Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Howard, Thomas (1586-1646)
HOWARD, THOMAS, second Earl of Arundel (1586–1646), art collector, called by Walpole the 'Father of Vertu in England,' only son of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel [q. v.], by Anne, coheiress of Dacre and Gillesland, was born at Finchingfield in Essex, 7 July 1586 (see will, Harl. MS. 6272, ff. 29-30). When he was nearly ten his father died in the Tower (19 Oct. 1595), and by his attainder the son was deprived of his lands and titles, though called Lord Maltravers by courtesy. He was carefully brought up by his mother, ‘a lady of great and eminent virtues,’ with his only sister, who died aged 16 (manuscript life in Harl. MS. 6272, f. 152). After attending Westminster School, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge (Memoirs, ed. 1668, p. 284). On the accession of James I, Howard was granted his father's titles of Arundel and Surrey, but the king retained the family property, so that he remained in embarrassed circumstances. On 18 April 1604 he was restored in blood, and in 1605 first introduced at court. At the age of twenty he married (30 Sept. 1606) Alathea, third daughter and ultimately heiress of Gilbert Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, and, with the help of her fortune, gradually bought back some of the family property, including Arundel House, London, for 4,000l. in 1608. For the next few years the earl led a gay life at court, and his name constantly appears among the performers in masques and jousts. On 17 July 1607 the king stood godfather to his eldest son James, who died at Ghent in 1624. He went abroad for his health in 1609, travelling in the Low Countries, France, and Italy, and seems to have there first acquired a love of art. On his return he was installed KG. at Windsor (13 May 1611). At the marriage of Princess Elizabeth (February 1613) Arundel carried the sword of state, and was afterwards appointed one of the four noblemen to escort her abroad. He proceeded to Heidelberg at the elector's request, and returned to England in June. Soon after he and the countess paid a visit to Italy, where they were received with all honour and respect. They returned in November 1615.
Arundel was, like his wife, brought up as a Roman catholic, but on 25 Dec. 1615 he entered the English church, and took the sacrament in the king's chapel, Whitehall, to the great grief of his mother, who vainly tried to persuade him to return to the Romish faith. Arundel has been accused of becoming a protestant only from policy, but there is no doubt that he had a natural leaning to a simple and unadorned ritual. On 16 July 1616 he was admitted to the privy council, and in the next year was made a privy councillor of Scotland and Ireland. He supported Raleigh's expedition of 1617, but had some doubts of Raleigh's sincerity, and visited Raleigh's ship the Destiny as it was leaving the Thames to obtain the explorer's promise that he would return to England however the enterprise might turn out. On 3 Nov. 1620 he became a member of a committee for the plantations of New England. His love of etiquette is illustrated by a quarrel with De Cadenet, the French ambassador, in 1620, over a small point of precedence, when he was not satisfied till the king obliged De Cadenet to apologise. In April 1621 Arundel presided over the committee of the House of Lords appointed to consider the evidence against the lord chancellor, and recommended that Bacon should not be summoned to the bar of the house nor deprived of his peerage. On Bacon's fall he was, from 3 May to 10 July, joint-commissioner of the great seal. On 8 May 1621, when the House of Lords were discussing the case of Sir Henry Yelverton, who was in the Tower on the charge of attacking Buckingham in the House of Commons, Arundel dissuaded the lords from hearing Yelverton's own explanation of his words. Lord Spencer, as the representative of the popular party, hotly resented the suggestion that a man should be condemned unheard. A fierce altercation took place between Arundel and Spencer; finally, Arundel's advice was rejected, and his passionate language to Spencer was punished on 16 May by his committal to the Tower by order of the House of Lords. He was only released on the king's personal intercession with the lords, and on the engagement of the Prince of Wales that he would effect a reconciliation between the two peers. On 29 Aug. 1621 Arundel was appointed earl-marshal of England. At James's funeral he was one of Charles's supporters, and was afterwards made a commissioner to appoint the knights of the Bath and determine claims to perform the services required at the forthcoming coronation of the new king.
