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Queen de

mands debt

due to her

from Hat


A. D. 1591.

His last sickness.

Elizabeth visits him while ill in bed.

These youths could not have any serious apprehensions from the rivalry of the Chancellor, but they combined with other more experienced courtiers who marked his declining favour to set the Queen against him, and there was a general disposition at Court to vex and annoy him. We may remember that the Queen had lent a sum of money to free him from the embarrassments occasioned by his youthful extravagance, and he had since become farther indebted to her in respect of certain crown rents he had received, for which he was liable to account. Perhaps without any prompting (for she was always very mean in money concerns), she now desired that all these debts should be discharged, and she represented to him that as he had been for two or three years in possession of the most lucrative office in her gift, he could no longer plead poverty. He acknowledged the debt and her Majesty's forbearance, but represented his total inability yet to discharge it on account of the great charges brought upon him by the manner in which his installation had been conducted for her Majesty's honour, and by reason of his having confined himself strictly to the ancient fees, which, from the increased expence of living, had become very inadequate. He did not ask her to forgive him the debt, but he earnestly implored that further time might be allowed him for its payment. She was inexorable, and believing that this excuse was a mere pretence for cheating her, she directed her Attorney and Solicitor General to institute legal proceedings against him on his bond and statute merchant, under which the whole of his goods and lands might have been seized, and his person would have been liable to imprisonment.

All contemporary accounts agree that the Queen's neglect and cruelty had such an effect upon his spirits that he died of a broken heart. In Trinity term, 1591, it was publicly observed that he had lost his gaiety and good looks. He did not rally during the long vacation, and when Michaelmas term came round he was confined to his bed. His sad condition being related to Elizabeth, all her former fondness for him revived, and she herself hurried to his house in Ely Place with cordial broths, in the hope of restoring him. These she warmed and offered him with her own hand, while

he lay in bed, adding many soothing expressions, and bidding him live for her sake. "But," he said, "all will not do: No pullies will draw up a heart once cast down, though a Queen herself should set her hand thereunto.” He died in the evening of Friday the 21st of November, in the 54th year of his age. *

He was immediately compared to Jonah's gourd, and described as "a mere vegetable of the Court, that sprung at night and sunk again at noon."†



A. D. 1591.

His death.


He had, however, a most splendid funeral, and now that he His funewas gone, the Queen, to divert her grief, did all that lay in her power to honour his memory. On the 16th of December, his remains were interred in St. Paul's Cathedral, more than 300 Lords of the Council, nobles and knights, attending by her order, and her band of gentlemen pensioners which he had commanded guarding the procession. A sumptuous monument was raised to him, which perished in the fire of London. From his frivolous accomplishments which were of such His chaservice to him, we must not overlook the merits which belonged to him. Although he possessed a very slender portion of book-learning, he had a very ready wit, and was well versed in the study of mankind. "He was a person," says Naunton, "that besides the graces of his person and dancing, had also the adjectiments of a strong and subtle capacity,-one that could soon learn the discipline and garb both of the times and the Court."



He is said to bave shown great industry when he was made His deLord Chancellor, and to have made himself tolerably well acquainted with the practice of the Court of Chancery; but with a mind wholly unimbued with legal principles, his knowledge of it must have been very superficial. He issued

Camden, without descending into particulars which he considered inconsistent with the dignity of history, and although showing his usual tenderness for the reputation of Elizabeth, confirms the general account we have of the death of Hatton. Speaking of the severe proclamation against Catholics which it was supposed that the Chancellor condemned, he says, "Verum obierat Hattonus pridie quam hoc edictum publicatum ex diabete et animi mærore, quod Regina ingentem pecuniam ex decimis et primitiis quibus præfuit, collectam paulo acerbius exagerat quam pro ea qua apud ipsam floruit gratia condonandam sperarat. Nec hominem verbo dejectam relevare poterat quamvis inviseret et

consolatione dimulceret."


CHAP. several new orders to improve it, which were much applauded. With respect to these he could only have had the merit, so useful to Chancellors, of availing himself of the experience and talents of others. Again, it is said that none of his decrees were reversed; but if Dr. Swale and he had erred ever so much, there were hardly any means of correcting them; for there was no appeal to the House of Lords in Equity suits till the reign of Charles II., and there was no chance of bringing, with any effect, before the Council the decree of a Chancellor still in power. To give the public a notion that he had attended to the study of the law, he actually published a "Treatise concerning Acts of Parliament, and the Exposition thereof;" but it was well known to be written by another, and was withal a very poor production.

