« ForrigeFortsæt »
talk till the first blow be given: all these, my who perused them, copied, registered them, made lords, without scruple, are abettors to this murder, tables of them as he thought good : so that, I though none of them give the blow, nor assist to will undertake, the time was when Overbury give the blow.
knew more of the secrets of state than the counMy lords, he is not the hunter alone that lets cil-table did. Nay, they were grown to such an slip the dog upon the deer, but he that lodges the inwardness, as they made a play of all the world deer, or raises him, or puts him out, or he that besides themselves : so as they had ciphers and sets a toil that he cannot escape, or the like. jargons for the king, the queen, and all the great
But this, my lords, little needeth in this pre- men; things seldom used, but either by princes sent case, where there is such a chain of acts of and their ambassadors and ministers, or by such impoisonment as hath been seldom seen, and as work and practise against, or at least upon, could hardly have been expected, but that great- princes. ness of fortune maketh commonly grossness in But, understand me, my lord, I shall not charge offending.
you this day with any disloyalty ; only I say this To descend to the proofs themselves, I shall for a foundation, that there was a great communikeep this course:
cation of secrets between you and Overbury, and First, I will make a narrative or declaration of that it had relation to matters of estate, and the the fact itself.
greatest causes of this kingdom. Secondly, I will break and distribute the proofs But, my lords, as it is a principle in nature, as they concern the prisoner.
that the best things are in their corruption the And, thirdly, according to that distribution, I worst, and the sweetest wine makes the sharpest will produce them, and read them, or use them. vinegar; so fell it out with them, that this excess,
So that there is nothing that I shall say, but as I may term it, of friendship, ended in mortal your lordship, my Lord of Somerset, shall have hatred on my Lord of Somerset's part. three thoughts or cogitations to answer it: First, For it fell out, some twelve months before when I open it, you may take your aim. Secondly, Overbury's imprisonment in the Tower, that my when I distribute it, you may prepare your Lord of Somerset was entered into an unlawful answers without confusion. And, lastly, when I love towards his unfortunate lady, then Countess produce the witnesses or examinations them- of Essex: which went so far, as it was then selves, you may again ruminate and re-advise secretly projected, chiefly between my Lord Privy how to make your defence. And this I do the Seal and my Lord of Somerset, to effect a nullity rather, because your memory or understanding in the marriage with my Lord of Essex, and so to may not be oppressed or overladen with the proceed to a marriage with Somerset. length of evidence, or with confusion of order. This marriage and purpose did Overbury Nay, more, when your lordship shall make your mainly oppugn, under pretence to do the true answers in your time, I will put you in mind, part of a friend, for that he counted her an unwhen cause shall be, of your omissions.
worthy woman; but the truth was, that Overbury, First, therefore, for the simple narrative of the who, to speak plainly, had little that was solid fact. Sir Thomas Overbury for a time was known for religion or moral virtue, but was to have had great interest and great friendship possessed with ambition and vainglory, was with my Lord of Somerset, both in his meaner loath to have any partners in the favour of my fortunes, and after; insomuch as he was a kind Lord of Somerset, and especially not the house of oracle of direction unto him; and, if you will of the Howards, against whom he had always believe his own vaunts, being of an insolent professed hatred and opposition ; so all was but Thrasonical disposition, he took upon him, that miserable bargains of ambition. the fortune, reputation, and understanding of this And, my lords, that this is no sinister construcgentleman, who is well known to have had a tion, will well appear unto you, when you shall better teacher, proceeded from his company and hear that Overbury makes his brags to my Lord counsel.
