Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 3, 1583-1589. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1889.
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The present volume of this Calendar extends over a period of seven years, from the beginning of 1583 to the close of 1589. In the previous volume a large number of the papers referred to the proposed Anjou marriage, and in the following pages there are some more letters relating to the same subject. These are written in a strain similar to that of the former ones. One instance on either side will suffice. The Duke of Anjou had sent Monsieur de Bacqueville to recall to the Queen the commencement of the negotiations, and, in a letter written from Antwerp (No. 7), says that, if through him he receive good news from her Majesty, they will come like a reprieve to one who is under sentence of deaths and that he will be “burning with the ardent desire to see himself in the arms of the beautiful goddess whom he adores with all his heart.” The Queen continued her old course of protestation and vacillation, and treated the Duke in a very contemptuous fashion. On one occasion she wrote (No. 29), telling him that she would “never cease to honour, love, and esteem him, as the dog which, being often beaten, returns to its master.” The comparison was more true than polite.
Some further letters of “Moine” to the Queen with regards to the Anjou affair are also here given. Sir Edward Stafford, in one of his despatches (No. 80), has to excuse himself because of the Queen's anger towards him for sending her news of the Duke's death. In another despatch (No. 90A), the English Ambassador gives an account of the Duke's funeral, and of the special favour shown to himself by the French King.
Stafford's newsletters from the French Court are full of interest, through the minute details they give of the chief personages and parties in that realm. His interpretation off the policy pursued both by Roman Catholics and Huguenots is generally accurate, and his characteristic frankness gives a charm to his despatches. Some of these have already been printed by Murdin, but others are published for the first time in this volume. Sir Edward Stafford describes not only the French King and his entourage (especially the Royal bodyguards instituted by Henry III.), and the tangled labyrinth of strictly French affairs, but also the various links connecting France with Scotland and Germany. Sometimes he gives interesting details of the sorry plight in which he personally was through lack of money. On one occasion he asks (No. 61) Lord Burghley's favour for himself, his folks being sick, and everything increasing in dearth. He says that, though he have to lie in the Tower, he must come home, and begs that he may receive leave within ten days. A similar complaint comes from Castelnau de Mauvissière, the French Ambassador in England. He writes to Henry III., begging to have some of the 25,000 crowns due to him sent, “for in this country one must have money, and credit is very small.” Even after getting back to Paris, Mauvissière makes a still more piteous appeal to Archibald Douglas, the Scottish Ambassador in London, stating that, to crown his misfortunes, he has been robbed and pillaged of all he had in England, down to his shirt. Of the handsome presents given him by the Queen, and of his silver and plate, nothing is left, either to him or to his wife and children, so that, he says, they resemble those exiled Irish, who solicit alms in England with their children by their sides. In France charity is so cold, and the misery so great, that he can foresee nothing but the general ruin and confusion of the State. Mauvissière prays Douglas to use all his skill and watchfulness that, if it be possible, by means of the puissant authority and good fortune of the Queen of England, as “the Queen and goddess of the sea,” he may recover what he has lost, which amounts to the value of 35,000 crowns, and without which he will be utterly ruined. Mauvissière also refers to some money which he had advanced to the Queen of Scots, and which he cannot get repaid. Sir Edward Stafford gives many particulars of Lord Seton, who had been sent to Paris to obtain a confirmation of the old alliance between Scotland and France, and among others, the following :—“Lord Seton is holden out for a mean wise man, and yet very wilful. His great pomp turned to penury, most of his silver vessels being already at gage; besides, a foul disgrace. The Serjeants came into his house to wrest all they could find for a debt of 600 crowns, and no haste made of punishing them. The ship that brought him is still at Newhaven [Havre], the master weeping, and Seton fain (to feed his men) to lay every fortnight one of his pieces of ordnance to gage.”
It is impossible to separate the affairs of England from those of Scotland in respect of the papers, noticed in this volume. The interests of the two countries were so inextricably interwoven that, virtually, they formed already the one kingdom which they became not many years later. True, there are the ever recurrent border disputes, and the customary complaints of Scottish sufferers from English pirates, or vice versâ, but over and above all there is the steady effort made by the sovereigns and chief statesmen of the two countries to establish a permanent mutual amity. There is, in the following pages, abundant evidence of the endeavours to this end made by Elizabeth, James VI., Lord Burghley, the Master of Gray, and others. Both Burghley and the Master of Gray resented deeply any impugning of their desires to effect and perpetuate the amity between the two realms. The former, with unusual warmth, says (No. 178), “If you knew how earnest a course I hold with her Majesty, both privatly and oppenly. for hir to reteyn the King of Scotts with friendship and liberallety; yea, and to reteyn the Master of Gray and the Justice Clerk with some rewards to continew ther offices, which indede are to me knowen to be very good, you wold thynk ther cold be no more shamfull lyes made by Satan hymself than these be, and fynding myself thus malicioosly bytten with the tonges and pens of courtyars here, if God did not comfort me, I had cause to feare murtheryng hands or poysonyng pryckes; but God is my Kepar.” The evident allusion to poison rings is remarkable. The Master of Gray, whose letters in this volume are filled with asseverations by the name of the Deity, repeatedly dwells on his anxiety to promote the good friendship of the two kingdoms, and on one occasion, when Elizabeth had disappointed some of his expectations, he blurts out (No. 387) :—“If that Queen do no better in things to the King than I find her minded, by God she will deceive herself!” In the same connexion, he quaintly and loyally remarks (No. 387), “seeing I perceive foreign princes only seek their advantage of men, and use them as 'auld bouttis,' I shall be the more willing to serve the Prince who loves me, and at this hour I have no comfort but that, I praise God, I have my master's favour.”
