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account of the effect produced at Madrid, by the romantic expedition of Charles, from the pen of an eye-witness.
“The great business of the match was tending to a period, the articles reflecting both upon church and state being capitulated and interchangeably accorded on both sides, and there wanted nothing to consummate all things, when, to the wonderment of the world,
the Prince and the Marquis of Buckingham arrived at the court on Friday last, upon the close of the evening. They alighted at my Lord of Bristol's house, and the Marquis (Mr Thomas Smith) came in first with a portmanteau under his arm; then the Prince (Mr. John Smith) was sent for, who staid awhile on t'other side of the street in the dark. My Lord of Bristol, in a kind of astonishment, brought him up to his bedchamber, where he presently called for pen and ink, and dispatched a post that night to England, to acquaint his Majesty how in less than sixteen days he was come safely to the coast of Spain ;--that post went lightly laden, for he carried but three letters.
I know the eyes of all England are earnestly fixed now upon Spain, her best jewel being here; but his journey was like to be spoiled in France, for if he had staid but a little longer at Bayonne, the last town of that kingdom hitherwards, he had been discovered; for Mons. Gramond, the governor, had notice of him not long after he had taken post. The people here do mightily magnify the gallantry of the journey, and cry out that he deserved to have the Infanta thrown into his arms the first night he came: he hath been entertained with all the magnificence that possibly could be devised. On Sunday last, in the morning betimes he went to St. Hierom's Monastery, whence the Kings of Spain used to be fetched the day they are crowned ; and thither the king came in person with his two brothers, his eight counsels, and the flower of the nobility; he rid upon the king's right hand thro' the heart of the town under a great canopy, and was brought so into his lodgings in the king's palace, and the king himself accompanied him to his very bed-chamber. It was a very glorious sight to behold; for the custom of the Spaniard is, tho' he go plain in his ordinary habit, yet, upon some festival or cause of triumph, there is none goes beyond him in gaudiness.”
The following description is very characteristic; and shews that the nil admirari spirit which our modern travellers carry about with them is lineally inherited from their ancestors.
“For outward usage, there is all industry used to give the Prince and his servants all possible contentment; and some of the king's'own servants wait upon them at table in the palace, where I am sorry to hear some of them jeer at the Spanish fare, and use other slighting speeches and demeanour. There are many excellent poems made here since the Prince's arrival, which are too long to couch in a letter; yet I will venture to send you this one stanza of Lope de Vega's.
Carlos Estrardo Soy
Que siendo amor mi guia,
Por ver mi Estrella Maria.
There are comedians once a week come to the palace, where, under a great canopy, the Queen and the Infanta sit in the middle, our Prince and Don Carlos on the Queen's right-hand, the King and the little Cardinal on the Infanta's left-hand. I have seen the Prince have his eyes immoveably fixed upon the Infanta half an hour together, in a thoughtful speculative posture, which sure would needs be tedious, unless affection did sweeten it: it was no handsome comparison of Olivares, that he watched her as a cat does a mouse. Not long since, the Prince, understanding that the Infanta was used to go some mornings to the Casa de Campo, a summer-house the King hath on t'other side of the river, to gather May-dew, he rose betimes and went thither, taking your brother with him; they were let into the house and into the garden, but the Infanta was in the orchard; and there being a high partition-wall between, and the door doubly bolted, the Prince got on the top of the wall, and sprung down a great height, and so made towards her; but she, spying him first of all the rest, gave a shriek, and ran back: the old marquis, that was then her guardian, came towards the Prince and fell on his knees, conjuring his highness to retire, in regard he hazarded his head if he admitted any to her company; so the door was opened, and he came out under that wall over which he had got in. . I have seen him watch a long hour together in a close coach in the open street, to see her as she went abroad : I cannot say that the Prince did ever talk with her privately, but publicly often, my Lord of Bristol being interpreter ; but the King always sat hard-by to overhear all. Our cousin Archy hath more privilege than any, for he always goes with his fool's coat where the Infanta is with her Meninas and ladies of honour, and keeps a blowing and blustering among them, and blurts out what he lists.
