Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 10, 1600. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.
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Part X. of the Calendar of Cecil Manuscripts is concerned with letters and papers of the closing year of the sixteenth century. It was, as regards England, a time of comparative quiet. Across the narrow stretches of sea, east and west, in the Low Countries and in Ireland, there was, indeed, fighting to be had by such Englishmen as loved the life of arms, and in Ireland there was some fighting which must be done by them whether they loved it or not. But it was not a year during which the heart of the nation was deeply moved by the excitement of current events as it had been in years that were past, and would again be in years that were to come.
The Earl of Essex.
At home the fortunes of the Earl of Essex were still a subject of prime and general interest. He, it is true, was now fallen from his high estate and entirely changed in demeanour, presenting an aspect of deep humility. Perhaps, then, it was out of the stores of wisdom gathered from solitary reflection upon his own misfortunes, that he drew the salutary advice which, in plain speech, he pressed upon his sister, Dorothy Countess of Northumberland, on the occasion of “her passionate departure from her husband” (p. 56). For her benefit he lays down some canons of wifely duty—despairing, however, of any effect, for he adds—
But I see it is in vain to dispute : I will pray to God that hath the guiding of all hearts, to direct you to like that which shall best please Him, and give you honour and true comfort. And till you have answered the reasons which I have seconded my counsel withal, I shall complain of the power and tyranny of passion which doth thus govern many times excellent hearts against their judgments, their friends, advice and their own good. And so I rest your faithful and most affectionate brother.
He himself, for several months of the year, was a prisoner in the custody of Sir Richard Berkeley, at Essex House, whither he had been removed from York House. Here he was allowed only a limited number of attendants. The picture which these papers now give of him is that of a man broken in health, subject to recurring fits of ague (p. 81), and deeply depressed in mind. In March, his mother was allowed to pay him a visit which, however, was not prolonged beyond two hours (p. 81). Efforts Were also made by his wife and sister to see him, and he himself asked for interviews with friends. A point of etiquette, the raising of which may be thought somewhat strange under the circumstances, occurred to him as in the month of April St. George's Day drew near. He called to mind that notwithstanding his changed fortunes, he was still a Knight of the Garter; he had sworn to observe the statutes of the Order; what was he then to do? Should he wear his robes on the day in his dining chamber, or else privately in his bed-chamber? Or would the Queen dispense with his wearing them altogether on the occasion? He refers the doubt to supreme authority. (This, by the way, is not the only instance in the volume showing how stringent a force the letter of the law had for him and his contemporaries.) But having stated his difficulty, he was doubtless not greatly concerned how it should be settled, since his mind was “much troubled” other wise (p. 128), and his body, for lack of exercise, grown sickly and now “misliking physic as it were by an antipathy,” as though one should say, it required a healthy man to take his medicine (which then was part of the ordinary regimen of a person's life) with a wholesome appetite. Another of his troubles was that
his friends and servants who were bound for his debts are laid for by sergeants to be arrested, so as they dare not go into the city about their own business, and his estate goes much unto decay by reason of his restraint, whereby he can take no order for the payment of his debts.
But most of all did he sorrow for the Queen's displeasure, feverishly anxious for her grace and favour; doubting the while that her displeasure was rather increased than diminished; so judging because he could not hear that his last letter had been read by her. Such was the burden of his conversation with his courtly gaoler, “making moan” to him as together they paced the confined limits of the garden of Essex House under the changeful April skies.
Early in May another source of vexation sprang up. This was the printing of his Apologie “without his liking or privity” (p. 142). The fact becoming known to him, he wrote to the Privy Council to assert both his innocence of the proceeding and his objection to it, and on the same day sent his “man” Cuffe to the Archbishop of Canterbury to inform him of the matter. His Grace immediately set about the discovery of “the press and the printers” (p. 142), succeeding so well that on the following day he was able to say that out of the two hundred and ninety-two copies printed, he had gotten two hundred and ten into his hands and hoped to recover most of the remainder before night fall. Subsequently, in conversation with Sir Richard Berkeley (p. 156), Essex protested that he was
free from all thought or purpose to have the book published either in writing or print, and that he was so far from giving copies of it as he charged his man that kept his papers not to let any of his friends see it but in his hand, or at least in his presence. He cannot guess how it should come abroad but by the corruption of some of his servants that had access to his chamber, who might take and write out his loose papers which lay ever sheet by sheet under his bed's head till he had leisure to finish the whole, and saith he has had the papers of him whom he has cause to suspect brought to him by the like indirect means, but never sent any to the press or to scrivener's shop.
In his adversity, he was not without sympathetic friends who sought to cheer him by considerations drawn out of the very adverse circumstances themselves. These “accidents” might well “the less trouble the virtue of Essex's own mind or grieve the thoughts of his well-wishing followers as it becomes gold to be seven times tried in the fire,” writes an Irish correspondent (p. 152). A little later, when there was a prospect of his restoration to liberty (p. 185), another correspondent concludes that, in view of the favours God had latterly heaped upon him, and the abundance of his qualities and honours, “it would have been impossible to escape the diseases attendant upon such fulness if God, by a timely blood letting, had not prevented.” “Blessed is the man whom Thou chastisest” is the text upon which this correspondent preaches a sermon of personal application, Essex's “deepest troubles” being about to give place, so it was believed, to the return of the Queen's affection, recovery of health and “fastness of men's affections.” All this was, however, not to come about just yet, and such uplifting as did come to him was, contrary to expectation, only to lead in a little while to a more desperate and final overthrow.
With respect to the appearance of Essex before the special tribunal at York House on June 5th of this year, Sir Gelly Merrick gives the Earl of Southampton an account of the proceedings, “had from them who were present” (p. 178)—
My Lord was charged by the Serjeant, the Attorney, the Solicitor and Mr. Bacon who was very idle, and I hope will have the reward of that humour in the end. They did insist to prove my Lord's contempts in five points. The first was the making of your Lordship General of the Horse, being clouded with her Majesty's displeasure. It was bitterly urged by the Attorney and very worthily answered by
my Lord. The next was the making of knights. His Lordship did answer that very nobly. The next was the “Monser” [Munster] journey, many invectives urged by the Attorney, with letters showed from Ormond, Bowcher and Warren Seintlyger. My Lord in the satisfying of that answered, God knew the truth of things, and has rewarded two of them for their perfidiousness. Then his Lordship was interrupted, and wished to continue as he had begun, which was to submit to her Majesty's gracious favour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My Lord of Cumberland dealt very nobly. The rest all had one counsel, which was fitting to clear the Queen's honour, which, God be thanked, I hear she is well satisfied, and yet a part is to-morrow to be handled in the Star Chamber, and a Sunday liberty. Then will we all thank God.