The papers on Scottish affairs form the majority of those in this volume. Among the letters most deserving of mention are two long ones by Monsieur de Fontenay to Mary Queen of Scots, the letters of the Master of Gray, and, especially, those of Richard Douglas to his uncle Archibald Douglas, the Scottish Ambassador in London. Of these last most are now published for the first time. The letters of Charles Paget and Thomas Morgan to Mary are full of interest, but are better known. Fontenay had been sent by the Queen of Scots to visit James VI., and the result of his mission is the lengthy and animated despatch, No. 97. In it we have a detailed account of his cordial reception by the King, and conferences with him, and a vivid portraiture not only of his Majesty, but also of several of the Scotch nobles. Concerning James VI., Fontenay remarks in a secret letter to Nau, annexed to his letter to Mary, “At one thing I am astonished, that he has never made any inquiry of me regarding the Queen, neither of her health, nor of her treatment, nor of her servants, nor of her living and eating, nor of her recreation, nor any like thing; nevertheless, I know that he loves and honours her much in his heart” Fontenay then proceeds to sketch at length the character of the King. He says that, for his age, there never was such a Prince. He praises his quick perception, his retentive memory, his readiness of discourse, and his knowledge of languages, science, and State affairs. He notes the self-conceit and timidity of the King, and gives a by no means flattering account of the royal manners, speech, and gait. Fontenay marked three principal faults in James; his ignorance and misconception of his poverty and weakness, and contempt of other princes; his indiscreet and obstinate favouritism; and lastly, his laziness in business, and fondness for pleasure. In the letter to Mary, Fontenay acknowledges the King's theological abilities. “As to the Pope,” he remarks, “he abhors him extremely, and will not hear him spoken of at all.” Altogether, the character given to James VI. by Fontenay remarkably confirms the accuracy of Sir Walter Scott's portraiture of “King Jamie” in the Fortunes of Nigel.
The letters of Richard Douglas are valuable, not only for their minute accounts of Scottish life and policy, but also from the fact of their author enjoying the confidence of the King. So much so, that, in one letter of Thomas Fowler to Archibald Douglas, we have it stated, “Your greatest enemies do so flourish in credit, and more at this instant than ever, as Mr. Richard can shew you at more length, for he hath stood the King, indeed, in a notable stead in time of a great necessity. And, in truth, I find that what conspiracy or practice soever is made in his contrary, he overcomes them all, and the end is, the best nobility, the wisest, the wildest, the oldest, the youngest, all are glad to seek him and enter in assurance of his friendship, or else they are holden out as objects without credit or countenance in Court. This is truth, and you shall so find it, that he rules King and country as please (sic) him.” The letters of Richard Douglas consist largely of accounts of his conferences with James, and the difficulties experienced by that monarch in ruling his turbulent subjects are narrated at length. We hear of his success in effecting a reconciliation between some nobles who were at feud; of his chastising some rebellious lord, who strove to capture the Royal person; of the many intrigues at Court; of the conflicting news as to the treatment of Mary in captivity, with their consequent effects in Scotland; and of the chequered fortunes of men like the Master of Gray, the Hamiltons, the Earl of Bothwell, Archibald Douglas, and others, illustrating the Master of Gray's observation (No. 745) that “princes' ears are not given to men in life rent.”
