Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 5, 1594-1595. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.
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The papers dealt with in this the fifth instalment of the Calendar of the Cecil Manuscripts cover the comparatively short period of fifteen months only, namely, from October, 1594, to the end of the following year, a result which is entirely due to a decided increase in the quantity of material in the collection. As regards their contents, they will be found to furnish a great deal of the kind of information which in modern times would be sought for in the archives of the Department of the Foreign Minister, and, indeed, viewed in this aspect, are complementary to the Foreign State Papers of the same period preserved in the Public Record Office. Those of this nature here calendared relate more particularly to events occurring in Flanders and in France, describing the course of negotiations with the States General of the United Provinces, and setting forth the wants and wishes of the King of France. This is increasingly the case as the year 1595 draws to its close. Before noticing in some detail the papers which may be referred to these heads, it will be convenient to indicate the contents of others of a more domestic character.
It will only be fitting and proper, and, moreover, will be entirely in accordance with the sentiment of the time, if the first place be given to matters relating to the Queen personally. The following are examples, loosely strung together, of such as fall into this category :—An “intention of bestowing some round sum upon one for payment of her debts” is communicated under a pledge of secrecy to Sir Robert Cecil in a letter (p. 3) from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who could think of no “better course than such as are accustomed, either in giving lands meet to be sold, or fee farms, or some like nature.” The return, unused, of the passport which had been requested for Sir Thomas Wilkes whom the Queen proposed to send to the Archduke Ernest, the Spanish Governor in the Low Countries, in connexion with Dr. Lopez's confessions, a return made in part, at any rate, because the style and form of the address of the letter which accompanied the required passport fell short of what was due to her “in regard of her estate, being an absolute monarch,” (pp. 12, 13, 16) had indeed a wider, a national bearing, but still may not inappropriately be adduced as an incident belonging also to the personal category. The state of terror into which a loyal subject might be thrown by the prospect of a visit from the Queen is strikingly displayed by a letter (p. 19) from Henry Maynard, Secretary to Lord Burghley, begging Cecil almost piteously to endeavour to prevent it. Arthur Throgmorton strove to solve the problem how to approach the Queen in a manner likely to help him to regain her favour, forfeited by his marriage, when he proposed to Cecil (p. 99) “to come in a masque, brought in by the nine muses, whose music, I hope, shall so modify the easy softened mind of her Majesty as both I and mine may find mercy.” While the song was being sung, he intended “to lie prostrate at her Majesty's feet till she says she will save me;” and then, “upon my resurrection, the song shall be delivered by one of the Muses, with a ring made for a wedding ring set round with diamonds, and with a ruby like a heart placed in a coronet, with this inscription, Elizabetha potest.” “I desire to come in,” says he, “before the other masque, for I am sorrowful and solemn, and my stay shall not be long.” As an example of devotion to the Queen's person, the action of Sir Robert Sidney may be adduced. At Flushing, at the close of the year 1595, wild reports with regard to her death were spread from Antwerp and other places in Brabant and Flanders. He could not rest with easy mind without at once verifying the truth of the prevailing rumours, and so through the December weather he sent a ship of war over to learn how her Majesty did. The Queen was pleased at this mark of his attention, and gave Sidney's page, who was his messenger, leave to see her, “at which time,” writes his courtly master, “I should have wished my estate changed with his.” “And,” he continues, “very humbly do I kiss her Majesty's hands for vouchsafing to say that in that public misery I should have lost as much as one. And this I know, I have no knowledge of any earthly second world, and therefore, if England should lose her, I should think that for myself I should lose all.”
After the Queen, her principal servants and advisers, of whom the three most prominent at this time, as all the world knows, were Lord Burghley, Sir Robert Cecil, and the Earl of Essex. Of the first named, however, now aged and infirm, there is but little appearance. The number of communications addressed to him are but few; those emanating directly from him fewer still. The most noteworthy of the latter, which indeed may be held to belong rather to the period comprised in the preceding volume than to this, is a chronicle (p. 69) of occurrences, chiefly of a family and biographical nature, compiled by himself and brought down to July 1594. A somewhat similar chronicle is printed in Murdin's collection of State Papers, not drawn, however, from the same source. Of the rest, the chief topic is the state of his health. He was suffering from severe attacks of gout during the spring and summer of 1595, though still able to take part in the management of public business, largely no doubt through the agency of his son. On the whole, however, as regards Lord Burghley, the most striking point is the comparative infrequency of the occurrence of his name throughout the five hundred and thirty-seven pages of which this volume consists, his position and weight in the kingdom being taken into account.
