It has been observed by an eminent historian that amongst the treasures which a great nation should hold to be most precious are the original and authentic materials of its own history. The Cecil Manuscripts preserved in the Library of Hatfield House, although forming a private collection, may indeed be justly regarded in the light of a national treasure. Their value is not to be described by the mere statement that they contribute to the elucidation of one of the most remarkable epochs in English History; no complete narrative of the period to which they relate could be constructed without their aid. They represent in fact a detached portion of the State correspondence during the memorable administration of Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burghley, and of his son the first Earl of Salisbury, without which the national muniments would exhibit a very imperfect record of the transactions of those stirring times.
Some account of the manner in which the State Papers of that period became distributed will not perhaps be considered out of place, inasmuch as it will serve at once to show the supreme importance of the Cecil Papers at Hatfield as a connecting link in the chain of historical evidence, and also to point out the principal collections to which reference should be made for the completion of the Burghley correspondence.
Prior to the establishment of the State Paper Office, originally called the “Office of Her Majesty's Papers for business of State and Council,” which took place in the year 1578, each of the Principal Secretaries of State—of whom, since the passing of the Statute of Precedence in the 31st year of Henry the Eighth, there were always two, and occasionally three—had the custody of the papers and correspondence accruing in his own department, their future destination depending in great measure “upon accident, upon the care or negligence of the individual or of his clerks, and above all, upon the good or evil fate which awaited the Secretary when he resigned his Seals.” Thus, on the death or resignation of a Secretary of State, the correspondence accumulated
by him was frequently broken up and dispersed, many valuable documents being entirely lost, and others finding their way into the hands of private individuals. Extensive collections of such scattered papers were made by Sir Robert Cotton in the reign of James the First, by Sir Joseph Williamson in that of Charles the Second, and by Robert Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, towards the close of the seventeenth century. Two of these, the Cottonian and Harleian collections, now form part of the Library of the British Museum; whilst the collection of Sir Joseph Williamson, having been placed by its originator in the State Paper Office is now amalgamated with the series of Domestic State Papers in the Public Record Office. On the other hand, much of the correspondence relating to affairs of State remained undisturbed in the possession of the representatives of those noblemen or statesmen to whom it was originally addressed.
In the Letters Patent, dated 15 March 1609/10, appointing Levinus Muncke and Thomas Wilson to be “Keepers and Registrars of the Papers and Records concerning Matters of State and Council,” especial reference is made to “the careful endeavours of Robert Earl of Salisbury, our Principal Secretary and our High Treasurer of England, to reduce all such papers, as well those that heretofore remained in the custody of Sir Thomas Lake, Knight, being the papers of some of the Principal Secretaries of our Predecessors, as also some such papers as he shall think fit to depart with, being either such as he hath collected of his own times, or such as were left to him from his late father the Lord Burleigh, then Lord High Treasurer of England, into a set form or library, in some convenient place within our palace of Whitehall, to be at all times the readier for our use and for the use of any of our Principal Secretaries hereafter, for the better enabling them to do us service.”
On the death of the Earl of Salisbury, in 1612, a Warrant was accordingly issued directing his papers to be delivered up to the said Levinus Muncke and Thomas Wilson, and in a subsequent Memorial by Thomas Wilson, made apparently about the year 1613, [State Paper Office Documents, Vol. 1. No. 12.] it is stated that there were at that time two sorts of papers in the State Paper Office, “those that have been long kept at Whitehall, and those brought from Salisbury House by himself since the Lord Treasurer's decease, which were far the greater in number.”
Notwithstanding this transfer, however, a large mass of papers comprising, in addition to a great number of drafts and private memoranda, original Letters and Papers of the highest interest and importance, appears to have been retained by the Secretaries of the late Lord Treasurer, one portion of which is now preserved in the Library of Hatfield House, the other having found its way after a number of vicissitudes into the Lansdowne Collection of MSS. in the British Museum, of which, under the title of “Burghley Papers,” it forms a most important division, its description occupying the whole of the first portion of the printed catalogue of the Lansdowne MSS.
