Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 19, 1607. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1965.
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Although the year 1607 cannot be described as a particularly memorable one in British, or indeed, European History, a number of events are mentioned in this Calendar which should be singled out at once as particularly deserving of attention, even if the documents here printed do not invariably yield fresh information of importance. It was in this year, for example, that there occurred the rising of the peasantry in the Midlands which however receives surprisingly little attention in these pages (there are scattered references to these disorders on pp. 150, 161, 162, 175–6, 198, 208, 314 497). It was in this year that two important, although limited, steps towards the eventual union of England and Scotland were taken by the repeal of the hostile laws, and the preparation of the collusive case of the post nati (see for example p. 426 and pp. 310, 452–3 with references there given). There are some prophetic words on the significance of the voyages of colonization to Virginia (pp. 89–90, 202, 208–9) and Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, founded on 14 May 1607, is referred to on page 418. Of almost equal symbolic significance was the flight from Ireland nearly four months later of the great Earl of Tyrone which was to leave Ulster, formerly "the ultima Thule of Gaeldom" (fn. 1), likewise fully exposed to plantation.
On the Continent the event of capital importance was the conclusion of an armistice between Spain and the United Provinces, which two years later was to be formalized in the Twelve Years Truce. There are a number of references to negotiations in this Calendar, some of which are specified elsewhere in this Introduction. The breach between Venice and the Papacy, healed by French diplomacy, is also the subject of some correspondence; whilst the reports of disorders in the Grisons, of the siege of Donauwörth, of the rebellion against Sigismund III of Poland, and of the confusion in Hungary after the sudden death of Bocskay, all resemble the distant and intermittent mutterings of a storm soon to break over Central Europe with unprecedented violence.
The year was marked by the appearance of a comet which was interpreted in the traditional manner as a sign of divine displeasure (pp. 268, 273). Its next appearance however occurred in a more rational age; for there can be little doubt that the comet seen from Lisbon and Seville in 1607 must have been the same as that observed by Halley in 1682, when for the first time the date of a comet's return was successfully predicted.
The King and Court.
At the beginning of the year the Court was at Whitehall and on Twelfth Night the King attended the wedding of his favourite James, Lord Hay with the daughter of Salisbury's neighbour Edward, Lord Denny; Campion's masque was performed (p. 6). By 16 January the Court had arrived at Royston (p. 11) and apart from brief visits to London the King remained there until April (see Index, and Nichols Progresses of James I vol. 2) when he moved to Newmarket and Thetford (pp. 85, 93). May was spent in or near London and on 22nd the King and Queen took possession of Theobalds offering Hatfield to the Earl of Salisbury in exchange. An entertainment was composed by Ben Jonson for the occasion. A contemporary French translation of this entertainment preserved among the Hatfield archives was perhaps made for the benefit of the Prince of Joinville who was also present; it is referred to on page 138. (fn. 2) June and most of July were spent at Whitehall, Greenwich or Richmond.
During this period the King attended two dinners in the City and it is highly probable that the Songs printed on pages 490–92 were sung at the second of these—given by the Merchant Tailors on 16 July. Song 1 for example, evidently a song of welcome to those members of the Royal Family present—in this case, the King and Prince Henry, for the Queen, although invited did not attend—was clearly written for singers acting the part of sailors. Contemporary records of the Company (of which Nichols makes partial use), inform us that a ship hung aloft in the Hall in which were three men "apparelled in watchet silk like seamen" and "eminent for voice and skill" who sang to his Majesty, "being assisted and seconded in their several songs by a cunning lutanist". It was they also who sang a melodious song of farewell to the King before his departure (Song 4), which pleased him so much that he caused it to be sung three times over. It is likely therefore that Song 2 accompanied the dinner itself. Although Ben Jonson certainly collaborated in the arrangements for the King's entertainment on this occasion, it does not follow that he had any part in the composition of these particular songs, and the mss, are definitely not in his handwriting.
By 24 July, after a visit to Oatlands, the King was at Windsor (pp. 184–5, 192); he moved to Farnham some time between 27 July and 2 August (pp. 197, 203)—information which is not given in Nichols' Progresses; in addition the latter's statement (vol. 2, pp. 144–5) that Lancelot Andrewes preached before the King at Romsey on the anniversary of the Gowrie Conspiracy (5 August) is not borne out by Lake's letter from Winchester of that date (pp. 207–8). By 8 August the Court was at Beaulieu (p. 210). Its stay there and at Salisbury are dated by Nichols; and from Dunbar's letter of 1 September, it would appear that the Court visited Bagshot en route for Windsor from Salisbury early in September (p. 239). It is evident from this Calendar that for nearly all October the Court was at Royston to which it had returned at the end of the previous month. For the first half of November James was in London (see Nichols, op. cit.). On 20 November, if Aston's forecast was correct, the King moved from Royston to Newmarket (p. 330) and he seems to have remained there until 10 December (pp. 371, 374). (fn. 3) With his return to London shortly before Christmas—as recorded by Nichols—correspondence between the Court and the Earl of Salisbury ceased to be necessary.
". . . the confusion of business before my parting made me to forget those principal things whereof I should then have put you in remembrance" (p. 441). The King's remark sums up very well the disorder introduced into the administration both by his peregrinations and also by his entire mode of life. A box, (possibly containing letters?), is reported to have gone astray (p. 11); "the boy of Royston" who delivered the letters "fell and hurt himself and was fain to stay all night in the fields till company came in the morning" (p. 368); or again, "The letters from the Council with the dispatch of Ireland" are said to have taken 24 hours to reach Newmarket, "which is not much above two mile an hour", but as Lake goes on to explain, the posts being inadequately provided with horse, "cannot possibly serve the turn of so much conveyance as is used from hence" (p. 360).