The absence of the father's name is fully compensated for by the presence of the son's, who may be said to share the honours in this respect pretty equally with Lord Essex. It is, nevertheless, to be remarked that in the case of both the younger men the outgoing letters are not numerous; the abundance lies with the incoming. With reference to Robert Cecil's personal characteristics, it is made evident (p. 23) that he was the kind of man to look sharply after his own business concerns, and that where his private interests were in question, he was not to be trifled with. That he knew how to make the Queen an acceptable present appears by a letter (p. 370) from John Stanhope. That he also knew how to ask for things is shewn by a reply from the Aldermen of Colchester (p. 433). That there were on the other hand those who hastened to offer, apparently without waiting for him to ask, is shown by letters from Cambridge (p. 417) and Hull (p. 439). He is the subject of an anecdote which Anthony Bacon with a spice of malice relates to the Earl of Essex. Lord Wemyss from Scotland, coming out from the Privy Chamber after an interview with the Queen, asked the Lord Chamberlain for Sir Robert, “Why, Sir,” said he, “he was within.” “By my soul,” saith the Lord Wemyss, “I could not see him.” “No marvel,” said Sir George Carey, “being so little,” “whereat the Lord Wemyss confessed he burst out of laughing.” Perhaps Essex, as he read the story, laughed too. If words go for anything, however, Cecil had his attached friends. Lady Shrewsbury, for example, congratulates him warmly on a rumour of the Queen's choice of him as her principal secretary more than a twelvemonth before the appointment was actually made (p. 213), supposing the endorsement on a letter of hers is correct.
The less successful fortunes of his elder brother, Thomas Cecil, are illustrated by letters from brother to brother. While the one, when Sir Thomas Heneage died, got much, the other with much importunity got little. The latter writes (p. 401), “My friends are barred to speak for me, my enemies strong to dissuade, her Majesty not apt to give, nor I to receive so small advancement as perhaps she would allow me;” and again, (p. 425) “Mine enemies have put such principles and grounds in her [the Queen's] head that I find it true that I have read, princes have no feelings but of themselves.” His father, he seems to complain (p. 401), did not help him as he might have done. The relations between the brothers, however, were cordial, and the elder makes no show of jealousy at the greater success of the younger, whose “counsel” he received not ungratefully.
If, as one casually turns over the pages of this calendar, it is apparent, without counting hands with any nicety, that the Earl of Essex does not in the number of his correspondents, numerous as they are, quite equal Sir Robert Cecil, yet when one looks to the dignity of the writers and the character of the contents of their letters, it is just as apparent that in these respects he far outstrips him. Among Essex's foreign correspondents, not to mention inferior men, are the States General of the United Provinces, Count Maurice of Nassau, the King of Portugal and the King of France, all of whom manifestly placed great reliance upon his influence with the Queen. To him the first-mentioned turned for aid (p. 36) to avert the recall of Sir Francis Vere and his regiment at the end of the year 1594, a step which was then threatened. This appeal was sustained in a separate communication (p. 39) from Count Maurice. In the course of the next year the King of France is found appealing to him to persuade the Queen to send succours (p. 338), or expressing (p. 500) his confidence in Essex's ability and goodwill to defend his interests in the Queen's presence against those who dared to cast doubts upon his royal good faith and kingly honour, judging (so he says) Essex by himself. As in greater so in lesser matters also he turned to Essex for assistance, begging, for example, (p. 511) that he would obtain two greyhounds for him from Ireland, male and female, from which to breed. His Majesty loved, among other things, the pastime of the chase : he wished to try the fleetness and the courage of these dogs on the wild boar, and to put their reputation to the test.
And if one looks to the character of Essex's correspondents among his own countrymen they are found to include the majority of those who were entrusted with posts of dignity and importance abroad, who represented the Queen and the interests of the country as diplomatists, or maintained the honour of both and the reputation of Englishmen as warriors and brave men. From the Low Countries, describing military movements and operations, write to him Sir Edmund Uvedall, Sir Edward Norreys, and Captain Lambert from Ostend, Sir Francis Vere from the Hague or scene of war, Sir Robert Sidney from Flushing, and Lord Borough also from the scene of war, or from the place of his government, Brill. The ambassador, Thomas Bodley, and the Queen's agent, George Gilpin, keep Essex well informed as to the progress of political negotiations, the former communicating to him copies of despatches (p. 130) originally written to Lord Burghley. Similarly, for French information, independently of many of French nationality, he could rely upon Ottywell Smith, Edmund Wiseman, Edward Wilton, and, from the time of his arrival there on his special mission in the autumn of 1595, Sir Roger Williams.
Two letters written by Essex himself to Cecil may be noticed. The first is penned (p. 127) in a moment of chagrin when he was, he says, “more amazed and thrown down than I would make show of,” in which he relates that the Queen offering to talk with him that morning about sea causes, he told her my Lord Admiral was in the house, and Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins were in the town, and that he himself had drawn all his thoughts within the cliffs of the English sea coast. The other was written some months later (p. 291) in more complacent mood, though with suffering body, and intimates that if he thought Her Majesty did either miss his attendance or his service he would quickly be at the Court, promising moreover that in any event he would rest but one night “after letting blood.” A letter about this date (p. 280) addressed to Sir Henry Unton who had appealed to Essex to assist him to escape from the “clownish life” he was unwillingly living down at Wadley, contains a freely expressed opinion of the men nearest the Queen, including, there is some reason to think, the Cecils. “I am so handled by this crew of sycophants, spies and delators as I have no quiet myself nor much credit to help my friends. Perhaps once in a year I shall cry quittance with them.” A sharp demand (p. 414) addressed by him to Sir John Norreys in connexion with a statement he was reported to have made to Sir Robert Cecil about the appointment of captains in the army in Brittany shows Essex's sensitive humour.