It will therefore be seen that there are, in addition to the Cottonian and Harleian Collections, three leading groups of State Papers to which the student should refer for the correspondence dealing with the fascinating period comprised in the administration of Lord Burghley and of his successor, the information contained in which is so inextricably interwoven that the draft of a letter is frequently found in one collection, the letter itself in another, and the reply in the third. Several instances have indeed occurred in which the portion of a document preserved in one collection has found its continuation and completion in another.
The first of these groups, the series of Domestic State Papers preserved in the Public Record Office, is rendered accessible to the student by the printed Calendars of State Papers issued under the direction of the Master of the Rolls; the second group, the “Burghley Papers” in the British Museum, are, as has been already stated, described in the printed catalogue of the Lansdowne Collection. The third, and equally important group, consisting of the “Cecil Papers,” preserved in the Library at Hatfield, is now for the first time fully described in the present Calendar.
A list of the Cecil Papers appeared in former Reports of the Commissioners on Historical Manuscripts, and, although merely an enumeration of the documents without any attempt at description, it occupied not fewer than 280 printed columns. The collection was then pronounced by such an eminent authority as the late Professor Brewer to be “perhaps the largest, certainly the most valuable, of any private collection in this kingdom.”
The access so liberally granted to the Hatfield Archives at all times by their noble owner had already secured for them a widespread
fame, and the increased interest awakened by the above-mentioned list strengthened the desire of the Commissioners to publish a Calendar of the entire collection. To this course the Marquis of. Salisbury gave a ready and generous consent, and the first portion of the Calendar is now issued.
The Cecil Manuscripts consist of upwards of 30,000 documents, the great majority of which are bound up in 210 large volumes. Many of these papers have been discovered in quite recent times, through researches instituted by the late, and also by the present Marquis. The collection may be divided into two classes, the first of which comprises Grants from the Crown, Privy Seals, and other Records of a strictly legal character, together with various illuminated manuscripts, theological treatises, rolls of genealogy, common-place books, plans, charts, &c. The second consists of documents of a more directly historical nature, as State Papers, Treaties, Despatches, correspondence of public personages, and political memoranda. The Commissioners on Historical Manuscripts have expressed an opinion that the value and extent of the correspondence, “to which every person of any note at the time contributed, may be judged by the fact, that scarcely a day passes in any year from the accession of Edward VI. to the close of the century, which does not produce one or more letters connected with passing events, and generally from those whose rank and position enabled them to furnish the most correct and authentic intelligence. In these papers the history of the times writes itself off from day to day, and almost from hour to hour, with the minuteness of a daily journal, but with a precision to which no ordinary journal could make any pretence.”
The papers of Lord Burghley illustrate the times from the beginning of his ministry, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth, to his death in 1598. Those of his son, Sir Robert Cecil (afterwards the first Earl of Salisbury), supply similar materials from the close of his father's ministry to that of his own, which terminated by his death in 1612. The Papers of the Earl of Essex and of Sir Walter Raleigh, which have been considered to belong to Sir Robert Cecil's collection, are also preserved at Hatfield House.
A selection of the more important State Papers amongst the Cecil Manuscripts, extending from the year 1542 to the year
1570 inclusive, was published in 1740 by the Reverend Samuel Haynes, Vicar of Hatfield, a continuation of his work by the Reverend Wm. Murdin in 1759 bringing the date of the papers so published down to the year 1596. Many documents amongst the Cecil Papers have also been printed by Lodge in his Illustrations of English History, and by other historical writers.
It may, however, be here remarked that, in addition to the papers already published in the collections above alluded to, 1,140 documents belonging to the comparatively short period embraced by the present volume are now described and calendared for the first time. The portion of the calendar now issued extends from the earliest date represented in the Cecil Manuscripts, viz. 1306, to the close of the year 1571. There are, however, very few documents of a date earlier than the reign of Henry the Eighth, the reigns of Elizabeth and James the First being those which receive the fullest elucidation from these invaluable manuscripts.
With these introductory remarks we may now direct attention to some of the most noteworthy documents calendared in the following pages.
