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a bitter potion, not once demanding what is in little before he bad reached to the executioner, the cup, but takes and drinks it oti, be it never putting up bis hands to him for that purpose. su bitter.”—As soon then as be had audibly All which being ended, both corpse and high said, “ Lord Jesus, receive my soul;" which, gibbet were from thence removed. it seems, was the executioner's watch-word, he presently turned him off the ladder; and being « My Lord (William) of Pembroke did otf, the executioner's man caught hold of one of most noble act, like limself, for the king having bis feet, bis own man on the other foot, whereby given him all sir Gervas Elwes's estate, which tbey suddenly weighed his life; where hanging came to above 10001. per ann. be freely bea small distance of time, his body not once stowed it on the widow and her children.” stirred, only his hands a lutle stirred and mored, Ilowell to his father, March 1st, 1618. Letters being tied with a little black ribband, which a B. 1. $ 1.9 2.
106. The Trial of JAMES FRANKLIN, at the King's Lench, 27th of
November, for the Murder of Sir Thomas Overbury : Mich.
13 JAMES I. A. D. 1615. AFTER he had put himself for his trial upon was to come out of the Tower within two days, the country, a Jury of esquires and gentlemen and they all should be undone : whereupon the was impannelled to pass upon his life. Then countess sent for Weston, and was very angry Weston's Indictinent was read, and Franklm with him that he had not dispatched sir T. accused as accessary to the poisoning of sir T. Overbury. Weston told her, that he had given Overbury, and in his Examination formerly hin a thing that would have killed twenty men, taken were these words :
Also a fortnight after Weston's apprehension,
the coun:ess sent for Franklin to her house af James FRANKLIN'S Confession.
St. James's park, where he found the earl and Ile confesseth, That in a house near to the countess walking together; and as soon as Doctors-Commons, Mrs. Turver did first come he came, the earl went apart into a chamber. un to him about the poisoning of'sir T. Overbury, Then she told him, Weston bad been sent for and prayed him to provide that which should by a pursuivant, and had confessed all, and we not kill a man presently, but lie in his body shall all be hanged: but on your life (quoth for a certain time, wherewith he might languish she) do not you confess that you brought any away by little and little ; at the same time she poison to me, or to Mrs. Turner : for if you do, gave him four angels, wherewith he bought a you shall be banged, for I will not hang for water called aqua fortis, and sent it to Mrs. you; and, says Mrs. Turner, I will not hang Turner, who, to try the operation thereof, gave for you both. The countess told him, That it to a cat, wherewith the cat languished, and the lord who was to exainine him would propitifully cried for the space of two days, and inise him a pardon to confess; but believe him then died.
not, for they will hang thee when all is done. Afterwards Mrs. Turner sent for Franklin to Weston comes to Franklin's house, and told come to the countess, who told him, that aqua him, Now the countess's turn is served, she fortis was too violent a water ; but what think used him unkindly, and they should be poisonyou (quoth shc) of white arsenick?' He toid ed, and that two were set of purpose to poison her, it was too violent. What say you (quoth bim. she) to powder of diamonds? He answers, I Franklin having confessed his former Exknow not the nature of that. She said, then aminations under his own hand, being perhe was a fool; and gave him pieces of gold, mitted to speak for himself, said, That at the and bade him buy some of that powder for her. entreaty of the countess and Mrs. Turner, he Franklin demands of the countess, what was did buy these poisons, but protested his ignothe reason she would poison sir T. Overbury? rance what they meant to do with them; and She told him, He would pry so far into their for the rest, be referred himself to the consciestate, that he wonid overthrow them all. ence of the Jury: who went from the bar, and
A litile before sir T. Overbury's death, the within a quarter of an hour, did return, and eountess sent for Franklin, and shewed bim a pronounced him Guilty. letter written from the lord of Rochester, Then Judge Crook, after a brief exhortation, wherein be read these words: “I marvel at gave the sentence of death upon him. these delays, that the business is not yet dis The Lord Chief Justice made a short expatched.” Whereby Franklin thiketh in his bortation also, with addition of these words : conscience, was meant the poisoning of sir T. That knowing as much as he knew, if this had Overbury. And in another letter from the not been found out, neither the court, city, nor lord of Rochester was written that sir Thomas any particular family had escaped the malice of
this wicked cruelty. See this Confession in the Trial of sir Jervis He was afterwards executed according to the Elwes, p. 941.
