Page images
PDF
EPUB

A DECLARATION

OF THE

PRACTICES AND TREASONS,

ATTEMPTED AND COMMITTED BY

ROBERT, LATE EARL OF ESSEX, AND HIS COMPLICES,

AGAINST HER MAJESTY AND HER KINGDOMS;

AND OF THE PROCEEDINGS AS WELL AT THE ARRAIGNMENTS AND CONVICTIONS OF THE SAID LATE EARL,
AND HIS ADHERENTS, AS AFTER: TOGETHER WITH THE VERY CONFESSIONS, AND OTHER PARTS
OF THE EVIDENCES THEMSELVES, WORD FOR WORD, TAKEN OUT OF THE ORIGINALS.

IMPRINTED ANNO 1601.*

THOUGH public justice passed upon capital offenders, according to the laws, and in course of an honourable and ordinary trial, where the case would have borne and required the severity of martial law to have been speedily used, do in itself carry a sufficient satisfaction towards all men, specially in a merciful government, such as her majesty's is approved to be: yet, because there do pass abroad in the hands of many men divers false and corrupt collections and relations of the proceedings at the arraignment of the late Earls of Essex and Southampton; and, again, because it is requisite that the world do understand as well the precedent practices and inducements to the treasons, as the open and actual treasons themselves, though in a case of life it was not thought convenient to insist at the trial upon matter of inference or presumption, but chiefly upon matter of plain and direct proofs; therefore it hath been thought fit to publish to the world a brief declaration of the practices and treasons attempted and committed by Robert, late Earl of Essex, and his complices against her majesty and her kingdoms, and of the proceedings at the convictions of the said late earl and his adherents upon the same treasons: and not so only, but therewithal, for the better warranting and verifying of the narration, to set down in the end the very confessions and testimonies themselves, word for word, taken out of the originals, whereby it will be most manifest that nothing is obscured or disguised, though it do appear by divers most wicked and seditious libels thrown abroad, that the dregs of these treasons which the late Earl of Essex himself, a little before his

* See ante, 341.

death, did term a leprosy, that had infected far and near, do yet remain in the hearts and tongues of some misaffected persons.

The most partial will not deny, but that Robert, late Earl of Essex, was, by her majesty's manifold benefits and graces, besides oath and allegiance, as much tied to her majesty, as the subject could be to the sovereign; her majesty having heaped upon him both dignities, offices, and gifts, in such measure, as within the circle of twelve years, or more, there was scarcely a year of rest, in which he did not obtain at her majesty's hands some notable addition either of honour or profit.

But he on the other side making these her majesty's favours nothing else but wings for his ambition, and looking upon them not as her benefits, but as his advantages, supposing that to be his own metal which was but her mark and impression, was so given over by God, who often punisheth ingratitude by ambition, and ambition by treason, and treason by final ruin, as he had long ago plotted it in his heart to become a dangerous supplanter of that seat, whereof he ought to have been a principal supporter; in such sort as now every man of common sense may discern not only his last actual and open treasons, but also his former more secret practices and preparations towards those his treasons, and that without any gloss or interpreter, but himself and his own doings.

For, first of all, the world can now expound why it was that he did aspire, and had almost attained unto a greatness, like unto the ancient greatness of the "præfectus prætorio" under the emperors of Rome, to have all men of war to make their sole and particular dependence upon him; that with such jealousy and watchfulness

he sought to discountenance any one that might be a competitor to him in any part of that greatness, that with great violence and bitterness he sought to suppress and keep down all the worthiest martial men, which did not appropriate their respects and acknowledgments only towards himself. All which did manifestly detect and distinguish, that it was not the reputation of a famous leader in the wars which he sought, as it was construed a great while, but only power and greatness to serve his own ends, considering he never loved virtue nor valour in another, but where he thought he should be proprietary and commander of it, as referred to himself.

thirst he did affect and compass the government of Ireland, which he did obtain. For although he made some formal shows to put it from him; yet in this, as in most things else, his desires being too strong for his dissimulations, he did so far pass the bounds of decorum, as he did in effect name himself to the queen by such description and such particularities as could not be applied to any other but himself; neither did he so only, but, farther, he was still at hand to offer and urge vehemently and peremptorily exceptions to any other that was named.

