Being the Lives of the First Duke and Dutchess of Newcastle. Written by Margaret Dutchess of Newcastle London George Newnes LTD Southampton Street Strand 1903
May it please Your Majesty,
I HAVE, in confidence of your Gracious acceptance, taken the boldness, or rather the presumption, to dedicate to Your Majesty this short History (which is as full of Truths, as words) of the Actions and Sufferings of Your most Loyal Subject, my Lord and Husband (by Your Majesties late favour) Duke of Newcastle; who when Your Majesty was Prince of Wales, was Your most careful Governour, and honest Servant. Give me therefore leave to relate here, that I have heard him often say, He loves Your Royal Person so dearly, that He would most willingly, upon all occasions, sacrifice his Life and Posterity for Your Majesty: whom that Heaven will ever bless, is the Prayer of
Your most Obedient, Loyal, humble Subject and Servant, Margaret Newcastle.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
My Noble Lord,
IT hath always been my hearty Prayer to God, since I have been your Wife, That first I might prove an honest and good Wife, whereof your Grace must be the onely Judge. Next, That God would be pleased to enable me to set forth and declare to after-ages, the truth of your loyal actions and endeavours, for the service of your King and Country, For the accomplishing of which design, I have followed the best and truest Observations of your Secretary John Rolleston, and your Lord- ships own Relations, and have accordingly writ the History of your Lordships Life, which although I have endeavoured to render as perspicuous as ever I could, yet one thing I find hath much darkned it; which is, that your Grace commanded me ‘not to mention any thing or passage to the prejudice or disgrace of any Family or particular person (although they might be of great truth, and would illustrate much the actions of your Life) which I have dutifully performed to satisfie your Lordship, whose Nature is so Generous, that you are as well pleased to
obscure the faults of your Enemies, as you are to divulge the vertues of your Friends; And certainly, My Lord, you have had as many Enemies, and as many Friends, as ever any one particular person had; and I pray God to forgive the one, and prosper the other: Nor do I so much wonder at it, since I, a Woman, cannot be exempt from the malice and aspersions of spightful tongues, which they cast upon my poor Writings, some denying me to be the true Authoress of them; for your Grace re members well, that those Books I put out first, to the judgment of this censorious Age, were accounted not to be written by a Woman, but that some body else had writ and publish’d them in my Name; by which your Lordship was moved to prefix an Epistle before one of them in my vindication, wherein you assure the world upon your honour, That what was written and printed in my name, was my own; and I have also made known, that your Lordship was my onely Tutor, in declaring to me what you had found and observed by your own experience; for I being young when your Lordship married me, could not have much knowledg of the world; But it pleased God to command his Servant Nature to inbue me with a Poetical and Philosophical Genius, even from my Birth; for I did write some Books in that kind, be/ore I was twelve years of Age, which /or want of good method and order, I would never divulge. But though the world would
not believe that those Conceptions a Fancies which I writ, were my own, b transcended my capacity, yet they found fault, that they were defective for want of Learning; and on the other side, they said I had pluckt Feathers out of the Universities; which was a very preposterous judgment. Truly, My Lord, I confess that for want of Scholarship, I could not express my self so well as otherwise I might have done, in those Philosophical Writings I publish’d first ; but after I was returned with your Lordship into my Native Country, and led a retired Country life, I applied my self to the reading of Philosophical Authors, of purpose to learn those names and words of Art that are used in Schools , which at first were so hard to me, that I could not understand them, but was fain to guess at the sense of them the whole context, and so writ them down as I found them in those Authors, at which my Readers did wonder, and thought it impossible that a Woman could have so much Learning and Under standing in Terms of Art, and Scholastical Expressions; so that I and my Books are like the old Apologue mention’d in Easop, of a Father, and his Son, who rid on an Ass through a Town when his Father went on Foot, at which sight the People shouted and cried shame, that a young Boy should ride, and let his Father, an old man, go on Foot whereupon the old Man got upon the Ass, and let his Son go by; but when they came