107. The Arraignment of Sir Thomas Monson, knt. at the Guild
hall of London, 4th December, for the Murder of Sir Thomas
Overbury : 12 James I. A. D. 1615. WHEN he came to the bar, he made a mo unto him, and he hath ever been honourable, tion to the Lord Chief Justice ; That, whereas you shall hear what he bath answered to my he had written unto bis lordship to ask the Letter." After my hearty commendations, I lord treasurer two questions, which my lord have heard that sir Thomas Monson thinks I would do; he desired then an answer, and that can clear him, but I know nothing of him to sir Robert Cotton might be present.
accuse or excuse him; but I hope he is not After the questions were read, he was in- guilty of so foul a crime."—You hear (quoth dicted for conspiring with Weston to poison sir he) that he will weither accuse you, nor excuse T. Overbury; to which he pleaded, Not Guilty, you. and would be tried by God and his country. Monson. I do not accuse the Lord-Trea
The Lord Chief Justice broke up the pro- surer, nor calumniate him, for I know he is ceedings, and made a speech to this effect, viz. very honourable, but I desire to have an anHe saw a great assembly, and though it had swer to my two questions. been shewed thein ofien, yet it could not be L. C. J. You shall bear more of that when said too often, that the city was much bound to the time serveth; do you as a Christian, and as God, and to his deputy on earth the king, his Joshua bad Achan, “ My son, acknowledge Daster, for their great deliverance, and exact thy sin, and give glory to God.” ustice; for God was always just; and for the Monson. If I be guilty, I renounce the king's sing, though they were never so high in place, mercy and God's; I am innocent. nor so dear to him, though his own creatures, L'C. J. There is more against you than yet bis justice is dearer io bim, for which we you know of. are upon our knees to give hin thanks; as also Monson. If I be guilty, it is of that I know for so mild a proceeding in so great an affair : not. for neither the great man's house in the Tower, L. C. J. You are popish, that pulpit was nor his lady's house nor this prisoner's house the pulpit where Garnet died, and the Lieute(to my knowledge) have been searched, neither nant as firmly; I am not superstitious, but we hath this prisoner been committed to the sheriff, will have another pulpit. but to an alderman, a man who of all others Doderidge. It is an atheist's word to remight be most kind to him ; for, as I take it nounce God's mercy; you must think the lest I should be mistaken, sir Francis Anderson change of your lodging means somewhat. married sir Stephen Some's daughter, and sir Hyde. I have looked into this business, and Thomas Monson married sir Francis Ander- I protest, my lord, he is as guilty as the guiltiest. son's sister; I never knew the like favour, nor Monson. There was never man more innodo I like it so well, but do declare it as a gentle cent than I; in this I will die innocent. proceeding from the king. For other things, After this speech, certain yeomen of his maI dare not discover secrets ; but though there jesty's guard, attending for that purpose, conwas no house searched, yet such letters were ducied him to the Tower, where between the produced, which make our deliverance as great, yeomen and the warders, there was some conas any that happened to the children of Israel. tention about bis entertainment. For Weston and Mrs. Turner, they died peni The Lord Chief Justice having at this Trial tently, as is worthy to be written in letters of let drop some insinuations that Overbury's gold; and for tbe Lieutenant, though with great imprecations, and a high hand he denied, yet See the passage in Weldon cited in the note for the great glory of the king's justice, he died to the Earl of Somerset's Case, p. 966. Wilson most penitently and resolutely : this is spoken says, “ Sir Tho. Monson, another of the counto the praise of God that hath crowned these tess's agents in this poisoning contrivance, had just proceedings, though not having need of it, past one day's trial at Guildhall. But the lord - Justitia confirmata non eget authoritate ;" chief justice Coke, in his rhetorical flourishes at wherein we may see the great hand of God; bis arraigninent, vented