Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 2, 1572-1582. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.
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The period covered by this volume was pre-eminently one of conspiracy, intrigue, and general unrest throughout Europe, and not least of all in England and Scotland. The closing papers of the first volume related to the second arrest and imprisonment of the Duke of Norfolk, and the abundant evidence there produced of his treasons is supplemented and completed by the earlier papers in this portion of the Calendar. The main charges against the Duke were, his imagination and device to deprive the Queen of her crown and royal style, and so consequently of her life; comforting and relieving the English rebels who stirred the rebellion in the north, after they fled out of the realm; and, lastly, comforting and relieving the Queen's enemies in Scotland, who succoured and maintained the said English rebels. So strong was the position occupied by the Duke of Norfolk, not only as the chief of England's nobility, but also as the presumed head of the Roman Catholic party in the country, that Burghley did not venture to arrest him, until the main actors in the conspiracy had already been captured, and their testimony secured. This achieved, however, there was no hesitation, and the Duke in the Tower, confronted with the proofs of his guilt, was compelled to withdraw the denials he had at first given to the statements of his accomplices, and to confess at length the extent and blackness of his treachery. The resistance he made to all efforts put forth to cause his admission of guilt, a resistance based on a consciousness of his high position, and on the belief that Elizabeth would not proceed to extremities against him, was as unwise as his after submission to the Queen was abject. Few papers are more pitiable reading than the confessions “written by the hand of your Highness' sorowful dead servant and subject, Tho. Howard.” The Duke acknowledged the consideration shown by Lord Burghley, and desired him to act as guardian to his “poor orphans.” He also expressed his comfort at hearing of the Queen's intended goodness towards his poor unfortunate “brates,” and that she had christened them with such an adopted father as Lord Burghley. The Duke in his last confession, dated 26th Feb. 1572, protests he has ever been a Protestant, though his dealings have given just suspicion that he was a favourer of Papists. After much hesitation, and revoking the death warrant more than once, the Queen yielded to the pressure of her advisers, and allowed the Duke to be executed on 2nd June 1572. Even on the scaffold he asserted his innocence of treason and his profession of the reformed faith.
Closely connected with the second imprisonment of the Duke of Norfolk in the Tower, was the conspiracy of Edmund Mather and Kenelm Berney, which had been instigated and fostered by the Spanish Ambassador in England. The objects of the conspiracy were the liberation of the Duke, and the assassination of Burghley and of the Queen. The anonymous letter of warning that Mather sent to Burghley will be found on page 1. Berney, in one of his confessions, states that Mather said, “what pity were it that so noble a man as he [the Duke of Norfolk] should die now in so vile a woman her days, that desireth nothing but to feed her own lewd fantasy, and to cut off such of her nobility as were not perfumed, and court like, to please her delicate eye, and place such as were for her turn, meaning dancers, and meaning Lord Leicester and Mr. Hatton, whom he said had more recourse unto her Majesty in her privy chamber, than reason would suffer, if she were so virtuous and well inclined, as some noiseth her.” Mather confessed his dealings with the Spanish Ambassador, and that he had conspired with Herle and Berney against her Majesty's person, remitting his case wholly to the Queen's mercy. The Spanish Ambassador had been ordered to leave England in December 1571, but had delayed his departure, ostensibly in order to receive a reply to a letter written to the Duke of Alva, but probably to see the result of the Mather plot. Borghese, the Ambassador's secretary, was privy to the scheme, and on its discovery was arrested and sent to London. The Ambassador, on complaining of the detention of Borghese, was informed that the complicity of himself and his servant in the conspiracy had been found out, and shortly after he left the realm. Mather and Berney were executed on 13th Feb. 1572.
A lengthy letter in Italian from Baptista di Trento to the Queen, dated 1577 (No. 491), professes to reveal to Elizabeth the chief actors in. a conspiracy to take away her kingdom and life. The names mentioned are those of Sussex, Pelham, Schout, Leicester, Warwick, Lincoln, Cobham, Arundel, Surrey, Lumley, Sidney [Sir Henry], Dier, Brudnel, and the writer himself. Amongst those privy to the conspiracy, but who had died, were Norfolk, Pembroke, Paget, Essex, and Throckmorton. Baptista states that Leicester was the author and chief head of the conspiracy, and that, having been promoted at Court, he aimed at having the Queen for his wife, and thus becoming King of England; that, to accomplish his purpose, he caused his wife to be slain by some of his satellites, who pretended that she had died suddenly, but that some of the local authorities, deeming it a most unusual death, had her exhumed and examined, and found that there was no stain [of blood] upon her, that she was beautiful both in face and person, and her head well attired, but stripping it of some ornamental coverings, they found in it five nails, six inches long, daubed with pitch; that Leicester's satellites had put on the pitch, so that the blood should not come out, nor the wounds caused by the nails be seen. If Leicester had had her poisoned, as he could easily have done, he knew that the poison would have produced small purple and red spots both in the face and person, and that, on this being known, a trial would follow, whilst five nails would settle the matter as well, without the appearance of any sign. A trial, however, did follow, but Leicester obtained pardon from the Queen (who was entirely ignorant of the matter) and nothing more was said. Baptista further says that, some time after, Leicester thought he would immediately obtain the Queen as his wife, but it happened that her hand was asked for by the Archduke Charles of Austria, and the marriage would have taken place, had it not been stopped by Leicester, who, rendered desperate by knowing that the Queen did not wish him for a husband, and that he could not be king in that way, thought of becoming king by force, and entered into the aforesaid conspiracy. The writer then refers to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots, and her proposed marriage with the Duke of Norfolk, who promised to free her by means of the said conspiracy, and Leicester approved of this marriage, since he hoped that by the plot he would become King of England, and Norfolk King of Scotland. Baptista then gives particulars of five different attempts to put the plot in execution, and the parts assigned to the various conspirators. He concludes his letter by saying that he has revealed the conspiracy to the Queen, because he has become a changed man, since hearing a discourse on the parable of Dives and Lazarus, when the preacher described very powerfully the torments of the wicked in hell. The account given of the conspiracy is very circumstantial, and it seems difficult to believe that the writer would have addressed himself directly to the Queen, had there not been (as indeed there was) a substratum of truth for his statements.
The papers relating to Scotland are not very numerous, but are full of interest. That country was the prey of contending factions, the two chief parties being the adherents of the captive Queen of Scots, who were supported by France and Spain, and those of the young King and the Regent, supported by Elizabeth. Avarice appears to have been the guiding star of the nobles on either side, the one party being desirous of regaining the lands they had lost, and the other of retaining what they had recently won, through the changes wrought by the transfer of power and the alteration of religion.
In the days of Murray, the task of restoring order and quietness to distracted Scotland had been hard enough to tax all the energies and resources of “the good Regent,” and, had his life been spared, his abilities and determination, combined with the influence his character justly exercised, might have enabled him to bring back some peace to his country. In the feeble hands of his successor, Lennox, confusion became worse confounded. The next Regent, Marr, careful and vigorous though he was, was unable to effect much, and his brief tenure of power closed shortly after he had made proposals to Elizabeth, on the basis of which he was willing to execute her wishes respecting the Queen of Scots. These wishes were revealed to him in the negotiations which Henry Killegrew, Burghley's nephew, had been sent into Scotland to conduct. The instructions he received, dated Sept. 1572, will be found in No. 36, and were, mainly, to arouse the Scottish leaders and people by informing them of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, “the late horrible universal murder in France,” and bidding them beware lest the like was attempted in their country, and, in a matter “of far greater moment,” to effect an arrangement whereby the Queen of Scots might be delivered into the hands of the Regent and his party, and be by them immediately executed. Hostages of good value were to be taken for the assurance of this project. Marr declined at first to listen, but eventually agreed, on condition that a large English force was sent to convey the captive Queen into Scotland, and to be present at her execution, that the castle of Edinburgh was handed over to the King's party, and that a sufficient sum of money was granted for the payment of their soldiers. Marr died a few days after, and the next Regent, Morton, who effected a pacification with the Hamiltons and Gordons, refused to entertain the English overtures. In 1572 Mary Queen of Scots, whose hopes of deliverance had before centred chiefly in France, turned her thoughts to Spain. A correspondent writing to Burghley (No. 64), tells him that the King of Spain is informed that if it had not been for the Queen of England, Flanders would not have rebelled against the Duke of Alva; that the King is therefore very angry, and has sworn he will be revenged in such sort as that both the Queen and England shall repent that they did ever meddle in any of his countries, adding, further, that the Duke of Alva practises all the mischief he can against the Queen [Elizabeth] by way of Scotland, and that all the spiritualty of Spain offer two millions towards the wars against Flanders and England. At this time the Queen of Scots was lying seriously ill in Sheffield Castle, and a letter from her physicians (No. 65) expresses their fears for her life.
In January 1572, are some letters from the Countess of Northumberland, giving an account of her exertions to obtain ten thousand crowns, the ransom demanded for the release of the Earl, who, with the Earl of Westmoreland, had fled into Scotland after the suppression of the rebellion in the north two years before. The English government were very anxious to secure the Earl from the Regent and the Laird of Lochleven, and having obtained his person by paying the sum asked for, had him conveyed to York by Sir John Foster, and there executed. The Earl of Westmoreland had escaped into the Low Countries, and many of his sayings and doings, as well as those of other English fugitives in those parts, are mentioned in the interesting letters of Edward Woodshawe to Lord Burghley (Nos. 231, 234, and 237). A few letters of the Countess of Westmoreland will be found in this volume. The Earl continued his treasonable intrigues abroad, and eventually died in exile in 1584.
In the early part of 1573, Edinburgh Castle being still held for Queen Mary, the Regent Morton began to besiege it, but under great difficulties, owing to his want of suitable artillery. After many urgent applications Queen Elizabeth consented to send him assistance in men and guns, and the castle surrendered to Sir Wm. Drury on the 28th May. No. 128 of the papers in this volume is a newsletter, written by one who was sent by the defenders of the castle into France for aid; the cipher names given at the end are curious. A list of the Crown jewels of Scotland taken on the surrender of the castle will be found in No. 148.
Several documents calendared in the following pages relate to the captivity of Mary in England, and specially noticeable are the “Demands and Sayings of the Scottish Queen concerning her Confinement, with Notes by [Robt. Beale]” (No. 1079), a paper containing also certain requests of the Earl of Shrewsbury, in whose charge Mary was, and Beale's remarks thereon. There is an urgent appeal (No. 936) addressed by James VI. to the King of France, pleading for that monarch's help on behalf of his mother, stating that several persons had been put to death only and solely for having endeavoured to deliver her from prison, and assuring him that when he began to put the work of rescuing her into execution not only would “many Catholic Princes, indeed the foremost,” assist so just an enterprise, but that “the greatest part “of England” would also incline to his side. The Regent Morton, Mary's formidable opponent, held power in Scotland for several years, supported by the influence and material aid of the English Queen, and many glimpses into his dealings with the turbulent nobility of the realm, his quarrels with the Earls of Argyle, Athol, and Lennox, the Hamiltons, and others, and his general administration of the country, are here afforded.