The Queen had now reigned a good many years, and it was natural therefore that from time to time she should lose one and another of the men who had served her long and loved her well. Two such died in 1595, the Earl of Huntingdon, Lord President of the Council of the North, and Sir Thomas Heneage, the fortunate holder of many lucrative posts. The last named was the first taken. He and his second wife, Lady Southampton, are among Sir Robert Cecil's most affectionate and appreciative correspondents. It was Heneage's desire, though he was himself in a weakly state of health, to entertain the Queen at his “poor lodge at Copthall” (pp. 290, 299) ere he died, but there were obstacles in the way. Towards the end of August he was in London, at Heneage House. In September he was travelling about. In the course of the following month (pp. 425, 427) he died in London. A letter written a few weeks before this event contains a warm-hearted tribute to the tender nursing of his wife, that “most kind companion that cares not to kill herself to cure me. God reward her!”
Lord Huntingdon's death was sudden and unexpected. He had taken a journey late in November (p. 493) to Newcastle in order to see with his own eyes the true condition of the Middle March and to consult with Lord Eure, the new Warden, what was best to be done “in that so weak and disordered a regiment now fallen to his charge.” Immediately on his return to York and before he was able to put his impressions of this “painful journey” (p. 505) into the shape of a report he was taken ill—with a cold as was at first supposed, but the sickness soon became more serious, and in a few days he passed away. His intention had been to proceed forthwith to London, and he himself made light of his illness and would not allow any knowledge of his attack to be conveyed to Lady Huntingdon, seeking also (p. 509) “to conceal and extenuate his grief, labouring merely of melancholy and thought by conceit taken of the weakness of the Middle Marches.” His secretary, John Ferne, defends himself from a charge of neglect in not despatching information of the Lord President's illness, and in so doing gives some details of its course and of the manner in which the Lord President's household was regulated, which are interesting and which otherwise might not have been forthcoming.
As regards naval annals, 1595 is to be reckoned among the years of disappointment and ill success, a result that was quite contrary to the expectations of both friend and foe. Of the terrible “corsair” Drake, the Spaniards entertained the liveliest dread. The report brought home from Spain by an English traveller (p. 186) was probably not far from the truth. “The King had intelligence of Sir Francis Drake's preparing to go to the seas, which doth wonderfully trouble him because of the Indian fleet that is to bring great treasure.” The feeling of the time is expressed in a sentence such as this (p. 461), “All men wonder what Sir Francis Drake will do . . . . . . for Drake is much feared, and great dread is over all he will do no small mischief before his return.” An aggressive naval enterprise under Drake's command is referred to in the very earliest days of January (p. 79). Spain forewarned made active preparations against such an expedition both at home (p. 322) and in the West Indies (p. 263). The expedition which ultimately started, and which, conducted under the joint command of the “generals,” Drake and Hawkins, ended fatally for both, did not set sail however till August, too late to intercept the Indian treasure ships. The story of this first failure, with the causes that led to it, is told in a mournful letter (p. 397) from Capt. Crosse, who had been sent out in advance with the Swiftsure and Crane. In the meanwhile, in July there was an unpleasant example of “Spanish bravado” (p. 296), the landing of a small body of soldiers on the coast of Cornwall (p. 285), who burnt Moldsey, a small village, and Newland, “with Penzance, a very good town” (p. 290). There was momentary consternation in the immediate neighbourhood and scene of the attack. “For the town of Penzance, had the people stood with Sir F. Godolphyn, who engaged himself very worthily, it had been saved, but the common sort utterly forsook him, saving some four or five gentlemen.” But confidence soon returned, and in fact the Spanish galleys retired without attempting any further mischief.
There was considerable difficulty in settling preliminary arrangements, and considerable delay at Plymouth before Drake and Hawkins, with Sir Thomas Baskervile, as “Colonel General,” were allowed to start. The last named was careful to have set down in writing (p. 318), “under their hands and seals,” the nature of the “entertainment” he was to have for his office and his share of the profits of the adventure. His demands are set forth seriatim and categorically granted. Discussion arose on the question who should bear the cost of fitting out the expedition (p. 319). There was also a difference between the Queen and the Generals as to its first destination. The latter were anxious to make straight for Porto Rico (p. 324), while the Queen desired them to cruise upon the coast of Spain to intercept the Spanish forces issuing thence, and to spend a month looking out for the Indian fleet. But although she passed by their refusal to comply with her directions in these two particulars, with regard to their wish to be absent for an unlimited period, she sharply told them, “We can no waies allow your uncertain and frivolous answer to our notion to have knowledge in what time we might hope of your return. . . . . But considering you have not herein answered us, as you ought to have done, we cannot assent to your departure without you shall presently herein satisfy us.” Nine months they might be gone, but not a day longer, “having, with God's favour, a reasonable wind to further you.” Their reply is not among these papers, but only an indication (p. 332) of its nature, which they anticipated would be to the Queen's “good liking.” On this as on other points the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, Elizabeth, contains complementary information.
