Essex: Will your Lordship gives us our turns to speak, for he playeth the orator, and abuseth your Lordships’ ears and us with slanders, but they are but fashions of Orators in corrupt states, considering some privileges which we might challenge. Equal answers and equal hearing were indifferent, for unless it will please your lordship that we answer to every particular, we shall soon confound our own memories, and give liberty and advantage to our enemies whereupon to lay hold for lack of precise answer to each particular objection. And seeing now, my Lord, that you have undertaken the place of a judge, I beseech you, as you prove against, we for ourselves may answer what may fall out to be fit.
Here the Earl of Essex was interrupted, and not allowed to speak, until Henry Witherington’s Examination was read, which imported this much:
[The Witherington examination, like the other depositions, is a summary.--mps.]
Witherington’s [Widdington’s?] Examination.
Essex: I will not (I protest to God) speak to save my life, for those that prosecute it against me shall do me a good turn to rid me of my misery, and themselves of fear. As for Mr. Witherington, he does much disparage himself if he saith so, for I protest to God upon my salvation, I never heard such words as Kill him, Kill him, and Mr. Witherington came voluntarily to my house, unsent for, and in the fore-noon did come into our company, and took to heart as much as we did whatever we went about. And these are but reports, for that he that is the witness is now sent into the country about some employment.
But if it had been a secret, Mr. Witherington being privy thereto, might have been a good Witness, but being so openly spoken, as you say, a hundred more might have testified it, yet none spake it besides [him].
And as for locking up the Council, I protest to god it was done in charity, and without disloyalty, but intending only to save them, lest they should take hurt, considering the people abroad in the streets with a great and sudden outcry said We shall be slain! At which time we thought our enemies had been come to beset the house, for my intent was no otherwise than loyal to her Majesty and them.
1 May 1999 pkm