Two holograph letters of Cardinal Wolsey to his former servant and secretary, Stephen Gardiner, are given in extenso on pp. 6, 7. They are of special and unique interest, and bear the endorsement “These be l[et]res written wt the Cardinalles own hand after his fall.” A very different document, signed by the same hand, is a despatch, 64 pages long, dated Feb. 1528, and addressed to Gardiner and Foxe. This forms their Instructions with reference to Henry's divorce, and speaks in highly eulogistic terms of Anne Boleyn. At Hatfield also are the original depositions respecting the marriage of Henry VIII. with Anne of Cleves, printed in Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials. The chronic disorder and tumult of the Borders is vividly depicted during the years 1542–4, in the correspondence between the Privy Council and the Earl of Hertford; and when the latter, as commander of the English forces, carried the war into the south parts of Scotland, and laid waste the whole country as far as Edinburgh, burning the capital itself, and many other towns and villages, we have minute accounts of the terrible devastation he wrought. Both the Earl of Hertford, and Viscount Lisle, the Admiral of the English fleet, are heartily thanked by the King and Privy Council for their “wise, manly,
and discrete handling” of the charge committed to them. Early in 1544, Sir William Paget had informed the Earl of Henry's opinion, that it would be well for such as made raids into Scotland, when they had despoiled any towns or states, to leave a written notice on the church door, or some other notable place therein, in the following or similar words, “Youe may thank your Cardinal of this, for if he had not bene, youe myght have bene in quiet and rest, for the contrary whereof he hath travailed as moche as can be, to bring you to sorow and trowble.” Even after the “good success” of the English arms, Lord Hertford's instructions were that he should “not forbeare by the way to burn and spoyle in his journey, without respect to whome the places shall appertayne.” Four days later, the Scots were reported, “of their naturall stoberness and arrogancie,” to be preparing to assemble their forces against the 24th of the same month (May 1544), and peace was not concluded without further fighting of a desultory nature, extending over several months.
A holograph letter of Prince Edward to Henry VIII., written in Latin, although the Prince was then only about eleven years old, will be found on p. 47. The gross frauds on the revenue, perpetrated at the Bristol Mint, are revealed in the examinations and confessions of its Master, Sir William Sharington. The extraordinary conduct of Lord Admiral Seymour towards the Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield, is described in the well-known statements of the Princess herself, of her governess Mrs. Ashley, of her cofferer Thomas Parry, and others. Some characteristic details about Bishop Bonner are furnished by the examinations of William Seth, who was imprisoned on a charge of bringing from Paris into England, “a barrel of Dr. Smith's most false and detestable books.” Seth confesses to have brought over the books, some letters, and “two painted papers of the image of Luther,” one of which he determined to have given Bonner. Two holograph letters of Bishop Hooper, addressed to Sir William Cecil, and dated respectively February 2 and July 20, 1553, are of singular pathos, and confirm the high character borne by the Reformer for zeal and fidelity in the discharge of his episcopal functions. In the Manuscripts belonging to Edward VI.'s reign may be found the Articles of the Church of England, as set out by the King, signed by him, and endorsed “K. Edward his confession of his religion.” In the same series is also Bishop Ridley's “Canones
de modo concionandi,” signed, “Your Highness Chaplain Nic : London.” On pp. 127–132 is given a very curious Inventory, being an account of apparel, furniture, jewels, plate, &c., in the Palace at Westminster, made by its late Keepers, Sir Andrew Dudley and Arthur Sturton. Attention must also be called to an interesting document headed, “Considerations delivered to the Parliament, 1559.” This is printed in extenso in the Calendar, and contains some singular proposals relating to the social and commercial state of the country. The various matters dwelt upon are classed under twenty-four heads. Under that of “Vagabonds” we read, “That the statute 1 Edward VI. chap. iii., concerning idle persons and vagabonds being made slaves, now repealed, be revived, with additions.” Under the head of “Merchants” comes this proposal, “No merchant to purchase above 50l. a year of inheritance, except aldermen and sheriffs of London, who, because they approach to the degree of knighthood, may purchase to the value of 200l.” Under the head of “Schoolmasters” we have these words, “None under the degree of baron to keep any schoolmaster in his house to teach children, for it is the decay of the universities and common schools.” One further instance of the proposals may be given in the following, “That none study the laws, temporal or civil, except he be immediately descended from a nobleman or gentleman, for they are the entries to rule and government, and generation is the chiefest foundation of inclination.”
