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LIFE and TIMES of GEORGE VILLIERS, Duke of Buck.
(3) The Text, on odd numbered pages,
cipally taken from the following Plays :-
Mrs. A. Behn, The Amorous Prince. 1671.
Siege of Rhodes, Part I. 1656.
Sir R. Fanshawe's translation (1654) of
(To love only for love's sake) 1671.
T. Porter, The Villain. 1663.
F. Quarles, The Virgin Widow. 1649.
The Life and TIMES
1. In the year 1758, was published in London, a 4to Catalogue of the Curious Collection of Pictures of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. The Catalogue is prefaced by the following
ADVERTISEMENT. We proceed to gratify the curiosity of the public with some other lists of valuable collections; the principal one belonged to that magnificent favourite, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham ; and was only such part of his Museum as was preserved by an old servant of the family, Mr. Traylman, and by him sent to Antwerp to the young duke, to be sold for his subsistence ; great part haviug been embezzled, when the estate was sequestered by the parliament. Some of the pictures, on the ansassination of the first duke, had been purchased by the king, the earl of Northumberland, and Abbot Montagu. The collection was kept at York-house in the Strand, and had been bought by the duke at great prices. He gave £10,000 for what had been collected by Sir Peter Paul Rubens'; and Sir Henry Wootton, when ambassador at Venice, purchased many other capital ones for his grace. One may judge a little how valuable the entire collection must have been, by this list. of what remained, where we find no fewer than_nineteen by Titian, seventeen by Tintoret, twenty-one by Bassan, two by Julio Romano, two by Giorgione, thirteen by Paul Veronese, eight by Palma, three by Guido, thirteen by Rubens, three by Leonardo da Vinci, two by Corregio, and three by Raphael ; besides other esteemed and scarce masters.
Mr. Duart of Antwerp bought some of them, but the greater part were purchased by the archduke Leopold, and added to his noble collection in the castle of Prague. He bought the chief picture, the Ecce Homo by Titian, in which were introduced the portraits of the pope, the emperor Charles the Fifth, and Solyman the magnificent. It appears by a note of Mr. Vertue, in the original manuscript, that Thomas earl of Arundel offered the first duke the value of £7,000 in money or land for that single piece. There is a copy of it at Northumberland house.
It may not be improper to mention in this place, that Villiers, when sent with the earl of Holland to the States, to negociate the restoration of the Palatinate, purchased a curious collection of Arabic manuscripts, collected by Erpinius, a famous linguist; which, according to the duke's designa. tion of them, were after his death, bestowed on the university of Cambridge, of which his grace had been chancellor.
Embedded in this Catalogue, at pp. 24—39, is the following Life of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the celebrated Poet. Written by Brian Fair. fax Esg, and never before published. This Life is both able and graphic; and apparently authentic. As it will be new to most readers, we give it entire.
BRIAN FAIRFAX, Esq. was the second son of Rev. Henry Fairfax, rector of Bolton Percy, and cousin to Thomas, 4th Lord Fairfax (the Parliamentary general), brother to Henry, 5th Lord, and uncle of Thomas oth Lord Fair. fax. (See The Fairfax Correspondence. Ed. by G. W. Johnson, i. cxxcxxv. 1848.). In 1599, he edited Short Memorials of Thomas (4th] Lord Fairfax. Written by himself. The following gives the most favourable account of Villiers; and would seem to show that up to the Restoration, he was apparently no worse than his neighbours.
The original papers from whence this manuscript
taken, were written by Mr.
Duke of BUCKINGHAM.
to two kings; who, in the height of his fortune and flower of his age, engaged his estate and exposed his life, in the service of his king and country:
The name of Villiers is ancient and honourable in France and England. Philip de Villiers L'isle Adam, was the last great master of Rhodes, and defended it six months against the Turkish emperor, Solyman.
The duke's mother was the Lady Katherine Manners, sole daughter and heir of Francis earl of Rutland.
He was born at Wallingford house in Westminster, Jan. 30, 1627. His elder brother, Charles, died an infant. His sister Mary was dutchess of Richmond and Lennox. His brother Francis was born at Chelsea, after his father's death.
The duke inherited from his father the greatest title, and from his mother the greatest estate of any subject in England; and from them both so graceful a body, as gave a lustre to the ornaments of his mind, and made him the glory of the English court at home and abroad.
The first visit the king made to the dutchess after her husband's death, he was pleased to say, He would be a husband to her, a father to her children ; and he performed his promise.
The dutchess was then great with child, and the king said, He would be godfather: Francis earl of Rutland, the child's grandfather, was the other. They complimented who should give the name. The king named him Francis, and the grandfather gave him his benediction, seven thousand pounds a year.
The duke and his brother, Francis, were bred up by king Charles, * *Soin the with his own children, the same tutors and governors.
orig: They were sent to Trinity College in Cambridge, their names entered in the college-book the same year with prince Charles.
