Sir Richard Molyneux
About the regiment
Join us
Rag Bag
Latest Additions
The Cavalier in Exile
First book
First book part 2
First book part 3
Second book
Second book part 2
Second book part 3
Third book
Third book part 2
Third book part 3
Fourth book
Fourth book part 2
Fourth book part 3
Sir Egerton Brydges
Life of Margaret
Life of Margaret 2
Life of Margaret 3
Richard Symonds Diary
Shop on-line

                                          A True Relation of my Birth,

                                                Breeding, and Life

                                   By Margaret, Duchess of Newcaftle

MY father was a Gentleman, which Title is grounded and given by Merit, not by princes; and ‘tis the act of Time, not Favour: and though my Father was not a Peer of the Realm, yet there were few Peers who had much greater Estates, or lived more noble therewith: yet at that time great Titles were to be sold, and not at so high rates, but that his Estate might have easily purchased, and was prest for to take ; but my Father did not esteem Titles, unless they were gained by Heroick Actions; and the Kingdome being in a happy Peace with all other Nations, and in itself being governed by a wise King, King James, there was no Employments for heroick Spirits; and towards the latter end of Queen Elizabeths reign, as soon as he came to Mans estate, he unfortunately fortunately killed one Mr Brooks in a single Duel; for my father by the Laws of Honour could do no less then call him to the field, to question him for an injury he did him, where their Swords were to dispute, and one or both of their lives to decide the argument, wherein my Father had the better; and though my Father by Honour challengd him, with Valour fought him, and in Justice killed him, yet he suffered


more then any Person of Quality usually doth in cases of Honour; for though the Laws be rigorous, yet the present Princes most commonly are gratious in those misfortunes, especially to the injured: but my Father found it not, for his exile was from the time of his misfortunes to Queen Elizabeths death; for the Lord Cobham being then a great man with Queen Elizabeth, and this Gentleman, Mr. Brooks, a kind of a Favourite, and as I take it Brother to the then Lord Cobham, which made Queen Elizabeth so severe, not to pardon him: but King James of blessed memory graciously gave him his Pardon, and leave to return home to his Native Country, wherein he lived happily, and died peaceably, leaving a Wife and eight Children, three Sons, and five Daughters, I being the youngest Child he had, and an Infant when he died.

As for my breeding, it was according to my Birth, and the Nature of my Sex; for my Birth was not lost in my Breeding, for as my Sisters was or had been bred, so was I in Plenty, or rather with superfluity; Likewise we were bred Virtuously, Modestly, Civilly, Honourably, and on honest principles: as for plenty, we had not only, for Necessity, Conveniency, and Decency, but for delight and pleasure to a superfluity ; ‘tis true we did not riot, but we lived orderly ; for riot, even in Kings’ Courts and Princes’ Palaces, brings ruin without content or pleasure, when order in less fortunes shall live more plentifully and deliciously then Princes, that lives in a hurlieburlie, as I may terme it, in which they are seldom well served, for


disorder obstructs ; besides, it doth disgust life, distract the appetites, and yield no true relish to the sences ; for Pleasure, Delight, Peace and Felicitie, live in method and temperance.

As for our garments, my Mother did not only delight to see us neat and cleanly, fine and gay, rich and costly; maintaining us to the height of her estate, but not beyond it; for we were so far from being in debt, before these warrs, as we were rather beforehand with the world; buying all with ready money, not on the score; for although after my fathers death the Estate was divided between my Mother and her Sonns, paying such a sum of money for Portions to her Daughters,either at the dayof their marriage, or when they should come to age; yet by reason she and her children agreed with a mutual consent, all their affairs were managed so well, as she lived not in a much lower condition than when my father lived; ‘tis true, my mother might have increast her daughters Portions by a thrifty sparing, yet she chose to bestow it on our breeding, honest pleasures, and harmless delights, out of an opinion, that if she bred us with needy necessitie, it might chance to create in us sharking quallities, mean thoughts, and base actions, which she knew my Father, as well as herself did abhor: likewise we were bred tenderly, for my Mother Naturally did strive, to please and delight her children, not to cross or torment them, terrifying them with threats, or lashing them with slavish whips, but instead of threats, reason