The ships under Drake and Hawkins's command were (p. 307) the Garland, Defiance, Bonaventure, Hope, Foresight, and Adventure. The first intelligence of their progress at sea reached Plymouth on the 28th October (p. 433). It was immediately despatched to the Court, leaving Plymouth at noon on the one day, and getting as far as Hartford Bridge by 7 o'clock on the afternoon of the next. A month later (p. 474) came further intelligence of their arrival at the Canaries and their failure to do more at that island than “water at their pleasure” during the six days they remained, losing ten men who straggled abroad, and giving the Spaniards opportunity to send advice to the Indies of the impending arrival of unwelcome English visitors. The last intelligence of which notice is contained in this calendar, is given by Lady Hawkins herself (p. 495). She received a letter from her husband by the hands of a captain who had met with the fleet after it had left the Canaries. The purport of the letter was that nothing had been done worth the writing, but it contained an account of what befell at the Canaries. “Although it be not as good as I wish and daily pray for, yet I thank God it is not very ill,” writes the anxious hearted wife, little thinking at the moment, poor lady, that even then she was a widow, and that her gallant husband had in reality weeks before sunk to rest in a sailor's grave.
The wife at home of another of these famous heroes of adventure by sea is, like Lady Hawkins, the sender of news of her husband, but it was her happier task to announce his actual return. The hasty epistle by means of which this is done (p. 396)—penned “this Sunday” and doubtless despatched as soon as written—came from Cecil's “poure frind, E. Raleg,” made proud and happy by the “goodnes of the newes” which also serves as her excuse for her “rewed wryteng.” “Sur hit tes trew I thonke the leveng God Sur Walter is safely londed at Plumworthe with as gret honnor as ever man can, but with littell riches. I have not yet hard from him selfe. Kepe thies I beseech you to your selfe yet; only to me lord ammerall.” Of the incidents of Ralegh's voyage to Guiana in 1595 the papers of this year in the Hatfield collection tell nothing, but a few letters written on the eve of his departure describe his position and state of mind then, and some others written on his return give vigorous expression to his hopes and fears at the later period. All these, however, have been already printed by Mr. Edward Edwards in his Life and Letters of Sir Walter Ralegh, published in 1868, Mr. Edwards having gone through the Cecil papers for the purposes of his work, and therefore, interesting as their contents are, no more than an allusion to them is needed in this place.
The closing months of 1594 and the first half of 1595 witnessed considerable movement in the higher ranks of the English ecclesiastical world. During this period York received a new archbishop, and London, Durham, Worcester, Norwich, Exeter, Winchester, Lincoln, and the “two small sees,” Bangor and Llandaff, new bishops. In the transaction of the business arising out of these changes, Sir Robert Cecil was largely concerned, the letters connected with these matters (some forty in number) almost without exception being either addressed to him or written by him. In the course of these affairs he was the happy object of much episcopal gratitude. A study of this part of the Calendar is not without interest. The changes did not bring unalloyed satisfaction to every man whose name appears in this connexion. The story of Dr. Day, Dean of Windsor, is a case in point. He had cherished hopes of London, but when these hopes vanished, expressed himself as well content should Durham fall to his lot. Not too sure, however, was he of even this situation, for he tells Cecil that on the former vacancy Her Majesty gave him that place, “but while the finishing of it was some while put off by my Lord of Leicester's coming out of the Low Countries, it was clean overthrown, and this man put in place who now doth enjoy it.” His fears of further disappointment were realised. Another was appointed to Durham, and he had to put up with Worcester—not too willingly, rumour said, though his friend Dr. Ridley hastened to assure Cecil that in this rumour lied. His “contentment herein,” which he prayed Cecil to make known to the Queen, was nevertheless not of long continuance. Scarcely a week after, finding from a friend's survey that he had been much deceived in his choice, Dr. Day wrote to withdraw and begged the Queen to allow him to continue where he then was. A second letter (p. 84) sets out his excuses in detail. They turn upon the value of the living, and his plaintive petition is that in his old age he may not be put “to seek another country, a strange air, new acquaintance, and another living without sufficient maintenance.” In order to support him in his withdrawal, Lady Russell writes a very characteristic letter (p. 121) to her nephew on behalf of this “so godly and worthy a labourer in God's vineyard,” whom she “dare affirm to have been as learned and good a preacher as any hath been of his time, and more fit for counsellor than either Burne, Boxall, or Whitgift.” She concludes : “By the holy God, I never yet found Day willing to remove for to be Bishop of Worcester, nor I think will not without 'anmersbisiop'”—by which expression she doubtless means the dignity, influence, and emolument pertaining to an archbishopric.
Opportunity was taken of these promotions to extract pledges from the promoted that certain good things in their disposition should go to the Queen's nominees. Thus Dr. Fletcher, ere he was transferred to London, was applied to on behalf of Sir Edward Denny, and the bishop elect of Winchester on behalf of Sir Francis Carew, the writ in this last case being suspended until the bishop could be informed of the Queen's pleasure and her Majesty advertised “what purpose you have to gratify this gentleman, to whom her Majesty is extraordinarily disposed in regard that it is the first suit that ever he made unto her.” With respect to these requests the Queen did not meet with complaisance. Fletcher, demurring to the Queen's demand, fortified himself in his position of non-compliance by calling to remembrance (p. 32) “her gracious words to me when it first pleased her Majesty to call me into this order, that if anything were by her Majesty required of me to do, which with testimony of my conscience I might not yield unto, that then I should, upon good reason rendered, satisfy her Majesty and retain her gracious favour.” But it is evident that on this occasion he did not satisfy her Majesty; on the contrary, he received an answer “so sharp and pricking” that it made him—to use his own phrase (p. 42)—“sick and sorry out of measure,” and speedily brought him to a state of mind sufficiently humble to cause him to beseech her to accept at his hands the “willing tender of her desire.” In Dr. Fletcher's case, a little later, there arose another cause for the Queen's displeasure, namely, his second marriage. The letter written in reference to this to Sir Robert Cecil (p. 106) is interesting as showing the arguments that may lead an elderly bishop to decide for matrimony, and how a rumour false at the time of its propagation may by the very fact of its being set about nevertheless ultimately realise itself. Another letter from him (p. 171) written immediately after receiving a command from the Queen at the last moment not to act as her almoner at the ensuing Maundy, also calls for remark. This prohibition he infers to have been caused by another rumour, the truth of which he indignantly denies, that he himself and his wife had “used insolent speeches and words to be wondered at.”
