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[BOOK 1. posed them with great alacrity to the prosecution. treaty set on foot for the prince of Wales with The wise king knew well enough the ill consequence the daughter of France; which was quickly conthat must attend such an activity; and that it cluded, though not executed till after the death of would shake his own authority in the choice of his king James; who, in the spring following, after a own ministers, when they should find, that their short indisposition by the gout, fell into a quartan security did not depend solely upon his own pro- ague, which, meeting many humours in a fat, untection : which breach upon his kingly power was wieldy body of [fifty-eight] years old, in four or so much without a precedent, (except one unhappy five fits carried him out of the world. After one made three years before, to gratify likewise a whose death many scandalous and libellous disprivate displeasure,) that the like had not been courses were raised, without the least colour or practised in some hundred of years, and never in ground; as appeared upon the strictest and masuch a case as this.
licious examination that could be made, long after, When this prosecution was first entered upon, in a time of license, when nobody was afraid of and that the king clearly discerned that it was offending majesty, and when prosecuting the highcontrived by the duke, and that he had likewise est reproaches and contumelies against the royal prevailed with the prince to be well pleased with it; family was held very meritorious. his majesty sent for them, and with much warmth Upon the death of king James, Charles prince and passion dissuaded them from appearing farther of Wales succeeded to the crown, with as universal in it; and conjured them “to use all their interest a joy in the people as can be imagined, and in a “ and authority to restrain it, as such a wound to conjuncture, when all the other parts of Christen“ the crown, that would not be easily healed.” And dom, being engaged in war, were very solicitous when he found the duke unmoved by all the con- for his friendship, and the more, because he had siderations, and arguments, and commands he had already discovered an activity, that was not like to offered, he said, in great choler, “ By God, Stenny, suffer him to sit still. The duke continued in the
you are a fool, and will shortly repent this folly, same degree of favour at the least with the son, “and will find, that, in this fit of popularity, you which he had enjoyed so many years under the are making a rod, with which you will be scourged father. Which was a rare felicity; seldom known,
yourself.” And turning in some anger to the and in which the expectation of very many was prince, told him, " That he would live to have his exceedingly disappointed; who, knowing the great * bellyfull of parliaments: and that when he should jealousy and indignation that the prince had here“ be dead, he would have too much cause to re- tofore had against the duke, insomuch as he was “ member, how much he had contributed to the once very near striking him, expected that he
weakening of the crown, by this precedent he would now remember that insolence, of which he
was now so fond of;" intending as well the en then so often complained; without considering the gaging the parliament in the war, as the prosecu- opportunity the duke had, by the conversation with tion of the earl of Middlesex.
the prince, during his journey into Spain, (which But the duke's power (supported by the prince's was so grateful to him,) and whilst he was there, countenance) was grown so great in the two houses, to wipe out the memory of all former oversights, that it was in vain for the king to interpose; and by making them appear to be of a less magnitude so (notwithstanding so good à defence made by than they had been understood before, and to be the earl, that he was absolved from any notorious excusable from other causes, still being severe crime by the impartial opinion of many of those enough to himself for his unwary part, whatsoever who heard all the evidence) he was at last con excuses he might make for the excess; and by demned in a great fine to a long and strict im- this means to make new vows for himself, and to prisonment, and never to sit in parliament during tie new knots to restrain the prince from future his life: a clause of such a nature as was never jealousies. And it is very true, his hopes in this before found in any judgment of parliament, and, kind never failed him; the new king, from the in truth, not to be inflicted upon any peer but by death of the old even to the death of the duke attainder.
himself, discovering the most entire confidence in, And how aliened soever the king's affection was and even friendship to him, that ever king had in truth from the duke, upon these three provoca- shewed to any subject : all preferments in church tions ; 1. The prince's journey into Spain; 2. The and state given by him; all his kindred and friends engaging the parliament to break the match and promoted to the degree in honour, or riches, or treaty with Spain, and to make a war against that offices, as he thought fit, and all his enemies and crown; and, 3. The sacrificing the earl of Middle- enviers discountenanced, and kept at that distance sex in such a manner, upon his own animosity; yet from the court as he appointed. he was so far from thinking fit to manifest it, (ex But a parliament was necessary to be called, as cept in whispers to very few men,) that he was at the entrance of all kings to the crown, for the prevailed with to restrain the earl of Bristol upon continuance of some supplies and revenue to the his first arrival, without permitting him to come king, which have been still used to be granted in into his presence, which he had positively promised, that season. And now he quickly found how proand resolved to do; and in the end suffered his phetic the last king's predictions had [proved], attorney general to exhibit a charge of high treason, and were like to prove. The parliament that had in his majesty's name, against the said earl, who so furiously advanced the war, and so factiously was thereupon committed to the Tower; but so adhered to his person, was now no more; and little dejected with it, that he answered the articles though the house of peers consisted still of the with great steadiness and unconcernedness, and same men, and most of the principal men of the exhibited another charge of high treason against house of commons were again elected to serve in the duke in many particulars.
