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for treason were at this era-in a sort of transition state. The great bulk of the evidence against the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Southampton, who was tried along with him, consisted of written examinations, and among them was "the declaration of the Lord Keeper, the Earl of Worcester, and the Lord Chief Justice of England," containing a narrative of their imprisonment, and signed by the three. They were likewise called as witnesses, and "proved in Court upon their honours*, that they heard the wordsKill them, kill them;' but they would not charge my Lord of Essex that they were spoken either by his privity or command." They were much more forbearing than the counsel for the Crown, Coke and Bacon, who, to the disgrace of both, showed very unnecessary zeal in procuring a conviction,- for the Judges declared, according to what has ever since been held for law, "that in case where a subject attempteth to put himself into such strength as the King shall not be able to resist him, and to force the king to govern otherwise than according to his own royal authority and discretion, it is manifest rebellion, and in every rebellion the law intendeth as a consequent the compassing the death of the King, as foreseeing that the rebel will never suffer the King to live or reign who might punish or take revenge of his treason and rebellion." The prisoners did not deny that they intended forcibly to seize the Queen's person, although they insisted that they loved and honoured her, and only wished to rid her of evil councillors.




After his conviction, Essex, at his own request, had an in- Lord terview in the Tower with the Lord Keeper and other mi- Keeper's nisters of the Queen, and asking pardon of him for having with him in imprisoned him, took a tender leave of him, and thanked him the Tower. for all his kindness. The unhappy youth might still have been saved by the good offices of Egerton and other friends, and the inextinguishable regard which still lurked in the royal bosom, if the Queen had not waited in vain for the

Nevertheless they appear to have been sworn. Camden says, "Summus Anglie Justitiarius Pophamus rogatus et juratus quam indigne Consiliarii habiti fuerunt."- Camd. Eliz. vol. ii. p. 231.

† 1 St. Tr. 1340. The prisoner spoke of them with great respect. "Essexius respondet se in honoratissimos illos viros nihil mali cogitasse at summo cum honore observasse." - Camd. Eliz. vol. ii. p. 231.


CHAP. token of his true repentance which he had intrusted to the false Countess of Nottingham, and which being at last produced gave such agony to the last hours of Elizabeth.

Death of Lord Fllesmere's

and of his

eldest son.

In the meanwhile her grief was somewhat assuaged by appointing the Lord Keeper, under a Commission, to summon all who had been implicated in Essex's plot, in order to treat and compound with them for the redemption of their estates, and the Exchequer was filled by the fines imposed upon them as the condition of their pardon.*

We must now look back to the events which were happening to the Lord Keeper in domestic life. In January, second wife, 1599, he had the misfortune to lose Lady Egerton, his second wife, to whom he was most affectionately attached†; and when he was beginning to recover his composure, he received the sad news of the death of his eldest son in Ireland, a very fine young man, who had been struck with a passion for military glory, and was serving under the Earl of Essex. +

His third marriage.

However, in the following year, he comforted himself by marrying his third wife, the Countess Dowager of Derby, celebrated in her youth by Spenser, under the name of Amaryllas, and afterwards the patroness of the early genius of Milton, who wrote his Arcades for her amusement.

* Rym. F. tom. xvi. 421.

"My Lady Egerton died upon Monday morning: the Lord Keeper doth sorrow more than the wisdome of soe greate a man ought to doe. He keapes privat, hath desired Judge Gawdy to sit in Chancery, and it is thought that he will not come abroade this terme. - Letter from Rowland Whyte, Esq. to Sir Robert Sydney, 24th January, 1599. Sydney Papers, vol. ii. 164.

His father had wished to breed him to the law, but consented at last to his becoming a soldier.

"I wysh my sonne woulde have gyven hym selfe to have attended these things; but his mynde draweth hym an other course to folowe the warre, and to attende My L. of Essex into Irelande, and in this he is so farre engaged that I can not staye him, but must leave hym to his wille, and praye to God to guyde and blesse him." Letter of Lord Keeper to his brother-in-law, dated 6th March, 1598. Ellesmere MS.

Letters of condolence on his son's death poured in from all quarters. I give as a specimen one from George More of Losley : "Yt was the providens of God that your sonne was borne; so was it that he died: he was your's but for a terme of his life, whereof the thred once spunne cold not be lengthned, and the dayes nombered one day cold not be added by all the worldes power. In his byrth as in his death was the hand of the Lord God; in the one for your comfort; in the other for your tryall; in bothe for your good, if in both you glorifie God. What comfort greater can be than to have a sonne brought up in the feare of God, to spend the first and to end the last of his strength in the favour and service of his Prince?". · Ellesmere MS.





A. D. 1601.


WE have seen that when Egerton was intrusted with the custody of the Great Seal, he still retained his former office XLVIII. in the Court of Chancery. In the first instance, it was intended that this arrangement should only be temporary; and Lord there were, as might be expected, several aspirants to the Keeper's Among these, the most pushing and importunate with Serwas Serjeant Heele, a lawyer of considerable vigour and jeant Heele. capacity, who had raised himself to extensive practice, and amassed great wealth by very doubtful means. His promotion would have been exceedingly disagreeable to the Lord Keeper, who therefore wrote the following memorial that it might be submitted to the Queen.


against Ser

"The name and office of a delator odeous unto me; I His meabhorre yt in nature, and besydes yt fytteth not my place and morial condition yet my duetye to my gracious Sovereign & coun- jeant Heele. trye informeth me specallye being commanded to set down what I have hearde S. H. charged with, that thereupon her Matie may make judgement how unfytt & unworthye this man ys for so worthye a place as he seketh.

