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Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland


This engraving by an unknown artist captures a sober, ambivalent and almost worried air in its subject. As a young man, Falkland (1610-43) was renowned for his scholarship, and for the circle of religiously tolerant intellectual and literary friends he gathered together before the war at his family seat of Great Tew, in Oxfordshire. In 1640 he was elected Member of Parliament for Newport, and attempted to steer a moderate course among the religious and political factions, but as war loomed, he sided with King Charles, who appointed him principal Secretary of State in 1642. He fought at Edgehill and Gloucester, yet was increasingly filled with despair. His friend Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon described how “[s]itting amongst his friends, often, after a deep silence and frequent sighs [he] would with a shrill and sad accent ingeminate the word ‘Peace, Peace’, and would passionately profess that the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamities and desolation the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him and would shortly break his heart.” At the first battle of Newbury, he charged his horse recklessly through a gap in a hedge and was killed at once. He left his widow, Lettice, and two sons. According to Clarendon he was “in no degree attractive or promising. His stature was low and smaller than most men; his motion not graceful ... but that little person and small stature was quickly found to contain a great heart ... all mankind could not but admire and love him.”





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