Then, after he once found that there was no man but himself, who had other matters in his head, so far in love with that charge, as to make any competition or opposition to his pursuit, whereby he saw it would fall upon him, and especially after himself was resolved upon; he began to make propositions to her majesty by way of taxation of the former course held in managing the actions of Ireland, especially upon three points; the first, that the proportions of forces which had been there maintained and continued by supplies, were not sufficient to bring the prosecutions there

So likewise those points of popularity which every man took notice and note of, as his affable gestures, open doors, making his table and his bed so popularly places of audience to suitors, denying nothing when he did nothing, feeding many men in their discontentments against the queen and the state, and the like; as they were ever since Absalom's time the forerunners of treasons following, so in him were they either the qualities of a nature disposed to disloyalty, or the beginnings and conceptions of that which after-to period. The second, that the axe had not wards grew to shape and form.

been put to the root of the tree, in regard there But as it were a vain thing to think to search had not been made a main prosecution upon the the roots and first motions of treasons, which are arch-traitor, Tyrone, in his own strength, within known to none but God that discerns the heart, the province of Ulster. The third, that the proseand the devil that gives the instigation; so it is cutions before time had been intermixed and intermore than to be presumed, being made apparent rupted with too many temporizing treaties, whereby the evidence of all the events following, that by the rebel did ever gather strength and reputahe carried into Ireland a heart corrupted in his tion to renew the war with advantage. All which allegiance, and pregnant of those or the like trea-goodly and well-sounding discourses, together sons which afterwards came to light. with the great vaunts, that he would make the

For being a man by nature of a high imagina-earth tremble before him, tended but to this, that tion, and a great promiser to himself as well as to others, he was confident that if he were once the first person in a kingdom, and a sea between the queen's seat and his, and Wales the nearest land from Ireland, and that he had got the flower of the English forces into his hands, which he thought so to intermix with his own followers, as the whole body should move by his spirit, and if he might have also absolutely into his own hands "potestatem vitæ et necis, et arbitrium belli et pacis," over the rebels of Ireland, whereby he might entice and make them his own, first by pardons and conditions, and after by hopes to bring them in place where they should serve for hope of better booties than cows, he should be able to make that place of lieutenancy of Ireland as a rise or step to ascend to his desired greatness in England.

And although many of these conceits were windy, yet neither were they the less like to his; neither are they now only probable conjectures or comments upon these his last treasons, but the very preludes of actions almost immediately subsequent, as shall be touched in due place.

But, first, it was strange with what appetite and

the queen should increase the list of her army, and all proportions of treasure and other furniture, to the end his commandment might be the greater. For that he never intended any such prosecution, may appear by this, that even at the time before his going into Ireland, he did open himself so far in speech to Blunt, his inwardest counsellor, “That he did assure himself that many of the rebels in Ireland would be advised by him:" so far was he from intending any prosecution towards those in whom he took himself to have interest. But his ends were two; the one, to get great forces into his hands; the other, to oblige the heads of the rebellion unto him, and to make them of his party. These two ends had in themselves a repugnancy; for the one imported prosecution, and the other treaty: but he that meant to be too strong to be called to account for any thing, and meant besides, when he was once in Ireland, to engage himself in other journeys that should hinder the prosecution in the north, took things in order as they made for him; and so first did nothing, as was said, but trumpet a final and utter prosecution against Tyrone in the north, to the end, to have his forces augmented.

But yet he forgat not his other purpose of making himself strong by a party amongst the rebels, when it came to the scanning of the clauses of his commission. For then he did insist, and that with a kind of contestation, that the pardoning, no, not of Tyrone himself, the capital rebel, should be excepted and reserved to her majesty's immediate grace; being infinitely desirous that Tyrone should not look beyond him for his life or pardon, but should hold his fortune as of him, and account for it to him only.

