Cecil Papers
January 1597


Institute of Historical Research



E. Salisbury (editor)

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'Cecil Papers: January 1597', Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 14: Addenda (1923), pp. 1-9. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=112080 Date accessed: 28 July 2014.


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January 1597

Robert Knoles to the Queen.
[1596–1597?].The manor of Taunton and others, Somerset, late parcel of the bishopric of Winchester, were granted to Sir Francis Knoles and his wife, with remainder to petitioner. Prays for warrant to receive the offices and profits thereof during the vacancy of the bishopric, and that the new Bishop shall make a lease of the same for forty years, to be assigned to him.— Undated. ½ p. (1034.)
Naval Affairs.
[1596–7?]. . . benefit made of this universal contribution, it is thought good to divide this fleet so as three ships and a pinnace may be peculiarly employed between the coasts of Sussex and Ushant; towards which the county wherein you dwell must contribute. For all four we conceive the charge will amount yearly to the sum of — besides all kind of artillery and munition, whereof her Majesty will bear the whole charge; towards the charge of which four ships her Majesty recommends to you ( ) country to levy the sum of —. The better to induce all men's minds to an approbation of this motion, her Majesty intends that whatsoever is taken that is good prize shall not only be wholly reserved towards maintenance of that fleet as long as it shall continue, but shall be absolutely freed from custom and tenths, whereby it is not unlikely that as this charge is no way expected to be raised otherwise than by the voluntary contribution of those that are well affected, so it is hoped this first provision will be the greatest burden when all things shall be so well ordered as well in the setting forth of the said ships as in their employment that there shall not need any new charge after one year, but only the continuance to bestow that which shall be recovered by the industry of the servitors in this action. Or if it fall out that the only gain hereof shall be no more but the prevention of former losses, in comparison of the damage and dishonour precedent, a good work, it will either be accounted worthy the continuing, or otherwise it will lie in the power of those persons that have been the causes of so good effects to withdraw themselves from any further burden. Undated.
Portion of draft in hand of Munck, Cecil's Secretary. 4 pp. (186. 6.)
Agnes Whitwell to Charles, Earl of Nottingham.
[After 1596.]Is a prisoner on false accusations of using scandalous speeches against him. Prays for her cause to be heard, and for bail or release.—Undated. 1 p. (980.)
Robert Whitwell to Sir R. Cecil.
Prays for warrant, Cecil's letter not being sufficient, for the discharge of his wife and release of the recognisance.—Undated.
½ p. (975.)
[The Queen] to Th[omas] Bodeley.
[1596–7, Jan. 3.]Where of late we did by our letters will you to impart both to the States General and the Council of State, our disposition for the aid of the French King, to have the use of some of our bands of footmen being there in our pay, to be by us employed in some service against the Spaniards that have invaded Bryttany, and to obtain their liking and assent thereto, wherein we hope you have accomplished our commandment and obtained also their assent: We do now for execution of this our necessary purpose, being profitable both for those countries and ours, but of all others most necessary for the French King, send our trusty and well-beloved servant, Sir John Norrice, knight, to renew this our former request to the States, and consequently to make choice out of all our companies serving there of the number of 3,000 footmen in orderly bands, and them to take into his charge, and to conduct them by sea, as we have directed him. Wherefore, we have commanded him to make you thoroughly acquainted both with our commission and instructions; and thereupon our pleasure is that you shall repair with him to the States and Council and in all things to the best of your power further the service now committed to him, according to our commission and your good advice to procure that the same may be performed with the good will of the States and of the country, being a matter percase at the first not plausible, but by such reasons as the said Sir John Norryce and yourself may use to approve our request, we hope the same shall have good success: wherein expedition of time is of most moment to our purpose intended.
Endorsed:—"3 Jan. 1596. M. to Mr. Bodley by Sir John Norris." Draft in Lord Burghley's handwriting with corrections.
1 p. (173. 1.)
The Duc de Bouillon to Mr. Edmondes.
