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THE

HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.

CHAP. XLVII.

JAMES I.

Death of prince Henry-Marriage of the princess Elizabeth with

the palatine-Rise of Somerset-His marriage-Overbury poisoned-Fall of Somerset-Rise of Buckingham--Cautionary towns delivered-Affairs of Scotland.

Death of
Prince
Henry.

THIS year, the sudden death of Henry, prince of Wales (Nov. 6.) diffused a universal grief

throughout the nation. Though youth and royal birth, both of them strong allurements, prepossess men mightily in favour of the early age of princes; it is with peculiar fondness that historians mention Henry: and, in every respect, his merit seems to have been extraordinary. He had not reached his eighteenth year, and he already possessed more dignity in his behaviour, and commanded more respect than his father, with all his age, learning, and experience. Neither his high fortune, nor his youth, had seduced him into any irregular pleasures : business and ambition seem to have been his sole passion. His inclinations, as well as exercises, were martial. The French ambassador taking leave of him, and asking his commands for France, found him employed in the exercise of the pike: Tell your king, said he, in what occupation you left me engaged." He

a The French monarch had given particular orders to his ministers to cultivate the prince's friendship ; who must soon, said he, have chief authority in England, where the king and queen are held in so little estimation. See Dep. de la Bodoris, vol. 1. p. 402. 415 ; vol. 2. p. 16. 349.

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had oonceived great affection and esteem for the brave sir Walter Raleigh. It was his saying, Sure no king but my father would keep such a bird in a cage. He seems indeed to have nourished too violent a contempt for the king, on account of his pedantry and pusillanimity; and by that means struck in with the restless and martial spirit of the English nation. Had he lived, he had probably promoted the glory, perhaps, not the felicity, of his people. The unhappy prepossession, which men commonly entertain in favour of ambition, courage, enterprise, and other warlike virtues, engages generous natures, who always love fame, into such pursuits as destroy their own peace, and that of the rest of mankind.

Violent reports were propagated, as if Henry had been carried off by poison; but the physicians, on opening his body, found no symptoms to confirm such an opinion. The bold and criminal malignity of men's tongues and pens spared not even the king on the occasion. But that prince's character seems rather to have failed in the extreme of facility and humanity, than in that of cruelty and violence. His indulgence to Henry was great, and perhaps imprudent, by giving him a large and independent settlement even in so early youth. Marriage

The marriage of the princess Elizabeth, with of the Prin-Frederick,elector palatine, wasfinished some time beth with after the death of the prince, and served to distine, Feb. sipate the grief which arose on that melancholy

event. But this marriage, though celebrated with great joy and festivity, proved, itself, an unhappy event to the king, as well as to his son-in-law, and had ill

consequences on the reputation and fortunes of both. The elector, trusting to so great an alliance, engaged in enterprises beyond his strength. And the king, not

b Coke's Detection, p. 37. e Kennet, p. 690. Coke, p. 37. Welwood, p. 272.

the Pala

14, 1613.

Somerset.

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being able to support him in his distress, lost entirely, in the end of his life, what remained of the affection and esteem of his own subjects. Rise of Excepting during sessions of parliament, the his

tory of this reign may more properly be called the history of the court than that of the nation. An interesting object had, for some years, engaged the attention of the court: it was a favourite, and one beloved by James with so profuse and unlimited an affection as left no room for any rival competitor. About the end of the year 1609, Robert Carre, a youth of twenty years of age, and of a good family in Scotland, arrived in London, after having passed some time in his travels. All his natural accomplishments consisted in good looks: all his acquired abilities in an easy air and graceful demeanour. He had letters of recommendation to his countryman lord Hay; and that nobleman no sooner cast his eye upon him, than he discovered talents sufficient to entitle him immediately to make a great figure in the government. Apprized of the king's passion for youth and beauty, and exterior appearance, he studied how matters might be so managed that this new object should make the strongest impression upon him. Without mentioning him at court, he assigned him the office, at a match at tilting, of presenting to the king his buckler and device; and hoped that he would attract the attention of the monarch. Fortune proved favourable to his design, by an incident which bore a contrary aspect. When Carre was advancing to execute his office, his unruly horse flung him, and broke his leg in the king's pre

James approached him with pity and concern: love and affection arose on the sight of his beauty and tender

years; and the prince ordered him immediately to be lodged in the palace, and to be carefully attended. He himself, after the tilting, paid him a visit in his chamber, and frequently returned during his confinement. The ignorance and simplicity of the boy finished the

sence,

a

conquest, begun by his exterior graces and accomplishments. Other princes have been fond of choosing their

. favourites from among the lower ranks of their subjects, and have reposed themselves on them with the more unreserved confidence and affection, because the object has been beholden to their bounty for every honour'and acquisition:James was desirous that his favourite should also derive from him all his sense, experience, and knowledge. Highly conceited of his own wisdom, he pleased himself with the fancy, that this raw youth, by his les

sons and instructions, would, in a little time be equal - to his sagest ministers, and be initiated into all the pro

found mysteries of government, on which he set so high a value. And as this kind of creation was more perfectly his own work than any other, he seems to have indulged an unlimited fondness for his minion, beyond even that which he bore to his own children. He soon knighted him, created him viscount Rochester, gave him the garter, brought him into the privy-council, and though, at first, without assigning him any particular office, bestowed on him the supreme direction of all his business and political concerns. Agreeable to this rapid advancement in confidence and honour, were the riches heaped upon the needy favourite; and while Salisbury and all the wisest ministers could scarcely find expedients sufficient to keep in motion the overburdened machine of government, James, with unsparing hand, loaded with treasures this insignificant and useless pageant.

It is said, that the king found his pupil so ill educated, as to be ignorant even of the lowest rudiments of the Latin tongue; and that the monarch, laying aside the sceptre, took the birch into his royal hand, and instructed him in the principles of grammar. During the intervals of this noble occupation, affairs of state would be introduced; and the stripling, by the ascendant which

# Kennet, p. 685, &c.

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