On other occasions Salisbury's letters are reported to have arrived soon after six in the morning but the King was already on horseback so Lake could obtain no reply (p. 205; cf. p. 293). The King remembers that he had forgotten sundry things in his last letter (p. 362); he puts off reading those from Salisbury, lies abed late, or is in no disposition to sign anything owing to a swollen ankle (pp. 207, 374, 85). It would be inaccurate to describe the King as permanently indifferent or irresponsible in his attitude to business; nor would it be fair to dismiss him as simply bone-idle. Lake refers for example to the care with which James perused a letter from the Council and the deliberate nature of his reply (p. 360). "Our master," writes Salisbury elsewhere, "seldom starteth at the sight of a long letter." (p. 368); and there is more than one letter from the King in this Calendar which shows that he could be remarkably shrewd in his assessment of a situation and go to considerable trouble to explain his point of view. The trouble really lay in the hap hazard and ill-co-ordinated nature of a character in which existed side by side statesmanlike perspicacity and petty ill-temper, a scholar's inclinations with an excessive absorption in the chase.
The letters to Salisbury from Lake and others in attendance on the King reflect admirably this curious dualism, concerned as they are with keeping him informed of his royal master's doings and wishes. The King, we read, is hard at work on his Apology for the Oath of Allegiance in answer to Bellarmine's letter to the Archpriest Blackwell (pp. 343–4, 375). The King, we read, is not a little offended that a hare warren is not finished and moved to choler and ill words by such delays (p. 335). Such amusing trivialities as the preposterous behaviour of Lady Buckhurst bulk far larger in the correspondence from Court than their importance warrants, considering that serious matters of State —the case of Nicholas Fuller, the case of the postnati, the negotiations with the Dutch or the activities of Tyrone abroad— were absorbing Salisbury's attention at the time.
The Royal Family.
For the second year in succession an infant Princess died (p. 247). (fn. 4) The Queen took the news philosophically; the King, although "much troubled" by his daughter's sickness, did not interrupt his hunting to attend her funeral or to visit the Queen and left it to Salisbury to console her and dissuade her from ordering an expensive funeral (p. 308)—although in the event, both Princesses, like the King's mother, were to be buried in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster where monuments were erected in their memory (for a reference to work on the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots completed five years later see p. 100).
It is clear from this Calendar and other contemporary sources that the King and Queen spent the greater part of the year apart; "the happy and much desired meeting" between them specifically referred to on page 436, would seem to have taken place, from internal evidence, soon after Princess Mary's death and to have been of brief duration for Anne of Denmark seldom left the vicinity of London. The royal children likewise saw little of their parents. "The Prince is come this morning [from Nonesuch] to pass the time all this day with his Majesty" writes Dunbar [from Richmond] (p. 164); two passing references suggest that the King may have seen Princess Elizabeth in April (p. 104), and that her older brother paid her a visit later (p. 299: cf. p. 334). In the following year she went to live at Court. Lady Carey, who had the custody of the Duke of York and took her responsibilities seriously, addressed a characteristically forthright letter to the King pointing out that his diet was far from adequate (pp. 412–3).
However though James saw little of his children, he chose their guardians and tutors wisely. There is a pleasant bantering wit about the various messages from Prince Henry to the Earl of Salisbury in this Calendar which leave one in no doubt as to his intelligence; and the two lines of doggerel on page 242 suggest that he was already regarded as a promising youth in more than one quarter.
The Earl of Salisbury.
During the course of the years the Earl was given a number of presents by his admirers. On New Year's Day he was sent "a little cup" and "a present of Frankfort books" (the latter being followed within 48 hours by a begging letter). Other gifts mentioned include a set of chairs from the Queen, a horse, a brace of bucks, an eyrie of falcons, four rabbits, three score deer for Chetterwood Chase and possibly a nightgown (pp. 1, 2, 22, 104, 136, 165, 241, 242, 358). As usual he was kept incessantly busy by a multitude of preoccupations both important and trivial. In addition to innumerable petitions addressed or referred to him—of which those printed at the end of this volume are a representative cross-section—he was obliged to intervene in a number of weighty questions affecting the royal family: for example should Prince Henry be allowed to have swimming lessons (pp. 447–8); or why did Lord St. John allow his servants to kill deer in an area where the King had expressed a wish to hunt? (p. 191).
While the Court meandered about the countryside in characteristic Jacobean style Salisbury was kept at his desk in London for most of the year. Some of his activities as Principal Secretary are dealt with elsewhere in the Introduction. He was however also inter alia Chancellor of the University of Cambridge —an office which seems to have involved him in a good deal more trouble than, it is to be hoped, falls to the lot of any twentieth-century holder of the title. Thus the Master and Fellows of Christ's objected to the King's instructions that they should elect a Trinity man "into the place of a Fellow" (pp. 212, 405); and the Master and Fellows of Corpus objected to one of their Fellows being allowed to hold a benefice as well (pp. 362–3). There was apparently little difficulty in arranging for a satisfactory compromise in the dispute between the King and St. John's (pp. 66, 70); but the clandestine election of a new Master of Gonville and Caius before his predecessor was dead, caused a great deal of trouble and this Calendar contains far more references to this affair than are to be found, for example, to the sudden and disturbing flight from Ireland of the Earl of Tyrone. It is clear that this complicated wrangle (in which accusations of popish sympathies were exchanged between the opposing groups of Fellows) was handled by Salisbury with great care, tact and skill. Its solution at the end of the year by the appointment of a new Master was greeted by a chorus of praise from the Fellows and Vice-Chancellor alike. Whether or not the profuse thanks of the disputants were sincere, at least the quarrel apparently ended satisfactorily with "a little short drinking" shortly before Christmas (see especially pp. 203–4, 407–11 with references there cited, and pp. 381–3, 385–6).