A few days later Sir Henry Davers also tells Southampton “the news that he knows will best please him,” the news, that is, “of the liberty of my Lord of Essex, yet at Walsingham House, and preparing to lie at Grafton; rather advised than commanded to retain few followers, and to let little company come unto him.” On the same day, June the 14th, Sir Thomas Egerton, the Lord Keeper, presiding in the Star Chamber, at the end of the usual exhortation to the judges and justices of the peace—on this occasion lengthy and well reported (p. 182)—“prayed leave to digress.” The digression concerned the personal history of Lord Essex from the time of his going to Ireland at the head of an army, “the like whereof never went out of this realm” (p. 184), until the moment of speaking. This is followed by an account of the proceedings when Essex was brought before the special tribunal, an account, however, as we might expect, not drawn upon quite the same lines as that of Sir Gelly Merrick nor conveying quite the same impression.
Thither the Earl was brought. Her Majesty's counsel at law charged him, not generally but particularly. The Earl hears it, and stands not upon innocency (other than for any evil affection), but submits himself humbly, wisely and dutifully. As the matters were delivered learnedly and gravely by her Majesty's counsel at law, so every point being charged, every point was proved; no matter of action was charged that was not by the Earl confessed. He pleads not innocency, but shows the errors that misled him. He justifies himself in nothing but that he did it with no evil affected heart, saying that the tears of his heart had quenched all the pride of his thoughts, and excusing himself of disloyalty, which was not laid to his charge. And what was the judgment ? Not as this court do use to judge, but applying only to her Majesty's mercy. Then the Lord Keeper touched withal that his Lordship's carriage was so humble and submissive to her Majesty, that it was a great satisfaction to them all. And shewed that he had digressed which the libellers did bring him unto, and with a sharp invective exhortary to see them punished, he concluded.
Essex's “delivery from his keeper,” so confidently and joyously expected by his friends immediately after his appearance before the Council at York House, did not come to pass forthwith, First, it must wait upon the delivery of the Lord Keeper's harangue in the Star Chamber as above; then the judges must repeat the substance of this harangue in the country on their circuits. This done, the very Sunday when “liberty of his house” was to have been given him, the untoward circumstance of the Queen's turning over some old letters in one of her caskets, idly or of design, caused further delay (p. 208). The point made in his own favour by Essex that the Queen had in a case similar to his own, “pardoned the Earl of Leicester's coming over after he had received a strait prohibition under her hand,” was found to be mistaken. A letter turned up giving Leicester the necessary permission, by which discovery of this “wrongful charge,” the Queen was “somewhat moved.” The following Sunday again “the world was entertained with the like expectation,” but still nothing came of it because the Queen would hear of no motion in the matter till something was done towards degrading certain of the knights created by Essex. Thus it happened that Davers was obliged to dispatch his letter to Lord Southampton on the penultimate day of June without any certain information on the subject. This question of the knights, affecting numerous interests, was not easily settled. So, for one reason or another, the month of July also dragged to an end and still Essex was not set at liberty; and yet another month, August; but at last the hour of release actually struck.
Two letters written just at this time are somewhat cryptic in expression, and point to some design hatching on the part of Essex and his followers and friends; the one from Essex to Davers (p. 248) using the terms of a merchant, such as, “wares” and “our great mart to be expected”; the other from Sir Henry Bromley to Cuffe (p. 250), urging the pressing forward of some scheme “of doing good for our lord,” time being precious, opportunity soon lost, himself looking only for “some direction,” avowing himself “wholly his.” “Let us not lose the start that we have gotten, but bethink of some means to be either winners or losers. . . . For my part, I am ready to undergo what he doth, and none that have been most tied to him by benefits are or shall be more tied in affection.” Sir Henry Bromley was not alone in the expression of self-sacrificing attachment. Merrick writing to Cuffe affirms (p. 286), “I should be sorry to live to be in his lordship's disfavour . . . What his lordship's will is, I must obey it, but in heart he shall ever be my master howsoever . . . . I must needs impart this unto you, or else my heart would break. God send my Lord his health and his further liberty, and then, I care not what becometh of me. But this you shall be assured, I will ever be his faithful and honest servant.” When liberty was at length granted, there were welcoming friends, glad to wait upon him and do what they could in aid of his comfort or pleasure (pp. 307, 324). There are also letters showing the efforts made subsequently on his behalf at Court, for .the renewal of his lease of sweet wines and for restoration to the Queen's favour. Lady Scrope reports to him (p. 330),—
After the Queen had read your letter twice or thrice over, she seemed exceedingly pleased with it, yet her answer was only to will me to give you thanks for your great care to know of her health. I told her that now the time drew near of your whole year's punishment, and therefore I hoped her Majesty would restore her favour to one that with so much true sorrow did desire it; but she would answer me never a word, but sighed and said indeed it was so : with that “ris” and went into the privy chamber.
Essex's own letter to the Queen “for commiseration,” on the occasion of her Accession day, November the 17th, has already been printed in Birch's Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth. Printed also has been Ralegh's letter to Sir Robert Cecil solemnly warning him against mild courses with regard to “this tyrant.” A letter from the Vidame de Chartres (p. 440), sent apparently by the hand of an English gentleman bred in France, returning to England with more knowledge of French than of English, cheerily bids him encourage himself with the confident expectation that (p. 440) “the assaults which fortune is making upon you are but exercises for your bel esprit, and your virtue will dissipate the designs of your enemies. Your past services and those you can yet render will always cause you to be honoured by the Queen”; and in this opinion there were at the time many who concurred.
Sir Robert Cecil.
The position and authority of Essex's rival—Sir Robert Cecil—were now thoroughly established and, for the Queen's life time at any rate, practically unassailable. At the same moment when the so called “favourite”—with whom Cecil himself, in one of his letters (p. 87), acknowledged that he stood upon “hard terms”—was, with restricted liberty, under a burden of misfortune, fretting his heart out, Cecil had leisure, as it were, even amid the cares of ministerial life, to stock his parks with deer, to think about setting up “a race of horses” (p. 148) or buying land and houses, and to engage in maritime enterprises. There were several friends who interested themselves in providing him with deer for his park. The Earl of Lincoln, Lord Sheffield, and Mr. Robert Manners were among the number, while a corporate body, the Mayor and Aldermen of Hull, stood “ready in all duty” (p. 125) to furnish a vessel, suitably provisioned, for their safe carriage. Presents of a lesser kind he continued to receive—among these, one from Dr. Bancroft, Bishop of London, just returned from his mission to Emden, who had brought back with him a vat of six score gallons of Rhenish wine, and pressed it upon Cecil's acceptance. Facetiously, yet almost immediately correcting himself into more serious tone, the bishop adds (p. 245) :—
You should not have had it but that I did so surfeit at Embden in quaffing to such and so many healths, not forgetting yours, (but remembering you better, I trust, in my prayers), that now I can be well content to part with it, and to make it as you have made me, that is, your own for ever.