In a “Memorial of the present estate of Scotland” (No. 784), we read, “the King doth still delight [in] the fields, in hunting and riding, and yet he hath but three or four horses. He is poor; his nobility rich, but may spare nothing which they possess, to his aid, without deadly feede (feud). There hath been a device to have a guard of fifty men for the King, and a table to be kept for six councillors or more, to be resident according to the order, being of their own charges : may not continue long together. And to have the wardens greater allowance for the better discharge of their offices. The Lord of Sesford (Cessford) has but 16l. by year, and yet his wardenry great and troublesome, and he of a good mind. All this will be done with three thousand pounds, but it is not to be spared of his revenues. It is thought of some of the greatest and best minded, that it were a better and more sure way, if it pleased her Majesty to bestow so much of (on) the King for the said purpose, than to have hirelings to breed hatred and jealousy, as hath been craved of some 'most unsurrest'” The writer goes on to say that the King is “truly well affected” to Elizabeth, and that, owing to d'Aubigné's representations, the name of the French King is odious to his Majesty. D'Aubigné, who then had the earldom of Lennox “by composition,” and was expecting the title thereof shortly, is described as ruling the Court along with the Earl of Argyle, and both of them as greatly attached to the amity betwixt England and Scotland. “There is as yet no speech of the King's marriage, but it is thought will be looking unto it shortly. He giveth it still forth that he will never match with a papist country. They have a great eye to Denmark, for that they had one of that country which was amongst them famous, and for divers other respects. Being in purpose with the Earl of Argyle and his lady, they found it strange that her Majesty would not make some offer to their King of some marriage. I answered more boldly than wise that they were so proud, they would not bestow their King, but with such conditions as was not requisite to be granted. It was answered that if her Majesty would make choose of one which her Majesty liked best of, they thought it would not be denied without conditions. I refer the rest to God omnipotent.” The ministers continued to encourage amity between the two realms. The Earl of Morton had got the King's leave to go over the seas for a space, many thought in order to “be desired to tarry at home, as though there could nothing be done without him.” He seemed offended that Elizabeth did not advance him, either above the rest, or else in his purse, absented himself from court, and “misliked with” the government. Dunfermline was still about the King; “his glass were run, but that he is rich, and the King poor.”
The papers relating to Ireland, though not very numerous, reveal very clearly the workings of Elizabeth's government in that island. Attempted subjugation sums up the whole tale, which is a dreary record of the fierce strife, bloodshed, treachery, and poverty that distracted the entire country. Sir Thomas Smith's endeavour to effect a plantation of English settlers on the forfeited lands in Ulster had ignominiously failed. A curious relic of it is found in No. 55, which is a receipt given by his son, Thomas Smith, to Lord Burghley, “for the sum of 333l. 6s. 8d. for the maintaining of soldiers to the winning of his 20 ploughlands allotted to him in the north of Ireland, and for defence of the rest of the inhabitants in the Ardes, taken in hand to be won and peopled with the English nation by agreement with the said Thomas Smith.” The subsequent attempt of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, to effect a similar plantation in the same parts likewise failed, and that nobleman had to content himself with giving his help to the Lord Deputy in the task of quelling the insurrections in divers parts of Ireland. In June 1575 (No. 252) he writes that he “has been long suffered to tread an endless maze,” and thinks that in honour and equity he is to be considered in respect of his expenses, without any tedious suit. Elizabeth, who was to have divided with Essex the profits of any success in Ulster, graciously showed her appreciation of the services of that nobleman, but the Earl, having spent both strength and patrimony in an unsuccessful enterprise, died nearly broken-hearted in Dublin. We have, in the following pages, two pathetic letters (Nos. 421 and 422), written by him shortly before his death on 22nd September 1576, the one to the Queen, the other to Burghley. In the former, he craves forgiveness of her Majesty for all the offences she has taken against him, speaks of his “hard estate, having by great accounts long ebbed, even almost to the low watermark,” and prays the Queen “to be as a mother” to his children, “ at least by her gracious countenance and care of their education and matches.” He further begs some favours for his eldest son, and closes by recommending the Archbishop of Dublin to her Majesty's notice, “for some other benefit in England.” In the letter to Burghley, Essex commends his son Lord Hereford to Burghley's care, desiring that his education might be in that minister's household, and his whole time in England during his minority divided in attendance upon the Lord Chamberlain and Burghley, “to the end that as he might frame himself to the example of my Lord of Sussex in all the actions of his life tending either to the war or to the institution of a nobleman, so he might also reverence your Lordship for your wisdom and gravity, and lay up your counsels and advices in the treasury of his heart.”
In No. 223 are some memoranda by Burghley, relating to the number and cost under successive Lord Deputies in Ireland of the garrison established there. In the first year of Mary (1558) there were only 500 men in all, viz., 300 horse and 200 foot; in the 16th year of Elizabeth (1574), the garrison consisted of 2,362 men, at a monthly cost of 2,531l. 0s. 8d. In Aug. 1575 (No. 269) there is a warrant under the Privy Signet for the supply of 1,000 quarters of wheat annually to the Lord Deputy of Ireland for the better maintenance of his household there. About two years later (No. 492), Burghley sends a memorandum of “provisions to be placed instead of that manner of force which the captains of countries pretend now to keep for the defence of the country, borne upon coin and livery :” 1st, the charge shall be still continued that hath been usually borne by the country towards all the Queen's Majesty's services named “general hostings;” 2ndly, every such captain may take any victual towards maintenance of his horse or foot upon lands only of such captain occupied by any tenant of his; 3rdly, wherever the Lord Deputy and Council, for the service of the Queen, see cause to levy and keep any number of kern and gallowglas for defence of any country, where the charge of coin and livery has been usual, it shall be lawful to continue the former usual charge, the leading of the said kern, etc., to be committed to the captain that heretofore led them, or to his heir. Sir Nicholas White writes to Lord Burghley in July 1578 (No. 547), that “that noisome rebel Rory Oge, in a sudden meeting betwixt the Baron of Upper Ossory and him, is slain, with the loss of some of their men on both sides. His body was carried away by his kinsmen and followers, and another of the O'Mores set up by them in his place, named Rossy McLaghlyn, son to him whom the Earl of Sussex had in 'holt' at Laghlyn, and in seeking to escape, by leaping out at a castle window, broke his back. The cutting off of that rebel is a happy turn, and when the news was brought to the Lord Deputy he said, 'Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine in 'pace.'”
The Earl of Ormonde, who had been sent as Lord General into Munster, gives some account of his doings in a letter to the Queen (No. 807), complaining of the lack of victuals, money, and munitions of war, and stating that in 21 days he and his men had burned and spoiled a great part of the Earl of Desmond's lands, and all John of Desmond's lands with [those of] the Seneschal of Imokilly. He had also intercepted five letters showing the “unnatural and traitorous disposition” of the Earl of Desmond. A correspondent writing to Sir H. Wallop (No. 955) thinks that disorders will break out in Munster, when Lord Ormonde is discharged, and that, if this should so fail out, it would be very necessary to have one commander, “for sundry directors do breed confusion, especially when they are more transported with desire of gain, than with care to discharge their duty.” The irresolution of the English Council is touched upon in words that would apply to many succeeding times in the administration of Ireland:–“our division here at home in Council about the causes of that country, some inclining to reformation, others to a toleration of that nation to enjoy their Irish customs, and to serve to no other purpose, but to consume the treasure of England, is the principal and chief cause why things go no better there. I am sorry my lord hath no leisure, through the general corruption of that country, to set down some good plot (plan) to be sent over hither, with a request that, unless the same shall be found meet to be put in execution, he may be discharged of that place. For unless we be called on here rather importunately than earnestly, we shall, without regard of a great deal of treasure, consumed to no purpose, continue our lingering and irresolute manner of proceeding, and blame you there, though the fault be in ourselves.”
The Lord Deputy of Ireland (Lord Grey) is continually complaining of the lack of victuals and money for the troops. In one letter (No. 970) he thanks Burghley for his care about the victuals, and wishes the under officers were as careful in executing as he in directing. None of the victuals lately sent had arrived, and he prayed for honest officers to issue them, when they did come. The spirit in which the grim work of repression was carried on, is shown in what Lord Grey adds, “the little service in Munster I cannot altogether excuse; and yet, my lord, there hath been more done than I perceive is conceived. For my part, without it be of some importance, I take no delight to advertise of every common person's head that is taken off; otherwise, I could have certified of a hundred or two of their lives ended since my coming from those parts; but indeed some hindrance it brought to the greater service that the garrisons would not remain in some of the places appointed first of, by reason that their victuals could not be as readily conveyed to them, as was hoped of.” He complains that the soldiers sent to Ireland were badly chosen, and hopes that the fresh men will be maintained in better state. The peril of Ireland lies most in foreign aids, chiefly in the north. The disquiet and mischief of the land will grow daily more and more, unless speedily looked into and prevented, as he has often certified. The object was to drive the rebel to the coasts, where he had seldom any fastness or succour, for the inward country was of his own seeking, his relief and sustenance being all there. In another letter (No. 1026) Lord Grey speaks of the great need of money; “without ready coin, I put not one bit of meat into my mouth, nor feed my horses.” He refers also to the “not overhastiness” of her Majesty to afford the supply. Mentioning the names of some chieftains whose submission he had received, the Lord Deputy states that the aforesaid pacification of the rebels is a course “not the surest for the state, because the Irish are so addicted to treachery, and breach of fidelity, as longer than they find the yoke in their neck, they respect not either pledge, affinity, or duty.” Tirlough Lennough was bound only by his oath, which is in his religion to be dispensed withal by any of his Romish priests, as soon as he spieth an opportunity to break for advantage.” In 1581 (No. 1069) appears a stern minute addressed by the Queen to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, complaining that by the Auditor's certificates she found her debts and expenses in that country were far greater than she had expected, and calling for full explanation, especially charging Lord Grey to examine the Earl of Ormond, in whose province of Munster “the least part of that little service that hath been done, hath been performed,” although the greatest supplies had been sent there.
Turning to foreign affairs, we have in the despatches and newsletters from France and the Low Countries, ample information with respect to the assistance given by Elizabeth to the Huguenots, and to the supporters of William Prince of Orange, and of François Duke of Alençon, afterwards Duke of Anjou. Details are also afforded of the patriotic efforts of the Prince of Orange on the one side, and of the proceedings of the Duke of Alva, the Prince of Parma, and Don John of Austria on the other. Elizabeth strengthened the hands of the Huguenots, as one step in her resistance to the Papal conspiracy, whose influence she felt so keenly in her own realm. Her interference, and that of the French King, in the Low Countries, were alike prompted by a determination to check the rapid aggrandisement of Spain. The power of England was courted alike by that country and by France, and much of Elizabeth's vacillation and consequent difficulties are attributable to her desire neither to play too much into the hands of either Henry or Philip, nor to affront the one or the other beyond recall. Philip had several of the English rebels in his pay, as may be seen by the list of those (No. 108, and Murdin) who “came into Spain, for entertainment at the King's hands there, and what the King gave them in money at times.' The English Queen was led to grant succour to the Low Countries by a desire, firstly, to cripple her formidable rival at Madrid, and, secondly, to prevent France from going single-handed to their relief, and thereby gaining paramount influence and a large number of valuable subjects, if not valuable territory.
Many of the papers here calendared, relating to France and Flanders, are more or less intimately connected with the negotiations for the Anjou marriage, and may be touched upon in speaking of that important affair. As a majority of the documents describe and illustrate these negotiations, and the principal actors therein, it may not be amiss to give a short resumé of the history of the proposed marriage. Few private collections can boast such a number of original royal letters as are included in the MSS. at Hatfield. The holograph correspondence of Elizabeth and the Duke of Anjou given in this volume is extensive, and presents a singular picture of royal love and courtship, a picture to which the letters of Simier add so much. Several of the letters, notably those sent in cipher by Simier, are published for the first time.