The earl soon declared himself an enemy of Buckingham, while his plain dress and haughty manner made him no favourite with the king. In the first year of Charles's reign, Arundel's eldest surviving son Henry Frederick, lord Maltravers, married Elizabeth, daughter of Gardiner, vi. 279). Seeing, however, that, if the petition were to pass at all, further concession to the commons was necessary, Arundel assented to the withdrawal of the clause, and the prerogative was left undetermined. Weston in the same year effected a reconciliation between Arundel and the king, and he was restored to his place in the council., for whom Charles had arranged another match. On this ground the king sent the young couple into confinement at Lambeth, and, to gratify his own and Buckingham's personal hostility to Arundel, ordered him and his wife to be confined first in the Tower and afterwards in their country house at Horseley, Sussex. But the lords demanded Arundel's release so peremptorily that Charles was obliged to yield, and the earl was set at liberty in June 1626. While he was suffering restraint Bacon was seized with what proved a fatal illness while journeying between London and Highgate, and took refuge at Arundel's house at Highgate (March 1626). Bacon died there 9 April 1626, and the last letter he wrote was to Arundel, thanking him for the hospitality afforded him during his enforced stay. Within a mouth of his release Arundel was again ordered into confinement in his own house, and remained under restraint till March 1628, when he was once more liberated at the instance of the lords. Throughout the debates on the Petition of Right of 1628 he tried to play the part of mediator, and probably drew up an amendment to the petition with the object of saving the royal prerogative, which was proposed by Lord Weston, and was finally carried in the House of Lords (
In 1630 he revived the court of earl-marshal and constable. After the death of the king of Bohemia, Arundel was sent in December 1632 to the Hague to condole with the queen and bring her back to England; but she refused to come, alleging her duties to her family. In 1634 he was made chief justice in eyre of the forests north of the Trent; and in June accompanied Charles to his coronation in Scotland. In April 1636 Arundel was sent on an important political mission to the emperor at Vienna, to urge the restitution of the Palatinate to the king's nephew. For once he laid aside his plain dress, and was magnificently attired. On his journey he was received in state in Holland by the widowed queen of Bohemia, the Prince of Orange, and the States General. He travelled slowly on to Nuremberg. Thence he passed through the Upper Palatinate to Ratisbon, but, finding the diet not yet assembled, visited Ferdinand II at Linz and the queen of Hungary at Vienna. His demands as to the Palatinate were refused by the emperor, and he asked to be recalled. This Charles, who hoped to gain more favourable terms by temporising, refused. Passing through Moravia and Bohemia, Arundel returned to Ratisbon in the autumn (see Crowne, True Relation of … the Travels of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel…Embassador Extraordinary to…Ferdinand II, 1636, London, 1637, 12mo). Charles recalled him on 27 Sept. 1636, and on his return granted him 7,262l., the balance of 19,262l. allowed him for his expenses abroad. His mission completely altered his views of English foreign policy. He now regarded France instead of the house of Austria as the ally most valuable for England to secure in the matter of the Palatinate (cf. Gardiner, viii. 202). In 1638 Arundel was commissioned to repair the border fortresses, and late in the same year was made general of the army against the Scots. It assembled on 29 April 1639 at Selby-on-the-Ouse, whence it moved to Berwick under the king's command, but was disbanded in three months. Clarendon calls Arundel ‘a man who had nothing martial about him but his presence and his looks,’ and was, he says, chosen general for 'his negative qualities; he did not love the Scots; he did not love the puritans' (History, Clarendon Press edit., 1828, i. 201). New preparations were made for war in the end of 1639, and Arundel, who became lord-steward of the royal household on 12 April 1640, administered the oath to the commons on 25 April 1640. On 29 Aug. 1640 he was appointed ‘captain-general south of Trent,’ but after the Scots took Newcastle (30 Aug.), Arundel was examined in parliament as to his responsibility. No fault was found with his conduct. Early in the next year the earl presided at Strafford's trial (March and April 1641), acting as lord high steward; he had privately quarrelled with Strafford in 1635 over some land which both claimed, but by all impartial accounts did not allow his private enmity to bias his feelings. He notified the royal assent to the bill of Strafford's attainder, and also to a bill against dissolving parliament without the consent of both houses. On 29 June Arundel, supported by seventeen other noblemen, petitioned for the restoration of his grandfather's title of Duke of Norfolk. Charles avoided a direct reply, but in the year of the earl's death, and when unable to make his concession of, any value, granted him the title by a patent, dated 6 June 1646, from Oxford.