some expressions (which for that morning the Lieutenant was arraigned, be either deduced from Northampton's assuring Franklin came to me as one afficted in consci- the Lieutenant of the Tower, that the making ence, not knowing of his arraignment, with away of sir T. Overbury would be acceptable evidence, against him : which being delivered to the king; or from some other secret hint reto the Jury, one of them heard him say, “ Then ceived) as if he could discover more than the Lord have mercy on me.” But for this present, death of a private person; intimating, though "Non est cunctatio longa de vita hominis:" not plainly, that Overbury's untimely remove therefore he must be conveyed to the Tower as had something in it of retaliation, as if he had a safer place, till further order be taken.—Then been guilty of the saine crime against prince the Lord Chief Justice addressed his speech to Henry ; blessing himself with admiration at the bir Thomas Monsuo, saying, Whereas you name horror of such actions. In which he few so my Lord-Treasurer, every man's faine is dear high a pitch, that he was taken down by a
death had somewhat in it of retaliation, as if he prince Henry, sir Thomas Monson's Trial was had been guilty of the same crime against laid aside, and hiinselt soon after set at liberty,
and the lord chief justice was rebuked for his court lure; sir Thomas Monson's trial laid | indiscretion, and before the next year expired, aside, and he soon aiter set at liberty; and the removed from his post. lord chief justice's wings were clipt for it ever after."
* Bacon's Works, vol. 1. p. 87.
108. The Trial of the Lady FRANCES Countess of SOMERSET,* the
24th of May, for the Murder of Sir Thomas Overbury:
11 JAMES I. A. D. 1616. The Summons of che Peers to the Trial.
ship make your repair to the city of London, by
the 11th day of the month of May following, AFTER our hearty commendations to your being some few days before the intended Trial; lordship; whereas the king's majesty has re at which time your lordship shall understand solved, that the earl of Somerset, and the coun- more of his majesty's pleasure. So not doubttess his wife, lately indicted of felony, for the ing of your lordship's care to observe his mamurder and poisoning of sir Thomas (verbury, jesty's directions, we commit you to God.--Your then bis majesty's pri-oner in the Tower, shall lordship's very loving friend, G. Cant.; T. Ellesnow receive their lawful and public Trial, by mere, Canc.; Fenton; E. Watton; Tho. Lake; their peers, immediately after the end of this Lord Darcy, of the South; C. Edmunds; E. present Easter teim; at the Trial of which | Worcester; Lenox; P. Herbert; Ralph Winnoble personages your lordship's presence, as wood; Fulke Grevyl; Jul. Cæsar. being a peer of the realm, and one of approved
From Whitehall this 24th April 1616. wisdoin and integrity, is requisite to pass upon
The Names of the Peers. them: These are to let your lordship understand, that his majesty's pleasure is, and com Earl of Worcester, Lord Privy-Seal.-- Earl inandeth by these our Letters, that your lord of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain.-The Earls
of Rutland, Sussex, Montgomery, and Hert* “ In the next place comes the countess to ford--Lor Visc. Lisle.-Lord Zouch, Warden her Trial, at whose Arraignment, as also at Mrs. of the Cinque Ports.-Lord Willoughby of Turner's before, were shewed many pictures, Eresby.-Lord Delaware.---Lord Dacres, of puppets, with some exorcism and magic spels, the South.-Lord Mounteagle; who being sick, which made them appear more odious as being went away before judgment.---Lord Venta known to converse with witches and wizards, worth.-Lord Kich.--Lord Willoughby of Parand amongst the tricks Forman's book was shew- ham.—Lord Hunsdon.-Lord Russel; the seed; this Forman was a fellow dwelt in Lam-cond day was not there.--Lord Compton.beih, a very silly fellow, yet had wit enough to Lord Norris.--Lord Gerrard.—Lord Cavencheat ladies and other women by pretending dish.