Here the duke became acquainted with two excellent men, Mr. Ab. Cowley, and Mr. Martin Clifford, whom he loved ever after, and they as faithfully aná affectionately served him. [To these two a third was added afterwards, who had an equal share with them in his affection, his domestic chaplain ; and it was a good argument of his own wit and judgment, and good fin the orig. nature, that he knew how to value a man who had all these this sentence and other good qualities to recommend him.t]
is interlined. From hence they went to the king at Oxford, laying their lives and fortunes at his feet, as a testimony of their loyalty and gratitude, worthy to be im. printed in the memory of the royal family. This they did, not in words and compliments; for they lost their estates, and one of them, soon after, his life.
Ai Oxford they chose two good tutors to enter them in the war, prince Rupert and my lord Gerard ; and went with them into very sharp service: the storming of the close at Litchfield.
At their return to Oxford, the dutchess, their mother, was very angry with my lord Gerard, for tempting her sons into such danger ; but he told her, it was their own inclination, and the more danger the more honour.
For this the parliament seized on their estates, but by a rare example of their compassion, restored it again in consideration of their nonage: but the young men kept it no longer than till they came to be at age to forfeit it again.
About this time their mother married the marquis of Antrim, and thereby offended the king, and ruined herself.
They were now committed to the care of the earl of Northumberland, and were sent to travel in France and Italy, where they lived in as great state as some of those sovereign princes. Florence and Rome were the places of their residence, and they brought their religion home again, wherein they had been educated under the eye of the most devout and best of kings. The duke did not, as his predecessor, in the title of Lord Ross, had done before him, who changed his religion at Rome, and left his tutor, Mr. Mole, in the inquisition, for having translated king James's book, his admonition to princes, into latin ; and Du Pleffis Morney's book of the mass into english.
Their return into England was in so critical a time, as if they had now chosen the last opportunity, as they had done the first, of venturing all in the king's service.
In the year 1648 the king was a prisoner in the isle of Wight, and his friends in several parts of England designing to renew the war; duke Hamilton
earl of Holland and others in Surry, Goring in Kent, many in London and Essex, and these were the last efforts of the dying cause.
The duke and brother, my lord Francis, in the heat of their courage, engaged with the earl of Holland ; and were the first that took the field about Rygate in Surry.
The parliament, with their old army, knew all these designs, and despised them; till they grew so numerous in Kent, that the general himself was sent to suppress them, who found sharp service in storming of Maidstone, and taking of Colchester.
Some troops of horse were sent, under the command of colonel Gibbons, to suppress them in Surry; and they drove my lord of Holland before them to Kingston, but engaged his party before they got thither, near Nonsuch, and defeated them.
My lord Francis, at the head of his troop having his horse slain under him, got to an oak tree in the high way about two miles from Kingston, where he stood with his back against it, defending himself, scorning to ask quarter, and they barbarously refusing to give it; till, with nine wounds in his beautiful face and body, he was slain. The oak tree is his monument, and has the two first letters of his name F. V. cut in it to this day, Thus died this noble, valiant, and beautiful youth, in the twentieth year of
A few days before his death, when he left London, he ordered his steward, Mr. John May, to bring him in a list of his debts, and he so charged his estate with them, that the parliament, who seized on the estate, payed his debts.
His body was brought from Kingston by water to York house in the Strand, and was there embalmed
and deposited in his father's vault in Henry VIIth's chapel, at the abbey of Westminster; with this inscription, which is is a pity should be buried with him :
Qui vicesimo ætatis anno
Pro rege Carolo
Novem honestis vulneribus acceptis Filii posthumi Georgii
Obiit viio die Julii
Anno Domino 1648. The body of the illustrious lord Francis Villiers, a most beautiful youth, the posthumous son of George duke of Buckingham, who, in the 20th year of his age, fighting valiantly for king Charles and his country, having nine honourable wounds, died the 7th of July, 1648.
The duke, after the loss of his brother, hardly escaped with his life to St. Neods, whither also came the earl of Holland, who was there taken, and soon after beheaded.
The duke, the next morning finding the house where he lay surrounded, and a troop of horse drawn up before the gate, had time with his servants to get to horse, and then causing the gate to be opened, he charged the enemy, and killed the officer at the head of them, and made his escape to the sea-side, and to prince Charles who was in the Downs with those ships that had deserted the earl of Warwick.
And now again the parliament gave him forty days time to return to England, but he refused, and chose rather to stay with the prince, who was soon after king Charles the Second, and to follow him in his exile.
The parliament seized on his estate, the greatest of any subject in England, having now his brother's estate fallen to him; the yearly value was above £25,000.
It happened that the manor of Helmesly, which was his brother's, was given to my lord Fairfax, with York-house in the Strand, for part of his arrears, and this fortunately came to him by his marrying my lord Fairfax's daughter.
All that he had to live on beyond sea was the money he got at Antwerp for his pictures, which were part of that costly and curious collection his father got together from Italy, by the help of Sir Henry Wotton and others, which adorned York-house, to the admiration of all men judgment in pic tures: A note of their names and dimensions is all that is now left of them. I be Ecce Homo of Titian was valued at £ 5000 being the figure of all the