Then the Clerk of the Crown demanded of Henry Earl of Southampton what he could say for himself why judgment of death should not be pronounced against him.
Southampton: My lords, I must say for my part as I have said before, that since the ignorance of the law hath made me incur the danger of the law, I humble submit myself to her Majesty’s mercy. And therefore my Lord High Steward, and my Lord Admiral, I beseech you both that, seeing you are witnesses I am condemned by the letter of the law, it would please you to let the Queen know that I crave her mercy. I know I have offended her, yet if it please her to be merciful unto me, I may live and by my service deserve my life.
I have been brought up under her Majesty. I have spent the better part of my patrimony in her Majesty’s service with danger of my life, as your lordships know. If there were any that could challenge me, that I have ever heretofore committed or intended treason, or any other thing prejudicial to her Majesty or the State, God let me never inherit his kingdom. Neither would I desire mercy. Since the law hath cast me down, I do submit myself to death. And yet I will not despair of her Majesty’s mercy, for that I know she is merciful, and if she please to extend it, I shall with all humility receive it.
Lord Steward: My Lord of Essex, the Queen’s Majesty hath bestowed many favors on your predecessors and yourself. I would wish therefore that you likewise submit yourself to her Majesty’s mercy, acknowledging your offenses, and reconciling yourself inwardly to her Majesty by laying open all matters that were intended to prejudice her Majesty, and the actors thereof. And thereby no doubt you will find her Majesty merciful.
Essex: My Lord, you have made an honourable motion. Do but send to me at the time of my death and you shall see how penitent and humble I will be towards her Majesty, both in acknowledging her exceeding favours to my ancestors and to myself; whereby I doubt not but the penitent suffering of my death and sprinkling of my blood, which will quench the evil-conceited thoughts of her Majesty against me. And I do most humbly desire her Majesty that my death may put a period to my offences committed, and be no more remembered by her Highness.
If I had ever perceived any of my followers to have harboured an evil thought against her Majesty, I would have been the first that should have punished the same in being his executioner. And therefore I beseech you, my good lord, mistake me not nor think me so proud that I will not crave her Majesty’s mercy, for I protest (kneeling upon the every knee of my heart) I do crave her Majesty’s mercy with all humility. Yet I had rather die than live in misery.
Then the Lord High Steward, after a few exhortations unto the Earls to prepare themselves for God, told them [that] seeing the law had found them guilty, it followed of course that he must proceed to judgment. The Earl of Essex replied very cheerfully, and said Yea my lord, with a very good will. I pray you go on.
Then the Lord High Steward gave the judgment as followeth:
You must go to the place from whence you came and there remain during her Majesty’s pleasure, from thence to be drawn on a hurdle through London streets, and so to the place of execution, where you shall be hanged, bowelled, and quartered. Your head and quarters to be disposed of at her Majesty’s pleasure, and so God have mercy on your souls.
Essex: My Lord, I am not a whit dismayed to receive this sentence, for I protest death is as welcome to me as life, and I shall die as cheerful a death upon such a testimony as ever did man. And I think it fit [that] my poor quarters that have done her Majesty such true service in divers parts of the world should be sacrificed and disposed at her Majesty’s pleasure; whereunto, with all willingness of heart, I have submitted myself. But one thing I beg of you, my Lords, that have free access to her Majesty’s person, humbly to beseech her Majesty to grant me that (during the short time I shall live) that I may have the same preacher to comfort me that hath been with me since my troubles began For as he that hath been long sick is most desirous of the physician which hath been and is best acquainted with the constitution of his body, so do I most wish to have the comfort and spiritual physick from the preacher which hath been and is acquainted with the inward griefs and secret affections of my soul.
And my last request shall be only this: that it will please her Majesty that my Lord Thomas Howard and the Lieutenant of the Tower may be partakers with me in receiving the Sacrament and be a witness of it, in token of what I have protested to be true in this life—for my loyalty, religion, and peace of conscience. And then whensoever it shall please her Majesty to call me, I shall be ready to seal the same with my blood.
The Lords promised they would move the Queen for his requests.
Essex: I humbly thank your Lordships
Then the Sergeant at Arms stood up with the Mace on his shoulder, and after proclamation was made said this:
All peers that were summoned to be here this day may now take their ease, and all other persons attending here this service may depart in her Majesty’s peace, for my Lord High Steward is pleased to dissolve this commission.
As the lords were rising, the Earl of Essex said: My Lord De la Ware and my Lord Morley, I beseech your Lordships pardon me for your two sons that were in trouble for my sake. I protest upon my soul they knew not any thing that was or should have been done, but came to me in the morning, and I desired them to stay, and they knew not wherefore. And so farewell, my Lords.