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out of the very question we are discussing, his Lordship having applied to that gentleman the appellation of “clerk,” though recently elevated by the Government to the Colonelship of a regiment of the line, a position for which Mr. Fullarton's previous habits by no means qualified him, and which was designed (or supposed at least) to place him in invidious rivalry with certain gentlemen of fortune in the country. Lord Shelburne, though unable to attend the aforesaid meeting at Devizes, owing to a wound received in the duel, addressed a long letter to the chairman, in which the following reference to the Militia occurs :
“ Though no one," observes his Lordship, “feels with more concern the abuses which have taken place in the Militia, and particularly the departure from the ancient, true, fundamental, and till of late years, invariable, Militia-principles of keeping them within their Counties, except in case of actual invasion, (their present distant and unnecessary removals serving only to assimilate them to the standing army, in principle and in habit, not in discipline,) I still have that confidence in our army as well as Militia, as at present constituted, that I hope neither are yet so estranged from a love of the constitution as to give any just apprehension of danger.”
An expression occurring in one of the following letters may seem at first sight to impute a national character to the service of which it treats. Mr. Duckett in Letter IX is urged by Lord Hertford to the prompt acceptance of his office on the ground of obedience to the King and the public good of his country : but it is well known by those conversant with the phraseology of the 17th century, that the term country when thus employed had reference simply to a man's particular district or province. A member of Parliament, for instance, is frequently spoken of as “repairing to his country,” that is, to his country-seat or constituency. Lord Hertford's expostulation with Mr. Duckett, therefore, in behalf of his country, is just nothing more than an appeal to his local prejudices. Of course it would be absurd to represent that any thing like a rivalry existed, at the time Hertford wrote, between the County forces and those of the State, for before the period of the Civil wars of Charles I. there was no such thing as a standing army in England. All that is designed to shew is that the safety of the realm was formerly based on the practice of the self-government of boroughs and provinces, in contradistinction to the modern
principle of confiding it to one vast homogeneous engine wielded by the central authority.
It now remains to take a brief notice of the distinguished personage whose name appears at the head of this article. (The subordinate characters will be noticed in the sequel).
Sir Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, Lord Lieutenant of Wilts and Somerset during the reign of James I, was the eldest son of the Protector Somerset, by the second wife Anne Stanhope, and the grandfather of the loyal Marquis of Hertford, who won the battle of Roundway. In early life he had got into trouble with Queen Elizabeth, by presuming to marry without royal licence the sister of Lady Jane Grey. For this he languished in the Tower for eight or nine years, and paid a fine of £15,000, still further atoning for the rash act of his youth by a long life of devoted allegiance practised at a distance from the Court. At the date of the following letters he was in his 70th year, living at Amesbury, and occasionally at Netley, having married his third wife, the widow of a London vintner, though herself of gentle blood, (a Howard) and the heiress of an immense estate. This was the lady for whose sake Sir George Rodney, having sighed in vain, repaired to Amesbury after her marriage with the Earl, and writing his last message to her in his own blood, destroyed himself at the public Inn. The Earl died 1621, and was buried under a gorgeous monument in Salisbury Cathedral, at the east end of the south aisle.
Among the facts illustrated by the ensuing correspondence may be mentioned, the distinctiveness of the muster in large towns from that in the counties, the liabilities of the clergy to be separately assessed for the support of arms, the royal system of tax gathering under the name of loans, and an approximation to the value of the freeholders' estates as proved by their respective contributions. The documents, it should be added, are only a selection from the original packet in the British Museum Library, with one or two others added from a different source.
LETTER I. Sir Thomas Thynne of Longleate to the Earl of Hertford, declining
the Colonelship on the ground of his appointment to the Shrievalty. Right HONOURABLE,
Understanding that there is a muster appointed shortly by your lordship, whereat the charge of Colonelship given me by your honour requires my personal attendance, which by reason of my now office of Sheriffwick, and some other important occasions, I cannot so conveniently perform as is fitting, or as willingly I desire, had not this office happened unto me;—and therefore I humbly beseech your lordship, as it pleased you out of your love and favour to bestow the place on me, so now in respect of my other office, the service whereof I must of necessity attend, that you will be likewise pleased to give the same charge unto some other. For which, as for other former favours, I shall rest in all dutiful office at your lordships service.
THOMAS THYNNE. Brought to Amesbury by a man of Sir James Mervin's, 1st Aug., 1608.