There are several letters from James VI. and others to Archibald Douglas, fully proving the position of the latter as Scottish Ambassador in London, but a good deal of controversy rages around his person in the correspondence contained in this volume. Douglas was strongly suspected of having been the murderer of Lord Darnley, and Mary Queen of Scots, in a letter to Mauvissière (No. 35), while sending her thanks to Douglas for his good offices with Walsingham on her behalf, complains of a rumour that the former, being asked how he dared go to Scotland, had replied that he had good guarantee, and would clearly show that he had done nothing without Mary's express commandment, which he was bound to obey, Darnley being only her husband, and she being Queen. Mary characterises the rumoured language as very strange, and says that Douglas knew very well it was a pure make-up, he himself having told her that he had testified quite the contrary both to the Queen of England and to her Council. Again, the Master of Gray states (No. 414) that, if Douglas can espy means for Queen Mary's surety, and to the contentment of the King, he will do a great service to both; his enemies say to the King that Douglas will be slayer both of his father and mother. Lord Hunsdon, also, writes to Sir Francis Walsiugham in March 1588 (No. 654), that Douglas had no commission touching his being an Ambassador, since the Master of Gray was in London. Hunsdon says he can assure it to be true, for he has seen it under the King's own hand that Douglas was discharged of his ambassage at the fit time, nor ever since had any dealing for the King, or the King with him, and that, if he have at any time since dealt with Her Majesty, or any of her Council, as an Ambassador, or in any matter of the King's, he has greatly abused both Her Majesty and her Council. Hunsdon adds that, if Douglas come into Scotland, the King will take his life. On the other hand, Richard Douglas, writing to Archibald Douglas in May 1588 (No. 671), says with reference to the King, “as for disavowing you for his servant, he assured me that he had never uttered such words to no man, far less had he commanded it to be spoken to the Lord Hunsdon; only this, when Lord Hunsdon sent in by Carmichael to know if you were his Ambassador, and if his will were that your packets should go, he answered that suppose you were not his ambassador, as he would have none there after so many injuries, yet he would not have your packets stayed. Last, be affirmed that, for all that could speak to him in the contrary, he would be served by you, and commanded you to continue therein; seeing you knew sufficiently the end whereat he shot; the form and fashion he referred to you, which he should authorise at convenient time.” So we have in the following pages ample evidence of Archibald Douglas acting as the accredited representative of Scotland in London. His project for remedying the differences between England and Scotland will be found in Nos. 611 and 794. Several papers show how James VI. and his nobles endeavoured to extract money out of the English Government. The Master of Gray, writing to Archibald Douglas (No. 360) says that of late he was forced at Restalrig's suit to engage [put in gage] some of his cupboard, and the best jewel he had, to get Restalrig silver for his marriage. Nor is Douglas made use of in State affairs only. The Earl of Bothwell writes to him from Holyrood House (No. 691), requesting to be furnished, for the purpose of a wedding present to a nobleman's sister, with “one chene of fair perle, with one pair of garnesingis set with perle,” as fair as can be had, suitable to one of his rank. Whatever the cost may be, he will refund it by the bearer of the chain. Lord John Hamilton, too, “familiarly” burdens Douglas with the furnishing of certain “plate and stuff” to him, to be got at reasonable prices (No. 838). George Beverley sends the Scottish Ambassador a present of cheeses (No. 871). Sir James Melville thanks Douglas (No. 834) for a present of virginals that the latter had made to his daughter. Douglas's mother sends him (No. 762) some Westland herrings, and looks to him to send her some glass and lead for glazing their new house.
There are in this volume several papers relating to the marriage of James VI. with the Princess Anne of Denmark. The extraordinary conditions proposed by the King are to be found in No. 894, the Scottish Ambassadors sent for the completing of the marriage being the Earl Marischal (Lord Keith), Lord Dingwall, James Scrymgeour of Dijdhope, Constable of Dundee, and the advocate, Mr. John Skene. No wonder the Ambassadors returned to tell the King (No. 909) that the Queen and Regents of Denmark found his conditions “a little strange,” and would not accept them without moderation. There was a taxation of 100,000l. in Scotland for the expenses of the embassy and for the bringing home of the bride (Nos. 657 and 805). Thomas Fowler sends Lord Burghley a graphic account of the young Queen's disastrous voyage, and of the loyalty of the Scottish nobles in equipping ships for the King himself to go and bring her home. Richard Douglas gives further particulars of the marriage (No. 956), and mentions that on the day following it the King made a grant to the Queen of the Abbey of Dunfermline.
The special fondness of James VI. for hunting is illustrated in many of the papers here calendared. Fontenay tells Nau, “He loves the chase more than any pleasure in the world, continuing at it at least for six consecutive hours, riding over hill and dale at full speed.” Thomas Randolph writes (No. 325) from Newcastle to Archibald Douglas, saying that he has sent the King two huntsmen, very good and skilful, with one footman, “that can hoope, hollowe, and crye that all the trees in Fawkland will quake for fear.” Randolph begs Douglas to pray the King's Majesty to be merciful to the poor bucks, but to spare and look well to himself. The Master of Gray (No. 355) informs Douglas that James is very well content with the latter's proceedings, but chiefly touching his books and hunting horses. Douglas sends the King (No. 378) a present of a hanger and horns, which his Majesty “accepted in most thankful sort.” At another time the Earl of Warwick (No. 567) sends James a gift of some cross-bows and dogs, of which he made “no small account,” and thanked the Earl very heartily. The King himself writes thus from Holyrood House (No. 652), in a brief note to Lord Hunsdon : “My Lorde, for that you have ever bene a man of sports, I muste pray you to trust the bearer herof in horse and dogg matters.” Richard Douglas tells his brother, on another occasion, “All this last week his Majesty has been in the fields at his pastime, and continues this day” (No. 841); and, the Earl of Warwick having apparently made a further present of dogs to the King, Richard writes to Archibald Douglas, “I forgot in my last to tell you that his Majesty liked well of my Lord of Warwick's dogs, but that he found them slower nor his own, and therefore he desires to have a couple that are fleeter.”