Many had been the suitors for the hand of the English Queen. Not to speak of her own subjects, the Earl of Leicester, and Sir Christopher Hatton, with whom Elizabeth's coquetry and folly had caused scandal to connect her name, she had been wooed by Philip of Spain, the Earl of Arran in Scotland, Eric XIV. of Sweden, and the Archduke Charles of Austria. But never had she caused the hopes of any Prince to rise so high, as she did those of François Duke of Anjou. The story of the Anjou negotiations divides naturally into two parts, viz., those relating to Henry, afterwards Henry III. of France, and those relating to his younger brother François. In August 1570 had taken place the treaty of pacification of St. Germains, by which, much to the regret and indignation of the Catholic party in France, favourable terms had been accorded to the Huguenots. The latter, knowing that these terms were not likely to be kept, were desirous to rid themselves of one of their chief antagonists, Henry Duke of Anjou, and considered that this might be effected by promoting his marriage with Elizabeth. Montmorency broached the proposal to Sir H. Norris, and although the affair was kept secret, Walsingham, who came as English Ambassador to Paris, was told that the Cardinal of Lorraine was aware of it, and that he, intending to thwart such a project, was endeavouring to bring about a marriage between the Duke and Mary Queen of Scots. The Vidâme of Chartres and the Cardinal of Châtillon suggested that Elizabeth should accept the Duke of Anjou as her husband, notwithstanding the disparity between their ages, the Duke being only 20, and the Queen 37. The articles for the marriage brought over by Guido Cavalcanti from the French King, in April 1571, may be seen in the Appendix to this volume (No. 7), and the answers given to them in No. 8. The two succeeding papers in the Appendix give further demands of the French Ambassador, and a summary of certain matters, which must needs be demanded in a treaty for the marriage of the Queen of England, and all of which had been expressly contained in the treaty of matrimony between Philip, King of Spain, and Mary, Queen of England, in 1556. Charles IX., not being on good terms with his brother, favoured the proposal of the Duke's marriage to Elizabeth. Catherine de Médicis declined, at first, to believe that Elizabeth was serious in the matter, but was re-assured by La Mothe Fénélon. In July 1571, Monsieur Larchant came from the French King to promote the marriage, “but he was so earnest for the cause of religion,” says Burghley, “that he did little good.” Burghley and Walsingham both urged on the match, because, while admitting the obvious drawbacks, they considered that, provided sufficient guarantees were taken for the security of the reformed religion in England, the marriage would be a means of clearing the political horizon, by giving a prospect of an heir to Elizabeth, by putting an end to the practices of the Queen of Scots, by stopping the daily peril of revolt in Ireland, and by checking the malice of the King of Spain and of the Pope. Elizabeth, ever irresolute in such a case, now gave encouragement, and now dashed down all hopes, distracting her own ablest advisers, and irritating the French Court. Anjou himself, however favourable he may have been at one time, grew less and less eager for the marriage, though he had permitted himself to write to the Queen, and to say that, in his estimation, “she was the most perfect beauty that God had made during the last five hundred years.” Sir Thomas Smith, who had been sent over to Paris to help Walsingham, asserts in a letter that Anjou had “his religion fixed in Madlle. de Chateauneuf at first, and now removed hence into another place, or both.” Finally, the negotiations were terminated by the Duke, on the score of religion.
Although the marriage had failed, both England and France were willing to enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive, and on the 19th of April, 1572, a treaty was concluded at Blois. The Earl of Lincoln, who was present at the confirmation of it by Charles IX., showed him an intercepted letter in cipher, which Mary Queen of Scots had written to the Duke of Alva, throwing herself upon Spain for succour. English and French volunteers were not only allowed, but encouraged, to proceed to the Low Countries, to aid the insurgents there. Catherine de Médicis entertained hopes that Elizabeth would agree to take her third son François, Duke of Alençon, in marriage, and she proposed him to the English Queen through La Mothe. Alençon was two years younger than the Duke of Anjou, and thus nineteen years younger than Elizabeth. In June 1572, Montmorency and De Foix came over to further the new proposal, and were received with much honour at Windsor (No. 62). On the 22nd August following, at Kenilworth, Elizabeth made answer to La Mothe, the French Ambassador, that all the articles “accorded on” for the marriage with the Duke of Anjou should stand entire, mutatis mutandis, with respect to the Duke of Alençon, saving a further interpretation of the cause of religion, which could be best done at the interview between the Duke and herself (No. 71). She had, in a former letter to her Ambassador in Paris, willed him to say that as to the difference in ages, her Majesty found great difficulty in the marriage, that she could not free her mind from doubts, and could not find any other expedient as a recompense. In subsequent letters, also previous to the answer at Kenilworth, she had thought good, “so as to make apparent the consideration she had for the assiduous requests” of the French King and Queen Mother, to declare that in this matter she found two principal impediments among others, the one, religion, the other, difference of age. As she thought the matter of the religion might be remedied by some conformity on the part of the Duke, so “the other might seem to be a difficulty rather in opinion than in substance” (No. 71).
Two days after the interview at Kenilworth between Elizabeth and the French Ambassador, was perpetrated at Paris the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew. The intense horror and fury excited in England by the treacherous carnage of the Huguenots seemed for a time to give the deathblow to all ideas of “Paris nuptials,” in any shape or form, for the Queen. A loud outcry was raised for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, the centre of Roman Catholic plotting in England and Scotland. Elizabeth sent help in men and money to the Prince of Orange, who could not look then for French succour. Spain, both directly from her King, and through the Duke of Alva, sought to improve the opportunity for her own interests by seeking to gain over Elizabeth. But Alva's continued atrocities in the Netherlands exercised a powerful effect in checking thoughts of amity with Spain, and, reasons of national policy superseding the anger that had justly been roused in the breasts of Elizabeth's ministers, the project of the Alençon marriage was set on foot again. Just a month after the St. Bartholomew massacre, Alençon sent Maisonfleur to England with a letter to the Queen, in which he states (No. 74) that the rare virtues and infinite perfections with which she is endowed have acquired such power over him that he will never rest content until, by some happy opportunity, he has testified to her his extreme desire to render her all the service which could be expected from the most affectionate prince, who has ever had the honour to aspire to her hand. It may here be remarked that the French written by this Prince exhibits strange ignorance on his part, and compares most unfavourably with that written by Elizabeth, though the latter is not without its faults. The Duke in one of his letters (No. 622) begs Elizabeth to excuse his defects, and to attribute them to the misfortunes and crosses with which he has been afflicted ever since he began to have any knowledge, and which have given him no leisure “daprandre afayre les belles parolles.” Leicester was much annoyed at Maisonfleur's arrival; “nothing,” he writes to Burghley (No. 83), “went more against his stomach than this fellow's access to her Majesty's person.” In October, Walsingham wrote home testifying to the Duke's persistence in the matter of the marriage. In November, Mauvissière was sent over to Elizabeth by Charles IX. to urge three points, that their amity should be continued; that she should be god-mother to his child; and that the negotiations for the marriage should be pursued. In the following month we have the famous letter to “Don Lucidor” (the Duke of Alençon), noticed briefly by Mr. Froude. A full translation will be found in the Calendar (No. 89). Mr. Froude states that the writer is unknown, but there is very little doubt that Maisonfleur was the author. In another letter (No. 95), dated the same month, he begs the Queen for an audience, and says that in the meantime he will remain quiet in the place where he is confined by her orders. In the letter to Don Lucidor, Elizabeth is called Madame de Lisle, and the Duke is strongly urged to come over and see her. He is assured that she is most favourable to him, but that she will never treat “through the medium of an interview between her and Madlle. de la Serpente” (Catherine de Médicis). He is told that it will be easy for him to slip away from Paris during one or other of the season's masquerades or Court parties, and travel incognito to England.
It was well that Elizabeth should see Alençon before she decided. Of the appearance of the Queen several testimonies will be given further on, some of them couched in that strain of excessive adulation which she loved so well, and expected from most of her courtiers. Of Alençon, Dr. Valentine Dale writes thus graphically to Burghley in February 1573 (No. 119): “For hys parsonage, me thinketh the portrature doth expresse hym very well, and when I sawe hym at my last audience, he seemed to me to growe dayly more hansom than other. The treat of hys visage may be gathered likewyse by hys pictur, but not hys couleur, which ys not naturally red, sed neque pallidus nec niger, nec candidus neque tamen omnino fuscus. The pock holes ar no greate disfigurement in the rest of hys face, bycause they ar rather thick than diepe or greate. They uppon the blunt end of hys nose ar greate and diepe, howe much to be disliked maye be as yt pleaseth God to move the hart of the beholder. As touching his behaviour, he ys the most moderat yn all the Court; never present at any of the licentiouse acts of hys brethren, nor here nor at Rochell; of much credit, and namely with them of the religion; thus he ys and hath ben hitherto; what may be hereafter God knoweth, whom yt maye please of hys goodnes to direct her Majestie to the best.”
In March 1573, La Mothe, the French Ambassador, continued to press the cause of the marriage, and the Duke sent Châteauneuf with his letters to her Majesty to forward the suit. The French King and Queen Mother begged Elizabeth to be good enough to enlighten them as to her resolution with respect to the proposal of Monseigneur the Duke, their brother and son, in order that, after that occasion, they might impose upon themselves a perpetual silence, so as never more to give her Majesty the weariness, nor to themselves the shame, of speaking further to her on the subject. They had the Queen's own word that, for the welfare of her subjects, she had constrained herself to take the resolution of marrying. At this time siege was being laid to La Rochelle, and the Count of Montgomery had sailed to its relief from England with several ships. Alençon wrote to Elizabeth that he had been constrained to accompany his brother, the Duke of Anjou, to that town. Burghley informed La Mothe that the Queen was contented that the Duke of Alençon should come, “so as, if he speed not, the breach may rest upon the article of religion.” Alençon himself wrote to Elizabeth from the camp before La Rochelle, that he was desirous to come into England to see her, at which, says Burghley, “the Queen Mother writheth.” Elizabeth replied to Catherine and to the Duke that, before she could accord to his coming, she must know whether, if he came and did not speed, there should be any diminution of amity. In the following month, June 1573, four of the English Council informed the French Ambassador in England that, for divers considerations, her Majesty could not conveniently accord to the coming of the Duke of Alençon at that time, and Edward Horsey was sent into France to give reasons.
Peace having been concluded at La Rochelle in July, La Mothe wrote urgently to the Lord Treasurer, asking that Alençon (who was now styled “Monsieur, frère du Roy,” since the Duke of Anjou's election to the throne of Poland) might be provided with a safe-conduct to come into England, and both Charles and Catherine offered to let him go, “upon his adventure,” as Burghley puts it. The French Prince, however, fell sick of “the purples,” and Monsieur du Retz came to Canterbury to apologise for the delay, and to ask for a safe-conduct. The Duke wrote to Elizabeth (No. 147) that he had been twice near his last sigh, but was then better, although he had a continual fever. He had been told that there were some in France who, “par finese, cotele, ou ruze,” wished to bring it about that she should love him no longer. He begged her not to believe them, for, if such should be the case, he would die. A ring accompanied this letter. To Du Retz, Elizabeth made answer at Canterbury that, although Charles, Catherine, and Alençon offered that, if the Duke came to England and did not succeed in his suit, there should be no diminution of amity, there were now found more difficulties to hinder the marriage than formerly, and specially by reason of the evil opinion generally conceived of Monsieur; that he might become in England a head of the Queen's adversaries in religion; and so, unless he showed himself a favourer of “them of the religion,” he was not a meet husband for her. The Duke was also required, when he came, to bring with him such as professed the reformed religion, or who had never been persecutors; and, whilst he was treating with her Majesty, he was to have no mass. On November 9, Alençon writes to the Queen, from Châtelherault, that he is marvellously pleased with the token and sign she has sent him, by means of which they will be able to communicate with greater freedom. Leicester declared to La Mothe, that, according to the request of his Excellency, he had sought to induce Elizabeth to consent that the coming of the Duke should be a public one, but could in no way gain that point. She feared, notwithstanding the protestations to the contrary of the French King and Queen Mother, that if the interview had not the hoped for effect, the relations between the two crowns would be disturbed. Elizabeth wanted Alençon to come in a very quiet manner, so that, if the desired satisfaction with one another did not result, the greater the skill and the less the noise with which the affair was managed, the less would their honour be touched. Later on in the same month, February 1574, Dr. Dale informed the French Court that the Queen was content for Monsieur to come into England, and in March, the safe-conduct that had been asked for was accorded. Nothing, however, came of it.
