Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1930.
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In the present volume the general chronological description of the Cecil Manuscripts at Hatfield is resumed from the date (24 March, 1603) of Queen Elizabeth's death, at which it was broken off at the end of Part XII. The two following volumes have dealt with the supplementary and undated papers which were omitted in the preceding ones but can be reasonably assigned to a time before the reign of James I. The period here covered is one of little more than nine months to the end of the year 1603, according to our modern reckoning, but they were months of more than usual interest, fraught with the possibilities of many changes in the outlook of affairs both at home and abroad; a period of considerable uncertainty, although of great expectations, in too many cases doomed to disappointment.
The important part that Sir Robert Cecil had played in the latter days of Elizabeth, either with or without her connivance, in preparing the way for the peaceful accession of James is well known. That it was recognised by the King and his contemporaries the papers in this volume amply prove. In James's first letter to him after his accession he wishes him "to persist in that honourable regard and worthy care you have begun and half accomplished of our good fortune and prosperity till we see you which we greatly long for" (p. 10) and adds in a postscript, "how happy I think myself by the conquest of so faithful and so wise a counsellor I reserve it to be expressed out of my own mouth unto you."
Cecil's brother, Burghley, writing to him on 4 April reports Roger Ashton's talk of the King's phrases used towards their house, which were "very princely." "He said he heard you were but a little man, but he would shortly load your shoulders with business" (p. 31). Elphinston in his letter to Cecil of 1 April from Edinburgh refers to the difficulties of his position in the late Queen's last days and the "tickleness" of the State; "the reverent respect I knew you carried to her, whose jealousy, as it ought, so it was unto you a restraint from keeping correspondence with any person without her allowance" (p. 27) and ends his letter:
For since his Majesty acknowledges you the principal who has been the upholder of his just title, it is more than reason that all his subjects and ministers . . . should by submissive vows yield themselves, their service, and what they are able to do, unto these most happy authors of so wonderful a trophy, whereof the like hath never heretofore been read, seen or heard of. And I, as one of the meanest, by these presents congratulate to you, under God, your just praise.
And so also to the same effect Montrose (p. 40), Cockburn (p. 54) and others.
It is to be expected that in the official and semi-official letters and papers of him who thus played this leading part in the shaping of the events of the time and remained for nearly ten years afterwards at the head of affairs in the state we shall find much to help us to a further survey of the period. The following are the more important matters to which attention may be directed in the present volume.
The King. The calendar begins with the draft in Cecil's handwriting of the proclamation of King James (p. 1). A graphic description of the events in London immediately following the death of Elizabeth and attending the proclamation of her successor is given in a letter of Sir John Peyton (fn. 1) (pp. 25, 26). The Queen died at Richmond between 2 and 3 in the morning and the corpse was brought to Whitehall. By 10 o'clock the King was proclaimed at Whitehall upon the Green, right against the Tilt Yard. There the late Queen's lords and councillors with Garter and the rest of the heralds proclaimed the King again in Fleet Street and so proceeded to Ludgate where they found the gate shut and the portcullis down. They knocked at the gates and desired the Lord Mayor to open them for that their Queen being dead they would proclaim the King.
The Lord Mayor answered he would know what King before they should come in; for, said he, if you will proclaim any King, but he that is right, indeed you shall not come in. They then said they would proclaim James. Then said the Lord Mayor, I am very well contented, for he is my master, liege lord and King. But, said the Lord Mayor, I will have a pledge to assure me of this, that you mean to do as you say. Whereupon the late Lord Treasurer did put off his collar of esses, which he had about his neck, and put it under the gate, and withal the proclamation. So then the Mayor, being well guarded, let them come in, and with most exceeding joy they went to the broad place before Paul's, where they proclaimed our King.
Other places in the city were then visited and the proclamation read and finally at the Tower, where a scene similar to that at Ludgate occurred between the party and the Lieutenant of the Tower. "The like joy, both in London and all parts of England, was never known."
Throughout the country the news of the peaceful accession of James was received with feelings of relief and joy, so great had been the uncertainty and fears for the future in the closing days of the late Queen. Sir George Carew writing from Coventry on 27 March (p. 8) had heard of the King's proclamation,
which hath much eased my heart that was before in anxiety, fearing many distempers in the State, whereof, as far as I can judge, there is now no appearance, but all men are exceedingly satisfied and praise God Who of His goodness hath so miraculously provided for us, contrary to the opinions of the wisest, who for many years past trembled to think of her Majesty's decease.
From places and districts so far apart as Cambridge (p. 5), York (p. 10), Somerset and the West (p. 11), Chester (p. 18), Northamptonshire (p. 19) and Cornwall (p. 29) we have the same story of general rejoicing. At Carlisle only do we hear of the proclamation being immediately followed by an outbreak of lawlessness amongst "the insolent villains of both Marches" (p. 20).
So long a time had elapsed since there had been a demise of the crown that there was none in authority with recollection of the procedure necessary and much work devolved on the Secretary in hunting up precedents and arranging for the temporary carrying on of administration. Of this there is evidence in the frequent memoranda and notes which occur amongst his papers, sometimes in his own handwriting and generally full of corrections made by him. Thus the draft of the King's proclamation on his accession is in Cecil's handwriting (p. 1). By the law of the land at that time and for long afterwards the Privy Council and the offices of state became void upon a demise of the crown. Lists of these offices and of those who were to carry them on provisionally until they could be regularly filled by patent or otherwise by the new King will be found amongst the papers at Hatfield (pp. 23, 24). James was not long, no doubt through Cecil's offices for a corrected copy or draft of his letter is amongst the Secretary's papers (pp. 345, 346), in taking steps to avoid any cessation of the government of the country. The copy is undated but we know from James's own letter to Cecil (p. 10) that the letter was sent to the late Queen's Council as early as 27 March. In it he warrants the members
to exercise still your offices and charges of counsellors with power in our name to direct and command either by privy warrant or public proclamation all justices of peace, sheriffs, and other inferior officers whatsoever to go forward in their charges in doing of justice and all such other things that he ar they shall find necessary or expedient for keeping of the country in the one ordinary temper and obedience.
On the same date a warrant was sent to the Secretary to make a cachet to close any letters sent in the King's name (p. 10).
For the questions of procedure in the case of a queen consort and especially in the matter of her jointure still longer memory had to be searched. Cecil's notes on these points go back to the time of Queen Catherine of Aragon and even earlier queens (pp. 23, 348). But the matter of the jointure primarily concerned the Lord Treasurer and it is not until towards the end of August that we find him writing to Cecil of the steps he was taking to expedite the business (pp. 237, 240).
The papers contain some references to the events attending the King's journey to London and the preparations made for it, one of our chief informants being Cecil's brother Burghley, who, as the late Queen's Lord President of the Council of the North and on the spot at York, was one of the first of her ministers with whom James was to come in personal contact. The story of Sir Robert Carey's hurried ride to Scotland from Richmond immediately on receipt of the news of Elizabeth's death will be found in other sources but we know from James's own letter here (p. 9) that it was by Carey that he was first apprised of the event and there is later confirmation of the fact in a letter from George Nicholson (p. 138). The King, writes Lake on 4 April (p. 30), was to begin his journey from Edinburgh on the morrow, the first stage being Berwick. Throughout his progress there seems to have been much doubt as to the route he would take and the dates of his arrival at the various stopping places. Burghley writing to Cecil on 30 March had asked for information on these heads and for advice as to the steps to be taken to prepare houses for the King's reception (p. 18). On 5 April he writes to the Council of the measures he was himself taking for the reception at York and for the King's further progress to Doncaster whilst still in his jurisdiction (p. 33). But on the following day he writes of the contradictory rumours that have come to him and is in doubt whether he is to entertain James at Burghley (p. 36). In London the Council had the matter of the King's route under consideration and the date of his entry into the capital, which it was felt necessary to postpone until after the late Queen's funeral, and wrote to James on the subject on 8 April (p. 40). James himself, who had reached Newcastle as we know from other sources on 9 April, wrote to Cecil on the 11th that he thought to keep Easter (24 April) with his brother at York (p. 43). Thither Cecil who had reached Huntingdon on 16 April (p. 50) was pressing to be by the following day but the King had evidently changed his intention as he was now only expected to stay at York until Tuesday (19 April). Actually he seems to have left the city on the 18th and his Easter was spent with Cecil's brother indeed, but at Burghley. Cecil writes to the Council on 18 April from York that he had reached the city after midnight after a long journey on the preceding day and "had access to his Majesty in the morning, and speech with him for the space of one hour or thereabout, which could not be longer by reason of his Highness dining with the Lord Mayor of this city, and presently after taking his journey to Sir Edward Stanhope's, ten miles hence, whither I purpose to follow if I may be provided of lodging" (p. 52). The King had then already agreed to the date, 25 July (St. James's Day) thought fit by the Council for his coronation and had decided to be crowned jointly with his Queen. The speed of his progress had evidently taken the ministers by surprise and Cecil continues:
if his Majesty should hold on his journeys thither with such speed as he has begun, he would be near London before the funerals, or at the very time. So as the State could not attend both the performance of that duty to our late Sovereign, and of this other of his Majesty's reception, wherefore some alteration is to be made of the former gestes by staying his Highness either at Worksop or at my brother's house at Burghley; and we do propose so to cast it that about the 29th of this month his Majesty may be at Mr. Sadleir's house at Standon, and on the Monday following be met by your Lordships and the State, and on Tuesday be brought to my house at Theobalds.
