Зображення сторінки

acquaintance in ilaat nation, and more particularly in Fiorcnce (which city is not more eminent for the Great Duke's Court, than for the great recourse of men of choicest note for learning and arts), in which number he there met with his old friend, Sigrior Vietta, a gentleman of Venice, and then taken to be Secretary to the Great Duke of Tuscany.

After some stay in Florence*, he went, the fourth time, to visit Rome; where in the English college he had very many friends (their humanity made them rcally so, though they knew him to be a dissenter from many of their principles of religion), and having enjoyed their company, and satisfied himself concerning some curiosities that did partly occasion his journey thither, he returned back to Florence, where a most notable accident befell him: An accident that did not only find new employment for his choice abilities, but did introduce him to a knowledge and an interest with our King James, then King of Scotland; which I shall proceed to relate.

But first, I ain to tell the reader, that though Queen Elizabeth (or she and her council) were never willing to declare her successor; yet James, then King of the Scots, was confidently believed by most to be the man upon whom the sweet trouble of kingly government would be imposed: And the Queen declining very fast, both by age and visible infirmitics, those that were of the Romish persuasion in point of religion (even Rome itself, and those of this nation,) knowing that the death of the Queen, and the


\ Here he composed his great work, “ The State of Christendom; or a most Exact and Curious Discovery of many Secret Paitages and Hidden Mysteries of the Times," 1657. folio.A second edition appeared in 1677, with several additions. The design of the Author seems to have been to ingratiate himself with Queen Elizabeth; on the transactions of whose reign he expatiates in all the language of panegyric.

That men of learning should fix their residence at Florence we need not wonder, when we reflect that this city has been long celebrated for its many excellent libraries, and principally for the ducal palace, which contains the greatest and most valuable collection made by one family, and within one roof, of ancient and modern sculpture, paintings and curiosities of every kind, both natural and artificiál. Yet Sir Henry Wotton has given a very unfavourable account of this place. “I live here in a Paradise inhabited by devils. Venice hath scarce “ heard of those vices which are here practised. My best commodity is the conversation of “ certain gentlemen, and their vulgar very pure and correct. So that here we have good < means to learn to speak well and to do ill.” (Letter to Lord Zouch, Florence, June 25, 1592.)


establishing of her successor, were taken to be critical days for destroying or establishing the Protestant religion in this nation, did therefore improve all opportunities for preventing a Protestant prince to succeed her. And as the Pope's excommunication of Queen Elizabeth' had, both by the judgment and practice of the Jesuited Papist, exposed her to be warrantably destroyed; so (if we may believe an angry adversary”,“ a Secular Priest against a Jesuit,”) you may believe, that about that time there were many endeavours, first to excommunicate, and then to shorten the life of. King James.

Immediately after Sir Henry Wotton's return from Rome to Florence (which was about a year before the death of Queen Elizabeth), Ferdinand,


Z. 2.

I Pope Pius V. without any previous admonition or citation, had passed a private sentence of excommunication upon Queen Elizabeth; which, in 1576, he caused to be publithed, and to be fixed upon the Bishop of London's palace-gate. By this exertion of his authority, he deposed her from her kingdom, and enjoined all her subjects to throw off their allegiance to her. This Bull was completely answered by a foreign divine, Henry Bullinger, a minister of the Reformed Church at Zurich. On this Bull Bishop Jewell-addresied his congregation in animated language, telling them,- That he had read it and weighed it thoroughly, and found it to be a matter of great blasphemy against God, and a practice to work much unquietness, fedition, and treason against our blefled and prosperous government: “ For it deposed the " Queen's Majesty from her royal feat, and tore the crown from her head. It discharged all " her natural subjects from all due obedience. It armed one side of them against another. “ It emboldened them to burn, to spoil, to rob, to kill, to cut one another's throats; like “ Pandora's box sent to Epimetheus, full of hurtful and unwholesome evils.” ( Bishop Jowell's Works.)

m William Watson, a fecular priest, composed a book, written with great acrimony in the scolastic method usually observed at that time, consisting of ten quodlibets; each of which is subdivided into as many articles. It discloseth the character and conduct of the Jesuits; ex- . hibiting in proper colours their arts of equivocation and mental reservation. Yet this man, so acute in discerning the errors of others, was hanged in 1603, for High Treason, along with William Clark, a Popish priest, and George Brook, brother to Lord Cobham, in conspiring the death of James I. He had deceived his accomplices by instructing them, “ That the “ King, before his coronation, was not an actual but a political king, and therefore no treasca « could be committed against him.” (See the State Trials. )

the Great Duke of Florence", had intercepted certain letters that discovered a design to take away the life of James the then King of Scots. The Duke abhorring the fact, and resolving to endeavour a prevention of it, advised with his Secretary Vietta, by what means a caution might be best given to that king; and after consideration, it was resolved to be done by Sir Henry Wotton, whom Vietta first commended to the Duke, and the Duke had noted and approved of above all the English that frequented his court.

Sir Henry was gladly called by his friend Vietta to the Duke, who, after much profession of trust and friendship, acquainted him with the secret ; and being well instructed, despatched him into Scotland with letters to the King, and, with those letters, such Italian antidotes against poisono as the Scots till then had been strangers to.

