Although the year 1607 cannot be described as a particularly
memorable one in British, or indeed, European History, a number
of events are mentioned in this Calendar which should be singled
out at once as particularly deserving of attention, even if the
documents here printed do not invariably yield fresh information
of importance. It was in this year, for example, that there
occurred the rising of the peasantry in the Midlands which
however receives surprisingly little attention in these pages
(there are scattered references to these disorders on pp. 150, 161,
162, 175–6, 198, 208, 314 497). It was in this year that two
important, although limited, steps towards the eventual union
of England and Scotland were taken by the repeal of the hostile
laws, and the preparation of the collusive case of the post nati
(see for example p. 426 and pp. 310, 452–3 with references there
given). There are some prophetic words on the significance of
the voyages of colonization to Virginia (pp. 89–90, 202, 208–9)
and Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in
America, founded on 14 May 1607, is referred to on page 418. Of
almost equal symbolic significance was the flight from Ireland
nearly four months later of the great Earl of Tyrone which was to
leave Ulster, formerly "the ultima Thule of Gaeldom" (fn. 1) , likewise
fully exposed to plantation.
On the Continent the event of capital importance was the
conclusion of an armistice between Spain and the United Provinces, which two years later was to be formalized in the Twelve
Years Truce. There are a number of references to negotiations
in this Calendar, some of which are specified elsewhere in this
Introduction. The breach between Venice and the Papacy,
healed by French diplomacy, is also the subject of some correspondence; whilst the reports of disorders in the Grisons, of
the siege of Donauwörth, of the rebellion against Sigismund III
of Poland, and of the confusion in Hungary after the sudden
death of Bocskay, all resemble the distant and intermittent
mutterings of a storm soon to break over Central Europe with
The year was marked by the appearance of a comet which
was interpreted in the traditional manner as a sign of divine
displeasure (pp. 268, 273). Its next appearance however occurred
in a more rational age; for there can be little doubt that the
comet seen from Lisbon and Seville in 1607 must have been the
same as that observed by Halley in 1682, when for the first
time the date of a comet's return was successfully predicted.
The King and Court.
At the beginning of the year the Court was at Whitehall and
on Twelfth Night the King attended the wedding of his favourite
James, Lord Hay with the daughter of Salisbury's neighbour
Edward, Lord Denny; Campion's masque was performed (p. 6).
By 16 January the Court had arrived at Royston (p. 11) and
apart from brief visits to London the King remained there until
April (see Index, and Nichols Progresses of James I vol. 2) when
he moved to Newmarket and Thetford (pp. 85, 93). May was
spent in or near London and on 22nd the King and Queen took
possession of Theobalds offering Hatfield to the Earl of Salisbury
in exchange. An entertainment was composed by Ben Jonson
for the occasion. A contemporary French translation of this
entertainment preserved among the Hatfield archives was perhaps
made for the benefit of the Prince of Joinville who was also
present; it is referred to on page 138. (fn. 2) June and most of July
were spent at Whitehall, Greenwich or Richmond.
During this period the King attended two dinners in the City
and it is highly probable that the Songs printed on pages 490–92
were sung at the second of these—given by the Merchant Tailors
on 16 July. Song 1 for example, evidently a song of welcome to
those members of the Royal Family present—in this case, the
King and Prince Henry, for the Queen, although invited did
not attend—was clearly written for singers acting the part of
sailors. Contemporary records of the Company (of which Nichols
makes partial use), inform us that a ship hung aloft in the Hall in
which were three men "apparelled in watchet silk like seamen"
and "eminent for voice and skill" who sang to his Majesty,
"being assisted and seconded in their several songs by a cunning
lutanist". It was they also who sang a melodious song of farewell
to the King before his departure (Song 4), which pleased him so
much that he caused it to be sung three times over. It is likely
therefore that Song 2 accompanied the dinner itself. Although
Ben Jonson certainly collaborated in the arrangements for the
King's entertainment on this occasion, it does not follow that he
had any part in the composition of these particular songs, and
the mss, are definitely not in his handwriting.
