[From Manx Soc vol 3 - part 1 Letter of James 7th Earl]


1, 2.—Of Capt. Holmewood; 3—formerly recommended by certain lords (to whom he was a hanger-on) to the Earl's mother, who puts him in Governor of the Isle of Man. The Earl's father retires. 4.—At his mother's death, the Earl displaces Captain Holmewood, and gives him a pension; yet the lords who recommended him are displeased. 5.—The inconvenience of taking servants on othermens recommendations,

I AM willing to rub up my memory concerning my first choice of Captain Christian, and his behaviour in my service since. Wherein I may call to mind my own follies, to make you by them wiser. It is good learning by another's book. En vitio alterius sapiens emeudat suum. To do this, I must rake up some circumstances before my entertaining him.

2. There was one Captain Holmewood, a very honest gentleman, who used to haunt good company, and had great acquaintance with divers courtiers of the best sort; which was very commendable. But, in Church, or Court, or home, or in any place, if a man want discretion rightly to make use of the occasion, all will tend unto his loss. This gentleman found it true. For without any vice (which is no great sign of virtue) he wasted a good estate, and his remnant afterwards was courtship. For his friends there all solemnly protested how sorry they were for his misfortunes, and no less that they wanted abilities to do him service,. Thus much though there he profited to learn, that confidence and importunity are the only ways of thriving at Court; and, when men may not get preferment from a party there, at least to hang on until he be well shifted off; and then the usual way is to be transferred.

3. So did some lords of the Court (who shall be nameless) recommend him unto my mother, of blessed memory, to be Governor of this Isle of Man. And she gave credit unto their letters (a strange error of so wise a woman, so well acquainted with the Court!), and pleased to send him over, to the great contentment of very many. For he was needy and kind-hearted —two of the most pleasing qualities for a governor among this people.

4 But when it pleased God that my mother died (unto whom, by certain agreements between her and my father, and, as I take it, ordered by King James, that blessed peacemaker that her ladyship should have the full dispose thereof for certain years) I observed that this gentleman was fitter for employment abroad than this place, which at that time required a man of letters. And my father, willing to retire himself from troubles, was contented to make much of himself, reserving a £1,000 a year, and put the rest of his estate to venture in my hands (that which haply I shall not so very soon do with you, nor with such latitude of power). The first thing I did, to my remembrance, was the shifting off this gentleman, to whom I gave a good pension, for charity's sake, and, in some respect, to avoid others' clamours. But that pleased not those lords by whose means he was placed here; apprehending much his company again at Court; indeed they were not friends with me of a long time for it.

5. And hereby may you observe the inconvenience of taking servants on others' commending. I had matter enough to justify his remove, but that could not set me right above. Nevertheless, when I did according to good discretion in my own right, I considered their favour in time might be recovered. For, though a friend at Court be said to be better than a penny in the purse, yet, keep your own estate and a penny to spare, and you will create friends in Court or country at any time.


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