this parliament, yet they were far from wedding the And in this order and method the war was war, or taking themselves to be concerned to make hastily entered into against Spain, and a new good any declarations made by the former : so that,
11 though the war was entered in, all hope of obtain of the army was lost. So that how ill soever Spain ing money to carry it on was even desperate; and and France were inclined to each other, they were the affection they had for the duke, and confidence both mortal enemies to England; whilst England in him, was not then so manifest, as the prejudice itself was so totally taken up with the thought of they had now, and animosity against him, was visi- revenge upon the person who they thought had been ble to all the world: all the actions of his life rip- the cause of their distress, that they never conped up and surveyed, and all malicious glosses sidered, that the sad effects of it (if not instantly made upon all he had said and all he had done : provided against) must inevitably destroy the kingvotes and remonstrances passed against him as an dom; and gave no truce to their rage, till the duke enemy to the public; and his ill management made finished his course by the wicked means menthe ground of their refusal to give the king that tioned before in the fourth year of the king, and supply he had reason to expect, and was absolutely the thirty-sixth of his age. necessary to the state he was in. And this kind John Felton, an obscure person, who had been of treatment was so ill suited to the duke's great / bred a soldier, and lately a lieutenant of a foot spirit, which indeed might easily have been bowed, company, whose captain had been killed upon the but could very hardly be broken, that it wrought retreat at the Isle of Rhé, upon which he concontrary effects
upon his high mind, and his indig- ceived that the company of right ought to have nation, to find himself so used by the same men. been conferred upon him, and it being refused to For they who flattered him most before, mentioned him by the duke of Buckingham, general of the him now with the greatest bitterness and acrimony; army, he had given up his commission of lieuand the same men who had called him our saviour, tenant, and withdrawn himself from the army. for bringing the prince safe out of Spain, called He was of a melancholic nature, and had little him now the corrupter of the king, and betrayer of conversation with anybody, yet of a gentleman's the liberties of the people, without imputing the family in Suffolk, of good fortune and reputation. least crime to him, to have been committed since From the time that he had quitted the army, he the time of that exalted adulation, or that was not resided in London; when the house of commons, then as much known to them, as it could be now; transported with passion and prejudice against the so fluctuating and unsteady a testimony is the duke of Buckingham, had accused him to the house applause of popular councils.
of peers for several misdemeanours and miscarThis indignation, I say, so transported the duke, riages, and in some declaration had styled him, that he thought it necessary to publish and mani “the cause of all the evils the kingdom suffered, fest a greater contempt of them than he should “and an enemy to the public.” have done; causing this and the next parliament Some transcripts of such expressions, (for the to be quickly dissolved, as soon as they seemed to late license of printing all mutinous and seditious entertain counsels not grateful to him, and before discourses was not yet in fashion,) and some he could well determine and judge what their tem- general invectives he met with amongst the people, per was in truth like to prove: and upon every dis- to whom that great man was not grateful, wrought solution, such who had given any offence were im- so far upon this melancholic gentleman, that, by prisoned or disgraced ; new projects were every degrees, and (as he said upon some of his exday set on foot for money, which served only to aminations) by frequently hearing some popular offend and incense the people, and brought little preachers in the city, (who were not yet arrived at supply to the king's occasions, yet raised a great the presumption and impudence they have been stock for expostulation, murmur, and complaint, to since transported with,) he believed he should be exposed when other supplies should be required. do God good service, if he killed the duke; which And many persons of the best quality and condition he shortly after resolved to do. He chose no under the peerage were committed to several pri- other instrument to do it with than an ordinary sons, with circumstances unusual and unheard of, knife, which he bought of a common cutler for a for refusing to pay money required by those extra- shilling: and, thus provided, he repaired to Portsordinary ways; and the duke himself would pas- mouth, where he arrived the eve of St. Bartholosionately say, and frequently do, many things, mew. The duke was then there, in order to the which only grieved his friends and incensed his preparing and making ready the fleet and the enemies, and gave them as well the ability as the army, with which he resolved in few days to inclination to do him much harm.