to the next Town, the People exclaimed against the Father, that he a lusty man should ride, and have no more pity of his young and tender child, but let him go on foot: Then both the Father and his Son got upon the Ass, and coming to the third Town, the People blamed them both for being so unconscionable as to over-burden the poor Ass with their heavy weight : After this both Father and Son went on foot, and led the Ass; and when they came to the fourth Town, the People railed as ‘much at them as ever the former had done, and called them both Fools, for going on foot, when they had a Beast able to carry them. The old Man, seeing he could not please Mankind in any manner, and having received so many blemishes and aspersions, for the sake of his Ass, was at last resolved to drown him when he came to the next. bridg. But I am not so passionate to burn my Writings for the various humours of Mankind, and for their finding fault, since there is nothing in this world, be it the noblest and most commendable action whatsoever, that shall escape blameless. As for my being the true and onely Authoress of them, your Lordship knows best, and my attending Servants are witness that I have had none but my own Thoughts, Fancies and Speculations to assist me ; and as soon as I have set them down, I send them to those that are to transcribe them, and fit them for the Press ; whereof since there have been several, and
amongst them such as onely could write a good hand, but neither understood Ortho-graphy, nor had any Learning (I being then in banishment with your Lordship, and not able to maintain learned Secretaries) which kath been a great disadvantage to my poor works, and the cause that they have been printed so false, and so full of Errors ; for besides that, I want also the skill of Scholarship and true writing, I did many times not peruse the Copies that were transcribed, lest they should disturb my following Conceptions ; by which neglect, as I said, many Errors are slipt into my Works, which yet I hope Learned and Impartial Readers will soon rectifie, and look more upon the sense, then carp at words. I have been a Student even from my Childhood; and since I have been your Lordships Wife, I have lived for the most ‘part a strict and retired Life, as is best known to your Lord ship, and therefore my Censurers cannot know much of me, since they have little or no acquaintance with me : ‘Tis true, I have been a Traveller both be/ore and after I was married to your Lordship, and some times shew my self at your Lordships Command in Publick ‘places or Assemblies ; but yet I converse with few. Indeed, My Lord, I matter not the Censures of this Age, but am rather proud 0/them; for it skews that my Actions are more then ordinary, and according to the old Proverb, It is better to be Envied, then Pitied: for I know
well, that it is meerly out 0f spight and malice, whereof this present Age is so full, that none can escape them, and they’l make no doubt to stain even Your Lordships Loyal, Noble and Heroick Actions, as well as they do mine, though yours have been of War and Fighting, mine of Contemplating and Writing: Yours were performed publickly in the Field, mine privately in my Closet: Yours had many thousand Eye-witnesses, mine none but my Waiting- maids. But the Great God that hath hitherto bless’d both Your Grace and me, will, I question not, preserve both our Fames to after Ages, for which we shall be bound most humbly to acknowledg his great Mercy; and I my self, as long as I live, be
Your Graces Honest Wife,
and Humble Servant
WHEN I first Intended to write this History, knowing my self to be no Scholar, and as ignorant of the Rules of Writing Histories, as I have
in my other Works acknowledg’d my self to be of the Names and Terms of Art; I desired my Lord, That he would be pleased to let me have some Elegant and Learned Historian to assist me; which request his Grace would not grant me; saying, That having never had any Assistance in the writing of my former Books, I should have no other in the writing of his Life, but the Informations from himself, and his Secretary, of the chief Transactions and Fortunes occurring in it, to the time he married me. I humbly answer’d, That without a learned Assistant, the History would be defective: But he replied, That Truth could not be defective. I said again, That Rhetorick did adorn
Truth: And he answer’d, That Rhetorick was fitter for Falshoods then Truths. Thus I was forced by his Graces Commands, to write this History in my own plain Style, without elegant Flourishings, or exquisit
Method, relying intirely upon Truth, in the expressing whereof, I have been very circumspect; as knowing well, that his Graces Actions have so much Glory of their own, that they need borrow none from any bodies Industry.
Many Learned Men, I know, have published Rules and Directions concerning the Method and Style of Histories, and do with great noise, to little purpose, make loud exclamations against those Historians, that keeping close to the Truth of their Narrations, cannot think it necessary to follow slavishly such Instructions; and there is some Men of good Understandings, as I have heard, that applaud very much several Histories, meerly for their Elegant Style, and well-observ’d Method; setting a high value upon feigned Orations, mystical Designs, and fancied Policies, which are, at the best, but pleasant Romances. Others approve, in the Relations of Wars, and of Military Actions, such tedious Descriptions, that the Reader, tired with them, will imagine that there was more time spent in Assaulting, Defending, and taking of a Fort, or a Garison, then Alexander did employ in conquering the greatest part of the World:
which proves, That such Historians regard more their own Eloquence, Wit and Industry, and the knowledg they believe to have of the Actions of War, and of all manner of Governments, than of the
truth of the History, which is the main thing, and wherein consists the hardest task, very few Historians knowing the Transactions they write of, and much less the Counsels, and secret Designs of many different Parties, which they confidently mention.
