Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walsingham, Edward

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WALSINGHAM, EDWARD (d. 1663), royalist author and intriguer, was, according to Lord Clarendon, ‘related to the Earl of Bristol’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1658–9, p. 387). He was probably a member of the Warwickshire family of Walsingham; with that county the Digbys were closely connected (Fielding, Memories of Malling, 1893, pp. 234–6). In the preface to the ‘Arcana Aulica’ Walsingham is described in 1652 as one who, ‘though very young, in a little time grew up, under the wings and favour of the Lord Digby [see Digby, George, second Earl of Bristol], to such credit with the late king that he came to be admitted to his greatest trusts, and was prevented only by the fall of the court itself from climbing there into an eminenter height.’ He became secretary to Lord Digby soon after the outbreak of the civil war, possibly in September 1643, when Digby himself was appointed one of the principal secretaries of state in Falkland's place. On 31 Oct. Digby was made high steward of Oxford University, and through his influence Walsingham was created M.A. (Wood, Fasti, ii. 60).

While the court was at Oxford, Walsingham lodged in Magdalen College, and, in addition to his secretarial duties, busied himself with literary pursuits. In 1644 he published ‘Britannicæ Virtutis Imago, or the Effigies of True Fortitude expressed … in the … actions of … Major-generall Smith,’ Oxford, 4to [see Smith, Sir John, (1616–1644)]. This was followed in 1645 by ‘Alter Britanniæ Heros, or the Life of … Sir Henry Gage [q. v.]’, Oxford, 4to. Walsingham conducted much of the correspondence in Digby's various intrigues, and during the latter's absence from Oxford was in constant communication with him (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644–5, passim). More than once important letters from Walsingham were intercepted by parliament and published (cf. Three Letters intercepted in Cornwall, 1646, 4to, p. 8; The Lord George Digby's Cabinet Opened, 1646, 4to, pp. 65–7).

He was at Oxford as late as 1645, but probably before its surrender in June 1646 he escaped to Henrietta Maria's court in France. There, perhaps under the persuasions of Sir Kenelm Digby [q. v.], he became an ardent Roman catholic, and henceforth his energies were devoted rather to the interests of that faith than to those of the royalist cause. In 1648 Digby was reported to have discarded him (Nicholas Papers, i. 94), and in the same year he was sent to Ireland; his object seems to have been either to induce Ormonde to grant freedom of worship and other Roman catholic claims, or to secure them by negotiating an understanding between the Roman catholics and the independents. His mission was therefore odious to the protestant royalists. Sir Edward Nicholas denounced him as ‘a great babbler of his most secret employments,’ and Byron described him as ‘a pragmatical knave’ (Carte, Original Letters, i. 206, 217). He ‘went to General Preston as he was forming his army at Monsterevin before he came to the Curragh of Kildare, where he was cherished and received as an angel of peace (so he writ in his letters), and dismissed with assurance given that when the army came to Trim the matter should be concluded. This gentleman failed him not at the appointment, but, coming to Trim, he found a reception far different from that he had at Monsterevin, and he read in their countenance and their ambiguous expression the change of their resolution; so as upon his return to Dublin an end was put to their negotiation’ (Gilbert, Irish Confederation, vii. 30). According to Carte ‘he might probably have done much mischief if the peace [between Ormonde and the Roman catholics] had not been concluded before his arrival’ (Life of Ormonde, iii. 424).

Walsingham now returned to Paris, where, Clarendon says, ‘he was very well known to all men who at that time knew the Palais Royal’ (Rebellion, bk. xiv. § 65). In April 1651 a correspondent wrote to Nicholas: ‘Lord Jermyn is so confident he shall not only be secretary, but first minister of state, that he has already bespoke your beloved friend Walsingham to be one of three secretaries’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651, p. 127). A month earlier Nicholas wrote: ‘I cannot wonder enough why my lord of Ormonde hath put his papers into Walsingham's hands to draw up and print, for doubtless, when it shall be known that they come through his hands, all honest men will value them the less’ (Nicholas Papers, i. 225). Nothing seems to have come of this proposal, and the rumour may have been false; but about the same time Walsingham sent as a present to Ormonde his ‘Arcana Aulica, or Walsingham's Manual of Prudential Maxims for the Statesman and the Courtier.’