[1597?] Jan. 12/22.Je nay en nulles noles de vous despuis nostre sesparassion. Vous scaures le commansemant de nostre guerre ou je chemine par les moyens que je vous ay descourus lesquels sont sy sansibles aux ennemis que ils tournent la plus grande partie de leurs forses a moy et sommes pour ne nous marchander . . (fn. 1) . . sy les ennemis et moy convenons de dessins. Feites mes excuses a mon second moy mesmes que j'aime et honore plus que moy, quy est Monsieur le Conte. Je suis acable de peine, estant tout seul, dieu m'aidera. Feites moy part des noles que vous aves de vostre royaume et de vostre reine.
Au camp a Brouigne ce 22° janvier.
Holograph. 1 p.
Addressed "Monsieur Hedmontes, agent de la Royne d'Angleterre pres du Roy."
Endorsed (in a modern hand): 22 Jany., 1591, to Mr. Edmonds.
[La Fontaine] to [the Queen].
[1596–7, Jan. 14/24].Selon votre commandement je vous envoie l'extrait des lettres que j'ai recues de sa Majeste lequel informant la votre tant de l'etat de ses affaires que des preparatifs et desseins de vos ennemies communes se resout a l'ouverture qui a ete fait d'une entreprise de place et a une conference de quelques uns de vos seigneurs avec ladite Majeste. Pour le premier point j'appris hier par l'audience benigne qu'il vous plut, Madame, me donner que vos Majestes conviennent au fait de l'entreprise et en jugent quelle soit a present faisible. Mais je crains bien fort cependant qu'on sera en controverse de la main qui la doit garder que l'oportunite s'ecoulera de la sauver, l'ennemi s'y fortifiant de sorte, qu'a peine se pourra elle jamais recouvrer, et cependent il s'y batira un des nids de son ambitieuse tyrannie, des plus dangereux et nuisibles qui puissent etre pour la France, l'Angleterre, et les Etats tout ensemble, et le plus propre pour accommoder tant ses pays et villes qui vous sont ennemies, que ce qu'il y voudra faire couler, et receuillir d'Espagne comme en un magasin aproprie a ses desseins. Or, Madame, je ne suis pas si temeraire de penetrer en la sage moderation de vos conseils, et quant a ceux du Roi et quelle peut etre sa resolution, votre serenissime Majeste le pourra mieux juger que moi par ses lettres. Mais cela pose qui y est couche en termes bien expres que votre Ambassadeur l'a assuré, que l'intention de votre Majeste etait, la place etant reprise, qu'elle lui demeurerait, comme elle lui appartient. Ce lui sera une proposition de condition nouvelle et etrange, si on lui tient maintenant un autre langage: joint que sa Majeste ne peut avoir oublie, ce que je lui mandai par votre commandement a moi signifie par Mons. Cecil faisant lors sa charge de Secretaire d'Etat, sur la premier nouvelle du siege de Calais, a savoir que votre Majeste prenait en mauvaise part qu'on entrait en jalousie d'elle comme si sous pretexte d'aider ladite place de ses forces elle pensait s'en emparer, ce qu'elle ne pretendait aucunement mais seulement en porter son secours tant et si peu qu'on le jugerait necessaire. Que la place de fait avait cidevant ete utile a l'Angleterre, quand elle avait des guerres et affaires a demeler avec la France, mais l'etat present etant tel qu'il est quand bien ou lors ou en autre temps on s'en pourrait saisir, que ceux qui plus ont de prudence ne le jugeraient etre faisible pour le bien de l'Angleterre. Mais surtout Madame, comme hier je vous touchais, representez vous le Roi (je vous supplie) tres affectionné a ce qui vous est agreable, vous priant qu' apres tant d'affection et de bienfaits pour le retablissement de son Etat, vous ne le jettiez en nouveaux dangers, et de trouble et de reputation. Madame, votre regne est vraiment heureux, votre conseil sage, votre autorite vraiment royale, et suivi d'obeissance pour ce que vos conseils sont bons salutaires au bien de vos sujets et de votre etat. Mais vous savez comment le Roi regne, qui l'environne, qui, comment et a quelle condition on lui obeit, on le suit, on le sert; la plaie est toute fraiche, les coeurs de plusieurs exulceres mal affectees regardants l'Espagnol, qui d'affection qui de crainte, notamment les villes de Picardie. Le Roi sans doute, Madame, vous prie de n'avoir point si liberalement contribue au salut de son etat, pour puis apres le precipiter en nouveaux dangers. Je dis, Madame, des dangers, car outre celui des mecontentment du peuple et