« PredošláPokračovať »
The realities of the Marquess of Worcester's life have all the air of a romance. At the period of his birth in Ragland castle, his family was considered to be the most wealthy among the nobility, and not inferior to any of its rank, in ancient chivalric and honourable lineage. His father, the fifth earl of Worcester,* took an active part with the cavaliers in the civil war; and when King Charles appealed to the sword, the marquess (then Lord Herbert) was intrusted with the command of a large body of soldiers, mostly raised in his native county, and the adherents of his family. After the surprise and capture of Monmouth by the parliamentary army, Lord Herbert, by a prompt and sudden movement, contrived, un
* " A worthy and disinterested man, 'living with credit and character at his castle of Ragland, during the peaceable part of King Charles's reign, and defending it for him till the very conclusion of the war at his own expense, it being the last garrison that surrendered. The marquess, the richest of the peers, spent his fortune in the cause, and died a prisoner soon after the demolition of his castle; the articles of capitulation having been violated.” Walpole, Royal and Noble Authors, vol. i. p. 376,
† Fifteen hundred foot and five hundred horse. It cost the marquess about 60,0001., but being quickly annihilated, produced no effect. Cox's Tour in Monmouth, p. 216.
EARL OF GLAMORGAN.
perceived by his opponents, to lodge a squadron, with which he was detached from Ragland, behind a rising ground in the vicinity of the provincial capital; at the head of a small party of volunteers, he scaled a redoubt, passed the ditch, put the guard to death, and thus forcing a way for his cavalry, who at that instant joined him, he dashed sword in hand into the town, and made the garrison prisoners. This daring achievement established his reputation for courage and enterprise.
Receiving the title of Earl of Glamorgan, he was soon afterwards sent into Ireland; but here his natural impetuosity hurried him into positions, which were not considered favourable to the cause of the king, nor to his own honour.* The share he had in the negotiation to bring over a body of Irish, being artfully exaggerated by his enemies, the popular feeling set so strongly against him, that he found it prudent to seek safety from its virulence, by crossing the sea.
* Lord Glamorgan's own feeling of the part he acted in this transaction will best appear from one of his letters, written when he was in Dublin castle, to his wife, a daughter of O'Brien, Earl of Thomond. “My dear Heart, ---When I consider thee a woman, I feare,
I least you should be apprehensive; but when I reflect, that you are of the house of Thomond, and that you were once pleased to say these words unto me, that I should never in tendernesse of you desist from doing, what in honour I was obliged to doe, I grow confident, that in this, you will now show your magnanimity, and by it the greatest testimony of affection that you can possibly afford me. I need not tell you how cleare I am, and voide of feare; the onely effect of a good conscience; and that I am guilty of nothing that may testifie one thought of disloyalty to his majestie, or of what may stain the honour of the family I come of, or set a brand upon my future posteritie. Couragel (My Heart,) were l' among the king's enemies, you might feare, but being onely a prisoner among his friends and faithfull subjects, you need doubt of nothing, but that this cloud will be soon dissipated by the sunshine of MARQUESS OF WORCESTER. 43 To fill up the cup of his misfortune, Ragland castle was besieged ; and, after being defended by his father with the courage of an old Roman," it surrendered at last upon honourable conditions ; these, however, were perfidiously broken, and the venerable nobleman survived the catastrophe but a few months. The ruin of the family now seemed complete; the seat of its splendour was destroyed; its majestic woods were consigned to the axe, and sold; its domain was alienated ; + and its chief was an exile. the king my master.” The sacrifice that Lord Worcester willingly made of himself to save the appearances of honour in his temporising master, was well understood at the time by both parties. “Letters from the west inform us that one Captain Patricke Allin, with one-and-twenty more, all natural Irish, in a frigot, put in at Padstow, in Cornwall, little thinking it to be in the parliament's power, with letters to the Prince and Hopeton, from the Earle of Glamorgan, which letters, together with the frigot and men, were seized on by the country people with the help of some of our soldiers : the men all slain but two, who were carried before his excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, and examined: much is discovered of the jugglings between the King, Ormonde, Digby, and Glamorgan, who was so speciously accused and committed for his exceeds, and abusing of his majesties authority, in contracting with the Irish, contrary to his majesties intention, as lately by, a letter his majesty publicly declared; this, potwithstanding, Glamorgan is employed to bring over the Irish.” Weekly Intelligencer, Tuesday, March 10, 1645. “I have often heard of his majesties hocus pocus, but that a king should prove a hocus pocus himself, and cast a mist before the eyes of his people, is such a wonder as much to exceed our comprehension and belief.” Mercurius Civicus, March 11, 1645.