Although there be many sorts of Histories, yet these three are the chiefest:
1. a General History. 2. A National History. 3. A Particular History. Which three sorts may, not unfitly, be compared to the three sorts of Governments, Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy. The first is the History of the known parts and people of the World; The second is the History of a particular Nation, Kingdom or Commonwealth. The third is the History of the life and actions of some particular Person. The first is profitable for Travellers, Navigators and Merchants; the second is pernicious, by reason it teaches subtil Policies, begets Factions, not onely between particular Families and Persons, but also between whole Nations, and great Princes, rubbing old sores, and renewing old Quarrels, that would otherwise have been forgotten. The last is the most secure; because it goes not out of its own Circle, but turns on its own Axis, and for the most part, keeps within the Circumference of Truth.
The first is Mechanical, the second Political, and the third Heroical. The first should
onely be written by Travellers, and Navigators; The second by Statesmen; The third by the Prime Actors, or the Spectators of those Affairs and Actions of which they write, as Commentaries are, which no Pen but of such an Author, who was also Actor in the particular Occurrences, private Intrigues, secret Counsels, close Designs, and rare Exploits of War he relates, could ever have brought to so high Perfection.
This History is of the Third sort, as that is; and being of the Life and Actions of my Noble Lord and Husband, who hath informed me of all the particular passages I have recorded, I cannot, though neither Actor, nor Spectator, be thought ignorant of the Truth of what I write; Nor is it inconsistent with my being a Woman, to write of Wars, that was neither between Medes and Persians, Greeks and Trojans, Christians and Turks, but among my own Countreymen, whose Customs and Inclinations, and most of the Persons that held any considerable Place in the Armies, was well known to me; and besides all that (which is above all) my Noble and Loyal Lord did act a chief Part in that fatal Tragedy, to have defended (if humane power could have done it) his most Gracious Soveraign, from the fury of his Rebellious Subjects.
This History being (as I have said) of a particular Person, his Actions, and
Fortunes; it cannot be expected, that I should here Preach of the beginning of the World; nor seem to express under standing in the Politicks, by tedious moral Discourses, with long Observations upon the several sorts of Government that have been in Greece & Rome, and upon others more modern; I will neither endeavour to make show of Eloquence, making Speeches that never was spoken, nor pretend to great skill in War, by making Mountains of Mole-hills, and telling Romansical Falshoods for Historical Truths; and much less will I write to amuse my Readers, in a mystical and allegorical Style, of the disloyal Actions of the opposite Party, of the Treacherous Cowardise, Envy and Malice of some Persons, my Lords Enemies, and of the ingratitude of some of his seeming Friends; wherein I cannot better obey his Lordships Commands to conceal those things, then in leaving them quite out, as I do, with submission to his Lordships desire, from whom I have learn’d Patience to overcome my Passions, and Discretion to yield to his Prudence.
Thus am I resolved to write, in a natural plain style, without Latin Sentences, moral Instructions, politick Designs, feigned Orations, or envious and malicious Exclamations, this short History of the Loyal, Heroick and Prudent Actions of my Noble Lord, as also of his Sufferings, Losses,
and ill-Fortunes, which in honour and Conscience I could not suffer to be buried in silence; nor could I have undertaken so hard a task, had not my love to his Person, and to Truth, been my Encourager and Supporter.
I might have made this Book larger, in transcribing (as is ordinary in Histories) the several Letters, full of Affection, and kind promises he received from His Gracious Soveraign, Charles the First, and from his Royal Consort, in the time he was in the Actions of War, as also since the War, from his dear Soveraign and Master, Charles the Second; But many of the former Letters having been lost, when all was lost; I thought it best, seeing I had not them all, to print none. As for Orations, which is another way of swelling the bulk of Histories ; it is certain, that My Lord made not many; chusing rather to fight, then to talk; and his Declarations having been printed already, it had been superfluous to insert them in these Narrations.
