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NARRATIVE

BY

JOHN ASHBURNHA M

OF HIS

ATTENDANCE ON KING CHARLES THE FIRST

FROM OXFORD TO THE SCOTCH ARMY,

AND

FROM HAMPTON-COURT TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT:

NEVER BEFORE PRINTED.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED

A VINDICATION

OF

HIS CHARACTER AND CONDUCT,

FROM THE

MISREPRESENTATIONS OF LORD CLARENDON,

BY HIS LINEAL DESCENDANT AND PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE.

“ Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor."

VOL. II.

LONDON:

PAYNE AND FOSS, PALL-MALL; BALDWIN AND CRADOCK,

PATERNOSTER-ROW.

M.DCCC.XXX.

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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES.

JOHN ASHBURNHAM, whose Narrative is now for the first time made publick, was the eldest son of sir John Ashburnham, by his marriage with Elizabeth, -daughter of sir Thomas Beaumont; and was born in the year 1603.

To relate the little, which is known of his private life, would neither gratify curiosity, nor excite interest. The following Notices will therefore be confined to such few facts and dates, as may in some sort connect his personal biography with the general history of the times, in which he lived.

In 1628, Ashburnham was first appointed a groom of the bedchamber to king Charles the first. This is discovered in the third volume of

Original Letters illustrative of English History," edited by Mr. Ellis, now most worthily the principal librarian to the British Museum.

In a letter of Joseph Mead's dated Nov. 1st, 1628, it is mentioned that “ young

Ashburnham “ the duke's nephew is sworn into the place of sir

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Ralph Clare.” The duke of Buckingham is here meant, who had been assassinated on the 23d of August. But the calling Ashburnham the duke's nephew* is a mistake. He was however, though less nearly, related to the duke ; whose mother was, also, of the above-mentioned most antient and distinguished family of the Beaumonts of Leicestershire.

But it appears from other documents that Ashburnham must for some time previous have been well known to the king: because a letter of his majesty's to the duke, when engaged in the disastrous expedition to the Isle de Rhé, dated October 1627, commences with—“ I have received your “ letter by Jack Ashburnham.” And another“ Since I have understood by Jack Ashburnham." op This already established familiarity accords well with the noble Historian's character of the king, “ that he saw and observed men long before he 6 received them about his person,

In 1640 he was returned for Hastings: and in the earlier sessions of the “ long parliament” seems to have been no inactive member: his name frequently occurring as on committees, and some

* Lord Clarendon says, that Ashburnham had been servant to the duke; but without specifying whether in, or out, of livery. Contin. of Life, vol. ii. p. 224.

+ These letters are in the Harleian collection, and have been published in the late earl of Hardwick's State Papers.

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p. 94.

times as a teller on divisions. There is no trace of his ever having spoken. That he was however an able reporter of speeches, we have the authority of lord Clarendon. For surely, when we are told, that the peculiar excellence of sir John Colepepper was, that “ being of an universal Hist. vol. ii. “understanding, a quick comprehension, and a “ wonderful memory, he commonly spoke at the “ end of a debate: when he would recollect all, “ that had been said of weight on all sides with

great exactness, and express his own sense with “ much clearness; and such an application to the

house, that no man more gathered a general

concurrence to his opinion, than he." And when we are further told that “ his greatest advantage Life, vol. i.

was, that he had an entire confidence and friend

ship with Mr. John Ashburnham; who, being a “ member of the house, was always ready to report “ the service, he did his majesty there, as advan“ tageously, as the business would bear,” a decisive proof is given of no mean talent. “ Chi non

sa far bene da se, non potrà mai servirsi bene “ delle cose d'altri ;"—is a recorded saying of the great Michael Angelo. In Shakspeare's opinion,

A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him, that hears it; never in the tongue

Of him, that makes it.
And it is clear, that, to the same cause, lord Cla-

p. 108.

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