On the occasion of a gift, “greater,” Cecil affirms, “than ever I was beholding for to any subject'”—the gift, namely, of a coach and four horses, he enunciates views on the subject of presents which may be quoted (p. 347)—
First, I must say that gifts of value ought not to pass between those whose minds contemn all the knots that utility can fasten. Toys, which argue only memory in absence, may be interchanged, as long as they are no other. Secondly, there is at this time something in question which concerns you in profit, wherein the care I have shown to further your desire will now be imputed to this expectation, and so give a taint to that profession which I have made only to delight in your favour, in respect of the honour I carry to your person and the knowledge I have of your sincerity and ability to do her Majesty service. Thirdly, it grieves me to think that divers of my adversaries, who are apt to decry all values that are set upon my coin, may think that you, who should know me better than they do, find me either facile or not clear from servile ends; the conceit whereof so much troubles me as it has almost made me venture a desperate refusal, but that I feared to have made you doubtful that I had judged you by others' scantling. Next, I pray you think whether the eyes of the world can wink at these shows, and whether if the Queen shall hear it, she will not be apt to suspect me that I am the earnester in your cause for it. But what should I now call back yesterday? For I have accepted your fair present rather than discontent you, and have only reserved an assurance that this was given me out of the vastness of your kindness, not out of any other mistaking my disposition. For requital whereof, I can only return this present, that, though I have neither gold nor silver, yet I have love and honesty.
But here, one may insinuate a doubt as to Sir Robert Cecil's poverty. And in this connexion, it may be mentioned that some three or four months previously, a sum of l,000l. had passed into his hands, paid by the Earl of Lincoln in satisfaction of a bond due at Lady Day (p. 122), a payment made in gold pieces, the weight of which caused the break-down of the noble debtor's coach as he was conveying it to London (p. 117).
It should not be forgotten that at this time, in addition to his Secretaryship, Sir Robert Cecil filled the office of Master of the Court of Wards. Consequently, many of the papers in this volume are concerned with the business of that office, and there are numerous applications for the grant of wardships.
Sir R. Cecil's kinsfolk; Dowager Lady Russell.
Of those who claimed kinship with Sir Robert Cecil, there are several whose communications will be found in the following pages. The lady, his “most loving Aunt,” who occasionally has other epithets for herself—as, for instance, “Elizabeth Russell, desolate Dowager”—does not make so frequent an appearance as in some former volumes, but sufficiently nevertheless to display her business capacity, sturdy earnestness of purpose and quaint humour. She acknowledges a friendly letter from her nephew, “received here in Church when meaning to go to God's table, which made that I could not then stay your man for answer.” This letter, certainly received, perhaps read there and then, was indeed scarcely suited for consideration in such a place at such a moment, for the subject of it was a long promised lease not yet obtained from the Queen (p. 51), which she begs her nephew to move her Majesty now at length to grant for her daughter Bess Russell's good—
It cost me truly, twelve years since, a gown and petticoat of such tissue as should have been for the Queen of Scots' wedding garment; but I got them for my Queen, full dearly bought, I well wot. Beside, I gave her Majesty a canopy of tissue with curtains of crimson, taffety, belited gold. I gave also two hats with two jewels, though I say it, fine hats, the one white beaver, the jewel of the one above a hundred pounds price, beside the pendent pearl which cost me then 30l. more. And then it pleased her Majesty to acknowledge the jewel to be so fair as that she commanded it should delivered to me again, but it was not; and after, by my Lady Cobham, your mother-in-law, when she presented my new year's gift of 30l. in fair gold, I received answer that her Majesty would grant my lease of Dunnington. Sir, I will be sworn that in the space of 18 weeks, gifts to her Majesty cost me above 500l. in hope to have Dunnington lease; which if now you will get performed for Bess's almost six years' service, she I am sure will be most ready to acquit any service to yourself.
Not long after, Lady Russell is concerned with the arrangements preparatory to her daughter Anne's marriage, and Cecil is urged (p. 121) “to deal most earnestly with her Majesty” to grant the mother leave to fetch away the daughter (who was one of the Queen's ladies in waiting) “for altogether” on the Monday after St. George's Day, “that she may take some physic for her eyes, which in truth be very ill, before the time of marriage;” and also to allow “the bonds of matrimony” to be asked in her Majesty's chapel, “that all things may proceed lawfully and orderly before I set my hand to any assurance.” Then are set forth the arrangements for the supper on the day when the mother was purposed “God willing, to fetch home my bride.”
I entreat none but such as be of the bride's and bridegroom's blood and alliance to supper that night. The Earl of Worcester with his Countess, the Earl of Cumberland with his Lady, the Lady of Warwick, the Earl of Bedford with his Lady will sup here. If it please you to do the like., and as my husband to command as the master of my house for that supper, and to bring my Lord Thomas and my Lord Cobham with you, being of our blood, and your servants [and] my Lord Thomas's men and my Lord Cobham's to be commanded to wait and bring up meat that supper, I will trouble you no longer than for a supper time that night till the same day sevennight, being the 16th of June, which, God willing, shall be the marriage day. If the poor widow can provide meat for a widow's marriage dinner, no feast comparable to the Earl of Shrewsbury's, or fit for a Prince, for then I would look that they should be beholding to me to be bidden; but now they shall take pains which come, and deserve my thanks. For 6 messes of meat for the bride's table, and one in my withdrawing chamber for Mr. Secretary and myself, is all my proportion for that day's dinner. I and my Lord Barkley's wife, with other knights' ladies and gentlewomen, accompanied with the Earl of Cumberland, Sir Henry Lee, Sir Anthony Cope, and others, do mean to go on Monday morning to fetch away my virgins. You thought that I should never have bidden you to my marriage. But now you see it pleases God otherwise. Where I pray you dispose yourself to be very merry and to command as master of the house. For your welcome shall be in the superlative degree. “Your most loving Aunt.”
A somewhat pathetic letter ends the short series from Lady Russell, one in which she expresses a wish to visit her nephew privately, because her heart will not yet serve her to come to Court, “to fill every place I there shall come in with tears by remembrance of her that is gone.” The object of her visit is “only to see how you do. . . . I have no suit in the world to trouble you with.” Her humorous view of things peeps out in her postscript.
I am such a beggar in debt since the marriage of my daughter your cousin as that I am not able to keep coach horses in town nor to hire any, and therefore mean to come by water. You must not blase my beggary, for then you will mar my marriage for ever.
Marchioness of Winchester.
Descending from a generation above to a generation below, we have Sir Robert Cecil's niece, Lucy, Marchioness of Winchester, daughter of his elder brother, Lord Burghley, asking him to stand godfather to her baby boy, born in the month of February in this year. The few letters from her are all written in terms of affection. Later in the year her uncle came to the aid of her husband and herself, when the husband's mother, the dowager Marchioness, was suspected of an intention, in the course of the settlement of her estate, to give away a portion of her lands from her son (p. 309). The very plain though discreetly worded caution on the occasion originated ostensibly from the Queen herself, but clearly her Secretary was a very willing instrument in conveying it. He writes (p. 308) :—
Wherein her Majesty willed me to use these words, that seeing nature and birth have given him a title and honour, it would exceedingly blemish her own time of government to suffer a house to be overthrown. By that word her Majesty says you can guess her meaning. Whereunto she also adds that she expects that none of your men be acquainted with this letter, because servants and underlings always make their harvest when great persons fall to making of conveyances. Therefore her Majesty in this case only desires to be secure that you will no way be carried to do anything disgraceful or injurious, either to yourself or those that shall succeed you, for whom her Majesty says there be very many reasons why she should take extraordinary care, not only in regard of her own honour, to whom it is a dishonour to have great subjects left bare, but in regard to the gracious favour she bears to that house whereof the mother of those young plants that are your heirs is descended : in memory whereof she is pleased to send you this token from herself, with this addition, that howsoever things are current here, that you have some purpose to give away some great portions of your lands from your son and his, that she has too good an opinion of you to believe it, neither will, till she shall hear it from yourself.