Among the most interesting and important of the papers in this volume are those relating to Mary, Queen of Scots. In addition to the letters addressed to her by Charles Paget and Thomas Morgan, we have other numerous proofs of the keen interest with which the fortunes of the captive Queen were followed in Scotland. The general impression left by the record of James VI.'s policy is that he did not much care what became of his mother in England, so long as her life was not taken. Morgan, in writing to the Scottish Queen, reports (No. 170) that Christopher Blunt had described her as “the onlye saynt that he knowes living uppon the ground.” But neither James nor his subjects seem to have shared this opinion. The discovery of the Babington conspiracy, which was brought to light in 1586, occasioned a good deal of satisfaction in the northern kingdom. The Master of Gray, writing from Leith (No. 342), tells Archibald Douglas that “if this matter of the conspiracy be well handled it may be that” Douglas “will find some matter of great truth to pay home again, for there is no question that sundry knew it here.” He further prays Douglas to show Queen Elizabeth how glad the King is that this matter is come to light, and says his Majesty will shortly write her a letter of congratulation. Another letter of the Master of Gray (No. 344), written from Dunfermline a few days later, states that the King has promised him to write such a letter not only to Elizabeth, but also to the Earl of Leicester, Sir Francis Walsingham, and, he believes, to the Treasurer [Lord Burghley]. The Master of Gray also says that the King's opinion is that it cannot stand with his honour to be a consenter to take his mother's life, “but he is content hou strictly sche be kepit, and all hir auld knaifishe servantis heingit, chiefly thay who be in handis. For this you [Archibald Douglas] must deal verie varly [warily] to escheu inconvenientis, seing necessitie of all honest menis affairs requyris that sche var out of the vay.” Two days later the Master of Gray writes from Dumfries to Douglas (No. 345), and a passage from this letter may stand as an example of what is said in many others, here given, of the policy of James VI. with respect to his mother :—“As for his mother, he desires you to deal with her Majesty that in that matter she have a respect to his honour and the duty that nature obliges him to. His meaning is, that he cannot consent her life be taken, and has willed you to declare his opinion that she be put in the Tower, or some other firm manse, and kept from intelligence; her own servants taken from her, and such as be culpable punished rigorousty; that hereafter she be not suffered to have any about her but such as be put to her by the Queen of England.” The Provost of Lincluden states to Douglas (No. 350) that the King is minded to let his mother know he is not always contented with her dealing; further, that by the common voice they can like well of Mary's sure keeping, “and so never to see her,” yet it will offend them if her blood “were mellit with.” In another letter, also to Douglas (No. 355), the Master of Gray says of the King, “I can asshur you he is content the law go fordvart, hir lyf being save, and would glaidly vische that all foraine princess should knowe how evil she has usit hirself towards the Q. Matie thair, and that she resaveis favour only throw hir clemencie.” In October 1586, William Keith was sent to Elizabeth to plead that Mary's life might be spared, and that the title of James to the Crown of England might not be prejudged. The King (No. 387) was glad to hear of Elizabeth's “good mind towards his mother,” but, when he heard that Mary's fate rested rather with the Parliament than with the Queen, he became “very doubtful.” Archibald Douglas and William Keith were to receive their answer on the afternoon of November 22, at Lord Burghley's house, and he writes a cheery letter to them (No. 401), in which he says, “I do heartily require you both to take a homely dinner at my house, where you both shall be very heartily welcome, though not by any plenty of meat, but of good will, and I trust with satisfaction and good resol[ution of] your doubt.” James's subjects supported his earnest entreaties for his mother's life. The Master of Gray states (No. 402) that they willingly concurred in special taxation for the expenses of an embassy to secure that end, and remarks, “They that hated most her prosperity, regret her adversity.” The King wrote himself to the Earl of Leicester, but this, and all the efforts made for the same purpose, were unavailing, and a warrant (of which there is a draft in Lord Burghley's hand, No. 415; see also No. 437) was issued for the execution of the Queen of Scots.
Among the documents in this volume deserving special attention with regard to Mary's execution are, some memoranda by Lord Burghley (No. 435); a “memorial” from Sir Francis Walsingham (No. 471); the apologetic letter of the Lords to Queen Elizabeth, deprecating her anger at their secret despatch of the Royal warrant (No. 472); a similar letter from the Privy Council to the Queen, after Mary's death (No. 477); reasons for the execution (No. 480); and an account of the execution (No. 491). All of these, except the second, are in Lord Burghley's hand.
Of the effects of this tragic event on the King and people of Scotland, the letters in the following pages give ample proof. The Master of Gray says to Archibald Douglas (No. 485a), “Good faith, the people here are so far incensed with this matter, that I see it scarcely a thing possible to remedy.” The Laird of Restalrig tells Douglas (No. 485c), “His Majesty takes the death of his mother very heavily, and has for that cause retired himself to Dalkeith for the space of ten days in quiet.” From another letter to Douglas (No. 495), a few days later, we learn that the King declined as yet to receive any English Ambassador, and that he could not stay the rigour of his people, by whom libels were daily set up in the open street, and cast into the pulpit, against the King himself, the Master of Gray, Archibald Douglas, and the preachers. James was greatly incensed by news from France, that the English Ambassador in Paris had owned in open Council (No. 499), that nothing had been done in the matter of the Queen of Scots' execution but by the advice of James himself. The King, in some Instructions sent to his Ambassador in London (No. 555), styles the execution the “infernal proceeding against his dearest mother.” He stated (No. 584) to the most of his noblemen, especially to those daily about him, as Huntly, Bothwell, and Crawford, that he could not be settled in conscience, or quiet in mind, until he had revenged her death.
