Cecil Papers: Miscellaneous 1599

Pages 1-3

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 9, 1599. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1902.

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Miscellaneous 1599

The King of Scotland to Queen Elizabeth.
[1599, early in.] Since the return of my servant Foulis, I found myself incessantly pricked by the law of that honest friendship which I bear unto you to hasten unto you, how soon my leisure might any ways permit me, the true portrait of my thoughts upon that answer to my most just petition which it pleased you by the hands of said servant to return unto me. The ground of my request was to be freed of that as untrue as vile imputation and calumny laid against me by so infamous a villain, seduced thereto either by his own self love, seeking thereby the furthest off though most detestable death, or else by most malicious though undeserved haters. Not that I meant or needed to crave to be made clear of any such treacherous attempts, whereof indeed I ever was most clear, but that my effectual innocence might be made known which now may in some measure be obscured by murmuring surmises flowing from this filthy spring. But as for the means for attaining to the same, I remit you to your own memory what choice and diversity of them I made to be proposed unto you, and in end relied my chiefest surety therein upon your own device, which out of your own wisdom, tempered with your kindest love towards me, I looked you would find out. But now, when I have ripely considered and weighed in the just balances of a reasonable and dispassionate judgement the true force and pith of your answer, I must plainly confess (except I would feign with you, which is the foulest error that in a mutual friendship can be committed) that I cannot find in any point thereof anything near to my satisfaction. For first, in your letter patent, the narration therein declares it to be only obtained by importunity and the conclusion thereof to be rather an allowance of your own good conceit that it hath pleased you to take of me than any acknowledgment of my many good and honourable deserts at your hands. And whereas you declare therein that you ought to give account of any of your actions to no mortal creature, I know very well that it becomes none that enjoys such places as we both do either to give account or be judged by any; and, therefore, as I never thought to leave the one, so think I never to submit myself in the other. So that, whereas my expectation was that by your patent you should have declared that, as by the laws of all nations the bare and sin [gle] allegation of so infamous and base a villain could bring forth no blemish to the honour and fame of one of my rank and calling, so had your experience of my kind and honest behaviour towards you at all times justly preserved you from harbouring in your heart the least jot of suspicion of me in such a case; wherewith, as you rested fully persuaded within yourself, so wished you all to whose knowledge that patent would come to rest in that full assurance of my honourable innocence which the good laws of all and the proof of my bypast behaviour would in all reason obtain of them. I can by the contrary collect of your patent but, as the grant thereof seems to be drawn out by importunity and not willingly obtained by goodwill, so by the dilating of the virtuous merits of your own inclination and of your manifold benefits bestowed upon me, the substance thereof seeming rather to tend to the aggravating of my ingratitude (incase I were guilty) than to the clearing of my innocence, since neither your virtuous inclination in judging others by the measure of your own qualities, nor yet your own knowledge of your good deserts towards me can carry any further proof than what of reason I should do but not what indeed I have done; otherwise all virtuous and innocent persons would ever be free from the peril of receiving as deserving causeless injuries. And next, whereas I craved that by some Act or Statute, order might be given for the cancelling and rasing anything in his indictment or depositions that might concern me, that, as I assure myself, you put no doubt in your own heart of my innocence, so you might thereby remove all occasions whereby I might be calumniated at any time hereafter, I have only received a copy of his indictment and a general sum of his depositions, a favour which by no law could be refused to the caitiff himself at his leading out to the execution; and as for the omission of my name out of the indictment which notwithstanding contains the speciality of the alleged practices and places where the same was devised, which is fully relative to his depositions wherein my name is plainly mentioned, I can think it no greater grace than that my name is (for the fashion) scraped out of the text but well retained in the gloss or commentary. He is indicted for practising according to his own confession, and in the sameconfession, by which means only this practice is revealed, I am plainly named and accused. And for answer to my last petition wherein I craved that, if any satisfaction could not presently be agreed upon, the person of the caitiff might at least be detained unexecuted until some more sure and honourable way of his trial and my clearing might be found out, you have only, into the midst of a privy letter written to your agent, made him a general promise therein as long as you shall find me continue in my good behaviour towards you. Thus far have I thought good truly and honestly to communicate my mind unto you concerning your late answer, which I protest is no wise done for building up ground of miscontentment thereby, but only lest you should deceive yourself in thinking me (if I had remained silent) satisfied with your answer, for as a prince it becomes me not to feign and as your friend I were faulty if I should dissemble. My request then is only that you would patiently and gravely consider upon the premises and let me by your direct answer be resolved if, in your judgement, you think my petitions reasonable, and since the ground of my request is only that you would help, not to clear me of this false and filthy calumny, but only to declare me to be the thing I am indeed, vouchsafe then by some honourable means to give me only that which of myself I fully do possess, persuading so the world to believe that which in your own conscience and knowledge you are surely persuaded of. Consider it is craved by him who hath ever been your most constant friend, who never at any time did so much as once conceal anything that might import the harm of your person or state, and that your granting of my request will tend as well to the honour of the granter as the craver. And thus craving pardon for my faschous longsomeness and rude plainness as proceeding from an honest and friendly heart, I commit you, madame and dearest sister, to the tuition of the Almighty.
Holograph. Seal. 3 pp. (133. 139.) [Printed by the Camden Society, Ed. Bruce, p. 128.]