1. "He is charged to have bene long a grypinge and excessive usurer. Agaynst such persons the Chancerye doeth gyve remedye, which yt is not lykelye he will doe, beinge hym self so great & so commen an offender in the same kynde.

2. "He is charged to have bene longe a most gredye & insatiable taker of excessive fees, and (which is moost odious) a notorious & common ambodexter, takinge fee on both sydes, to the great scandale of his place & profession.t


• In the middle of the last century such practices at the bar were still suspected, there being on the stage "Mr. Serjeant Eitherside," and in Westminster Hall


Serjeant Hecle's letter to the Lord Keeper.

3. "By these wycked vyle meanes he is growne to great wealthe & lyely-hood, and therby puffed uppe to such extreme heyghte of pride that he is insociable, and so insolent & outrageous in his words & behaviour towards such as he hath to deale with (though men much better then hym selfe) as is too offensive & intollerable. As, namelye, against the Byshoppe of Excester, Sir Richard Champeron, Sir Edmunde Morgan, Mr. Benjamin Tychbourne, and many others.

4. "He is noted to be a great drunkarde, and in his drunkennesse not onlye to have commonly used quarrelynge and brawlenge words, but sometyme blowes also; and that at a common ordynarye, a vice ille beseeminge a Serjeant, but in a Judge or publicke Magistrate intollerable." *

The Serjeant persisting in his suit, the Lord Keeper outwardly kept on good terms with him, found it convenient to pretend to support him, and, strange to say, was all the while indebted to the "grypinge usurer, ambodexter, drunkarde, & brawler" in the sum of 400l. for money lent. At last the Serjeant, finding that he was effectually thwarted by the superior influence of the Lord Keeper, wrote him the following curious epistle :

"To the Right ho. the Lo. Keeper of the Greate Seale of England, &c.

"It hath byne my spetiall desyre to have your Lo. holde a good opynion of me. I have dealte as became me in all things what the cause of your sudden mislike with me is I can not gesse, for sure I am I have ever respected and dealte with you as it became me. You know how I came fyrste to

Among Lord Ellesmere's papers there is a draught of this memorial in his own handwriting, with the following introduction, which upon consideration he had omitted: "I see myne error in presumynge that my services had deserved this favour to have a socyable person placed so neare me, yf there were none other respecte. But sythence I must open the gate to lett in another, I never suspected that I shoulde be constrayned to lett in anye agaynst my lykinge and opinion.

"I accuse and bewayle myne owne mishappe, that my 20 yeares services waye so light that Serj. H. and his purse shoulde be put in balance agaynst me, -a man of so insolent behaviour and indiscrete carriage, and of so litle worthe, and taxed with so manye enormyous crymes and disorders in the course of his lyfe, as none of his profession hath these many yeres bene noted of the lyke."

intertaine the hope of the Rolles, and have followed your own directions.

"I fynde now that my hope, through your hard conceite against me, is desperate. I shall therefore praie your Lo. to delyver to this Bearer my Bandes, and, at your Lo. pleasure, to sende me the 4007. you owe me. I shall humblee entreate your Lo. to use me as you doe the meanest of my Brothers. Thus resting humblie your's: from Serjeants Inne, the 14th of November, 1600.

"Your Lp's in all humblenis,




Serjeant Heele then thought that he might undermine the Nov. 7. Lord Keeper, and perhaps clutch the Great Seal instead 1601.

⚫ There is among Lord Ellesmere's papers, a letter to him from Sir Edward Coke, indorsed, "Ser. Hele, Mr. Attorney," indicating that it originated from some intrigue between these parties.

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Right honourable my singular good Lord,

Secrete inquirie have bene made whether your Lo. having not a patent (as all your predecessors had, Cardinall Woolsey excepted, who therefore (as they saye) ranne into a premunire), of the custody of the Greate Seale, be Lord Keeper or no. Howe rediculous

this is, and yet how maliceous, your Lo. knowes, and yet thoughe it be to noe purpose, yet my purpose is thereby to signifie a litle parte of that greate dutie I ove unto your Lo. and that in your wisdom you may make some use of it. And so resting ever to doe your Lo. any service with all thankfull readines, I humblie take my leave this 25 of Jan.

"Your Lo. humblie at commandment,


From the Egerton Papers' published by the Camden Society, and very ably edited by Mr. Payne Collier, it appears that this Serjeant Heele afterwards had a suit before the Lord Keeper respecting a sum of money claimed by him from the executors of Lord Cobham, which notwithstanding an attempt to make the King interfere in his favour, was determined against him, and that he thereupon wrote the following letter:

"To the right honorable my very good Lo. the Lo. Ellesmere, Lo. Chanceller of England."

"Right Honorable,

"I proteste unto God that ever synce I knewe you, I did truelie desyre your Lo. fryndshipp and favor. The contrary conceite hath disquieted me more than the order againste me. If your Lo. wilbe pleased to remove that opynion, I will acknowledge myselfe moste bounde unto you. Thus with remembrance of my humble due: ye,

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"Your Lo. in all service,


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