A jest by

him in the Court of

When presiding in the Court of Chancery, he disarmed his censurers by courtesy and good-humour, and he occasionally Chancery. ventured on a joke. At one time, when there was a case before him respecting the boundaries of an estate, a plan being produced, the counsel on one part said, "We lie on this side, my Lord;" and the counsel on the other part said, "And we lie on this side, my Lord;" whereupon the Lord Chancellor Hatton stood up and said, "If you lie on both sides, whom will you have me to believe ?” *

His severity in the Star Chamber.

His continued love


Although none of his decisions in Chancery have come down to us, we have a full account of a trial before him in the Star Chamber for a libel, when he presided with great gravity,- and with many apologies for the leniency of the sentence, he fined the defendant 20007., and directed the Judges to testify this punishment on their circuits, to the end the whole realm might have knowledge of it, and the people no longer be seduced with these lewd libellers. †

While holding the Great Seal his greatest distinction conof dancing tinued to be his skill in dancing, and, as often as he had an opportunity, he abandoned himself to this amusement. Attending the marriage of his nephew and heir with a Judge's daughter, he was decked, according to the custom of


Recorded by Lord Bacon in his Apothegms, or Jest Book.
Regina v. Knightley, 1 St. Tr. 1270.

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the age, in his official robes; and it is recorded, that when CHAP. the music struck up he doffed them, threw them down on the floor, and saying, "Lie there, Mr. Chancellor!" danced the measures at the nuptial festivity.*

He affected to be a protector of learned men, and Spenser presented to him a copy of his immortal poem, "The Faery Queen," accompanied by the following sonnet :

To the R. H. Sir C. Hatton, Lord High Chancellor of England.

Those prudent heads, that with their counsels wise,
Whilom the pillars of th' earth did sustain ;

And taught ambitious Rome to tyrannise,
And in the neck of all the world to reign.
Oft from those grave affairs were wont t' abstain,
With the sweet lady-muses for to play.

So Ennius, the elder Africain;

So Maro oft did Cæsar's cares allay.

So you, great Lord! that with your counsel sway
The burden of this kingdom mightily;

With like delights sometimes may eke delay,

The rugged brow of careful policy;

And to these idle rhymes lend little space,

Which, for their title's sake †, may find more grace.

Sonnet addressed to

him by Spenser.

Much erudition and great acquirements were now found to belong to the scape-grace student of the Temple,—and the University of Oxford elected for their Chancellor him to A. D. 1588. whom they would not grant a degree.

He was celebrated, or rather censured, in the intolerant Tolerant in age in which he lived, for trying to screen from persecution religion. both Papists and Puritans. ‡


The nature of his intimacy with Elizabeth, it is to be His liaison hoped, was not such as to deprive her of the right to the title with Elizathat she so often boasted of in public, but it certainly caused much scandal in their own time. §

* Captain Allen's Lett. in Birch. vol. i. p. 56.

"The Faery Queen," representing Queen Elizabeth.

"Qui in religionis causa non virendum non secandum censuit."- Camden. Of this we have some evidence in a gossiping letter of Gilbert Talbot, a younger son of the Earl of Shrewsbury, to his father, dated May 11. 1573, at a time when Sir Christopher Hatton, the Vice-chamberlain, had a fit of sickness:

"My Lo. of Oxforth is lately growne into greate credite, for the Qs Me Letter of delitethe more in his pursonage and his daunsinge and valientues, than any other. Gilbert My Lady Burghley unwisely hath declared herselfe as it were geliouse, which Talbot to is come to the Queen's eare, whereat she hathe bene not a litell offended with the Earl of hir, but now she is reconsiled agayne. All these love matters My Lo. Treasurer Shrewswinketh, and will not meddle any way. Hatton is sicke still it is thought he bury. will very hardly recover his disease, for it is doubted it is in his kidnes. The


Never mar


Letter of
Mary to

Lord Chancellor Hatton was never married, which if we may trust the representation upon this subject in Mary's celebrated letter respecting the private life of Elizabeth*, arose from the jealousy of his royal mistress, who even broke

Queine goeth almost every day to see how he dothe. Now is there devices (chiefly by Lecester as I suppose, and not without Burghley his knowledge), how to make Mr. Edward Dier as great as ever was Hatton: in this time of Hatton's sickness the tyme is convenient." He then states the device, which was to make the Queen believe that Dier was actually dying on account of her displeasure, and that he began to recover the moment he heard that she had forgiven him; and thus concludes, "These things I learne of suche young fellowes as myselfe."- -2 Lodg. Ill. 101.