With respect to Sir William Cecil himself, not only is his guiding influence in all the home and foreign policy of England abundantly illustrated, but many details of his private life are revealed, his friendships, his literary tastes (especially in the way of genealogical research), his journal, and even matters relating to his household, the liveries of his servants, the stock of materials in his bakehouse, pantry, brewhouse, kitchen, &c., the sheep on his farms, the extent of his estates, together with many other particulars.
The progress of events on the Continent is minutely chronicled in the newsletters sent, chiefly to Sir William Cecil, by the English Ambassadors accredited to the various European Courts, and by his agents abroad (especially by Christopher Mundt, Queen Elizabeth's agent in Germany). Among the former are several illustrious names. Sir Thomas Challoner, author statesman,
and soldier, who had seen fighting in Algiers under Charles V., and in Scotland under Somerset, was employed by Mary, and after the accession of Elizabeth, was sent as ambassador to Cambray, to Brussels, and to Spain. Sir John Mason, whose able despatches are full of interesting gossip, served as Ambassador to Henry II. of France and to the Emperor Charles V. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton's despatches from France show the high talent and courage of their author, qualities not so evident in his colleague and successor Sir Thomas Smith. Besides these must be mentioned Sir Richard Morysine, Ambassador to Brussels, and Sir Thomas Chamberlain, who filled a like capacity both at Brussels and in Spain. Sir Thomas Gresham gives in his letters minute details of the financial and commercial operations that he conducted in the Low Countries for Elizabeth, with marked ability and success. The Queen, in her dealings with foreign powers, leant in no small measure to a policy of covert interference, for the purpose of exciting and fomenting disturbances; but, with all the Roman Catholic States of Europe intriguing against her, she was left small freedom of action. As regards the principalities in Germany, which were quite ready to fight on her side against France and Spain on the basis of liberal payment, Elizabeth negotiated with them in order to arouse among her enemies the fear of a general Protestant league, but never came to any terms with the States themselves. These remarks are borne out by the letters of her ambassadors and agents abroad which appear in this Calendar.
In a long and important letter to the Emperor of Germany, of which a full abstract is given on p. 359, the Duke of Alva defends the recent executions which had taken place in the Netherlands under his administration, especially those of Counts Egmont and Horn. The Emperor, in writing to the Duke, had spoken of the universal indignation and animosity excited throughout Germany by these executions, and the latter answers that “the perverted nature of certain wicked people leads them to give to everything the worst possible interpretation, the truth of which can then only be committed to time and to God to decide.” The Duke sends to the Emperor the principal articles of the “most culpable misdeeds” charged against the two Counts, and states that it becomes the King of Spain, “as the supreme fount of salutary justice, to give to such detestable crimes their due
punishment, and once more to put into execution, with all earnestness, the edicts already issued by him against the rebels” The Duke further complains of the very great assistance obtained from Germany by the rebels in the Netherlands, and concludes by beseeching the Emperor to exercise his authority against the open disturbers of the public peace.
The papers of Queen Elizabeth's reign, on events nearer home, lead almost at once into the struggle between the Queen Regent of Scotland and the Lords of the Congregation. The active interference of France in Scottish affairs was forcing the English Queen to a similar course. In the correspondence of the Duke of Norfolk and his Council with Sir William Cecil and the Privy Council may be seen a full record of the preparations made by England in view of war, of her negotiations with both parties in Scotland in the endeavour to effect a pacific solution of difficulties, and of the alliance, offensive and defensive, concluded by the English Government with the Lords of the Congregation in the Articles of Berwick. Then follow immediately after, the advance of the English forces into Scotland, under the command of Lord Grey, and the memorable siege of Leith. The weary skirmishing, the one disastrous repulse of the besiegers, the difficulties in the way of obtaining money and munitions of war, the courage but incapacity of Lord Grey, the anxieties of the English Government, are all detailed. After the siege had lasted for some months, negotiations were again entered into. Sir William Cecil and Dr. Wotton were sent to Edinburgh to confer with the Scottish Lords and the French Commissioners, the Bishop of Valence and M. de Randan. Articles were agreed upon, by which Leith was to be demolished, and the troops in that place were to leave Scotland. Two other treaties were concluded at the same time; the first, by the above-mentioned Commissioners, whereby France acknowledged the undoubted right of Elizabeth to the Crown of England and Ireland, and the second, by the French Commissioners with the Scottish Lords, whereby guarantees were given for the peace and liberty of Scotland.