This, according to the narration printed in Nichols's Progresses of King James the First, was the programme actually carried out. Four or five days were spent at Burghley and at Theobalds, which was reached on Tuesday, 3 May, the King rested until the 7th when he left for the London Charterhouse, where he stayed until the 11th when the royal progress was ended by his arrival at the Tower. Except for the letter of 25 April from Thomas Lake (pp. 57, 58), who as a Clerk of the Signet had been in attendance on James throughout his progress, no account of the visit to Burghley and of the King's entertainment there is preserved in the papers at Hatfield and there are only a few references to the visit to Theobalds. The King had been so troubled with dust on his journey to Broxborne that Cecil was asked to prepare a private way for him through his grounds at Peryours and Chesthunt Park to Theobalds (p. 71). The expenses of entertaining royalty on the scale to which Queen Elizabeth had been accustomed must have been enormous. Burghley writing some time before the event expected that he would pay dear for his office "by that time I have entertained his Majesty here [York] and at Burghley" (p. 28). Contributions in kind, however, towards such expenses were forthcoming from friends. Percival Harte, for instance, sends fish and fowl to Cecil from Kent on 4 May (p. 72) and the presents referred to in the interesting list of Cecil's privy purse expenses printed on p. 74 were no doubt especially connected with the King's entertainment at Theobalds.
In the meantime Queen Elizabeth had been buried at Westminster on 28 April. Beyond a brief account of the great preparations for the funeral in a letter from W. Cade written on 22 April (p. 56), no description of the actual ceremony has been found in these papers.
References in these papers to the King's personal movements later in the year are scanty. He is reported to be going to Windsor on 20 June (p. 139), and on 21 June Lord Treasurer Buckhurst writes of his intention to ride to Windsor with the Lord Keeper on the morrow and on the next day (23 June) to find out the King and Queen and do his duty to her and the prince and princess (p. 144). On 5 July Sir John Fortescue refers to his having entertained their Majesties at Salden (p., 170). On 2 Sept. Cecil writes that "his Majesty being willing to take his sport while the season lasteth, hath kept her Majesty at Basing with her company, and passeth his own time at my Lord of Pembroke's at Wilton, from whence he comes to Woodstock . . . . where her Majesty will meet him and there receive the Spanish Ambassador" (p. 243). In October we hear that the King had been in Hertfordshire and had had cause to complain of the badness of the roads especially at Royston, where "they had much ado to keep the King's coach upright" (p. 254). An undated letter from this place from Sir George Home in which reference is made to an illness of the King may belong to the period of this visit (p. 379).
The first impressions made by the King on his new subjects were eminently favourable. Burghley, who had sent his son Edward to Edinburgh within a few days of the accession, writes of James about 2 April (p. 28): "He won the hearts of all men that come to him with such familiarity and gracious courtesy, as he possesses all men's hearts with hope of as gracious a prince as ever England had." Cecil, a few days after his first meeting with him writes to the Master of Gray (p. 58): "for the description you have made of his Majesty, this I must say without flattery, that although you have had the happiness long to know and serve him, yet his virtues are so eminent, as my six days' kneeling at his feet I have made so sufficient a discovery of his royal perfections, as I contemplate greater felicity to this isle than ever it enjoyed."
Nevertheless, it had not been without some apprehension that he would have to oppose James in a matter in which the King had apparently expressed a desire to provide a more hasty remedy than was possible at the time that Cecil was preparing himself on 16 April for his first audience. This was the need of reform of the Irish coinage, the mixed condition of which was causing much discontent. "Almighty God doth know how much it grieves me that I must be so unwelcome unto him as to lay before him how contrary a condition this kingdom is in, at this instant, to answer his royal intention" (p. 49). The matter was no doubt allowed to drop for the moment for Lord Treasurer Buckhurst writes to Cecil the next day that Lord Kinloss, who as James's former ambassador to the court of Elizabeth no doubt was better acquainted than the majority of his Scottish councillors with the conditions of English political affairs, had himself written to the King "not to be too hasty to restore a new coin all at one blow. You know it is a matter impossible" (p. 52).
Thus early in his reign James had given an instance to his English ministers of his too confident reliance on the power of his kingly office and over readiness to provide remedies for alleged grievances without acquainting himself with the arguments on the other side. Another occurred later on in the year when he endeavoured to induce the heads of the Universities and Colleges to restore their impropriated benefices to the vicars and curates of the churches and announced his own intention of taking this course with those that belonged to the Crown. Here the aged Whitgift had boldly to intervene to dissuade him from such action and to point out the consequences of such a policy which the King had failed to foresee. The Archbishop's letter to Cecil describing the course he had felt himself compelled to adopt will be found on p. 177 of this volume. The letter he wrote on the same date (9 July) to the King is amongst the Domestic State Papers at the Record Office.
Other causes which tended to create discontent against James will be more particularly considered here in the sections relating to the so-called Bye and Main Plots and to the Roman Catholics. But one which must have been especially disturbing to his English subjects was his proneness to fill important offices in his new kingdom with his own countrymen. Perhaps the earliest instance was the supersession of Sir Walter Ralegh in his office of Captain of the Guard, but for this there were special reasons which will be dealt with later. The long letter of James to the Privy Council of 22 May concerning suits for the royal bounty, a draft of which with Cecil's corrections is preserved at Hatfield (pp. 99–101), makes reference to his purpose "in the placing of some of our old servants whom we were desirous to have about us." A particularly flagrant case in the present volume is the appointment of Sir George Home, the Scottish Lord Treasurer, to be Chancellor of the Exchequer of England (pp. 94, 95). Sir John Fortescue whom he succeeded was consoled to some extent by the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster but not apparently without the further indignity being put upon him not only of yielding "the habitation of the house of the Duchy to Sir George Hume" but of accepting a habitation in the Wardrobe of which he had himself been master for forty-five years and where he would now be subordinate to Home who had supplanted him in the Mastership of the Wardrobe as well as in the Chancellorship of the Exchequer.
And therefore I most humbly desire his Majesty not to urge me to a matter so inconvenient both to his service and to me, adding to all the offences and disagreements which may arise from the co-mixtion of Sir George Hume's servants and mine, I being in these my old years desirous to retire myself to quietness, since it hath pleased his Majesty to draw me from the course of service in which I was experienced.
Another matter in which the King's conduct invited comment amongst his new subjects was his prodigality in the granting of knighthoods which was in strong contrast to the policy of the late Queen in this respect. There are occasional references to this in the papers now before us. Thus Bacon, who was himself desirous of the honour, writes to Cecil on 3 July (p. 167) of "this almost prostituted title of knighthood." William Cave, also writing to Cecil for recommendation for the honour, had seen many of meaner rank than himself to have received the honour (p. 361). "My estate I know will equal some of theirs that be already knighted, and my desert I hope shall rank with theirs of like degree."
Amongst other matters of more personal concern to the King in the present volume which are not elsewhere noted in this introduction are: (1) the occasional references to his coronation and the claims to service thereat of Sir Richard Fenys (pp. 191, 196, 209) and the Barons of the Cinque Ports (pp. 169, 172, 174); we hear of students from Douai taking the opportunity to come over to England and owing to the difference of the calendar anticipating the event by ten days (p. 219). At Colchester the celebration of the day was marred by being made one of the various occasions which occurred throughout the year by Cecil's ill-wishers to spread rumours of his disgrace at Court (p. 213): (2) the King's apparent dislike of crowds which resulted in the issue of a proclamation to restrain great concourse to the Court (pp. 91, 97); in this instance, however, his action may have been dictated by fears of the plague which was then raging in London: (3) references here and there to his indulgence in his favourite sport of hunting. "I perceive," says Burghley speaking of the progress from Edinburgh, "his Majesty reckons to make no long tarrying by the way, and yet I hear he means to hunt as he comes" (p. 28): and (4) an undated and unsigned letter with reference to James's intention to erect a tomb to his mother at an estimated cost of 2000l. (p. 347).
The Queen and the Royal Family. James's queen, Anne of Denmark, did not accompany him in his progress to London for the primary reason, no doubt, that it was essential that the late Queen's funeral should be over before the ladies of the household could be released to attend her upon her entry into the kingdom. But it was the King's wish that her journey should not be delayed beyond what was necessary and one of the principal matters he desired an early opportunity of discussing with Cecil was that of her being brought from Scotland (p. 43). Cecil's letter to the Council from York on 18 April after his first meeting with James is concerned largely with the arrangements then arrived at for the Queen's reception and journey. The Council was to take order for the departure of the ladies who were to be sent to Berwick on the Monday or Tuesday after Elizabeth's funeral, which it was then thought would be about 2 May. They might be at Berwick about the 15th or 16th day.
Those ladies his Majesty would not have to be many, and all the rest to attend her Highness when she shall be within forty miles of London. Who shall go to Barwick, and how many, and who shall stay there, could not be any resolution taken so soon (p. 52). . . . . . The course appointed for the Queen in her journey is hitherto this. That her Highness shall set out from Edinburgh about the 14th day of May, make four days' journey to Barwick, from thence to take for her travel to London one month's space. So as it is like she shall be with the King's Majesty about the first of July, or before (p. 53).
Other reasons, however, prevented the carrying out of these plans quite so soon. Cade in a gossipy letter of 22 April to some unknown peer was rightly informed of the Queen's condition at the time although wrong in believing her to be then at Berwick (p. 56). Nearly a month later, on 15 May, the Earl of Lincoln and Lord Norreys, travelling to Berwick by the Council's order, "were certified at Northallerton by the Earl of Orkney, and again by Sir G. Douglas and others, of her Majesty's unfitness to remove for a long time" (p. 90). There is hardly a hint in the present papers of the disagreements with regard to the custody of the young Prince Henry which we learn from other sources Anne so earnestly desired to have and nothing of her present miscarriage which her annoyance with the arrangements made is said to have brought about. A signed copy of the Act of the Scottish Council of 24 May recording the taking over of Prince Henry from the charge of the Earl of Mar to that of the Duke of Lennox is amongst the Hatfield papers (p. 102). The whole matter was one to be treated with secrecy. Sir James Sympyll in an undated letter of the same month to Cecil adds a postscript:
The King told me that the Earl of Linlithgow should be certified by me that he was too bold in that he attempted to join himself as a surety with the rest of the noblemen for the Prince's delivery to the Queen without his Majesty's warrant; and that if he should deal in rigour with them all, they should lose their heads. I pray you destroy this part of the paper and you shall hear more (p. 116).
