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me, but spake very few words and shaked his head sometimes, as if he thought I was in the wrong-—but sure I am he did just contrary in every one of these three points."'l
The truth was that the constitution of Essex's case was not sound enough to bear this kind of treatment. The secrets which he had left behind him in Ireland were not all in such safe custody as that which he had left with Blount and Southampton. He had come over, hoping by his personal influence to obtain a sanction for what he had done (which he could not hope to do by any written communication), and thereupon to be sent speedily back again, and so to put the breadth of St. George's Channel between him and the Queen's guard; within reach of which he could not now have felt easy. That this was his aim, and what the pretexts were upon which he hoped to succeed in it, will appear from his own statement. But this being a new aspect of the game, I will let it begin a new chapter.
The gentleness with which the Queen welcomed Essex on his sudden appearance was probably an impulse of nature. It was a pleasure to see his face, and the pleasure expressed itself in her behaviour. But whether inspired by nature or policy, it was a lucky inspiration. She did not know of the train of “choice men” that bad come over with him, nor of the spirit that animated them : concerning which an anecdote told by Camden-and told as in favour of Essex without any hint of doubt as to its correctness--gives some light. On the road from Lambeth to Nonsuch, the Earl was outridden by Lord Grey of Wilton-an “enemy,”—that is, one of the other party; wbo being overtaken by one of the Earl's company and asked (as on his behalf, though not by his desire) to let him ride before, replied that he had business at Court, and pushed on. Upon which (adds Camden) “Sir Christopher St. Lawrence offered his services to kill both him in the way and the Secretary in the Court. But the Earl, hating from his soul all impiety, would not assent unto it."2
Now though Essex was not prepared to begin with two murders in cold blood before a finger had been laid or threatened to be laid upon himself, it does not follow that he was not prepared to use such services in self-defence. And the very offer (if the story be true) implies a spirit in his followers which was not likely, upon the approach or appearance of danger, to be nice as to modes of rescue. A rough reception at Court reported in London would have brought back many swords as ready for business as St. Lawrence's, and made a hot evening at Nonsuch.
The course which the Queen took avoided this danger. Friday brought news that he had been received graciously and all was well. Saturday that he was commanded to keep his own chamber till the
Syd. Pap. ii. 128.
Camden, vol. iii. p. 716. The words of the original are: “$. Laurentius operam ad eum in viâ et Secretarium in Aula occidendum detulit. Sed Comes omnem impietatem ex animo perosus, hoc noluit.”
Lords of the Council had spoken with him. Sunday that he had been heard, and that his answers were under consideration. Monday that he was committed to custody; but to the custody of the Lord Keeper, his principal friend in the Council; and removed to York House, where he remained, secluded from company by his own desire.? And it being understood all this while that the Council were satisfied with his explanations, and that the restraint was a matter of form used for the sake of example, and likely to be soon over,” there was nothing even for the most reckless of his friends to ground any violent proceeding upon.
What he might have adventured had his actions been disapproved and disavowed, and yet himself left free, must be left to conjecture. The line he took, as matters stood, was to profess extreme submission and humility, with a desire to leave wars and council-boards, and betake himself to a private life. I say to profess; for it was certainly not a state of mind in which he was going to rest, and it may be doubted whether it was sincere even for the time. Perbaps he did not himself know. For he was now once more in a position which he had not reckoned upon. Of his conferences with the Council (which were very private) we have no detailed account: and the rumours which got abroad cannot be depended on, being only what the Court wished to be believed at the time. But the paper which he drew up immediately after his first examination, and .of which I have already quoted part, proves that he had not then any intention of retiring, but meant to represent himself as the only person who could manage the Irish difficulty, and upon that ground to be seut back immediately. After explaining what provisions he had made for the government of affairs there, he adds, “ But I promised to send over daily advices and directions as soon as I had spoken with her Majesty and my Lords, and to give directions also and comfort to such of the Irishry as were principal instruments for her Majesty in that kingdom, and to return with all expedition. If only by my coming away and Tyrone's perfidiousness any disaster had happened, I would have recovered it or have lost my life: for I have a party there for her Majesty besides her army. But now, when they shall hear of iny present state, and shall see no new hopeful course
1 “No man goes to him, nor he desirous to see any."—R. Whyte, 6th October, 1599. Syd. Pap. ii. 132.
? Cecil to Neville, 8th Oct., 1599. Winw. Mem. i. 118. And R. Whyte to Sir R. Sydney, 13th, 16th, and 25th of October. Syd. Pap. pp. 133–5.
