Diary of the times of Charles II/Volume 1/Mr. Gilbert Spencer to Mr. Sidney, January 7,—79


January 7th, 79.

Most Honoured Sir,

Yesterday was the fortunate day of your trial with my Lord of Leicester, which proved as well as we could wish, and in many circumstances better than we did hope for. In short, after a full hearing of their witnesses, having before heard me on your part, the Jury gave a verdict at the bar without stirring out of court, which is for the honour of your cause in its clearness; all the judges apprehending the truth of the thing immediately, and were clearly for you in it. My old acquaintance was not wanting to serve you.

The two points they chiefly insisted upon and designed were, my Lord's answer, which they thought my vote and testimony would not agree with; and the other was the taking off of my evidence. In the first, they were in a very ignorant mistake, for, on the reading of the answer through, and the bill to which that was an answer, it was very plain it referred to the time when the leases were made; and so the judges presently understood it. And then, sir, I cannot omit to let you know what provision your adversaries had made to take me off from giving evidence, which was that I had £20 annuity out of the rents in the fields, which, you may remember, I was afraid of from the beginning, and took care to prevent. The person to prove that was Robin Turner, that knave, who, having once heard me acknowledge my Lord and master's favour, went and told Watkins. This needs no great proof, for as soon as I was asked I owned it, but withall told the court I had released it. This startled your foes very much. I showed the release, and it was allowed. After a great deal of more wrangling, the Judge Scroggs summed up the evidence as a plain case on your side, and so the Jury found it, and gave a verdict which made my little heart leap. Mr. Foulkes has taken a great deal of care and pains in this business. We are not idle, but driving on while the iron is hot. This was one of the happiest days I ever saw. I protest I flatter not.

My Lord Lisle was in court, but not Lord Leicester. Mr. Foulkes and I sent your brother Algernon a breviat, and he sent it to one of his lawyers. I was glad he did not appear. One that was formerly a butler to the Earl of Leycester was a witness for him ; but what he said served only to fling dirt in his Lord's face.

There was a little gentlewoman, a governess, and Miss, whose mark is out of her mouth, was there, and said something to little purpose, rather to serve than hurt you, as it was ordered; I know not how it was intended. I am so full of joy that I hope you will give me pardon for the length of my letter. Mr. Guy tells me I shall have order to-morrow for £450 for a quarter, which, when I have secured, I mean to spend two or three quiet days at Penshurst, and then to London again.

Though your brother Algernon would not concern himself, but was long in churlish humour—I hear he laughed when he heard how the cause went—and I believe your brother Leicester will not have so good an opinion of his own law as he used to have—'tis thought he will be in a great rage at the verdict. I am sure, if he had had it from him, he would never have let you had a quiet day, nor a penny legacy; but now I hope he may be made wiser, and you happier, whether he will or no; and that you may be so, nothing shall be wanting in the duty of, most honoured sir.

Your most affectionate, faithful.
And obedient servant,
G. Spencer