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his father, desiring he would be pleased to bestow Sherburn upon him, alledging that it was a place of great strength and beauty, which he much liked, but hideed, with an intention to give it back to Sir Walter Raleigh, whom he much esteemed.
The king who was unwilling to refuse any of that prince's de. sires, (for indeed, they were most commonly delivered in such lana guage, as sounded rather like a demand than an intreaty) granted his request; and, to satisfy his favourite, gave him five and twentythousand pounds in ready money, so far was the king or crown from gaining by this purchase. But that excellent prince, within a few months, was taken away; how and by what means is suspected by all, and I fear was then too well known by many. After his death, the king gave Sherburn again to Sir Robert Car, who not many years after, by the name of Earl of Somerset, was arraigned and condemned for poisoning Sir Thomas Overbury, and lost all his lands. Then Sir John Digby, now Earl of Bristol begged Sherburn of the king, and had it. Sir Walter Raleigh, being of a vigorous constitution, and perfect health, had now worn out sixteen years imprisonment, and had seen the disastrous end of all his greatest enemies; so that, new persons and new interests now springing up in court, he found means to obtain his liberty, but upon condition, to go a voyage to Guiana, in discovery of a gold mine. That unhappy voyage is well known, almost, to all men, and how he was betrayed from the very beginning, his letters and designs being discovered to Gondamore, the Spanish Ambassador, whereby he found such opposition upon the place, that though he took and fired the town of St. Thoma, yet he lost his eldest son in that service, and being desperately sick himself, was made frustrate of all his hopes.
Immediately upon his return home, he was made prisoner, and by the violent pursuit of Gondamore, and some others, who could not think their estates safe, while his head was upon his shoulders, the king resolved to take advantage of his former condemnation sixteen years past, being not able to take away his life for any new action ; and though he had given him a commission under the broad-seal to execute martial law upon his own soldiers, which was conceived, by the best lawyers, a full pardon for any offence committed before that time, without any further trouble of the law, cut off his head.
Here justice was indeed, blind, blindly executing one and the same person upon one and the same condemnation, for things contradictory; for, Sir Walter Raleigh was condemned for being a friend to the Spaniard, and lost his life for being their utter enemy. Thus kings, when they will do what they please, please not him they should, God, and, having made their power subservient to their will, deprive themselves of that just power whereby others are subservient to them. To proceed: Mr. Carew Raleigh, only son of Sir Walter, being at this time a youth of about thirteen, bred at Oxford, after five years, came to court, and, by the favour of the right honourable William Earl of Pembroke, his noble
kinsman, hoped to obtain some redress in his misfortunes; but the king, not liking his countenance, said, he appeared to him like the ghost of his father; whereupon the earl advised him to travel, which he did until the death of king James, which happened about a year after. Then coming over, and a parliament sitting, he, ac. cording to the custom of this land, addressed himself to them by petition to be restored in blood, thereby to inable him to inherit such lands, as might come unto him either as heir to his father, or any other way; but, his petition having been twice read in the lords house, King Charles sent Sir James Fullerton (then of the bed-chamber) unto Mr. Raleigh, to command him to come unto him; and, being brought into the king's chamber by the said Sir James, the king, after using him with great civility, notwithstand. ing told him plainly, that, when he was prince, he had promised the Earl of Bristol to secure his title to Sherburn against the heirs of Sir Walter Raleigh; whereupon the earl had given him, then prince, ten-thousand pounds, that now he was bound to make good his promise, being king; that therefore, unless he would quit all his right and title to Sherbourn, he neither could nor would pass his bill of restoration. Mr. Raleigh urged the justice of his cause; that he desired only the liberty of a subject, and to be left to the law, which was never denied any free-man. Notwithstand. ing all which allegations, the king was resolute in his denial, and so left him. After which Sir James Fullerton used many argu. ments to persuade submission to the king's will; as, the impossi. bility of contesting with kingly power; the not being restored in blood, which brought along with it so many inconveniencies, that it was not possible without it to possess or enjoy any lands or estate in this kingdom; the not being in a conditioit, if his cloke were taken from his back, or hat from his head, to sue for restitution. All which things being considered, together with splendid promi. ses of great preferment in court, and particular favours from the king not improbable, wrought much in the mind of young Mr. Raleigh, being a person not full twenty years old, left friendless and fortuneless, and prevailed so far, that he submittted to the king's will.