Having parted from the Duke, he took up the name and language of an Italian; and thinking it best to avoid the line of English intelligence and danger, he posted into Norway, and through that country towards Scotland, where he found the King at Stirling: Being there, he used means by Bernard Lindsey, one of the King's bed-chamber, to procure


* Ferdinand I. of the house of Medici, who in 1589 succeeded his brother Francis I. was educated for the church, and advanced to the dignity of a cardinal. He resigned his hat when he was 52 years of age. A wise and cxcellent prince, he applied himself to domestic affairs and governed his subjects with great mildness. He died in 1609. His character is drawn by Sir Henry Wotton in the “Reliquiæ Wottonianæ,” p. 243. He is described by a foreign historian in these words: “ Princeps animo excelso, et omnibus politicis artibus in “ tantum instructus, ut in multis feculis vix æqualem habuerit.”

• “ This Duke,” says Sir Henry Wotton, in an address to Charles I. “ while I was a private traveller in Florence, and went sometime by chance (sure I am without any design) to his court, was pleased out of some gracious conceit which he took of my fidelity (for nothing else could move it), to employ me into Scotland, with a casket of antidotes and preservatives (wherein he did excel all the princes of the world), and with a despatch of high and secret importance, which he had intercepted touching some practice upon the succesion to this crown; so as I am much obliged to his memory, though it was a painful journey, for that honour, and other favours and beneficences; and especially because I came thereby first into the noti of the king your father of ever blefled memory, when your Majesty was but a blooming rose.”—( Relig. Wotton. p. 246.)

him a speedy and private conference with his Majesty; assuring him, " That “ the business which he was to negociate was of such consequence, as had “ caused the Great Duke of Tuscany to enjoin him suddenly to leave his “ native country of Italy, to impart it to his king."

This being by Bernard Lindsey made known to the King, the King, after a little wonder (mixed with jealousy) to hear of an Italian ambassador or messenger, required his name (which was said to be Octavio Baldi"), and appointed him to be heard privately at a fixed hour that evening

When Octavio Baldi came to the presence-chamber door, he was requested to lay aside his long rapier (which Italian-like he then wore), and being entered the chamber, he found there with the King three or four Scotch lords standing distant in several corners of the chamber, at the sight of whom he made a stand; which the King observing, “ bade him “ be bold, and deliver his message ; for he would undertake for the secrecy “ of all that were present.” Then did O&tavio Baldi deliver his letters and his message to the King in Italian : which when the King had graciously received, after a little pause, Octavio Baldi steps to the table, and whispers to the King in his own language, that he was an Englishman, beseeching him for a more private conference with his Majesty, and that he might be concealed during his stay in that nation; which was promised, and really performed by the King during all his abode there, which was about three months: all which time was spent with much pleasantness to the King, and with as much to O&avio Baldi himself as that country could afford ; from which he departed as true an Italian as he came thither.

To the Duke at Florence he returned with a fair and grateful account of his employment; and within some few months after his return, there came


p In a letter to the king, dated Dec. 9, 1622, Sir Henry Wotton styles himself, “ Your Majesty's faithful vassal, and long devoted poor servant O&avio Baldi.” (Reliq. Wotton. p.247.) And in a letter to Henry Prince of Wales, dated from Venice, April 14, 1608, he alludes to this circumstance of his life, calling himself “ a poor counterfeit Italian.” He probably assumed this name out of regard to the memory of Barnardino Baldi, Abbot of Guastalla, a great master in his favourite science of architecture, and quoted by him as a commentator on Aristotle's Mechanics.

“ Send

certain news to Florence, that Queen Elizabeth was dead, and James, King of the Scots, proclaimed King of England. The Duke knowing travel and business to be the best schools of wisdom, and that Sir Henry Wotton had been tutored in both, advised hiin to return presently to England, and there joy the King with his new and better title, and wait there upon Fortune for a better employment.

When King Jarnes came into England, he found, amongst other of the late Queen's officers, Sir Edward, who was, after Lord Wotton, Comptroller of the House, of whom he demanded,

“ If he knew one Henry “ Wotton, that had spent much time in foreign travel ?” The lord replied, he knew him well, and that he was his brother: Then the King, asking where he then was, was answered, at Venice or Florence; but by late letters from thence he understood he would suddenly be at Paris. “ for him,” said the King; “ and when he shall come into England, bid “him repair privately to me.” The Lord Wotton, after a little wonder, asked the King, “ If he knew him?” to which the King answered, “You “ must relt unsatisfied of that till you bring the gentleman to me.”

Not many months after this discourse, the Lord Wotton brought his brother to attend the King, who took him in his arms, and bade him welcome, by the name of Ottavio Baldi; saying he was the most honest, and therefore the best dissembler that ever he met with : And said, “ Seeing I

know you neither want learning, travel, nor experience, and that I " have had fo real a testimony of your faithfulness and abilities to manage

an amballage, I have sent for you to declare my purpose ; which is, to “ make use of you in that kind hereafter.” And indeed the King did so most of those two-and-twenty years of his reign; but before he dismissed Octavio Baldi from his present attendance upon him, he restored him to his old name of Henry Wotton, by which he then knighted him".

Not long after this, the King having resolved, according to his motto “ BEATI PACIFICI" to have a friendship with his neighbour kingdoms of


9 James I. was as liberal in the distribution of honours, as his predeceffor Queen Elizabeth was sparing. In 1603 he conferred knighthood on more than five hundred persons.

James I. heard with great pleasure the epithet of the “ pacific” monarch applied to himfelf. “I know not by what fortune the dicton of pacific was added to my title at my coming


« НазадПродовжити »