The original of the famous letter, in which John Knox gives his estimate of the character of Mary Queen of Scots, is among the Cecil Papers (see p. 262). The negotiations for the proposed interview between Elizabeth and Mary at York, the Darnley marriage, the assassination of Rizzio, the murder of Darnley, the
trial at York and Westminster, and all the chief events in the subsequent history of the ill-fated Queen of Scots, are narrated at length. The letters of Mary to Bothwell, which had been privately seen by the Duke of Norfolk and other Commissioners during the proceedings at York, were formally produced in Court, when the trial was removed to Westminster. And here a few words may be said about the two letters in this famous series preserved at Hatfield.
In the second volume of the “Calendar of, State Papers, Scotland” (Rolls Series), will be found under date, 1568, Dec. 7, a narrative of proceedings between the Commissioners of the Queen of England and those of the King of Scotland, in which mention is made of the production of a small gilded coffer, containing the letters just referred to, a promise of marriage made to Bothwell, another marriage contract, and the divorce between Bothwell and his wife. Of these “Casket Letters” four are preserved at the Public Record Office; the other two are in the Hatfield Collection. Each of the latter, owing to the peculiar interest attaching to this series, is printed in extenso in the Calendar, both in the English and French versions. One of the two letters is written in a hand different from that which appears in all the rest, and the writing has not yet been identified. It. is a fair imitation of Mary's hand in her earlier days, but the letter has been suspiciously manipulated. None of the series can be adduced in direct evidence against Mary, seeing that not one is an original document, all being copies, and probably copies of copies. In Buchanan's “Detection, translated into Scotch, and now made English, 1651,” there is a version of the letter beginning, “I have watched,” &c., different, however, from that in the Calendar, as the following extract will show :—“I have waked later there up then I would have done, if it had not been to draw something out of him, which this bearer will show you, which is the fairest commodity that can be offered to excuse your affairs. I have promised to bring him to him in the morn. Put order to it if you find it good,” &c. Hugh Campbell, in his “Love Letters of Mary Queen of Scots,” quotes this version of Buchanan. The French version of this letter, beginning, “J'ay veillé,” &c., is printed on p. 23 of Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove's article, “Marie Stuart, d'après les documents conservés au Château de Hatfield,” published in 1872 in the
“Bulletins de l'Académie Royale de Belgique,” It is also printed in Dr. Harry Breslau's paper, “Die Kassettenbriefe der Königin Maria Stuart,” published in the “Historisches Taschen buch.” Buchanan's “Detectio,” the Scotch edition of which (Sanctandrois, 1572), is reprinted in Anderson's “Collections,” gives (Vol. II., p. 147) only the first few lines of this letter, down to “presenter.” The text of these lines is exactly the same as that in the Calendar. In the French translation, however, of Buchanan's work, known as the Rochelle version (Edinbourg, 1572) the text given runs alike as far as “presenter;” but from that word there is a material difference in the language of the two texts, though the general sense is similar. A short extract from the Rochelle version, commencing from “presenter,” will illustrate this :—“J'ay promis, que je luy maneray demain cestuy-là. Vous aiez en soin, si la chose vous semble commode. Maintenant j'ai voilé l'accord; car vous aviez deffendu que je n'escrivisse, ou que je n'envoyasse par devers vous : neantmoins je ne l'ay faict pour vous offenser,” &c. The French text given by subsequent writers, such as Jebb, Goodall, Teulet, Gaedeke, Wiesener, Hosack, &c., agrees with the Rochelle version. The letter beginning, “Alas my Lord,” &c., is printed in the English version of Buchanan's “Detectio” above cited but with the following differences (besides those of spelling):—
|I am wood.
||I am mad.
|to ask such resolution.
|| to ask such resolving.
|with the diligen[ce].
||with the business.
|all against it.
||quite against it.