Burghley perhaps is referring to some action of Cecil's in this affair when he writes to his brother on 13 June that the Queen "holdeth you in great estimation, excuseth in one thing your error, upon necessity"; but adds "This I must write in clouds" (p. 133).
The Queen appears to have left Stirling for Edinburgh on 27 May (p. 112). Lord Compton writing from Newcastle on 30 May tells how the Countess of Kildare, who was one of the ladies appointed to meet her at Berwick and to whom as the wife of Lord Cobham references will be made later, "would needs quit her companions at Berwick and went to Edinburgh, who will have a pleasant journey of it considering how well the town was taken up before, which I fear she will never be" (ibid). Burghley at York on 2 June had heard from Edinburgh that the Queen was purporting to set forward that same day, to be at Berwick on 4 June and at York within six days after (p. 119).
Perhaps the actual programme of her route from Berwick, which she was to leave on 6 June, to York, which she was to reach on the 11th, is set out in a table of her "jests" printed on p. 126 of this volume. That she did reach York on 11 June we know from Burghley, upon whom she seems to have made a favourable impression. "She will prove, if I be not deceived, a magnifical prince, a kind wife and a constant mistress" (p. 133).
Except for a brief account of the proceedings at Worksop on 20 June where the Queen celebrated the King's birthday and where Cecil's young son was present (p. 143), we have no further news of the journey. Lord Buckhurst was purposing to ride to Windsor on 22 June and on the following day to find out the King and Queen at the place of dining. And there "to do our duties to the Queen, the Prince and Princess, all the world flying beforehand to see her. . . . . The whole end of our purpose and desire is to do our duties to the Queen and Prince before she come to Windsor" (p. 144).
Save for the mention of her being at Basing at the beginning of September noted above, whence she was to go later to join the King at Woodstock, and for an undated letter from Lord Sydney from which it appears that the Queen was then at Abingdon and purposing to go to Yattendon on the morrow (p. 390), there is no record in these papers of her subsequent movements during the year.
Allusion has already been made to the question of her jointure which was engaging the attention of the Lord Treasurer and others during a great part of the year. The draft of a letter from her to her brother, Christian IV of Denmark, possibly in the handwriting of one of Cecil's secretaries, in which this matter is particularly dealt with, will be found on pp. 347, 348. From this it appears that the King of Denmark had interested himself to obtain a fitting settlement for his sister, who expresses her satisfaction at the arrangements.
His Majesty hath pleased to pass unto us, under his seal of this crown, such a jointure as King Henry the eighth, King of England, gave to Queen Catherine, daughter of Spain. In which we have not only had our desire to imitate her that was born a King's daughter, but his Majesty hath ordered all other things thereunto belonging, so as we are satisfied in that point of honour to be used according to our rank, and have many other extraordinary additions for the better support of our estate in respect that the change of times draws with it many other alterations.
In a note of the jointure, probably intended for enclosure in this letter and printed in full in Lodge's Illustrations of British History, the yearly amount of the jointure is given as 6,376l. (p. 348).
The copy or draft of a warrant with the receipt of the Countess of Suffolk, wife of the Lord Chamberlain, shows that certain of the Crown jewels were removed from the Tower on 8 June and delivered to the King to be given to the Queen (p. 380).
To the Queen's generally supposed attachment to the Roman Catholic religion there are a few allusions. In Gifford's brief from the papal nuncio in Flanders, of which there is a copy in this volume (pp. 206, 207), he was desired if he could see her without offence to the King to assure her of the Pope's paternal affection and of his prayers "that the King whom God has brought to the greatest kingdom on earth may be incorporated in His mystic body," there being apparently no doubt in the mind of Clement VIII of the Queen's own membership of the Roman Church. Wright, a banished priest who had somehow come to London, had told an informant of Chief Justice Popham that the Queen
is a Catholic in heart and for proof of it she hath sent unto the Infanta, desiring her to send two Capuchins to Jerusalem to pray for our King and her. And that she therefore hath sent four, whereof two for the King and Queen, and two for herself, and further affirmeth that he knoweth there is mutual intelligence between them.
Rumours of this sort were no doubt mere idle talk, intended perhaps to fan what was but a smouldering belief in the general mind into flame. But that the belief existed is shown by Burghley's statement that many ladies had come out of Lancasshire and the North to supplicate the Queen on her progress through the kingdom "to have by her means toleration of religion" (p. 119). But Anne was circumspect in such matters and Burghley had no doubt that she was "wise enough how to answer them."
There are but few references to the young family of James and Anne and these, so far as they are important, are concerned only with the care and education of Prince Henry then a boy in his tenth year. The passages which concern his transference to the charge of the Duke of Lennox and of Anne's desire to have the custody of him are noted above. We know that he accompanied the Queen to England. In July he was lodged at Oatlands with his small retinue, a place which in the opinion of Sir Thomas Chaloner was more spacious than was requisite (p. 204). Chaloner who held that "the assurance of the King's person and the whole state relieth in the preservation of the prince," advised that some persons of sufficiency be deputed to this service and suggested Sir David Fowler as principal gentleman of the prince's chamber. Fowler was already resident at Oatlands and in an application to him for service in the prince's household we get a statement as to the size of the staff. "I understand" writes Thomas Wilson (p. 203) "that there are 10 servants assigned to the prince besides those of his Chamber and other ordinaries, that is, 2 cupbearers, 2 carvers, 2 showers and 4 grooms."
More important was the question of the prince's education in view of the letter which Pope Clement VIII had sent to James shortly before his accession to the English throne by Sir James Lindsay in which he proposed that the King should allow his eldest son to be educated as a Catholic. A draft in English of James's instructions to Sir Thomas Parry to reply to this and the other points in the Pope's letter will be found in the present volume (pp. 299–302). The Latin version has been printed in Dodd's Church History. In the matter of the prince's education the reply is a decided negative:
It was an unnatural thing for us, whose education from our cradle has been always in the contrary, to deliver over the child of our body to be nourished in that doctrine, whereof ourselves were never yet persuaded. Secondly we added this other argument that if we could have assented to any such thing out of any other private end, yet he was not only ours as the child of a natural father, but as an heir apparent to our body politic, in whom our state and kingdom are essentially interested. Of that point therefore we commanded him [Lindsay] to speak so plainly, without further temporising, being in a matter so repugnant to our conscience and safety.
Of the little Princess Elizabeth, then a child just under seven years of age, we hear of her dancing in a galliarde with Cecil's young son at Worksop (p. 143).
The Bye and Main Plots. Undoubtedly, apart from the papers which relate to the change of dynasty and the adjustment of the government to the consequent altered outlook in policy, the interest of the present volume, so far as domestic affairs are concerned, is very largely taken up with the incidents connected with these two plots and the participants in them. The story of the plots has been frequently told, notably by Gardiner, and so far as the Hatfield MSS. are concerned the letters of Ralegh and many of those of Cobham and the other conspirators were printed in full by Edwards in his Life of Sir Walter Ralegh (2 vols. London, 1868). It is not necessary therefore to retell the story and all that need be here attempted is to call attention to the more important papers in this volume which do not seem to have been already utilised by the historians, although it cannot be claimed that they are likely to throw much further light on the details or to lead to any change in whatever judgments may now have been passed upon an incident about which there will probably be always a certain amount of mystery.
The story of the lesser of the two plots, the Bye or Catholic or Watson's Plot or the Surprising Treason as it is variously called, is clear enough. The earliest of the letters which relate to it in this volume is that of John Gage, the brother-in-law of Anthony Copley, one of the conspirators, to Cecil of 28 June (p. 153) after the plot had been discovered. Gage had been directed by Cecil to bring before the Council the archpriest Blackwell to whom it was known that Copley had written disclosing the scheme. Blackwell, as head of the secular clergy in England, and the Jesuits were at this time anxious to keep on good terms with the government in the hope of gaining concessions for the clergy. Gage encloses in his letter a copy of the letter he had sent Blackwell in which he says:
I was privy to a letter written by you in general terms, the contents whereof were as I remember that you understanding some intemperate persons grew discontented by reason that the King, contrary to expectation, took the money for recusancy, and hearing of some attempts to be made—but by whom or in what sort being wholly ignorant—you had written a letter to advise, and in as much as in you lay to command all priests that were obedient to you to labour to give stay and restraint to all bad attempts practised in the places of their abodes (p. 154).
The Council was persuaded that Blackwell knew some particular reason for writing in this manner, hence its reason for wishing him to be produced before it.
A letter from William Clerke, who with his fellow priest Watson was principally implicated in the plot, to the Bishop of London is dated 30 June (p. 156). Clerke who was in hiding at the time knew that warrants were out for his arrest but professes his ignorance of what practices had been alleged against him. "I see that all this proceedeth from the inveterate malice of the Jesuits and archpriest against me, without any true or just ground at all." He encloses a letter for the King (p. 157) in which he alleges his labours and pains
to oppose myself against such plots as were used by some to raise tumults in divers places against your peaceable ingress, and how I stood in the face of such who went about to persuade that no Catholic could in conscience concur to bring your Majesty into the possession of the crown and sceptre, is not unknown.
He prays God the authors of his wrongs "be not of that sort of people wherein my endeavours for your Majesty I most resisted, I mean the Jesuits."
Bancroft in forwarding these letters to Cecil thinks it "a saucy part of Clarcke to make me his carrier" and says that he was "one of the priests whom the archpresbiter named to be a plotter and a chief instrument for the surprising of his Highness's person" (p. 172).
The long unsigned paper written on behalf of the Catholic Appellants, in which all connexion with Watson is disclaimed and they are asserted to be "the first and most faithful discoverers" of his attempt and to have made instances at Rome against intermeddling in state matters, is probably of about this date (pp. 161–163).
