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XXXVIII.

CHAP. ing I take the accounts myself of my own expences, and have learned how many loaves be made of a bushel of wheat. But my father and mother never brought me up to baking and brewing; and, to be plain with you, I am weary of mine office, and therefore, if my Lords will send mine officer home they shall do me pleasure; otherwise, if they will send him to prison, I beshrew him if he go not to it merrily." In spite of these remonstrances Rich did nothing to gratify her; the comptroller and others of her servants were committed to the Tower, and continued in close confinement till a new Chancellor had been appointed, when her solicitations, aided by the interference of the Emperor, procured their discharge, with the relaxation in her favour of being permitted to worship God according to her conscience, which, when upon the throne, she was too little inclined to grant to others.*

A. D. 1550.

Dec. 1551. Trepidation of the Lord

Chancellor.

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Nearly a year of tranquillity was now enjoyed by Lord Rich, during which there was seeming harmony between Somerset and Warwick,-and even matrimonial alliances were contracted between their families; - but a terrible crisis was at hand, which so much shook the nerves of the Chancellor that he renounced his office, and voluntarily fled into obscurity. Somerset had always been regarded with favour by the common people, whose part he took against the landed aristocracy in the disputes about inclosures and the clearing of estates; his haughty carriage to the nobles was forgotten in the superior insolence of Warwick, who, being merely the son of an Attorney General, hanged for extortion, was regarded as an upstart, and the young King had recently shown some distrust of his present minister, and a returning regard for his uncle.

Somerset's Somerset resolved to avail himself of this favourable juncplot ture to recover his office of Protector without being guilty of against Northum- any disloyalty to his nephew, who, he doubted not, would sanction all that he projected when it was accomplished. He was urged on by his rival procuring himself to be created Duke of Northumberland, and manifesting a determination to tolerate no one at Court who, even by a look, expressed any

• Strype, 457, 458. Ellis's Letters, vol. ii. p. 179-182.

dissatisfaction with his autocracy. Somerset, therefore, as a measure of self-preservation, engaged in a plot with a few associates to get possession of the person of the new Duke, to seize the Great Seal, to induce the King to throw himself into the arms of the uncle to whom he had been so much attached, and to issue a proclamation calling on all his faithful subjects to rally round him, and to take arms in his defence.

This scheme might very possibly have succeeded if it had been kept secret till the day when it was to be carried into execution, and Northumberland might have finished his career by the sentence of the law in the reign of Edward, instead of Mary; but Sir Thomas Palmer, one of the confederates, revealed it to him, and Somerset was soon a close prisoner in the Tower, his execution being delayed only till the ceremony should have been gone through of a mock trial. There is a curious contrast between the history of France and of England, that assassination so common in the one country was hardly ever practised in the other; but I know not whether our national character is much exalted by adherence to the system of perpetrating murder under the forms of law.

For some reason, not explained to us, it was thought more convenient to bring Somerset to trial before his Peers and a Lord High Steward, than, according to the practice introduced by Lord Cromwell, and followed against himself, to call a parliament and proceed by bill of attainder, without hearing the accused in his defence. Perhaps alarm was taken at the sentiments of humanity and justice expressed by a very small minority of the Commons in the case of Lord Seymour.

CHAP.

XXXVIII.

Oct. 18.

1551.

Trial of

Somerset.

Rich was now in a state of great consternation. Regularly, Lord being Lord Chancellor, he ought to have been created Lord Chancellor feigns sickHigh Steward to preside at the trial; but he was not free ness. from suspicion of being himself implicated in the conspiracy, and there was no saying what disclosures might take place. He therefore feigned sickness; to give greater colour to the pretence, he issued a commission authorising the Master of the Rolls, and others, to hear causes for him in Chancery;

XXXVIII.

CHAP. High Steward should be appointed; and he caused it to be privately intimated to Somerset that he absented himself from the trial out of tenderness to his ancient friend.

Lord
Chancellor
Rich flees

lic life.

The Ex-chancellor Paulet, now created Marquess of Winchester, was fixed upon as Lord High Steward, and the trial took place before him as I have related in his life.*

To Rich's great relief a conviction took place without his name being mentioned in the course of the proceedings, but a very difficult and delicate question arose as to the execution of the sentence. Being acquitted of high treason, though convicted of felony,-on leaving Westminster Hall the populace who were assembled in Palace Yard observed that the edge of the axe was not turned towards him, and concluded that there had been a general verdict of not guilty in his favour. They immediately raised a shout of exultation which was heard beyond the village of Charing, and risings were apprehended both in the city of London and in the provinces, if the idol of the people should be destroyed. It was likewise said that the King, who, notwithstanding his youth, now took a lively interest in the affairs of the state, wavered, and not only would not consent to sign the death-warrant of his uncle, but was disposed to take him again into favour.