Later on in the year Dr. Fletcher gives Cecil an account (p. 394) of the condition of affairs which were revealed to him in his diocese as the result of his visitation of Hertfordshire and Essex. He reports that at Colchester and Maldon be found great quarrels and contentions, both in their civil bodies and among their ministers, the people divided, and the priests taking part on both sides, and at war with themselves, as well in matter of popular quarrels as points of doctrine. He succeeded, however, in putting “moderation to their perturbations and peace to their places.” He would seem to have been a particular sufferer from “malignant invention,” for the last letter from him in this calendar (p. 475) is concerned with an eager denial of some story which some mischief-making tale-bearer had apparently carried to Cecil's ears.
Returning to the subject of the bargaining for the grant by bishops elect of favours to the Queen's nominees from which other matters of interest in the correspondence of Dr. Fletcher caused us to stray, it should be noted that the letters to and from Dr. Hutton on the occasion of his translation from Durham to York give the particulars of such a demand made upon him but with a different result. The old man in the course of the business turns upon his friendly advisers, Sir Robert Cecil and Sir John Wolley, with surprising spirit and dignity. A somewhat similar request will also be found in the correspondence with Dr. Wickham in connexion with his exchange of the bishopric of Lincoln for that of Winchester.
Of the events that followed immediately upon a quarrel which terminated with the death of Henry Long, one of the actors in it, and the exile of the other parties to it, namely, Sir Charles and Sir Henry Davers, or Danvers, these papers give somewhat detailed particulars. The tragic occurrence itself and the hurried flight which it necessitated had taken place in the early days of the previous month of October, but the incidents of that flight are to be learned from the series of examinations taken in January 1595 (p. 84) of various individuals, either connected with or living in the vicinity of Calshot Castle, where Charles and Henry Danvers first took refuge, and with the cognisance and even active aid of whose captain and his deputy their ultimate escape was compassed. These examinations furnish lively and picturesque details of the arrival at Calshot Castle on the Wednesday, of the stay there, and of the helter-skelter departure, Tichfield way, on the Friday. The reader may learn how they sadly ate their supper of beef, mutton, “and cold pasty of venison” in the deputy's chamber; how they got these viands and where they came from; how the Captain of Calshot, receiving orders to arrest them, took care to send a messenger beforehand to warn them in good time; how this messenger, notwithstanding the urgency of his despatch, fearing that the result of his errand might be injurious to his master, prosecuted it with unwilling steps, not making undue haste, heavy and tormented, weeping most of the way, notwithstanding the two pots of beer with which he endeavoured to comfort and cheer his heart; how, in spite of his laggard going, he arrived in time to give the “unlawful company” assembled at Calshot a start, which result was materially aided, it would seem, by a like partiality for the national beverage on the part of the messenger sent to apprehend them; and how when the warning message came, they all departed suddenly in a great hurly-burly, going into the boat with such haste that they were like to sink it.
What happened afterwards, between the time of their thus leaving Calshot and reaching a safe haven on the French coast, these papers do not tell. That the fugitives did succeed in getting away, however, might be sufficiently proved by several letters written from that country by both brothers which this calendar contains even if there were no other sources of information. Henry writes to Essex, Charles chiefly to Cecil. Henry in January 1595 (p. 77) having heard secretly a report that Essex intended to undertake some enterprise in the ensuing spring, expressed a desire to accompany his patron, who had been exerting friendly offices on his behalf, so long as it did not bring him “within the confines of a constable.” Henry Danvers seems to have chiefly relied upon Essex's influence, “expecting (p. 532) his doom of banishment or hope of return” as the result of his solicitations. Charles Danvers, who, it is said, actually committed the fatal deed, appears on the other hand rather to have sought the friendly aid of Sir Robert Cecil, and connected with a letter of his written in March 1595 shortly after the death of his father (p. 129) there is a peculiar and interesting circumstance. It was not infrequently the practice at this time, beneath the wax which sealed a missive, to fasten down a number of strands of fine silk. So, attached to the letter now referred to, securely held in the waxen seal, is a skein, composed not of silk, but of what, microscopically examined, proves to be human hair. It is of a yellow flaxen colour and of fine texture, and if, as not improbably is the fact, it is a lock cut by himself from his own abundant tresses, here is at once lively evidence of a kind of sentimental appeal to Cecil's heart and a pathetic and remarkable relic of the woful exile, Charles Danvers. No successful issue in regard to the restoration of the brothers to their estates and to the bosom of their widowed mother at home was reached during the period over which this portion of this calendar extends. The exiles attached themselves to the army of the French King who sending de Lomenye to the Queen in Sept. 1595 on other business, charged him incidentally (p. 390) to solicit their pardon—unsuccessfully, however, as it turned out. Charles writes towards the close of the year to Cecil (p. 404) from the camp before La Fere—' And for that in this “country where the wars leave retired courses only unto the baser spirits, and where I am generally known, I cannot well leave to live as I do but with a touch unto my reputation, I am resolved to expect the end or continuance of the banishment where a privater life shall be no such reproach unto me. We have here news that the Spaniards make preparations to come unto the succour of this place; as soon as the expectation of this service is past and this bearer returned out of England, I determine to pass unto Venice, and from thence, with the first good opportunity, satisfy my desire of seeing Constantinople. But this I write not unto my mother, who although she cannot have the presence of her sons to assist her widowhood, yet, I think, would not desire to have any of them so far off.”
