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them. When Philip two years later engaged himself in a colonising expedition, we shall see that she positively forbade him to leave England. Now, however, it is probable she knew that he could not take action on her gift. She was merely bestowing an interest in speculations which cost her nothing and might bring him profit. At any rate, the matter took this turn. In July 1583 he executed a deed relinquishing 30,000 acres, together with "all royalties, titles, pre-eminences, privileges, liberties, and dignities," which the queen's grant carried, to his friend Sir George Peckham.

The reason of this act of resignation was that Philip had pledged his hand in marriage to Frances, daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham. So far back as December 1581 there are indications that his friendship with Walsingham and his family was ripening into something more intimate. We do not know the date of his marriage for certain; but it is probable that he was already a husband before the month of July.

A long letter addressed in March 1583 by Sir Henry Sidney to Walsingham must here be used, since it throws the strongest light upon the circumstances of the Sidney family, and illustrates Sir Henry's feeling with regard to his son's marriage. The somewhat discontented tone which marks its opening is, I think, rather apologetical than regretful. Sir Henry felt that, on both sides, the marriage was hardly a prudent one. He had expected some substantial assistance from the Crown through Walsingham's mediation. This had not been granted; and he took the opportunity of again laying a succinct report of his past services and present necessities before the secretary of state, in the hope that something might yet be done to help him. The document opens as follows:—

"DEAR SIR-I have understood of late that coldness is thought in me in proceeding in the matter of marriage of our children. In truth, sir, it is not so, nor so shall it ever be found; for compremitting the consideration of the articles to the Earls named by you, and to the Earl of Huntingdon, I most willingly agree, and protest, and joy in the alliance with all my heart. But since, by your letters of the 3d of January, to my great discomfort I find there is no hope of relief of her Majesty for my decayed estate in her Highness' service, I am the more careful to keep myself able, by sale of part of that which is left, to ransom me out of the servitude I live in for my debts; for as I know, sir, that it is the virtue which is, or that you suppose is, in my son, that you made choice of him for your daughter, refusing haply far greater and far richer matches than he, so was my confidence great that by your good means I might have obtained some small reasonable suit of her Majesty; and therefore I nothing regarded any present gain, for if I had, I might have received a great sum of money for my good will of my son's marriage, greatly to the relief of my private biting necessity."

After this exordium, Sir Henry takes leave to review his actions as Viceroy of Ireland and Governor of Wales, with the view of showing how steadfastly he had served his queen and how ill he had been recompensed.

"Three times her Majesty hath sent me her Deputy into Ireland, and in every of the three times I sustained a great and a violent rebellion, every one of which I subdued, and (with honourable peace) left the country in quiet. I returned from each of these three Deputations three hundred pounds worse than I went."

It would be impertinent to the subject of this essay were I to follow Sir Henry in the minute and interesting account of his Irish administration. Suffice it to say that the letter to Walsingham is both the briefest and the most material statement of facts which we possess regarding that period of English rule. Omitting then all notice of public affairs, I pass on to confidences of a more personal charac

ter. After dwelling upon sundry embassies and other employments, he proceeds :


“Truly, sir, by all these I neither won nor saved; but now, by your patience, once again to my great and high office-for great it is in that in some sort I govern the third part of this realm under her most excellent Majesty; high it is, for by that I have precedency of great personages and far my betters: happy it is for the people whom I govern, as before is written, and most happy for the commodity that I have by the authority of that place to do good every day, if I have grace, to one or other; wherein I confess I feel no small felicity; but for any profit I gather by it, God and the people (seeing my manner of life) knoweth it is not possible how I should gather


"For, alas, sir! how can I, not having one groat of pension belonging to the office? I have not so much ground as will feed a mutton. I sell no justice, I trust you do not hear of any order taken by me ever reversed, nor my name or doings in any court ever brought in question. And if my mind were so base and contemptible as I would take money of the people whom I command for my labour taken among them, yet could they give me none, or very little, for the causes that come before me are causes of people mean, base, and many very beggars. Only £20 a week to keep an honourable house, and 100 marks a year to bear foreign charges I have; ... but true books of account shall be, when you will, showed unto you that I spend above £30 a week. Here some may object that I upon the same keep my wife and her followers. True it is she is now with me, and hath been this half year, and before not in many years; and if both she and I had our food and house-room free, as we have not, in my conscience we have deserved it. For my part, I am not idle, but every day I work in my function; and she, for her old service, and marks yet remaining in her face taken in the same, meriteth her meat. When I went to Newhaven I left her a full fair lady, in mine eye at least the fairest; and when I returned I found her as foul a lady as the small-pox could make her, which she did take by continual attendance of her Majesty's most precious person (sick of the same disease), the scars of which, to her resolute discomfort, ever since have done and doth remain in her face, so as she liveth solitarily, sicut nicticorax in domicilio suo, more to my charge

than if we had boarded together, as we did before that evil accident happened."

The epistle ends with a general review of Sir Henry's pecuniary situation, by which it appears that the Sidney estate had been very considerably impoverished during his tenure of it.

"The rest of my life is with an over-long precedent discourse manifested to you. But this to your little comfort I cannot omit, that whereas my father had but one son, and he of no great proof, being of twenty-four years of age at his death, and I having three sons; one of excellent good proof, the second of great good proof, and the third not to be despaired of, but very well to be liked; if I die to-morrow next I should leave them worse than my father left me by £20,000; and I am now fifty-four years of age, toothless and trembling, being £5000 in debt, yea, and £30,000 worse than I was at the death of my most dear king and master, King Edward VI.

"I have not of the crown of England of my own getting, so much ground as I can cover with my foot. All my fees amount not to 100 marks a year. I never had since the queen's reign any extraordinary aid by license, forfeit, or otherwise. And yet for all that was done, and somewhat more than here is written, I cannot obtain to have in fee-farm £100 a year, already in my own possession, paying the rent.

"And now, dear sir and brother, an end of this tragical discourse, tedious for you to read, but more tedious it would have been if it had come written with my own hand, as first it was. Tragical I may well term it; for that it began with the joyful love and great liking with likelihood of matrimonial match between our most dear and sweet children (whom God bless), and endeth with declaration of my unfortunate and hard estate.

"Our Lord bless you with long life and happiness. I pray you, sir, commend me most heartily to my good lady, cousin, and sister, your wife, and bless and kiss our sweet daughter. And if you will vouchsafe, bestow a blessing upon the young knight, Sir Philip."

There is not much to say of Philip's bride. He and she lived together as man and wife barely three years. Nothing

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remains to prove that she was either of assistance to him or the contrary. After his death she contracted a secret marriage with Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex; and when she lost this second husband on the scaffold, she adopted the Catholic religion and became the wife of Lord Clanricarde. In this series of events I can see nothing to her discredit, considering the manners of that century. Her daughter by Philip, it is known, made a brilliant marriage with the Earl of Rutland. Her own repeated nuptials may be taken to prove her personal attractiveness. Sir Philip Sidney, who must have been intimately acquainted with her character, chose her for his wife while his passion for Penelope Devereux had scarcely cooled; and he did so without the inducements which wealth or brilliant fortunes might have offered.

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