One day they were discoursing what a marvellous thing it was that the Duke of Bavaria, with less than fifteen thousand men, should dare to encounter the Palsgrave's army, consisting of above twentyfive thousand, and to give them an utter discomfiture, and take Prague presently after : whereunto Archy answered, that he would tell them a stranger thing than that; was it not a strange thing, quoth he, that in the year eighty-eight there should come a fleet of one hundred and forty sail from Spain to invade England, and that ten of these could not go back to tell what became of the rest ?”
Detached sketches, like these, of particular scenes, enable us to form as correct a notion of Spanish manners and customs, as we can perhaps collect from the more elaborate picture which he afterwards draws of the general character of the people.
“Touching the people, the Spaniard looks as high, tho' not so big, as a German; his excess is in too much gravity, which some, who know him not well, hold to be pride; he cares not how little he labours, for poor Gascons and Morisco slaves do most of his work in field and vineyard : he can endure much in the war, yet he loves not to fight in the dark, but in open day or upon a stage, that all the world might be witnesses of his valour; so that you shall seldom hear of Spaniards employed in night-service, nor shall one hear of a duel here in an age. He hath one good quality, that he is wonderfully obedient to government; for the proudest Don of Spain, when he is prancing upon his ginnet in the street, if an Alguazil shew him his Vare, that is, a little white staff he carrieth as a badge of his office, my Don will down presently off his horse, and yield himself his prisoner. He hath another commendable quality, that when he giveth alms, he pulls off his hat and puts it in the beggar's hand with a great deal of humility. His gravity is much lessened since the late proclamation came out against ruffs, and the king himself shewed the first example; they were come to that height of excess herein, that twenty shillings were used to be paid for starching of a ruff: and some, tho' perhaps he had never a shirt to his back, yet he would have a toting huge swelling ruff about his neck. He is sparing in his ordinary diet, but when he makes a feast he is free and bountiful. He is a great servant of the ladies, nor can he be blamed, for, as I said before, he comes of a goatish race; yet he never brags of, nor blazes abroad, his doings that way, but is exceedingly careful of the reputé of any woman, (a civility that we much want in England.)
The Spaniard is generally given to gaming, and that in excess; he will say his prayers before, and if he win, he will thank God for his good fortune after. He is very devout in his way, for I have seen him kneel down in the very dirt when the Ave-Mary bell rings; and some, if they spy two straws or sticks lie cross-wise in the street, they will take them up and kiss them, and lay them down again. He walks as if he marched, and seldom looks on the ground, as if he contemned it. I was told of a Spaniard who having got a fall by a stumble, and broke his nose, rose up, and in a disdainful manner said, Voto a tal esto es caminar por la tierra ;-this it is to walk
Touching their women, nature hath made a more visible division 'twixt the two sexes here than elsewhere; for the men, for the most part, are swarthy and rough, but the women are of a far finer mould, and are commonly little : and whereas there is a saying that makes a complete woman, let her be English to the neck, French to the waist, and Dutch below; I may add for hands and feet let her be Spanish, for they have the least of any. They have another saying, a Frenchwoman in a dance, a Dutch-woman in the kitchen, an Italian in a window, an England-woman at board, and the Spanish a-bed. When they are married, they have a privilege to wear high shoes, and to paint, which is generally practised here; and the Queen useth it herself. They are coy enough, but not so froward as our English; for if a lady go along the street, (and all women going here veiled, and their habit so generally alike, one can hardly distinguish a Countess from a cobler's wife,) if one should cast out an odd ill-sounding word and ask
her a favour, she will not take it ill, but put it off and answer you with some witty retort.”
But enough of Spain. The business which carried him to that country, went on prosperously as
long as the Spanish match was on foot; but the departure of the Prince and the subsequent rupture of the treaty, destroyed all his hopes of obtaining his suit. The king of Spain indeed still answered him graciously, but Olivares gave him, as he says, a churlish reply; "That when the Spaniards had justice in England, we should have justice here." This rebuff leads to his own return home, and we soon meet with a long and minute account of the death of King James the First.