A proclamation was issued for the arrest of Copley who it was thought might attempt to flee the country. It had reached Whitstable by 6 July (p. 172). In the meantime the Bishop of London and his fellow commissioners were inquiring into the plot and on 13 July informed Cecil that they would be able to satisfy him on the morrow "of as great and detestable treasons as ever were intended or imagined." They advised that Sir Griffin Markham whom they found "a principal dealer" should be kept as safely as possible and that Watson, "the chief contriver, deviser and setter on of this mysterious plot," should be apprehended. "He is a man alive to both sides, and if he hath breath he will either seek to be reconciled, or to go forth of the realm" (p. 184). The Lords had thought that he was either with the Bishop or in prison but the Bishop had not seen him since the last of January as he had abused his liberty as a prisoner who it was convenient at the time should be at large (p. 183).
On the following day the commissioners sent their report on Copley's declaration but had so far only apprehended Kendall, "a younger gentleman," from whom they had not been able to get much information (p. 187). He was no doubt quite a minor conspirator, if one at all, who had written to the Secretary on his arrest to protest his innocence of any treason or treachery (p. 183). On 15 July Sir Thomas Gorges had evidently got Lord Grey by command of the Council under careful watch. He was to permit him neither to write or speak to anyone without their lordships' directions (p. 192). On the same day the order for Markham and Watson to be stayed at the ports was sent out. It enclosed a description of the persons of each and of Markham's brothers (p. 193).
On 16 July the Bishop had George Brooke, Cobham's brother, at Fulham and wrote that he was desirous to speak with Cecil. The reasons that had led this man and his even more Protestant fellow conspirator Grey to throw in their lot with the priests are well known but, save for a reference in a letter of Sir John Harington to the former's discontentment about the loss of the Mastership of St. Cross's hospital which he had held to have been promised him by Elizabeth (p. 212), there is little about them in the papers before us. The Bishop had tried to persuade Brooke "that the only way to procure favour is to open all that possibly he can" but Brooke had a conceit "that he and the Lord Grey do rather deserve thanks and favour for breaking and diverting the plot than to be imprisoned" (p. 194). The Bishop adds a description of the priest Clerke, whom he would wish inserted in any proclamation that might pass.
On 22 July Brooke wrote to Cecil, his brother-in-law. In the letter (p. 207) which was partly printed by Edwards, he begs Cecil to move the King in his behalf and entreats an opportunity of speaking privately with him.
On 12 August Brooke again wrote to Cecil excusing his "long silence" as due to his ignorance of what was passing abroad. The language is obscure but he is evidently counting upon his brother-in-law's care for his interests (pp. 229, 230). He had some reason to do so though he may not have known that upon information that the new Lieutenant of the Tower (Harvey) was treating him with greater restraint than his predecessor had done, Cecil had interceded to obtain the former treatment for him (p. 226).
The Council's warrant was sent to some of the local justices in the neighbourhood of Markham's house at Beskwood to search for him but on 16 July he was not to be found there, although the justices had had information from his servants that he had been there in the morning and for all they knew was still there (p. 194). However, Markham, who had heard of the search, wrote to the Bishop on 18 July from Longford where his sister lived that he could guess at no reason for the proceeding, disingenuously suggesting that it might be some creditors had heard of a matter against him in the High Commission Court. He is ready to wait upon the Bishop at any time (p. 205).
On 29 July Waad had information from Hertfordshire that Watson had been at his house within the last three weeks and supposed that diligent search in Wales would result in his capture (p. 214). By 12 August, when interrogations to be put to him were drawn up, he must have been in custody (p. 228). Both these and his declaration of 18 August (pp. 238, 239) have been printed by Edwards. The letter from him to the Earl of Pembroke, who he hopes will take his examination or at least be present at it (p. 242), seems to have been written soon after his commitment. Clerke, who had been hiding under the name of Francis, was captured and sent up from Worcester to London on 13 August (p. 230). An undated letter from him, presumably to Markham, in which he speaks of the expectation of a Spanish landing at Milford Haven and hints at Jesuit plottings for Spain and the Archduke (pp. 222, 223) was probably written before the inception of Watson's plot but after the accession of James.
Edwards has printed the confession of Sir Griffin Markham's brother Thomas preserved here (p. 231) but not that made on 15 August by his brother Charles and signed by both brothers which is also amongst these papers (pp. 232–234). Charles describes with some detail the meeting between the three brothers at Beskwood on 16 June when Sir Griffin induced the other two to enter into the plot with him; the description of the oath which the conspirators had to take and of the object and nature of the plot does not differ materially from that in the confession already printed.
So far we have been dealing with the persons concerned in the Bye Plot. About the Main Plot there is far more mystery, largely owing to the vacillations of Cobham and the untrustworthiness of his evidence and to the contradictions even in that of Ralegh. With all this, however, we are not greatly concerned here, for no report of the actual proceedings at any of the trials exists amongst the Cecil MSS. The Main Plot was entirely an affair of Ralegh and his sometime friend Cobham and our business is to call attention to such of the papers in the present volume as illustrate their part in it and have not already been printed or otherwise utilised.
The changed position at Court that James's accession meant to Ralegh and Cobham, who in the latter days of Elizabeth were both bidding fair to become prime favourites there, has been fully described by historians and biographers. It was unlikely that James with his well known desire for an understanding with Spain would be in much sympathy with the implacable enemy of that country. His wish to restrict the number of those who were flocking to meet him on his journey to London and especially his order that his Guard should attend the body of the late Queen until after her funeral (p. 44) may have been partly dictated by a resolve to put off a meeting with the then Captain, Ralegh, as long as possible. However this be, Ralegh did succeed in obtaining access to the King by 25 April at Burghley but in the opinion of Lake "hath taken no great root here" (p. 57). The supposed disposition of their new sovereign to both Ralegh and Cobham was doubtless a matter of common report for as early as 28 April (in our then style) Henry IV of France had heard rumour that the former had been relieved of his charge of Captain of the Guard and that Cobham "has returned very discontent at the ill treatment he has received at the instance of Mr. Cicil" (p. 61). Cobham had expressed his desire in a letter to Cecil of 28 March to see the King before he came out of Scotland (p. 15) and he is stated to have been with him at Newcastle on 12 April (p. 44). He seems, however, in his earlier letters in this volume to have been in doubt as to his probable reception. In an undated letter to James, which must have been written before his first meeting with him, he says he has not hitherto pressed like other men to make himself known to his Majesty,
being secured therein as well by the soundness of your judgment as the integrity of my duty, which made me that I could not fear that other men should forestall your favour by their untimely intention, but rather hope that your Majesty should make my sincere and undivided service unto my present mistress an argument of my future fidelity unto yourself (pp. 64, 65).
In another undated letter, which must have been written about 13 May, he has heard a report that the King is to go down to his ships and is anxious for Cecil's advice "how I shall carry myself," no doubt in his capacity as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, "whether it were not fit for me to invite him to my house." He wishes, too, to know how the King has used "my Lady of Kildare" (his wife) "and whether he has spoken to me of you; and what the reports be of the speech that passed between the King and me. In London they be very strangely and falsely reported" (p. 83).
On 16 May he writes again on the report that James was going to Dover and shows the same doubt and indecision as to his conduct in such an event. "If he should come to Dover in this private manner I pray you advise me what I should do" (p. 92). His letters to Cecil of 23 and 24 May (pp. 101, 102), in the former of which he refers to his loss of credit at Court and in the latter to his desire to obtain a licence to travel, have been printed by Edwards. Frequent letters from him follow these in most of which he is harping on this desire to get away for a time. "My genius" he writes on 30 May, "is still resolved for this flight as you term it" (p. 113). On 17 June he "would very fain go to the Spawe: it is the kindliest year that come a great while: my physicians assure me that for ever I shall be free of the stone, which God is my witness is the disease that I know will most trouble me" (p. 138). Up to 10 July (p. 180), however, he continues to write on his business as Lord Warden; then on 23 July comes the letter, written from the Tower and printed by Edwards, in which he describes his purpose with regard to Lady Arabella Stuart (p. 208).
Of the actual events which led to the committal of Ralegh and Cobham to the Tower there is nothing in these papers beyond the undated letter of Matthew Questor in which he relates his part in the transactions between Aremberg and Cobham (p. 218). The first intimation we have that the two were in custody is Peyton, the then Lieutenant of the Tower's, letter of 21 July (p. 204):
According to your lordship's direction I related unto my Lord Cobham what course were best for him, as his case now standeth, he being under a king's justice that is composed of all mercy. I persuaded him to use no manner of reservation. . . . . Sir Walter Rawley standeth still upon his innocency, but with a mind the most dejected that ever I saw.
Of the letters and papers in the present volume relative to the prisoners between the time of their arrest and bringing to trial, which do not seem to have been printed already, brief attention can only be directed here to the letter from Ralegh's companion in his former travels, Lawrence Kemys, whose evidence at the trial was to be of some importance (p. 232); to the copy, with the Attorney General's notes, of Cobham's letter to his servant Mellersh (the original is at the Record Office), in which he plans for evidence that his purpose to travel had been altered prior to his arrest and makes reference to the speeches of the cubs, with which "I am burdened but with the accusation of one witness" (pp. 220, 221); and to the papers relating to the intervention of William Gosnall, "a gentleman towards the law" in Cobham's defence (pp. 271– 273, 365–367). Gosnall's apprehension by order of the Lord Chancellor and the seizure of his papers (p. 271) are an illustration of the scant opportunities allowed to persons accused of treason at this period to have counsel for their defence.
The decision to hold the trial out of London was prompted by the severity of the plague, to the prevalence of which in 1603, especially about the capital, many references will be found in the present volume. An assembly of all the judges was appointed to meet at Maidenhead on 6 September to consider the manner of their process (p. 244). The resolution to have the trial at Winchester had been arrived at by 16 October, when it was expected to take place about 7 or 8 November (p. 259). The Warden of Winchester received the King's command to remove the fellows and scholars from the college buildings which were to be yielded to the judges and serjeants during their attendance in the cathedral city (p. 279).