of Somerset, that he had won him the love of the And this friendship rested not only in conver- lady by his letters and industry: so far was he sation and business of court, but likewise in com- from cases of conscience in this matter. And, munication of secrets of estate. For my Lord of certainly, my lords, howsoever the tragical misery Somerset, at that time exercising, by his ma- | of that poor gentleman, Overbury, ought somewhat jesty's special favour and trust, the office of the to obliterate his faults; yet, because we are not secretary provisionally, did not forbear to acquaint now upon point of civility, but to discover the Overbury with the king's packets of despatches face of truth to the face of justice; and that it is from all parts, Spain, France, the Low Countries, material to the true understanding of the state of &c. And this not by glimpses, or now and then this cause; Overbury was naught and corrupt, rounding in the ear for a favour, but in a settled the ballads must be amended for that point. manner: packets were sent, sometimes opened But, to proceed; when Overbury saw that he by my lord, sometimes unbroken, unto Overbury, I was like to be dispossessed of my lord here, whom
he had possessed so long, and by whose greatness, therefore, the next link of the chain was to dishe had promised himself to do wonders; and place the then lieutenant, Waade, and to place being a man of an unbounded and impetuous spirit, Helwisse, a principal abettor in the impoisonhe began not only to dissuade, but to deter him ment: again, to displace Cary, that was the underfrom that love and marriage; and finding him keeper in Waade's time, and to place Weston, who fixed, thought to try stronger remedies, suppos- was the principal actor in the impoisonment: and ing that he had my lord's head under his girdle, this was done in such a while, that it may appear in respect of communication of secrets of estate, to be done, as it were, with one breath, as there or, as he calls them himself in his letters, secrets were but fifteen days between the commitof all natures; and therefore dealt violently with ment of Overbury, the displacing of Waade, the him, to make him desist, with menaces of dis- placing of Helwisse, the displacing of Cary, the covery of secrets, and the like.
under-keeper, the placing of Weston, and the Hereupon grew two streams of hatred upon first poison, given two days after. Overbury; the one, from the lady, in respect that Then, when they had this poor gentleman in the he crossed her love, and abused her name, which Tower, close prisoner, where he could not escape are furies to women; the other, of a deeper and nor stir, where he could not feed but by their more mineral nature, from my Lord of Somerset hands, where he could not speak nor write but himself; who was afraid of Overbury's nature, through their trunks; then was the time to and that, if he did break from him and fly out, he execute the last act of this tragedy. would mine into him, and trouble his whole Then must Franklin be purveyor of the poifortunes.
sons, and procure five, six, seven several potions, I might add a third stream from the Earl of to be sure to hit his complexion. Then must Mrs. Northampton's ambition, who desires to be first in Turner be the say-mistress of the piosons, to favour with my Lord of Somerset; and knowing try upon poor beasts, what is present, and what Overbury's malice to himself and his house, works at distance of time. Then must Weston thought that man must be removed and cut off. be the tormentor, and chase him with poison after So it was amongst them resolved and decreed that poison; poison in salts, poison in meats, poison Overbury must die.
in sweatmeats, poison in medicines and vomits, Hereupon they had variety of devices. To until at last his body was almost come, by use send him beyond sea, upon occasion of employ- of poisons, to the state that Mithridates's body ment, that was too weak; and they were so far was by the use of treacle and preservatives, that from giving way to it, as they crossed it. There the force of the poisons were blunted upon him: rested but two ways, quarrel or assault, and Weston confessing, when he was chid for not poison. For that of assault, after some proposi- despatching him, that he had given him enough tion and attempt, they passed from it; it was a to poison twenty men. Lastly, because all this thing too open, and subject to more variety of asked time, courses were taken by Somerset, both chances. That of poison likewise was a hazard- to divert all means of Overbury's delivery, and to ous thing, and subject to many preventions and entertain Overbury by continual letters, and partly cautions ; especially to such a jealous and work- of hopes and projects for his delivery, and partly ing brain as Overbury had, except he were first of other fables and negotiation; somewhat like fast in their hands.
some kind of persons, which I will not name, Therefore, the way was first to get him into a which keep men in talk of fortunetelling, when trap, and lay him up, and then they could not they have a felonious meaning. miss the mark. Therefore, in execution of this plot, And this is the true narrative of this act of imit was devised, that Overbury should be designed poisonment, which I have summarily recited. to some honourable employment in foreign parts, Now, for the distribution of the proofs, there and should underhand by the Lord of Somerset are four heads of proofs to prove you guilty, my be encouraged to refuse it; and so upon that con- Lord of Somerset, of this impoisonment; wheretempt he should be laid prisoner in the Tower, of two are precedent to the imprisonment, the and then they would look he should be close third is present, and the fourth is following or enough, and death should be his bail. Yet were subsequent. For it is in proofs as it is in lights, they not at their end. For they considered that there is a direct light, and there is a reflexion of if there was not a fit lieutenant of the Tower for light, or back light. their purpose, and likewise a fit under-keeper of The first head or proof thereof is, That there Overbury; first, they should meet with many was a root of bitterness, a mortal malice or hatred, impediments in the giving and exhibiting the mixed with deep and bottomless fears, that you poison. Secondly, they should be exposed to had towards Sir Thomas Overbury. note and observation that might discover them. The second is, That you were the principal And, thirdly, Overbury in the mean time might actor, and had your hands in all those acts, write clamorous and furious letters to other his which did conduce to the impoisonment, and friends, and so all might be disappointed. And, which gave opportunity and means to effect ito
and without which the impoisonment could never hands; so as there is work enough for secrets, have been, and which could serve or tend to no whatsoever they were: and, like princes' confeother end but to the impoisonment.