Lord Hertford to the Bishop of Sarum? concerning the Clergy's
finding of arms. MY VERY GOOD LORD,
Whereas I have received letters from my lords of his Majesty's Privy Council concerning a special view to be taken, as may appear to your lordship by the copy herewith sent, wherein, amongst other things, their lordships have given directions for taking in such of the clergy as are fit to be charged with either horse or foot, to appear at the musters, and to be trained with the trainedbands of the country ;-I do suppose that the sufficiency [peculiar ability] of such clergymen are best known unto your lordship: I do therefore entreat your lordship that, as conveniently as you may, you acquaint me with all such persons as have heretofore served in the like service, and what persons are now of ability to serve more than heretofore have served, for the better executing of His Majesty's service, which is very shortly to be observed. I thank your lordship very heartily for your good pains here at Amesbury, and the good sermon you preached at the church. So not doubting your lordship’s assistance in the premises, with my loving commendations, I commit you to the heavenly protection. From my house at Amesbury the 6th of August, 1608. Your lordship’s loving friend.
HERTFORD. Sent by John Barlot, the 12th of August.
1 Henry Cotton.
The Bishop of Salisbury in answer to Lord Hertford concerning
the viewing of the Clergy. MY VERY GOOD LORD,
With humble thanks for your lordship’s honourable and kind entertainment of me at my late being with you, I received your lordship’s letters touching the shewing of the clergy armour at the next general muster within Wilts. And lest my answer might be mistaken (which I gave to your lordship's servant) by report, I thought good in writing to deliver the same, that according to your lordship’s letters I will send abroad to my clergy to be ready against those days that shall be appointed. And when I have fully settled the manner of their armour, and number, I will send your lordship a certificate of the same-There shall be nothing done to your lordship’s mislike, but with readiness and willingness, as appertaineth. And whereas I made mention of my Lord of Canterbury to your said servant, it was in no other respect than this, that my lord that last was, in all musters of the clergy that were in my time in her Majesty's reign, [Elizabeth's] did always concur with his letter monitory to the Bishops of his province, to provide and be ready accordingly, which I thought also his Grace would do the like in short time; which whether he do or no, according to your lordship’s directions I will give them admonition to be provided at the days appointed. And even so I do heartily commend your lordship with my special good lady to Almighty God. Sarum, this 11th of August, 1608. Your lordship’s assured loving friend to be commanded in the Lord.
HENRY SARUM. Brought to Amesbury by Mr. Thomas
Sadler, the 12th of the same.
Sir Walter Long to his Lordship, excusing his not meeting the rest
of the Deputy Lieutenants at Amesbury. Right HONOURABLE,
According to your lordship’s commandments I did purpose to have attended you at Amesbury, at your lordship’s house, on Thursday next, and to that end I went unto Sir William Eyrel on Monday last, and being there late in the evening, I received a message from my lord Chamberlain to come unto his lordship’s house at Charlton the next day, being almost twenty miles off. The business was to confer with me about some land that his lordship is to purchase of me in that place, to the value of about three thousand pounds. And for that my lord is suddenly to depart out of the country, I cannot possibly be with your lordship at the time appointed, but I shall endanger my estate by reason of a purchase which I have lately entered into, and know no means to satisfy it but the sale of this land. My humble suit unto your lordship is that you will not be offended with me at not coming, in regard this business doth so much concern me. Your lordship doth know that I have been ever ready at all commands, when others have been absent, as well for the King's service as your own private business; and when your lordship has determined what shall be done concerning this service, I will not fail to be at the execution of the same. Even so desiring your lordship's pardon herein once more; and rest ever, by your honour to be commanded.
i Of Chalfield House, near Bradford.
WALTER LONG. Draycott, this 24th of August, 1608. Brought to Amesbury by his man George Bullard, the 28th of the same.
That was made amongst the Deputy Lieutenants and Justices of the
Peace, for the appointing of the Musters. It is agreed on at the Devizes the Tenth day of August, A.D. 1608, by Sir Thomas Gorges, Sir James Mervin, Sir Walter Long, and Sir William Eyre, Knights, and other Justices of the Peace, whose names are subscribed, upon receipt of letters from the Lord Lieutenant of this County, together with copies of letters written unto his lordship from the lords of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council as followeth, viz :
It is first agreed that Sir Thomas Gorges and Sir James Mervin shall take a view at Hindon, the 23rd and 24th of September, of all the trained men with their armour and furniture, within Sir James Mervin's division, except the hundred of Horwelsdown.
Item, The said Sir Thomas Gorges and Sir James Mervin shall take a view at Sarum the 26th and 27th of September, of all the trained men with their armour and furniture, within the Earl of Pembroke's division, except the tything of Bushton and the tything of Westwood, within the hundred of Elstub and Everley.
Item, that the said Sir Thomas Gorges and Sir James Mervin shall take a view at Marlborough the 6th and 7th of October, of all the trained men within the late Lord Chief Justice's division ; together with the trained men and furniture in the hundred of Kinwardstone, being part of the Lord-Lieutenant's division.
Item, it is agreed that Sir Walter Long and Sir William Eyre shall take a view at the Devizes the 23rd and 24th of September, of all the trained men with their