The trials took place on 17 November but as already stated no reports of them or any papers bearing on the actual proceedings exist at Hatfield. Of correspondence from the prisoners both before and after their trials there is much; the more important part already printed by Edwards. Among those letters not so printed notice may be made of the Warden of Winchester's letter to Cecil of 2 December in which he describes the miserable Cobham's attitude after his condemnation.
after he had . . . . . . poured out into my bosom, not without a stream of salt tears, his bitter moans how miserably he was ruined by the lewd complotments of an unnatural brother and a treacherous friend—they are his own terms—and rent his heart with mourning for harbouring therein, on discontentments held, he confessed weakly by himself but strongly revived by others—a disloyal thought against his most kind and gracious sovereign (for which he cried on bended knee God and him mercy), he meekly acknowledged the justice of God. . . (p. 303).
Then there are the letters of the Bishop of Winchester of 4 December in which he describes how Cobham still persisted in the truth of the accusations he had made against Ralegh, particularly his complicity in the alleged plot to land foreign forces at Milford Haven (p. 305); and the letter of Cobham himself to the Commissioners of 6 December, in which he signs himself "Henry Brooke" and refers to his brother having freed him of the speeches about the fox and his cubs (pp. 309, 310). Mention must also be made of the two letters from the Countess of Kildare in her husband's behalf, one of 7 December (p. 313) and the other undated (p. 380), in which attempt is made to throw all the blame of Cobham's trouble on Ralegh and George Brooke.
The story of the manner in which the principal prisoners, with the exception of George Brooke and the two priests, were kept in doubt of their ultimate fate until they were actually on the scaffold is too well known to need repetition here. It is illustrated by the letters already known of the prisoners both immediately before and after their reprieves.
Before leaving the subject of these plots attention may be called to the numerous papers relating to William Udall, a prisoner in the Gatehouse, in which no doubt with a view to obtaining his own release he offers to disclose even deeper and more serious plots, notably one to place the King of France on the English throne.
The Church and the Universities. Although questions regarding the future religious polity of the realm constitute a large part of the interest of the present volume there are comparatively few direct references to the Church of England itself. The change of reign made the appointment of new ecclesiastical commissioners for both provinces necessary (p. 93) and we have suggested lists of names for Canterbury (pp. 223, 224) and York (pp. 394, 395). A conference to be held before the King " for some matters of importance concerning causes ecclesiastical" had been announced at the beginning of September but in early October we find the Bishop of Durham hoping that in view of the danger from the plague the diet would be postponed (p. 256).
Barely a month after his accession James was giving proof of his eagerness to bestow gifts in his new patronage in the Church upon his former friends. The deaneries of Lichfield and Norwich were vacant and Lake writes on 25 April that he had bestowed one upon his old schoolmaster, Peter Yong, and the other at the suit of the Earl of Mar upon George Montgomery and had signed the bills for them (p. 57). Montgomery became dean of Norwich but in the case of Lichfield James must have been afterwards overruled. We have already seen that in another matter affecting the Church, the impropriated livings, he had to be advised against too hasty interference.
Concerning the King's own chaplains we find the Master of the Savoy alleging that with one exception it had been the custom since the reign of Mary for his predecessors to be the sovereign's chaplain and Clerk of the Closet (p. 199). The Dean of Rochester writing in fear of losing his parsonage of Braxted confesses that he held three benefices but claims to be allowed by statute as a King's or Queen's chaplain to hold that number and more (p. 352).
The ministers of Sussex appear to have been foremost amongst those who desired reform in the Church. In their petition they prayed for the removal of those ceremonies which pressed upon the conscience of many and for the establishment of a learned, godly and resident ministry with sufficient maintenance. 108 of the churches in the county (about 300 in all) they say were impropriated (p. 390). The petition may have been one of the causes which prompted James to take action in the matter of impropriations but the Sussex ministers' action called for the intervention of their bishop and we find them stigmatised as "hot reformers," sundry of whom
never saluted any university, some of them departed thence with the lowest degrees and continue Bachelors of Arts, and the best of them in Sussex is but Master of Arts, yet they dare control degrees, orders and ordinances.
Of the two Universities there is again little about that of Oxford except the account of the reception of the Spanish Ambassador there and of the manner in which Christ Church was fitted up for his lodging (pp. 245, 246). There is a reference to a cause in which All Souls College was concerned regarding certain lands of the manor of Whatborough (p. 393).
Of Cambridge, as befits Cecil's chancellorship, there is considerably more. The proclamation of James in the town is described in a letter from the Vice-Chancellor (pp. 4, 5). A number of disputes in which various colleges were concerned come before Cecil. King's College, "distracted with intestine dissension and divers inconveniences" had called upon the Bishop of Lincoln as visitor to appease the storms but as the result were in worse case than before, "his lordship's well intended proceedings strangely and tumultuously in our open chapel and his presence interrupted by a pretensed appeal to the King's Majesty, contrary to the tenor and intent of our Statutes" (p. 80). The Bishop from his own account to Cecil (p. 76) had given offence to "the younger factious sort" by his proposal to refer the proceedings in levioribus to the Provost, officers and seniors, and to reserve graviora to himself and his commissaries, "which I told them should be condignly punished and reformed." Such was the uproar excited that the Bishop, fearing riot or violence to himself, was constrained to prorogue his visitation until 19 Sept. A petition from him and the Seniors and Fellows was sent to the King who referred it to the Archbishop and Cecil (p. 93) but we do not hear further here of the matter. There is a brief reference to some small dispute between Trinity College and one White regarding the ownership of some land (p. 103). A more important matter occurred in an election to the Mastership of Bennet (or Corpus Christi) College, which had become vacant by the appointment of Dr. Jegon in the previous year to the bishopric of Norwich. The case is set out on pp. 349–351. Two elections were held by the Fellows but the first, which had apparently resulted in the re-election of Dr. Jegon, was for certain informalities in the method of calling the Fellows together pronounced to be void by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cecil, to whom the King had referred the controversy (p. 150), and the Fellows were willed "to make a new free election of any fit man whom they would, Dr. Jegon only excepted, which they yielded unto and so chose Dr. Middleton with one accord and possessed him fully in the Mastership" (p. 351). Apparently Cecil had not himself been present at the hearing of the cause at Lambeth and the Archbishop's "judicial course" was not wholly satisfactory to the Society of the College who petitioned Cecil against his treatment of their case (p. 150).
Another Cambridge College to appeal to Cecil was Emmanuel, in this case against the action of the King who had sent letters to the Fellows to choose one Samuel Birde to a fellowship, thereby hindering the freedom of election and the good intentions of their founder (p. 373).
The first letter to congratulate Cecil upon his peerage comes from the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge (p. 88).
Roman Catholics and the Pope. More than one allusion has already been made in this introduction to the hopes that the Roman Catholics had at this period that some measure of toleration was likely to be obtained for them from the new King. The correspondence shows that the commissioners for restraint of passage in the Channel and the officers in the various port towns were kept constantly busy with the exiles for religion who were returning to the country no doubt in the hope of better times. James Worsley, who seems to have constituted himself an agent of Cecil's at Dieppe in the hope of the pecuniary reward which he is insistent in claiming, probably in vain, writes on 21 May that since the Queen's death many, both Jesuits and priests, had passed at Calais (p. 98). The return of the greater number of these was no doubt made surreptitiously but a few of the more moderate sort wrote openly to Cecil to inform him either of their intention to return or of their having actually done so. Amongst the former was Henry Constable (p. 131) and amongst the latter John Stonor (p. 199), both expressing their desire to serve the King, Constable declaring "how careful he will be to behave himself to the King's liking in all actions that he can with reason require of one of his religion" and Stonor that he had never committed anything that might justly displease him. Francis Barnby, the priest, who had played some part in the disclosure of the Bye Plot and had received the King's pardon, writes to Cecil to obtain some relief for his co-religionists (p. 277):
It lieth in your hands to redress our miseries, and to take all occasions of reasonable discontentments away, by easing the heavy burden which we have long carried. Your honour can, and (I doubt not) will, make a difference betwixt Catholics, and no more condemn all priests for the disloyal attempts of one or some few than all barons or knights for the treason of a few.
On the other hand there were those of the other side who were strong in resisting any concessions. Chief Justice Popham was active in obtaining information from his agents who fed him with stories of the activities of the Jesuits against the State (p. 202) and did not hesitate to denounce such prominent ministers as Lord Treasurer Buckhurst and Sir John Fortescue as papists (p. 217). Lord Sheffield at York was alarmed at the progress of Roman Catholicism in the north:
As long as by the laws of this land they were kept under, that affection of theirs had no infection. But since of late the penalty of those laws has not so absolutely as before been inflicted, as also many graces and favours showed them, they begin to grow very insolent and to show themselves and their intentions more apparently then heretofore (p. 278).
He urges James against granting any toleration; "in policy I cannot see how there should arrive any safety to your Majesty by either alteration or toleration of religion" (p. 279).
A letter from a resident in the county of Durham in November of this year perhaps sets out the feelings of the middle class English protestants on the subject of the increasing pretensions of the papists (pp. 282, 283).