In 1575, La Chastre came to England to renew the matter of the Duke's marriage. La Mothe was recalled, and Castelnau de Mauvissière was sent as Ambassador to the English Court, Alençon was known to possess very liberal ideas towards the Huguenots, and was closely watched: indeed he and Henry of Navarre were detained at the Court in Paris. Notwithstanding the watch kept on him, the Duke managed to slip away in a friend's carriage, on September 15, and joined La Noue and the Huguenots on the Loire. The Prince of Condé marched with his reiters in the direction of Paris. The Sieur de la Porte, counsellor and chamberlain in ordinary to Monsieur, was sent in December, when the Duke was in his camp, to solicit the marriage, but subsequently, in February 1576, Elizabeth made answer by the Lord Chamberlain to La Mothe and La Porte that, though the French King moved the coming of his brother, yet considering the difference betwixt the King and his brother, and the late accord not prosecuted, she Could not consent to have the Duke come at such a time. Henry of Navarre escaped from the French Court in February 1576. Catherine went to La Noue's camp to see the Duke, and shortly after, on May 14, the peace, known as the Peace of Monsieur, was concluded. Its terms were more favourable to the Huguenots than any they had previously obtained, and Alençon received a handsome increase to his appanage in the addition to it of Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and Berri. In March 1577, Sir Amyas Paulet, who had proceeded as Ambassador to Paris in September of the previous year, writes to Burghley (No. 450) that “the Queen Mother is expected in the Court before Easter, intending first to see Monsieur, wherever he shall be. It is given out that she is coming with him into England, and that the voyage will be performed this next May at the furthest. The King pretendeth to like well of it, and yet no man doubteth but that the jealousies between him and his brother are nothing diminished. The Spaniard is preparing by sea and land against the Low Countries.”
In July 1578, De Quincé and De Bacqueville came to Elizabeth from Alençon, and the Queen gave them answer in September that she desired the Duke to come and see her. But, on the whole, matters concerning the marriage remained in a quiescent state until the close of that year, when the Duke of Anjou (as Alençon must now be called) gave his commission to Simier to treat and conclude upon marriage with the Queen. At the same time the Duke wrote (No. 674) to Sir Henry Cobham, then English Ambassador at Paris, entreating his good offices with Elizabeth, and begging him to speak freely with Simier, who knew his intentions and the depth of his heart.” Simier at once took the fancy of the Queen. In a letter written to her lover on Jan. 16, 1579 (No. 690), she tells him that his envoy seems to show himself worthy of being honoured by the choice he has made of him, and thinks that, without the aid of any other advocate, Simier will make his peace with her. Elizabeth also thanks the Duke for his letters, “worthy, not of parchment, but of being “written in marble.”
After the fashion of the Queen with her favourites, both Anjou and Simier must needs receive nicknames from her Majesty, and throughout the correspondence addressed by them to Elizabeth, their letters are generally signed with these singular tokens of the royal regard. Burghley was called by the Queen her “spirit,” and at other times her “leviathan”; Leicester, her “sweet Robin”; Egerton, her “dromedary”; Oxford, her “boar”; Hatton, her “lyddes,” and, at other times, her “sheep”; Walsingham, her “Moor.” In a letter written by Leicester to Walsingham (No. 1,004) he tells the latter that the Queen willed him to say, “as she doth know her Moor cannot change his colour, no more shall it be found that she will alter her old wont, which is always to hold both ears and eyes open for her good servants, and that it shall be indeed observed, not of the common sort of Princes, but 'nella fede della Reyna d'Ingellaterra.'” The Duke of Anjou became Elizabeth's “frog,” her “grenouille”; Simier was as aptly styled “monkey,” her “singe.” And here attention may be called to a paper of later date (No. 1,083) relating to the cipher used by Simier in his correspondence with the Queen, and containing an interesting list of cipher names used to designate certain personages of note, and various countries and places. The King of France was referred to as Jupiter, Mars, or Mercury; the Queen of England as the sun, the pearl, or the diamond; the King of Spain as the briar, Saturn, or Vulcan; the Queen Mother of France as marigold, sage, or the cypress; the Queen Regnant of France as the pansy; Monsieur [the Duke of Anjou] as the laurel, victory, or the olive tree; the Queen of Navarre as the moon, the rose, or the ruby; the King of Navarre as the apple, the orange, or the citron; the Prince of Condé as the flower, the dolphin, or the kite; the Duke of Montpensier as the pear; the Dauphin of France as the medlar; the Duke of Guise as envy, hail, or lightning; the Duke of Maine as love, war, or peace; the Duke of Lorraine as the thistle, or the magpie; the Duke of Savoy as jealousy; the Duke Casimir as the raven, or the starling; Germany as confusion, or iron; the reiters as grief, or repentance; the Low Countries as Africa (?), or land; the Prince of Orange as ape [“guanon,” ? guenon], or pigeon [“pigon,” ? pigeon]; the Estates as turf, or sand; the Comte de Lalain as fear, or the staff; Geneva as the sentinel; Genoa as the strawberry; the Huguenots as the fir tree or the nettle; the Marshal de Montmorency as the falcon; the Marshal de Bellegarde as the griffin; the Marshal de Biron as the fox; the Marshal de Matignon as the partridge; Monsieur de Turenne as the lion; and Simier himself as monkey, faith, or death. Sussex, Leicester, Burghley, and Hatton are indicated by cipher marks, not by names. Clausse Véry, one of the Duke of Anjou's secretaries, obtained the nickname of “le gros postillon” (Nos. 944 and 993). Another correspondent of Elizabeth, who has not yet been identified, but who evidently belonged to the Duke of Anjou's household, and was high in the Queen's favour, styles himself her “monk,” and his letters in this Calendar are given under his nickname of “Moine.” In one of these (No. 1099), he says with reference to the proposed marriage of his master, “Having candidly negotiated with your Majesty, say, I beseech you, yes or no. Your monk has concealed nothing from you,” and again, “Pardon, I beseech you, your monk who loves you more than you love yourself, and who would desire to see in you, amongst so many rare virtues, more resolution.” In another (No. 1100), he calls the Queen, “belle déité.” In a third (No. 1109) he plays again on Elizabeth's known love of flattery, and thus addresses her : “But I, Madam, bear in me, along with my regret at my departure, the desire of seeing you again, and jealousy of those who feast their eyes on your beautiful presence, which I leave only in body, having all your perfections engraved upon my soul, from which they shall never depart for any reason whatever, and results shall prove what I say.” In the same letter he says, “Pardon, Madam, so much presumption on your beauty, your sweetness, your divinity, and on my affection. I would say more if I did not fear to incur the vice of importunity. Command the faithful monk of E. R.” Lastly, as a specimen of this “monk's” apostrophes to her Majesty, he tells her (No. 1,110) that his affection for her will go wherever she goes, and will remain in his ashes; “I kiss those beautiful hands a thousand times, and in spirit perceive that perfume that surpasses the flowers of spring.”
The Duke of Anjou wrote to Elizabeth on March 2, 1579, beseeching her not to impute to him the delay which had been caused, partly by the tardiness and procrastination of the French King, and partly by other hindrances, which Simier would detail to her more particularly. He begged· her to give Simier all credit, and expressed his impatience for the conclusion of the negotiation. In a letter, dated March 8, he expressed his regret at the hatred and murmuring excited in her subjects by the concession Elizabeth had made with respect to religion (alluding to the private exercise of it by the Duke), and protested that he wished to have no other friends or enemies than those of her Majesty and that on all occasions, on which he could render her any service, she would find him prepared to sacrifice his life, and everything in his power, on her behalf. In No. 717 will be found a list of objections made to the proposed marriage between the Queen and the Duke, a paper apparently in the handwriting of Sir Edward Stafford. Elizabeth's dislike to marriage, and the difficulty in choosing such a person as “in all respects might content her Majesty's mind and satisfy her eye,” are replied to by referring her to the direction of God and of her own heart. In the reply to the objection as to the peril of the Queen at her years, in the possible event of a child being born, the following passage occurs, “It is therefore greatly to be hoped that her Majesty, a person of most pure complexion, of the largest and goodliest stature of well-shaped women, with all limbs set and proportioned in the best sort, and one whom in the sight of all men, nature cannot amend her shape in any part to make her more likely to conceive and bear children without peril, may with safety, or at the least with as little peril as any other, conceive and bring forth such a child, as shall be a comfort and surety to the mother, and shall keep shut hostia templi Jani in England, to the hearts' contentation of all such as desire to see the crown of this Realm continued in the blood of the body of that famous king, King Henry the Eighth.” It is represented that, in the event of the marriage, the Protestants in France will be preserved from tyranny, and live as obedient subjects; that England and France will be able to effect a reasonable composition between the King of Spain and his insurgent subjects; and that the Queen shall, at home, be out of fear of any practice in religion or competition. In the event of the marriage not taking place, it is represented that the Duke will be alienated from her Majesty, and will no more repose trust in any of the religion, but give himself wholly over to the Papists, and that he will probably ally himself by marriage with the King of Spain; and that then the Roman Catholic powers of Europe will join together for the suppression of the reformed religion. There is a lengthy draft on the subject (No. 723), in Burghley's handwriting, and at the close he states that the contents of it were declared by him to the Queen in the presence of the Earls of Sussex and Leicester, Lord Hunsdon, Mr. Secretary Walsingham, and Wilson. The draft deals with the perils that might be incurred both at home and abroad by the Queen refusing to marry, and though more able and elaborate than the document last referred to, deals in great measure with the same dangers, adding some advice as to the remedies that ought to be taken to obviate the same. These are, as regards the perils at home, to establish religion sincerely; to govern the people with justice indifferently; to maintain the navy and army in a high state of preparedness for all kinds of war, and to have means to supply the place of the treasure that shall be spent, by subsidies, fifteenths, or such like, or by sale or mortgage of the Queen's own lands; and by Act of Parliament to disable any person pretending title to the English Crown. As regards the perils from abroad, the remedies to be used are to find means for continuing “the inward troubles of the French King and King of Spain;” to conjoin herself with such princes in Germany as profess her religion, “the band of which conjunction must yearly be made by her Majesty of gold or silver, for no other mean will tie them to any service; “and to obtain the King of Scots to be at her direction for marriage, “which must be had by a yearly support given to himself, and rewards to his nobility, so that [to] conclude, with these strangers the verse will be verified, 'Querenda pecunia primum, virtus post nummos.'”