This Book would however, have been
great Volume, if his Grace would have given me leave to publish his Enemies Actions; But being to write of his own onely, I do it briefly and truly; and not as many have done, who have written of the late Civil War, with but few sprinklings of Truth, like as Heat-drops upon a dry barren Ground knowing no more of the
Transactions of those Times, then what they learned in the Gazets, which, for the most part, (out of Policy to amuse and deceive the People) contain nothing but Falshoods and Chimeraes; and were such Parasites, that after the Kings Party was overpowred, the Government among the Rebels changing from one Faction to another, they never miss’d to exalt highly the Merits of the Chief Commanders of the then prevailing side, comparing some of them to Moses, and some others to all the great and most famous Heroes, both Greeks and Romans; wherein, unawares, they exceedingly commended my Noble Lord; for if those Ring-leaders of Factions were so great men as they are reported to be, by those Time-servers, How much greater must his Lordship be, who beat most of them, except the Earl of Essex, whose employment was never in the Northern parts, where all the rest of the greatest strength of the Parliament was sent, to oppose my Lord’s Forces, which was the greatest the Kings Party had any where.
Good Fortune is such an Idol of the World, and is so like the golden Calf worshipped by the Israelites, that those Arch-Rebels never wanted Astrologers to foretel them good success in all their Enterprises, nor Poets to sing their Praises, nor Orators or Panegyricks; nay, which is worse, nor Historians neither, to record their Valour in fighting, and Wisdom in
Governing. But being, so much as I am, above base Profit, or any Preferment whatsoever, I cannot fear to be suspected of Flattery, in declaring to the World the Merits, Wealth, Power, Loyalty, and Fortunes of My Noble Lord, who hath done great Actions, suffered great Losses, endured a long Banishment, for his Loyalty to his King and Countrey; and leads now, like another Scipio, a quiet Countrey-life. If notwithstanding all this, any should say, That those who write Histories of themselves, and their own actions, or of their own Party, or instruct and inform those that write them, are partial to themselves; I answer, That it is very improbable, Worthy Persons, who having done Great, Noble and Heroick Exploits, deserving to be recorded, should be so vain, as to write false Histories ; but if they do, it proves but their Folly; for Truth can never be concealed, and so it will be more for their disgrace, then for their Honour or Fame. I fear not any such blemishes in this present History, for I am not conscious of any such Crime as Partiality or Falshood, but write it whilest My Noble Lord is yet alive, and at such a time where Truth may be declared, and Falshood contradicted; and I challenge any one (although I be a Woman) to contradict any thing that I have set down, or prove it to be otherwise then Truth; for be there
never so many Contradictions, Truth will conquer all at last.
Concerning My Lords Actions in War, which are comprehended in the first Book, the relation of them I have chiefly from my Lords Secretary Mr. Rolleston, a Person that has been an Eye-witness thereof, and accompanied My Lord as Secretary in his Army, and gave out all his Commissions; his honesty and worth is un questionable by all that know him. And as for the Second Book, which contains My Lords Actions and Sufferings, during the time of his Exile, I have set down so much as I could possibly call to mind, without any particular Expression of time, onely from the time of his Banish ment, or rather (what I can remember) from the time of my Marriage, till our return into England. To the end of which I have joined a Computation of My Lord’s Losses, which he hath suffered by those unfortunate Warres. In the third Book I have set down some par ticular Chapters concerning the Description of his Person, his Natural Faculties, and Personal Vertues, &c. And in the last, some Essayes and Discourses of My Lords, together with some Notes and Remarques of mine own; which I thought most convenient to place by themselves at the end of this Work, rather then to intermingle them with the Body of the History.
It might be some prejudice to my Lord’s Glory, and the credit of this History, not to take notice of a very considerable thing I have heard, which is, That when his Lordship’s Army had got so much Strength and Reputation, that the Rebellious Parliament finding themselves overpower’d with it, rather then to be utterly ruin’d, (as was un avoidable) did call the Scots to their Assistance, with a promise to reward so great a Service, with the Four Northern Counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmerland, and the Bishoprick of Durham, which I have not mention’d in the Book.
And it is most certain, That the Parliaments Forces were never Powerful, nor their Commanders or Officers Famous, until such time as my Lord was over power’d; neither could Loyalty have been overpower’d by Rebellion, had not Treachery had better Fortune then Prudence.
When I speak of my Lord’s Pedigree, where Thomas Earl of Arundel, Grand father to the now Duke of Norfolk, is mention’d, they have left out William Viscount Stafford, one of his Sons, who did marry the Heir of the last Baron Stafford, descended from the Dukes of Buckingliam; which was set down in my Original Manuscript.
Some of those Omissions and very
probably others, are happened. partly for want of timely Information, and chiefly by the death of my Secretary, who did copy my Writings for the Press, and dy’d in London, attending that Service, afore the Printing of the Book was quite finish’d. And as I hope of your Favour to be excus’d for omitting those things in the Book; so I expect of your Justice to be approv’d in putting them here, though somewhat unseasonably.