Another matter which gave Salisbury some cause for anxiety was the education of his son—still an undergraduate at St. John's. Their letters reveal to us the picture of a highly intelligent and affectionate father uneasily conscious of the manifest backwardness and ignorance of his only son, and uncertain who was the most to blame—his son, his son's tutors or himself (pp. 465–6). Cranborne's dutiful assurances that he intended to work hard (p. 153) and the Earl's qualified praise of his improved handwriting (p. 460; cf. p. 131) do not really detract from the impression that his son must have been a bitter disappointment to him—an impression which is not weakened by an examination of Cranborne's exercise book (briefly described on pp. 520–1).
There are some brief references to Lady Frances Cecil in this Calendar. The letter from Houghton, Salisbury's steward, on page 125 evidently concerns her. It is a reasonable assumption that she was evacuated from London in Houghton's care on Salisbury's orders; for in a letter written four days later to his son the Earl advised him to postpone his journey to London because "it has pleased God to visit my house with sickness, which makes me fearful of all my family" (p. 131). It is not unlikely that the sickness was the plague (mentioned regularly in the Westminster Bills of Mortality printed in this Calendar). However this may be, it is evident that Lady Frances was staying with her cousin Elizabeth, Countess of Derby at some time during the year (pp. 423–4). Houghton's letter was written from Lichfield and it is reasonable to conclude from its ending that his ultimate destination may have been Knowsley.
Of some interest is Lord Harington's suggestion that Lady Frances should marry his son (p. 45). Since Harington was the guardian of the Princess Elizabeth, and his daughter, the Countess of Bedford, was a leading figure at Court and a favourite of the Queen, the alliance was not to be despised. However Lady Frances was to marry Henry, Lord Clifford three years later.
At the date when the plague struck Hatfield (p. 93) the Earl was still the owner of Theobalds, but it is evident that very soon after the exchange of the two estates had taken place he was pushing forward with plans for building at Hatfield (pp. 226, 229, 240).
There is little mention of other members of his family—although there is an interesting exchange of letters between the Earl and his older brother (pp. 214, 232); and further evidence of Salisbury's capacity for plain speaking when he thought the occasion demanded it is provided by his reply to that hot-tempered retired military gentleman, Sir John Smythe, who with a candour especially commendable in a sycophantic age prefaced his request for a loan by a clear indication that he regarded Salisbury as his enemy (pp. 76, 467, 132).
With the King the Earl's relations seem to have been consistently good throughout the year. Nevertheless it was during 1607 that a trivial incident occurred which was to have important consequences later, amongst them the steady decline of Salisbury's influence in the last years of his life. On 24 March, the anniversary of the King's accession, a young Scot named Robert Carr was thrown from his horse at a tilt in the King's presence. As a direct result of this accident this hitherto obscure but extremely personable young man became almost overnight a royal favourite who was to outstrip all his predecessors in James's affections. By the end of the year he had been knighted and sworn as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. Under the circumstances the solitary reference to him in this Calendar is not without interest. His name is to be found in a list of five Scots (which includes the name of his original patron Lord Hay) who, by virtue of an act of 1606, were granted by the Crown two-thirds of the lands belonging to certain convicted recusants (p. 456).
In the meantime however the King continued to refer to his most able servant as "my little beagle" or "young Tom Durie" (e.g. pp. 22, 209, 355–6, 440–1), and to express, in his condescending way, his confidence in Salisbury's integrity and judgement (pp. 51–2). (fn. 5) Further complimentary remarks were reported by Dunbar with the inconsiderate reminder that the King expected Salisbury to write to him at least every alternate day (p. 185)—a message which was softened later by the acknowledgment that he realised that the Earl was rather busy (p. 277). The latter's apology for not writing to the King personally at the end of an eventful day to avoid straining his eyes (p. 344) is in striking contrast to the haphazard and random way in which Salisbury's correspondence was treated at Court—replies on the King's behalf coming from Dunbar, Aston, Lake, Wilbraham, and Fenton on different occasions. Moreover James's own letters, though by no means lacking in shrewdness, were, as he himself admitted, apt to be "longsome" (p. 355).
Parliament reassembled on 10 February 1607 and was prorogued on 4 July. References to its proceedings in this Calendar are infrequent, and good use has been made of both published and unpublished papers at Hatfield by Professor D. H. Willson in his edition of The Parliamentary Diary of Robert Bowyer 1606–07 and his book Privy Councillors in the House of Commons 1604–29. We may note in passing the letters from the Mayor and Burgesses of Portsmouth and of Kingston-on-Hull (pp. 7, 65) volunteering to elect Salisbury's nominees; it can hardly be a coincidence that the Mayor of Hull's petition to Salisbury was written on the same day as the dutiful offer from Kingston-on-Hull to obey Salisbury's wishes (p. 66; cf. p. 513).
