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himself to be unable to carry out the terms of the truce, which, at the time (October 1599), greatly incensed the Queen and increased her suspicions against the Earl. Her state of mind may be judged from the following account of an interview with her by her godson, Sir John Harington, who returned from Ireland about this time :

On coming into the presence, she chafed much, walked fastly to and fro, looked with discomposure in her visage, and, I remember, catched at my girdle when I kneeled to her, and swore, by God's son I am no Queen. That man is above me. Who gave him command to come here so soon ? I did send him on other business."1

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It seems only possible to account for all this on the assumption that the Queen was terrified about her own position, and that she had been made to believe that Essex was plotting a military and popular movement to dethrone her.

We know that the Queen was alarmed by the performances of Richard II. Shakespeare's play was published anonymously in 1597 without the deposition scene, but it was acted about the town at that time with the scene, and the Queen is reported to have said with reference to it some months after the execution of Essex that she was Richard the second, and that “that tragedy was played forty times in open streets and houses." This play was again performed, by procurement of the friends of Essex, on the day preceding the Essex House outbreak (February 1601). We also find a letter from Ralegh to Cecil of 6th July, 1597, in which he says that Essex

was wonderfull merry at your consait of Richard the Second." The three men were at that time temporarily on good terms, and it is pretty clear from what follows that there had been some conversations about the succession, though apparently not to the prejudice of the Queen. There is further evidence, for what it may be worth, that such alarms were being put about when Essex was in Ireland, as a report was spread in August 1599 that a Spanish invasion was expected and this was made the occasion, for a brief period, of placing the country under arms. Camden suggests that possibly the

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arming may have been set on foot with a view to deter Essex. Bacon, to whom Camden submitted his history, proposed to substitute the following passage :

" And it is probable that the Queen had some secret intimation of the design. For just at that time there grew up rumours (such as are commonly spread when the sovereign is willing they should circulate) and went abroad all over the land that a mighty and well-appointed Spanish fleet was at hand, that it had been seen on the western coast, and was doubtful for what part it had been designed. Thereupon musters were diligently held on all sides

... Now all this was done to the end that Essex, hearing that the kingdom was in arms, might be deterred from any attempt to bring the Irish army over into England."

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It is, of course, quite impossible to say whether this was true. It may be, like the other libels in the official “ Declaration," only an attempt further to whitewash the Government of that day. On the other hand it was written long after (21602), so it may be true, in which case it would fully account for the attitude of the Queen. The further question arises whether the alarm was deliberately got up by Cecil in order to ruin Essex, or whether he really thought it necessary to take precautions. This also cannot be determined.

Lastly the main charge in the “Declaration " of the Earl's treasons put out after his death is that his delays in attacking Tyrone and his parley with him were all part of a plot to make himself king of England with the assistance of Tyrone and the army. Preachers were also commanded to explain to the people that Essex "had complotted with Tyrone and was reconciled to the Pope," though, as Chamberlain remarked at the time (24th February 1601), “ No such matters were once mentioned in the arraignment." As Bacon is particular to say in his Apology that the Declaration was submitted to the Council and the Queen, and revised and altered both by them and by her, it seems almost incredible whatever the Ministers might have done that she should have allowed this charge to go out unless she had been persuaded that there was something in it.

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By the end of 1599 Essex was so ill that his life was despaired of. Bells were even tolled in the City on a rumour of his death, and popular indignation against the Court became so violent that libels were circulated and scattered about the chambers of the palace, and writings of a scandalous character appeared on the walls. We read that "at Court upon the very white walls, much villiany hath been written against 200"; where Cecil is meant, the writer (Rowland White) being afraid to mention him except in cipher. Bacon's life was threatened, popular opinion having fixed on him as the man who most moved the Queen against the Earl. We find him writing to the Queen to excuse his absence on the ground that,

"I do find envy beating so strongly upon me, standing as I do (if this be to stand), as it were not strength of mind but stupidity, if I should not decline the occasions ; except I could do your Majesty more service than I can in any ways discern that I am able to do... My life hath been threatened and my name libelled, which I count an honour. But these are the practices of those whose despairs are dangerous, but yet not so dangerous as their hopes; or else the devices of some would put out all your Majesty's lights, and fall on reckoning how many years you have reigned.”