Before I end this Preface, I do beseech my Readers not to mistake me when I speak of my Lord’s Banishment, as if I would conceal that he went voluntarily out of his Native Country; for it is most true, that his Lordship prudently perceiving all the King’s Party lost, not onely in England, but also in Scotland and Ireland; and that it was impossible to withstand the Rebels, after the fatal overthrow of his Army; his Lordship, in a poor and mean condition quitted his own Countrey, and went beyond Sea; soon after which, the Rebels having got an Absolute Power, and granted a general Pardon to all those that would come in to them, upon composition, at the Rates they had set down, his Lordship, with but few others, was excepted from it, both for Life and Estate, and did remain thus banish’d till His Majesties happy Restauration.
I must also acknowledg, That I have
committed great Errors in taking no notice of Times as I should have done in many places of this History: I mention in one place the Queen Mothers being in France, when my Lord went thither, but do not say in what year that was:
Nor do I express when His Majesty (our now Gracious Soveraign) came in, and went out again several times from that
Kingdom, which has happen’d for want of Memory,
And l desire my Readers to excuse me for it.
No body can certainly be more ready
to find faults in this Work, then I am to confess them; being very conscious that I have, as I told my Lord I should, committed many for want of Learning, and chiefly of skill in writing Histories But having, according to his Lordships Commands, written his Actions and Fortunes truly and plainly, I have reason to expect, that whatsoever else shall be found amiss, will be favourably pardoned by the candid Readers, to whom I wish all manner of happiness.
An Epiftle to Her Grace the
Duchess of Newcaftle
May it please your Grace,
I HAVE been taught, and do believe, That Obedience is better then Sacrifice; and know, that both are due from me to your Grace; and since I have been so long in obeying your Commands, I shall not presume to use any Arguments for my excuse, but rather chuse ingeniously to confess my fault, and beg your Graces Pardon. And because forgiveness is a Glory to the supreamest Powers, I will hope that your Grace by that great example will make it yours. And now I humbly take leave to represent to your Grace, as faithfully and truly as my memory will serve me, all my Observations of the most memorable Actions, and honourable Deportments of His Grace, my most Noble Lord and Master, William Duke of Newcastle, in the Execution and Performance of the Trusts and high Employments committed and commended to his care and charge by three Kings of England; that is to say, King James, King Charles the First, of ever blessed Memory; and our Gracious King, Charles
the Second; under whom he hath had the happiness to live, and the honour to serve them in several capacities And because I humbly conceive, that it is not within the intention of your Graces Commands, that I should give you a particular Relation of His Graces High Birth, his Noble and Princely Education and Breeding, both at home and abroad; his Natural Faculties, and Personal Vertues ; his Justice, Bounty, Charity, Friendship; his Right Approved Courage, and True Valour, not grounded upon, or govern’d by Passion, but Reason,• his Magnificent manner 0/ living and supporting his Dignity, testified by his great Entertainments 0/ their Majesties, and his private Friends, upon all fit occasions, besides his ordinary and constant Housekeeping and Attendants; some for Honour, and some for business, wherein he exceeded most of his Quality; and that he was, and is an incomparable Master to his Servants, is sufficiently testified by all or most of the chiefest of them, living and dying in His Graces Service, which is an Argument that they thought themselves as happy therein, as the World could make them; nor of his well-chosen Pleasures, which were principally Horses 0/ all sorts, but more particularly Horses of Mannage; His Study and Art of the true use of the Sword; His Magnificent Buildings. These are his chiefest Delights, wherein his
Grace spared for no cost nor charge, which are sufficiently manifested to the World, for other Delights, as those of running Horses, Hawking, Hunting, &c. His Grace used them meerly for societies sake, and out of a generous and obliging Nature to please others, though his knowledg in them excelled, as well as in the other. And yet notwithstanding these his large and vast expences, be/ore his Grace was called to the Court, he encreased his Revenue by way of Purchase to a great value; and when he was called to the Court, he was then. free from Debts, and, as I have heard, some Thousands of Pounds in his Purse. These Particulars, and as many more of this kind as would swell a Volume, I could enumerate to your Grace ; but that they are so well known to your Grace, it would be a Presumption in me, rather then a. Service, to give your Grace that trouble ; and therefore I humbly forbear, and proceed, according to my Intention, to give your Grace a faithful account of You Graces Commands, as becomes
May it please your Grace, Your Graces most humble, and most obedient Servant,