** The summons,” (to surrender,) says the marquess in answer to it, “ makes it too evident that it is desired that I should die under a hedge like a beggar; have no house left to put my head unto, nor means left to find me bread; wherefore, to give you answer, I make choice (if it so please God) rather to die nobly, than live with infamy." Rushworth,
7“ Thirty-seven thousand cords of wood were cut down. The lead was sold at Bristol for 6,0001.” In the same book is a list of the marquess's household; and the author obseryes,
LETTER TO COPELY. During the ascendancy of the parliament, the marquess resided abroad.*
When again, in an unfortunate hour, accepting a commission from the king, he proceeded to London on some secret purpose; being there quickly recognised, he was committed (in 1656) a close prisoner to the Tower. Here his necessities were many and great ;+ :but here, according to a tradition, his attention was first drawn to the amazing force of steam, by observing the rising of the lid of a vessel employed in a culinary operation in his chamber; and from this circumstance he projected that machine, which has thrown round his name so bright a radiance.
The return of the 'king gave the marquess a home, but in his old age he was doomed to feel all the miseries of hope deferred. The ear of his royal master was closed by the intrigues of enemies, or by ingratitude ; and the man who had spent the fortune of a prince in the cause of royalty, was left, at its final triumph, nearly in a
that from the “contemplation of the scene of almost regal splendour which it exhibits, the fortune of the first nobleman in the land, at the present day, would be scarce sufficient to maintain the household at Ragland." Heath's Ragland, 1806.
* His son enjoyed the friendship and patronage of Cromwell, who gave him a pension of 2,0001. a year. The protector, however, held, by a grant, a large part of the confiscated estate of the father. In 1632 he was created Duke of Beaufort by Charles II. # In a letter to Colonel Copely, dated March, 1656, he
says, “I' know not with what face to desire a curtesy from you, since I have not yet payed you the five pounds, and the mayne businesse so long protracted, whereby my reality and kindnesse should with thankfulnesse appeare; yet, in the interim, my disappointments are soe great, as that I am forced to begge, if you could possible, either to help me with tenne pounds to this bearer, or to make use of the coach, and to goe to Mr. Clerk, and if he could this day help me to fifty pounds, then to pay yourself the five pounds I owe yon out of them.
I The alderman bas taken three days time to consider of it.”.
ENGINE AT RAGLAND.
state of destitution, oppressed with debt, and without resources.
The tædium of bis long imprisonment was beguiled by mechanical amusements, which, it is gathered from other sources, he diligently followed even in the times of his brightest fortunes,* and in situations apparently the most unpropitious for his being able to spare the necessary leisure and attention. At his enlargement, neither the dilapidation of his fortune, the love of pleasure, which
“ At the beginning of the long parliament, there were certain rustics who came into Ragland castle to search for arms, my lord being a papist. The marquesse met them at the castle gate, and desired to know whether they had come to take away his money, seeing they intended to disarm him. They answered no, and after some sharp and dubious words coming from the marquesse, they were at last willing to take his word; but the marquesse not willing to part with them on such easie terms, having before resolved to return them one fright for another. Having carried them up and down the castle, he at length brought them over a high bridge, that arched over the moat, that was between the castle and the great tower, wherein the Lord Herbert had lately contrived certain water works, which, when the several engines and wheels were set agoing, much quantity of water through the hollow conveyances of the aquaducts, was to be let down from the top of an high tower.“ Upon the first entrance of these wonderful asinegoes, the marquesse had given orders that these catarrhacts should begin to fall, which made such a heideous and fearful noise, by reason of the hollownesse of the tower, and the neighbouring echoes of the castle, and the waters that were both between and around them, that there was such a roaring, as if the mouth of hell had been wide open, and all the devils had been conjured up, that the poore silly men stood so amazed, as if they had been half dead, and yet they saw nothing. At last, as the plot was laid, up comes a man, staring and running, crying out before he came at them, “ Look to yourselves my masters, for the lions are got loose;" whereupon the searchers gave us such a loose, that they tumbled so over one another, down the stairs, that it was thought one half of them had broken their necks, never looking behind them until they were sure they had got out of sight of the castle.” Apophthegms, p. 87. 1682.