Two curious facts connected with the Queen of Scots' execution are brought to light in these papers. Both are noted in letters of Richard Douglas to his uncle Archibald Douglas. In one of these (No. 542) we read, “His Majesty himself is very desirous to know what order is taken with his mother's body, if it be buried or not, or where. Therefore, by your next letter, let me understand the truth thereof.” In the other letter (No. 587), the following is stated, with reference to Francis, Earl of Bothwell, “His lordship desires me earnestly to request you that, if it were possible to recover any of the gear which appertained to the Queen, our Sovereign's mother, you would get some of it for him, and he would give the uttermost price therefor.”
The collection of manuscripts at Hatfield House contains very few papers touching the Spanish Armada. Three of much interest are to be found in this volume, viz., a list of the ships that served against the Armada (No. 707b); the depositions of two Dutch sailors who were on board one of the Spanish vessels (No. 713); and the famous Instructions given to the Spanish captains (No. 785). In some news from Madrid (No. 674), dated June 7, 1588, it is stated that Philip II., “this little old fellow, was never in his life in more perfect health, both of body and mind, and that nothing is done either in Spain or in his dominions abroad, but he hath the principal manège, and that immediately from him proceedeth knowledge, determination, and resolution of all this whole machine, the same being only moved and governed by him.” From the same advices we learn that Philip II. determined that the Armada and Parma's force should effect a junction, and that the troops, having landed on the coast of England, should march straight to London, the Armada entering the Thames, and not directing its attack, as at first resolved, on the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
The aid given by Elizabeth to the Netherlanders in their struggle against Philip II. is illustrated by many letters and other documents. The Earl of Leicester, speaking of the Queen's good inclination to help the Low Countries (No. 192), tells Lord Burghley that he wishes Her Majesty to take this matter (if she will deal withal) even to the heart, as a cause that concerns both her life and state. He considers that the matter will be half-won beforehand, if the Queen makes it evident that she means to deal “thoroughly and princely” in the cause. He also expresses his own readiness to serve in the Low Countries. Nicholas Layton, writing from Ostend to Archibald Douglas (No. 200) says, “We have long expected the coming of the Earl of Leicester, as well the strangers as our own nation, whose presence here would procure in all men's hearts a plain conquest of the Low Countries.” Langton refers to the readiness of many towns there to revolt, owing to their subjection and misery. The royal favourite was sent on the expedition, but failed to fulfil the anticipations formed concerning him. Thomas Morgan (No. 260), tells the Queen of Scots that Leicester, “like himself,” has taken the government of Holland and Zealand in his own name, contrary to his commission, “whereupon she of England stormed not a little, terming him by the name of traitor and villain. He taketh the matter upon him as though he were king of the country; his greatness there doth much weaken England.” Richard Douglas gives further news (No. 294) of the Earl's joyful reception at Flushing, and of some other of his movements. Leicester, however, came home, yet continued, some time after (No. 512), to receive letters every day from the Low Countries, craving relief and direction from him. “I stand I know not how; her Majesty would seem that I must go, and yet she takes no order for it.” Elizabeth, he says, marvelled that he continued in pay as her General, which made him think that she did not intend to employ him there any more. Leicester was, nevertheless, sent back. Some months later, we have a characteristic letter from him to the Queen (No. 614) earnestly beseeching permission to return to her presence, and stating that he would “leave all absolute authority” with Lord Willoughby, who had received a patent to be her Majesty's lieutenant in those parts. Leicester's death, in the following year, was deeply regretted by James VI. (No. 736). The Master of Gray, in many of his letters, refers to the pitiable condition of the men whom he had sent to the Netherlands, and repeatedly begs pecuniary help for them from England.
The most famous of Leicester's companions in the Low Countries was his own accomplished nephew, Sir Philip Sidney. Concerning him there is much to be found in this volume. A brief letter to the Queen deserves quotation for its quaint courtliness of style (No. 208) :—“Most gratious Sovereign,—This rude piece of paper shall presume, because of your Majestie's commandment, most humbly to present such a cypher as little leysure wold afoord me. If there come any matter to my knowledge, the importance whereof shall deserve to be so masked, I will not fail (since your pleasure is my onely boldness) to your own handes to recommend it. In the mean tyme I beseech your Majestie will vouchsafe legibly to read my harte in the course of my life, and, though itself bee but of a mean worth, yet to esteem it lyke a poor hows well sett. I most lowly kiss your handes, and prai to God your enemies mai then onely have peace when thei are weery of knowing your force. At Gravesend, this 10th of November.” From a letter of Thomas Morgan to Mary, Queen of Scots, in the early part of 1586 (No. 260), we learn that Sir Philip Sidney had been for some time in Germany “to draw some from thence to assist the Huguenots.” Of the friendship between Sidney and the Master of Gray we have proofs in several letters. Sir Fulke Greville calls Sir Philip “that prince of gentlemen” (No. 234). Thomas Morgan, writing at the end of June 1586 (No. 289), says, “Sir Philip Sidney's wife has gone to her husband, who is with Leicester” in the Low Countries. Of the battle of Zutphen, where the gallant knight received his mortal wound, we have some fresh details in a paper headed, “The maner of the latt scrimeshe between our Englishmen and the Spanyardes” (No. 384). To the many testimonies that have been published, proving the general lamentation over Sidney's early death and the high esteem in which he was held, some additions are to be found in this volume. At first it was the news of Sir Philip's being wounded only that came to James VI., and Koger Aston writes from Stirling to Archibald Douglas (No. 378) :—“The hurt of 'soeer pelop sedne' is greatly lamented here, and chiefly by the King himself, who greatly lamenteth, and [is] so heartily sorry as I never saw him for any man. To-morrow his Majesty is determined to write to him.” The Master of Gray gives vent to his grief in the following words addressed to Douglas (No. 387) :—“I must regret with you my hard fortune in the loss of my dear friend and brother Sir Philip Sidney; the most sorrowful death that ever I heard of in my time; for, beside a friend whom I loved well, I lose all my expectation, together with the great charges that I have borne, only for desire to have his company, which I craved indeed by all means possible. And now I must confess the truth, he and I had that friendship, that moved me to desire so much my voyage of the Low Countries. But now, I mind not to go, although I might have great advancement by it, and greater than ever I did see by it. Therefore, now, since it has pleased God to call on that man, I content myself to live at home.” Lastly, Sir Fulke Greville, in a touching letter to Archibald Douglas (No. 383), thus bewails the loss of his friend :—“The only question I now, study is whether weeping sorrow, or speaking sorrow, may most honour his memory, that I think death is sorry for. What he was to God, his friends and country, fame hath told, though his expectation went beyond her good. My Lord, give me leave to join with you in praising and lamenting him, the name of whose friendship carried me above my own worth, and I fear hath left me to play the ill poet in my own part. Well, my Lord, divide me not from him, but love his memory, and me in it.”