By 24 July, after a visit to Oatlands, the King was at Windsor
(pp. 184–5, 192); he moved to Farnham some time between
27 July and 2 August (pp. 197, 203)—information which is not
given in Nichols' Progresses; in addition the latter's statement
(vol. 2, pp. 144–5) that Lancelot Andrewes preached before the
King at Romsey on the anniversary of the Gowrie Conspiracy
(5 August) is not borne out by Lake's letter from Winchester of
that date (pp. 207–8). By 8 August the Court was at Beaulieu
(p. 210). Its stay there and at Salisbury are dated by Nichols;
and from Dunbar's letter of 1 September, it would appear that
the Court visited Bagshot en route for Windsor from Salisbury
early in September (p. 239). It is evident from this Calendar
that for nearly all October the Court was at Royston to which it
had returned at the end of the previous month. For the first
half of November James was in London (see Nichols, op. cit.).
On 20 November, if Aston's forecast was correct, the King
moved from Royston to Newmarket (p. 330) and he seems to
have remained there until 10 December (pp. 371, 374). (fn. 3) With
his return to London shortly before Christmas—as recorded by
Nichols—correspondence between the Court and the Earl of
Salisbury ceased to be necessary.
". . . the confusion of business before my parting made me
to forget those principal things whereof I should then have put
you in remembrance" (p. 441). The King's remark sums up
very well the disorder introduced into the administration both by
his peregrinations and also by his entire mode of life. A box,
(possibly containing letters?), is reported to have gone astray
(p. 11); "the boy of Royston" who delivered the letters "fell
and hurt himself and was fain to stay all night in the fields till
company came in the morning" (p. 368); or again, "The letters
from the Council with the dispatch of Ireland" are said to have
taken 24 hours to reach Newmarket, "which is not much above
two mile an hour", but as Lake goes on to explain, the posts
being inadequately provided with horse, "cannot possibly serve
the turn of so much conveyance as is used from hence" (p. 360).
On other occasions Salisbury's letters are reported to have
arrived soon after six in the morning but the King was already
on horseback so Lake could obtain no reply (p. 205; cf. p. 293).
The King remembers that he had forgotten sundry things in his
last letter (p. 362); he puts off reading those from Salisbury,
lies abed late, or is in no disposition to sign anything owing to a
swollen ankle (pp. 207, 374, 85). It would be inaccurate to
describe the King as permanently indifferent or irresponsible in
his attitude to business; nor would it be fair to dismiss him as
simply bone-idle. Lake refers for example to the care with
which James perused a letter from the Council and the deliberate
nature of his reply (p. 360). "Our master," writes Salisbury
elsewhere, "seldom starteth at the sight of a long letter." (p.
368); and there is more than one letter from the King in this
Calendar which shows that he could be remarkably shrewd in his
assessment of a situation and go to considerable trouble to
explain his point of view. The trouble really lay in the hap
hazard and ill-co-ordinated nature of a character in which existed
side by side statesmanlike perspicacity and petty ill-temper, a
scholar's inclinations with an excessive absorption in the chase.
The letters to Salisbury from Lake and others in attendance on
the King reflect admirably this curious dualism, concerned as
they are with keeping him informed of his royal master's doings
and wishes. The King, we read, is hard at work on his Apology
for the Oath of Allegiance in answer to Bellarmine's letter to the
Archpriest Blackwell (pp. 343–4, 375). The King, we read, is
not a little offended that a hare warren is not finished and moved
to choler and ill words by such delays (p. 335). Such amusing
trivialities as the preposterous behaviour of Lady Buckhurst
bulk far larger in the correspondence from Court than their
importance warrants, considering that serious matters of State
—the case of Nicholas Fuller, the case of the postnati, the negotiations with the Dutch or the activities of Tyrone abroad—
were absorbing Salisbury's attention at the time.
The Royal Family.
For the second year in succession an infant Princess died
(p. 247). (fn. 4) The Queen took the news philosophically; the King,
although "much troubled" by his daughter's sickness, did not
interrupt his hunting to attend her funeral or to visit the Queen
and left it to Salisbury to console her and dissuade her from
ordering an expensive funeral (p. 308)—although in the event,
both Princesses, like the King's mother, were to be buried in the
Henry VII Chapel at Westminster where monuments were erected
in their memory (for a reference to work on the tomb of Mary,
Queen of Scots completed five years later see p. 100).
