Howard, Henry

, earl of Northampton, second son of the preceding, but unworthy of such a father, was born at Shottisham in Norfolk about 1539. He was educated at King’s college, and afterwards at Trinity-hall, Cambridge, where he took the degree of A. M. to which he was also admitted at Oxford, in 1568. Bishop Godwin says, his reputation for literature was so great in the unU versity, that he was esteemed“the learnedest among the nobility; and the most noble among the learned.” He was at first, probably, very slenderly provided for, being often obliged, as Lloyd records, “to dine with the chair of duke Humphrey.” He contrived, however, to spend some years in travel; but on his return could obtain no favour at court, at least till the latter end of queen Elizabeth’s reign, which was probably owing to his connections. In 1597, it seems as if he was in some power (perhaps, however, only through the influence of his friend lord Essex), because Rowland White applied to him concerning sir Robert Sydney’s suits at court. He was the grossest of flatterers, as appears by his letters to his patron and friend

This ms. descended from the Harrington family. See Mr. Park’s edi­ tion of the Nugae Antique. In his edition of the Royal and Noble Authors, are some interesting particulars respecting the various editions of Surrey’s Poems.

| lord Essex; but while he professed the most unbounded friendship for Essex, he yet paid his suit to the lord treasurer Burleigh. On the fall of Essex, he insinuated himself so far into the confidence of his mortal enemy, secretary Cecil, as to become the instrument of the secretary’s correspondence with the king of Scotland, which passed through his hands, and has been since published by sit David Dalrymple. It is not wonderful, therefore, that a man of his intriguing spirit, was immediately on king James’s accession, received into favour. In May 1603, he was made a privy-counsellor; in January following, lord warden of the Cinque Ports; in March, baron of Marnhill, and earl of Northampton; in April 1608, lord privy seal; and honoured with the garter. In 1609, he succeeded John lord Lumley, as high steward of Oxford; and in 1612, Robert, earl of Salisbury, as chancellor of Cambridge. Soon after he became the principal instrument in the infamous intrigue of his great niece the countess of Essex with Carr viscount Rochester. The wretch acted as pander to the countess, for the purpose of conciliating die rising favourite and it is impossible to doubt his deep criminality in the murder of Overbury. About nine months afterwards, June 15, 1614, he died, luckily for himself, before this atrocious affair became the subject of public investigation. He was a learned man, but a pedant dark and mysterious, and far from possessing masterly abilities. It causes astonishment, says the elegant writer to whom we are indebted for this article, “when we reflect that this despicable and wicked wretch was the sou of the generous and accomplished earl of Surrey.” One of his biographers remarks, that “his lordship very prudently died a papist; he stood no chance for heaven in any other religion.

His works are, 1. “A Defensative against the poison of supposed Prophecies,” Lond. 1583, 4to, and 1620, folio. This is well analysed by Oldys in his “British Librarian.” 2. “An Apology for the government of Women,” a ms. in the Bodleian, and in lord Orford’s library. 3. “An abstract of the’frauds of the officers in the navy,ms. in the king’s library. 4. “A devotional piece, with the judgment of primitive interpreters.” It seems doubtful whether this exists. It is mentioned by him in a letter to lord Burleigh, to whom he sent it, 5. “Forms of Prayer,ms, | Mr. Park has specified a few other articles among the Harleian Mss. 1


Collins’s Peerage, by sir E. Brydges. Lloyd’s Worthies. Park’s edition of the Royal and Noble Authors, Censura Literaria, vol. V.