london king james
LITHGOW, WILLIAM (c. 1583 - c. 1660), a noted Scottish traveller, was born in Lanark, where his father was a burgess, possessed of considerable heritable property. The date generally assigned to his birth is 1583 ; and he was educated at the grammar school of his native town, then celebrated as a seminary of learning. His natural disposition was probably active and restless, as even in his boyhood he tells us that he made voyages to both the Orkneys and the Shetlands, and somewhat later travelled through the Low Count ries, Germany, Bohemia, and Switzerland. The final impelling cause of his leaving Scotland, however, appears to have been some savage outrage committed either upon himself or on one nearly connected with him, arising, it is thought, from some love affair, which gave him an intolerable disgust to home. He left his native country about 1608 or 1609, and proceeded to Paris, where he remained ten months, and then crossed the Alps to Rome and Naples; after which he wandered through Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt, most of his journey having been performed on foot. In the course of his travels he escaped innumerable dangers from robbers, and hardships from exposure to inclement weather. He returned to England by Sicily and Paris. Another tour which he made lay through Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Hungary, Germany, and Poland. On his arrival in London he became an object of interest to King James, who, on the spirit of travel again returning upon him, furnished him with commendatory letters to all kings, princes, dukes, &c., whose territories he might desire to visit. In 1619, accordingly, he went over to France, and thence passed through Portugal and Spain as far as Malaga. There he was apprehended as a spy, and after suffering the most excruciating tortures, first in prison and afterwards in the Inquisition, he was at length released on the interference of the English consul, and allowed to return to England in 1621. The minute description which he gives of the terrible torture to which ho was subjected is almost unequalled for horror, and, when he arrived in London, he had the appearance of a man more dead.tlia.n alive. He was carried on a feather bed to Theobald's in order that King James might be an eyewitness of what he called his "martyred anatomy." The whole court crowded to see him. The king commanded that the greatest care should be taken of him, and he was twice sent to Bath at his Majesty's expense. On recovering his health, he was desired by James to apply to Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, for recovery of the money and other valuables of which he had been plundered by the governor of Malaga, and for a thousand pounds in reparation of his injuries. Gondomar gave fair promises that all his demands should be granted, but nothing was done. Whereupon, having met the ambassador at the royal levee, and reproached him with his perfidy, after high words on both sides, Lithgow furiously assailed him with his fists, in the presence of the king, the imperial ambassador, and the knights and gentlemen of the court. This, of course, was an offence which could not be passed over, and, though his boldness was generally commended, lie had to suffer an imprisonment of nine weeks in the Marshalsea. 11 is latter years are understood to have been spent in his native town, and he is said to have died somewhere about 1660.
A portion of his travels appeared in a small volume in London in 1614, but the complete work was not published till 1632. It has been repeatedly reprinted. It was also translated into Dutch and published at Amsterdam in his lifetime. His other works are - An Account of the Siege of Breda (1637) at which he had been present ; A Survey of London and England's State, 1643 ; Relation. of the Siege of Xeweastle, 1645. His poetical remains, collected by James Ilaidment, were published at Edinburgh in 1863.