Sir Christopher Pigott during his brief sojourn in the Tower petitioned the King for his release on the grounds that his vehement attack on the Scots during the debate on the Union of the two kingdoms on 13 February had been due to his "want of artifice and amazedness" and was solely directed against those "who deserved evil" of the King (p. 59). Although in his speech he had stated that there was as much difference between an Englishman and a Scot as between a judge and a thief, Pigott now claimed in his petition that the majority of his audience had been left in no doubt of his belief in the existence of certain Scots who were "well-deserving" and "had been God's good instruments". These, Pigott considered, should be treated as if they were "our dear natives" but his speech suggests that in Pigott's view such well-deserving Scots were few in number.
On the same page is a letter from the Speaker pointing out to Salisbury how many sacrifices his employment had entailed; the contexts of his letters to Salisbury on pages 108, 154–5, are shown on pages 255, 330, 339–40, 353, of The Parliamentary Diary of Robert Bowyer.
Among documents which have some bearing on minor matters discussed in the House of Commons we may note the two petitions of the widows of the mariners of the Trial (pp. 84, 514), and the memorandum about Southampton (pp. 475–7). For an unfavourable report on an M.P. described as a recognised patron of "broken men" upon the Borders see page 487 (cf. page 178).
The Case of Nicholas Fuller.
A full account of the complicated triangular struggle between this Grays Inn barrister, the Court of High Commission, and the Common Law Judges has appeared elsewhere, making use of a number of the relevant documents printed in this Calendar. (fn. 6) It is to be noted that Fuller had not only made himself unpopular by the defence of Puritans against the Commission's proceedings, but had referred to the Scots more than once in debate in the House of Commons in somewhat uncomplimentary terms (fn. 7) —an offence which earned a similarly tactless preacher at St. Paul's Cross an unspecified term of imprisonment (p. 458).
To any student of this case, the King's "jealousy" of the Judges (pp. 338, 342) is entirely natural. He was not merely being "careful of the Church" (p. 338); he was also defending against attack his own ecclesiastical prerogative as Supreme Governor. The importance which James attached to a satisfactory outcome to this affair can best be gauged by the long report which Salisbury sent to him on the subject (pp. 342, 344–5; cf. also pp. 463–4). The King certainly had the satisfaction of knowing that Fuller had submitted before the end of the year (pp. 355, 360) and early in 1608 he was released. (fn. 8) What was ominous, however, was the insistence of the Judges on their right to grant prohibitions (p. 343) if they considered the Commission's proceedings justified such action. By these means they were to launch under Coke's leadership in the succeeding years such a determined attack upon the Commission's authority as to render the statement that "they were one of the King's strong arms" (p. 345) more of a tribute to their own strength, than a token of their subservience to the Crown.
In its session of 1606 Parliament had passed two acts which completed the series of penal laws against Roman Catholics. A petition was however introduced into the House of Commons in 1607 calling for the better execution of the laws against Jesuits and seminarists which is referred to in the Speaker's letter to Salisbury on page 154 (cf. The Parliamentary Diary of Robert Bowyer ed. D. H. Willson, pp. 330–3); since Nicholas Fuller was one of those concerned with its preparation it is not surprising to find that the petition also embodied an attack on the bishops.
The Calendar contains the usual reports about English and Irish priests abroad—Flanders, Spain and Portugal being of course the areas where their presence was most frequently noted. In July Edmondes the Ambassador in Brussels was asked to transmit an official request for the release of Wright, an English Jesuit, on the grounds that he was not only innocent of any practice against the State but was also the confessor of Ferdinand of Styria, later the Emperor Ferdinand II (p. 201). In the event there was no need to reply to the request for Wright escaped from prison (p. 280).
As might be expected, there are a number of varied references to the prevalence of Roman Catholicism in the North—the report on Northumberland (p. 3–4) being especially interesting in this connection; recusancy in Yorkshire (pp. 139, 145), Lancashire (pp. 318, 500, 504), Cheshire (p. 504) and Durham (p. 378) is also mentioned by different correspondents. Worcestershire is hysterically described as swarming "with multitudes of dangerous papists" (p. 307).
Creatures like Udall the informer were of course interested in making out that the policy of banishing priests was quite ineffective (p. 281) and in stressing the large numbers of Popish books in circulation (p. 336). A list of searching questions to be put to him (pp. 482–3) suggests however that he may have overstepped the mark in his claims to inside knowledge of Papists and their doings. (fn. 9)
The two fresh penal laws of 1606 were not followed by a crop of executions; but this does not alter the fact that quite apart from the additional disabilities and punishments imposed upon recusants, and the dilemma in which the latter were placed by the Oath of Allegiance (which Paul V condemned but the Archpriest Blackwell accepted), these two new laws directly encouraged persecution of Roman Catholics in a new and particularly insidious way. Pursuivants and informers were specifically promised a substantial reward if their services led to convictions. In addition the King was declared entitled to seize two-thirds of the offender's lands in lieu of the £20 monthly fine. In consequence requests by greedy parasites for the benefit of the recusancy of such and such a landowner poured in from all quarters, such grants being regarded as attractive alternatives to pensions. References to this atrocious system of profiteering are too frequent in this Calendar to be enumerated here, but as evidence that all classes, and not merely royal favourites, joined in the hunt for recusants as a form of investment see pages 274, 290, 507.
Scotland and the Borders.