Long consultations were held at Westminster concerning the marriage, and early in May report was made to the whole Council as to the conferences with Simier. The question of religion was to remain in suspense, until an interview had taken place, when, if there should be a mutual liking, it was to be finally settled, and, if there were no such liking, the cause of breaking off the marriage was to be imputed to the difference of matters on religion. Simier had brought over certain new articles, the tenor of which was, (1.) That Monsieur, on his marriage with her Majesty, should be crowned King during his life, with caution not to prejudice her Majesty's right, or that of any of her successors; (2.) That he might enjoy, in society with her Majesty, a joint authority in the giving of benefices, offices, lands, &c. and (3.) That he might have an assurance of 60,000l. sterling, both during the marriage and during the minority of any child born thereof, and being heir to the Crown. The Council resolved that the first and third of these could only be considered by the Council of the whole realm in Parliament, and that they were to be put in suspense until Monsieur's coming. The second was utterly rejected. Simier was then informed of the decisions of the Council, and, though he persisted at first in the maintenance of all three articles, he agreed to omit the second, and desired that he might have her Majesty's private allowance of them, with a promise to propound them to Parliament. Elizabeth wrote to Sir Amyas Paulet, at Paris, of all her proceedings with Simier, and directed him to advertise both the King and Monsieur of the new kind of action taken in offering the three new articles. In June, Simier came to the Council, and declared that he had orders from his master not to insist on the said three articles, and that the Duke would remit all to her Majesty's own determination. Burghley shortly after declared, on behalf of the Queen, that she was contented to accord an interview, whereupon Simier required that, before the interview, the articles of marriage might be cleared. This was done, and brief answers were given to all of them. In July, Walsingham delivered to Simier an Act of Council, accorded the 15th June, for the assent to the Duke's coming to England, and also the Queen's safe-conduct, dated the 7th July. The latter was acknowledged by the Duke in a letter to the Queen (No. 743), wherein he states that he has “no greater “desire in this world than to see the hour of his embarkation.”
On the 17th August, the Duke came to Greenwich, and having stayed a few days, returned to Boulogne on the 30th of the same month. Two days before his return, Simier writes to Elizabeth (No. 7.51) representing the little rest that her “grenouille” had enjoyed during the night, “having done nothing but sigh and complain,” and saying that at 8 o'clock he had made him rise to discourse to him of her “divine beauties.” Simier thinks his master will cross the Channel “without torment, unless he swells the waves by the “abundance of his tears.” Anjou seemed likely to illustrate this remark, for in a letter written to the Queen just as he was about to embark (No. 752), he states that he dare not commit himself to a long discourse, “knowing well that I am not myself, being continually occupied in wiping away the abundant tears which flow from my eyes without intermission.” He assures her of his affection, and that he will ever remain “the most faithful and affectionate slave that can be on the earth. As such, on the shore of this troublous sea, I will kiss your feet.” Three other letters he writes to Elizabeth on the day he sailed (Nos. 753–5), the second from Dover, the third after he had reached Boulogne. In the last of these, he says the only news he has to tell her is that he has not been at all ill, having felt no symptoms beyond those which he experienced at parting with her Majesty, which will not leave him, until he has the great pleasure of again enjoying her presence. Two more letters are sent by him to the Queen on the following day, from Boulogne. Five days later, after the Duke had reached the French Court, he writes to her alluding to the perfections of her Majesty's Court, which ought to be the admiration of every one, and saying that he is dying for want of news from her.
In October, there were again anxious consultations on the subject of the marriage, and the dangers that would arise from refusal with the profits probable on acceptance. The Queen was pressed to put all her realm in strength, both by sea and land. To this end sufficient treasure could be procured of the gift of the realm, which abounded in riches, “as may be seen by the general excess of the people in purchasing, in buildings, in meat, drink, and feastings, and notably in apparel.” Burghley declared that Elizabeth had assented divers times to the French Ambassadors that she had a mind to marriage, that she liked the house of France as well as any other, and that, if she and the Duke should like one another, which could only be ascertained by an interview, she would assent to this marriage. Burghley further stated in his minute (No. 765) that on the Duke's coming, the Queen had seen him privately, and had had conference with him continually many days, and now that he had gone, she required advice from her Council as to what they thought it meet for her to do. He considered that she liked the Duke, from her often saying that she should never have any (if she were to marry) but him, and that she did not “mislike of him,” and also because she never spoke of him, but with great allowance of his nature and conditions, and lastly, because she seemed displeased with any person or argument against the marriage. The Council deliberated, at the Queen's request, and sent Burghley and the Earls of Lincoln, Sussex, and Leicester, to beg for some inclination of her mind, and that then they would proceed, so that her honour should be preserved. The Queen thanked them, and said much to them, “not without shedding of many tears,” and then got angry with the Council for not making an unanimous request to her to go forward in the matter. The Council again offered their services to further Her Majesty's wishes. Anjou wrote to Elizabeth, informing her of his departure from the French Court, and of his retirement to his own house. He was hoping that Simier would bring him some favourable resolution, but was much in doubt, having learnt from his last despatch that Her Majesty had retarded her Parliament for a month, in order in that time the better to ascertain the will of her people. He could not imagine that they could ever gainsay “so beautiful a Queen, who had always governed them so well, that no monarch in the world could have done better.” Anjou little knew the temper of the English nation. Many papers in this Calendar testify to their bitter hatred of France and Frenchmen, and their stolid antagonism to Popery in any shape or form. Elizabeth made full use of these feelings when it suited her purpose, but now it pleased her to gratify her lover, and she visited the opponents of the marriage with her sternest displeasure. It was at this time that John Stubbs, a Puritan lawyer, brother-in-law of the celebrated Cartwright, suffered the loss of his right hand for his pamphlet against the Anjou marriage, a similar punishment being inflicted on Page, the bookseller, who had sold it.
In November, a treaty was provisionally concluded with Simier at Greenwich. Notwithstanding the signature of the articles, it was agreed that the effect of them should be held in suspense for two months, to allow of Commissioners being sent over from France. The Parliament in England was prorogued for the same purpose. Objections were made to two of Simier's articles; one, concerning the manner of the marriage, and the other, about the permission to be granted to the Duke in religion. In December, the latter wrote to Simier that there was nothing he desired so much as to cross the sea and join Elizabeth. A second time had she signed a passport for her lover, and this is how she wrote to the Duke (No. 796), “How I have cursed myself since the concession of the passport, thinking that my hand might procure you some disaster or dishonour. You cannot imagine the least part of my pain. I do nothing else but dream, desiring, more than to live, to be always assured that there shall be no diminution of your favour, nor of your singular affection to me, however this business may end.” She beseeches Anjou (No. 797) to see that the Commissioners relax the strictness of the terms proposed by Simier with respect to “the public exercise of the Roman religion,” as this is a thing “so hard to be borne by the English, that you cannot imagine it without knowing it.” To smooth matters, the Queen adds:– For my part, I confess that there is no prince in the world, to whom I more willingly give myself than to you, nor to whom I think myself more indebted, nor with whom I would pass the years of my life, both for your rare virtues, and sweet disposition, accompanied with so many honourable traits, that I cannot recite them for their number, nor dare make mention of them because of the long time I should require.”
Elizabeth had hesitated much as to whether she should sign the passport for the Duke or not, but had been quickened to do so by the information conveyed to her of the secret marriages of Leicester and Hatton. Simier diligently pressed upon her all the arguments that could be adduced in favour of her accepting the Duke, and plied her with the flattery she relished so much. He signs letters to her with an E, surrounded with $'s, draws love knots on them, and, in one instance, a heart transfixed with a dart. In the later stage of the negotiations for the marriage, Simier fell into disgrace with Anjou, and many of his letters to the Queen refer to his troubles, and implore her mediation and assistance. He often wrote to her without the cognizance of the Duke, and prayed that it might not be known. Elizabeth interfered in his favour, and with some effect. In one of his letters (No. 931) written after the Duke had deprived him of some of his emoluments, Simier prays Elizabeth for a monthly allowance. It was ascertained (No. 891) that he was one of those receiving pensions from the King of Spain. The following is some of the incense that Simier offered at the shrine of the Queen : “I beseech you, Madam, that no living person may know of my letters. I put my life in your hands, nor do I wish to preserve it but to do you service. For I am your 'singe,' and you are my creator, my defender, my helper, and my saviour. You are my god, my all and my life, my hope and my trust, my strength and my consolation. I beg you then, and beseech of you, as earnestly as I can, to be so good as by your favour to bring some happy termination to my affairs. And doing this your Majesty will ever confer the more obligation on your 'singe,' who in all humility will render you until death entire obedience, with as good will as I now very humbly kiss and kiss again a hundred million times your fair and lovely hands” (No. 902). In one letter (No. 1,200) he calls Elizabeth “the Queen of his soul from whom he can conceal “nothing,” “the only paradise of his soul.” In another letter from Paris (No. 808) he says, with doubtful compliment, “I kiss very humbly the shadow of your feet.” In another (No. 813), he writes, “I require and beg of you very humbly that the 'singe' may always be continued in the number of your beasts, and that you may be pleased to preserve him from the temper of the bear.” The Queen several times wrote with her own hand to Simier, and some of these letters will be found in the following pages. On one occasion Simier declares (No. 839) how for three hours he had discoursed to Catherine de Médicis on the perfections of Elizabeth, and relates that the Queen Mother expressed her great admiration, and her extreme desire to see Elizabeth her daughter-in-law, and that she told him more than a hundred times that she could not live content nor very happy unless that took place, “As for your 'grenouille' his flame is immortal, and his love for you can never end in this world or the next. For God's sake, Madam, lose no more time; take resolution and counsel of yourself, and of those whose faithful affection is known to you [as seeking] more your greatness than their own private interests.” Simier constantly declares his gratitude for the Queen's intervention with the Duke of Anjou on his behalf. One more instance may suffice for the adulation he offered her. In No. 919 he writes that in imagination he every hour kisses a thousand times her beautiful hands, “having my thoughts turned without ceasing to the rare perfections of your Majesty, whom I admire above all the divinities of the world as a chef-d'œuvre in nature, with which nothing can compare. More than ever I adore you and the virtues that you possess, whose fame is enriched with so many praises given to you, that your enemies even confess you to be the glory of the world, the first and happiest Princess on the earth, in that you are loved, served, and adored by a Prince who has neither rest nor comfort save in esteeming himself wholly yours; and verily you have all power over him, so much so that you could have no more over yourself. For he can never think nor speak of anything but your wonderful beauty and goodwill, of which he has become the slave, wishing to live and die for you who are his mistress and the Queen of his heart.” The Duke of Anjou might be pardoned for becoming jealous of Simier, and eventually recalling him.
The Duke replied to the passport that Elizabeth had sent him by coming over to England privately, but it was only for a few days. His arrival is noticed by Simier in a letter (No. 1,108) to the Queen which runs thus : “I cannot forget to thank you very humbly for the letter you were pleased to write to me, without which I should have found myself surprised in bed by him whom you know, who entered my room at the very hour that the gentleman you had sent to me went out. He told me that he had met several persons in the street, but that he did not think he had been recognised by anyone. I assure you that I myself had difficulty in recognising him, so thoroughly was he disguised. Never was man so tired as he, nevertheless he wished vehemently that I should go to your Majesty, and beg you in his name that he might kiss your hands just as he was. But having shown him that it was impossible, that it was necessary to go through a dozen rooms before approaching yours, and that your Majesty was still sleeping, I begged him to take some rest. Je [j'ai] tant faict que je l'ay mis tout présantemant antre deus draps, que pleust à Dieu que ce fut auprès de vous, à ce qu'il eust plus de coumodité à vous dire ce qu'il pançe. Car je cognois bien que 'mal si ryposa chi non ha contentezza.' Qui faccio fine, et vi raccomando la vita mia.” The extraordinary license permitted by the times is also exemplified in several letters of Anjou to the Queen (Nos. 1116, 1117, 1155, 1158, and 1175.)