Campbell and Hosack both give Buchanan's version of this letter, and Froude (Vol. IX. p. 61) quotes a few sentences. The French version, beginning “Monsieur helas” &c., is to be found on p. 28 of Baron de Lettenhove's article mentioned above, and on p. 91 of that of Dr. Breslau. What has been noted with regard to the former letter applies also to this one. The Scotch edition of Buchanan's work, reprinted by Anderson, gives from the beginning to “promis” only. These opening words agree with the text in the Calendar, with the exception that the word “J'enrasje” occurs in the latter only in the margin, whereas in Buchanan it is in the body of the text. As with the previous casket letter, so with this, the Rochelle version (p. 72) agrees
with the Cecil Manuscript in the first portion (i.e. to the word “promis”), but after that differs materially in the phraseology, though not in the general sense. The Rochelle version is followed by Jebb, Goodall, and the other writers mentioned above.
The policy adopted towards Mary after her flight into England is illustrated by numerous papers. The vacillation and shifts of Elizabeth, scarce governed at times by the resolution and skill of her advisers, are made as clear as the courage and subtlety of her great rival. The intrigues engaged in on Mary's behalf in England, Scotland, and on the Continent (particularly Ridolphi's mission to the Duke of Alva, the King of Spain, and the Pope), are made known to us in the confessions and examinations of the Duke of Norfolk, the servants of the Duke, the Bishop of Boss, and in those of divers other noblemen, as the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel, and Lord Lumley. A large number of the English nobility were implicated in the Ridolphi conspiracy, which had for its object the restoration of the Roman Catholic faith in England, by deposing Elizabeth and substituting the Queen of Scots. Among the many plots for the liberation of Mary during her captivity in England may be mentioned the one to effect her escape from Chatsworth, of which some details are given by Mr. Froude. Further particulars will be found in the examinations of Sir Thomas Stanley, Sir Thomas Gerrard, Francis Rolleston, John Hall, and some others, which are printed in the Calendar. Those of Hall, who fell into the hands of the English Government on the capture of Dumbarton Castle, are the fullest and most interesting.
In the letters of Lord Hunsdon, Governor of Berwick, we obtain a graphic description of the raids made into England by the Borderers, who were partisans of the Scottish Queen; the object of these depredations being to bring on war between the two countries. Some of Hunsdon's letters, which are not included in Haynes' collection, are of great interest. He represents very plainly to the Queen and Council the well-nigh defenceless state of Berwick, which formed the key of the Borders, and the unhappy plight of the soldiers in garrison there. Under date of 20 Nov.  he writes, “Whereas the pay for Berwick is appointed twice a year, it is never made but once a year, viz., at Christmas, by reason whereof the poor men are fain to take corn, beef, mutton, and other victuals of the Treasurer, and to sell them
for half the money they take them for; 'so as they are not able to buy themselves almost a pair of hose to their legs, that it pities me to see them.' They would rather take 7d. a day, payable twice a year, than 8d. payable once a year; 'and all is one to her Majesty.;” In unhappy contrast to this condition of matters, we read in a statement of payments made out of the Exchequer (July 1568–July 1569), “The Great Wardrobe, 2,996l. 6s. 3d.,” “The Jewel House, 2,604l. 2s. 1d.” What Hunsdon thought of the Scots in his wardenry may be seen in his letter just referred to, where he says, “Besides there is dwelling there [Tweedmouth] at the least 200 Scots, and being not past 15 that wards at that gate a days, it is very dangerous for this town [Berwick], and therefore I do mean between this and Candlemas to avoid all the Scots from thence, but such as must needs remain there for necessary service, and for those I will take sufficient bonds for their good behaviour. I shall be forced to make a general riddance of a great number of Scots out of this wardenry, where are above 3,000 of all sorts, very unfit members to be suffered here, saving some such as have or may deserve to be made denizens, as my Lord Wharton had, of which some yet remains; since whose time every man comes in that will, so as all Mr. Gray's lands is only inhabited with Scots. How unnecessary it is to be suffered you know; and therefore I would gladly have some direction what to do with them; for I think it would pity ye if ye saw how I am daily and hourly cumbered with them; and as sure as they have done any mischief, straight they leap into Scotland.”