According to his ablest biographer it was in this year that James made his famous remark: "This I must say for Scotland: here I sit and govern it with my pen, I write and it is done, and by a clerk of the Council I govern Scotland now, which others could not do by the sword." (fn. 10) In so far as it referred to his control of the executive the King's boast was justified. Of the leaders of the opposition in the Kirk, the most headstrong, Andrew Melville, had been sent to the Tower (p. 490 and note) and the remainder were in exile. Moreover the Scottish Parliament had in 1606 acknowledged the King "to be sovereign monarch, absolute prince, judge and governor over all persons, estates and causes both spiritual and temporal."—a declaration which did not, however, alter the fact that although the King might manipulate the General Assembly, he was not so foolish as to disregard its existence or to try to abolish it.
It is in addition obvious from the large number of documents concerned with the Borders in this Calendar that here was an area which clung tenaciously to its turbulent past, and had as yet little respect for the concord and union between the two countries which the King so ardently desired.
On pages 3–5 is printed a document significantly entitled: "The state of Northumberland for religion in the principal families, by whom the multitude may safely be led in matter of religion or other action"; it might equally well have been written in Elizabethan times. No less in keeping with the previous reign are the complaints of frequent prison-breaking at Carlisle (p. 6). The robbery of the King's Deputy Receiver between Penrith and Kendal is reported (p. 29). In a joint letter from the Earls of Cumberland and Dunbar it is stated that "if the course of confining those gentlemen that are warded had not been taken, stealing and harbouring by all likelihood had been at such a height this ensuing winter as your lordship would have held it marvellous in a country of any government" (p. 254); in another letter Dunbar expresses the opinion that there has been more frequent marauding between England and Scotland recently than at any time in the past six years (p. 247). The honours for the lawlessness seem to have been divided more or less equally between the Armstrongs and the Grahams.
Against this we must set the undoubted fact that AngloScottish co-operation, which had been by no means a certainty in Elizabeth's reign, did mean that the great days of Border raiding were passing; symptomatic of this co-operation is the prominent part played by Dunbar in the work of pacification on the English side of the Border. He was undoubtedly the ablest of the Scots who had accompanied James to England, being a great deal more than a mere courtier, and it would appear that his relations with Salisbury with whom he corresponded frequently were good (see for example their exchange of letters pp. 314–5, 350–1, 320). It is probable that the tributes paid to him, and to Lord William Howard (a Border magnate who was also a Roman Catholic) for their industry in dealing with outlaws were well-deserved (e.g. pp. 6, 44).
Another recent and important deterrent to Border thieving— the deportation of offenders and suspects to Ireland—seems to have been closely supervised by the Council and by Salisbury himself and to have worked well provided their wives were sent also (p. 127).
Plainly 1607 is too early a date to refer to the Borders as enjoying "a quiet and order which they had never before experienced" (fn. 11); but equally plainly the reivers were being driven on to the defensive. It was only two years later that Dunbar described the Borders as being as peaceful and quiet as any part in any kingdom of Christendom.
The names of George Bowes, Bevis Bulmer, Thomas Foullis and Thomas Hamilton appear in this Calendar in connection with mining at Crawford Muir and, more recently, at Hilderstone. (fn. 12) Reports on the silver yielded at the latter mine were at this stage somewhat non-committal and Salisbury's enquiry as to progress skilfully combined a sceptical attitude with wishes for good success (pp. 461–2).
The celebrated episode of the flight of the Earls of Tyrconnel and Tyrone is already well documented and most of the abstracts from the reports of Sir Thomas Edmondes in this volume which refer to their reception in the Spanish Netherlands are printed at length in Cal. S.P. Ireland 1606–08. However the letters and petitions of a young merchant of Dublin, James Fitzgerald, are of some interest (pp. 429–30, 496–7) for it appears from them that he was asked by Tyrconnel to arrange for his wife (who had been left behind in their precipitate departure) to join them in exile. Plans for her flight were balked however, and the Countess dissociated herself emphatically from her husband's behaviour (p. 482). She never saw him again as both Tyrconnel and his Secretary O'Multully (referred to on pp. 480–1) died in Rome the following year.
The Irish background to the flight of the Earls—disputes over lands and the rights thereto, and the steady erosion of the authority of Tyrone is well exemplified by Salisbury's comment (p. 463) that "there is nothing more sure than that titles are obscure in Ireland," and by the petition of Shane McBryan (p. 499). The flight of the Earls produced an immediate reaction from Englishmen with experience of life in Ireland—see for example the petition from a soldier with 18 years' service in the Irish wars for the command of one of the forts to be kept in Ulster (p. 425), and Sir James Perrott's recommendation that a garrison should be placed in every port of consequence there (p. 451).
But although English political supremacy in Ireland was strengthened by the flight of Tyrone and by the policy of detaining in prison indefinitely such potentially dangerous characters as Florence McCarthy (pp. 444–6), the ascendancy of Roman Catholicism in the island remained unshaken. That picturesque old ruffian and apostate Franciscan Myler MacGrath, Archbishop of Cashel, who was accused of a number of abuses within his diocese, complained indeed that he was excluded from Cashel by its inhabitants and that the Romish Archbishop (brother to the Portreeve of the town) had been active in the vicinity for the past three years (pp. 194–5, 260, 413).
It is not the purpose of this Introduction to follow the progress of the negotiations which took place during the year between the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands, or between the United Provinces and Britain. Comparatively few letters from Winwood, the British representative at the Hague, appear in this volume; there is likewise little news of Spencer his fellow Commissioner, and the correspondence of Edmondes the Ambassador in Brussels printed here consists mainly of summaries from his despatches which are more frequently to be found in the Letter Book at Hatfield than are complete copies. In very many cases the originals of such abstracts are to be found among State Papers, Flanders, in the Public Record Office.