So, again, whereas, in the commission of the Earl of Sussex, and of all other lieutenants or deputies, there was ever in that clause, which giveth unto the lieutenant or deputy that high or regal point of authority to pardon treasons and traitors, an exception contained of such cases of treason as are committed against the person of the king; it was strange, and suspiciously strange even at that time, with what importunity and instance he did labour, and in the end prevailed to have that exception also omitted, glossing then, that because he had heard that, by strict exposition of law, (a point in law that he would needs forget at his arraignment, but could take knowledge of it before, when it was to serve his own ambition,) all treasons of rebellion did tend to the destruction of the king's person, it might breed a buz in the rebels' heads, and so discourage them from coming in: whereas he knew well that in all experience passed, there was never rebel made any doubt or scruple upon that point to accept of pardon from all former governors, who had their commissions penned with that limitation, their commissions being things not kept secretly in a box, but published and recorded: so as it appeared manifestly, that it was a mere device of his own out of the secret reaches of his heart, then not revealed; but it may be shrewdly expounded since, what his drift was, by those pardons which he granted to Blunt the marshal, and Thomas Lee, and others, that his care was no less to secure his own instruments than the rebels of Ireland.

Yet was there another point for which he did contend and contest, which was, that he might not be tied to any opinion of the council of Ireland, as all others in certain points, as pardoning traitors, concluding war and peace, and some other principal articles, had been before him; to the end he might be absolute of himself, and be fully master of opportunities and occasions for the performing and executing of his own treasonable ends.

But after he had once, by her majesty's singular trust and favour toward him, obtained his patent of commission as large, and his list of forces as full as he desired, there was an end in his course of the prosecution in the north. For, being arrived into Ireland, the whole carriage of his actions there was nothing else but a cunning

defeating of that journey, with an intent, as appeared, in the end of the year, to pleasure and gratify the rebel with a dishonourable peace, and to contract with him for his own greatness.

Therefore, not long after he had received the sword, he did voluntarily engage himself in an unseasonable and fruitless journey into Munster, a journey never propounded in the council there, never advertised over hither while it was past: by which journey her majesty's forces, which were to be preserved entire, both in vigour and number for the great prosecution, were harassed and tired with long marches together, and the northern prosecution was indeed quite dashed and made impossible.

But, yet, still doubting he might receive from her majesty some quick and express commandment to proceed; to be sure he pursued his former device of wrapping himself in other actions, and so set himself on work anew in the county of Ophaley, being resolved, as is manifest, to dally out the season, and never to have gone that journey at all: that setting forward which he made in the very end of August, being but a mere play and a mockery, and for the purposes which now shall be declared.

After he perceived that four months of the summer, and three parts of the army were wasted, he thought now was a time to set on foot such a peace, as might be for the rebels' advantage, and so to work a mutual obligation between Tyrone and himself; for which purpose he did but seek a commodity. He had there with him in his army one Thomas Lee, a man of a seditious and working spirit, and one that had been privately familiar and entirely beloved of Tyrone, and one that afterwards, immediately upon Essex's open rebellion, was apprehended for a desperate attempt of violence against her majesty's person; which he plainly confessed, and for which he suffered. Wherefore, judging him to be a fit instrument, he made some signification to Lee of such an employment, which was no sooner signified than apprehended by Lee. He gave order also to Sir Christopher Blunt, marshal of his army, to license Lee to go to Tyrone, when he should require it. But Lee thought good to let slip first unto Tyrone, which was, nevertheless, by the marshal's warrant, one James Knowd, a person of wit and sufficiency, to sound in what terms and humours Tyrone then was. This Knowd returned a message from Tyrone to Lee, which was, That if the Earl of Essex would follow Tyrone's plot, he would make the Earl of Essex the greatest man that ever was in England: and, farther, that if the earl would have conference with him, Tyrone would deliver his eldest son in pledge for his assurance. This message was delivered by Knowd to Lee, and by Lee was imparted to the Earl of Essex, who, after this message, employed Lee himself to Tyrone, and by his negotiating,

whatsoever passed else, prepared and disposed | between them, which made them speak with some Tyrone to the parley.

And this employment of Lee was a matter of that guiltiness in my lord, as, being charged with it at my lord keeper's only in this nature, for the message of Knowd was not then known, that when he pretended to assail Tyrone, he had before underhand agreed upon a parley, my lord utterly denied it that he ever employed Lee to Tyrone at all, and turned it upon Blunt, whom he afterwards required to take it upon him, having before sufficiently provided for the security of all parts, for he had granted both to Blunt and Lee pardons of all treasons under the great seal of Ireland, and so, himself disclaiming it, and they being pardoned, all was safe.