—Lord Dormer. skill in telling their fortunes. As whether they Thomas lord Ellesmere, Chancellor of Eng. bhould bury their husbands, and what second land, lord high-steward hac vice. husbands they should bave, and whether they should enjoy their luves, or whether maids should His Assistants in the Commission there present. get husbands, or enjoy their servants to them Sir Edw. Coke, L. C. Justice of England.selves without corrivals; but before he would Sir H, Hlubbart, L. C. Justice of the Commontell any thing they must write their names to Pleas.- Sir L. Tanfield, L. C. Baron of the dis alphabetical book, with their own hand- Exchequer.-Judge Altham, one of the Barons writing. By this trick he kept them in awe if of the Exchequer. — Judge Crooke, one of the they should complain of bis abusing them; as Judges of the King's-Bench.-- Judge Doderidge, in truth he did nothing else; besides it was be one of the Judges of the King's-Bench.— Judge lieved some meetings were at his house, and that Houghton, one of the Judges of the King'sthe art of bawd was more beneficial to him than Bench.—Judge Nicholls, one of the Judges of that of a conjuror, and that he was a better the Common-Pleas. artist in the one than in the other, and that you The Counsel that were there the first day. may know his skill, he was bimselí a cuckold; Sir F. Bacon, the king's attorney-general ; having a very pretty wench to his wife, which serj. Montague; serj. Crew ; sir Henry Yel. would say, she did it to try his skill, but it verton, the king's solicitor; Francis Moor, the fared with bin as with astrologers, that cannot queen's serjeant; sir Lawrence Hyde, the foresee their own destiny, I well reinember there queen's attorney; Mosley, attorney of the was much mirth made in the court upon the dutchy ; sir John Davis, the king's verjeant; shewing this book, for it was reported ihe first Mr. Walter, the prince's attorney ; Mr. Finch, leaf my lord Coke lighted on, he found his own keeper of the records of attainders. wife's name.” Sir Anthony Weldon, Court and More the second day.-Serj. Tho. Moor; serj. Character of king James, p. 111.
The peers above-named were all that ap- 1 which he did, and gave his Precept to the serpeared at aoy time at the trial, though there jeant, who gave it to Mr. Fenshaw, and he, as were six others summoned, but why they ab- before, read the indorsement. The Prisoner sented themselves is not known ; and those made three reverences to his grace and the were, the duke of Lenox, lord steward of the peers; she was in black tammel, a cypress huushold; earl of IIuntingdon ; lord Darcy of chaperon, a cobweb lawn ruff and cuffs. Menell ; lord Eure; lord Hunsdon; lord L. H. S. My lords, the reason why you be Darcy of Chiche;
called hither this day, is to sit as peers of
Frances countess of Somerset. The form of their Sitting, and their Cere
Mr. Fenshaw, Clerk of the Crowo. Frances monies.
countess of Somerset, hold up thy hand. When my Lord Chancellor, who for this She does so, and held it up till Mr. Lieutime was Iligh-Steward of England, came into tenant told her she might put it down ; and the court, there came before him six serjeants then he read the Indictment, containing Wesat arms, with their maces; sir Geo. Coppin ton's accounts, in the poisoning of sir T. Overwith his patent ; sir Rd. Coningsby with his bury, and her abetting of him, the 8th of May, white stail'; Mr. Manwaring with the great 1613.-The countess of Somerset, all the while seal; he himself, at the upper end of the the indictment was reading, stood, looking court, sitting under a cloth of estate ; on both pale, trembled, and shed some few tears; and hands of him the peers, under them the at the first naming of Weston in the indictment, judges; at the farther end the king's counsel, put her fan before her face, and there held it below the judges; on one side Finch, keeper half covered till the indictment was read. of the records of attainders; the clerk of the Mr. Fenshaw. Frances countess of Somerset, crown and his deputy, in the midst of the court, what sayest thou? Art thou guilty of this felony the serjeant-crier standing by him; sir Rd. and murder, or not guilty? Coningsby, sir Geo. Coppin, the seal-bearer, The lady Somerset making an obeisance to &c. at my Lord Steward's feet. The Prisoner the Lord Iligh Steward, answered Guilty, with at the Bar behind the king's counsel; the a low voice, but wonderful fearful. Lieutenant of the Tower in a little place ad My lady, upon her Arraignment, having joining to the Bar.