If Simier was profuse in his expressions of affection for Elizabeth and of devoted service to her, the English Queen and the French Duke were scarcely less profuse in their avowals of mutual regard and ardent love. Even before coming over the second time, the Duke of Anjou had written to Elizabeth, thanking her for her care of him, which but increased the number of proofs given him “of that kindness so rare and so admired by all, that my praises would appear like a little candle against the splendour of the sun.” This letter was written from the Netherlands, where the Duke had been assisting the patriot insurgents. From this work he had been recalled by Elizabeth, and having desisted at her behest, he naturally expected his reward. Writing from Paris (No. 845), he tells the Queen that he has seen by Simier's despatch what is her Majesty's wish with respect to the articles and negotiation of which the latter is now treating, and also her discontent at his insistance. He is also on his part much displeased to find that she has taken occasion to vex herself in the matter, and to think that he has any other object or desire than the attainment of her charms and good favour. He has again charged Simier to declare his wishes fully to her Majesty, with which he hopes she will be content and satisfied. Alongside these matters of state comes the following : “The said M. de Simier has also given him to understand that it was his good fortune to find himself one morning in her Majesty's chamber, where he robbed her of a nightcap, which he has sent to him. Assures her that he will keep it most carefully, together with her handkerchief, thanking her most humbly for the favour permitted to Simier in this behalf.” The Duke writes to Elizabeth from Evreux (No. 850), telling her of the stormy weather that had compelled him to put in to Dieppe again, after he had embarked at that port for his second visit to her, and beseeches her to take into consideration his misfortune and his great patience, and to bring the negotiation to a conclusion. In July (No. 861), he thanks her for a “gift” (probably a sum of money) she has sent him by Captain Bourg, and hopes to do her good service therewith. In the same month (No. 866), he assures her that he will conclude nothing with the Low Countries without first acquainting her therewith, having resolved to be guided in all things by her advice. As to the Commissioners, he has resolved to send them on the first possible day, on the understanding that they will only be received for the purpose of concluding the marriage, and of deciding as to the time when he may visit her Majesty. Elizabeth wrote to the French King a characteristic letter (No. 871), complaining that, notwithstanding the welcome he knew she had given to the Prince of Condé, he had besieged La Fère, charging the King with remembering too much her sex, “which commonly is but little capable of great achievements,” and forgetting a little “her position, which, by long experience more than by great spirit, knows her share in them.” She begs the King to make the arrival of the Commissioners as agreeable as possible to her people, who have from the beginning entertained a strong aversion to the marriage.
The treaty signed at Greenwich had been allowed to drop, after the expiration of the two months specified therein. Burghley was almost in despair. He told the Queen that the Duke had been brought by her means to be the author of trouble in his own country, that by her he had been drawn from his late enterprise in the Low Countries, and that by her he had been hindered from his proposed marriage with the King of Spain's daughter. The Duke had come to see her, and had been rejected, and it was certain he would seek to be revenged on her. She must now encourage him to take possession of the Low Countries, if only to separate him from the Papists. The Northern States, by their envoy, St. Aldegonde, made offer of the sovereignty of the Low Countries to Anjou, and it was generally believed he would accept it. If the Duke's sovereignty thereafter led to the annexation of those countries to France, Burghley thought that English independence would cease. Elizabeth almost drove her ministers to despair, by pursuing her old course of vacillation respecting the marriage, now alluring the Duke with fair words and vows, and now treating him with coldness or even with menace.
At first the Queen had frowned on St. Aldegonde's mission and offer, and wrote to Sir Edward Stafford, her Ambassador at Paris, that “the banes of her nuptial feast should not be savoured with the sauce of her subjects' wealth,” that Anjou “must not procure her harm, whose love he sought to win,” and that he ought to suspend his answer to the States till he had sent some of quality and trust to communicate and concur with that she might think best for both their honours.” Afterwards, driven by fear of political perils ahead, to smile on Anjou once more Elizabeth gave her consent to his acceptance of the sovereignty, informed him the French troops might enter Flanders, made him a present of a hundred thousand crowns, and hinted that the treaty for the marriage might be renewed. She wrote also to the French King, in extenuation of her former irresolution. In January 1581, Anjou accepted the sovereignty of the Low Countries. In February, a secretary of the Duke's, Pierre Clausse, Sieur de Marchaumont, was sent over to the Queen, and receiving a cordial welcome, and assurances of the Queen's earnestness and sincerity, he hastened back to Paris, and the despatch of an embassy was speedily arranged. A very lengthy letter by Marchaumont, impressing upon the Queen the importance of speedily concluding the marriage, will be found in this volume (No. 1,132). The Commissioners sent by the King of France were : – Louis de Bourbon, Comte de Soissons; Louis de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier; François de Bourbon, Prince Dauphin; le Maréchal de Cosse, Comte de Segondigny; Louis de Lusignan, Comte de Tillières; Bertrand de Salignac, Sieur de la Mothe Fénélon; Michel de Castelnau, Sieur de Mauvissière; Barnabé Brisson, Sieur de Gravelle, Président au Parlement; Claude Pinart, Sieur de Cramailles, Secrétaire d'Etat; Pierre Clausse, Sieur de Marchaumont et de Courances en Gastinois; and Jacques Vray, Sieur de Fontorte. This embassy arrived in England in April 1581, and was received with the highest honours, and in the most cordial manner. During her conferences with these Commissioners Elizabeth temporised, and fenced about in her usual manner, but her excuses and her arguments were easily met by the experienced men she was dealing with. She pleaded for a league between the two kingdoms instead of the marriage, but was answered that the marriage would be the best bond between England and France, and that a political alliance should be established by the very first article of the treaty. At length the Queen gave way, and once more marriage articles were drawn up and signed, with the singular proviso, however, that they should not be binding until the Queen and Monsieur had expressed themselves satisfied in the matter of the league. The Commissioners then took their leave, having stayed only about a month in the country.
Meanwhile Elizabeth had been writing in the most endearing terms to her lover. In one letter (No. 956A) she says to him :–“My dearest, the honour you do me is very great in sending your letters to me so often, but the pleasure I derive therefrom is far greater, since I desire nothing so much as the continuation of your good opinion regarding me. I thank you very humbly for the sweet flowers gathered by the hand with the small fingers, which I bless a million times, and declare to you that never was present better carried, for the bloom remains on them as fresh as if they had been gathered this moment, and represents very vividly your verdant affection towards me; I trust I shall never give any just cause for it to fade. Monsieur, I have taken care not to lose a leaf or a flower, for all the other jewels I possess.” In a previous letter to the Queen (No. 894) the Duke had begged her to take all in good part, “coume de vostre grenoile avec les petis dois;” and her Majesty, on another occasion (No. 1,003), wishes Anjou a hundred years of life, and commends herself “a million times to the small fingers.”
In July 1581 (No. 994) Anjou wrote to the Queen, saying that he was about to proceed to the relief of Cambray [a town then besieged by the Prince of Parma], and that he hoped in passing to see the Queen his mother, whom he had not seen for nearly two years. The Prince of Parma had made him lose time by going to besiege Dunkirk, which was of great importance both to the States and to the Spaniards, who needed only such a port. Further (No. 1,000), the Queen Mother had honoured him with a visit in order that in her presence he might hear from the Commissioners the result of their negotiations, with which he declared himself very well satisfied. The Duke assures Elizabeth that he will know neither ease nor rest until the affair has been satisfactorily concluded.
Anjou advanced to Cambray with 10,000 foot and 2,000 French lancers, all gentlemen, well mounted and armed. Early in August his camp was pitched at Riblemont, near St. Quentin, and Lavalle and La Chastre were sent to the frontiers with directions to affront the enemy, and to discover the best method of approaching Cambray. The Marquis d'Elbœuf commanded the vanguard; La Chastre was Master of the Camp; Lavalle, Captain of all the Gendarmerie; and Fervacques, Marshal of the Camp. The Duke was in chief command, attended by the Vicomte de Turenne, the Count Montgomery, and others. A list of the Duke's partisans will be found in No. 933. The victuals gathered for provisioning Cambray, after he had raised the siege, were held in readiness at a little town called Castellet. A vivid account is given by Somers to Burghley (No. 1,024) of an expedition made at night by the Vicomte de Turenne and a small band of nobles and gentlemen, in the direction of Cambray, when the army had arrived within four leagues of that place. The expedition was cut to pieces, the Vicomte and others being taken prisoners. Fortunately for Turenne, he was ransomed for 3,000 crowns before his identity had been discovered. Somers, in the same letter, gives an interesting account of the composition of the Duke's army, and announces the entry of Anjou into Cambray on the 18th of August, the Prince of Parma having retreated with his force. The Duke immediately informed Elizabeth of his success (No. 1,022), saying “the enemy have fled with every appearance of terror to a distance of four leagues, having refused the battle which I offered them.” In another letter, about a fortnight later (No. 1,037), he again referred to his triumph “in the sight of the Spanish army,” and stated that several standards had been taken, which he wished to present to her Majesty, “at whose feet he would fain consecrate all his trophies, but has been deterred therefrom by the report that she feared to declare herself alone against the Spaniards.” He regretted that he was compelled to trespass on her finances, and thanked her for the care expressed by her for his person, “which will do more to restrain him than his love of a life which languishes in her absence.” One of her garters “alone was the cause” of his triumph (Nos. 1037, 1097, and 1121.)! The Queen sent Anjou a handsome letter of congratulation on his victory (No. 1,097), and the reputation of the Duke was raised higher than ever in the Low Countries.
After the Commissioners had departed from England, Somers was sent over to Paris to exact fresh conditions. Elizabeth insisted on the continuance of the Duke's work in the Low Countries, and desired to ascertain whether the French King would help his brother, without her expense. Henry insisted on the conclusion of the marriage, and promised, when that had been celebrated, to put his army in the field, along with Elizabeth's, against Spain. Yet, notwithstanding all her protestations, the Queen would not marry, and still fought mainly for the league with France. Walsingham was sent to Paris to take the place of Somers, and in this portion of the Calendar we have several outspoken letters addressed by him to the Queen. Walsingham had been employed in the negotiations for her marriage with Anjou's elder brother, now Henry III. He knew the whole course, so far as any man could know it, of the dissimulation and intrigue by which Elizabeth had hitherto put off her absolutely final decision in the present negotiations. Walsingham's was one of the few names in England that had remained untarnished throughout these compromising and endless proceedings, actively though he had been engaged in them. Anjou himself declared him (No. 1046) “the most honourable man possible, and worthy of being favoured by the greatest princess of the world.” Walsingham had no liking for the task imposed upon him, and made no secret of his opinions to the Queen. He did not care to become the plaything of her irresolution, and he cordially joined in the deeply-rooted antipathy to the match, that was manifested by the people of England. In a draft by Burghley, dated 25th April 1581 (No. 977), it had been pointed out to the Queen that, if she intended to marry the Duke, she must not delay any longer, and by conclusion with the Commissioners then present in the country, must provide that he be effectually supported by the French King in his enterprise in the Low Countries. “There must also be great care taken that by Monsieur's marriage there be no alteration attempted in the cause of religion, nor that the obstinate Papists be comforted in their obstinacy.” Burghley further stated that, since the treaty with Simier many accidents had happened to make this marriage with Monsieur ungrateful, yea rather, hateful to the people of the realm, as, the invasion of Ireland by the Pope's means, the determination of the Pope to stir up rebellion in this realm, by sending in a number of English Jesuits, who had both by public books of challenges and by secret instructions and seductions of a great number of people, procured a great defection of many to relinquish their obedience to her Majesty, and to acknowledge the Pope as a person able by his power to transfer this Crown from her Majesty to whom he will.
Elizabeth, who was conscious of the love borne to her by her subjects, and who could speak as one proud of such loyal affection, wrote to Anjou in July 1581 (No. 1001A), “I perceive by the reply that the King has given my Ambassador and Somers, that he has decided that the war in the Low Countries shall be waged by me conjointly with him, and so the marriage and the battle trumpet shall begin together, which seems to me very strange, as I have spent these two years in making this act agreeable to my English, having laboured to that end by all good means, and thinking finally to satisfy all doubts entirely. Behold one resource with a worse head than that of the hydra! This kingdom, on which, thank God from whom all bounty flows, no spark of the neighbouring fires has burst forth, notwithstanding the extremity of the calamities that other countries have suffered, being exempt from all the ruin that accompanies war, the most intimate affection existing between me and my people, based on the great care engrafted in my heart to preserve them in peace. Think, my dearest, what horrible news it will be to them, that my husband is presenting them with a gift, a worse than which could not be bestowed by an enemy. It would break my heart to see you greeted with such discontent. God forbid that, for the love you swear to me, I should return so unworthy a gift.”