Turning to matters ecclesiastical, attention may be called to a long paper (No. 754) drawn up by Dr. Hammond, at the instance of Lord Burghley, in reply to claims advanced by the Elizabethan Bishops as to the Divine right of Episcopacy. Dr, Hammond argues for the identity of episcopus and presbyter, and Sir Francis Knollys, a few months later, writing to “that grave and learned man” (as he calls Dr. Hammond in a letter to Lord Burghley), thinks that the Queen should be persuaded to bring the Bishops to book. Both to Lord Burghley and Dr. Hammond (see No. 874 and enclosure) Sir Francis inveighs in strong terms against the “undermining ambition and covetousness” of some of the Bishops, as he considered their order derived its superiority “directly from Her Majesty's grant.” About five years before this, we have a letter (No. 87), also in vigorous terms, from Sir Francis Knollys to the Archbishop of Canterbury, on behalf of certain preachers, whom the Archbishop had accused of being impugners of law, depravers of the Queen's Government, and condemners of the Book of Common Prayer, because they refused to subscribe to what Knollys styles “his Grace's Articles.” He says that these preachers are “zealous in religion and sound in doctrine,” and that their being barred from preaching was “utterly against the Queen's safety,” as the Archbishop seemed to claim “an absolute power to be obeyed.” But another instance of ecclesiastical action, in which Knollys himself would have supported the Archbishop of Canterbury, deserves mention here. It appears from a letter of his Grace to Lord Burghley (No. 309) that the Queen desired a Mr. Willis, of St. John's College, Oxford, to be appointed to the vacant Deanery of Worcester. The Archbishop had misgivings about Mr. Willis, and suggested three names to her Majesty, viz., those of Dr. Bond, Dr. Bancroft, and Dr. Lillie. To each of these, however, the Queen took some exception, and wished the Archbishop to inquire and report about Mr. Willis. This he did, and found that the man was “unlearned” that his wisdom consisted “especially in matters of husbandry,” and that his wife, her sister and daughter, who all remained with him, were “women of evil report.” “God forbyd,” exclaims the Archbishop, “that such a man shold be placed there. From that fowntaine are spronge almost all the evle bishops and denes now living in England, and yet where is greater zeal pretended ?” His Grace prays Lord Burghley to burn or tear his letter.
Reference may be made to the papers relating to the differences between Lord Buckhurst and the Earl of Leicester; to the Earl of Arundel's imprisonment; and to the quarrel between the Earl of Shrewsbury and his Countess. The last of these is detailed at great length.