The Danvers's were not by any means the only Englishmen who, impelled by one cause or another, found it necessary or convenient to travel abroad without first obtaining a licence from the Council for the purpose, as according to the law of the time they ought to have done, and among papers of a miscellaneous character are about a dozen (fn. 1) which may be classed together as all emanating from or owing their existence to adventurous spirits of this kind. Starting without proper credentials, sooner or later they either found themselves compelled to give an account of their past proceedings and movements when they came within the limits of English authority—not conterminous with the English coast-line—or willingly tendered it with a view of recovering their free citizenship. In either case, the story of their adventures and experiences is not without a certain curious interest for the modern reader. He however, would often fain find enlarged upon and set out in detail that which they pass over in silence or describe in a word. For example, when one says that (p. 184) disliking the idle life of Sir Roger Williams's company at Flushing he “travelled to Rome,” we may now regret that he did not relate his adventures by the way or give some description of the countries he passed through. But that was not the kind of information his interlocutors wanted, and no doubt they would have ill concealed their impatience had he attempted to supply it. As it is, this informant makes it his business rather to relate what he knew or had heard or could invent with respect to the designs of the enemies of England and the Queen abroad.
These travellers give scarcely any hint of any great difficulty in getting from place to place. They seem to have trusted very much to the chapter of accidents or taken advantage of a miscellaneous hospitality. Where religion was the cause of departure, as in the instance of George Herbert (p. 225), there would be great facility of passage, and at least equal facility in the case of anyone who had been a scholar at Douay (p. 178). A narrative, as artless and ingenuous perhaps as any, is that of Thomas Richardson (p. 207) who followed a debtor who had robbed him, from Waterford to Rochelle and thence to St. Sebastians and Madrid; but John Doulande's story (p. 445) also merits perusal, and he may furthermore be noted as an early instance of an Englishman going to Rome to study under a famous musician. Some account of Englishmen settled in Rome is contained in a paper which will be found on p. 313.
There is in the Hatfield collection little information with regard to Irish affairs for the period now under review, nor with regard to Scotch matters is it great in amount. Letters from John Colville to his “Mæcenas,” Sir Robert Cecil, from correspondents of Archibald Douglas, and others give some particulars of the events occurring in Scotland, the movements of the King, the defeat of the Earl of Argyll by the Earl of Huntley, etc. A report of what passed at Lord Wemyss' interview with the Queen is given in Anthony Bacon's letter already alluded to (p. 97). Col. Stewart's mission to the States General on behalf of King James is dealt with in Bodley's despatches, and a copy of his instructions, transmitted by the last named, will be found on pp. 108–9.
A small number of papers show the condition in 1595 of the Scottish Borders. Sir John Forster, now old and feeble, was about to hand over his charge as Warden of the Middle March to Lord Eure. The state of affairs there was evidently sufficiently serious and was engaging the attention of the Queen and her ministers. There had been, it is stated (p. 477), “huge decays and losses sustained by the inhabitants of this Middle March in these two last years by Scotland.” A few north country gentlemen reckoned up in an hour's time, from their own knowledge, one hundred and fifty-three persons murdered in the act of defending their own property. Times and manners have truly changed much since cruelties such as are described were practised upon prisoners taken in the course of forays made by the peoples of neighbouring friendly nations one upon the other—hot irons thrust into the legs and other parts of the body; men fettered naked in the “wilderness and deserts” by chains of iron to trees, to be eaten up with midges and flies in summer and starved with cold in winter; or set on a harrow on a crooked tree hanging over deep water. This last, an “unchristian device” for exacting greater ransom locally known as “Paytes Jockes meare,” put the miserable subject of it in a position which may be fairly described as between the devil and the deep sea; if he moved he fell and was drowned; if he sat still, he was “pinched with extreme and continual pricking his flesh.” No doubt, if in any manner procurable, the required ransom was early forthcoming.