3 "He remains still at my Lord Keeper's, very humble and submissive, wonderfully grieved at her Majesty's displeasure towards him. It is given out that if he would desire his liberty and go to Ireland again, he should have it. But he seems resolved never to go thither again, nor to meddle with any matter of war or state, but only lead a private country life."-Syd. Pap. ii. 132.
taken, I fear that giddy people will run to all mischief.” In the same spirit, and no doubt with the same view, he represents himself in another place as the only man who can do any good with Tyrone. “With those that have heretofore dealt with him he [Tyrone) protested he would not deal in this free manner, nor by his will in any sort whatsoever; since he had no confidence that they could procure him that which only would satisfy him, or performance of all that was agreed on."1
This is not the language of a man who means either to admit a failure or to resign to others the further prosecution of the business. And it agrees well enough with Sir R. Cecil's account of his avowed object in coming over (viz.“ to acquaint her Majesty not with the goodness of Tyrone's offers in themselves, but with the necessity of her affairs, to which the offers were suitable”?) though it leaves one difficulty still in the way.
For what after all were these offers,—the best that he could obtain, and better than could be hoped for by any one else ? A memorandum printed in the Winwood Papers (an inclosure I suppose in Cecil's letter last quoted), gives the particulars.
TYRONE'S PROPOSITIONS, 1599. 1. That the Catholic religion be openly preached. 2. That the churches be governed by the Pope. 3. That cathedral churches be restored. 4. That Irish priests prisoners be released. 5. That they may pass and repass the seas. 6. That no Englishmen be churchmen in Ireland. 7. That a university be erected upon the Crown lands. 8. That the governor be at least an earl and called Viceroy.
9. That the Lord Chancellor, Treasurer, Counsel of State, Justices of Law, Queen's Attorney, Queen's Serjeant, etc., be Irishmen.
10. That all principal Governors of Ireland, as Connaught, Munster, etc., be Irish noblemen.
11. That the Master of the Ordnance be an Irishman, and half the soldiers.
12. That no Irishman shall lose his lands for the fault of his ancestors.
13. That no Irishman shall be in ward, but that the living during the minority shall be to the younger brothers or sisters.
14. That all statutes prejudicing the preferment of Irishmen in England or Ireland shall be repealed.
15. That neither the Queen nor her successors shall enforce any Irishman to serve her.
16. That Oneale, Odonnel, Desmond, and their partakers, shall have such lands as their ancestors enjoyed two hundred years ago.
1 Relation of the manner of Government, etc. See above, p. 146
17. That all Irishmen shall freely traffic as Englishmen in England. 18. That all Irishmen shall travel freely. 19. That they may use all manner of merchandises wheresoever. 20. That they may use all manner of trades.
21. That they may buy all manner of ships and furnish them with artillery.
Now can any one believe that Essex came over from Ireland intending to lay these propositions fairly before Queen Elizabeth, and hoping to persuade her that the man who had consented to entertain them was the man to do her work with rebels ? Such terms proposed in an orderly way in Parliament or by petition in behalf of a loyal country, might (in these days at least) have much said for them; though some of the articles—the 16th for instance, could hardly in any circumstances be thought admissible. But coming from a rebel at the head of an undamaged army, treating with the remnant of the army which had been sent out to reduce him to obedience, what else could they appear than terms imposed by a conqueror ? That a man of such a spirit as Essex should bave entertained them at all, is strange and suspicious. That if he was acting simply and sincerely in the Queen's interest, he would ever have regarded them as conditions fit to be sanctioned except in the last resort,
or that even then he could have hoped to make them so easy of digestion to her that she must needs send him back to carry them out,-is to me incredible. The truth probably is that he did not intend to lay them fairly before her. “ The conditions demanded by Tyrone” he says in his written statement, "I was fain to give my word that I would only verbally deliver.” But he does not say that be has delivered them verbally: only that he has “already told her Majesty and the Lords where the knot is, which being loosed he hath protested that all the rest shall follow.” As yet therefore I imagine that he had refrained, under plea of that promise of secrecy, from disclosing the particulars. And so long as he was allowed to keep them out of sight and only state in his own way what he chose to represent as the main difficulty, he might perhaps hope to make out a plausible case for being sent back to conclude the negotiations which he had begun. It was but a temporary shift, to be sure: for the Queen could never have let him go without hearing the particulars. But men in his position are fain to shift as they can. And when at last he did state Tyrone's propositions in detail-possibly upon a promise that they should not be divulged (for it is a remarkable fact that no detailed account of them is to be found in
| Winwood, i. 119.