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served King Henry the Eighth with equal zeal and ability at home and abroad, as a lawyer, a soldier, and a statesman”, was in or before the year 1530,
then one of the clerks of the signet, he was made coroner and attorney in the Court of Common Pleas (Pat. 29 Hen. 8, p. 5. per Inspex.); and in 30 Hen. VIII. being then one of the principal secretaries of state, he was sent ambassador to the Lady Regent for the Spaniards in the Netherlands, to treat of a marriage between King Henry and Christiana Duchess of Millaine, second daughter to the King of Denmark (Herbert, p. 434.] In 32 Hen. VIII. [1540); being then a knight, he was made constable of Southampton Castle (Pat. 32 Hen. VIII.), and of the Castle of Portchester, and was constituted one of the chamberlains of the exchequer. (Pat. 34 Hen. VIII. p. 7.) In 35 Hen. VIII. he was appointed one of the commissioners for managing the treaty upon the league made by King Henry and the Emperor Charles V. (Herbert, p. 495] ; and in the following year was a commissioner for conducting the treaty between Mathew Earl of Lennox, and King Heury, for the peace of England and Scotland. [Ibid. 509.]
2 Honour in his Perfection, by G. M. (Gervois Markham), 4to. 1624. As this work is frequently referred to, and is of very rare occurrence, I have reprinted that part of it which relates to the family of Southampton. Boswell.
“Next (O Britaine) reade vnto thy softer Nobilitie the Storie of the Noble House of Southampton ; That shall bring new fier to their blouds, and make of the little sparkes of Honour great flames of excellency; shew them the life of Thomas Wriothesley Earle of Southampton, who was both an excellent Souldier, and an admirable Scholler, who not only serued the great King his Master (Henry the eight) in his warres, but in his Counsell Chamber; not only in the field, but on the Bench, within his Courts of ciuill Justice: This man for his excellent parts, was made Lord Chauncelour of England where he gouerned with that integritie of heart and true mixture of Conuience and lustice, that he wonne the hearts both of the King and people.
“ After this noble Prince succeeded his sonne Henry Earle of Southampton, a man of no lesse vertue, prowesse, and wisedome, euer beloued and fauoured of his Prince, highly reuerenced and fauoured of all that were in his owne ranke, and brauely attended and serued by the best Gentlemen of those Countries wherein he liued ; his muster role neuer consisted of foure Lackeys and a Coachman, but of a whole troupe of at least an hundred well. mounted Gentlemen and Yeomen; he was not knowne in the Streetes by guarded Liuories, but by Gold
appointed Secretary of State; on the first of Ja. núary 1543, was created a baron by the title of Chaines ; not by painted Butterflies, euer running as if som monster pursued them, but by tall goodly fellowes that kept a constant pace both to guard his person, and to admit any man to their Lord which had serious businesse. This Prince could not steale or drop into an ignoble place, neither might doe any thing vnworthy of his great calling; for hee euer had a world of testimonies about him.
“ When it pleased the diuine goodnesse to take to his mercy this great Earle ; hee left behinde to succeede him Henry Earle of Southampton his Sonne (now living) being then a childe; But here mee thinkes Cinthius aurem vellet, something puls me by the elbow, & bids me forbeare, for flatterie is a deadly sinne, and will damme Reputation : But shall I that euer loued and admired this Earle, that liued many years where I daily saw this Earl ; that knew him before the warres, in the warres, and since the warres : shall I that haue seene him indure the worst mallice or vengeance, that the Sea, Tempests, or Thunder could utter, that haue seene him vndergoe all the extremities of warre, that haue seene him serue in person on the enemy, and against the enemy: shall I that haue seene him receiue the reward of a Souldier (before the face of the Enemie) for the best act of a Souldier (done vpon the Enemie :) Shall I be scarrd with shadowes ? No; Truth is my Mistresse, and though I can write nothing which can equall the least sparke of fire within him, yet for her sake will" I speake some thing which may inflame those that are heauy and dul and of mine owne temper.
“ This Earle (as I said before) came to his Fathers dignitie in his childhood, spending that and his other yonger times in the studie of good Letters (to which the Vniuersitie of Cambridge is a witnesse) and after confirmed that Studie with trauell and forraigne obseruation.
“ As soone as he came to write full and perfit Man, he betooke himselfe vnto the warres, was made Commander of the Garland, one of Queene Elizabeth (of famous memorie) her best ships; and was Vice-Admirall of the first Squadron. In his first putting out to Sea, hee saw all the Terrours and Euils which the Sea had power to shew to mortalitie, insomuch, that the Generall and the whole Fleete (except some few shippes, of which this Earles was one) were driuen backe into Plimouth, but this Earle in spight of stormes, held out his course, made the coast of Spaine, and after vpon an Aduiso returned. The Fleete new reenforst made fourth to Sea againe with better prosperitie, came to the Ilands of the Azores, and there first tooke the Iland of Fiall, sackt and burnt the great Towne, tooke the high Fort Lord Wriothesley of Titchfield, (one of the newly dissolved monasteries) in the county of South
which was held impregnable ; and made the rest of the Ilands, as Pike, Saint Georges, and Gratiosa, obedient to the Generals seruice; Then the Fleete returning from Fiall, it pleased the Generall to diuide it, and he went himselfe on the one side of Gratiosa, and the Earle of Southampton with some three more of the Queenes Ships and a few small Marchants Ships sailed on the other, when early in a morning by spring of day, This braue Southampton light vpon the King of Spaines Indian Fleete laden with Treasure, being about foure or fiue and thirty Saile, and most of them great warlike Gallioons; they had all the aduantage that sea, winde, number of ships or strength of men could giue them; yet like a fearefull heard they fled from the fury of our Earle; who notwithstanding gaue them chase with all his Canuase ; one he tooke, and sunke her, diuers hee dispierst which were taken after, and the rest he druae into the Iland of Tercera, which was thē vnassaileable. After this, he ioyned with the Generall againe, and came to the Iland of Saint Michaels, where they tooke and spoiled the Towne of Villa Franca; and at Porte Algado made a Charrackt runne on grounde and split her selfe; after being ready to depart, the enemie taking aduantage of our rising, and finding that most of our men were gone aboard, & but only the General, the Earle of Southampto, S. Francis Vere, & som few others left on Shoare, they came with their vtmost power vpon them, but were received with so hot an incounter, that many of the Spaniards were put to the sword, and the rest inforced to runne away: and in this skirmish no man had aduantage of safetie, for the number was (on our part) so few, that euery man had his hands imployment; and here the Earle of Southampton ere he could dry the sweat from his browes, or put his sword vp in the scaberd, receiued from the Noble Generall, Robert Earle of Essex, the order of Knighthood.