de sa noblesse qui est son bras dextre, il y a celui de la reputation, car quelles que pourraient conclure et les sujets et les etrangers sinon que le Roi est en tel desespoir de sa puissance et du retablissement de son royaume, qu'il n' a pas juge pouvoir jamais recouvrer et rejoindre cette place a son etat, sans aider a le recouvrer pour la perdre. Au contraire l'oeil de votre prudence, peut bien voir, Madame, qu'en cas que par votre faveur et assistance le Roi puisse recouvrer cette place, votre Majeste et votre etat en peuvent recevoir sans aucune danger des utilites signalles. Cette entreprise rompue, il vous faut avoir pour le Roi votre frere, l'Espagnol pour voisin voire voisine, tres prochaine. Or, Calais a ete Francais trente huit ans, ni votre Majeste ni vos sujets n'en avez recu que toute amitie non plus que du reste de la France; a present, vous avez un Roi vraiment frere, aime, aimant constamment, fidele, charge de vos bienfaits, oblige avec toute la France de contrats et d'alliances; tout cela, Madame, vous presente une surete tres sure. L'Espagnol y aura il pris pied ferme, ce qu'il y peut ou qu'il n'y peut pas, et quelle commodite cette place lui presente de mal faire, cest a votre sage prudence d'en juger, tant y a que l'ambition, la haine, la vengeance, lui suggererait de la resolution a quelque prix que ce soit de s'en servir pour mal faire. Or, Madame, l'utilite n'est pas petite a votre Majeste d'eloigner un mauvais et puissant voisin, et d'en approcher un tres ami, a laquelle utilite vous conjoindrez celle de Messieurs les Etats vos serviteurs et amis [lesquels], cette place demeurant assuree entre les mains de votre ennemi commune, n'en peuvent recevoir que beaucoup d'incommodite et dommage, duquel ils vous ont fait paraitre desirer grandement d'etre delivres. Il y a plus, Madame, que accommodant le Roi votre bon frere pour cette entreprise, et pour peu de temps de vos forces, il ne vous deniera l'aide de la conjunction des siennes, en ce qui vous sera agreable, et que vous jugerez vous pouvoir etre utile. Vous me sembliez hier craindre, Madame, qu'en cas que la place demeurait en main francaise la perte en serait aussi apparente et la garde aussi mal assuree que naguieres; mais votre Majeste se souviendra s'il lui plait que le Roi n'est point engage en aucun siege, et qu'en toutes sortes il a ses coudes plus franches et que la place sera mise es mains de tel gouverneur et de tel choix qu'il deliverera votre Majeste de ce doute. Et quant aux forces que le Roi fait offre de contribuer a cette entreprise, votre Majeste ne les trouvera petites si elle se souvient de ce que je lui ai repute de l'etat de la Bretagne, Bayonne, Languedoc, Provence, le Dauphine, et la Breste, et qu'il faut que le Roi tienne un autre camp, pour les raisons portees par ses lettres; et si en cela votre Majeste requiere quelque chose de plus ou autrement, cela se pourrait eclaircir et assurer par la conference. Or cette conference, Madame, est la second point que je vous ai propose de desir du Roi votre bon frere, sur quoi la replique de votre Majeste est bien de consideration, a savoir que la bienseance de votre Majeste ne porte pas de faire passer de vos principaux seigneurs sans apparance de resoudre chose d'importance, mais votre prudence voit bien, Madame, que ce dessein ne requiert pas les delais de divers messages et passages de la mer et que la conference de vos grands bien instruits de votre volonte pourrait denouer beaucoup de noeuds et difficultes; et quand rien pour ce dessein ne se pourrait conclure, il y a deux articles portes par votre alliance et vos contrats qui requierent resolution, l'un d'aviser par vos forces communes ce qui se peut et doit entreprendre sur l'ennemi commun, l'autre quels princes et Etats on doit convier pour rentrer en votre confederation et alliance, ce que les serviteurs du Roi en Allemagne disent etre attendu pardela avec bonne esperance. Outre l'ordre qui doit etre mis pour empecher les depredations et le dommage qui en rivient aux sujets de votre Majeste sur lesquelles choses sa Majeste me commande, Madame, de tirer promptement et lui faire savoir votre reponse, afin sur cela de faire jugement, et donner cours au pieds de ses affaires; de quoi pour cette cause, Madame, je ferai tres humble requete a votre Majeste.—Undated.