Whereupon there was an act passed for his restoration, and, to. gether with it, a settlement of Sherburn to the Earl of Bristol; and, in shew of some kind of recompence, four-hundred pounds a year pension, during life, granted to Mr. Raleigh after the death of his mother, who had that sum paid unto her, during lifc, in lieu of jointure.
Thus have I, with as much brevity, humility, and candour (as the nature of the case will permit) related the pressures, force, and injustice committed upon a poor oppressed, though not undeserv. ing *, family; and have forborne to specify the names of those,
• Sir Walter Raleigh discovered Virginia at his own charge, which cost him forty-thousand pounds. He was the first, of all the English, that discovered Guiana in the West-Indies. He took the Islands of Fayall from the Spaniard, and did most signal and eminent service at the taking of Cadiz. He took froin the Spaniard the greatest and richiesi Carick, that ever came into England : And auother ship laden with nothing but gold, pearls, and cochineal.
who were instruments of this evil, lest I should be thought to have an inclination to scandalise particular, and perchance noble families.
Upon the consideration of all which, I humbly submit myself to the commons of England, now represented in parliament; desire ing, according to their great wisdom and justice, that they will right me and my posterity, according to their own best liking; having, in my own person (though bred at court) never opposed any of their just rights and privileges, and, for the future, being resolved to range myself under the banner of the commons of England; and, so far forth as education and fatherly instruction can prevail, promise the same for two sons whom God hath sent me.
MEMOIRS of MONSIEUR DU VALL,
THE HISTORY OF HIS LIFE AND DEATH.
Whereunto are annexed his last Speech and Epitaph. Intended as
a severe Reflection on the too great Fondness of English Ladies towards French Footmen, which, at that Time of Day, was a too common complaint.
London : Printed 1670. Quarto, containing nineteen pages.
YLAUDE du Vall was born, anno 1643, at Domfront in Nor
mandy, a place very famous for the excellency and healthfulness of the air, and for the production of mercurial wits. At the time of his birth, (as we have since found, by rectification of his nativity, by accidents) there was a conjunction of Venus and Mer. cury, certain presages of very good fortune, but of a short continuance. His father was Pierre du Vall, a miller; his mother Marguerite De la Roche, a taylor's daughter. I hear no hurt of his parents, they lived in as much reputation and honesty, as their conditions and occupations would permit.
There are some that confidently aver he was born in Smock-alley without Bishopsgate ; that his father was a cook, and sold boiled beef and porridge. But this report is as false as it is defamatory and malicious, and it is easy to disprove it several ways; I will only urge one demonstrative argument against it: If he had been born there, he had been no Frenchman, but if he had been no Frenchman, it is absolutely impossible he should have been so much beloved in his life, and lamented at his death by the English ladies.
His father and mother had not been long married, when Margue
rite longed for pudding and mince pye, which the good man was fain to beg for her at an English merchant's in Rouen, which was a certain sign of his inclination to England. They were very merry at his christening, and his father, without any grumbling, paid also then the fees for his burial; which is an extraordinary custom at Domfront, not exercised any where else in all France, and of which I account myself obliged to give the reader a particular account.