But when that Tyrone was by these means, besides what others, God knows, prepared to demand a parley, now was the time for Essex to acquit himself of all the queen's commandments, and his own promises and undertakings for the northern journey; and not so alone, but to have the glory at the disadvantage of the year, being but 2,500 strong of foot, and 300 of horse, after the fresh disaster of Sir Conyers Clifford, in the height of the rebels' pride, to set forth to assail, and then that the very terror and reputation of my Lord of Essex's person was such as did daunt him, and make him stoop to seek a parley; and this was the end he shot at in that September journey, being a mere abuse and bravery, and but inducements only to the treaty, which was the only matter he intended. For Essex drawing now to wards the catastrophe, or last part of that tragedy, for which he came upon the stage in Ireland, his treasons grew to a farther ripeness. For, knowing how unfit it was for him to communicate with any English, even of those whom he trusted most, and meant to use in other treasons, that he had an intention to grow to an agreement with Tyrone, to have succours from him for the usurping upon the state here; (not because it was more dangerous than the rest of his treasons, but because it was more odious, and in a kind monstrous, that he should conspire with such a rebel, against whom he was sent; and therefore might adventure to alienate men's affections from him ;) he drave it to this, that there might be, and so there was, under colour of treaty, an interview and private conference between Tyrone and himself only, no third person admitted. A strange course, considering with whom he dealt, and especially considering what message Knowd had brought, which should have made him rather call witnesses to him, than avoid witnesses. But he being only true to his own ends, easily dispensed with all such considerations. Nay, there was such careful order taken, that no person should overhear one word that passed between them two, as, because the place appointed and used for the parley was such, as there was the depth of a brook

loudness, there were certain horsemen appointed by order from Essex, to keep all men off a great distance from the place.

It is true, that the secrecy of that parley, as it gave to him the more liberty of treason, so it may give any man the more liberty of surmise what was then handled between them, inasmuch as nothing can be known, but by report from one of them two, either Essex or Tyrone.

But although there were no proceeding against Essex upon these treasons, and that it were a needless thing to load more treasons upon him then, whose burden was so great after; yet, for truth's sake, it is fit the world know what is testified touching the speeches, letters, and reports of Tyrone, immediately following this conference, and observe also what ensued likewise in the designs of Essex himself.

On Tyrone's part it fell out, that the very day after that Essex came to the court of England, Tyrone having conference with Sir William Warren at Armagh, by way of discourse told him, and bound it with an oath, and iterated it two or three several times; That within two or three months he should see the greatest alterations and strangest that ever he saw in his life, or could imagine: and that he, the said Tyrone, hoped ere long to have a good share in England. With this concurred fully the report of Richard Bremingham, a gentleman of the pale, having made his repair about the same time to Tyrone, to right him in a cause of land; saving that Bremingham delivers the like speech of Tyrone to himself; but not what Tyrone hoped, but what Tyrone had promised in these words, That he had promised, it may be thought to whom, ere long to show his face in England, little to the good of England.

These generalities coming immediately from the report of Tyrone himself, are drawn to more particularity in a conference had between the Lord Fitz-Morrice, Baron of Liksnaw in Munster, and one Thomas Wood, a person well reputed of, immediately after Essex coming into England. In which conference Fitz-Morrice declared unto Wood, that Tyrone had written to the traitorous titulary Earl of Desmond to inform him, that the condition of that contract between Tyrone and Essex was, That Essex should be King of England; and that Tyrone should hold of him the honour and state of Viceroy of Ireland; and that the proportion of soldiers which Tyrone should bring or send to Essex, were 8,000 Irish. With which concurreth fully the testimony of the said James Knowd, who, being in credit with Owny Mac Roory, chief of the Omoores in Lemster, was used as a secretary for him, in the writing of a letter of Tyrone, immediately after Essex coming into England. The effect of which letter was, To understand some light of the secret agreement between the Earl of Essex and Tyrone,