pleaded Guilty,* the proceeding after was thus: All being silent, sir Geo. Coppin rises and Mr. Attorney. May it please your grace, delivers the patent to the Lord High Steward, my Lord High Steward of England, I am glad upon his knee; he receives it and kisses it, then to bear this lady's so free acknowledgment, for redelivers it to Mr. Fenshaw, who takes it confession is noble. Those that have been forkneeling. Then the serjeant-crier makes a merly indicted, at their Arraignment persisted proclamation in the Lord High-Steward's name, in denial, as Weston, Elwes, Franklin and Turto keep silence; then Mr. Fenshaw reads the ner ; but you see this lady's bumility and recommission,* which bears date the 10th of pentance by so pleading; and certainly she May : then there is another O-yes, to certify cannot but be a spectacle of much commisemy Lord Steward, whether Weston were con- ration, if you either respect the sex, a woman, victed as principal, for the murder of sir T. or her pacentage, honourable; but this day and Overbury.' Then the Lord Chief Justice deli- to-morrow is to crown justice : the mercy-seat vers at Schedule indorsed with a Certificate of is the inner part of the teniple, the throne four judges of the king's-Bench, and others publick, and therefore I shall now only pray a the Commissioners. This Fenshaw, turning to record of the confession and judgment : but my Lord Steward, reads. A third O-yes, for since the peers are met, for honour's sake it certifying of other indictments : my lord Coke is good to declare the king's justice. This delivers another schedule indorsed with the is the second time since the king's coming, Certificate of my lady Somerset's indictment; these thirteen years, that any peers have which Fenshaw, as before, read. A fourth been arraigned, and both these times your 0-yes, for Walter Lee, serjeant at arms, to grace had the place of High-Steward ; the return the Precept for the peers of Frances first were Grey and Cobham, and though countess of Somerset; which accordingly, after they were convicted, yet execution followed his three reverences to the Lord Iligh-Steward, not. No noble blood hath yet been spilt since be delivered to Mr. Fenshaw: he reads the his majesty's reign. The first was revenge of indorsement. A fifth 0-yes, to call the lords treason amongst malecontents; and this of summoned by the command of the Lord High- a particular offence to a private subject, against Stewart, to answer to their names, which they those that have been so high in the king's grace accordingly did, beginning at the first ; and as and favour, and therefore deserve to be written every one was named they put off their hats, in a sun-beam. But his being the best master and stood up till the next was named. A sixth in the world, hinders him not from being the 0-yes to the Lieutenant of the Tower, to return best king; for he can as well plane a hill, as his Precept, and bring the Prisoner to the Bar; | raise a valley : a good lesson to put to my
lords the peers ; he is lieutenant to him that is * See the Commission in Rym. Fæd. vol. xvi.
* 3 Co. Inst. 50, Bacon's Works, vol. 1. + 3 Co. Inst. 135, 136.