It is clear from this Calendar and other contemporary sources
that the King and Queen spent the greater part of the year
apart; "the happy and much desired meeting" between them
specifically referred to on page 436, would seem to have taken
place, from internal evidence, soon after Princess Mary's death
and to have been of brief duration for Anne of Denmark seldom
left the vicinity of London. The royal children likewise saw
little of their parents. "The Prince is come this morning [from
Nonesuch] to pass the time all this day with his Majesty" writes
Dunbar [from Richmond] (p. 164); two passing references
suggest that the King may have seen Princess Elizabeth in
April (p. 104), and that her older brother paid her a visit later
(p. 299: cf. p. 334). In the following year she went to live at
Court. Lady Carey, who had the custody of the Duke of York
and took her responsibilities seriously, addressed a characteristically forthright letter to the King pointing out that his diet
was far from adequate (pp. 412–3).
However though James saw little of his children, he chose their
guardians and tutors wisely. There is a pleasant bantering wit
about the various messages from Prince Henry to the Earl of
Salisbury in this Calendar which leave one in no doubt as to his
intelligence; and the two lines of doggerel on page 242 suggest that
he was already regarded as a promising youth in more than one
The Earl of Salisbury.
During the course of the years the Earl was given a number of
presents by his admirers. On New Year's Day he was sent "a
little cup" and "a present of Frankfort books" (the latter
being followed within 48 hours by a begging letter). Other gifts
mentioned include a set of chairs from the Queen, a horse, a
brace of bucks, an eyrie of falcons, four rabbits, three score deer
for Chetterwood Chase and possibly a nightgown (pp. 1, 2, 22,
104, 136, 165, 241, 242, 358). As usual he was kept incessantly
busy by a multitude of preoccupations both important and
trivial. In addition to innumerable petitions addressed or referred to him—of which those printed at the end of this volume
are a representative cross-section—he was obliged to intervene
in a number of weighty questions affecting the royal family: for
example should Prince Henry be allowed to have swimming
lessons (pp. 447–8); or why did Lord St. John allow his servants
to kill deer in an area where the King had expressed a wish to
hunt? (p. 191).
While the Court meandered about the countryside in characteristic Jacobean style Salisbury was kept at his desk in London
for most of the year. Some of his activities as Principal Secretary are dealt with elsewhere in the Introduction. He was
however also inter alia Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
—an office which seems to have involved him in a good deal
more trouble than, it is to be hoped, falls to the lot of any twentieth-century holder of the title. Thus the Master and Fellows
of Christ's objected to the King's instructions that they should
elect a Trinity man "into the place of a Fellow" (pp. 212, 405);
and the Master and Fellows of Corpus objected to one of their
Fellows being allowed to hold a benefice as well (pp. 362–3).
There was apparently little difficulty in arranging for a satisfactory compromise in the dispute between the King and St.
John's (pp. 66, 70); but the clandestine election of a new Master
of Gonville and Caius before his predecessor was dead, caused a
great deal of trouble and this Calendar contains far more references
to this affair than are to be found, for example, to the sudden and
disturbing flight from Ireland of the Earl of Tyrone. It is clear
that this complicated wrangle (in which accusations of popish
sympathies were exchanged between the opposing groups of
Fellows) was handled by Salisbury with great care, tact and skill.
Its solution at the end of the year by the appointment of a new
Master was greeted by a chorus of praise from the Fellows and
Vice-Chancellor alike. Whether or not the profuse thanks of the
disputants were sincere, at least the quarrel apparently ended
satisfactorily with "a little short drinking" shortly before
Christmas (see especially pp. 203–4, 407–11 with references there
cited, and pp. 381–3, 385–6).
Another matter which gave Salisbury some cause for anxiety
was the education of his son—still an undergraduate at St.
John's. Their letters reveal to us the picture of a highly intelligent and affectionate father uneasily conscious of the manifest
backwardness and ignorance of his only son, and uncertain who
was the most to blame—his son, his son's tutors or himself (pp.