Many of the papers printed in this Calendar throw much light on the Great Rebellion in the North under the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, which broke out in November 1569, and came to an ignominious end the next month by the flight of the Earls across the border. The warning conveyed to the Earl of Northumberland at Topcliffe that he was betrayed and would speedily be arrested, was the immediate cause of the open rebellion, which, but for this alarm, would probably never have occurred, owing to the indecision and mismanagement of its leaders. The lengthy evidence of Thomas Bishop, given at p. 469, is of special interest.
The documents with which the volume concludes are those relating to the second arrest and imprisonment of the Duke of
Norfolk, who was tried and executed in the early part of 1572. All his treasons are unfolded in his own confessions, in those of the Bishop of Ross, and in the evidence of various noblemen, and of his own servants. The secret dealings of the Duke during the conference at York, with respect to the proposed marriage between himself and the Queen of Scots, his temporary abandonment of the project and subsequent endeavours to effect it, his submission to Elizabeth and his after treachery, his connexion with the rebellion of the Earls in the North, the prominent part he played in the Ridolphi conspiracy, these, and all the many intrigues in which he was engaged, are revealed in ample detail. But the evidence is too famous to require any comment here.
Among other papers deserving of mention are the letters of the Duchess of Suffolk to Sir William Cecil; the Settlements (dated Aug. 6, 1569) for the proposed marriage of Sir Philip Sidney and Ann, Cecil's daughter; and an unpublished letter of Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh to Raulet, dated Aug. 18 , in which the writer states that if the Queen of Scots “will not haif no regarde on me for trew service, I am uncertaine quha will do ye lyk service to hir hytnes againe. And farder, gyf hir grace will tak na ordor wt me in yir partis, qr by I may leif honesly, thair is na prince in ye wardle (sic, warld) will luyk on me.”
There is also a very curious “Collection of Original Letters from the several Bishops, &c., to the Privy Council, with Returns of the Justices of the Peace within their respective Dioceses.” These letters bear date, October to November 1564. They form an entire volume of the Hatfield Archives, and are full of quaint and interesting information respecting the religious state of England at the time. Thus the Bishop of Worcester considers “that all such as mislike and contemn true religion should be put out of authority and public office,” and sends a return of all gentlemen in his diocese, classified under the heads of “Favourers of true religion,” “Adversaries of true religion,” and “Indifferent, or of no religion.” The Bishop of Chichester thanks God that the county of Sussex is free from all violent attempts “eyther to afflite the godlye or to disturbe the stablished good orders of this realme.” The Bishop of Hereford is certified by the Dean that in his Cathedral Church “all the canons resendensaries (except Jones, qui dicit et non facit, which is rashe, hastei, and ondiscrete) ar but dissemblers and
rancke papistes,” and so that Church, “which should be the light of all the diocese, is very darkness and an ensample of contempt of true religion.” The Bishop of Winchester says that “in that city, all that bear authority, except one or two, are addicte to the olde superstition and earnest fautors thereof.” The Bishop of Durham is of opinion that there are two great hindrances to religion. One is, “the Scottish priests that are fledde out of Scotland for their wickedness, and here be hyred in parisshes on the borders, bicause they take less wages than others, and do more harme than others wolde or colde in disswading the peple.” The other is, “the grete number of scholers borne hereaboute, now lieng at Lovan without lycense, and sending in bokes and letters which cause many tymes evill rumours to be spredde, and disquiet the people.”
In preparing this Calendar the Commissioners on Historical Manuscripts have had the assistance of Mr. S. R. Bird, Mr. W. D. Selby, Mr. G. J. Morris, and Mr. E. G. Atkinson, of the Public Record Office. To Mr. R. T. Gunton, the Marquis of Salisbury's secretary, their best thanks are due for his courteous and ready help on all occasions.