transport himself to the relief of Rochelle, which In this fatal conjuncture, and after several costly was then straitly besieged by the cardinal of Richeembassies into France, in the last of which the duke lieu ; and for relief whereof the duke was the himself went, and brought triumphantly home more obliged, by reason that, at his being at the with him the queen, to the joy of the nation ; in a Isle of Rhé, he had received great supplies of time, when all endeavours should have been used victual, and some companies of their garrison from to have extinguished that war, in which the king- that town, the want of both which they were at dom was so unhappily engaged against Spain, a this time very sensible of, and grieved with.
as precipitately declared against This morning of St. Bartholomew the duke had France; and the fleet, that had been unwarily de- received letters, in which he was advertised that signed to have surprised Cales, under a general Rochelle had relieved itself; upon which he divery unequal to that great work, was no sooner rected that his breakfast might speedily be made returned without success, and with much damage, ready, and he would make haste to acquaint the than the fleet was repaired, and the army reinforced king with the good news, the court being then at for the invasion of France; in which the duke was Southwick, the house of sir Daniel Norton, five general himself, and made that notable descent miles from Portsmouth. The chamber wherein upon the Isle of Ré, which was quickly afterwards he was dressing himself was full of company, of attended with many unprosperous attempts, and persons of quality, and officers of the fleet and then with a miserable retreat, in which the flower army,
new war was
Assassination of the Duke of Buckingham.
[BOOK I. There was monsieur de Soubize, brother to the man with their drawn swords to kill him; but duke of Rohan, and other French gentlemen, who others, who were at least equally concerned in the were very solicitous for the embarkation of the loss, and in the sense of it, defended him; himself army, and for the departure of the fleet for the re- with open arms very calmly and cheerfully exlief of Rochelle; and they were at this time in posing himself to the fury and swords of the most much trouble and perplexity, out of apprehension enraged, as being very willing to fall a sacrifice to that the news the duke had received that morning their sudden anger, rather than to be kept for might slacken the preparations for the voyage, that deliberate justice which he knew must be exwhich their impatience and interest persuaded were ercised upon him. not advanced with expedition ; and so they had He was now known enough, and easily discovered then held much discourse with the duke of the im- to be that Felton, whom we mentioned before, who possibility that his intelligence could be true, and had been a lieutenant in the army. He was quickly that it was contrived by the artifice and dexterity carried into a private room by the persons of the of their enemies, in order to abate the warmth best condition, some whereof were in authority, and zeal that was used for their relief, the arrival who first thought fit so far to dissemble, as to of which they had so much reason to apprehend; mention the duke only as grievously wounded, but and a little longer delay in sending it would ease not without hope of recovery. Upon which Felton them of that terrible apprehension, their forts and smiled, and said, he knew well he had given him works toward the sea and in the harbour being al- a blow, that had determined all those hopes. Being inost finished.
then asked (which was the discovery principally This discourse, according to the natural custom aimed at) by whose instigation he had performed of that nation, and by the usual dialect of that that horrid and wicked act, he answered them with language, was held with that passion and vehe- a wonderful assurance, “ That they should not mence, that the standers by, who understood not “ trouble themselves in that inquiry; that no man French, did believe that they were very angry, • living had credit or power enough in him, to have and that they used the duke very rudely. He “engaged or disposed him to such an action; that being ready, and informed that his breakfast was “ he had never intrusted his purpose and resoready, drew towards the door, where the hangings “ lution to any man ; that it proceeded only from were held up; and, in the very passage, turning “ himself and the impulsion of his own conscience; himself to speak with sir Thomas Fryer, a colonel “ and that the motives thereunto would appear, if of the army, who was then speaking near his ear, “ his hat were found, in which he had therefore he was on a sudden struck over his shoulder upon “ fixed them, because he believed it very probable the breast with a knife; upon which, without using “ that he might perish in the attempt. He conany other words but that, “The villain hath killed “ fessed that he had come to the town but the
.” and in the same moment pulling out the night before, and had kept his lodging, that he knife himself, he fell down dead, the knife having “ might not be seen or taken notice of; and that pierced his heart.