In August 1641 Arundel, who was growing out of sympathy with the court, resigned his post of lord-steward of the household. The queen-mother of France concluded a visit to England in July 1641, and the earl and 'his wife escorted her to Cologne, where the countess remained. Arundel went on to Utrecht, where his eldest surviving son's children were being educated, and after a short visit to England, in company with Evelyn, in October, left the country for good in the middle of February 1642, ostensibly acting as escort to Queen Henrietta Maria and Princess Mary. Soon parting with them, he went on through France to Italy. His grandsons, Thomas and Philip, the eldest and youngest sons of Lord Maltravers, accompanied him, but Thomas became insane, and Philip turned Dominican at Milan [see Howard, Philip Thomas], to the earl's grief. He was joined at Padua, where he now permanently settled, by his second grandson, Henry. In 1644 Arundel and other absent peers were recalled by an order of the House of Lords, but he remained abroad, contributing 54,000l. to the royalist cause. Tho same year Arundel Castle but was retaken by Arundel's means were now much circumscribed; his personal estate had been seized in 1643 by parliament, and was in the hands of the sequestrators. Out of an annual revenue of 15,000l., he only received 500l. a year while abroad (House of Commons' Journals, iii. 231, 432, &c.) His son, Lord Mowbray and Maltravers, joined him with difficulty in 1645, and while preparing to return to England in 1646, Arundel was taken ill. Evelyn records a visit to him on his sick bed at Padua (Easter 1646), when he found him, more sick in mind than body, lamenting the undutifulness of his grandson Philip (Diary, i. 218). On 4 Oct. he died suddenly, and by his own desire his body was conveyed by his son and his grandson Henry to be buried at Arundel. The earl desired to have a tomb made by Fanelli, and composed his own epitaph, but, like other directions given in Arundel's will, these arrangements for a tomb were not carried out. By his wife Alathea he had six sons. The eldest, James, lord Mowbray, created K.B. in 1616, died unmarried at Ghent in 1624. Arundel's second son and successor, Henry Frederick, and his fifth son, William Howard, viscount Stafford, are separately noticed.
The earl's character has been unfairly drawn by Clarendon, who personally disliked him, but Clarendon brings no graver charges than those of pride and reserve, illiteracy and religious indifferentism. Austere in disposition, plain in speech and dress, very particular as to the respect due to his rank, the earl was unpopular at court, as well as with those below him. But he was an affectionate husband and parent, taking immense pains with the education of his sons and grandson. He was liberal and hospitable, especially to foreigners, and a patron of arts and learning. He brought Hollar from Prague, and employed him to make drawings. Oughtred, the famous mathematician, was tutor to his third son, William. Francis Junius [q.v.] was his librarian, and lived in his family thirty years. He was the friend of the antiquaries, Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Henry Spelman, Camden, and Selden, and is said to have first discovered the talent of Inigo Jones.