Edward Cecil, afterwards Viscount Wimbledon.
Other members of the second Lord Burghley's family, the eldest son William and his wife Elizabeth, and the third son Edward, are also correspondents of their uncle. The last-named, who became in after times Viscount Wimbledon, writes from the Low Countries, where this year he began “to follow the wars, having had always heretofore a disposition thereunto” (p. 31); and the “profession” requiring that he should “vow” himself to someone who would “protect him,” he selects his “singular good uncle” as the object of his devotion. Succeeding letters describe his fortunes and the incidents of the campaign, including the battle of Nieuport. His correspondence has been printed in Dalton's Life and Times of Sir Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon.
William Cecil, afterwards 2nd Earl of Exeter father.
The eldest brother William, who later succeeded his as the 2nd Earl of Exeter, was also abroad this year, travelling in Italy. There he had the misfortune to excite suspicion in the Queen's mind that he was coquetting with Rome. His wife is the first to deprecate its truth, and writes to enlist the uncle's help in allaying it (p. 21)—
I had thought his very name in his travel would have proved his greatest foe, which I see is now subject to vipers at home, but when I considered what dangerous effects such reports may breed in the thought of a Prince, though of mere malice suggested, I do once again humbly beseech your furtherance to put it out of her Majesty's head, that he hath or will have any intention of going to Rome.
Her husband's letter from Venice (p. 25) enclosing the “ceremony” of the Jubilee at Rome, also refers indignantly to the “leprous tongues” which in his absence had slandered him with coming hither for remission of sins and to become a “Catholic.”
Paul de la Haye.
A remote connexion, Paul de la Haye, married to a daughter of the William Cecil of Allt-yr-ynys, in Herefordshire, who had made Sir Robert his heir, informs Cecil of a disturbance on an occasion when in time of Divine service, de la Haye “was assaulted and violently pulled out of the seat in church belonging unto this house, and where men living did see Richard Cecil your tresayle use, and so by intendment his ancestors.”
Catholics and Recusants.
There is evidence of considerable effort made during this year to oppose the propaganda of Papal doctrine, and to bring over those professing that faith to the established religion of the country. The adherents of Catholicism were most numerous in the North of England. In Yorkshire, the “stricter courses” (p. 185) adopted by Lord Burghley, the Lord President of the Council of the North (p. 154), had the effect of driving them into Lancashire, where they were said to swarm, and where, since Cecil's removal from the government of the Duchy, they had become, so it was averred, far more bold and desperate. On the other hand, no one was more zealous in his efforts to counteract the labours of “those popish pioneers which, with their faculties from Rome, labour so mainly to undermine the State both of policy and religion” (p. 154), than the prelate who had ecclesiastical jurisdiction there, Dr. Richard Vaughan, Bishop of Chester, afterwards Bishop of London.
Dr. Vaughan, Bishop of Chester.
One of the methods employed to bring about conformity to the established religion was to plant “Queen's preachers” where they were thought to be most required, and in pursuance of this policy, Dr. Vaughan reported (p. 41) that he had carefully seated these preachers throughout the county of Lancaster, placing one in every part where “recusants” most abounded, taking, as the guide to his dispositions, the presentments to himself and the judges of assize in recent years. When a “seminary” was caught, the argumentative powers of one of these preachers, was, it would seem (p. 30), the first agency brought to bear upon him—not always with success. The Bishop writes in bitter terms of the Catholics around him. They were, in his view, “Popish wolves,” daily assaulting “the Queen's people” in the effort to withdraw them from their obedience; a “generation of asps,” from whom proceeded “deadly spite and devilish detraction.” His pictures of the state of the country as regards religion are painted in gloomy colours. He was surrounded, so he said, by persons of standing and influence, who were opposed to him. He begs Cecil to stir up the justices of the peace to punish the malefactors and bridle a few of the chief recusants. “I pray you,” he writes, dating his letter from Hawarden Castle, “amidst your graver affairs, to think upon the ruins of God's Church, the chief scope and true project of all Christian policy.” On an occasion when two seminary priests were arrested, though one afterwards escaped, he praises the “loyal and Christian endeavours of the High Sheriff” (p. 134),
by so much the more to be esteemed because few of place and authority in these parts do so sincerely affect the present proceedings. . . . . . . . It is a matter of wonder to apprehend any priest in these parts, because of their many favourers of the best sort and your Honour, by the escape of this notorious priest, father Robert without a surname, so well attended and watched, may conceive that it is a very hard matter to do either God or her Majesty any great service in Lancashire. . . . . . . . . . What such remissness in magistrates, connivancy in officers inferior, toleration in all, encouragements and expectation in them, may prejudice in time the peace of our State and progress of religion, I leave it to your deep wisdom to consider.
Again, certain riotous proceedings in Childwall (p. 160), he attributes to “no other than the countenance of certain gentlemen recusants, who are so linked together and have such command in this corner that the vulgar people dare not profess religion, nor, though never so well affected, give any aid for the apprehending of any of their tenants and followers, much less of themselves.” He sends Cecil a “small schedule” of names of recusants, and suggests that the chief of them might advantageously “be called in and bestowed elsewhere.” In August, two seminary priests, Robert Nutter and Edward Thwinge, the former of whom had escaped from Wisbech, were executed in Lancashire. Their histories are related (p. 283) and their tenets described, to show “what notable traitors these kind of people are, for notwithstanding all their glorious speeches, yet their opinion and their doctrine is that her Highness is but tenant at will of her crown to the Pope.” The Bishop took an active part at their arraignment, “by disputation and argument.” Never before had any seminary priest been executed in that county, and the opinion is expressed that toleration had made them overbold. But it was surmised (p. 285)—
That if the relievers and maintainers were sharply dealt with, there is no doubt but the country would be reformed. The people are naturally zealous in that religion which they profess, for where they are good there are none better, and where they are bad there are none worse.
The names of several of the Queen's preachers in Lancashire occur in this volume. According to the testimony of their Bishop, they were persons “of painful endeavour, good discretion, and wholesome example of life” (p. 84), or “of diligence and painful travail” (p. 315), but in Lancashire, nevertheless, they were extremely unpopular; and in Garstang, one night in August, “about twenty persons, all in armour, marched through the town to the vicar's house, purposing to have massacred her Majesty's preacher, the vicar and one of the messengers attending on the Commission Ecclesiastical there” (p. 315). The Bishop's comment upon this outbreak is, that “nothing can proceed from the wicked but wickedness, nor anything satisfy that wolfish generation but blood.”