In the days of Charles the Ninth of that name, the curate of Domfront (for so the French naine him whom we call parson and vicar) out of his own head, began a strange innovation and oppression in that parish; that is, he absolutely denied to baptise any of their children, if they would not at the same time pay him also the funeral fees; and what was worse, he would give them no reason for this alteration, but only promised to enter bond for himself and his successors, that hereafter all persons, paying so at their christening, should be buried gratis : What think ye the poor people did in this case? They did not pull bis surplice over his ears, nor tear his mass-book, nor throw crickets at his head; no, they humbly desired him to alter his resolution, and amicably reasoned it with him; but he, being a capricious fellow, gave them no other an. swer, but, What I have done, I have done, Take your remedy where you can find it; 'tis not for men of my coat to give an account of my actions to the laity. Which was a surly and quarrel. some answer, and unbefitting a priest. Yet this did not provoke his parishioners to speak one ill word against his person or function, or to do any illegal act. They only took the regular way of complaining of him to his ordinary, the Archbishop of Rouen. Upon summons, he appears; the Archbishop takes him up roundly; tells him, He deserves deprivation, if that can be proved which is objected against him: And asked him, What he had to say for himself? After his due reverence, he answers, That he acknowledges the fact, to save the time of examining witnesses; but desires his Grace to hear his reasons, and then do unto him as he shall see
“I have been',' says he, • curate of this parish these seven years; in that time I have, one year with another, baptised a hun. dred children, and buried not onc. At first I rejoiced at my good fortune, to be placed in so good an air; but, looking into the register-book, I found, for a hundred years back, near the same num. ber yearly baptised, and not one above five years old buried: And, which did more amaze me, I find the number of the communicants to be no greater now than they were then: This seemed to me a great mystery; but, upon further enquiry, I found out the true cause of it; for all that are born at Domfront were hanged at Rouen, I did this to keep my parishioners from hanging, encouraging them to die at home, the burial duties being already paid.'
The Archbishop demanded of the parishioners, Whether this was true or not? They answered, That too many of them came to that unlucky end at Rouen. "Well then,' said he, I approve of what the curate has done, and will cause my secretary, in perpetuam rei
memoriam, to make an act of it;' which act the curate carried home with him, and the parish chearfully submitted to it, and have found much good by it; for, within less than twenty years, there died fifteen of natural deaths, and now there die three or four yearly.
But, to return to Du Vall, it will not, I hope, be expected that I should, in a true history, play the romancer, and describe all his actions from his cradle to his saddle, telling what childish sports - he was best at, and who were his play-fellows; that were enough to make the truth of the whole narration suspected ; only one important accident I ought not to omit.
An old friar, accounted very expert in physiognomy and judicial astrology, came on a time to see old Du Vall and his wife (for so we call him to distinguish him from his son). They had then, by extraordinary good fortune, some Norman wine, that is, cider, in their house, of which they were very liberal to this old friar, whom they made heartily welcome, thinking nothing too good for him.
For those silly people, who know no better, account it a great honour and favour, when any religious person, as a priest or friar, are pleased to give them a visit, and to eat and drink with them. As these three were sitting by the fire, and chirping over their cups, in comes Claude, and broke the friar's draught, who fixed his eyes attentively upon him, without speaking one word for the space of half an hour, to the amazement of Claude's parents, who, seeing the friar neither speak nor drink, imagined he was sick, and courteously asked him, Brother, what ails you? Are you not well? Why do you look so upon our son?' The friar, having roused himself out of his extasy, Is that stripling,' says he, your son?' To which, after they had replied, Yes, Come hither, boy,' quoth he; and, looking upon his head, he perceived he had two crowns, a certain sign that he should be a traveller. This child, says he, will be a traveller, and he shall never, during his life, be long without money; and, wherever he goes, he will be in extraor. dinary favour with women of the highest condition. Now, from this story, the certainty of physiognomy and judicial astrology is evidently proved; so that from henceforward whoever shall presume to deny it, ought not to be esteemed a person in his right wits.
Pierre and Marguerite looked upon the friar as an oracle, and mightily rejoiced at their son's good fortune ; but it could not cn. ter into their imagination, how this should come to pass, having nothing to leave him as a foundation to build so great a structure upon.
The boy grew up, and spoke the language of the country fiuently, which is lawyers French, and which (if I should not offend the ladies, in comparing our language with theirs) is as much inferior to that at Paris, as Devonshire or Somersetshire English to that spoken at White-hall.
I speak not this to disgrace him, for, could he have spoke never so good French, it is not in such high esteem there as it is here'; and it very rarely happens, that, upon that account alone, any great man's daughter runs away with a lacquey.