Arundel formed the first large collection of works of art in England. From 1615 he collected diligently in various countries of Europe, making purchases himself when travelling, or employing agents when he was in England. Much of his extant correspondence deals with his various artistic transactions. In Additional MS. 15970 are many letters to ‘good Mr. Petty,’ who was his chaplain and his agent at Rome. Writing on one occasion from Frankfort, 5 Dec. 1636, he says: ‘I wish you sawe the Picture of a Madonna of [Dürer], which the Bishoppe of Wirtzberge gave me last weeke as I passed by that way, and though it were painted at first upon an uneven board and is vernished, yet it is more worth then all the toyes I have gotten in Germanye, and for such I esteeme it, having ever carried it in my owne coach since I had it: and howe then doe you think I should valewe thinges of Leonardo, Raphaell, Corregio, and such like?’ Again, in the same year, when at Nuremberg, he bought the Pirkheymer Library, which had belonged to the kings of Hungary, and was presented, through Evelyn's efforts, by Arundel's son to the Royal Society. In the same way he acquired the intaglios and medals from Daniel Rice. He always gave instructions that his purchases should be conveyed to England by the shortest sea route. Sir William Russell, writing from the Hague in the beginning of 1637, says: ‘The ship wherein his goods were fraughted (amongst which are many thousands most excellent pieces of painting and Bookes which his Lordship gathered in his journey) is still at the Rotterdam, kept in with the ice ever since his Lordship parted’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. p. 554). He bought many pictures, &c., from Henry Vanderborcht of Brussels, and employed Vanderborcht's son, a painter and engraver, to collect for him, and also to draw his curiosities. He arranged his collections in the galleries of Arundel House, London. Ultimately he deposited there 37 statues, 128 busts, 250 inscribed marbles, exclusive of sarcophagi, altars, and fragments, besides pictures, chiefly those of Hans Holbein, gems, &c. Selden described the marbles in his ‘Marmora Arundeliana,’ London, 1628, afterwards incorporated in Prideaux's ‘Marmora Oxoniensia,’ 1676. The countess received part of these treasures, most of which she bequeathed to her son, William, viscount Stafford, and this portion of the property was sold by auction by Stafford's successors in 1720. Arundel's grandson, Henry, sixth duke of Norfolk [q.v.], inherited the chief portion of the collection. He gave many of the statues and inscribed marbles (the famous Arundel marbles) to the university of Oxford in 1667. Other of the statues were sold later to William Fermor, lord Leominster [q. v.], whose daughter-in-law, Henrietta Louisa Fermor, countess of Pomfret [q. v.], presented these also to Oxford in 1755. In 1685, and again in 1691, the sixth Duke of Norfolk's son, Henry, seventh duke [q. v.], directed sales of the paintings and drawings, retaining only a few family pictures. When his wife left him in 1685, she carried with her the cabinets and gems, leaving them in 1705 to her second husband, Sir John Germain [q. v.], whose widow, Lady Betty, bestowed some of them on Sir Charles Spencer and the Duke of Marlborough. The coins and medals were bought by Heneage Finch, second earl of Winchilsea [q. v.], and were sold by his executors in 1696. The famous bust of Homer passed through the hands of Dr. Meade and the Earl of Exeter before it reached the British Museum.
There are several portraits of Arundel. In 1618 Van Somer painted him with his wife, and there is a portrait by Vandyck in the Sutherland Gallery, which has been engraved by Tardieu, W. Sharp, and Tomkins. A half-length painting by Rubens is at Castle Howard, and was engraved by Houbraken. Vandyck designed a family group, which was afterwards finished by Frutiers.
[The most detailed memoir is in Lloyd's Memoirs, ed. 1677, p. 284; cf. also Ashtead and its Howard Possessors; Doyle's Baronage; Sir Edward Walker's Historical Observations, ed. 1705, p. 209; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum, i. 292; Collins's Peerage, ed. 1779, i. 110; Gardiner's Hist. passim; Camden's Annals of King James I, p. 642; Stow's Annals, p. 918; Historical Anecdotes of some of the Howard Family, by C. Howard, 1817, p.75; The Howard Papers, by H. K. Staple Causton; Lives of Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, and Anne Dacres, his Wife, 1837, p. 167; Tierney's Hist. of Arundel; Blomefield's Norfolk, i. 239; Lodge's Illustrations, iii. 331, &c.; Nichols's Progresses of James I, ii. 5, 141; Allen's Lambeth, p. 309; Lords' Journals; State Papers, &c. There are letters from and to the earl in Clarendon's Correspondence, in Sir Thomas Roe's Negotiations, pp. 334, 444, 495, at the College of Arms, and in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 15970. Many references to him are also in Evelyn's Diary; authorities quoted.]