As the year drew on, the situation, from Dr. Vaughan's point of view, did not improve : he confesses himself “almost tired with the practices of that violent and virulent faction.” Ere it closed, however, he had the satisfaction of sending up to London one Thurstane Hunt, “a desperate seminary priest” (p. 373) the “treacherous practiser and barbarous butcher” who was the plotter and ringleader of all the outrages in the neighbourhood, upon whom he vehemently urged that speedy and sharp justice should be done.
In addition to that which has been outlined above, there is other information concerning Catholics in England or English Catholics abroad; indications of their views, aims and operations; little histories extorted or given in the examinations of individuals showing the methods by which the body of English students at St. Omers and elsewhere was recruited; the names and descriptions of a number of these students and others, and so forth. A detailed account is furnished by Dr. Toby Matthew, Bishop of Durham (p. 202), of the exertions extending over many years of one who was a “notable agent” in the hunt after seminaries and recusants in the North of England, who was consequently in danger of “oppression” unless he received due support from the Queen's Secretary, the which being denied, “the religious service of God and her Majesty in these forlorn corners of the realm” would “fail and fall away as water runneth apace.”
Disorders in diocese of Exeter.
As regards a diocese in the South West of England, that of Exeter, its bishop draws up a catalogue (p. 450) of “common disorders” of which “the dangerous, increase of papists” was only one item. In addition there were “atheists,” instances of whose profane humour he relates; an “abuse of ministers” which did not stop at mere vituperation; schismatics who indulged in “conventicles in gardens and fields, and sermons preached at midnight”; and persons given to bigamous and even worse practices. The remedy the bishop asked for was an “ecclesiastical commission,” already afforded to many other bishops nearer to London by a hundred and twenty miles than himself.
A letter on the first page of this volume from the Archbishop of Canterbury calls attention to a point at issue in one of the Colleges of the University of Cambridge, which dragged on undecided throughout the year, producing much correspondence from various quarters. This was the “headless” state of Clare Hall, arising from the circumstance that, to fill the vacant office, a Master was wanted whose qualifications should correspond with the requirements of the College statutes—virum probum ac inculpatum, in Sacra theologia doctum, graduation, cultui dirinu deditum—but whom it seemed to be hard to find. Of the two competitors named by the Fellows, one professed Law, and was therefore ineligible, although his partisans endeavoured to explain away the statute which required a divine; the other was considered by the Archbishop to be too young, being not above 25 or 26 years of age. In September, an appeal was made to Cecil (p. 332) to persuade the Queen to interfere and to give some order to their disordered state, thus inducing contentment not only in the College itself but to the whole University, much amazed and discouraged “with this dangerous delay” The “whole University” was however “amazed” to a greater degree this year, by a controversy of wider interest, the “offensive doctrine” pro pounded by Dr. Overall in the Schools in his Divinity Lectures, and the consequent public Disputation. In the course of the discussion (p. 211) a great deal of heat was generated and some of the speeches were confessedly so sharp in manner that they seemed to have called for the exercise of patience even on the part of the lovers of “the truth,”—those who did not agree, be it understood, with the doctrines condemned (p. 212)—doctrines which were thought to “lead to popery” and were comparable to the “cockatrice eggs and spider's web” (p. 241). While divisions thus existed within the University, there was also animosity without, the attitude of the townsmen having “grown intoler able,” without hope of reformation until they should be made to understand, “by some discipline,” the consequence of incur ring indignationem principis. With regard to undergraduates at Cambridge, it may be noticed that the expenses of a ward of the Queen who was entered at St. John's and admitted to the Fellows' commons, were estimated (p. 409) to amount to about 40l. per annum.
Concerning ecclesiastical matters proper, apart from the Overall controversy referred to above, there is not very much of interest. One or two of the bishops—Dr. Cotton, bishop of Exeter, for example—needed “better comfort in their own poor places” than the temporalities of their sees would seem to have afforded (p. 9). The Bishop of Ely, again, appears to have been made the subject of so hard a bargain on the part of the Queen on his entering upon the state of a bishop as to have little left upon which to raise means to set himself forth (p. 120) in any suitable fashion. One instance occurs of church preferment obtained through court favour and noble kinship by one eminently unfit on account of personal character—not without protest, it should be said, on the part of the bishop (pp. 9,15,17). As regards laymen, a sign of the taste of the times is given in a petition from the chief parishioners of St. Martin's in the Fields (p. 181) who, in view of the growing bodily infirmity of the vicar, desired “to entertain at their own charges a sufficient preacher as a lecturer only.” Meeting with opposition from their spiritual pastor, they appealed to Cecil for help to overcome it, at the same time disclaiming any intention to do aught to their pastor's prejudice.
The Scottish Borders.
The letters connected with the Scottish Borders are few. At the end of the winter one of the Wardens describes the country “as quiet as it was of a long time” (p. 64). A “day of march” for the reciprocal delivery of offenders was agreed upon by the English and Scottish Wardens (p. 75). The place appointed for the purpose was that which was “most usual,” and was noted in later times for another kind of “matching ceremonies” though not in the same building, namely, “Gretnoe” church. There are some items of information concerning Berwick, the “costly postern of the Queen's Kingdom” (p. 380), once “the nursery of England for martial men and their good discipline,” but now fallen, so it was said (p. 254), by reason of ill government, into “a receptacle and sink of all the dissolute and cunning cosening livers” in the kingdom. This is probably an exaggerated picture of the facts, but the townsmen would certainly be none the worse for the building of a church there, which was badly required, since none existed (p. 165) save “one exceeding small, inconvenient and dangerous cell of an old chapel, not able to contain half the congregation, and ready to fall on their heads—as a part did, to the danger of the preacher's life and some others.”
Papers connected with Scottish men and Scottish affairs are also not very numerous, but the majority of them yield lengthy abstracts. Of men whose names were prominent in former volumes, Archibald Douglas makes but infrequent appearance; the letters to him are three only, one each from two of his nephews and a third from John Colville. The younger nephew, Thomas, suggested his uncle's return to Scotland, predicting that he must inevitably guide the Court, possessed, as he was, of so great a store of wisdom and experience. This suggestion the nephew, however, modestly hedges about with a variant of a familiar proverb, “But I spend time in learning my father to get children.” The elder nephew, Richard, later in the year, tells his uncle the news of events in Scotland, and ends with a request concerning a “little particular of his own” (p. 267) :—
You remember when I was last at London with you a little before my returning home, for divers courtesies received, I gave your friend Mistress Ramberge a little diamond ring. This ring was laid in pledge, with others, by young Logie, a great while before his going out to Scotland. Now lately, his father, seeking to make his profit of all things, has called for these engaged jewels, and not finding the little ring, would make faith that it is worth twenty crowns, albeit it be dear of five, and so intends to cause the party who had it in wodsett [to] pay twenty crowns for it, which sum if he pay, I must return him. I will therefore earnestly request your Lordship to see if you can release that ring from Mistress Ramberge, and I would give a better in the place of it, that Logie his greedy “falsett” may be seen. However it be, I pray your Lordship let me understand if it may be had or not.