was used to persuade us, and instead of lashes, the deformities of vice was discovered, and the graces and virtues were presented unto us, also we were bred with respectful attendance, every one being severally waited upon, and all her servants in generall used the same respect to her children, (even those that were very young) as they did to her self; for she sufferd not her servants, either to be rude before us, or to domineer over us, which all vulgar servants are apt, and ofttimes which some have leave to do; like wise she never suffered the vulgar Servingmen to be in the Nursery among the NurseMaids, lest their rude love-making might do unseemly actions, or speak unhandsome words in the presence of her children, knowing that youth is apt to take infection by ill examples, having not the reason of distinguishing good from bad, neither were we sufferd to have any familiaritie with the vulgar servants, or conversation yet caused us to demean our selves with an humble civility towards them, as they with a dutifull respect to us, not because they were servants were we so reserved; for many Noble Persons are forced to serve through necessitie ; but by reason the vulgar sort of servants, are as ill bred as meanly born, giving children ill examples, and worse counsel.

As for tutors, although we had for all sorts of vertues, as singing, dancing, playing on musick, reading, writing, working, and the like, yet we were not kept strictly thereto, they were rather for formality then benefit, for my Mother cared not so much for our


dancing and fidling, singing and prating of several languages, as that we should be bred virtuously, modestly, civilly, honourably, and on honest principles.

As for my Brothers, of which I had three, I know not how they were bred, first, they were bred when I was not capable to observe, or before I was born; likewise the breeding of men were after different manner of ways from those of women : but this I know, that they loved Virtue, endeavoured Merit, practic’d Justice, and spoke Truth; they were constantly loyal, and truly Valiant; two of my three Brothers were excellent Soldiers, and Martial Discipliners, being practised therein, for though they might have lived upon their own Estates very honourably, yet they rather chose to serve in the Wars under the States of Holland, than to live idly at home in Peace: my Brother, Sir Thomas Lucas, there having a Troop of Horse; my Brother, the youngest Sir Charls Lucas serving therein: but he served the States not long, for after he had been at the siege and taking of some Towns, he returned home again; and though he had the less experience, yet he was like to have proved the better Soldier, if better could have been, for naturally he had a practick Genius to the warlike arts, or Arts in War, as Natural Poets have to Poetry: but his life was cut off before he could arrive to the true perfection thereof; yet he writ “A Treatise of the Arts in War,” but by reason it was in characters, and the key thereof lost, we cannot as yet understand any thing therein,


at least not so as to divulge it. My other Brother, the Lord Lucas, who was Heir to my Fathers estate, and as it were the Father to take care of us all, is not less Valiant then they were, although his skill in the Discipline of War was not so much, being not bred therein, yet he had more skill in the use of the Sword, and is more learned in other Arts and Sciences then they were, he being a great Scholar, by reason he is given much to studious contemplation.

Their practice was, when they met together, to exercise themselves with fencing, wrestling, shooting, and such like exercises, for I observed they did seldome hawk or hunt, and very seldom or never dance, or play on musick, saying it was too effeminate for Masculine Spirits; neither had they skill, or did use to play, for ought I could hear, at Cards or Dice, or the like Games, nor given to any vice, as I did know, unless to love a mistress were a crime, not that I know any they had, but what report did say, and usually reports are false, at least exceed the truth.