James's own policy in the matter of religion is seen in his reply to the overtures which he had received from the Pope shortly before his accession to the English throne. The nature of these overtures and of the King's treatment of them are already known from the account in Dodd's Church History, where the principal documents have been printed in full from other sources, so that it is only necessary here to call attention to the papers in the present volume dealing with the incident. These are: (1) a copy of the instructions dated 26 March to be given to Sir James Lindsay, who had brought over to the King the Pope's letter, in reply to the same (p. 5). Lindsay as we subsequently learn was unable through illness to undertake the journey at the time; (2) a copy of the brief given by the Papal Nuncio to Dr. Gifford who was to endeavour in the first place to compose the differences amongst the English Catholics and then through the Queen's influence to win over the King to the Roman Church (pp. 206, 207). This appears in Dodd from another source; (3) the letter from Bubalo, the Papal Nuncio in Paris, to James of 19/29 Sept. assuring him of the Pope's good disposition towards him and of his discountenance of all proposals against the King made to him by Catholics (pp. 249–251). The Hatfield collection contains, besides the original letter in French, a translation in Italian and an abstract in English; and finally (4) the draft together with a corrected copy of James's letter of November to the English Ambassador in Paris in which reply was directed to be made to the Nuncio to the Pope's overtures (pp. 299–302). This in a Latin version has been printed in Dodd. Whilst the language is carefully guarded it amounts to a definite refusal on the part of James to change his religion:
Yet should our constancy to that religion beget no such severity towards those who are otherwise persuaded, but that they may enjoy under us the same fruits of justice, comfort and safety, which others of our people do, till we shall find that disloyalty is covered with the mask of conscience.
Still more definite was the King's rejection of the Pope's proposal, accompanied with the offer of "such sums of money as might serve to establish us in this crown which we now possess," that the young Prince's education should be transferred to his appointment.
Foreign Relations. Much of the interest of the papers in this volume is concerned with the question of the future relations of England under its new sovereign with the different countries of Europe and the efforts of the latter to engage the sympathies of James in their respective interests.
At the outset of the new reign the Commissioners under Lord Eure who had been sent at the end of the preceding year to negotiate on a number of matters with the agents of the King of Denmark and with some of the princes of the Empire were still at Bremen and there are a number of letters from them describing their proceedings before they had definite news of the death of the Queen and decided that their mission was at an end. Up to then little progress appears to have been made in the negotiations, the time being principally occupied in long discussions as to the credentials of the Emperor's commissioners and sub-delegates and in questions of procedure (pp. 7–8, 13–15). Some success would seem to have attended the English commissioners' efforts to obtain the suspension during the colloquy of the Emperor's mandate prohibiting trade with English merchants, if not its total abolition. We find Lord Eure still busy with arrangements for financing his expenses (p. 37). On 29 March Dr. Dun reports a rumour at Bremen, which must have issued prematurely, that Elizabeth was dead (p. 15). Not until 16 April does Lord Eure acknowledge to Cecil the receipt of his letter with the news and on 22 April Lesieur writes that the commissioners are upon their return with all expedition (p. 56).
The expectation that the accession of James would bring considerable changes in the foreign policy of the country is well reflected in the papers before us. The Privy Council writing to James on 8 April recognises his amity with Spain and the Archduke in right of his crown of Scotland and is in doubt how this can be reconciled with the late Queen's policy towards the States General (p. 39). It was expected too that friendship with Spain must mean a break in Elizabeth's long standing friendship with France. Lake with James in Edinburgh reports a conversation with the King. "He told me the French Ambassador never looked merrily since he heard of his Majesty's success in England" (p. 31). Sir Robert Mansell with the fleet at Harwich reports the news from one of his servants of the orders at Dunkirk not to meddle with any ship of England, except those transporting victuals or munitions to the Dutch, and contrasts this with the same servant's reception at Calais where
he found no such alacrity of spirit among the French, where he was not suffered to mount their ramparts, nor to view their platforms, but he saw plainly that at such time as Sir Richard Leveson came into the road they traversed some of their ordnance for the better command of the harbour (p. 42).
Possibly it was due to nothing more than an oversight in the press of business consequent on the King's approach to London that we find the French Ambassador on 4 May "in some perplexity at not having had hitherto command to approach his Majesty and at having to request his audience not only for the purpose of compliments but also for business" (p. 73).
Yet the Ambassador had written cordially enough to congratulate James on his accession (p. 23) and the letter of Henry IV himself assures him of the continuation of their perfect friendship (p. 32).
Many of the letters are concerned with the reception and entertainment of the various ambassadors extraordinary who were sent to convey their sovereigns' congratulations on James's accession. Of these the most important were the Archdukes' ambassador (Aremberg), the French ambassador de Rosny (better known by his later title of Duc de Sully) and the Spanish ambassador Juan de Tassio, Count de Villa Medina. Aremberg's visit had important results because it was Cobham's alleged conversations with him that led to the latter's implication in the Main Plot. Aremberg arrived at Dover on 3 June (p. 121) and de Rosny with a train of 250 at the same port on 5 June (p. 122). Of their conversations with the King and of their negotiations with the government there is nothing in these papers. An amusing incident, however, arising out of de Rosny's punctiliousness in matters of diplomatic usage is related on the eve of his departure for France, 27 June (p. 152). He had been entrusted with a letter from James to the French King with the superscription:—A mon trescher frere le Roy treschretien, whereas the letter he had brought from his master had been addressed a Monsieur mon Frere. Sir Lewis Lewkenor was requested.
with all secrecy and speed to dispatch a messenger to the Court for the reformation of this error (as he called it), and that it would please his Majesty to write a letter with correspondent style to the same which he had formerly received and that you would send it after him with all possible speed, for he cannot deliver this which he hath received to the King his master without great scandal to his master and imputation to himself, as he saith. He hopeth such diligence shall be used that the new letter shall overtake him before his arrival at Paris, being determined to linger his journey of purpose.
He embarked on the following day,
with a good wind and a fair passage, but in his mind much discontented; both which and the cause thereof be spared not with great bitterness publicly to manifest, although he had formerly enjoined me to great secrecy therein (pp. 154, 155).
Tassio arrived in England at the end of August and proceeded to Oxford, which "after many slow and tedious journeys" he reached on 2 Sept. (p. 245). He "cometh with a very great train and carryeth himself in all things conform a la gravedado Espanola" writes Cecil to Elphinstone (p. 243). In diplomatic etiquette he was no less punctilious than de Rosny.
"He is very inquisitive after the manner of Rosny's entertainment, lest he should digest any usage inferior to his, in which respect we have been curious to observe such ceremonies in as great equality as can be." The Earl of Devonshire was sent to meet him and conduct him to Oxford, which he took "for an exceeding honour, being a man, as since he has many times told me [Lewkenor], whose name and actions he had heard very honourable report of in Spain, and was the only nobleman that above all the rest he chiefly desired to see" (p. 245). From Lewkenor we get the account of his entertainment at Oxford which has been already alluded to in this introduction. James received him at Woodstock. The question of a treaty between the two nations seems to have been broached but as the ambassador had received no particular commission to treat with James had to stand over (p. 260).
Aremberg's mission to James had no doubt been viewed with much apprehension by the Dutch and we find their vice-admiral endeavouring to put obstacles in the way of his being transported from Gravelines. He suggested Calais but Mansell, the English Admiral of the Channel fleet, was firm (pp. 108–110).
The States General in their letter to James of 19/29 Aug. express their obligation to him for the continuation of his favour but view with the greatest reluctance his inclination to treat with the King of Spain and the Archdukes (p. 239). No doubt the fear that James might be persuaded to stop the English levies to the Low Countries was uppermost and Aremberg, indeed, seems to have been persuaded that he had obtained the King's definite promise to that end, but this Cecil on James's behalf emphatically denies. "His Majesty," he says,
cannot remember any cause for such an inference. Thereby he should have promised to restrain his subjects of the common and accustomed liberty which is used by all nations, and of all times now could not have so abruptly proceeded without apparent shame to abandon all respects unto the States between whom and his crown of England divers contracts stood undissolved. It cannot be imputed to have any partiality, considering that the same liberty is left the Archdukes to be furnished with any numbers of his Majesty's subjects (pp. 237, 238).
The last was a view of the matter which would hardly have obtained in the days of the great Queen and the Dutch, if they had been aware of it, could not have been reassured. Whether due to inaction on their part from uncertainty as to the future policy of their country or to the mere accident of non-preservation we have here few of those letters from the English captains in the Netherlands which are so numerous in the preceding years and will be again in the following one. One letter there is from Sir Horace Vere written from near Bois-le-duc, which the States with a great army were besieging this year (p. 244), describing an action in which ten companies of English and three of Scots had with other companies been engaged and had defeated an attempt of the enemy to interpose himself between the Mutineers and the Allies and to cut off the latter's supplies (pp. 255, 256). Very little is heard here of the progress of the siege of Ostend. The Privy Council in its letter to James of 8 April mentions the news that the Archduke has taken three works outside the town and expects its early capture (p. 38). On the other hand, in the undated and anonymous letter, which has only tentatively been attributed to the year 1603, the writer describes the good effect of letting in the sea and does not now much fear the town; "indeed, if the town should be lost I know not how there might be any hope of keeping any place" (p. 347).
Amongst papers in this volume dealing with the affairs of other countries than those already mentioned it must suffice here to call attention to the letter of Sir Anthony Sherley written on 9 May from Florence (pp. 77–80) in which he favours an approach to Spain as a counterpoise to the growing power of France, although he adds:
I will never say that you should trust the Spaniard, for I know them a people so wedded to their vast and proud designs, which they could never hope to accomplish all honourably, that they have given over themselves to craft, to artifice, to abusing of the world, and to all sort of treachery which may serve their own interest;
a copy in Italian of a letter from the Sultan of Turkey to Henry IV of France complaining of piracies committed by the English (pp. 225, 226); and a long letter from Stephen Lesieur, who had passed on into Mecklenburg from Bremen, dated 17 Aug. and containing much varied news chiefly of the affairs of the Empire (pp. 234–237).