Anjou had been prevented by his preparations for the relief of Cambray from going to see Elizabeth as promptly as he wished. He did not understand why the further progress of the negotiations should be delayed by the arrangements for his journey to England, and assured the Queen that, as soon as he had put his army in order, he would take the first possible opportunity of visiting her. At this time, Walsingham had started on his mission to the French King and the Duke. The latter saw the English envoy before starting for Cambray, and wrote to Elizabeth (No. 1008), saying that he saw by Walsingham's proposals that her Majesty's goodwill to the marriage was diminished. This he could only impute to evil fortune, for he was well aware that there was no fault in himself, which could afford her a pretext for departing from the contract resolved on in the negotiations with the Commissioners. He begged her to pardon him if by his affection, wounded in such an unexpected manner, he was carried away into saying more than he ought. Her Majesty well knew his great desire for the accomplishment of their marriage, “for without intermission, during five or six years, I have sought it most ardently, refusing and neglecting all other overtures and parties, which, whatever may happen, I shall never regret.” Cobham reported on the 9th of August (No. 1013) that Catherine de Médicis had left Paris to persuade her son to break off the treaty of marriage, and not to hope further that way; also, to dissuade him from proceeding to the relief of Cambray. She had further propounded to the Duke the offer of one of King Philip's daughters, and large benefits besides. Walsingham wrote to his sovereign (No. 1018), stating that, if she had conquered the difficulty in her own nature, as also other difficulties of state, touching the marriage, he hoped her resolution might be delivered through her ministers in Paris. But if she were not going to side openly with France against Spain, by reason of the charges, then further proceedings therein should be forborne, because dallying with the French both in marriage and league could not but greatly exasperate them. He pointed out to Elizabeth that it was better for her to join France against Spain, than to have both those countries, and Scotland with them, allied against her. He also told her that her “loathness to spend,” even when it concerned her safety, was publicly spoken of in Paris. Walsingham considered that the principal cause why he had been sent over, was, to procure a straiter degree of amity between the Queen and the French King without the marriage, and yet so to carry himself in the procuring thereof, as not altogether to break off the matter of the marriage. He was sundry times pressed by the French ministers to “yield a resolute answer” whether he had power to say that her Majesty would not marry. To this Walsingham replied that he had no such authority, and said that the impediment that made the Queen doubtful to proceed in the marriage, was the having the same accompanied by a war. He was fully persuaded that if Elizabeth was content to yield to marriage, the French King would be induced to covenant that she should be discharged of such burden as the war might cast upon her. Elizabeth had already told Marchaumont that if she were relieved of such charges, she saw no cause why the marriage should not proceed. On the 31st of August (No. 1032), Cobham wrote of a change in Catherine's views, and stated that she earnestly recommended the marriage, without which, she said, she saw there could be no sound friendship. One of the most outspoken of Walsingham's letters to the Queen is the one written on September 12 (No. 1044) in which he condemns her delays and her parsimony. To the credit of Elizabeth, he soon received a very gracious letter (No. 1051) from his “loving Sovereign, E.R.” Several papers in this volume give account of Walsingham's dealings with the French King, but all his efforts were foredoomed to failure through the uncertain humours of the Queen. The only practical results were the renewal by Henry of the treaty of Blois, and Elizabeth's determination to help Anjou in the Low Countries, for which purpose she sent him, privately, a large sum of money.
In a few weeks the aspect of affairs entirely changed, and Anjou, who had expressed his desire to come again to England, received a cordial response. The Queen again said that if she were relieved of expense in the Low Countries the marriage should take place. Although Anjou had come over without leave or knowledge of his brother, his visit this time seemed to promise full success. The Queen received him in public, kissed him, put a ring on his finger, introduced him to her Court, and appeared ready to fulfil all his wishes. Burghley and the rest of her ministers, indeed the English people, thought that their sovereign had at last come to a final resolution. Henry of France sent over his congratulations, and despatched Pinart to conclude the settlements. But Elizabeth had not absolutely decided, and by the proposal of conditions that the French Court could not accept, she once more frustrated all negotiation. It was difficult, however, to get the Duke out of England, where he continued to be fooled by Elizabeth. Bad news now came from the Netherlands of the successes of the Prince of Parma, and these were eventually made by the Duke the ground for taking his departure. Leicester and Howard accompanied him to Flushing, where he was installed Duke of Brabant, and the States swore allegiance to him. On his going away the Queen had vowed to marry him as soon as circumstances permitted, and, after he had arrived in the Low Countries, she said, according to the Spanish Ambassador Mendoza, that she would give a million to have her Frog swimming in the Thames again, and not in the stagnant marshes of the Netherlands. Not long afterwards she told Marchaumont that if Monsieur would leave the Low Countries and come back to her, she would marry him. The Duke expressed his readiness, but again the Queen threw the old obstacles in the way, and the matter ended in nothing. For some time longer the Duke was handsomely supported in the Low Countries by England, as subsidies amounting to no less than 350,000l. were paid to him during 1582 and 1583. During a portion of this period there are in this volume several letters from him to Elizabeth expressing devoted attachment to her. On the 31st of May 1584, the Duke of Anjou died at Château-Thierry.
Turning to the miscellaneous documents of interest, we have, in the first place, some relating to the condition of the Established Church. One paper (No. 580), dated in August 1578, and relating evidently to Norwich, is endorsed, “A form of government according to law, delivered by the Chancellor to the Bishop and divers others, wherein may appear his desire of good proceedings.” It begins thus :—“The strength of God's enemies being grown so universal, and their spreading so dangerous to the estate, and licentious looseness of life, through corruption of ecclesiastical officers, so untamed, it is time that ecclesiastical government be put in due and sure execution, without affection and corruption, according to the wholesome laws provided and established in that behalf.” The writer then says that the Bishop, as pastor of his whole diocese, must devise and practise the most certain and ready way to obtain a true view thereof, and to this end recommends the revival of the “choice, picked men,” called in law, “Decani rurales,” and, in the Bishop's canons, “Superintendents.” The duties of these are detailed, and justices of peace are to be moved to help them in their lawful proceedings, and to be present at their solemn assemblies or preachings. The office of superintendents is presumed by common law to be jointly at the Bishop and Archdeacon's appointment, unless the custom and prerogative of the Bishop be otherwise, “which is to be proved of continuance above three hundred years by ancient recording without interruption, only to appertain to the Bishop of Norwich,” whereby the Archdeacon's right is shut out. The writer then refers to the probate of wills and the granting of administrations, dwelling on the corruption and greediness of the “registers,” and thinks that the superintendents could, by attending to these matters, stay infinite suits in the year. They could also choose better men as apparitors, the “lewdness” of which officials in “coursing over the countries, following their masters' trade and example,” is mentioned. The writer finally dwells on the importance of ordering the making of ministers according to the late canons. Matthew Hutton, Dean of York, writing to Burghley in October 1573 (No. 157), says the contest in the Church at the beginning was over “a cap, a surplice, and a tippet,” now it is over “gowns to bishops, archbishops, and cathedral churches, to the overthrow of established order, and to the Queen's authority in causes ecclesiastical.” The reformation of the Church was best to be effected by the grave fathers of the Church gathered together in the name of Christ. The Dean advises Burghley to have an eye to the Universities, that young wits there be not inured to contentious factions.
Thomas Sampson, the Puritan divine, shews some of his “cogitations for the Church of England,” in a letter to Burghley, written in April 1574. “One of the greatest wounds and maims which this Church hath, is that there are many congregations or parishes which have certain reading priests as ministers, but are utterly destitute of pastors, preachers, and such as are both able and diligent to instruct them. Through two evil licences, de non promovendo ad sacros ordines and de non residendo, some charges are committed to such as cannot teach; others have licence not to do the office of a resident pastor.” He thinks that many “most painful and profitable ministers and labourers are molested and hindered” by the severe exacting of what is contained in the Book of Common Prayer. “The substance of that book is such and so good, that it deserveth well to be maintained by law. But there are certain adjecta, all against these diligent labourers.” He considers that the sign of the Cross in Baptism, kneeling at the Holy Communion, the wearing of the surplice at these Sacraments, and the ring in marriage, should not be compulsory. He had heard one, then a great prelate in the Church [of England] say in open sermon, that the law was not made to forbid one man to do better than the law prescribed, but that no man should do worse. In these matters Sampson thought the ordinary was a more meet judge than the justices of assize. “The Church hath much more need of painful and diligent pastors and labourers, than it hath of these unprofitable ceremonies; yea, it may better spare all these than one of them.” Lord North's famous letter to Bishop Coxe of Ely will be found under the date of 20th Nov. 1575 (No. 339). The letter is long, and as severe and unmannerly as the brief epistle written by Elizabeth, threatening to unfrock the “proud prelate.”
A curious list of presents made to the Queen at Richmond is contained in No. 676. The gifts consist mainly of does, pheasants, cheeses, and puddings, and comprise various kinds of birds, such as woodcocks, plovers, larks, curlews, &c. The names of the donors are given in each case.
There are some papers relating to Burghley House, near Stamford, and one or two quaint descriptions of Burghley's mother. In one letter (No. 131) Peter Kemp, his steward, says, “Within ten days my mistress, your mother, doth mean to go to Burghley for altogether. I have almost finished her chamber to her contentation. She giveth you hearty thanks for your courtesy shewed her in your letter. She did weep for joy when I read it to her.” On one occasion Burghley had promised his mother a gown, and Peter Kemp writes from Stamford as follows (No. 133) :—“Yesternight about 3 of the clock Mr. Thomas Cecil came home well, and my mistress your mother was come to Burghley two hours before him. The gown that you would make, it must be for every day, and yet because it comes from you, except you write to her to the contrary, she will make it her holiday gown. Whereof she hath great store already both of silk and cloth, but I think, sir, if you make her one of cloth, with some velvet upon it, with your letter to desire her for your sake to wear it daily, she would accustom herself with it, so as she would forget to go any longer in such base apparel as she hath used to have a delight in, which is too mean for one of a lower estate than she is of. She likes well of all things as yet, but for that there is not one that is in the ministry to do service daily there, which she much desires, that she may serve God twice a day. You may have at your pleasure from Cambridge some one that for lack of exhibition would be glad for a year or two to do service there daily, which would much content her. The woods are so wet that men cannot carry, and before they carry they pay not.” Again, Roger Manners writes from Uffington to Burghley (No. 607), “I cannot but advertise your lordship of the good health of your mother. I suppose she can see much better than can Mr. Edmond Hall, specially of the one eye. She saith she can see her way, and near hand can well know one man from another, or discern a colour from another. I think your lordship will very well like your building at Burghley. I can praise it no further than to say it is in very truth the best builded and fairest that ever I saw anywhere. Sir Thomas Cecil and my lady are not yet returned to Burghley.” Sir Thomas Cecil writes to his father on September 11, 1578 (No. 586), “The bearer hereof can let you understand of my grandmother's good health, who hath been with me this three or four days, and hath remembered your lordship both by drinking unto you and by wishing your lordship's presence, which would not a little comfort her new sight, which continueth such as she can discern the difference of any man's countenance, and to choose her own meat at the table. Her blessing she willed me to send unto your lordship from her and to all yours here.” In this same letter it is stated that the gallery at Burghley would be finished against Michaelmas, and that the fretting was “a lingering and a costly work.” As his father, when in Norfolk, seemed not to be resolved whether to ceil it or hang it, Sir Thomas Cecil thought it was better “to ceil it with a fair ceiling, because hangings are so costly, as they are not to be used at all times that a man would have the use of a gallery, and besides, the place itself is subject much to sun and air, which will quickly make them fade, notwithstanding, his lordship might at any great assembly hang it upon the ceiling, if he meant to provide hangings fit for it.” Sir Walter Mildmay, Sir Edward Mountagu, and others had been invited to dine at Burghley House, and “Sir Walter greatly liked the new building, and the rooms, but especially the gallery, in respect of the proportion of it.” In another letter (No. 307), Peter Kemp writes to ask for the “upright of the face” of the house his lordship intends building, “as soon as may be, for the workmen are almost at a standstill for want of it.”
