Howard, Charles

, earl of Nottingham, lord high admiral of England, was son of William lord Howard of Effingliam, and grandson of Thomas second duke of Norfolk/ He was born in 1536, and initiated early into the affairs of state, being sent in 1559, on the death of Henry II. king of France, with a compliment or condolence to his successor Francis II. and to congratulate him on "his accession to the throne, &c. On his return he was elected one of the knights of the shire for the county of Surrey in 1562, and in 1569 was general of the horse under the earl of Warwick, in the army sent against the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, then in rebellion. The year following he went with a fleet of men of war to convoy the princess Anne of Austria, daughter of the emperor Maximilian, going into Spain, over the British seas; and in 1573, upon the death of his father, succeeded him in honours and estate. The same year he was installed knight of the garter, and likewise made lord chamberlain of the household; and in 1585 constituted lord high admiral of England.

In 1588, the memorable year of the Spanish invasion, the queen, knowing his abilities in naval affairs, and popularity with the seamen, gave him the command of her whole fleet, with which he entirely dispersed and destroyed the Spanish armada; and when, in 1596, another invasion was apprehended from the Spaniards, and a fleet of 150 ships was equipped with a proper number of land forces, he was appointed commander in chief at sea, as the earl of Essex was at land. In this expedition Cadiz was taken, and the Spanish fleet there burnt; and the lord high admiral had so great a share in this success, that on Oct. 22 of the same year he was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Nottingham, and appointed justice itinerant for, life of all the forests south of Trent. In 1599, upon an apprehension of the Spaniards again designing the invasion of England, and on private intelligence, that the earl of Essex, then lord deputy of Ireland, discontented at the power of his adversaries, was meditating to return into England with a select party of men, the queen having raised 6000 foot soldiers | to be ready on any emergency, reposed so entire a confidence in the earl of Nottingham, that she committed to him the chief command. But these forces being again disbanded a few days after, he had no opportunity for action until 1601, when he suppressed the carl of Essex’s insurrection. The same year he was appointed one of the commissioners for exercising the office of earl marshal of England; and in the beginning of 1602-3, dnring the queen’s last illness, he was deputed by the council, with the lord keeper Egerton and secretary Cecil, to know her majesty’s pleasure in reference to the succession, which she declared in favour of James king of Scotland.

Upon the accession of that king to the throne of England, the earl was continued in his post of lord admiral, and at the coronation was made lord high steward of England for that occasion; and the year following, upon the renewing the commission to seven lords for exercising the office of earl marshal, he was appointed one of that number. In 1604 he was one of the commissioners to treat of an union between England and Scotland; and in 1605, sent ambassador to the court of Spain, attended with a splendid retinue, who being, as Wilson says, “persons of quality, accoutred with all ornaments suitable, were the more admired by the Spaniards for beauty and excellency^ by how much the Jesuits had made impressions in the vulgar opinion, that since the English left the Roman religion, they were transformed into strange horrid shapes, with heads and tails like beasts and monsters.” His employment there was to take the oath of the king of Spain to the treaty of peace lately made with him; and he had a particular instruction, that in performing that ceremony, which was most likely to be in the royal chapel, he should have especial care, that it might be done, not in the forenoon in the time of mass, but rather in the afternoon, at which time the Romish service is most free from superstition. During this embassy, the king of Spain did more honour to the earl than ever he had done to any person in his employment in that kingdom; and the people in general shewed all possible regard for him, as his lordship’s behaviour there justly deserved; and at his departure from thence in June the same year, he had presents made him by that king in plate, jewels, and horses, to the value of 20.000l. besides the gold chains and jewels given to his Upon the marriage of the lady Elizabeth to | the Elector Palatine, February 14, 1612-13, the earl of Nottingham with the duke of Lenox conducted her highness from the chapel; and had the honour of convoying Jierwith a royal navy to Flushing. He continued lord high admiral of England till February 6, 1618-19, when finding himself unable any longer to perform the necessary duties of that great employment, which he ha4 enjoyed about thirty-three years with the highest applause, he voluntarily resigned it to his majesty; who being sensible of the important services which he had done the nation, remitted him a debt owing to the crown of 1 8,000l. settled upon him a pension of 1000l. a year for life, and granted him the place and precedency of John Mowbray, who had been created earl of Nottingham by king Richard II. at the time of his coronation.

He died at the age of eighty-eight, leaving rather an everlasting memorial of his extraordiaary worth, than any great estate to his family; although he had enjoyed so long the profitable post of lord admiral. He lived in a most splendid and magnificent manner, keeping seven standing houses at the same time; and was always forward to promote any design serviceable to his country. He expended in several expeditions great sums out of his private fortune; and in the critical year 1588, when, on a surmise, that the Spaniards were unable to set sail that year, secretary Walsingham, by order of the queen, wrote to him to send back four of his largest ships, he desired, that nothing might be rashly credited in so weighty a matter, and that he might keep those ships with him, though it were at his own cost; and in the expedition to Cadiz, he, and the earl of Essex, the two commanders, contributed very largely out of their own estates. Sir Robert Naunton styles him “a good, honest, and brave man; and as for his person, as goodly a gentleman as any of that age:” and Mr. Osborne tells us, that his “fidelity was impregnable in relation to corruption.” By his first wife, Catharine, daughter to Henry Gary lord Hunsdon, he had two sons and three daughters; and by his second, Margaret, daughter to James Stuart earl of Murray in Scot-< land, two sons. 1

1 BLog. Brit. Bireh’t Ljt. Lloyd’s State Worthres. Howe’s Hist* of