Naval and Military Affairs. The year 1603 was one of little or no activity in warlike matters either on sea or land so far as England was concerned. The labours of Sir Robert Mansell in command of the Channel Fleet were devoted to convoying the numerous embassies that came to congratulate James on his accession. His letter of 29 May describing his colloquy with the Dutch naval authorities with reference to the convoy of the Archdukes' ambassador has already been referred to. It will be found on pp. 108–110. The Sultan of Turkey, as we have seen, complained of English piracies. The complaint was probably not unfounded for we find here complaints of such offences even from our own countrymen. The conditions of peace were apparently driving our mariners to find an outlet for their energies. "All sailors of late" we are told "are fallen into such vile order that they shame not to say that they go to sea to rob all nations, and unless the captain consent thereto, he is not fit for this time" (p. 127). The Mayor of Plymouth complains of the number of sailors and other masterless men, that heretofore have been at sea in men of war, and being now restrained from that course, pestered the town and stole boats out of the harbour at night and robbed both English and French (p. 151). Similar complaints are made by the Mayors of Bristol (p. 168) and Dartmouth (p. 170). The Earl of Nottingham in an undated letter refers to the piracies committed in the Straits and means, after he has spoken with the King, to proclaim all such men of war as are in the Straits pirates (p. 87). On the other hand, we have a long account of alleged offences committed against English merchant ships by Venetian galleys (pp. 158–160).
There are several references to the Spanish carrack whose capture in the preceding year was so great a matter for rejoicing. The commissioners for the sale of the goods were ordered by the Lords in April to deliver the suitors a full halfpart in goods (p. 51). But the Lord Treasurer was endeavouring in the same month to raise a loan of 20,000l. in the City and offering the carrack goods in pawn to the value of 30,000l. or else buy so much of the goods as will raise 20,000l. Money, however, was evidently tight at the time as the Lord Mayor felt bound to report (p. 64). The business of the sale of the goods had not been completed by the end of the year (p. 324).
As to the Army there is still less to which attention can be called in this volume. The question of the levies for the Low Countries and of the new King's attitude in the matter has already been mentioned here in another connexion. The Privy Council reported to James on 8 April that of the 3,000 volunteers that the late Queen had permitted the States General to raise in the country, "in spite of help given by taking up by authority of loose vagabonds," not 500 had been returned (p. 38). There are a few references to the Army in Ireland but the state of peace to which that country had been brought at the end of Elizabeth's reign make them of small interest. There are muster rolls of the garrisons of Sandown Castle (pp. 251, 252) and Deal Castle (p. 261) but the garrison town whose future, in view of the changed relations between England and Scotland, was of real interest at this time was Berwick. The governor, Sir John Carey, writes on 15 June that he had heard at Court that the King intended either to dissolve the garrison or to place a Scotsman, Lord Home, as governor there (p. 135). Naturally the expectation of dissolution or, at least, of substantial reduction in the establishment alarmed the members of the garrison who feared loss of occupation and we have numerous letters from the muster master, John Crane, and others on the subject. The mayor and aldermen pleaded with Cecil for consideration of the "discomforted estate" of the garrison:
The town and garrison are and must be all one body; the garrison's stipends are so small and their families so great, and they have lived so long together, that the townspeople are content the garrison shall have every liberty with them: and they will want together (p. 336).
They petitioned the King much to the same effect:
The pay of 15,000l. per annum, the greatest part whereof was yearly exchanged in the town, is now withdrawn. The burgesses for the most part applied themselves for entertainment of the soldier. The poor families of the dissolved garrison are remaining still in Berwick to the number of 6,000 or 7,000 persons unprovided of means to live; yet in respect of their birth and residency there, by the law are there to be provided for. The town shall want their chiefest support by reason the Governors and great officers of the military state shall be absented (p. 351).
Eventually at the end of the year a new establishment was decided upon and sent down by the Lord Treasurer. Some observations upon it will be found in the letter of 29 Dec. of the deputies of Berwick to Lord Cecil (p. 343).
Scotland. Except for the new relations between the two kingdoms and the part that Scottishmen were to take in English affairs there is little in the present volume regarding the internal state of Scotland to which attention need be here called. A memorial drawn up by the Privy Council of matters to be laid before the King (p. 49) shows that the question of the general naturalisation of Scottishmen was under consideration and there was talk of the Union between the two kingdoms (p. 346), which it was to take more than a hundred years to bring to fulfilment. Differences in the exchange between England and Scotland were a serious matter to the members of his suite who were to accompany James to his new kingdom (pp. 26, 27).
From Sir James Elphinston, the Secretary of State in Scotland, we get a favourable account of affairs in that country six months after James had departed from it:
His Majesty's service in this country has good success; the Highlands and borders which were the principal matter of all our perturbations are nothing less quiet nor the inland. The Isles have given proof of a beginning of their obedience, and we hope by the dealing of the Earl of Argyle who has enterprised the accomplishment of that work that his Majesty shall receive his rents out of the most remote isles of this kingdom as peaceably as any other part thereof (p. 273).
There are some echoes of the Gowrie affair. An arrest was made in London in June of a man who confessed himself to be Patrick Ruthven, one of the late Earl's brothers, but according to the Lord Mayor's report was found upon examination not to be that party (p. 127). He may or may not be the Patrick Ruthwin who is returned in an undated list (probably of July) of prisoners in the Tower (p. 215). Another arrest of one suspected to be a brother of the Earl of Gowrie was made in Yorkshire this year (p. 376).
The numerous and long reports of George Bowes, who had been sent to prospect for gold about Crawford Moor in Lanarkshire, are of some mineralogical interest.
Ireland. The cessation of hostilities in Ireland makes the history of that country for the time being comparatively uneventful. There are numerous references to affairs there but to none perhaps of the first importance unless we except the question of the coinage which was causing much dissatisfaction. As we have seen it was James's over-readiness to remedy this grievance without full consideration of the special difficulties, which aroused apprehension in Cecil of the King's political wisdom. Apparently it was a question of maintaining the exchange or of improving the standard of silver (p. 365). The latter course seems to have been adopted but the Lord Treasurer's letter forwarding the indenture for the new coinage for signature (p. 355) is undated.
Of the complete submission of Tyrone we have an instance on the arrival of two Spanish ships on the coast of Connaught with treasure and munition for him and Rory O'Donnell evidently in ignorance of the fact that the rebellion was at an end. Letters brought from the ships to Tyrone were taken by him unopened to Lord Mountjoy (p. 111). In May, Mountjoy left Ireland for England bringing Tyrone with him but leaving O'Donnell, "in whom I have great confidence," to govern certain parts of Ireland (p. 112). On 30 May he was at Beaumaris, making all the speed he could to London, though "an ill rider of post." He had reached Dunstable on 5 June intending to be at Barnet that night and to send Tyrone thence to Wanstead, "where I think it fit he should stay till I further know the King's pleasure" (p. 123):
I think it will be necessary that it may please the King to make some public declaration to avoid both violence or disgrace in speech to him before he come abroad, for I see the people much inclined to it, and I am assured that to give him discontentment in either may exceedingly prejudice the King's service.
The King's signed bill granting Mountjoy Exchequer and Duchy lands to the total yearly value of 400l. for his notable services in Ireland in suppressing rebellions and publishing there James's right to the succession of the Crown of England is dated 17 June (p. 138).
Another Irishman whom Mountjoy had brought over with him to England was Sir Neale Garve who had assumed the name of O'Donnell but was evidently regarded with some apprehension by Rory O'Donnell (p. 112). He had broken out of prison whilst in the custody of Sir Henry Docwra (p. 145) but claimed to have served the late Queen against the rebels four years previously and to have killed O'Donnell's brother (p. 383). The correspondence relating to him here amplifies the rather meagre particulars concerning him in the Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland in the Record Office.
Amongst the letters in this volume written from Ireland may be more particularly mentioned here as throwing some light on the course of Irish affairs those of Sir George Carew, Lord President of Munster (pp. 6, 8, 359), of Henry Dillon (pp. 126, 132) and of Sir Arthur Chichester (p. 196).
Lady Arabella Stuart. There are but few references in the present volume to this lady whose nearness to the throne might have been expected to increase her importance in the country on the death of Elizabeth. The three letters from her, all written in June from Sheen, have been printed in Miss Bradley's Life and call for no comment here. James on his accession was prepared to treat her kindly and ordered her removal from the uncongenial guardianship of the old dowager Countess of Shrewsbury, placing her for the time with the Earl of Kent. "Forasmuch" he writes to the Earl in April (p. 65)
as we are desirous to free our cousin the lady Arabella Stuart from that unpleasant life which she hath led in the house of her grandmother with whose severity and age, she, being a young lady, could hardly agree, we have thought fit for the present to require you as a nobleman of whose wisdom and fidelity we have heard so good report to be contented for some short space to receive her into your house, and there to use her in that manner which is fit for her calling.
On 11 May the King wrote again to the Earl, having been informed of Arabella's desire to present her love and duty to him, expressing his pleasure that she repair to the Court at Greenwich in company with her aunt, the Countess of Shrewsbury,
where we shall be willing to confer with her and make her know how well we wish her in regard of her nearness in blood and how much it doth content us to understand so much of her good carriage of herself as we do by report of her aunt (p. 82).
She was no doubt free of any complicity with the designs of the authors of the Main Plot, if indeed they ever harboured any intention to put her on the throne. This, however, Cobham's somewhat ungallant reference to her in his letter of 23 July from the Tower (printed by Edwards) directly denies (p. 208); as also by implication does George Brooke's answer just before his execution to a question of the Bishop of Chichester (p. 309).
Lord Cecil. The year 1603 may perhaps be regarded as the most important one in the life of Sir Robert Cecil. It brought, as has already been said, the successful accomplishment of those plans which during the last days of Elizabeth's reign he had been making for the peaceful devolution of the crown, and, with this, general recognition of his position as the new sovereign's principal councillor; it saw his elevation to the peerage; it saw him faced with the problems of dealing with alleged conspiracy by one of his own relations and of contributing to the downfall of another who bade fair at the end of Elizabeth's reign to be his great rival in the control of the affairs of the nation. It might be expected that in the correspondence and papers of one in such a position there should be much of personal interest touching their owner and perhaps something to lift the mask a little from the face of one who has been called the most inscrutable of English statesmen.