Concerning Lord Burghley himself, this volume yields some interesting particulars. The Earl of Leicester, in a sympathetic letter to Elizabeth's chief adviser, at the time of the Queen's anger after Mary's execution (No. 512), says he is “most sorry” that Lord Burghley receives little comfort yet from Her Majesty, but he does not doubt “that God will move her princely heart to have due consideration of” his “long, approved, painful, and faithful service.” The Earl adds, “your place and credit heretofore with her makes it heavier to you, and more noted to the world than to all the rest.” In another letter (No. 527) we read of him, “England never should have such a Councillor.” Writing to John Wolley, Latin Secretary to the Council, on some Scotch affairs, Lord Burghley dates his letter (No. 658.) “From my solitary cottage meet for me, being utterly lame in my back, 11 April 1588.” Lord Talbot having devised a kind of easy chair, which proved very acceptable to his father, sends a letter (No. 430) to Lord Burghley, requesting his acceptance of a similar chair, “besechinge Almighty God your Lordship [may] never have nede thereof, nor of any other thynge, in respect of the goute; nevertheless, when your Lordship shalbe occasioned to longe [lounge] in your chamber, (as sometimes you are), I hope . . . fynde sum ease in a devise in it to lay up your leg.” In a letter to Sir Edward Stafford (No. 366), Lord Burghley says, “I heard that you had sought to provide for me a footcloth moyle, wishing you could match one that I had twelve years past of Mallevesyre [Mauvissière], a beast hardly to be matched for my purpose; and yet now both the moyle and her master are grown very aged, and therefore, though I cannot amend yet I would be glad to amend my old beast with a new.' Lord Audley, from whom Lord Burghley had refused a present of plate, sends his Lordship a horse (No. 744), and states that he had fully resolved to send him a brace,” but that one horse died suddenly. On December 31, 1586 (No. 434), Sir Thomas Shirley sends Lord Burghley a cup of gold as a gift, and wishes him “a good New Year and many of them.” An endorsement of the letter by his Lordship shows that the gift was refused. Sir Thomas Cecil urges the purchase for Burghley House, of some hangings that Pallavicini had delivered to him (No. 575), it being difficult to get the like, as times then were, and offers to join his father in buying them. “Your lordships buildings,” he adds, “go on very fast this year , and I hope, by Michaelmas, they will be ready to cover with lead; the next year it will be some comfort if your lordship can get leave to see the perfection of your long and costly buildings, wherein your posterity, I hope, will be thankful unto your lordship for it, as myself must think myself most bound, who of all others receiveth the most use of it.”
With regard to Ireland, the papers in this volume are few, but of considerable importance. Sir Warham St. Leger writes to the Queen (No. 13) in very strong terms against the policy of receiving traitors to protection, and protests against the “patchwork government” in Munster. Under cover of the letters of protection, the traitors not only escaped the actions at law that true subjects desired to bring against them, butmade use of the breathing time allowed them by further fostering of rebellion. Sir Warham exclaims, “Would God her Majesty would banish protections!” Nearly a month later Sir Warham again writes (No. 17) to the Queen, giving full details of a very brutal murder by some men of Kinsale and others. The victims were Jasper Wadger, a servant of Sir Warham's, and Wadger's brother. After showing that a protection had been moved for by some friends of the murderers, and actually granted until the next General Sessions at Cork, Sir Warham St. Leger comments thus :—“They [the murderers] are bound to appear if the Lord General himself be present; if not, they are to stand upon their keeping : a favour, the like was never seen in this realm on so detestable a murther, and an encouragement to lewd disposed people upon every light occasion to commit murther, and a discouraging of Englishmen hereafter to maintain your Majesty's possession, if this be not severely followed, of which I have no hope.” He prays that the murderers may be tried in the Queen's Bench at Dublin, “for here [at Cork] there is no justice to be looked for, so great friends and favourers have the murtherers, being linked in blood and kindred with those that be the ministers of your laws in this province.” Sir Warham St. Leger then enlarges in this same letter, which is of great length, on various abuses in Munster, and concludes with the following passage :—“Many abuses more are let go for want of good ministers, which will not be remedied till you have an English Governor, a Chief Justice an Englishman, and your officers English. For a thing impossible it is for Irish Ministers and English laws to accord well together, and chielly where the ministers that have the execution of your laws be men bred and born in the country where they be officers, and allied in consanguinity, or affinity, or in fostering in a manner with the whole country people. And besides not an office that falleth, but is diposed upon the Irishry, and thereafter goeth forward your [word illegible]. I write not this I protest for malice.” The Bishop of Ossory sends Queen Elizabeth an account of some rioting that took place when he went to take possession of his see (No. 545) and his consequent litigation against Thomas Perrot, a kinsman of the Lord Deputy, Sir John Perrot. The Bishop gives a lamentable picture of the spiritual state of his diocese, but thinks that there is little hope of any reformation in “the irreligious life of the people there,” unless the Lord Deputy is better affected towards the pastors. Sir Nicholas Bagenall also complains (No. 560) of the Lord Deputy, and begs the Queen “to have that regard of his long faithful service and old years, as to draw him out of the Lord Deputy's hands, which it appears he would gladly imbrue in his guiltless blood.” Sir John Perrot himself sends her Majesty (Nos. 589 and 590) an account of the submissions of Tirlough O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, and O'Donnell, and also the capture, by a stratagem, of O'Donnell's son. Gerard Comerford tells (No. 843) of a victory over the rebels in Galway, and remarks, “These people will never be obedient subjects until they be cut off.” A. copy of the Commission for effecting the pacification of Connaught will be found under date of May 10, 1589 (No. 867). The noted rebel, Florence McCarthy, writes from the Tower of London, where he eventually died some years later, a long letter (No. 592) to acquaint Lord Burghley with his cause and his “quality at home” in his own country. McCarthy's statement is very skilfully drawn up, but his after history belied his professions of loyalty. We have also a paper (No. 968) headed, “For the settling of religion” in Ireland.
