost private manner; in confirmation of which fact, no certificate of his funeral appears to have been entered at the Heralds' college, as was usual when any person of consequence was interred in a manner suitable to his rank. How he became so poor must now be a matter of conjeca tyre. In the early part of his public life we have seen that he expended his own fortune in the service of his country, and what he gained by his official employments was not, probably, more than sufficient to keep up his rank.
His only surviving daughter had the singular lot of being wife to three of the most accomplished men of the age, sir Philip Sidney, the earl of Essex, and the earl of Clanricard. She died at Barn-Elms, June 19, 1602, and was buried the next night privately, near her husband in St.. Paul's cathedral,
Sir Francis Walsingham was a puritan in his religious principles, and at first a favourer of them in some matters : of discipline. To them he offered, in 1583, in the queen's name, that provided they would conform in other points,
the three ceremonies of kneeling at the communion, wear ing the surplice, and the cross in baptism, should be expunged out of the Common-prayer. But they replying to these concessions in the language of Moses, that “they would not leave so much as a hoof behind,” meaning, that they would have the church-liturgy wholly laid aside, and not be obliged to the performance of any office in it; so unexpected an answer lost them in a great measure Walsingham's affection. His general character has been thus summed up, from various authorities : “ He was undoubtedly one of the most refined politicians, and most penetrating statesmen, that ever any age produced. He had an admirable talent both in discovering and managing the secret recesses of human nature : he had bis spies in most courts of Christendom, and allowed them a liberal maintenance; for his grand maxim was, that “ knowledge is never too dear." He spent his whole time and faculties in the service of the queen and her kingdoms; on which account her majesty was heard to say that “in diligence and sagacity he exceeded her expectation." He is thought (but this, we trust, is unfounded) to have had a principal hand in laying the foundation of the wars in France and Flanders; and is said, upon his return from his embassy in France, when the queen expressed her apprehension of the Spanish designs against that kingdom, to have an. swered, “ Madam, be content, and fear not. The Spaniard hath a great appetite, and an excellent digestion, But I have fitted him with a bone for these twenty years, that your majesty shall have no cause to dread him, provided, that if the fire chance to slack which I have kindled, you will be ruled by me, and cast in some of your fuel, which will revive the fame." He would cherish a plot some years together, admitting the conspirators to his own, and even the queen's presence, very familiarly; but took care to have them carefully watched. His spies constantly attended on particular men for three years together; and lest they should not keep the secret, he dispatched them into foreign parts, taking in new ones in their room. His training of Parry, who designed the mur. der of the queen; the admitting of him, under the pretence of discovering the plot, to her majesty's presence ; and then letting him go where he would, only on the security of a centinel set over him, was an instance of