no respecter of persons. This that I should Lord Chancellor, Lord Steward, the lord now speak of, may be reduced to that which Zourb. But then there were no practices leit was acted in the vault, and since upon the untried for the suppression of the discovery; stage : the first I will not now enter into, be Weston was solicited to stand mute, but at cause I will neither grieve a lady that is pre ! last this dumb de.il was cast out. Then folsent, nor touch a lord that is absent; my duty lows Elwes, Turner, Franklin, all of which requires it not, and my humanity forbids it. were actors in this tragedy, without malice, For that which hath been upon the singe, but no authors. Now when this lady comes which is the theatre of God's justice, you shall to her part, she meets justice in the way, by understand that which bath been worthily confession, which is the corner-stone either of acted by the king, in this noble work of justice, inercy or judgment; yet it is said, that mercy and right well by his ministers. Orerbury died and truth be wet together. Truth you have in poisoned the 15th of Sept. 1613, 10 the lower her confession, and that may be a degree to of London : he was no sooner dead, but there mercy, which we must leave to him in wbose was a certain rumour and muttering, that was power it resides ; in the mean time this day vor populi, that Overbury came strangely to his must be reserved for judgment. Now to condeath: and in that time, on the contrary hand, clude, and give you an account of the often there was another rumour, but that was tor procrastinations in this business ; the first was diaboli, that he died of a foul disease, so foul a i due to humanity, her child-birth; the second one as is not tit for me to name. But for two' was for reason of state ; and the last had a years after this, though Overbury's blood cried grave and weighty cause. Those directions for revenge, Tor Dei was not heard. Gloria the king at the first gave written with his own • Dei celare, regis perscrutare rem :' It is the l hand, for the examination of luis business, I glory of God to conceal a thing, of a king to desire may be read. find it out ; yet all the while God so dazled the eyes of these two great procurers, and their
The King's Instructions read. instruments, that the first looked not about There be two things in this cause to be tried, them, the other fed not. About the beginning and the verity can be but in one of them; first, of the last progress it first brake forth ; and as Whether my lord of Somerset and my lady were all murders are strange in their discovery, so the procurers of Overbury's death; or, that this this was miraculous, for it came out in a com- imputation bath been by some practised to cast pliment thus : my lord of Shrewsbury, who is an aspersion upon them. I would first hare now with God, commended sir J. Elves to a you diligently enquire of the first; and if you counsellor of estate ; and it was by him that find them clear, then I would have you as caresir J. in respect of the good report he had heard fully look after the other, to the intent such made of his honour and worth, desired to be practices may be discovered, and not suffered made known unto him. That counsellor an- to pass with impunity. swered, That he took it for a favour from hin; but withal added, there lies a kind of heary Mr. Alt. There be other directions in these imputation on bim, about Overbury's death : 1 instructions, by way of interrogatorit s, that are could wish he would clear himself, and give not now necessary to be read. some satisfaction in the point. This my lord L. H. S. Let the lords the peers view these Shrewsbury related back, and presently Elwes directions from the king. was struck with it, and makes a kind of disco Lord Coke. None of these interrogatories, very, that some attempts were undertaken which the king d. sired there should be examiagainst Overbury, but took no effect, as checked pations upon, came away empty; and whatso-by him. Though the truth be, he lacked rather ever whisperings there be abroad of the death fortitude in the repulse, than honesty. This of Weston, they all (some before the hour of counsellor weighing well this narration from their death) confessed the fact, and died peniElwes, acquainted the king with the adventure; tent; and it need should require, I have brought who commanded presently that Elwes should their confessor along (namely, Dr. Whyting). set down his knowledge in writing, which ac L. H.S. My lords, you see, and have heard cordingly he did, bui still reserving himself those directions under the king's hand; give mithin his own compass, not to touch himself, the glory to God, and honour to the king. endeavouring rather to discover otbers than Mr. At. May it please your grace, &c. any else should undertake that office, and so whereas Frances countess of Somerset hath accuse him. The king still endeavours to been indicted as accessary before the fact, of eearch the truth of this business, gives direction the wiltul poisoning and murder of sir T. Overfor the examination of the truth of it, commits bury; upon ber Indictment, she bath been it to certain counsellors; they pick something arraigned; upon her Arraignment, pleaded out of Weston ; then the further enquiry is Guilty: I desire that her Confession may be delivered over to my lord Coke, who in this recorded, aud Judgment given against the Pricause was very painful, took two or three hun- soner. dred examinations : but when he found it Fenshaw. Frances countess of Somerset, might touch upon greater persons, then he de- hold up thine hand: Whereas thou hast been sired some others might be joined with him, indicted, arraigned, and pleaded Guilty, as acwbich was accordingly granted ; namely, the cessary before the fact, of the wilful poisoning