465–6). Cranborne's dutiful assurances that he intended to work
hard (p. 153) and the Earl's qualified praise of his improved handwriting (p. 460; cf. p. 131) do not really detract from the impression that his son must have been a bitter disappointment to
him—an impression which is not weakened by an examination
of Cranborne's exercise book (briefly described on pp. 520–1).
There are some brief references to Lady Frances Cecil in this
Calendar. The letter from Houghton, Salisbury's steward, on
page 125 evidently concerns her. It is a reasonable assumption
that she was evacuated from London in Houghton's care on
Salisbury's orders; for in a letter written four days later to his
son the Earl advised him to postpone his journey to London
because "it has pleased God to visit my house with sickness,
which makes me fearful of all my family" (p. 131). It is not
unlikely that the sickness was the plague (mentioned regularly
in the Westminster Bills of Mortality printed in this Calendar).
However this may be, it is evident that Lady Frances was staying
with her cousin Elizabeth, Countess of Derby at some time during
the year (pp. 423–4). Houghton's letter was written from Lichfield and it is reasonable to conclude from its ending that his
ultimate destination may have been Knowsley.
Of some interest is Lord Harington's suggestion that Lady
Frances should marry his son (p. 45). Since Harington was the
guardian of the Princess Elizabeth, and his daughter, the Countess
of Bedford, was a leading figure at Court and a favourite of the
Queen, the alliance was not to be despised. However Lady
Frances was to marry Henry, Lord Clifford three years later.
At the date when the plague struck Hatfield (p. 93) the Earl
was still the owner of Theobalds, but it is evident that very soon
after the exchange of the two estates had taken place he was
pushing forward with plans for building at Hatfield (pp. 226,
There is little mention of other members of his family—although
there is an interesting exchange of letters between the Earl and
his older brother (pp. 214, 232); and further evidence of Salisbury's capacity for plain speaking when he thought the occasion
demanded it is provided by his reply to that hot-tempered retired
military gentleman, Sir John Smythe, who with a candour
especially commendable in a sycophantic age prefaced his request
for a loan by a clear indication that he regarded Salisbury as his
enemy (pp. 76, 467, 132).
With the King the Earl's relations seem to have been consistently good throughout the year. Nevertheless it was during
1607 that a trivial incident occurred which was to have important
consequences later, amongst them the steady decline of Salisbury's
influence in the last years of his life. On 24 March, the anniversary of the King's accession, a young Scot named Robert Carr
was thrown from his horse at a tilt in the King's presence. As a
direct result of this accident this hitherto obscure but extremely
personable young man became almost overnight a royal favourite
who was to outstrip all his predecessors in James's affections.
By the end of the year he had been knighted and sworn as a
Gentleman of the Bedchamber. Under the circumstances the
solitary reference to him in this Calendar is not without interest.
His name is to be found in a list of five Scots (which includes the
name of his original patron Lord Hay) who, by virtue of an act
of 1606, were granted by the Crown two-thirds of the lands belonging to certain convicted recusants (p. 456).
In the meantime however the King continued to refer to his
most able servant as "my little beagle" or "young Tom Durie"
(e.g. pp. 22, 209, 355–6, 440–1), and to express, in his condescending
way, his confidence in Salisbury's integrity and judgement (pp.
51–2). (fn. 5) Further complimentary remarks were reported by Dunbar
with the inconsiderate reminder that the King expected Salisbury
to write to him at least every alternate day (p. 185)—a message
which was softened later by the acknowledgment that he realised
that the Earl was rather busy (p. 277). The latter's apology
for not writing to the King personally at the end of an eventful
day to avoid straining his eyes (p. 344) is in striking contrast to
the haphazard and random way in which Salisbury's correspondence was treated at Court—replies on the King's behalf coming
from Dunbar, Aston, Lake, Wilbraham, and Fenton on different
occasions. Moreover James's own letters, though by no means
lacking in shrewdness, were, as he himself admitted, apt to be
"longsome" (p. 355).