“ As soon as he expired, the Privy Council sat, and in less than à quarter of an hour, King Charles was proclaimed at Theobald's Court Gate, by Sir Edward Zouch, Knight Marshal. Mr. Secretary Conway dictating to him, That whereas it had pleased God to take to his mercy, our most gracious Sovereign, King James, of famous memory; We proclaim Prince Charles, his rightful and indubitable heir, to be King, fc. The Knight Marshal mistook, saying, his rightful and dubitable heir, but he was rectified by the Secretary. This being done, I took my horse instantly, and came to London, first, except one, who was come a little before me, insomuch that I found the gates shut. His Majesty now took coach, and the D. of Buckingham with him, and came to St. James's; and in the evening he was proclaimed at Whitehall-Gate, Cheapside, and other places, in a sad shower of rain: and the weather was suitable to the condition wherein he finds the kingdom, which is cloudy; for he is left engaged in a war with a potent Prince, the people by long desuetude unapt for arms, the fleetroyal in quarter repair, himself without a queen, his sister without a country, the crown pitifully laden with debts, and the purse of the state lightly ballasted, though it never had better opportunity to be rich,
than it had these last twenty years.
There are great preparations for the funeral, and there is a design to buy all the cloth for mourning, white, and then put it to the dyers in gross, which is like to save the crown a good deal of money; the drapers murmur extremely at the Lord Cranfield for it.”
We cannot pass over the notice of Lord Bacon's death, because it tends to clear his character from the imputation of a sordid passion for money, for its own sake.
“ My Lord Chancellor Bacon is lately dead of a long languishing weakness; he died so poor, that he scarce left money to bury him, which, though he had a great wit, did argue no great wisdom; it being one of the essential properties of a wise man, to rovide for the main chance. I have read that it had been the fortune of all poets commonly to die beggars; but for an orator, a lawyer, and philosopher, as he was, to die so, it is rare. It seems the same fate befel him that
attended Demosthenes, Seneca, and Cicero, of whom the two first fell by corruption. The fairest diamond may have a flaw in it, but I believe he died poor out of a contempt of the help of fortune, as also out of an excess of generosity, which appeared, as in divers other passages; so once, when the King had sent him a stag, he sent up for the under-keeper, and having drunk the king's health to him in a great silver-gilt bowl, he gave it to him for his fee.
He wrote a pitiful letter to King James, not long before his death, and concludes, 'Help me, dear Sovereign, Lord and Master, and pity me so far, that I who have been born to a Bag, be not now in my age forced in effect to bear a Wallet; nor that I who desire to live to study, may be driven to study to live. Which words, in my opinion, argued a little abjection of spirit, as his former letter to the Prince did of profaneness; wherein he hoped, that as the father was his Creator, the son will be his Redeemer. I write not this to derogate from the worth of the Lord Viscount Verulam, who was a rare man; a man reconditæ scientiæ, et ad salutem literarum natus, and I think the eloquentest that was born in this isle.”
He gives a very circumstantial account of the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham, in which however, there is little to be found beyond the common story of that event, except, perhaps, the manner in which he describes Charles to have received the intelligence of his favourite's murder. “Capt. Price went post presently to the king four miles off, who being at prayers on his knees when it was told him, yet never stirred, nor was he disturbed a whit, till all divine service was done.”
The account of the Attorney-General Noy's death and will is most entertainingly given. He had before noticed this man's appointment, in the following manner. “Our greatest news here, now is, that we have a new Attorney-General, which is news indeed, considering the humour of the man, how he hath been always ready to entertain any cause whereby he might clash with the prerogative ; but now as Judge Richardson's head is full of proclamations, and devices how to bring money into the exchequer, he hath lately found out among the old records of the Tower, some precedents for raising a tax called ship-money." It is in a letter to Lord Savage, that he says,
“Master Attorney-General Noy is lately dead, nor could Tunbridge waters do him any good: though he had good matter in his brain, he had it seems ill materials in his body; for his heart was shrivelled like a leather penny-purse, when he was dissected, nor were his lungs sound.
Being such a clerk in the law, all the world wonders he left such an odd will, which is short and in Latin : the substance of it is, that he having bequeathed a few legacies, and left his second son one hundred marks a year, and five hundred pounds in money, enough to bring him up in his father's profession, he concludes, Reliqua meorum omnia pri