that he, the said Owny, might frame his course | carry with him of the army in Ireland as much as accordingly. Which letter, with farther instruc- he could conveniently transport, at least the tions to the same effect, was, in the presence of choice of it, to the number of two or three thouKnowd, delivered to Turlagh Macdauy, a man of sand, to secure and make good his first descent trust with Owny, who brought an answer from on shore, purposing to land them at MilfordTyrone: the contents whereof were, That the Haven in Wales, or thereabouts: not doubting, Earl of Essex had agreed to take his part, and but that his army would so increase within a that they should aid him towards the conquest of small time, by such as would come in to him, as England. he should be able to march with his power to London, and make his own conditions as he thought good. But both Southampton and Blunt dissuaded him from this enterprise; Blunt alleging the hazard of it, and that it would make him odious: and Southampton utterly disliking of that course, upon the same and many other reasons. Howbeit, thereupon Blunt advised him rather to another course, which was to draw forth of the army some 200 resolute gentlemen, and with those to come over, and so to make sure of the court, and so to make his own conditions. Which confessions it is not amiss to deliver, by what a good providence of God they came to light: for they could not be used at Essex's arraignment to charge him, because they were uttered after his death.

Besides, very certain it is, and testified by divers credible persons, that immediately upon this parley, there did fly abroad, as sparkles of this fire, which it did not concern Tyrone so much to keep secret, as it did Essex, a general and received opinion, that went up and down in the mouths both of the better and meaner sort of rebels; That the Earl of Essex was theirs, and they his; and that he would never leave the one sword, meaning that of Ireland, till he had gotten the other in England; and that he would bring them to serve, where they should have other manner of booties than cows; and the like speeches. And Thomas Lee himself, who had been, as was before declared, with Tyrone two or three days, upon my lord's sending, and had sounded him, hath left it confessed under his hand; That he knew the Earl of Essex and Tyrone to be one, and to run the same courses.

And certain it is also, that immediately upon that parley, Tyrone grew into a strange and unwonted pride, and appointed his progresses and visitations to receive congratulations and homages from his confederates, and behaved himself in all things as one that had some new spirit of hope and courage put into him.

But on the Earl of Essex his part ensued immediately after this parley a strange motion and project, which, though no doubt he had harboured in his breast before; yet, for any thing yet appeareth, he did not utter and break with any in it, before he had been confirmed and fortified in his purpose, by the combination and correspondence which he found in Tyrone upon their conference. Neither is this a matter gathered out of reports, but confessed directly by two of his principal friends and associates, being witnesses upon their own knowledge, and of that which was spoken to themselves: the substance of which confession is this: That a little before my lord's coming over into England, at the castle of Dublin, where Sir Christopher Blunt lay hurt, having been lately removed thither from Rheban, a castle of Thomas Lee's, and placed in a lodging that had been my Lord of Southampton's; the Earl of Essex took the Earl of Southampton with him to visit Blunt, and there being none present but they three, my Lord of Essex told them, he found it now necessary for him to go into England, and would advise with them of the manner of his going, since to go he was resolved. And thereupon propounded unto them, that he thought it fit to

But Sir Christopher Blunt at his arraignment, being charged that the Earl of Essex had set it down under his hand, that he had been a principal instigator of him to his treasons, in passion brako forth into these speeches: That then he must be forced to disclose what farther matters he had held my lord from, and desired for that purpose, because the present proceeding should not be interrupted, to speak with the Lord Admiral and Mr. Secretary after his arraignment, and so fell most naturally, and most voluntarily into this his confession, which, if it had been thought fit to have required of him at that time publicly, he had delivered before his conviction. And the same confession he did after, at the time of his execution, constantly and fully confirm, discourse particularly, and take upon his death, where never any man showed less fear, nor a greater resolution to die.

And the same matter, so by him confessed, was likewise confessed with the same circumstances of time and place by Southampton, being severally examined thereupon.

So as now the world may see how long since my lord put off his vizard, and disclosed the secrets of his heart to two of his most confident friends, falling upon that unnatural and detestable treason, whereunto all his former actions in his government in Ireland, and God knows how long before, were but introductions.

But finding that these two persons, which of all the rest he thought to have found forwardest, Southampton, whose displacing he had made his own discontentment, having placed him no ques-tion to that end, to find cause of discontentment, and Blunt, a man so enterprising and prodigal of

« PreviousContinue »