Online Encyclopedia

JAMES HAY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 340 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
JAMES HAY, 1st earl of Carlisle (d. 1636), was the son of Sir James Hay of Kingask (a member of a younger branch of the Erroll family), and of Margaret Murray, cousin of George Hay, afterwards 1st earl of Kinnoull. He was knighted and taken into favour by James VI. of Scotland, brought into England in 1603, treated as a " prime favourite " and made a gentleman of the bedchamber. In 1604 he was sent on a mission to France and pleaded for the Huguenots, which annoyed Henry IV. and caused a substantial reduction of the present made to the English envoy. On the 21st of June 16o6 he was created by patent a baron for life, with precedence next to the barons, but without a place or voice in parliament, no doubt to render his advancement less unpalatable to the English lords. The king bestowed on him numerous grants, paid his debts, and secured for him a rich bride in the person of Honora, only daughter and heir of Edward, Lord Denny, afterwards earl of Norwich. In 1610 he was made a knight of the Bath, and in 1613 master of the wardrobe, while in 1615 he was created Lord Hay of Sawley, and took his seat in the House of Lords. He was sent to France next year to negotiate the marriage of Princess Christina with Prince Charles, and on his return, being now a widower, married in 1617 Lady Lucy Percy (1599–166o), daughter of the 9th earl of Northumberland, and was made a privy councillor. In 1618 he resigned the mastership of the wardrobe for a large sum in compensation. He was created Viscount Doncaster, and in February 1619 was despatched on a mission to Germany, where he identified himself with the cause of the elector palatine and urged James to make war in his support. In 1621 and 1622 he was sent to France to obtain peace for the Huguenots from Louis XIII., in which he was unsuccessful, and in September 1622 was created earl of Carlisle. Next year he went to Paris on the occasionoof Prince Charles's journey to Madrid, andagainin1624 to join Henry Rich, afterwards Lord Holland, in negotiating the prince's marriage with Henrietta Maria, when he advised James without success to resist Richelieu's demands on the subject of religious toleration. On the 2nd of July 1627 Lord Carlisle obtained from the king a grant of all the Caribbean Islands, including Barbados, this being a confirmation of a former concession given by James I. He was also a patentee and councillor of the plantation of New England, and showed great zeal and interest in the colonies. He became gentleman of the bedchamber to King Charles I. after his accession. In 1628, after the failure of the expedition to Rile, he was sent to make a diversion against Richelieu in Lorraine and Piedmont; he counselled peace with Spain and the vigorous prosecution of the war with France, but on his return home found his advice neglected. He took no further part in public life, and died in March 1636. Carlisle was a man of good sense and of accommodating temper, with some diplomatic ability. His extravagance and lavish expenditure, his " double suppers " and costly entertainments, were the theme of satirists and wonder of society, and his debts were said at his death to amount to more than £8o,000. " He left behind him," says Clarendon, " a reputation of a very fine gentleman and a most accomplished courtier, and after having spent, in a very jovial life, above £400,000, which upon a strict computation he received from the crown, he left not a house or acre of land to be remembered by." The charms and wit of his second wife, Lucy, countess of Carlisle, which were celebrated in verse by all the poets of the day, including Carew, Cartwright, Herrick and Suckling, and by Sir Toby Matthew in prose, made her a conspicuous figure at the court of Charles I. There appears no foundation for the scandal which made her the mistress successively of Strafford and of Pym. Strafford valued highly her sincerity and services, but after his death, possibly in consequence of a revulsion of feeling at his abandonment by the court, she devoted herself to Pym and to the interests of the parliamentary leaders, to whom she communicated the king's most secret plans and counsels. Her greatest achievement was the timely disclosure to Lord Essex of the king's intended arrest of the five members, which enabled them to escape. But she appears to have served both parties simultaneously, betraying communications on both sides, and doing considerable mischief in inflaming political animosities. In 1647 she attached herself to the interests of the moderate Presbyterian party, which assembled at her house, and in the second Civil War showed great zeal and activity in the royal cause, pawned her pearl necklace for £1500 to raise money for Lord Holland's troops, established communications with Prince Charles during his blockade of the Thames, and made herself the intermediary between the scattered bands of royalists and the queen. In consequence her arrest was ordered on the 21st of March 1649, and she was imprisoned in the Tower, whence she maintained a correspondence in cipher with the king through her brother, Lord Percy, till Charles went to Scotland. According to a royalist newsletter, while in the Tower she was threatened with the rack to extort information. She was released on bail on the 25th of September 165o, but appears never to have regained her former influence in the royalist counsels, and died soon after the Restoration, on the 5th of November 166o. The first earl was succeeded by JAMES, his only surviving son by his first wife, at whose death in 166o without issue, the peerage became extinct in the Hay family.
End of Article: JAMES HAY
[back]
JAMES HAMILTON
[next]
JAMES I

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.