derates, they had their ciphers and jargons. The third is, That your hand was in the very And, lastly, I will show you that it is but a toy impoisonment itself, which is more than needs to to say that the malice was only in respect he be proved; that you did direct poison; that you spake dishonourably of the lady; or for doubt of did deliver poison; that you did continually breaking the marriage; for that Overbury was a hearken to the success of the impoisonment; and coadjutor to that love, and the Lord of Somerset that you spurred it on, and called for despatch was as deep in speaking ill of the lady as Overwhen you thought it lingered.
bury. And, again, it was too late for that matter, And, lastly, That you did all the things after for the bargain of the match was then made and the impoisonment, which may detect a guilty past. And if it had been no more but to remove conscience, for the smothering of it, and avoid- Overbury from disturbing of the match, it had ing punishment for it: which can be but of three been an easy matter to have banded over Overkinds; That you suppressed, as much as in you bury beyond seas, for which they had a fair way; was, testimony: That you did deface, and de- but that would not serve their turn. stroy, and clip, and misdate all writings that And, lastly, “ periculum periculo vincitur,” to might give light to the impoisonment; and that go so far as an impoisonment, must have a deeper you did fly to the altar of guiltiness, which is a malice than flashes : for the cause must bear a pardon, and a pardon of murder, and a pardon for proportion to the effect. yourself, and not for your lady.
For the next general head of proofs, which conIn this, my lord, I convert my speech to you, sists in acts preparatory to the middle acts, they because I would have you attend the points of are in eight several points of the compass, as I your charge, and so of your defence the better. may term it. And two of these heads I have taken to myself, First, That there were devices and projects to and left the other two to the king's two serjeants. despatch Overbury, or to overthrow him, plotted
For the first main part, which is the mortal between the Countess of Somerset, the Earl of hatred, coupled with fear, that was in my Lord of Somerset, and the Earl of Northampton, before Somerset towards Overbury, although he did they fell upon the impoisonment: for always bepalliate it with a great deal of hypocrisy and dis- fore men fix upon a course of mischief, there be simulation, even to the end ; I shall prove it, my some rejections : but die he must, one way or lord steward, and you, my lords and peers, other. manifestly, by matter both of oath and writing. Secondly, That my Lord of Somerset was a The root of this hatred was that that hath cost principal practiser, I must speak it, in a most permany a man's life, that is, fear of discovering fidious manner, to set a train or trap for Overbury, secrets : secrets, I say, of a high and dangerous to get him into the Tower; without which they nature: Wherein the course that I will hold, never durst have attempted the impoisonment. shall be this:
Thirdly, That the placing of the lieutenant First, I will show that such a breach and Helwisse, one of the impoisoners, and the dismalice was between my lord and Overbury, and placing of Waade, was by the means of my that it burst forth into violent menaces and threats Lord of Somerset. on both sides.
Fourthly, That the placing of Weston, the unSecondly, That these secrets were not light, der-keeper, who was the principal impoisoner, and but of a high nature; for I will give you the ele- the displacing of Cary, and the doing of all this vation of the pole. They were such as my within fifteen days after Overbury's commitment, Lord of Somerset for his part had made a vow, was by the means and countenance of my Lord of that Overbury should neither live in court nor Somerset. And these two were the active instrucountry. That he had likewise opened himself ments of the impoisonment: and this was a busiand his own fears so far, that if Overbury ever ness that the lady's power could not reach unto. came forth of the Tower, either Overbury or him- Fifthly, That, because there must be a time for self must die for it. And of Overbury's part, he the tragedy to be acted, and chiefly because they had threatened my lord, that whether he did live I would not have the poisons work upon the sudden: or die, my lord's shame should never die, but he and for that the strength of Overbury's nature, would leave him the most odious man of the or the very custom of receiving poison into his world. And, farther, that my lord was like enough body, did overcome the poisons, that they wrought to repent it, in the place where Overbury wrote, not so fast; therefore Overbury must be held in which was the Tower of London. He was a the Tower. And as my Lord of Somerset got true prophet in that: so here is the height of the him into the trap, so he kept him in, and abused secrets.
him with continual hopes of liberty; and diverted Thirdly, I will show you, that all the king's all the true and effectual means of his liberty, and business was by my lord put into Overbury's made light of his sickness and extremities.
