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The Duke of Buckingham's
Speech in the House of Commons, upon occasion of some Questions proposed by them
to His Grace. Together with bis Reply thereunto, in
relation to several Mismanagements of State-Affairs, by Advice of some of the Ministry, January 14. 1573.
HE Duke of Buckingham being
called into the Houle, after haT
ving given his Respects to the Speaker, and of each Hand, and
behind him, expresses himself in these Words :
Give the House my humble Thanks for especially expressing my self so ill Yesterday:
I hope you will consider the Condition I am in, in danger of pasling, in the Censure of the World, for a vicious Person, and a betrayer of my Country: I have ever had the Misfortune to bear the blame of other Mens Faults. I know the revealing the King's Councils, and corresponding with the King's Enemies, which are laid against me; but I hope for your Pardon if I speak Truth for myself. I told you Yesterday, if the Triple League had.any Advantage in it (I speak it without Vanity) I had as great a Hand in it as any Man. Then, upon the Instance of the French Ambassador, I was sent into France upon the fad Subject of Condoling the Death of Madam, where I urg'd for the Service of the King, that the French ought not to endeavour to make themselves considerable at Sea, of whom we had reason to be more jealous than of the Dutch, because the French then would have power to conquer
When I return’d, I found all Deinonftrations that the French had no such Thoughts, but that the King of England should be Master at Sea. I do not pretend to judge whether I or other Men were in the right, I leave the Judgment of that to this Honourable House. At this time my Lord Shaftsbury and myself advised not to begin a War without the Advice of the Parliament, and the Affections of the People, (for I look upon the King, at the Head of his Parliament, to be the greatest Prince in the World ;) this was my Lord
Shaftsbury's Opinion and Mine, but not my Lord Arlington's. My next Advice was, not to make use of French Ships, half their value in Money would have been more serviceable. I alledged, they would be of no use to us, by reason of their want of Experience in our Seas, and there would be great danger in their learning the use of them, which Advice my Lord Arlington opposed, notwithstanding the King was so desirous of avoiding a Breach with France, that he sent me to Dunkirk, and my Lord Arlington to Utretcht, where I still endeavoured to get Money inttead of Ships. At
my first Audience the King of France was willing to comply, but after some Returns and Letters from herce he was alter'd; but I make no Reflections upon Persons, but barely state Matters of Fact.
Then it was my Lord Shaftsbury's Advice and Mine, so to order the War, as that the French should deliyer us fome Towns of their Conquests into our Hands : a useful Precaution in former Times. My Lord Arlington would have no Towns at all for one Year. And here is the Cause of the Condition of our Affairs. We set out a Fleet with Intention to land Men in order to the taking of Towns. The French Army go on Conquering and get all, and we get nothing, nor agree for any. Pray consider who it was that was so often lockt up with the French Ambassador. My Spirit moves me to tell you, that when we were to consider what
to do, we were to advise with the French Am. baffador. I will not trouble you with Reports, but pray look not upon me as a Peer, but an honest English Gentleman, who has suffered much for my Love to my Country, I had a Regiment given me, which was Sir Edward Scott's, I gave him 160cl. for it . There is no Papist Officer in it, nor Irish Man. I shall say nothing of my extraordinary Gains, I am sure I have lost as much Estate as fome Men have gotten ; (and that is a big Word.) I am Honest, and when I appear otherwise, I desire to Die. I am not the Man that has gotten by all this; yet after all this I am a Grievance: I am the cheapest Grievance this House ever had; and so I humbly ask the Pardon of the House for the Trouble I have given.
The Speaker then proceeded to ask the Duke the following Questions, by Order of the House.
Question I. Whether any Persons declared to your Grace any il Advices against the Liberties and Privileges of this House, or to alter the Government, who they were, and what they Advised?
Duke of Buckingham's Answer. There is an old Proverb, Mr. Speaker, Over Boots over Shoes.
This reflects upon one that is now living, and so I desire Pardon for saying any thing farther, fearing it may