This Calendar does however contain a number of interesting letters from Sir John Ogle, a cousin of Salisbury who was in the service of the Dutch. In addition to mentioning important contemporary news, these letters reflect very well the shifts, uncertainties and divisions of opinion among the Dutch as to whether the truce would or should lead to a peace treaty. The comments of Ferdinando Gorges (pp. 48–9, 88–9) in relation to these negotiations evince alternately fear of France and of Spain. The danger of Dutch competition damaging Anglo-Spanish trade is also mentioned (p. 175). Salisbury however felt that the reinforcement of the garrisons of the Cautionary towns was not necessary and discounted the likelihood of Flushing being handed over to the French (p. 133).
A reassuring development was the arrival in the summer of deputies from the United Provinces to invite the King to send commissioners to join the French and their own representatives in settling the terms of the proposed "aggreation" with Spain (for Salisbury's comments see pp. 236–8; a joint letter from Spencer and Winwood written just before their departure is on pp. 218–9).
The comments of both Salisbury and the King on the new alliance which the Dutch planned to conclude with Britain and France are of considerable interest (pp. 328–9, 351–2, 483–4). Understandably Salisbury was anxious that rumours of this league should not be taken amiss in the Spanish Netherlands, where, much to his annoyance, Tyrone had just been received as an honoured guest. He was careful to point out to Edmondes therefore that the purpose of the alliance was purely defensive, and that it would only come into effect if the United Provinces and Spain came to terms; in addition it was to Britain's interest to prevent France alone from concluding an alliance with the Dutch and to use the proposed league as a lever to extract from the latter and France better terms for the repayment of money advanced to assist them in the past.
The Dutch however expected far more assistance than either Salisbury or the King thought reasonable—on the principle that "if they ask too much, the Kings may offer half of that they ask them" (p. 339). James, who had at the best of times little sympathy with "this vain-glorious thirsting [of the Dutch] for the title of a free state" angrily commented that it would be simpler for France and Britain to partition the United Provinces if they were too weak to stand on their own without large subsidies, and that "the pelican bestoweth her heart's blood upon her own children but not upon strangers" (p. 352). Uneasily aware as he was of the "continual haemorrhage of outletting" (p. 285) for the benefit of his courtiers, the King felt great repugnance at the idea of advancing large sums to an upstart republic already indebted to the English Crown. His attitude both towards the United Provinces and towards France was one of suspicion (pp. 352–3, 358–60; for Salisbury's comments see pp. 468, 488).
Except in so far as they concern the United Provinces, this Calendar contains few references of importance to Anglo-French relations. A memorial from the French Ambassador (pp. 400–1) mentions some of the hazards to which foreigners in London could find themselves exposed.
A number of cases involving British subjects in Spain or in Spanish possessions are specified in the memorials printed on pages 9–10. Fresh cause for ill-feeling between England and Spain was afforded by the interception North of the West Indies of a ship sailing from Plymouth to Virginia (pp. 26–7, 36–7, 47, 109). Letters from the Captain (pp. 155–6, 160, 227–8) complain bitterly of the cruel and unjust treatment of himself and his crew, and of the dilatoriness and indifference of the Ambassador, Cornwallis. Sir Ferdinando Gorges also wrote to Salisbury in their favour (pp. 209, 265). Further news of Challons and his company is given in a series of letters from Nevill Davis, a merchant in Seville (pp. 216–7, 243–4, 272–3, 312).
Against such complaints of Spanish injustice and procrastination must be set the memorial of grievances submitted by the Spanish Ambassador (pp. 168–71). Some of these are referred to in the undated petitions etc. printed at the end of this Calendar (see pp. 510–12, 514–5, 517). Salisbury himself adopted a noticeably detached attitude in considering such disputes and complaints. "Of the merchants' causes I grow almost weary," he wrote to Cornwallis on 27 September, "and pity you, I protest, that are indeed made rather a Factor than an Ambassador, and so I have told the King, and so he apprehends it . . . the complaints of merchants are commonly troublesome to be prosecuted in respect that they are confused and indigested, and that they are often without cause or ground." (Winwood: Memorials II, p. 342). On 1 November he wrote to Bindon that "the continual practise of the English with the Hollanders [in piracy] is so visible as the whole nation grows scandalous by it; insomuch as I will not hide it from you that even from the Turk, . . . one part of his instructions to his Ambassador hither has been expressly to understand whether it be true that the world conceives, that piracy is here no sin." (p. 311).
His attitude to Spanish sea power as such was however very different:—"Seeing the greatest hurt the King of Spain can do upon any of his Majesty's territories is by sea, it is the service which you must particularly intend to advertise us of those things . . ." he wrote to Cornwallis in the letter cited above, "For what can be more plain and easy for you to know (living in Spain) than what number of ships are in the Groyne [Corunna], Civyll and Lisbone, a thing done every Week by some that lie in the ports." In rebuking Cornwallis for this omission Salisbury was probably underestimating the distance between Madrid and the sea coast and the difficulty of finding reliable Spanish agents who could keep Cornwallis regularly informed. In fact the attention paid by such men as Lee and Davis to the movement of shipping is very noticeable in this Calendar. Taken in conjunction with the manifest dislike of Spain evinced by Salisbury himself (pp. 310–11), such reports serve to remind us that despite the peace of 1604, the King's dislike of the Dutch and his mistrust of the French, English foreign policy was still based above all on fear of Spanish power.