“ After this, he returned for England and came fortunately home, but fel he here a sleep with any inchantment either of Peace or Pleasure? O no; but here he did, as it were, but new begin the progresse of his more noble actions : for now the wilde and sturdy Irish rebels (fatned with some Conquests, and made strong with forraigne aide, to get more Conquest) began to rage like wilde Boares, and to root vp euery fruitfull place in that Kingdome, so that without a sodaine chastisement, it was likely the euill would grow past all cuer; To this worke the Earle of Southampton buckles on his Armour, and after the Generall was chosen, which was Robert Earle of Essex, he is the first tenders his service; he is instantly made Lieutenant Generall of the Horse,
ampton; and in 1544, constituted Lord Chancellor, and installed a Knight of the Garter. King Henry
prepares for the expedition, and with all possible speed came into Ireland, there he was a principall instrument in calming all the turmoiles, and ceasing the seditions in Munster, reducing that fruitfull and well-peopled Prouince to their auncient and true obedience, and making those which favour and grace could not reclaime, by force of_Armes to lye humbly prostrate before him; witnesse Mongarret, Donna-spaniah, the Souggan, Oni-mac-Rori, and a world of others, which being the wickedest of men, came and threw themselves at the feete of the General, and only cryed out for the Queenes and his mercy; Thus he also reduced the Country of Fercall, and diuers other places, and then returned.
“ But is here an end of his progresse in the warres ? questionlesse the whole world would haue so imagined, for his deare and dread Soueraigne, the euer memorable Elizabeth dying, the next that succeeds is the incomparable King lames; he enters not with an Oliue Branch in his hand, but with an whole Forrest of Oliues round about him ; for he brought not Peace to this Kingdome alone, but almost to all the Christian Kingdomes in Europe: he closed vp both ours and our neighbours Ianus Temple, and writing Beati pacifici, found both the worke and the Reward in his admirable proceedings ; here our great Earle stops, but retires not; hee keeps his first ground, and the King (like the Sunne which suruaies al things) found that he was fit for either the one or the other seruice; Peace and Warre were to him but a couple of hand-maids, and he knew how to employ either according to their Vertue : hence he makes him a Priuie Counsellour of the State, and in that seruice he spent the marrow and strength of his age.
Now at last, when Mischiefe and Policie went about by delicate and inchanting poisons, not only to stifle our Peace, but to murther and confound all our louing neighbours which guard vs ; and that Charitie her selfe complained how our almes were much to penurious; he who is one of the first which rises vp to this labour of amendment : but our Southampton, he whom although the priuiledge of white haires, the testimony of his former actions, and the necessitie of his imployments in the present state might haue pleaded many vnrefellable excuses; yet he is the sonne of Honour, aud with her he will liue and die in all occasions; hence he embarks himself into this present action : Go on then braue Earle, and as thou art by yeares, experience, and the greatnesse of thy former places and commandments in the warres, the eldest sonné of Honour in this Army, so giue vnto these thy Companions
on his death bed constituted him one of the executors of his will, and appointed him to be of the council to his son. Three days before the coronation of Edward the Sixth, [Feb. 16, 1546], he was created Earl of Southampton, but soon afterwards was divested of his office of Lord Chancellor, and removed from his place in the Council Though he is highly extolled by the contemporary historians, his inhuman treatment of the pious and unfortunate Anne Askew, whom with his own hands he tortured on the rack 4, has affixed a stain on his memory which no time can efface. He died July 30, 1550, at his house called Lincoln Place in Holborn, (afterwards distinguished by the name of Southampton House), and was buried in a vault near the choir of St. Andrew's Church in Holborn ; but his body, pursuant to the directions of his son's will, was afterwards removed to Titchfield, where there lately remained an inscription recording his titles and issue 6.
examples of thy goodnesse; shew them the true paths of Honour, and be thou the Eies and Conduct to leade to the restitution of the lost Palatinate, for therein consists my Prophesie."
Honour in his Perfection : or, a Treatise in Commendations of the Vertues and Renowned Vertuous vndertakings of the Illustrious and Heroyicall Princes Henry Earle of Oxenford. Henry Earle of Southampton. Robert Earle of Essex, and the euer praise-worthy and much honoured Lord, Robert Bartue, Lord Willoughby, of Eresby : With a Briefe Chronology of Theirs, and their Auncestours Actions, 8c. 4to. 1624.
3 Hayward's Life of Edward VI. p. 6, 103.
4 Ballard's Memoirs of British Ladies, p. 57, 8vo. MS. Stow, Maxims of great men, inter alia of Thomas Earl of Southampton.
5 Esc. 4 Edw. VI. p. 2, n. 7.
6 Some part of what is here stated seems to have been derived from the information of Mr. Thomas Warton. I have no doubt that the letter from that accomplished writer which contained it will be gratifying to the reader. Boswell.