From Chambers’s Cyclopædia of English Literature, New Edition by David Patrick, LL. D., Vol. III.; J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, W. &. R. Chambers Limited, London and Edinburgh; 1902; pp. 396-397.
Sir Robert Carey, or CARY, first Earl of Monmouth (c. 1560-1639), wrote one of the earliest autobiographies in the language. Tenth son of Lord Hunsdon, he served upon several embassies, fought by land and sea, was a warden of the Border marches, was knighted by Essex in 1591, and became Baron of Leppington in 1622, Earl of Monmouth in 1626. His interesting Memoirs were edited by the Earl of Cork and Orrery in 1759, and by Scott in 1808. In 1589 Carey walked for a wager from London to Berwick (342 miles) in twelve days, and won £2000; in March 1603 he rode from near London to Edinburgh in about sixty hours, to bring the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death to James VI., in direct defiance of the orders of the Government, who were preparing to despatch a dignified and formal commission, which arrived two days after Carey (see page 395).
There was a favourite of Sir Robert Car’s;*, a great thief, called Geordie Bourne. This gallant, with some of his associates, would in a bravery come and take goods in the East March. I had that night some of the garrison abroad. They met with this Geordie and his fellows, driving of cattle before them. The garrison set upon them, and with a shot killed Geordie Bourne’s uncle, and he himself, bravely resisting, till he was sore hurt in the head, was taken. After he was taken, his pride was such as he asked who it was that durst avow that night’s work? But when he heard it was the garrison, he was then more quiet. But so powerful and awful was this Sir Robert Car and his favourites, as there was not a gentleman in all the East March that durst offend them. Presently after he was taken, I had most of the gentleman of the March come to me, and told me that now I had the ball at my foot, and might bring Sir Robert Car to what condition I pleased; for that this man’s life was so near and dear unto him, as I should have all that my heart could desire for the good and quiet of the country and myself, if upon any condition I would give him his life. I heard them and their reasons; notwithstanding, I called a jury the next morning, and he was found guilty of March treason. Then they feared that I would cause him to be executed that afternoon, which made them come flocking to me, humble intreating me that I would spare his life till the next day: and if Sir Robert Car came not himself to me, and made me not such proffers as I could not but accept, that then I should do with him what I pleased. And further, they told me plainly that if I should execute him before I had heard from Sir Robert Car, they must be forced to quit their houses and fly the country; for his fury would be such against me and the March I commanded, as he would use all his power and strength to the utter destruction of the East March. They were so earnest with me that I gave them my word he should not die that day. There was post upon post sent to Sir Robert Car; and some of them rode to him themselves to advertise him in what danger Geordie Bourne was: how he was condemned, and should have been executed that afternoon, but by their humble suit I gave them my word that he should not die that day; and therefore besought him that he would send to me with all the speed he could, to let me know that he would be the next day with me, to offer me good conditions for the safety of his life. When all things were quiet, and the watch set at night, after supper, about ten of the clock, I took one of my men’s liveries, and put it about me, and took two other of my servants with me in their liveries, and we three, as the Warden’s men, came to the Provost Marshal’s, where Bourne was, and were let into his chamber. We sat down by him, and told him that we were desirous to see him, because we heard that he was stout and valiant, and true to his friend; and that we were sorry our master could not be moved to save his life. He voluntarily of himself said, that he had lived long enough to do so many villanies as he had done; and withal told us that he had lain with above forty men’s wives, what in England, what in Scotland; and that 397 he had killed seven Englishmen with his own lands, cruelly murdering them: that he had spent his whole time in whoring, drinking, stealing, and taking deep revenge for slight offences. He seemed to be very penitent, and much desired a minister for the comfort of his soul. We promised him to let our master know his desire, who, we knew, would presently grant it. We took our leaves of him; and presently I took order that Mr. Selby, a very worthy honest preacher, should go to him, and not stir from him till his execution the next morning: for after I had heard his own confession, I was resolved no conditions should save his life; and so took order that at the gates opening the next morning he should be carried to execution, which accordingly was performed.
* The Sir Robert Car of Carey’s story was Sir Robert Ker of Cessford, warden-depute of the Middle Marches, in 1594, who played a conspicuous part in the stirring history of the time. He was himself put in ward as a raider by Lord Hunsdon, had to do with more slaughters than one, was more than once denounced a rebel and had to flee his country, but in 1600 was created Lord Roxburghe, and in 1616 Earl of Roxburghe.
Elf.Ed.--Carey was Warden of the Marches 1596-1598 according to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica entry at Wikipedia here.
I took my journey about the end of the year 1602. When I came to court, I found the Queen ill disposed, and she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, sent for me. I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her; I kissed her hand, and told her it was by chiefest happiness to see her in safety, and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said, ‘No, Robin, I am not well,’ and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days; and in her discourse, she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime before, I never knew her fetch a sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded. Then, upon my knowledge, she shed many tears and sights, manifesting her innocence, that she never gave consent to the death of that Queen.
I used the best words I could, to persuade her from this melancholy humour; but I found by her it was too deep-rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon a Saturday night, and she gave command, that the great closet should be prepared for her to go to chapel the next morning. The next day, all things being in readiness, we long expected her coming. After eleven o’clock, one of the grooms came out, and bade make ready for the private closet; she would not go to the great. There we stayed long for her coming, but at the last she had cushions laid for her in the privy chamber hard by the closet door, and there she heard service. From that day forwards, she grew worse and worse. She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least. All about her could not persuade her, either to take any sustenance, or go to bed. The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so, none about her being able to persuade her to go to bed. My Lord Admiral was sent for, (who, by reason of my sister’s death, that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight from court;) what by fair means, what by force, he got her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies.
On Wednesday, the 23d of March, she grew speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her council, and by putting her hand to her head, when the king so Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her. About six at night she made signs for Archbishop Whitgift and her chaplains to come to her, at which time I went in with them, and sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight. Her Majesty lay upon her back, with one hand in the bed, and the other without. The bishop kneeled down by her, and examined her first of her faith; and she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes, and holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders. Then the good man told her plainly what she was, and what she was to come to; and though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings. After this he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, and meant to rise and leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scroop knowing her meaning, told the bishop the Queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her Christian and comfortable end. By this time it grew late, and every one departed, all but her women that attended her.
This that I heard with my ears, and did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, and to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady.*
Elf.Ed. -- She died March 24, 1603.