Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 wbat she ad 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 bis share in baffling the designs of the court of Spain, Welwood, in his “ Memoirs,” informs us that Walsingham, 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 hitherto 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 bad intelligence from Madrid, that Philip had told his council that he had dis. patched an express to Rome with a letter written with his own hand to the pope, acquainting him with the true design 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 letter, 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 tbis intelligence Walsinghanı 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 Walsingbam's life we have few particulars. It appears, that, in 1589, he entertained queen Elizabeth at his house at Barn Elms, and,



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as was usual in all her majesty's visits, her wbole 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 Wyai'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 Colchester. He passed his latter days mostly in this retirement at Barnes, and when any of his former gay companions 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 'uis fit I should be so. 01! 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 his blood for us : the Holy Spirit is serious, 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 most 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 conjec.. ture. 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 à 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, wearing 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 doubtedly one of the most refined politicians, and most penetrating statesmen, that ever any age produced. He bad 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, wben the queen expressed her apprehension of the Spanish designs against that kingdom, to have answered, “Madam, be content, and fear not. The Spaniard hath a great appetite, and an excellent digestion. But I hare fitted him with a bone for these twenty years, that your majesty shall have no 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 murder of the queen; the admitting of him, under the pretence of discovering the plot, to ber majesty's presence; and then letting him go where he would, only on the security of a centinel set over hin, was an instance of


[ocr errors]

reach and bazard beyond common apprehension. The queen of Scots' letters were all carried to him by her own servant, whom she trusted, and were decyphered for him by one Philips, and sealed up again by one Gregory; so that neither that queen, nor any of her correspondents ever perceived either the seals defaced, or letters delayed. Video et taceo, was his saying, before it was his mistress's inotto. He served himself of the court factions as the queen did, neither advancing the one, nor depressing the other. He was familiar with Cecil, allied to Leicester, and an oracle to Radcliffe earl of Sussex. His conversation was insinuating, and yet reserved. He saw every man, and pone saw him. “His spirit,” says Lloyd, “was as public as his parts; yet as debonnaire as he was prudent, and as obliging to the softer but predominant parts of the world, as he was serviceable to the more severe; and no less dextrous to work on humours than to convince reason. He would say, he must observe the joints and flexures of affairs ; and so could do more with a story, than others could with an harangue. He always surprized business, and preferred motions in the heat of other diversions; and if he must debate it, he would hear all, and with the advantage of foregoing speeches, that either cautioned or confirmed his resolutions, he carried all before bim in conclusion, without reply. To bim men's faces spake as much as their tongues, and their countenances were indexes of their hearts. He would so beset men with questions, and draw them on, that they discovered themselves whether they answered or were silent. He maintained fifty-three agents and eighteen spies in foreign courts; and for two pistoles an order had all the private papers in Europe. Few letters escaped his hands; and he could read their contents without touching the seals. Religion was the interest of his country, in his judgment, and of his soul; therefore he maintained it as sincerely as he lived it. It had his head, his purse, and his heart. He laid the great foundation of the protestant constitution as to its policy, and the main plot against the popish as to its ruin."

In “Cottoni Posthuma, or divers and choice pieces of sir Robert Cotton," &c. is a short article entitled " Sir Francis Walsingham's anatomising of Honesty, Ambition, and Fortitude;" but the book ascribed to him, entitled “ Arcana Aulica ; or, Walsyogham's Manual, or prudential Maxims," is distinguished in Germany, and has produced several other great men.'

WALTON (BRIAN), a learned English bishop, and edi. tor of the celebrated Polyglott Bible, was born at Cleaveland jo the North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1600. He was admitted sizer of Magdalen college, Cambridge, under Mr. John Gooch, but in 1616 removed to Peter-House college, where he took a master of arts degree in 1623. About that time, or before, he taught a school, and served as a curate in Suffolk, whence he removed to London, and lived for a little time as assistant or curate to Mr. Stock, rector of Allhallows in Bread-street. After the death of Mr. Stock, he became rector of St. Martin's Orgar in London, and of Sandon in Essex; to the latter of which he was admitted in January 1635, and the same day to St. Giles's-in-theFields, which he quitted soon after. The way to preferment lay pretty open then to a man of his qualities; for, he had not only uncommon learning, which was more re. garded then than it had been of late years, but he was also exceedingly zealous for the church and king. In 1639, be commenced doctor of divinity; at which time he was prebendary of St. Paul's and chaplain to the king. sessed also another branch of knowledge, which made him very acceptable to the clergy: he was well versed in the laws of the land, especially those which relate to the patrimony and liberties of the church. During the controversy between the clergy and inhabitants of the city of London, about the tithes of rent, he was very industrious and active in behalf of the former; and upon that occasion made so exact and learned a collection of customs, prescriptions, laws, orders, proclamations, and compositions, for many hundred years together, relating to that matter, (an abstract of which was afterwards published,) that the judge declared, “there could be no dealing with the London ministers if Mr. Walton pleaded for them.” Such qualities, however, could only render him peculiarly obnoxious to the republican party, and accordingly, when they had assumed the superiority, he was summoned by the House of Commons as a delinquent; was sequestered from his living of St. Martin's Orgar, plundered, and forced to fly; but whether he went to Oxford directly, or to bis other living of Sandon in Essex, does not appear. It is, however, certain that

He pos

! Moreri. ---Dict. Hist.

« PreviousContinue »