*The most striking proof of the prevalent suspicion is to be found in this letter of Mary to Elizabeth, relating the stories circulated by the Countess of Shrewsbury, which a regard to historical truth requires me to insert,-cautioning my female readers against perusing it, though written by a Queen to a Queen. After some prefatory remarks, she says, "J'apelle mon Dieu à tesmoing que la Comptesse de Schreusbury madit de vous ce qui suit au plus près de ces termes.... Premièrement, qu'un, auquel elle disoit que vous aviez faict promesse de mariage devant une Dame de vostre chambre, avoit cousche infinies foys auvesque Vous avec toute la licence et privaulte qui se peut user entre Mari et famme; Mays qu'indubitablement Vous nestiez pas comme les aultres fammes, et pour ce respect cestoit follie à touz ceulx qui affectoient vostre Mariage avec Monsieur le Duc d'Anjou, d'aultant qu'il ne ce pourroit accomplir; et que Vous ne vouldriez jamays perdu la liberte de Vous fayre fayre l'amour et auvoir vostre plesir tousjours auveques nouveaulx amoureulx, regretant ce, disoit elle, que vous ne vous contentiez de Maister Haton, et un aultre de ce Royaulme; mays que pour l'honneur du pays il luy faschoit le plus, que vous aviez non seullement engasge vostre honneur auveques un estrangier Nommé Simier, l'alant trouver de nuit en la chambre d'une dame, que la dicte Comptesse blasmoit fort a ceste occasion la, ou Vous le baisiez et usiez auvec luy de diverses privaultes deshonnestes; mays aussi luy revelliez les segretz du Royaulme, trahisant vos propres Counseillers avvesques luy: Que Vous vous estiez desportée de la mesme dissolution avec le Duc son Maystre, qui vous avoit este trouver une nuit à la porte de vostre chambre, ou vous laviez rancontre auvec vostre seulle chemise et manteau de nuit, et que par apres vous laviez laisse entrer, et qu'il demeura avveques Vous pres de troys heures. Quant au dict Haton, que vous le couriez a force, faysant si publiquement paroitre l'amour que luy portiez, qui luy mesmes estoit contreint de s'en retirer, et que Vous donnastes un soufflet a Kiligreu pour ne vous avoir ramene le dict Haton, que vous avviez envoiay rappeller par luy, s'etant desparti en chollere d'auveques vous pour quelques injures que luy auviez dittes pour certiens boutons dor qu'il auvoit sur son habit. Qu'elle auvait travaille de fayre espouser au dit Haton, la feu Comtesse de Lenox sa fille, mays que de creinte de Vous, il ne oroit entendre; que mesme le Comte d'Oxfort nosoit ce rappointer auveques sa famme de peur de perdre la faveur qu'il esperoit recepvoir par vous fayre l'amour: Que vous estiez prodigue envers toutes telles gens et ceulx qui ce mesloient de telles mesnees, comme a un de Vostre Chambre Gorge, auquel Vous avviez donne toys centz ponds de rante pour vous avvoir apporte les nouvelles du retour de Haton: Qu'a toutz aultres Vous estiez fort ingrate chische, et qu'il ni avoit que troys ou quatre en vostre Royaulme a qui Vous ayez jamays faict bien: Me conseillant, en riant extresmement, mettre mon filz sur les rancs pour vous fayre l'amours, comme chose qui me serviroit grandement et metroit Monsieur le Duc hors de quartier." She then goes with various other particulars respecting Elizabeth's person and her habits, which as they do not affect my hero, I am glad that I am at liberty to pass over. This letter, written by Mary very indiscreetly shortly before her trial, must have cut off from her all chance of mercy. See it at full length as copied from Lord Salisbury's Papers.-1 St. Tr. 1202.

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