“ he had come that morning to the duke's lodging, No man had seen the blow, or the man who “ where he had waited at the door for his coming made it; but in the confusion they were in, every “out; and when he found, by the motions within, man made his own conjectures, and declared it “ that he was coming, he drew to the door, as if as a thing known; most agreeing that it was done “ he held up the hanging; and sir Thomas Fryer by the French, from the angry discourse they speaking at that time to the duke, as hath been thought they heard from them. And it was a said, and being of a much lower stature than the kind of a miracle, that they were not all killed in “ duke, who a little inclined towards him, he took that instant; the soberer sort, that preserved them “ the opportunity of giving the blow over his from it, having the same opinion of their guilt, 56 shoulder.” and only reserving them for a more judicial exa He spoke very frankly of what he had done, mination and proceeding.
and bore the reproaches of those who spoke to In the crowd near the door there was found upon him, with the temper of a man who thought he the ground a hat, in the inside whereof there was had not done amiss. But after he had been in sewed
upon the crown a paper, in which were writ prison some time, where he was treated without four or five lines of that declaration made by the any rigour, and with humanity enough; and behouse of commons, in which they had styled the fore, and at his trial, which was about four months duke an enemy to the kingdom, and under it a short after, at the king's bench bar, he behaved himself ejaculation or two towards a prayer. It was easily with great modesty and wonderful repentance; enough concluded that the hat belonged to the per- being, as he said, convinced in his conscience, son who had committed the murder : but the that he had done wickedly, and asked the pardon difficulty remained still as great, who that person of the king, the duchess, and of all the duke's should be; for the writing discovered nothing of servants, whom he acknowledged to have offended; the name; and whosoever it was, it was very natural and very earnestly besought the judges, that he to believe that he was gone far enough not to be might have his hand struck off, with which he found without a hat.
had performed that impious act, before he should In this hurry, one running one way, another be put to death. another way, a man was seen walking before the The court was too near Portsmouth, and too door very composedly without a hat; whereupon many courtiers upon the place, to have this murder one crying out, “ He is the fellow that killed the (so wonderful in the nature and circumstances, the “duke!” upon which others ran thither, every like whereof had not been known in England in body asking, “ Which is he? Which is he?” To many ages) long concealed from the king: His which the man without the hat very composedly majesty was at the public prayers of the church, answered, “ I am he.” Thereupon some of those when sir John Hippesly came into the room, with who were most furious, suddenly ran upon the l a troubled countenance, and, without any pause in
13 respect of the exercise they were performing, went | demeanour at the Isle of Rhé, both at the landing directly to the king, and whispered in his ear what and upon the retreat : in both which no man was had fallen out. His majesty continued unmoved, more fearless, or more ready to expose himself to and without the least change in his countenance, the brightest dangers. His kindness and affection till prayers were ended; when he suddenly de- to his friends was so vehement, that it was as so parted to his chamber, and threw himself upon many marriages for better and worse, and so many his bed, lamenting with much passion, and with leagues offensive and defensive; as if he thought abundance of tears, the loss he had of an excellent himself obliged to love all his friends, and to make servant, and the horrid manner in which he had war upon all they were angry with, let the cause be been deprived of him; and he continued in this what it would. And it cannot be denied that he melancholic and discomposure of mind many was an enemy in the same excess, and prosecuted days.
those he looked upon as his enemies with the Yet the manner of his receiving the news in utmost rigour and animosity, and was not easily public, when it was first brought to him in the induced to a reconciliation. And yet there were presence of so many, (who knew or saw nothing of some examples of his receding in that particular. the passion he expressed upon his retreat,) made And in the highest passion, he was so far from many men to believe that the accident was not stooping to any dissimulation, whereby his disvery ungrateful; at least, that it was very in- pleasure might be concealed and covered till he different to him; as being rid of a servant very had attained his revenge, (the low method of ungracious to the people, and the prejudice to courts,) that he never endeavoured to do any man whose person exceedingly obstructed all overtures an ill office, before he first told him what he was made in parliament for his service.