And in a letter to Lord Henry Howard he writes :

“For my Lord of Essex I am not servile to him, having regard to my superior duty. I have been much bound unto him. And on the other side I have spent more time and more thoughts about his well doing than ever I did about mine own. I pray God you and his friends amongst you be in the right. 'Nulla remedia tam faciunt dolorem quam quae sunt salutaria.' For my part I have deserved better than to have my name objected to envy or my life to a ruffian's violence.1 But I have the privy coat of a good conscience. I am sure these courses and bruits hurt my Lord more than all."

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That is, if the Queen's servants were intimidated it would only make her more angry against Essex. I agree with Dr. Abbott that, in writing in this way, Bacon was thinking much more of his own position with the Queen and

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Cecil than of Essex, who was at that time not expected to recover.

Bacon wrote at the same time to Cecil :

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“ The root of this (slander) I discern to be, not so much a light and humorous envy at my accesses to her Majesty

as a deep malice to your honourable self ; upon whom, by me, through nearness they think to make some aspersion."?

We are now approaching the most interesting point of this enquiry, to which the foregoing historical survey is a necessary introduction. It may be put in the form of a question. Are the letters from Essex to the Queen during the period of his disgrace his own, or were some of them composed for him by Bacon? So far as I am aware they have hitherto been accepted as genuine. Moreover those of them which are preserved in the Record Office are either in the Earl's handwriting or copies made by his secretary Reynolds. Anything which Essex sent to the Queen must, of course, have been in his own hand. But it does not follow that he composed all that he wrote, and the question therefore resolves itself into an examination of the style. In this we have one certain fact to build upon, that Bacon in his Apology admits that he drafted letters to the Queen for Essex:

“ But from this time forth, during the whole latter end of that summer (1600), while the Court was at Nonsuch and Oatlands, I made it my task and scope to take and give occasions for my Lord's reintegration in his fortune : which my intention I did also signify to my Lord as soon as ever he was at liberty, whereby I might without peril of the Queen's indignation write to him... And I drew for him by his appointment some letters to her Majesty, which though I knew well his Lordship's gift and stile far better than mine own, yet because he required it, alleging that by his long restraint he was grown almost a stranger to the Queen's present conceits, I was ready to perform it, and sure I am that for the space of six weeks or two months it prospered so well, as I expected continually his restoring to his attendance."

There are actually in existence two drafts of these “artificial ” letters which were admittedly drawn by Bacon for the Earl.2

* Spedding, Letters and Life, ii. 162.
* Ibid, ii. 193, 194.

As to the rest which have passed as authentic, we can only test them by the style. . Some of them seem to me to be inconsistent with the Earl's character and with the fact that at the very time they were written he was intriguing with King James. Now Essex was incapable of sustaining a course of dissimulation, and all his earlier letters to the Queen, of which I have given examples, though couched in glowing terms of affection, containing no doubt some elements of flattery, nevertheless unmistakably show much real feeling. Essex had also far too proud a nature to stoop to the abject obsequiousness which some of these letters display. It was that pride, not disloyalty to the Queen, which drove him on to his rash proceedings. These " artificial letters," on the other hand, picture him in a state of grace, having at last adopted the course of flattery and submission which Bacon had all along recommended. Do such miracles occur ?

The first of the letters which Essex wrote to appease the Queen appears to be the following, written evidently at the beginning of his restraint, October 1599 :

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Receive, I humbly beseech your Maj., the unfeigned submission of the saddest soul on earth. I have offended in presumption, for which my humble soul doth sigh, sorrow, languish, and wish to die. I have offended a sovereign whose displeasure is a heavier weight upon me than if all the earth besides did overwhelm me. To redeem this offence, and to recover your Maj.'s gracious favour, I would do, I protest, whatsoever is possible for flesh and blood; and for proof of my true sorrow, if your Maj. do not speedily receive me, I hope you will see the strong effects of your disfavour in the death and destiny of your Maj.'s humblest vassal, Essex.”

The Queen had received the Earl kindly on his first arrival, and Spedding suggests that she did this from motives of prudence, not knowing what armed force he might have behind him. I think this is very possible, and it would account for the change in her demeanour which took place the same evening, when she ordered Essex to keep his chamber. The foregoing letter seems to have been written under the influence of this surprise and it is characteristic of Essex, being in his usual high-flown strain, and though humble, it is not abject. The letters which follow are in a very different

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