66

Rich saw that whichever side prevailed, he himself, if he remained in office, must be exposed to the greatest peril, for, from pub- by his trimming policy, he had made himself odious to both. Having accumulated to himself a very fair fortune (like a discreet pilot, who, seeing a storm at hand, gets his ship into harbour), he made sute to the King, by reason of some bodily infirmities, that he might be discharged of his office."† He shut himself up in his town mansion, in Great St. Bartholomew's, and wrote to Northumberland that he was struck with a mortal disorder; that he was unable even to stir abroad as far as Whitehall or St. James's to deliver up the Great Seal in person to the King; and praying that messengers might be sent to him to receive it, so that he might now devote all his thoughts to preparations for a better world. Accordingly, on the 21st of December, 1551, the Duke of

His retreat.

• Ante, p. 5.

† Dugdale's Baronage.

Northumberland himself, the Marquess of Winchester and CHAP. others, authorised by letters of Privy Seal signed by the XXXVIII. King, came to Lord Rich's house between eight and nine in the morning, and received from him the surrender of the Great Seal, which they forthwith carried and delivered to the King at Westmister.* We have no particulars of this interview, but we may fairly conjecture that the Chancellor appeared to be in a dying condition, and that, after wellacted regrets on both sides, it was speedily brought to a conclusion.

However this may be, we know that Rich, lightened from His rapid the anxieties of office, had a wonderful recovery, and lived recovery. sixteen years after his resignation. But so frightened was he by the perils he had gone through, that he never again would engage in public business. He spent the rest of his days in the country, in the management of his great estates and the accumulation of wealth,-preferring the pleasures of avarice to those of ambition. Instead of ending his career as was Dies foronce so probable, amidst countless thousands on Tower Hill, gotten. -after he had long sunk from public notice, he expired at

a small country-house in Essex-the event, when known in A. d. 1560. London, hardly causing the slightest public sensation.

scendants.

racter.

His two sons, both amply provided for, were created Earls His deof Warwick and of Holland, but his descendants after making a distinguished figure for some generations are now extinct. They could not have looked with much pride on His chathe character of the founder of their family, who, though he had pleasant manners, and was free from cant and hypocrisy, was, in reality, one of the most sordid, as well as most unprincipled, men who have ever held the office of Lord Chancellor in England.

• The Close Roll, after reciting the authority to Northumberland, &c. "Magnum Sigillum Dni Regis apud Hospicium ejusdem Dni Riche in Greate Saynte Bartilemewes in quadam interiori camera ibm intr. horas octavam et nonam ante meridiem ejusdem diei in quadam baga de corio inclusum et coopt. alia baga de velueto rubeo insigniis Regiis ornat, per dcum Dnm Riche deis nobilibus viris liberat. fuit."

† By one of them was erected Holland House, so famed as the residence of Addison when married to the dowager Countess of Warwick, and as the centre of intellectual and refined society under the family of Fox, who succeeded to it.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

XXXIX.

Dec. 1551. Views of Northumberland.

LIFE OF LORD CHANCELLOR GOODRICH.

CHAP. THE Duke of Northumberland having the Great Seal so unexpectedly surrendered to him, was very much at a loss on whom he should bestow it. There was no lawyer in whom he could place entire confidence; and he began to have aspiring projects, to which a lawyer with any remaining scruples must object. After a little deliberation he therefore resolved to recur to the old practice of putting an ecclesiastic at the head of the law, taking care to select a man of decent character who would not disgrace the appointment, and of moderate abilities so as not to be dangerous to him. Such a man was THOMAS GOODRICH, Bishop of Ely, elevated because he was in no way distinguished-whose name would hardly have come down to us if at that time he had been less obscure.

GOODRICH,
Bishop of

Ely, Lord
Keeper.

His origin and rise.

On the 22d of December, 1551, the day after Lord Rich's resignation, the Great Seal was delivered by the King, in the presence of Northumberland and other grandees, to the Bishop, with the title of Lord Keeper.*

I do not find any account of his origin. His name is often spelt Goodrick; but from the following epigram upon him, indicating that he had emerged from poverty, it must have been pronounced Goodrich :

"Et bonus et dives, bene junctus et optimus ordo;
Præcedit bonitas; pone sequuntur opes."

He was a pensioner of Benn'et College, Cambridge, and afterwards a fellow of Jesus College; and was said to have made considerable proficiency in the civil law as well as in Divinity. He took, however, only the degree of D.D. He

*Rot. Cl. 5 Ed. 6. p. 5.

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