Chapter 27: How To Avoid Deportation
Chapter 27: How To Avoid Deportation
It took everything he had not to pace up and down. Robert Carr was anxious. The King had told him the terms by which the Commons would agree to vote for the Contract, and those terms were bad for him. The King said he would never agree to send Robert away, but Robert knew how desperate the King was to clear his debts.
That was partially why he had come to Suffolk House. Increasingly he found himself liking the Earl of Suffolk more and more. The man had common sense, and contacts throughout the city. He knew when someone was pissing before they themselves knew about it. It was impressive and terrifying.
The other reason he was here was to talk the terms of his marriage with Suffolk’s youngest daughter, the eleven-year-old Margaret Howard, who he still hadn’t met. Though he’d met her lovely sister Frances twice now.
“I believe, Lord Rochester, that you and I would do well to come to terms now.” Suffolk said.
“Terms, Sir?” Robert replied.
“Yes.” Suffolk replied. “Would you prefer a cash or land dowry for my daughter?”
Robert thought on that. A cash dowry would give him money in an abstract sense, and might make it easier for the King to take it as payment for organising the whole thing. Land was longer term, and would be an appreciable asset. He’d go for land. “Land, Sir.” Robert replied.
Suffolk smiled. “A man after my own heart.” A pause and then. “There are three properties in East Anglia, that I think would be perfect for you, and I know that they would suit Margaret as well. They are manorial properties bringing in a combined value of around £2500.”
Robert nodded; he felt his heart quicken at the thought of that much money. He wouldn’t need the King’s pension if he got this. “Very well, Sir.”
“I will have my secretary draw up the contract and then we can both sign it.” Suffolk said.
“Of course.” Robert replied, he’d have the Attorney General have a look at it before he signed anything. Suffolk was a wily man, who knew what sort of things he might slip into the contract.
Suffolk clapped his hands and then said. “Now onto more pressing matters.”
“Sir?” Robert asked, though he suspected he knew what the man would want to speak about.
“I am sure you are aware of what the Commons is demanding in return for passing the Great Contract.” Suffolk said with no preamble.
Carr nodded. “I am, Sir.”
“Then you know how much this displeases His Majesty the King.” Suffolk said.
“I do, Sir.” Robert replied.
“Then we must find a way to focus the Common’s Ire on someone other than you.” Suffolk said. “It is imperative that the King has the Contract, imperative. Nothing can stand in its way.”
“I do not quite understand why they are so against me, Sir.” Robert said, speaking honestly. He truly didn’t know what he’d done to deserve such antagonism.
Suffolk sighed. “You are a Scotsman who has risen high, very quickly. Many in the Commons come from families that have been in this Kingdom for a very, very long time. To them, seeing you rise so high so quickly is worrying. It suggests their own influence or that of their family’s is lessening.”
“So, jealousy?” Robert asked.
“Indeed.” Suffolk said. “No amount of money can change that. Therefore, it is important that we give them another target to sate their bloodlust.”
Robert knew exactly what Suffolk meant. Hand over another Scot to give the rampant idiots in the Commons something to shout about. Someone else who’d risen quite high quite quickly, who didn’t have as much favour as he did with the King, but who would still be considered a significant scalp. Robert wasn’t sure who such a person could be. The old entourage that the King had come with from Scotland had either gone back to Scotland following the Gunpowder Treason or had ingratiated themselves with the English nobility.
Well, apart from one man. But would that one man be enough?
“There is one man.” Robert said then.
“Who?” Suffolk asked leaning forward.
“John Ramsay, Viscount Haddington.” Robert said.
“The King’s server?” Suffolk asked.
“Yes.” Robert replied. “He has benefitted from the King’s good graces in the past, and I know that he has been skimming from the top of his accounts to benefit himself.” That in of itself wasn’t a crime, they all did it, but still, Ramsay wasn’t well liked at court, or in Parliament from what Robert could see. The King was still fond of him though.
“And is there evidence of this?” Suffolk asked.
“Evidence that he has been skimming?” Robert asked.
“Yes.” Suffolk replied.
“Yes.” Robert said. “I have friends in Ramsay’s household who have seen the account books he keeps.”
“There are two?” Suffolk asked.
“Yes.” Robert replied. “One to show the King and another for his own record. The last one contains all the details.”
“Good.” Suffolk replied. “We need to get that book. But more importantly we need to get people to come forward with the claims.”
“I can have my friends come forward.” Robert said. “Nobody knows they’re attached to me.” He’d been very careful to ensure that.
Suffolk didn’t immediately respond, indeed he seemed to be considering the suggestion. When he seemed to have gone over all the pros and cons he spoke. “Very well. Ensure they come forward in a staggered manner. One first, then two, then three, you get where I am coming from.”
“Of course.” Robert replied, better to make it seem like people were feeling more comfortable coming forward after a brave individual had broken the barrier.
“And make sure you do not tell the King beforehand.” Suffolk said.
“Of course.” Robert replied.
Suffolk nodded. “Good.”
Robert smiled. “If that’s all, I think I’ll be on my way.” Suffolk nodded, and showed him to the door, which he then opened, as he walked out, he caught a glimpse of a tail end of a dress, it was dark blue. He made a note to see whether Frances liked that colour and then carried on his way.