Occurrences in Scotland, the proceedings of the King, the quarrels between his nobles, are chronicled by all the writers dating their letters from that country. We have also a portion of the long continued correspondence between Sir Robert Cecil and George Nicolson. In one letter Cecil explains what small reason—indeed, what entire absence of reason—there was for the anxiety excited in King James's mind by the negotiations for peace with Spain, apart from the fact of the doubtfulness of their result in face of the preposterous demands made on the Spanish side (p. 98). Noticing also a “flying bruit” that the Scottish King apprehended that those who wished well to the peace would be glad to hail the Infanta of Spain as the rising sun, he emphatically repudiates it. “I cannot tell,” he says, “what absurd grounds those reports should have, for I think there is no good Christian would wish to have England subject to a Spaniard, whatever bankrupts and mis creants may desire,” thus, as it were, answering beforehand the charge brought against him in the following year at Essex's trial. In any series of letters making up the correspondence between Cecil and another, it is unusual to find in the Hatfield collection the letters of Cecil more numerous than those of his correspondent, but it is so in the case of Nicolson, and the letters also are of a voluminous character. At the end of the last (p. 365) he instructs Nicolson, now that there was another Secretary, thenceforth to direct his communications in such form that the ordinary “advertisements” should be in one letter and the private in another.
Sir H. Brouncker.
In August of this year the Queen sent Sir Henry Brouncker on a special mission to the King of Scotland, the nature of which appears from the following extract from the letter of which he was the bearer (p. 288).
At the horrible fame of the execrable fact that was spread abroad of your life's danger, when I remember that a King you are, and one of whom since your cradle I have ever had tender care, I could not refrain to send you this gentleman of purpose in post, both to congratulate your happy state as to inform me, both how it was, and how you are in health and state, praying God that with his potent hand hath stretched it out for your defence. And though a King I be, yet hath my funeral been prepared (as I hear) long or I suppose their labour shall be needful, and do hear so much of that daily as I may have a good memorial that I am mortal, and withal so be they too that make such preparation beforehand, whereat I smile, supposing that such facts may make them readier for it than I. Think not but how “wilely” soever things be carried, they are so well known that they may do more harm to others than to me. Of this my pen hath run further than at first I meant, when the memory of a prince's end made me call to mind such usage, which too many countries talks of and I cannot stop mine ears from.
The number of horses was commonly greater, and the charge of my table more than double, all things being excessively dear, and the resort to my table very great. I was forced, after the manner of Scotland, to entertain all, and to give liberally, especially to the Kings servants, who had means enough by begging and otherwise to invite me to it. My extraordinary expense was almost as much as the ordinary, whereof I desire no repayment, though the Queen's honour and my reputation enforced it.
In addition to pecuniary loss, the execution of this mission exposed him to some misrepresentation (p. 420), which he surmised originated with the Master of Gray, though he evidently had suspicions of a loftier personage. “A King that has sold himself to policy,” he writes, “will make no conscience to serve himself by my discredit.” But, accounting it “a great happiness to serve a Queen infinitely wise in discerning the slights of the world” and constant in the opinion of his faithfulness, and reposing on Cecil's support, he was not much moved by the slander, whether it proceeded from King or subject.
From this Scottish subject, the Master of Gray, who was this year in England on his return from Borne, there are several long letters addressed respectively to Cardinal Borghese, Sir Robert Cecil and his own Sovereign.
Concerning Wales, Welshmen and Welsh matters, this volume contains little. The Earl of Pembroke defends his conduct as President of the Council of the Marches and makes grave com plaint of the conduct of one of the justices, Mr. Henry Townshend (pp. 98, 99). The Welsh Dean of Westminster, Dr. Goodman, pleads the cause of the “poor inhabitants of the town of Ruthin,” where he was born, and, on another occasion, denounces one Lloyd, a former Welsh servant of Cecil's, as a common enemy of his country and a malicious persecutor of the Dean's nearest kinsman. Another Lloyd, smarting under a sense of haying been hurt in pocket by certain of his countrymen, draws this picture of them (p. 369) :—
It is the nature of lawless men that do nothing but vaticinari somnia et augurari futura to trust to time, and so escape all dangers of laws; for the old Romans were not so addicted to their Sybils, the Egyptians to the priests of Memphis, nor the Frenchmen to their superstitious Druids, as many in his country are given to the prophecies of Merlin, or to the fond fables of Taliessin : for he knows that the Jewish Rabbins wrought not so much upon Moses' Penta teuch in their Talmuds, or the Turks upon their sacred book Musaph in their Alcorans, as they which they call “Bardi Brytonnorum” wrought of Merlin and Taliessin and others. Were he sheriff this year in Cardigan (partly for the posses sion of his two bailiwicks, now in suit) he would bring such volumes of prophecies that after reading them Cecil should make better fire of them in London than Duke Ogis made in Athens of all the writing tables of usurers.
Dr. Morgan, Bishop of Llandaflf, the translator of the Welsh Bible, is among those who offered Sir Robert Cecil a New Year's gift, its nature not mentioned, but graced by a modest comparison as being “cousin german to the widow's two mites.”
“Pride and contempt,” moralises Sir Robert Cecil (p. 345)—with obvious reference to a noble personage who had only just been freed from some of the consequences which that pride and contempt had entailed upon his own head—pride and contempt had brought confusion into the Kingdom of Ireland, “that land of ire” as Cecil punningly named it. It followed, as regards that country, that the one great work of the closing year of the 16th century was to educe out of this confusion order and peaceable government. Now to enable “her Majesty's kitchen-maid, alias the Lord Deputy,” Lord Mountjoy, to accomplish this, it was necessary first to reinforce him with fighting men, and having sent the men, to provide him with victuals with which to feed them. With the arrangements made for these two purposes, the various hindrances that lay in the way and the plans for overcoming them, many of the letters in this volume to be grouped under the head of “Ireland” are chiefly concerned. The transport of men and victuals was conducted principally from the ports of Chester and Liverpool in the North West; but also from Bristol and Barnstaple in the South West; and was under the management of the mayors of those cities and .towns. To provide transport, the rough and ready method was adopted of laying forcible hands on all the shipping of a port (p. 12), and compelling the masters or owners to undertake the service whether it suited them or not. Foreign vessels were not exempt from the proceeding, and one foreign owner at least was content to undertake the service on the same terms as were given to English shipmasters.