This work has been generally attributed to Sir Francis Walsingham [q. v.], and many other fanciful conjectures have been made as to its authorship. Its original was an anonymous French work, ‘Traité de la Cour, ou Instruction des Courtisans,’ by Eustache du Refuge, a diplomatist and author in the reign of Henri IV. The first edition was published in Holland, the second at Paris, but the earliest known to be extant is the third, which appears in two parts at Paris (1619, 8vo; other editions 1622, 1631, and Leyden, 1649). It was reprinted as ‘Le Nouveau Traité de la Cour’ in 1664 and 1672, and as ‘Le Conseiller d'Estat’ in 1665. An English translation by John Reynolds, with a dedication to Prince Charles, was published in London in 1622 [see under Reynolds, John, (1584–1614)]. A Latin translation of the second part only, by Joachimus Pastorius, who was ignorant of its authorship, was published as ‘Aulicus Inculpatus’ at Amsterdam (Elzevir) in 1644; and this version was reissued by Elzevir in 1649. Walsingham's translation was made from a French manuscript copy, but he also was ignorant of Du Refuge's authorship and of Reynolds's translation, and his version comprises only the second part of the ‘Traité.’ Several additions are made, e.g. the allusions (p. 37) to Richelieu. In the printer's address it is said to have been ‘captured in an Irish pirate’ on its way to Ormonde. It was printed at London by James Young in 1652, 4to; a second edition appeared in 1655, and was reprinted in 1810, 12mo. In 1694 it was issued with Sir Robert Naunton's ‘Fragmenta Regalia;’ in 1722 an edition was published substituting ‘Instructions for Youth’ for the first part of the title, and giving different renderings of various passages from classical authors (reprinted 1728).

Meanwhile, in 1652, Walsingham was involved in a Roman catholic intrigue to remove Hyde from Charles II's service, but for some reason he revealed the scheme, which came to nothing (Clarendon, Rebellion, bk. xiv. § 65). On 13 Nov. 1654 Hatton described Walsingham as the Duke of Gloucester's ‘new servant (or rather compagnon) placed about him by Walter Montagu [q. v.]’; he was a ‘busy instrument of the jesuits,’ and their object was to convert Gloucester to Roman catholicism. The scheme failed, and Walsingham was forbidden to approach the duke [see Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (1639–1660)]. The last reference to Walsingham that has been traced is in 1659, when he was at Brussels (Cat. State Papers, Dom. 1658-9, p. 387). His name does not occur in the domestic state papers after the Restoration, and possibly, like his friend Walter Montagu, he entered some Roman catholic order and died abroad.

[Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Nicholas Papers (Camd. Soc.), vols. i. and ii. pass.; Carte's MSS. in Bodleian Libr.; Original Letters, 1739, 2 vols., and Life of Ormonde; Tanner MS. lx. 376, and Rawlinson MSS. passim, in Bodleian; Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 309, ii, 135, 427, 436; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, iii. 193; Life of Sir Kenelm Digby, 1896, pp. 270–2; Walsingham's Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; notes kindly supplied by Mr. G. W. Miller of Chislehurst; and authorities cited. In the Brit. Mus. Cat. the ‘Arcana Aulica’ is ascribed to Sir Francis.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.274
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
230 i 24-25 Walsingham, Edward: for (fl. 1643-1659) read (d. 1663).
231 ii 10-18 for The last reference to Walsingham . . . . died abroad. read Walsingham was already acting as secretary to Walter Montagu, then abbot of St. Martin's, near Pontoise, and filled that post until his death. He interested himself in the settlement at Pontoise of the English Benedictine Dames in July 1659, and next year being ordained priest and named curé of Aronville, near Pontoise, became spiritual director of the nunnery, for which he wrote a manuscript manual of prayer called 'The Evangelique Pearle' (now preserved at the convent at Newhall, Essex). Accompanying his chief, Abbot Walter Montagu, to England in the autumn of 1663, he died there suddenly on 9 Oct. of that year (cf. Foley's Records of Society of Jesus, vol. ii. ser. iii. pt. ii. 383).