Sixthly, That not only the plot of getting Over- | Londoners, and another to deal with the peers; bury into the Tower, and the devices to hold him whose objects, perhaps, will not be so much and keep him there; but the strange manner of what is before them in the present case, which I his close keeping, being in but for a contempt, think is as odious to them as to the vulgar, but was by the device and means of my Lord of what may be hereafter. Besides, there be two Somerset, who denied his father to see him, disadvantages, we that shall give in evidence denied his servants that offered to be shut up close shall meet with, somewhat considerable; the one, prisoners with him; and in effect handled it so, that the same things often opened, lose their that he was close prisoner to all his friends, and freshness, except there be an aspersion of some open and exposed to all his enemies.
what that is new; the other is, the expectation Seventhly, That the advertisements which my raised, which makes things seem less than they lady received from time to time from the lieu- are, because they are less than opinion. There tenant or Weston, touching Overbury's state of fore, I were not your attorney, nor myself, if I body or health, were ever sent up to the court, should not be very careful, that in this last part, though it were in progress, and that from my which is the pinnacle of your former justice, all lady: such a thirst and listening this lord had to things may pass usine offendiculo, sine scru hear that he was despatched.
pulo.” Hereupon I did move two things, which, Lastly, There was a continual negotiation to having now more fully explained myself, I do, in set Overbury's head on work, that he should make all humbleness, renew. First, that your majesty some recognition to clear the honour of the lady ;will be careful to choose a steward of judgment, and that he should become a good instrument to that may be able to moderate the evidence, and wards her and her friends: all which was but en- cut off digressions; for I may interrupt, but I tertainment; for your lordships shall plainly see cannot silence: the other, that there may be divers of my Lord of Northampton's letters, special care taken for the ordering the evidence, whose hand was deep in this business, written, I not only for the knitting, but for the list, and, to must say it, in dark words and clauses; that there use your majesty's own words, the confining of was one thing pretended and another intended; it. This to do, if your majesty vouchsafe to that there was a real charge, and there was some- direct it yourself, that is the best; if not, I what not real; a main drift, and a dissimulation. humbly pray you to require my lord chancellor, Nay, farther, there be some passages which the that he, together with my lord chief justice, will peers in their wisdom will discern to point directly confer with myself, and my fellows, that shall be at the impoisonment.
used for the marshalling and bounding of the [After this inducement followed the evidence evidence, that we may have the help of his tself.]
opinion, as well as that of my lord chief justice; whose great travels, as I much commend, yet
that same “plerophoria," or over-confidence, doth TO HIS MAJESTY, ABOUT THE EARL OF always subject things to a great deal of chance. SOMERSET.
There is another business proper for me to IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, crave of your majesty at this time, as one that
At my last access to your majesty, it was fit have, in my eye, a great deal of service to be for me to consider the time and your journey, done concerning your casual revenue; but conwhich maketh me now trouble your majesty with sidering times and persons, I desire to be a remnant of that I thought then to have said : strengthened by some such form of commandbesides your old warrant and commission to me, ment under your royal hand, as I send you here to advertise your majesty when you are “aux enclosed. I'most humbly pray your majesty to champs,” of any thing that concerned your think, I understand myself right well in this service, and my place. I know your majesty is which I desire, and that it tendeth greatly to the “nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus ;” and good of your service. The warrant I mean not I confess, in regard of your great judgment, under to impart
, but upon just occasion; thus, thirsty to which nothing ought to be presented but well hear of your majesty's good health, I restweighed, I could almost wish that the manner of Tiberius were in use again, of whom Tacitus saith, “Mos erat quamvis præsentem scripto TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, ABOUT THE EARL adire;" much more in absence. I said to your
OF SOMERSET. majesty that which I do now repeat, that the Sir, evidence upon which my Lord of Somerset I thought it convenient to give his majesty an standeth indicted, is of a good strong thread, account of that which his majesty gave me in considering impoisoning is the darkest of offences; charge in general, reserving the particulars for but that the thread must be well spun and his coming; and I find it necessary to know his woven together; for, your majesty knoweth, it is pleasure in some things ere I could farther one thing to deal with a jury of Middlesex and proceed.