It was, it is evident, not altogether an easy task to get the soldiers to the ships, nor having transported them to the shores of Ireland, to keep them there to do the work for which they were sent. The complaint ran, that many “handsome and able” soldiers (p. 108) returned from Ireland even at the risk of being hanged when they reached their own country, while the number of “runaways” on this side was not small. The following extract describes a scene enacted at Chester (p. 268) on a summer's day of this year :—
On receipt of your letters of 7 Aug., we made known to the whole number of soldiers by proclamation what should be the reward of their running away, which proclamation struck such a terror into their hearts as that I am persuaded it has prevented the running away of whole hundreds. Yet some few still steal away, and but very few of those are returned by the country (so cunning they are in passing by all towns, bridges, and highways); and of those that were brought -in, against whom they bring no certain proofs of their running away, they taken so near the city, we sent on, together with one of the greatest “mutyners” for apparel, unto the place of execution (in show to be hanged), who, standing upon the ladder with the ropes about their necks, upon their humble submission, and the earnest entreaty of their captain and fellow soldiers, received pardon, conditional that if any one man of either of their companies did either mutiny for apparel or run away, that then both they, together with these offenders, should receive the extreme rigour of the law; which I assure you has wrought much quiet in our city.
Other difficulties attended the work of transport. The experience of a crowd of 600 soldiers on board a vessel of perhaps 120 tons burthen, baffled at sea for four days by contrary winds, ultimately driven back to the English port from whence they started (p. 322), is not made great account of, yet it is not difficult to imagine that it must have been one of extreme discomfort. This particular contingent, however, after many cross fortunes, was favoured with a “merry passage” (p. 359); but the day after landing, the men mustered scarcely more than half their original number, not because the missing individuals had been lost on the way, but because they were either sick after the sea or drunk in the town. The task of a commander in keeping the soldiers together on their way to the port of embarkation could not have been in any case light, especially when little or no money was forthcoming to supply their wants. A vessel from Milford brought twenty-five only of a contingent which should have numbered nearly two hundred. But for this deficiency a Welsh Mayor was said to be in some degree to blame (p. 360). This is part of the story told :—
Thomas Harryes of Broughton, Hampshire, and Thomas Musgrove of Bristol, deputy conductors under Captain Patrick Arthur, came to the town of Haverford-west on 2nd of Oct. with 188 soldiers, where they lodged and dieted, and remained altogether for 4 days, and then 4 ran away, and 30 on Tuesday night, 13 on Wednesday night, 50 on Thursday night, and afterwards 25, so as there went away in all 122, who were pursued to the parishes next to the said town by the constables and burgesses with hue and cry, with the commandment that the hue and cry should be followed till these soldiers should be brought back.
The letters concerning Ireland have not all of them, however, to do with transport or runaway soldiers. Some suggest schemes of overcoming the rebellion and outwitting the arch rebel Tyrone; others relate to the aid which he might count upon or which actually did come from Spain. Correspondents of Sir R. Cecil expatiate upon their personal services in Ireland and the scanty nature of their reward. Sir William Windsor describes in a long despatch (p. 325) “the prosperous success of our Northern enterprise” the expedition, that is, under his command to Lough Foyle in the months of May and June. Among epistles of a more personal character are two or three from Miler Magrath, Arch bishop of Cashel, and there is a long statement by Richard Boyle, afterwards the 1st Earl of Cork, of prejudicial proceedings on the part of Sir Henry Wallop and others to which he had been subjected.
Foreign Trade and Travel.
The year 1600 will ever be remarkable for a commencement of English mercantile enterprise in the far East, enterprise which laid the foundation of the Indian Empire. In this connexion we have the “petition of the merchants intending trade to the East Indies” to the Privy Council (p. 445), and a letter from them to the Earl of Essex (p. 829), when Royal encouragement was assured, begging Essex's consent to the employment of “his servant,” Captain Davies, as a “principal director” of the voyage. Several of the promoters, viz. Alderman Bayning, Richard Staper, William Garraway, John Eldred and Paul Pindar—were already concerned in the trade to the Levant. As regards the Levant trade, probably the earliest list in existence of persons connected therewith is furnished on pp. 214–217. It gives—
The names of the Levant Company now in being in this month of June, 1600, with their servants at this present; as also the names of all such their children and servants as have died and been buried in the dominions of Turkey and Venice for the space of 12 years that the said trade of the Levant began by Englishmen
Paul Pindar; The Sherieys.
A petition from Paul Pindar urges his claims to be appointed her Majesty's Consul in Venice, and discourses upon the advantages to be derived from the appointment, a petition which, however, failed of effect. Here will most fitly come the mention of the travels far afield at this time of such men as Sir Anthony Sherley. To Sir Anthony the first letter in this year from his father, Sir Thomas Sherley, is addressed, somewhat vaguely, “Persia.” Vague, indeed, were the ideas as regards far Eastern geography then prevalent, and little wonder. But there was an eagerness for preciser knowledge. The father asks the son to tell “in his next” (p. 8) :
The names of the ports of Persia that adjoin to the South Sea within the Capa de Bona Speranza. Then, with what safety or warrant merchants may come thither; what English wares are most in the request there; whether there be any good means to renew victuals there; what commodity there is of new repairing of ships with cordage. Then, how far the Court, or place of the King's chief resiance is from those maritime parts, and, generally, anything for the better undertaking of that trade or voyage.
A letter from the son, dated in June from Archangel (p. 180), had, however, for its subject the “disculping” himself of his fault to his father and a prayer for forgiveness, rather than the story of his adventures, or information concerning the countries he had visited.
Sir Thomas's eldest son and his own namesake was also a seeker after fortune in maritime adventure, and this year had occasion to “thank God” for some valuable prizes (pp. 102, 110). He himself, however; was in evil bodily case, notwithstanding this stroke of luck. Sir Perdinando Gorges, writing from Plymouth, says—
For my own part, I never saw poor gentleman in a more miserable estate, afflicted with extremity of sickness, destitute of honest and trusty servants, and matched with an unruly rout of mariners, insomuch as I dare to say, if he had not come into this place, he had not been 1,000l. the better for all that he hath brought with him.
The depredations of the Spaniards and Dunkirkers are stated to have seriously interfered with the trade of the Western coasts. “Scarce one bark of five escapeth these cormorants. The poor weavers, spinsters and clothiers of our country are suffered to be idle, and her Majesty's customs are much impaired” (p. 121).
The Barbary Ambassador.
Among the strange visitors to the English shores and to London during this year, one, or rather two, would arrest more than ordinary attention. In June, an English merchant in Morocco, John Waring, tells of the release of nine Dutch captives, slaves of the “King of Barbary,” at the instance of the Dutch congregation in London and through the mediation of the Queen. The Queen and her subjects just now were in great favour at the Court of Morocco, and had, it is said, but to ask in order to obtain, the potentate there holding one Christian in better estimation than a hundred of his own nation.
With the released Dutchmen sailed an embassy to the Queen, consisting of the King's Secretary and a companion. The Embassy reached Gravesend about the middle of August. There are not many particulars of the events of their stay in England to be gathered from this volume. It lasted, however, until the end of October, the ambassadors residing in the house of Mr. Ratcliffe.