It only remains to glance at some of the miscellaneous papers in this volume to illustrate the variety of topics with which the Hatfield manuscripts deal. There are several petitions, chiefly from servants of the Queen, asking for rewards in recompence for past services, the reward generally sought for being some lease in reversion. One of the most curious of these petitions is that of Jane Bucklye (No. 102), who asks for such a lease “as promised,” in return for a “stoute cusshyon” and a “handkercher” presented by her to the Queen. Thomas Morgan writes in one letter (No. 150) of Sir Walter Raleigh as “the Quene's dere miniont, who daylye groweth in creditt :” in another (No. 260) he says, “either Raleigh, the minion of her of England, is weary of her, or else she is weary of him,” for he hears that she hath entertained one Blount, brother of Lord Mountjoy, “being a young gentleman, whose grandmother she may be for her age and his.” A pension of 20d. a day is granted to Nicholas Barry, gent., “a long and faithful servitor in the wars, having lost divers tall men his sons in Her Majesty's service” (No. 502). There is an agreement (No. 154) between Archibald Douglas and one William Anderson, that, in consideration of 70l. paid to the latter, he should complete certain works, “to writ and require of matter prepared for the universal medicine, which was begun in the month of December 1584, upon the expenses and charges of Dr. Joseph Mychely, to be equally divided betwixt him and” Douglas. Sir Francis Walsingham, in a letter to Archibald Douglas (No. 681), remarks, “I would to God Dr. Michaely would speed well in the matter you wot of” [search for the philosopher's stone]. Alexander Bonus writes to Walsingham (No. 877) and offers, if released from prison, in order to expiate his offences against the laws, “to convert mercury into pure gold; to make 5 oz. of perfect gold at the cost of an angel; to convert silver into perfect gold at small expense, and all in a very short space of time.” The Privy Council tell Lord Burghley (No. 900) that Richard Scarlett, a painter, has exhibited to them a petition (which they enclose to his Lordship) against William Dethicke, Garter King of Arms, informing them “that the said Garter did assault him with his dagger in very violent manner, and since hath threatened him in such sort as he standeth in great fear.” As Scarlett had petitioned them that some good order might be taken for his security, they have thought good, in respect that Garter (being an officer of arms) is under Lord Burghley's government, in the absence of the Earl of Shrewsbury, to pray him to examine the cause, and to take such order as to him shall seem convenient.
A short holograph letter from Lady Katherine Paget to Sir Philip Sidney (No. 111) is an excellent illustration of the erratic spelling of those days :—“Nevhue, this 13 off October I receved your leter, beinge dateid the 23 off July, wherin you reqier of me a bouck in Marybone Park. The delaye of your messhenger perhapes not unwyllingly, has transfourmed it unto a doe, the which Mr. Carye thinketh on you very well bestowed, allthowth in jennarall he be a sparar of that game. This bearar hath receved commetion to the kiper ther to delever when you shall send. Thus wesshinge unto you fortunat suckses in all your disiores, espeshally in the travells of my nees, with my comindacions unto you boueth, and lykewyes to my sister Wallshinggame, I leve you to God. Frome my houes at Barchampsted, this 13 of October.”
Among the papers here calendared may be found examples of some proverbial phrases, such as, to be “chequer on board” (No. 317); “absents have ever back-friends” (No. 403); “to break the ice” (No. 455); “to come to the pinch” (No. 543); living “from hand to mouth” (No. 544); “piece-meal” (No. 638); “putting one to a plunge” (No. 656); and, letting one know “how the world stands” (No. 721).
The Earl of Angus, writing to the Laird of Whittingham, says (No. 497), “If there be such a gentleman as Captain Alexander Murray, the speedy runner, at London,” he desires to be heartily commended to him. Gilbert Sherington, of Gray's Inn, convicted in the Star Chamber of riot and conspiracy (No. 786), was fined 420l., and committed to the Fleet. Later on, for other offences, he was fined 200l., sequestered from practice till submission, &c. Refusing submission, he was further fined 1,000 marks, adjudged to be expelled from Gray's Inn, and sequestered from his practice for ever, “and moreover that he should go about Westminster Hall one day in the term time (the judges sitting in the courts there) with a paper on his head declaring his offences, for example and warning to others.”
We have also a warning by Lord Burghley, in some Instructions for a treaty with Spain (No. 636) that English subjects were “not to be molested in their said ships by colour of the Inquisition, considering their ships are to them as their dwelling-houses brought out of England, to be preserved in the King's protection during the time they shall be in any the King's ports”; a reference by Lord Burghley, in the same Instructions, to England as “a country, thanked be God ! fruitful of victuals to live on”; a list of Barons, jure uxorum (No. 826); and papers relating to the Court of Wards and Liveries (No. 175), the controlling of elections for Parliament (No. 113), salt patents (Nos. 824 and 844), gifts to the Queen and others by the Earl of Lincoln (No. 227), John Ball, the famous musician (No. 813), a cup garnished with fine gold, and said to be made of unicorn's horn (No. 568), a sale of diamonds (No. 465), the expense of travelling from the country to London
(Nos. 851 and 854), the plague in Scotland (Nos. 615 and 644), barges on the river Lea (No. 728), the wages of lightermen and others (Nos. 994 and 918), the repairing of the hospital called “Godshouse” in Southampton (No. 679), and many other subjects.
In the preparation of this Calendar the Commissioners 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. They have also to acknowledge the ready courtesy of Mr. R. T. Gunton, the Marquis of Salisbury's secretary. The Commissioners desire to mention with regret the protracted illness and death of Mr. Selby. That sad event has caused a considerable delay in the publication of this volume.