to expect from him, and reproached him with the And, upon this observation, persons of all con- injuries he had done, with so much generosity, ditions took great license in speaking of the person that the person found it in his power to receive of the duke, and dissecting all his infirmities, be- further satisfaction, in the way he would choose lieving they should not thereby incur any displea- for himself. sure of the king. In which they took very ill And in this manner he proceeded with the earl measures; for from that time almost to the time of of Oxford, a man of great name in that time, and his own death, the king admitted very few into any whom he had endeavoured by many civil offices to degree of trust, who had ever discovered them- make his friend, and who seemed equally to incline selves to be enemies to the duke, or against whom to the friendship: when he discovered (or, as many he had ever manifested a notable prejudice. And thought, but suspected) that the earl was entered sure never any prince manifested a more lively into some cabal in parliament against him; he regret for the loss of a servant, than his majesty could not be dissuaded by any of his friends, to did for this great man, in his constant favour and whom he imparted his resolution; but meeting the kindness to his wife and children, in a wonderful earl the next day, he took him aside, and after solicitous care for the payment of his debts, (which, many reproaches for such and such ill offices he it is very true, were contracted for his service; had done, and for breaking his word towards him, though in such a manner, that there remained no he told him, “ he would rely no longer on his evidence of it, nor was any of the duke's officers friendship, nor should he expect any further intrusted with the knowledge of it, nor was there friendship from him, but, on the contrary, he any record of it, but in his majesty's own generous “ would be for ever his enemy, and do him all memory,) and all offices of grace towards his " the mischief he could.” The earl, (who, as many servants.
thought, had not been faulty towards him, was as After all this, and such a transcendent mixture great-hearted as he, and thought the very suspectof ill fortune, of which as ill conduct and great ing him to be an injury unpardonable,) without infirmities seem to be the foundation and source, any reply to the particulars, declared, rs that he this great man was a person of a noble nature, “neither cared for his friendship, nor feared his and generous disposition, and of such other en “ hatred;" and from thence avowedly entered into dowments, as made him very capable of being a the conversation and confidence of those who were great favourite to a great king. He understood the always awake to discover, and solicitous to pursue, arts and artifices of a court, and all the learning any thing that might prove to his disadvantage; that is professed there, exactly well. By long which was of evil consequence to the duke, the practice in business, under a master that discoursed earl being of the most ancient of the nobility, and excellently, and surely knew all things wonderfully, a man of great courage, and of a family which and took much delight in indoctrinating his young had in no time swerved from its fidelity to the unexperienced favourite, who, he knew, would be crown. always looked upon as the workmanship of his Sir Francis Cottington, who was secretary to own hands, he had obtained a quick conception, the prince, and not grown courtier enough to disand apprehension of business, and had the habit of semble well his opinion, had given the duke offence speaking very gracefully and pertinently. He was before the journey into Spain, as is before touched of a most flowing courtesy and affability to all men upon, and improved that prejudice, after his comwho made any address to him; and so desirous to ing thither, by disposing the prince all he could to oblige them, that he did not enough consider the the marriage of the infanta ; and by his behaviour value of the obligation, or the merit of the person after his return, in justifying to king James, who he chose to oblige; from which much of his mis- had a very good opinion of him, the sincerity of the fortune resulted. He was of a courage not to be Spaniards in the treaty of the marriage, "" That daunted, which was manifested in all his actions, “ they did in truth desire it, and were fully reand his contests with particular persons of the “solved to gratify his majesty in the business of greatest reputation; and especially in his whole 1“ the palatinate; and only desired, in the manner
(BOOK I. “ of it, to gratify the emperor and the duke of His single misfortune was, (which indeed was “ Bavaria all they could, which would take up very productive of many greater,) that he never made “ little time.” All which being so contrary to the à noble and a worthy friendship with a man so duke's positions and purposes, his displeasure to near his equal, that he would frankly advise him Cottington was sufficiently manifest. “And king for his honour and true interest, against the James was no sooner dead, and the new officers current, or rather the torrent, of his impetuous and orders made, but the profits and privileges passion ; which was partly the vice of the time, which had used to be continued to him who had when the court was not replenished with great been secretary, till some other promotion, were all choice of excellent men; and partly the vice of retrenched. And when he was one morning at the persons who were most worthy to be applied tending in the privy lodgings, as he was accustomed to, and looked upon his youth, and his obscurity, to do, one of the secretaries of state came to him, as obligations upon him to gain their friendships and told him, “that it was the king's pleasure that by extraordinary application. Then his ascent was “ he should no more presume to come into those so quick, that it seemed rather a fight than a