The principal military event of this year in Flanders was the victory obtained at Nieuport by Count Maurice of Nassau over the Archduke of Austria, a victory due in no small degree to the skill and valour of Sir Francis Vere and other Englishmen in the Dutch service. There are at least six different accounts of this engagement, including a copy of the despatch of the defeated Archduke himself, and a recital of the occurrences by Lord Grey of Wilton, who went through the year's campaign, and took part and was slightly wounded in this fiercely fought battle. The last named is the writer of several letters. Sir Robert Cecil's nephew Edward, one of the “poor men” that went over to “labour for a fortune,” was also present and made a profitable capture of prisoners. A regular correspondent, as has already been men tioned, he does not omit to pen a detailed account of the glorious day. After the news was received in England, the number of the English nobility in the Dutch camp, whose presence was considered (p. 228) “to give a great deal of grace” to their less distinguished countrymen, was reinforced by the arrival of the Earl of Rutland, the Earl of Northumberland, and Lord Cobham, all of whom, while absent from England, communicated by letter with the Queen's principal Secretary. Nor do these exhaust the list of letter writers from the seat of war. Paul Ivy, the engineer, Sir Thomas Fane, Sir John Ogle, and others, are to be added to the number.
In the spring of the year, Monsieur de Chastes, Governor of Dieppe, came to England on a special mission, for the installation of the French King, by proxy, in the Order of the Garter. He brought in his train some eighty gentlemen—of most of whom we have the names (p. 118). Landing at Newhaven, they proceeded the same night to Lewes, their arrival at this place being somewhat unexpected. It was not easy to provide on a sudden the number of horses required for so numerous and imposing a cavalcade (p. 113). It would be interesting to know what were the impressions of the dignified French visitor, or some observant member of his retinue, as they passed upon their way from Lewes to East Grinstead, East Grinstead to Godstone—“wherein are only two inns and not above 5 or 6 houses besides”—Godstone to Croydon, and Croydon to London. At Lewes, they were greeted by a concourse of such gentlemen of the county as the deputy lieutenant nearest resident to that place could muster at short notice. At East Grinstead, there being no justice of the peace within ten miles of the place, the duty of seeing to the necessities and comfort of the travellers was committed to the constables.. Here they were compelled to stay two nights, being unable to proceed farther for want of horses. Indeed, even thus far some members of the train had been obliged to proceed afoot. The stir and bustle which the presence of so many distinguished strangers caused in the quiet country town may be easily imagined. But on the Sunday, fifty horses having been sent to Lewes, and Sir Robert Cecil's coach and horses meeting Monsieur de Chastes at Croydon, he came through to London, and was then lodged in Alderman Bayning's house, while three or four houses near by were allotted to his retinue. Monsieur de Chastes' stay in London did not last much beyond the week. He was anxious to return home, possibly on account of “the many mouths that did feed upon his charge” (pp. 133–4). And having taken leave of the Queen, he could not be persuaded to prolong his visit over the second Sunday even at the entreaty of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who desired to entertain him at dinner on the Monday. So the dinner was fixed for the Sunday, the Lord Admiral and Sir Robert Cecil being bidden to meet his Excellency; then after dinner he departed, taking his return journey by way of Dover. His own expenses were no doubt considerable; the expenses of entertaining him certainly were, amounting to the sum of nearly 1,000l. (p. 270)—a considerable drain upon the Queen's coffers, oftentimes “very empty.”
It may have been in the company of Monsieur de Chastes that the French gentleman came over who was so much commended that the Queen would fain have heard him sing and play; and also that other gentleman whose dancing on the rope and cunning performances “in those voltiges,” her Majesty wished to see (p. 139), if it were possible.
Missions to France from this side were most unwelcome duties. Dr. Robert Beale emphatically deprecated such an undertaking (p. 114). “If it should please the Lord to deal with me as He did with Sir Thomas Wilkes, who was younger in years and not subject to such infirmities as I am, in what woeful estate should I leave my poor wife and children !” he exclaims. And later in the year, when the Earl of Rutland, at the Hague, heard that the Queen was thinking of taking advantage of his “disposition to go into France” to send him there as her Ambassador, he hastened to confess that such an employment was greater honour than he deserved, and that his unfitness for the service was manifest to all who knew him, “being unready in the language, unacquainted V with the 'entregent' of courtiers and ceremonies that belong to princes; and above all, if I should play the king now (my estate standing as it does) I fear I should be constrained ever after to play the beggar.”
English Commissioners were sent this year to Emden to meet other Commissioners from Denmark for the settlement of disputes between the two Kingdoms. With regard to the objects and results of this mission, this volume is virtually silent, but there are a few letters from one of the Commissioners, Dr. Bancroft, Bishop of London, which have an interest of their own. Like every one else appointed to a duty of this kind, he viewed it with disfavour. To Cecil he ventures to speak his mind on the subject (p. 96), and details the excuses he might offer : that he had had five fits of tertian ague; that it would render him a “right puritans' bishop,” viis et modis not worth 100l.; that his wife would run mad, and so forth. But as in similar cases, such excuses were of no avail; go he must, and did, though not without a grumble (p. 105). He seems, however, to have entered upon the sea voyage in a more cheerful frame of mind, even in the face of unpropitious winds. He opined that “the title of her Majesty's Ambassador” might have put some spirit into him (p. 112), and he would appear to have congratulated himself upon the fact that “the old rule amongst lay Statesmen in Court, that they should not trust a priest,” had now in England lost its force, because they no longer “held of a foreign prince, viz., the Pope,” Starting in April, he returned at the end of July, bringing with him the vat of Rhenish wine, to which allusion has already been made.
The mission to the Emperor of Russia with which Sir Richard Lee was entrusted is illustrated by a few preliminary letters and one from himself written from Archangel in August, a fortnight after his arrival (p. 275).
These are the chief subjects which call for extended notice, but the information afforded by the volume is far from being limited
to them, and is, as in former parts of the calendar, of a very varied character. Of what remains hitherto unnoticed, the following may be chosen for mention merely, namely, coinage, and included in this, a lengthy argument by Arthur Hall setting forth the advantages to be derived from the issue of debased coin (p. 394), in the course of which the phrase “the sinews of wars” as applied to gold and silver occurs; medical and surgical matters, with allusions to the leading physicians of the time and to “an excellent book on medicine” printed in English at Dort by a Dutch bookseller, who came over to England to promote its sale; the system of taxation of individuals for special purposes; private quarrels such as that between Lord Southampton and Lord Grey; and a reference to “tobaca,”, showing incidentally that it was a luxury not to be procured very easily or in large quantities in London in the year 1600. Then, as regards persons, the names of the following, among many others, will be found in the index : Thomas Arundell, afterwards Lord Arundell of Wardour; Earl Bothwell; John Colville; Henry de Clinton, Earl of Lincoln; Sir Horatio Palavicino, who died this year; and Genebelli, the engineer.
In the preparation of this volume, the Commissioners have had the assistance of Mr. E. A. Roberts, the Secretary of the Commission, Mr. E. Salisbury, Mr. C. G. Crump, and Mr. J. V. Lyle (all of the Public Record Office), and of Mr. E. T. Gunton, private secretary to the Marquis of Salisbury, the first named having edited it and passed it through the press and supplied the introduction. Mr. Salisbury is responsible for the index.