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both parties,-Wotton with characteristic prudence selected Venice, as the state best suited to his pres; vious habits and acquirements, and as being better adapted by its comparative rank, to the scantiness of his private fortune. He was immediately nominated embassador to the republic, with a handsome allowance for his present necessities, and a liberal maintenance during his future residence.
He embarked on this his first political mission in 1604, and in his journey to Venice committed an act of incautious- witticism, which several years after bad nearly lost him the contidence of his royal master. Being at the eity of Ausburg in Germany, where from previous residence he had acquired many friends, and passing the day in conviviality with one of them named Christopher Flecamore, he was requested by him to insert some motto in his Album, (a blank paper book, preserved for such uses, according to a national custom) as a memorial of their friendship. Sir Henry took the pen, and hastily wrote the following definition of his newly acquired office of an embassador.-- Legatus est vir bonus perigrè missus ad mentiendum reipublicæ causa.”—This sentence when converted into English becomes a pun,-an ambassador is an honest man sert to lie abroad for the good of his country, -and as an English pun Sir Henry Wotton doubtless wished it to be applied ; it is, however, no pun in the language in which he wrote it. Eight years afterwards, Jasper Scioppius,' a papist, and a controversial writer of that day, having obtained a knowledge of this incident, produced the sentence in one of his publications, as a principle of state professed by King James, and promulgated by Sir lleory Wotton his embassador at
Venice. The discovery made more noise than it deserved, and, as it was industriously propagated at Venice, the embassador was called to account for it.
Whether or not this circumstance produced his recal, does not appear; it is certain that he was in England in 1611, about the time that the publication of Scioppius made its appearance, and his vindication addressed in elegant latin to Mark Welser, governor of Ausburg, his personal friend, is dated at London, December 20, 1612. This composition which was carefully circulated, and contained a simple statement of the facts, together with some merited abuse of Scioppius, seemed to produce the desired purpose of exposing the malicious design of his adversary. Sir Henry Wotton deemed it requisite to address himself more pointedly to his royal master, and soothed his irritated mind by a separate and apparently satisfactory apology.
Sir Henry Wotton remained at home until 1614. We are furnished in the Reliquiæ with a series of his letters written during this interyal, to his nephew by marriage and by adoption, Sir Edmund Bacon ; from which what relates to himself personally shall be extracted.
Under date of November 16th, 1613, he writes,
It may please you, Sir, to understand, that the king, when he was last at Hampton, called me to him, and there acquainted me with a general purpose that he had to put me again to some use.
Since which time, the French 'embassador, having at an audience of some length, besought his majesty, I know not whether voluntarily, or set on by some of our own, to disencumber hiarself of frequent accesses, by the choice of
some confidential seryant, to whom the said embassador might address himself in such occurrences as did not require the king's immediate ear. It pleased him to nominate me for that charge, with more gracious commendation than it can beseem me to repeat, though I write to a friend in whose breast I dare repose even my vanities. But lest you should mistake, as some others have been apt to do here, in the present constitution of the court, which is very umbrageous, the king's end in this application of me, I must tell you that it is only for the better preparing of my insufficiency and weakness, for the succeeding of Sir Thomas Edmunds in France; towards which his majesty has thought meet first to indae me with some knowledge of the French businesses which are in motu. And I think my going thither will be about Easter.
“ Thus, you see, Sir, both my next remove, and the exercise of my thoughts till then; wherewith there is joined this comfort, besides the redemption from expence and debt at home, which are the gulphs that would swallow me, that his Majesty bath promised to do something for me before I go."
Nothing more is upon record of this intended appointment. That Sir Henry Wotton was a member of Parliament at this time may perhaps be presumed from the following letter, but it is by no means certain.
June 8. 1614. It is both morally and naturally true, that I have never been in perfect health and cheerfulness since we parted; but I have entertained my mind, when my body would give me leave, with the contemplation of the strangest thing that ever I beheld, commonly called in our language, as I take it, a Parliament, which hath
produced nothing but inexplicable riddles in the place of laws. For first, it is aborted before it was born, and nullified after it had a being; insomuch as the Count Palatine, whose naturalization was the only thing that passed in both houses, is now again an alien. And whereas all other Parliaments have had some one excellent quality that hath created a denomination; some being called in our records mad Parliaments, some merciless, and the like: this I think, from two properties almost insociable, or seldom meeting, may be termed the Parliament of greatest diligence, and of least resolution, that ever was, or ever will be ; for our committees were as well attended commonly, as full houses in former sessions, and yet we did nothing, peither in the forenoon nor after; whereof I can yield you no reason but this one, that our diversions were more than our main purposes; and some of so sensible pature, as took up all our reason, and all our passion, in the pursuit of them. Now, Sir, what hath followed since the dissolution of this civil body, let me rather tell you, than lead you back into any particularities of that which is passed.
“ It pleased his majesty the very next morning to call to examination, before the Lords of his Council, divers Members of the House of Commons, for speeches better becoming a senate of Venice, where the treaters are perpetual Princes, than where those who speak so is reverently, are so soon to return, which they shou!! remember, to the natural capacity of subjects. Of these exanıinants, four are comunitted close prisoners to the tower :- 1. Sir Walter Chute : 2. John Hoskins: 3. one Wentworth, a lawyer : and 4. Mr. Christopher Nevil, second son to my Lord of Abergaveny.
“ The first made great shift to come thither; for having taken in our house some disgrace in the matter of the undertakers, of whom he would fain have been thought one,-to get the opinion of a bold man, after he had lost that of a wise, he fell one morning into a declamation against the times, so insipid, and so unseasonable, as if he had been put but out of his place for it, of Carver, into which one of my Lord Admiral's nephews is sworn, I should not have much pitied him, though he be my countryman.
“ The second is in for more wit, and for licentiousness baptized freedom: for I have noted in our House, that a false or faint patriot did cover himself with the shadow of equal moderation : and on the other side, irreverent discourse was called honest liberty: so, as upon the whole matter, no excesses want precious names. shall have it in Pliny's language, wbich I like better than mine own translation; "Nullis vitüs desunt pretiosa nom ina."
“ The third is a silly and simple creature, God bimseif knows: and though his father was by Queen Elizabeth at the time of a Parliament likewise put into the place where the son now is; yet hath he rather inherited his fortune, than his understanding. fault was the application of certain texts in Ezekiel and Daniel, to the matter of impositions; and saying, that the French King was killed like a calf, with such poor stuff; against which the French embassador, having gotten knowledge of it, hath formed a complaint, with some danger of his wisdom.
“ The last is a young gentleman, fresh from the school, who having gathered together divers latin sentences against Kings, bound them up in a long speech,