rooms ;” (which was the first instance he had growth; and he was such a darling of fortune, that received of the king's disfavour;) and at the same he was at the top before he was seen at the bottom, instant the duke entered into that quarter. Upon for the gradation of his titles was the effect, not which sir Francis Cottington addressed himself cause, of his first promotion; and, as if he had towards him, and desired he would give him been born a favourite, he was supreme the first “ leave to speak to him:" upon which the duke month he came to court; and it was want of coninclining his ear, moved to a window from the fidence, not of credit, that he had not all at first company, and the other told him, “that he re- which he obtained afterwards; never meeting with “ceived every day fresh marks of his severity;" the least obstruction from his setting out, till he mentioned the message which had been then de was as great as he could be: so that he wanted livered to him, and desired only to know,“ whether dependants before he thought he could want co“ it could not be in his power, by all dutiful appli- adjutors. Nor was he very fortunate in the elec
cation, and all possible service, to be restored to tion of those dependants, very few of his servants “ the good opinion his grace had once vouchsafed having been ever qualified enough to assist or “ to have of him, and to be admitted to serve advise him, and were intent only upon growing “ him ?” The duke heard him without the least rich under him, not upon their master's growing commotion, and with a countenance serene enough, good as well as great : insomuch as he was throughand then answered him, “ That he would deal out his fortune a much wiser man than any servant
very clearly with him; that it was utterly im or friend he had.
never to trust him, or to have to do with him; he had been blessed with one faithful friend, who “ but that he was, and would be always, his de- had been qualified with wisdom and integrity, that “clared enemy; and that he would do always great person would have committed as few faults, “ whatever should be in his power to ruin and and done as transcendent worthy actions, as any
destroy him, and of this he might be most man who shined in such a sphere in that age in “ assured ;” without mentioning any particular | Europe. For he was of an excellent nature, and of ground for his so heightened displeasure. a capacity very capable of advice and counsel. He
The other very calmly replied to him, (as he was in his nature just and candid, liberal, generwas master of an incomparable temper,) “ That ous, and bountiful; nor was it ever known, that the “ since he was resolved never to do him good, that temptation of money swayed him to do an unjust " he hoped, from his justice and generosity, that or unkind thing. And though he left a very great “ he would not suffer himself to gain by his loss; inheritance to his heirs ; considering the vast “ that he had laid out by his command so much fortune he inherited by his wife, the sole daugh“money for jewels and pictures, which he had ter and heir of Francis earl of Rutland, he owed o received : and that, in hope of his future fa- no part of it to his own industry or solicitation,
vour, he had once presented a suit of hangings but to the impatient humour of two kings his “ to him, which cost him Sool. which he hoped masters, who would make his fortune equal to “ he would cause to be restored to him, and that his titles, and the one [as much] above other “ he would not let him be so great a loser by him.” men, as the other was. And he considered it no The duke answered, “ he was in the right ; that otherwise than as theirs, and left it at his death “ he should the next morning go to Oliver, (who engaged for the crown, almost to the value of it, as
was his receiver,) and give him a particular is touched upon before. “ account of all the money due to him, and he If he had an immoderate ambition, with which “should presently pay him ;” which was done the he was charged, and is a weed (if it be a weed) next morning accordingly, without the least abate- apt to grow in the best soils ; it doth not appear ment of any of his demands.
that it was in his nature, or that he brought it And he was so far reconciled to him before with him to the court, but rather found it there, his death, that being resolved to make a peace and was a garment necessary for that air. Nor with Spain; to the end he might more vigor- was it more in his power to be without promoously pursue the war with France, (to which tion, and titles, and wealth, than for a healthy his heart was most passionately fixed,) he sent for man to sit in the sun in the brightest dog-days, Cottington to come to him, and after conference and remain without any warmth. He needed no with him, told him, “the king would send him am- ambition, who was so seated in the hearts of two “ bassador thither, and that he should attend him such masters. “ at Portsmouth for his despatch.”
There are two particulars, which lie heaviest