As for the pastimes of my Sisters when they were in the country, it was to reade, work, walk, and discourse with each other; for though two of my three brothers were married, my Brother the Lord Lucas toa virtuous and beautiful Lady, daughter to Sir Christopher Nevil, son to the Lord Abergavenny, and my brother Sir Thomas Lucas to a virtuous lady of an ancient family, one Sir John Byron’s Daughter; likewise, three of my four sisters, one married Sir Peter Kille-


grew, the other Sir William Walter, the third Sir Edmund Pye, the fourth as yet unmarried, yet most of them lived with my mother, especially when she was at her country-house, living most commonly at London half the year, which is the Metropolitan city of England: but when they were at London, they were dispersed into several houses of their own, yet for the most part they met every day, feasting each other like Job’s Children. But this unnatural War came like a whirlwind, which fell’d down their Houses, where some in the Wars were crusht to death, as my youngest brother Sir Char Lucas, and my Brother Sir Thomas Lucas; and though my Brother Sir Thomas Lucas died not immediately of his wounds, yet a wound he received on his head in Ireland short’ned his life.

But to rehearse their Recreations. Their customs were in Winter time to go sometimes to Plays, or to ride in their Coaches about the Streets to see the concourse and recourse of People; and in the Spring time to visit the Spring-garden, Hide-park, and the like places; and sometimes they would have Musick, and sup in Barges upon the Water ; these harmless recreations they would pass their time away with; for I observed, they did seldom make Visits, nor never went abroad with Strangers in their Company, but onely themselves in a Flock together agreeing so well, that there seemed but one Minde amongst them: And not onely my own Brothers and Sisters agreed so, but my Brothers and Sisters in law, and


their Children, although but young, had the like agreeable natures, and affectionable dispositions ; for to my best remembrance I do not know that ever they did fall out, or had any angry or unkind disputes. Like wise, I did observe, that my Sisters were so far from mingling themselves with any other Company, that they had no familiar conversation or intimate aquaintance with the Families to which each other were linkt to by Marriage, the Family of the one being as great Strangers to the rest of my brothers and Sisters, as the Family of the other.

But sometime after this War began, I knew not how they lived; for though most of them were in Oxford, wherein the King was, yet after the Queen went from Oxford, and so out of England, I was parted from them; for when the Queen was in Oxford, I had a great desire to be one of her Maids of honour, hearing the Queen had not the same number she was used to have, where upon I wooed and won my Mother to let me go; for my Mother, being fond of all her Children, was desirous to please them, which made her consent to my request. But my Brothers and Sisters seem’d not very well pleas’d, by reason I had never been from home, nor seldome out of their sight; for though they knew I would not behave my self to their, or my own dishonour, yet they thought I might to my disadvantage, being unexperienced in the World, which indeed I did, for I was so bashfull when I was out of my Mother’s, Brothers, and Sisters sight, whose presence used to give me confidence,


thinking I could not do amiss whilst any one of them were by, for I knew they would gently reform me if I did ; besides, I was ambitious they should approve of my actions and behaviour, that when I was gone from them, I was like one that had no Foundation to stand, or Guide to direct me, which made me afraid, lest I should wander with Ignorance out of the waies of Honour, so that I knew not how to behave myself. Besides, I had heard that the World was apt to lay aspersions even on the innocent, for which I durst neither look up with my eyes, nor speak, nor be any way sociable, insomuch as I was thought a Natural Fool; indeed I had not much Wit, yet I was not an Idiot, my wit was according to my years; and though I might have learnt more Wit, and advanced my Understanding by living in a Court, yet being dull, fearfull, and bashfull, I neither heeded what was said or practic’d, but just what belong’d to my loyal duty, and my own honest reputation; and, indeed, I was so afraid to dishonour my Friends and Family by my indiscreet actions, that I rather chose to be accounted a Fool, then to be thought rude or wanton; in truth, my bashfulness and fears made me repent my going from home to see the World abroad, and much I did desire to return to my Mother again, or to my sister Pye, with whom I often lived when she was in London, and loved with a supernatural affection: but my Mother advised me there to stay, although I put her to more charges than if she had kept me at home, and the more, by reason she and