When it is stated that the number of individual papers in this volume, many of them lengthy despatches, which may be classed under the heading of “Netherlands,” amount to over one hundred, and the number of those which similarly come under the heading “France” amount to more than sixty, it will at once be seen how great a proportion of its pages tell of events or negotiations in which these two countries were concerned. Of letters in both categories there are but few which are not addressed to Essex. Documents bearing upon French matters are not numerous until the middle of 1595; in the latter half of the year, however, they multiply and relate in detail the course of events in that country. One of Essex's most voluminous correspondents is Ottywell Smith, an English merchant at Dieppe, who combined trade for private profit with a position representative in some degree of English interests in Normandy and Picardy. His letters are long, chatty and full of news, but his orthography, especially his manner of writing French names, is peculiar in the extreme. The trade he carried on is illustrated by the kind of payment made to him for the war material with which for six years he had been supplying the French King (p. 150). “Glad to take what he could get,” he obtained a seven years' monopoly for the import of lead into Normandy and Picardy. In his capacity of English representative he financed Thomas Edmondes, the Queen's envoy in France, advancing him necessary sums of money at Essex's request. As to his personal views, he seems to have been an earnest adherent of “the Religion” and an advocate of the policy of supporting the French King with men and money.
From the time when, early in August 1595, Antonio Perez left England for France, Essex had two other correspondents there, namely, Edmund Wiseman and Edward Wilton. They accompanied Perez on his journey, and in their letters tell the story of his displays of childish timidity and “harsh and cross humours,” in addition to the current French news. Wiseman, however, returned to England early in October. Another correspondent was Sir Roger Williams, sent early in September by the Queen on a special mission to the King of France. Mons. de Lomenye, despatched on the other hand from the King to the Queen, Mons. de la Fontaine, Mons. de Chastre, Governor of Dieppe, and others, in addition to the King himself already referred to, make up a band of correspondents by whose means Essex was kept well informed as to French designs, desires, and “occurrents.”
For copiousness, however, no other portion of these papers can be compared with that which originated in the Low Countries. The principal writers have been already enumerated in the course of the remarks made with special reference to the Earl of Essex. With regard to the subject-matter of one section of this correspondence, namely, the despatches written by Thomas Bodley, the special envoy from the Queen to the States General, during the time of his abode at the Hague, as versions are given in Murdin's collection of State Papers and elsewhere, little more need be said than to remind the reader that the object of his mission was to demand repayment of the Queen's debt and “cessation of her charges,” an object which all his efforts were unable to accomplish; and that during his stay at the Hague, there arrived there from the King of Scotland, Col. Stuart, who was also entrusted with a special mission to their High Mightinesses. The letters of George Gilpin resident at the Hague, call for similar short notice for like reasons. With regard to Bodley himself, certain representations made by him during the interval which he spent in England between the two journeys to the Hague in 1595; throw some light on his personal concerns. He begged that someone else might return to Holland in his place (p. 237), a petition repeated (p. 275) upon the sudden decease of his brother and factor. The diplomatist's lot in Elizabethan times was clearly not a happy one. Bodley writes :—“If her Highness upon this [the death of his brother], which is as great an allegation as can anyway concern a man of my quality, be not moved to release me, I have nothing more to plead, but to conform myself to all that she shall command. I have only this petition to make. . . . . . That in regard of almost seven years' continual employment in one place, during which time I have had little comfort of my country and friends, but have been greatly damnified through my absence from home, and shall be more and more whensoever I do return, it may please her Majesty to allow me that which is behind of my ordinary entertainment, sith others of those countries that return upon licence receive it always of course. Of 14 months' pay I had a warrant for 3 in January last, but there remaineth unpaid from the 11 of June in the year '94 to the 4 of May ensuing, which if I might obtain, it would repair in some part my domestical detriment. . . . . . In all this time of my service in the Low Countries, I never craved allowance for the postage of letters which have been chargeable to me, nor for the expenses of many messengers, which I have purposely employed by express commandment and with promise of rembursement.” Doubtless in due time this prayer was complied with, but not so that which he “chiefly desired,” his discharge altogether, for in the next month, August, we find him again (p.327) dating his letters from the Hague and thenceforward detailing his fruitless negotiations with the States General.