The original is in S.P. Foreign France, Vol. 39.
Endorsed: M. Fon[tan] a sa Mate. Contemporary copy. 2½ pp. (174. 77.)
Arthur Gregory to the Queen.
[1597.] [Jan. ?.]For a grant of fugitives' concealed lands and goods.—Undated.
½ p. (853.)
[Early in 1597?]"A breife discovery of my simple conceite of some meanes to withstande the mallice of all forraine potentates against Englande, and the reducing of Irelande to civell obedience."
The writer is "resolved that though sundry foreign actions may be undertaken greatly to annoy the enemy and for a time to impeach his said proceeding, yet unless he may be deprived of the benefit of his Indies, or we light upon the like or some other mean to countervail his ability thereby, he will over-sway us at length and make us weary in the end of that which in the beginning may seem both honourable, profitable and safe."
The charge of an army sufficient for such an action upon his territories as might constrain him to recall all his employed forces elsewhere, will prove no small matter—wherein if any cross success should happen the loss were like to become unsupportable. If reasonable good success should follow, as those undertaken by Sir Francis Drake, Sir Jo. Norris, and lastly by the Earl of Essex, experience teacheth us that the gain as it hath been and is like to be used, will bring small benefit to our Commonwealth, saving that for the time it will keep a number of idle unnecessary members occupied which otherwise might "caterpill" the same. Holds it most honourable for us to secure our own dominions. Before we undertake any foreign action whatsoever (which for many respects in apt time he wishes should be the recovery of Calais before anything in the world), he would be glad to hear of some present effectual course endeavoured for the sure protection of England and the safe reducing of Ireland. For the former asks that her Highness would refer the brief discourse he lately presented to her to the consideration of the Lords of the Privy Council. For the latter which as the case standeth, seemeth a matter of great difficulty is in duty moved to shoot forth his simple bolt among the arrows of most skilful archers which, flying heavily yet surely, may by the assistance of favourable wind and weather as soon hit the mark as the light and sharpest shaft. It is evident that Ireland at this instant standeth in case of a sore disease, and corrupt extreme sick body, languishing and heaving for breath, even ready to yield up the ghost. Holds it most necessary that her most sacred and judgeable Majesty, with her like grave and experienced council, should consider the causes of this dangerous disease—and thereby finding out the variety of the infectious humours, to collect out of the garden and storehouse of their approved science the most pure and perfect simples which may be found, and thereof to compound a sound medicine which without alteration or intermission be given to the patient by every minister of what condition soever which from time to time shall be employed in the business. For as the "skilless" change of salves doth rather corrupt than cleanse a wound, so hath the mutability of fancies and variable humours of the deputies, presidents, captains and other inferior officers of Ireland, some running a wild course, some a more sour, and some a most severe, and all in the end to no other end than their particular benefit, so contrarily wrought upon the inveterate cancer of the Irish long accustomed licentious liberty, as now the same is given to the fullness of all sensuality and to a very gangrene in nature. Her Majesty by the advice of her Council should set down some "plot," strictly to be observed under most severe penalties, until the ancient Irish impious customs be utterly abrogated and her Majesty's English government and wholesome laws thoroughly established; so if the true and principal cause of infidelity and disobedience in the Irishry to the English government springeth from the hard and intolerable yoke of oppression, misery and bondage which long hath been laid upon their necks, it is to be hoped that if those enormities were effectually remedied, and such conditions offered as in reason might promise christian peace, piety in religion, equity in justice and apparent profit, all would most joyfully embrace the same; whereto that will they nil they at least may be at length constrained and yet in kind and courteous manner. His opinion under correction is that being but labour lost any longer to temporize with them in hope of their purification by tractable policy, especially at this time when they build so strong