Cecil Papers: May 1604

Pages 153-155

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 23, Addenda, 1562-1605. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1973.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


May 1604

Edward Smith to the Privy Council.
[After May 27, 1604]. He is a soldier and is now prisoner in the Gatehouse, where he has no means of relief whatsoever. His imprisonment was "imposed upon him by your Honors for a certayne ballade or dyttie upon the dyssolution of Barwyck, the which your poor suppliant penetentlie confesseth he made at idle howers out of an humorous conceyte onlie for his owne pryvate exercyse, and for no evill intention against his Matie, Cownsell, state or country". He expresses his regret for such indiscretion, and begs to be released from a detention which has already lasted fifteen weeks.—Undated.
1 p. (P. 1313.)
[See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1603–10, p. 114.]
Mailliart Ricquart to the Government of the Spanish Netherlands at Brussels (?).
1604, May 31. He hopes that his preceding letters have been safely received. He thinks that the rate of 30% is being vigor ously enforced and maintained, but to the detriment of the local merchants, and with little benefit to the King.
This can be attributed, in the first place, to the fact that no French ships come to the port. Moreover the German vessels which arrived in spring with grain and other merchandise have left laden with salt and ballast, so that the port is empty of foreign ships, with the exception of a few small English vessels with cargoes of grain and fish, and two with cloth. The English expect to be treated in the same manner as the natives, but this is an error on their part: because since they are desirous of obtaining return cargoes of sugar and oil, the French here have six months to arrange such transports, and the English are obliged to pay cash down, which they find harmful and unreasonable, and so are in favour of a resumption of war. The question asked here is whether the English Parliament is about to chose between peace and war, but there are doubts about this since, if war broke out, trade would become more difficult than it is already.
Some twenty days ago five caracks left this place for the East Indies. It is feared that the Dutch fleet of 14 ships may meet them, but in the absence of bad news it is thought that the convoy may be making its way towards the Cape of Good Hope, where it is said forts are being built.
About twelve days ago two caracks arrived from V, where they had been blown by contrary winds twelve months ago. At the same time there arrived 6 galleons and 4 German ships which are in the King's service.
It is not possible to depend upon all these ships, apart from those which have already been made ready here, because some are damaged and things proceed slowly, since no money is sent from the court. Altogether there are 18 galleons here, and 12 more are expected from Calais, but how soon one cannot know, and they will not leave this year with the fleet.
Four days ago a caravel set out to see whether any ship of the Dutch fleet was in the vicinity of the coast. There is much business done here with the so-called Austrians who are in fact Dutchmen in receipt of passports from Don Albert.
Apart from that there is little to report here. The end of the Parliamentary session in England will show the best way to proceed. The merchants hope that there will be no peace between this country and England before the suppression of the 30%, and that if it be good for a nation, it will be useful to everybody.
A gentleman from the court has brought the news that it was the King's wish to withdraw the 30%, but that the council opposed him on the grounds that it was below the dignity of the King to do so, that other sovereigns would say that he had done so out of fear, that the King of France had lost the affection of his people, that if he did not agree to certain points in the peace plan it would be because of his fear of the English King: so that everything is in a state of suspense while one is waiting to see how the English Parliament will decide and what reply the ambassadors here will receive. But reports tend to confirm that the advantages gained will certainly not be withdrawn.
He protests his fidelity to Their Excellencies, and requests an allowance since life is very expensive where he is.—Lix, 31 May, 1604.
Holograph. Flemish. 1½ pp. (105. 66.)
Sir Robert Vernon to [? Lord Cecil].
[1604, May]. Lord Powis obtained from Henry VIII the site and lands of the Abbey of Buildwas, Salop, in exchange for property in Yorkshire. He died without heirs, and the lands came to the Vernons, descended from the daughter of Richard, Lord Powis, nearest cousin to the last Lord Powis. It is now claimed on behalf of one Grey, regarded as the illegitimate son of Edward, Lord Powis, that the latter made a feoffment in fee to the use of Grey, but this cannot be proved. Fox, a purchaser from Grey of part of the Abbey brought a suit in defence of Grey's title, but it was dismissed. Fox now is trying to establish the Crown's title to the property, announcing himself to be tenant in possession and so competent to compound with the King. The Vernons are hereby wronged. If the King has any title, they assume that they are the persons to whom the King should grant the property. Petitioner on their behalf asks that Fox and Tipper be called in and the whole question examined. If the King has a title, then the Vernons will pay him his fine and defray Fox's charges.—Undated.
⅓ p. (P. 1956.)
[See H.M.C., Salisbury MSS., Vol. XVI, p. 114.]
Sir William Leighton to Lord Cecil.
[After May, 1604]. He is the next heir to Thomas Onslowe, deceased, (fn. 1) of Baschurch, Salop, and has obtained a commission to inquire into what lands Onslowe held of the King in capite. He requests that letters be directed to Onslowe's widow that some of petitioner's legal advisers, in the presence of the commissioners appointed to conduct the inquiry, may be allowed to consult the documents relating to his inheritance which are in her custody; and also that she guard such evidences very carefully and produce whichever his legal advisers think most relevant when called upon to do so by the commissioners.—Undated.
½ p. (P. 1544.)


  • 1. Died on May 30, 1604. [See PRO. Inq. post mortem, Chancery 2, 289/88.]