Archive for February 1st, 2011

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618)
Having fallen from favor and gained powerful enemies in serving the king the once powerful courtier Raleigh knew his days were numbered. He was duly charged with treason against the king. As he was led up to the execution he motioned the executioner to stop. Feeling the edge of the axe he said, ‘This is a sharp medicine. But is a sure cure for all diseases.’

Sir Thomas Wentworth literally took the word of his sovereign the King Charles I to heart. The king had assured his favorite,’On the word of a king, you shall not suffer in life, honor or in fortune.’ The earl had stood by him through thick and thin and he was not worried when he was to be tried by the lords for treason.
Even if the Lords had upheld the verdict of the House of Commons they could not carry it out without the consent of the king.

When the verdict was brought before the king he hesitated. In the end under pressure he signed the death warrant. When the news was brought to the earl, the hapless loyal servant could only murmur a verse from the Psalms ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of men, for in them there is no salvation'(Ps.146)
This anecdote reminds me of the last days of Cardinal Wolsey who served the King Henry VIII only too well.
When the king in the end spurned him he was a broken man and rued that he had been unfaithful to his cloth and neglected his duties to God. ‘If I had served God so diligently as I have done the king’,he said,’He would not have given me over in my gray hairs.’


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