References to events in Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and Italy are to be found scattered throughout the Calendar. A number of these reports are translations of News Letters or correspondence addressed to persons other than Salisbury and written in Dutch, Italian or French; some of them are extremely detailed but there is no coherent and consecutive series of letters from these countries contained in this Calendar.
The interesting letter from William Bruce from Danzig on pages 185–90 gives a graphic account of the rebellion against Sigismund III of Poland: the word "Rockusaners" which Bruce uses several times in this letter simply means "insurgents", being derived from the Polish word rokosz (cf. p. 332 and footnote). On pages 387–8 is printed a letter from Sigismund III to the Sultan emphasising his desire for friendship and expressing the somewhat forlorn hope that raids from the Crimea could be brought under control in future.
An unusual petition at the end of this volume complains that letters "in the behalf of a noble gentleman, late Secretary to Demetrius the Great Duke [of Muscovy]," have been stayed "upon some needless surmise" (p. 518). It must have been rather difficult for a Jacobean to keep up to date with what was going on in Russia during the Time of Troubles; but one wonders whether the "needless surmise" was not, in this case, a wellfounded report that Demetrius, true or false, was well and truly dead.
English Travellers Abroad.
As a result of the peace with Spain in 1604 travel on the Continent was becoming increasingly fashionable. (fn. 13) Salisbury's correspondents from Europe in 1607 included not only Ambassadors, merchants (such as Davis), soldiers (such as Sir John Ogle), and penurious exiles (such as Sir Griffin Markham); he received also letters from the young Earl of Essex (pp. 33–4, 150), his kinsman Richard Cave (p. 121: cf. p. 226) and Tibbot Gorges (pp. 67–8, 201, 317–8). Salisbury's nephew, Lord Roos, was sent forthwith to France "to the end he may spend his time better there than at home" (p. 429). Thomas Morgan, an elderly Welsh Catholic, who had fled abroad more than thirty years ago and during his chequered career had combined ostensible devotion to Mary, Queen of Scots with extreme animosity against the Jesuits, forwarded letters from Roos and reported some gossip from the French Court (p. 283). There are also some curious letters from a rather more obscure and even more dubious character, John Ball, alias Robert Williams, alias William Roberts (pp. 371, 386, 393), who was in correspondence with the wife of Thomas Phelippes (formerly in Walsingham's service as a decipherer but now a prisoner in the Tower); and a curious polyglot jumble of information from Francis Michell is printed on pages 122–4. John Finet or Finetti (an Italian acquaintance of Salisbury's secretary Thomas Wilson), shows a better command of coherent English in his interesting letter from Paris (pp. 249–51).
The activities on the Continent of two of the King's subjects in particular aroused grave suspicion in this year—Sir Robert Dudley and the Earl of Tyrone. Both had gone abroad abruptly; both were Roman Catholics; both had grievances against the King and his Government and both were considered of sufficient importance to receive a cordial welcome from the ruler or rulers with whom they found refuge (for Dudley's reception at Florence see pp. 61, 63). Both were men of exceptional ability, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany was quick to make use of Dudley's talents as a ship-builder, (fn. 14) for, as can be confirmed by several references in this Calendar to the activities of his fleet, he was eager to cleanse the Mediterranean of pirates (amongst whom the notorious English pirate Ward was conspicuous).
Sir Robert Dudley had left England as a convert and arrived in Florence more than a year afterwards. Toby Mathew on the other hand returned to England from Florence as a convert in this year. Bancroft was not disposed to allow the son of his fellow Archbishop his freedom under such circumstances, and, after he had refused the Oath of Allegiance, sent him to the Fleet (pp. 192, 205, 233, 446).
The Sherley Brothers.
Sir Thomas, the oldest of these three picaresque characters, after two years in prison in Constantinople, had been released through the intercession of King James at the end of 1605; making a leisurely journey homewards through Italy and Germany he reached London a year later. According to Glover (who had just succeeded Lello as English Ambassador at Constantinople and was pursuing a vindictive campaign against his predecessor), Sir Thomas's father, Sir Thomas Sherley the older, was wrongfully obliged to pay 1,000 dollars for his release (p. 212)—a sum which, to judge from the tone of his letter to Salisbury at the end of 1607, the old knight could ill afford to lose (pp. 389–90).