22 Jan. 1615.
My lord chancellor and myself spent Thursday majesty's pleasure that my lord chancellor and I and yesterday, the whole forenoons of both days, shall proceed to the examination of him, for that in the examination of Sir Robert Cotton; whom of the Duke of Lenox differs, in that there is not we find hitherto but empty, save only in the the like cause as in that of Somerset, then his great point of the treaty with Spain.
majesty may be pleased to direct his commandThis examination was taken before his ma- ment and warrant to my lord chief justice, to jesty's warrant came to Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, deliver unto me the examination he took of Sir for communicating unto us the secrets of the William Mounson, that those, joined to the pensions; which warrant I received yesterday information which we have received from Mr. morning, being Friday, and a meeting was ap- Vice-Chamberlain, may be full instructions unto pointed at my lord chancellor's in the evening, us for his examination. Farther, I pray let his after council; upon which conference we find majesty know, that on Thursday in the evening, matter of farther examination for Sir Robert Cot- my lord chief justice and myself attended my ton, of some new articles whereupon to examine lord chancellor at his house, for the settling that Somerset, and of entering into examination of Sir scruple which his majesty most justly conceived William Mounson.
in the examination of the Lady Somerset; at Wherefore, first for Somerset, being now ready which time, resting on his majesty's opinion, that to proceed to examine him, we stay only upon that evidence, as it standeth now uncleared, must, the Duke of Lenox, who it seemeth is fallen sick " secundum leges sanæ conscientiæ" be laid and keepeth in; without whom, we neither think aside; the question was, whether we should it warranted by his majesty's direction, nor leave it out, or try what a re-examination of my agreeable to his intention, that we should pro- Lady Somerset would produce ? Whereupon we ceed; for that will want, which should sweeten agreed upon a re-examination of my Lady Somerthe cup of medicine, he being his countryman and set, which my lord chief justice and I have friend. Herein, then, we humbly crave his ma- appointed for Monday morning. I was bold at jesty's direction with all convenient speed, that meeting to put my lord chief justice a posing whether we shall expect the duke's recovery, or question; which was, Whether that opinion proceed by ourselves; or that his majesty will which his brethren had given upon the whole evithink of some other person, qualified, according to dence, and he had reported to his majesty, namely, his majesty's just intention, to be joined with us. that it was good evidence, in their opinions, to I remember we had speech with his majesty of convict my Lord of Somerset, was not grounded my Lord Hay; and I, for my part, can think of no upon this part of the evidence now to be omitted, other, except it should be my Lord Chancellor of as well as upon the rest : who answered posiScotland, for my Lord Binning may be thought tively, No; and they never saw the exposition of too near allied.
the letter, but the letter only. I am farther to know his majesty's pleasure The same Thursday evening, before we entered concerning the day; for my lord chancellor and I into this last matter, and in the presence of Mr. conceived his majesty to have designed the Mon- Secretary Winwood, who left us when we went day and Tuesday after St. George's feast; and, to the former business, we had conference connevertheless, we conceived also, that his majesty cerning the frauds and abusive grants passed to understood that the examinations of Somerset the prejudice of his majesty's state of revenue; about this, and otherwise touching the Spanish where my lord chief justice made some relation practices, should first be put to a point; which of his collections which he had made of that will not be possible, as time cometh on, by reason kind; of which I will only say this, that I heard of this accident of the duke's sickness, and the nothing that was new to me, and I found my lord cause we find of Sir William Mounson's exami-chancellor, in divers particulars, more ready than
ation, and that divers of the peers are to be sent I had found him. We grew to a distribution both for from remote places.
of times and of matters, for we agreed what to It may please his majesty, therefore, to take begin with presently, and what should follow, into consideration, whether the days may not and also we had consideration what was to be well be put off till Wednesday and Thursday holpen by law, what by equity, and what by parafter the term, which endeth on the Monday, liament; wherein I must confess, that in the last being the Wednesday and Thursday before of these, of which my lord chief justice made Whitsuntide; or, if that please not his majesty, most account, I make most doubt. But the conin respect, it may be, his majesty will be then in clusion was, that, upon this entrance, I should town, whereas these arraignments have been still advise and confer at large with my lord chief in his majesty's absence from town, then to take justice, and set things in work. The particulars Monday and Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, I refer till his majesty's coming. being the Monday and Tuesday before Trinity The learned counsel have now attended me term.
twice at my chamber, to confer upon that which Now, for Sir William Mounson, if it be his his majesty gave us in commandment for our opi-.