a hope upon the Spanish assistance, and have masked themselves with the general vizard of papistical religion, the best course is forthwith to send a competent and sufficient army thither, which being employed without abuse in profitable manner, different from all former defiled fashions, may in all likelihood terrify and quite discourage the foreign enemy from his intended invasion. Holds it not amiss that proclamation through the realm should then be made, signifying that notwithstanding these warlike preparations, if they will yet dispose themselves quietly to yield, to their unspeakable happiness, and every subject in his degree be content with the lawful possession of his own, that then her Majesty will suspend and wholly restrain her just avenging arm, and so far stretch forth her hand of mercy towards them as they shall have good cause to know her to be, as she is, the most loving careful and gracious princess in the world; and for proof thereof will presently call a parliament to which all men should have free and safe access for the deciding of every man's title and establishing accordingly of every man's right, to the end that all noble men and great men, with their freeholders and tenants may forever after quietly possess their approved ancient patrimonies and estates, wherein for the avoiding of all doubtful questions hereafter amongst themselves, and all unkindness between her Majesty and them, she holdeth it necessary to take order that with convenient expedition every chief Lord do cause their territories so established to be severed and divided from their bordering neighbours with sufficient boundaries, and that from thenceforth they do occupy the same according to the general usage and manner of England as near as may be, namely, reserving a competent and reasonable portion thereof for their "demaynes" according to their several callings, and leaving to the proper use of their freeholders what to them in right appertaineth; to let and set the rest by copy of court roll or by lease to their tenants for lives, or so long years as may encourage them to enclose and manure their tenements and holdings to their best profit; whereby the chief lords receiving great rents besides their demesnes may be able to maintain their estates honorably and worshipfully after a godly and civil manner, and their tenants to be sure to live quietly and wealthily under them: and that all motives to the contrary may be removed, her Highness thinketh it necessary that all their rymers be suppressed and their forces of horsemen, gallowglasses, kerne, and other followers, the only sowers of sedition and maintainers of troubles, discords and other enormities, be dissolved; and that with one consent they endeavour to build and re-edify market towns through the realm six or eight miles distant one from the other, with villages in places most convenient; and that in convenient time sundry grammar schools and 2 universities may be founded for the bringing up of their youth in all kind of godly and virtuous sciences; and that for the exercise of religion, the use of the book of common prayer may be established in their cathedral churches and parishes; and lastly, forsaking and abolishing all their absurd and impious laws and customs, especially the Tanys law and variable taking and divorcing of wives, that they yield unto her Majesty all due obedience, etc. In consideration whereof her Majesty will make no difference between them and English subjects in all preferments of honour, office or form whatsoever, and will withdraw out of the realm and every part thereof her armed forces and oppressing ministers, and will establish such laws as, according to the rules of God and law, may be most proper and answerable to the condition and nature of the country, and will settle in most convenient places courts of jurisdictions like unto those of York and Wales. If these measures take not good effect, then is there no remedy but to hazard the fortune of war. Indicates in detail the lines on which warlike operations, etc., should be carried on, and urges that this or some other more forcible enterprise should be undertaken by her Majesty in piety towards God, duty to the world and humanity to her subjects, for that nothing hath long been more reproachfull to her progenitors (which scandal is necessary to be removed) than to suffer so fair and manly a province to continue more barbarous than any under the sun, and to put the Crown to infinite charge which may yield strength and profit to the same.
Unsigned and undated. 11½ pp. (139. 110.)


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