It is a safe assumption that it was under the auspices of the younger Sir Thomas that Nixon's book The Three English Brothers and the play The Travailes of the Three English Brothers were printed during the course of the year. (fn. 15) No doubt by such means he succeeded in making the exploits (both real and imaginary) of himself and his brothers more widely known. But his other activities rendered him suspect to the Government and this Calendar provides far fuller information than has hitherto been available as to the reasons for his sudden imprisonment in the Tower early in September 1607 (pp. 243, 324). The oft-quoted contemporary statement that he was sent there "for turning Turk" (fn. 16), if taken literally, is obviously absurd, for Sherley's antiTurkish bias emerges clearly from his Discours of the Turkes which was probably written early in the year (p. 475 note); but "to turn Turk" meant also in contemporary parlance "to turn traitor". (fn. 17) Sherley's friendly letter to his kinsman, Sir Robert Dudley, a recent refugee from England, was rendered yet more suspicious by being addressed to him as "Earl of Warwick"—a title which Dudley had been consistently denied by Elizabeth and James alike (pp. 172–3). In addition Sherley's detestation of the Turks was extended with equal impartiality to the Levant Company; "to shake the foundation of the trade of the English in those parts" he was only too ready to welcome the support of their rivals the Venetians (pp. 173, 287) one of whom urged him to join Dudley in the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany (pp. 225–6). Some indiscreet correspondence was intercepted (pp. 172–3, 243) and he was cross-examined before the Council; to judge from his explanatory letters written shortly afterwards to Salisbury his answers were not remarkable for their candour (pp. 244, 253, 474–5) although it is clear that he had committed no serious offence. After five weeks in prison he was allowed to take his meals with Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower (p. 280); and Sir Thomas Sherley the older consoled himself with the thought that although his son was still in confinement, at least he was a prisoner in the Tower and not in the Fleet (p. 282). By the end of the year Sherley had been released and was asking Salisbury to help to restore him to the King's favour (p. 394). An interesting memorial in which Sherley urged the latter to allow the Jews to settle in Ireland to improve trade and benefit the customs, suggests that he was, for all his escapades and indiscretions, a man who was probably considered useful to the Government owing to his knowledge of Mediterranean affairs (pp. 473–4). However, so far as is known, he never left England again.
Sir Thomas Sherley could at least be temporarily clapped into jail when under suspicion; his brother, Sir Anthony was however very much at large. His reception at the Spanish Court attracted some comment (p. 73), and there is a decidedly contemptuous account of his travels through Italy (p. 241), and of his schemes for piracy in the Levant (pp. 340–1), It is clear from internal evidence that Sir Robert Sherley's letter printed on page 109, was in fact written eight years previously.
In August 1606 this English merchant and former Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, was arrested by order of the Inquisition in Lisbon. His arrest was reported by Hugh Lee, the English consul, in the following month, and the Viceroy was alleged to have promised Sir Anthony Sherley during his brief visit to Portugal that Gurgeny would shortly be released. (fn. 18) Nothing however was done and it is noticeable that by the beginning of 1607 the King of Spain had been approached on the matter. Lee refers more than once in his correspondence to Gurgeny's continued detention and to the efforts made by his brother (amongst others) to bring about his conversion (pp. 10, 72, 73, 268, 303, 324). Two years were to pass before his total submission and release.
Visitors from the East.
In 1606 the King's brother-in-law Christian IV of Denmark had paid a State visit. No one of equal eminence came to Britain in the following year—which was however marked by the visit of a Chiaus (fn. 19) or messenger, from the Sultan "the first that ever came hither from the Grand Signor". The merchants of the Levant Company were understandably anxious that his entertainment should be honourable (p. 210); it appears however that first Salisbury and then the Council refused to contribute to his maintenance—a state of affairs which provoked much grief among the Company "at their continual charge" and pointed reminders from Richard Staper, one of the oldest members, that Queen Elizabeth had been far more generous to the Company in the days when "Mr. Harborn" and "Mr. Barton" had been Ambassadors in Constantinople. She had, moreover, paid the expenses of an Ambassador from Barbary and made him a present of £100 at his departure (fn. 20) (pp. 266, 287). Staper's letter of 17 November reporting the departure of the Chiaus (pp. 326–7) summarises the expenditure incurred by the Levant Company in the King's name; but if the Venetian Ambassador is to be believed the Company had no hope of being repaid, and Mustapha, far from being contented by his reception, returned home highly displeased with the niggardly way he had been treated. (fn. 21) Possibly rumours that he was an impostor were encouraged by the English Ambassador at Constantinople in an endeavour to counteract his adverse comments; (fn. 22) it cannot be said that his mission whether genuine or false, produced any important results.
Another exotic visitor more briefly mentioned was a so-called Prince of Moldavia who hoped to win support for his claim by offering to hold the principality of the King and to pay tribute (p. 252). It was this individual whose name was later associated with that of the King's cousin Arabella. (fn. 23) Salisbury advanced him the sum of three hundred pounds and, unlike the Levant Company, was promptly reimbursed (p. 309).
The appearance of an impostor claiming to be the son of Mary Tudor is mentioned on page 177.
A portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, "taken to the life" when she was in France, was sent to the King in November (p. 334).
There is an interesting description of the planning of an unnamed house in two letters from Sir Charles Cavendish (pp. 120–1).
Some correspondence between the Earls of Nottingham, Salisbury, and Suffolk regarding the terms on which the Earl of Arundel was to repurchase Arundel House in the Strand is printed on pages 337, 478–9.
A well known letter from Sir Walter Raleigh is calendared on pages 454–5.
The six rockers of Princess Mary's cradle petitioned shortly after her death for a pension of thirty pounds a year "in regard of their great charge and pains taken, continually waiting and watching" (p. 263).
The King is reported to be offended with William Bruce "for the unreverent form of his writing to his Majesty, which indeed is without all good fashion, beginning with commendations to his Majesty, and ending with a subscription of his name so close to the lines of his letter as there is almost no distance between" (p. 11).
Lord Buckhurst complained that his wife's "continual violent tempestuousness in domestical conversation" was greater than flesh and blood could endure, citing as further examples of her intolerable behaviour "certain foolish rhymes of her own devising" (pp. 341–2).
Finally, to close this introduction on a peaceful "domestical" note, it should be recorded that on 28 September there was born in the Tower "a fine young male lion whelp"; and that the parents, named Henry and Anne, did "keep together with the little whelp with that care as is very tender and full of love" (p. 258).