Of other correspondents in the same corner of Europe Lord Borough, governor of Brill, is by far the raciest and most entertaining. A man of action who loved fighting, he gives expression to his views philosophically and poetically in one of his letters (p. 406) thus :—“A virtuous man unexercised is like the plants in winter whose sap is retired to the root; and being called to practise, is beautiful as they be when their fruits make appearance.” And his practice conformed to his precept, for when the enemy was “stirring in Brabant” and appearances pointed to the massing of their forces to relieve Groll, then besieged by the army of the States General, Lord Borough started with alacrity to take part in what should befall in the trenches (p. 266), “embracing with exceeding gladness this occasion of exercise.” Having arrived before Groll he gives Lord Essex (p. 288) a “plain account” of the army and of the councils of war, and describes the works by which the place was being approached and the positions occupied by the troops. His opinion of the army to whose company he had betaken himself was not high. “This people,” he writes (p. 286), “fight by the nature of mechanics for commodity, and have little sense of honour, so they lie in wait to catch without hazard . . . . I must confess to your lordship I grudge these idle commanders, and think scorn to have my name amongst these digging moles whom with undeserved fame the spade hath raised.” As time went on and nothing was done, or rather what was done amounted to “a rising from Groll no less shameful than sudden” (p. 529), Lord Borough did not conceal his impatience for a fight (p. 304), but with Count Maurice at the head of it the army wanted leading (p. 529), and it was not easy to screw up this commander's resolution to the sticking point. “I assure you,” writes the militant governor of Brill (p. 304), “he hath had his ears filled with continual sound of reputation, and the contempt which will be spread to the disgrace of him if he repair not the fault before Groll. If now he waver, I protest I will never come amongst them again, and will blaze the slackness of courage with these people.” It may have been the result of a fit of ague which attacked him in the meanwhile, or perhaps the state of the weather, but be the cause what it may, we find him complaining not long after (p. 321) : “It shall be without purpose to write of this dull army, which is patient of all misery and injury of weather, and never moved to anger against the enemy, who braved us to our teeth.” He was soon called upon, however, to withdraw from their uncongenial company, his absence from his government being displeasing to the Queen. Indeed he was in general little of a favourite with Her Majesty, who, he had been told, in all speeches had of him, “entitled” him (p. 338) “with the most villain and dishonourable to her court.” Yet he was anxious to placate her, and his deputy, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, being recalled to England, Lord Borough's eagerness to prove the devotion of them both induced him when he left the camp to travel night and day in order the sooner to return to his charge and so to set Sir Ferdinando free to depart. But his care to please was ill rewarded by circumstances (p. 338). “In the dark my wagon fell from the height of a great dyke, and hath bruised my ribs and torn my left leg. No bones broken, I thank God, but on my flesh much harm is wrought.” It was shortly after his departure from the army that the fiasco occurred in which Count Philip, sent out by Count Maurice to surprise a party of foragers, was himself surprised and wounded and taken prisoner, and with him his brother Count Ernest and the young Count Ernest of Solms, the capture being followed by the death of the former two. In this ill-planned but not ill-fought (p. 347) sally, Captain Robert Vere, brother of Sir Francis Vere, was also slain (p. 347), “run into the face with a lance and died on the place.” Another of the “adventures of the summer” (p. 405) which Lord Borough recounts, which indeed were misadventures, serving “to check and control” the prosperity of the previous years, was the attempt made upon Lere, in Brabant, by the Governor of Breda. The town was surprised and taken, but the men “intending altogether to their greediness of spoil,” dispersing into the houses and neglecting all precautions, the burghers plucked up heart and “repossessed a port”; then calling their neighbours to their assistance, they recovered their city and slaughtered half the number of the invading party. In sad-coloured October Lord Borough writes (p. 407) in the lowest of spirits from “melancholy Brill,” and falls to moralising—a kind of moralising not unfamiliar to modern newspaper readers, as old too as Aristotle, from whom his lordship quotes in support of his contention. “It is now time to look about; it is safe to make provision while we be threatened, and to be suddenly surprised argueth want of counsel and bringeth inevitable peril, They sleep quietly at whose doors the guard is watchful” is his own summing up of the question. He dismisses in this letter the martial news of his neighbourhood contemptuously as “giving no cause for a penful of ink.” In the next he reports (p. 416) the dissolution of the army and its retirement into garrisons, and the rumour of a general peace.
This survey of the papers in this volume must now conclude with short notices of some miscellaneous items. “Spare to speak and spare to speed” was, it appears (p. 173), an ancient adage three centuries ago. Gardeners will be interested by the mention of certain lettuces (p. 1), “of seeds that came from Barbary.” Musicians may be directed to two letters from Richard Champernown, who was naturally aggrieved by an untruthful tale about himself current at Court (p. 155). He had learnt from experience that music had power to purge melancholy (p. 437), and in order to provide himself with this medicine for the mind, had “bought” boys whose voices pleased him. Cecil had, it would seem, applied for the loan of one of these lads, If Champernown spared him, he spared him most unwillingly, for though he says that the report as to the boy's voice was far beyond his deserts, yet losing him, “his whole consort for music were overthrown.”
The contest between a sturdy parent who had made sacrifices to fit his son for his place in the world and wanted him to distinguish himself in the wars abroad and justify his training, and the soft self-indulgent wife who wanted her husband with her at home, is amusingly shown by a letter from Sir Matthew Arundel (p. 480). It might seem an unusual prayer perhaps for a parent to make, but it is a petition characteristic of the sturdiness of the time when Cecil is importuned to deliver young Arundel from “the scandal that either he durst not tarry or he undertook the journey to cosen his father of all his horses and 1,100l.” While Sir Matthew Arundel interposed to defend his son from that son's wife, Sir H. Palavicino was a believer in the advantages of matrimony, and to promote it he made a special journey to Holland. He writes (p. 2) : “My wife's mother and her two daughters are there, whom I have long tried to get into England to be married according to
practices I have held with certain English gentlemen, but these women are timid and without my presence will never come.” This is by no means the only letter in the collection coming from Sir H. Palavicino.
R. A. R.
In the preparation of this portion of the Calendar the Commissioners have had the assistance of Mr. R. Arthur Roberts, Mr. Robert F. Isaacson, Mr. E. Salisbury, and Mr. Robert H, Brodie, all of the Public Record Office, and most valuable help has also been given by Mr. R. T. Gunton, private secretary to the Marquis of Salisbury. The index has been compiled by Mr. Brodie.