Of the fruit trees at Burghley House, Thomas Martin writes in December 1578 (No. 670), and sends a note of “such notable practices” for orchards, gardens, and ponds, “and other like things of commodity and pleasure,” as his poor skill could attain to. “And because I have many of your lordship's fruit trees mozy, and some to rot, and other some sick of the gall, or of the worms, and such other diseases which the very best trees are subject to, I have prescribed in writing sundry remedies for the same, and did partly admonish your gardener and steward thereof. At what time I brought six other pearmain trees to be then presently set amongst your cherry trees, which fruit of pearmain is of that excellency that Sergeant Baram, and also Harris, her Majesty's fruiterer, did cut off 40 heads of the rennet to graft the said pearmain upon with cyons (scions) which they had from me. I have sent herewith a basket of the fruit, and trust to present likewise of the said apple and the pond pear at Easter and Whitsuntide next.”
James Hawys, the Lord Mayor of London, writes to Burghley (No. 232) that he has taken bond of Allarde Bartrynge, merchant of the Stillyard, in the sum of 200l., with condition thereon endorsed, that the said Bartrynge shall, within the six months next ensuing, bring to the port of London 400 quarters of rye or wheat, “good, swete, and marchauntable,” from the parts beyond the seas, and asks therefore for a license to be granted to the said Bartrynge to transport all such corn as he at present has, “not beinge good and holsome for man's bodye, nor fytte to be utteryd” within the realm, to such places beyond the seas as to the said Bartrynge shall be thought good. The same Lord Mayor also informs Burghley (No. 281), that the good order lately taken for the reformation of tipplers and alehouse-keepers within the city and liberties of London, and in the borough of Southwark, has been put in execution by him and others the justices of the peace, and that bonds have been taken accordingly. As he cannot take the like order with divers tipplers and alehousekeepers dwelling in St. Martin's, St. Katherine's, and other exempt places within the said city, and near adjoining thereto, he thinks good to signify the same, to the end it would please his lordship to direct his letters to such as have the government thereof, to take like order in their precincts for the same, “otherwise our doing within the said city will smally avail.”
The Privy Council write from Windsor, in December 1575 (No. 346), to the Lord Keeper and the Lord Treasurer, stating that her Majesty having been advertised of numerous highway robberies, which have lately been committed in divers parts of the realm, and that it is a common thing for the thieves to carry pistols, whereby they either murder out of hand before they rob, or else put her subjects in such fear that they dare not resist, their lordships are requested to take such steps as may be necessary to redress this mischief; and also to suppress the numbers of “tall men, calling themselves discharged soldiers of Ireland,” who, especially in the neighbourhood of London, go about the highways begging, and are suspected, when they see an opportunity, of robbing and spoiling her Majesty's true subjects.
On December 3, 1576 (No. 427), a warrant is issued under the Privy Signet, for the seizure of all playing cards brought into the realm in contravention of the patent granted to Ralph Bowes and Thomas Bedingfield.
In 1574 (No. 224) is a return of the number of bowstaves imported since the 2nd of August 1572, stating by whom they were imported, and from what towns. Another paper (No. 225) tells of the different kinds of bowstaves. These were four, of which the first grew in or about the bishopric of Saltzburg, in Germany, and were conveyed in boats down the rivers Main and Rhine to Dort, whence they were shipped to England. These bowstaves were formerly in the hands of the merchants of Nuremberg, who had a monopoly thereof from Charles V, and they were then sold by the Stillyard for 15l. and 16l. the hundred. The second kind grew in Switzerland, and was embarked in the Rhine above Basle, and thence forwarded to England as before. Its price was less than that of the first by 3l. or 4l. The third kind grew in “the East countries, as in Revell, Dansk, Pollonia, and all countries east of the Sound.” These were not worth above 4l. or 5l. the hundred at most, the wood being hollow and full of sap by reason of the coldness of the country. The fourth sort came out of Italy, and was brought in by the Venetians, “This is the principall, fynest, and steadfastest woode, by reason of the heate of the sun, which drieth up the humiditie and moisture of the sappe.”
There are notices of the plague in Westminster (No. 289), Stamford (No. 307), Cambridge (Nos. 627 and 635), London and St. Albans (No. 588). Sir William Fleetwood, the Recorder of London, writes to Burghley under date 22 Oct. 1578, that he has been in Buckinghamshire since Michaelmas, “because he was hardly troubled every day with such as came to him, having plague sores about them; and being sent by the Lords (of the Council) to search for lewd persons, in sundry places he found 'dead corses' under the table, which, surely,” as the Recorder quaintly remarks, “did greatly amaze him.”
The Earl of Leicester writes a pleasant letter (No. 460) to Lord Burghley, presumably from Bath, his favourite resort, saying that he and his brother have great cause to like and commend the water. They observe their physician's order diligently, and find great pleasure both in drinking and bathing in the water. He thinks it would be good for Burghley, but not if he does as they hear he did last time, take great journeys abroad ten or twelve miles a day, and use liberal diet with company dinners and suppers. They take another way, dining two or three together, now Lord Pembroke is there, having but one dish, or two at most, and taking the air afoot or on horseback moderately. If Burghley comes next year, as he says, he is not to bring too many with him. “The house is so little as a few fills it, and hard then to keep sweet. Lord and Lady Shrewsbury have dealt nobly with us every way . . . . . In haste, this foul Thursday.”
The virtues of Buxton water are celebrated in two or three letters. Leicester tells Burghley (No. 468) that her Majesty wills him to write earnestly to his lordship to send her a tun of Buxton water in hogsheads, which are to be thoroughly seasoned with the water beforehand. This Burghley did, and Leicester acknowledges (No, 473) its safe arrival, adding, “I told her Majesty of it, who, now it is come, seemeth not to make any great account of it. And yet she more than twice or thrice commanded me earnestly to write to you for it, and, after I had so done, asked me sundry times whether I had remembered it or no, but it seems her Majesty doth mistrust it will not be of the goodness here it is there; beside somebody told her there was some bruit of it about, as though her Majesty had had some sore leg. Such like devices made her half angry with me now for sending to you for it, but I had rather be shent so, than not to have performed her express commandment before. Nevertheless she thanks your Lordship for the well and careful sending of it. She is well in health, and without another grief but the old aching sometime when she takes cold in her legs.” He trusts Burghley finds ease of his pain, and declares he would give 500 marks for twenty days with him, and so to be quite cured of his rheum. Again the Earl of Sussex writes to Burghley (No. 477), desiring greatly to hear what success his lordship has had at “the bathe of Buxton,” which he hopes may be as good as any man ever had, or desired to have, there.
At a time when a specially strict watch was being kept on all persons coming into or going out of England, we have a very graphic account (No. 103) of the attempted escape of a Scotch vessel from Portsmouth. Sir Henry Radcliffe, captain of that place, having received orders to stay some particular persons, thought it best, “considering the former passage of the Lord Seton through this realm,” to send down his deputy with all speed to make diligent search on board the ships in the harbour. One of these was a vessel commanded by James Guthrie, of Leith. Sir Henry proceeds :—“The Scots perceiving a more secret search to be made (perhaps finding themselves to have somewhat aboard otherwise than well) suddenly weighed anchor and set sail, and having a strong wind and tide, refusing by any means to stay, had carried away the deputy and such as were with him, if he had not leapt out into the boat, not without great peril of drowning. And when he came ashore, he sent for the master-gunner, and willed him to hail them to stay, who shot according to the accustomed order a piece of ordnance or two before and ahead them, and certain other pieces over them, whereby they might know that they should stay. They, contempning this warning, did not only pack on more sails, and set out their flags, but also, in despite and derision, drank drink and threw the cans overboard, crying and saying, 'Well shot, gunners.' Whereupon the said deputy caused the master-gunner to plant 5 or 6 pieces of ordnance upon some of the ships, and especially upon this man's ship which was nearest, and shot the ship through in sundry places; and the said James, fearing to be sunk, struck his sail and held a token, and came himself into his boat to come ashore, whereupon the shot ceased, and he came ashore.” It appears that after this, Guthrie, for trying to escape, was put in irons, and that, on his being permitted to send letters by some of the garrison to order his ship to come in, the crew of the ship entered the boat by force, and carried two of the soldiers away with them to Dieppe.
Sir Thomas Gresham in a letter to Lord Burghley, dated 9th August 1573 (No. 143), craves his Lordship's letter of discharge for Dr. Langton, one of his medical attendants, whom the physicians mean to send into Ireland, for which he is very unfit, being sore indebted and 60 years of age. Langton, he says, has been very evilly handled by one Dr. Ludford, “in plucking down his testimonial upon the Royal Exchange of the cures he hath done here and otherwise since his coming hither, which was never seen the like done.” Sir Thomas desires Burghley to procure the Queen's warrant to the physicians and all others that Langton be no further molested. “I believe,” he adds, “if it be your Lordship's pleasure to use him, he will, with the leave of God, heal you of your gout, if he do take upon him to do it.” Dr. Ludford was a fit man to be sent to Ireland “as well for his experience of pothecary ware as for his physic.”
On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Audley End in July 1578, the authorities of Cambridge University purposed (No. 556) to present her after the usual oration had been delivered with a pair of gloves and “the New Testament in Greek of Robertus Stephanus, in folio, fair bound, gilt and enamelled, with her Majesty's arms upon the cover, and her posie.” There was also to be a disputation in philosophy before the Queen. Dr. Howland asks Burghley whether he would have them come before her Majesty in black gowns or in scarlet. On the same occasion Burghley was to be presented with a pair of gloves, and another pair was to be given to Leicester, the High Steward of the University.
In No. 608 we have a letter written by the Earl of Essex (Elizabeth's future favourite) to Lord Burghley. The letter is in Latin, and shows the young Earl's proficiency in that language.
In October 1578, Sir Thomas Gresham sends Lord Burghley a present of fish with the following note (No. 652):—“It may please your lordship to receive by this bringer 70 great carp, 15 perch, and 70 bream, such as one of my ponds has bred. Having yet three of my greatest ponds to let out, I trust, by the end of this month, to send you for the accomplishment of my promise to make up 100 great carp and 100 bream of a greater sort.”
Many other documents of interest in the following pages might be noted, but it may suffice, in closing this introduction, to indicate the papers relating to Martin Frobisher (Nos. 439, 445, and 526); to Margaret, widow of Roger Ascham, Queen Elizabeth's famous tutor and Latin secretary (No. 1150); and to Thomas Tallis, the celebrated musician (No. 463).
In preparing this Calendar the Commissioners on Historical Manuscripts have had the assistance of Mr. S. R. Scargill-Bird, Mr. Walford D. Selby, Mr. G. J. Morris, and Mr. Ernest G. Atkinson, of the Public Record Office. To Mr. R. T. Gunton, the Marquis of Salisbury's secretary, their best thanks are due for his courteous and ready help on all occasions.