Sir Robert Cecil was raised to the peerage as Lord Cecil of Essendon on 13 May, 1603, and the first letter congratulating him on his new honour comes from the Master of Jesus College in his own University (p. 88). Of other honours and emoluments which were his in addition to his Principal Secretaryship he retains his Mastership of the Court of Wards (p. 276), his Chancellorship of his University as we have seen, his farm of the custom of silks (p. 124) and his High Stewardship of Hull (p. 208). He becomes Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports on the fall of Cobham (p. 307). He is asked to become High Steward of Doncaster (p. 182). To the presents that were then customary to one in his position but may perhaps be taken also as some measure of his popularity there are again numerous references. These again largely point to his interest in sport. A Barbary falcon from Count Aremberg may be particularly noticed (p. 74); two Irish greyhounds and two brace of greyhounds (ibid.); and hawks innumerable. There are delicacies also for the table; pheasants and other game, "sparagos" and fruit.
That with so much honour and popularity he should have his enemies and detractors is to be expected. We hear of slanderous rumours and accusations spread about him in many quarters. A Puritan preacher in the West Country proclaims it from the pulpit that Cecil was wholly for the Infanta and was as duly prayed for in Spain as the Queen was in England when she lived (p. 82). In Dublin it was rumoured that he was in great disgrace with the King and his offices given away (p. 132). In Cheshire a report that he had been committed to the Tower was traced ultimately to a blind man in Shropshire (p. 188). At Colchester in the middle of the coronation celebrations slanderous speeches were openly published about him; that he had secretly fled from Court and that the King had made special proclamation with promise of knighthood and other recompense to them that could apprehend him (p. 213). His life also, as well as the King's, it was rumoured was threatened by the authors of the Plots (p. 379).
Cecil's character has already been cleared by such writers as Edwards and Gardiner, largely from the evidence of the Hatfield papers, of any strong personal animus and injustice in his treatment of the authors of the Main Plot. The letters to him from Ralegh and Cobham before and after the trial are expressive of gratitude for his conduct towards them and show that they expected nothing less than justice from him.
Something of Cecil's own feelings when what he considered unjust accusations of harsh dealing had been brought against him may be learnt from the undated draft (fn. 2) of a letter by him with reference to his management of the two parks at Brigstock, which he had had at fee farm from Queen Elizabeth (pp. 361, 362). He points out in the first place that in addition to the rent to the Crown he paid 300l. a year to the Lord Chamberlain and his lady for their lives in survivorship and had paid moreover a round sum of money to Elizabeth.
But I write not as if I had a dear pennyworth, for her Majesty intended it to me both as a reward for my service, and as an argument of her favour, of which gift to me, my office excepted, which I have had but 4 years, if ever all the records of England can show that I hold five pounds of land or lease to me or mine, I will renounce my sovereign's favour, which I hold dearer than life.
He goes on to express gratitude that he had been charged with no more capital crimes than the disparking of a couple of parks. As, however, it was the King's pleasure he had commanded all proceedings to be stayed.
Howsoever therefore this may confirm the triumph of some base enemies, that I am made the first example, yet considering that his Majesty commands this in respect of his own recreation, for whose satisfaction my blood should not be spared, I sent this commandment to my servants, and will for the present make no other suit, but that his Majesty will cause some indifferent persons to examine whether I have done anything contrary to law or justice, or whether I have not used that charity towards the poor tenants of Brigstock which never was used before.
Something more of Cecil's inmost feelings is perhaps to be seen in his letters to the Master of Gray, the first (pp. 58–60) apparently written "in choler" under a misapprehension as he afterwards confesses (p. 63). He acknowledges in the first place the receipt of a letter from the Master
full of wise and friendly advices wherein although I cannot equal you in the first, . . . . yet for any office of honest friendship, I am able to pay you to the full as well as you can do me; honesty having ever been the greatest study of my life.
After giving his personal impressions of the King—the letter is dated 25 April just after Cecil's first meeting with him—he goes on to describe Gray's part in labouring to draw him in the late Queen's time to particular overtures of service to James, but continues:
since I heard something which should proceed from your mouth to the King of me, . . . I confess I grew suspicious that your endeavour to draw me to that course proceeded rather out of some particular end of your own, than merely out of the clear fountain of goodwill which you so much professed.
He then refers to a report said to have come from Gray's own mouth that the beginning of their friendship had its foundation upon their meeting "in a bourdelle."
Now, Sir, how strange and unworthy an invention this were to have proceeded from you, I refer to your own judgment, whose own knowledge of the monstrous impiety and untruth thereof cannot but convince you; . . . for although I may have had my frailties as all the sons of Adam, yet I have ever scorned that opprobious base course of life, wherein if I had fallen you, nor the greatest subject in England, should not have had it in your power to have proscribed my reputation.
This report is doubtless the "false child which was fathered on" Gray, to which Cecil alludes in an undated copy of a letter (p. 63), which was presumably written a few days later. Herein the writer shows his natural caution when he says that although he cannot conceal the fact that he had written in choler,
yet I never resolve of any such matter as the change of former friendships (knit upon honest grounds) whilst passion governs, because that time is unfit for such resolutions.
Cecil would seem again to have been drawn a little into some revelation of himself in his answer to a letter of Sir John Harington's which he appears to resent as "peremptory and captious" (pp. 269, 270):
Although I have not so good leisure as you have to write, nor have so well studied other men's humours as you, yet I conceive I have that knowledge which is most necessary, which is to know God and myself: and therefore, although I love counsel, and have been taught patience by undergoing the sharp censures of busy brains, yet your advice at this time to me to banish all passion, but compassion, was as superfluous as many other labours of yours, which I could never con without book.
The whole letter seems to be written under more emotion than Cecil is wont to exhibit but the numerous corrections in the draft made in his own hand would point to its effect not being wholly unstudied.
Some of the letters to Cecil from his half brother, Lord Burghley, are interesting as showing the feelings entertained towards him by one who was so much his senior in years although his inferior in political eminence. Burghley indeed more than once writes as though under a grievance and hardly used (e.g. pp. 31, 106). But he professes nothing but love, entirely free from envy, for his brother.
You shall find me always the same brother in love though not in power I have always of late professed unto you, and so I hope I shall find of you the like; for I assure you, there shall no emulation nor envy of your greatness, whatsoever some of the world may think, dispossess my love from you (p. 106).
In a later letter he expresses himself more fully to the same effect (p. 132). "You have had advantage of me by reason of your fortune and place," he writes:
Let this letter be kept as a witness against me if you shall not find in me towards you a love void of envy or mistrust, and as glad of your honour and merit as a dear brother ought to be. For I am not partial, but confess that God hath bestowed rarer gifts of mind upon you than on me. I know you have deserved far greater merit both of his Majesty and your country, and if it lay in me in power as it doth in wish there is no honour that can be laid upon you whereof I would not participate of the joy and contentment with you.
There is a pleasing account of Cecil's little son William, then a boy of twelve or thirteen, whilst with the Queen and royal children at Worksop (p. 143). The Queen took him in her arms and kissed him twice, tying a jewel in his ear. When after the prince had danced, the Queen commanded such of his age as attended him to dance and no one taking it on them, Cecil's son "stepped forth in comely and lowly manner and took out the young sweet Princess, and danced his galliarde. The excellence of his spirit and grace helped what he wanted in the exercise of dancing."
In conclusion, attention may be called to some matters of miscellaneous interest which occur in the present volume.
Allusion has already been made to the plague which was prevalent in London in the summer of 1603. It is frequently referred to but notice may be more particularly called to the letter of 14 July describing the infected areas in Westminster (pp. 189, 190) and a list of the infected houses there (p. 215), to the mention of the petition inhibiting all dwelling in or near London from repairing to Court (p. 192), to a letter describing the difficulty of asserting authority in the control of the disease in the area between Westminster and Temple Bar, especially in the Liberty of the Savoy, where we read of a bowling alley "whither all kind of common people without respect of contagion 'promiscually' resort, not sparing the sabbath day" and of the swine which were without order in every unclean place about the street day and night (pp. 227, 228), and to the inability of the City Marshal to enforce the Lord Mayor's order that not more than six persons should accompany the corpses of those dead of the plague to their burials (p. 266).
Several letters concerning the dispute about the possession of Durham Place in the Strand, in which both Ralegh and Cecil were interested parties (pp. 34, 54, 111).
A number of letters from Sir John Harington who seems at this period to have been in the Fleet prison for debt and was anxious to obtain the forfeiture of his cousin Sir Griffin Markham's estate. The last and the longest of these letters (pp. 267–269) drew from Cecil the somewhat sharp reply which has been quoted above.
There is an account of a challenge to a duel which was declined (p. 117).
An account of travelling charges from Berwick to London and back (p. 124).
A reference to Sir Thomas Sherley's son being a prisoner in the hands of the Turks (p. 137).
Two letters from Francis Bacon (pp. 166, 193) referring more especially to his hopes of obtaining a knighthood have already been printed by Birch.
The question whether a precedent existed for the appointment of two lords lieutenant in a county (p. 230).
The account of the Earl of Cumberland's successful methods in bringing about a more peaceful state of affairs in the North Parts of the country (pp. 258, 260).
Sir Arthur Gorges's account of his bid for Queen Elizabeth's favour in the matter of the wardship of his daughter by the present of "a bracelet of great pearls, fastened with a locker of diamond and rubies, which cost 500l." (p. 276).
A dispute about the election of the mayor of Sandwich where "the meaner sort of the commoners" had elected a man "exempted by reason of bloodshed to be mayor" (pp. 307, 308).
Sir Edward Coke's claim that the clerkship of the outlawries went with the Attorney Generalship (p. 368).
The payment of 13s. for "batel dores and shittlecokes" (p. 46).
Mention of resort to a bonesetter at Grantham to be dressed after a sore fall on the road from London (p. 54).
M. S. Giuseppi.