Parliament reassembled on 10 February 1607 and was prorogued on 4 July. References to its proceedings in this Calendar
are infrequent, and good use has been made of both published
and unpublished papers at Hatfield by Professor D. H. Willson
in his edition of The Parliamentary Diary of Robert Bowyer 1606–07
and his book Privy Councillors in the House of Commons 1604–29.
We may note in passing the letters from the Mayor and Burgesses
of Portsmouth and of Kingston-on-Hull (pp. 7, 65) volunteering
to elect Salisbury's nominees; it can hardly be a coincidence
that the Mayor of Hull's petition to Salisbury was written on the
same day as the dutiful offer from Kingston-on-Hull to obey
Salisbury's wishes (p. 66; cf. p. 513).
Sir Christopher Pigott during his brief sojourn in the Tower
petitioned the King for his release on the grounds that his vehement
attack on the Scots during the debate on the Union of the two
kingdoms on 13 February had been due to his "want of artifice
and amazedness" and was solely directed against those "who
deserved evil" of the King (p. 59). Although in his speech he
had stated that there was as much difference between an Englishman and a Scot as between a judge and a thief, Pigott now
claimed in his petition that the majority of his audience had been
left in no doubt of his belief in the existence of certain Scots who
were "well-deserving" and "had been God's good instruments".
These, Pigott considered, should be treated as if they were "our
dear natives" but his speech suggests that in Pigott's view such
well-deserving Scots were few in number.
On the same page is a letter from the Speaker pointing out to
Salisbury how many sacrifices his employment had entailed;
the contexts of his letters to Salisbury on pages 108, 154–5, are
shown on pages 255, 330, 339–40, 353, of The Parliamentary Diary
of Robert Bowyer.
Among documents which have some bearing on minor matters
discussed in the House of Commons we may note the two petitions
of the widows of the mariners of the Trial (pp. 84, 514), and the
memorandum about Southampton (pp. 475–7). For an unfavourable report on an M.P. described as a recognised patron of
"broken men" upon the Borders see page 487 (cf. page 178).
The Case of Nicholas Fuller.
A full account of the complicated triangular struggle between
this Grays Inn barrister, the Court of High Commission, and the
Common Law Judges has appeared elsewhere, making use of a
number of the relevant documents printed in this Calendar. (fn. 6)
It is to be noted that Fuller had not only made himself unpopular
by the defence of Puritans against the Commission's proceedings,
but had referred to the Scots more than once in debate in the
House of Commons in somewhat uncomplimentary terms (fn. 7) —an
offence which earned a similarly tactless preacher at St. Paul's
Cross an unspecified term of imprisonment (p. 458).
To any student of this case, the King's "jealousy" of the
Judges (pp. 338, 342) is entirely natural. He was not merely
being "careful of the Church" (p. 338); he was also defending
against attack his own ecclesiastical prerogative as Supreme
Governor. The importance which James attached to a satisfactory outcome to this affair can best be gauged by the long
report which Salisbury sent to him on the subject (pp. 342, 344–5;
cf. also pp. 463–4). The King certainly had the satisfaction of
knowing that Fuller had submitted before the end of the year
(pp. 355, 360) and early in 1608 he was released. (fn. 8) What was
ominous, however, was the insistence of the Judges on their right
to grant prohibitions (p. 343) if they considered the Commission's
proceedings justified such action. By these means they were to
launch under Coke's leadership in the succeeding years such a
determined attack upon the Commission's authority as to render
the statement that "they were one of the King's strong arms"
(p. 345) more of a tribute to their own strength, than a token of
their subservience to the Crown.
In its session of 1606 Parliament had passed two acts which
completed the series of penal laws against Roman Catholics. A
petition was however introduced into the House of Commons in
1607 calling for the better execution of the laws against Jesuits
and seminarists which is referred to in the Speaker's letter to
Salisbury on page 154 (cf. The Parliamentary Diary of Robert Bowyer
ed. D. H. Willson, pp. 330–3); since Nicholas Fuller was one of
those concerned with its preparation it is not surprising to find
that the petition also embodied an attack on the bishops.
The Calendar contains the usual reports about English and
Irish priests abroad—Flanders, Spain and Portugal being of course
the areas where their presence was most frequently noted. In
July Edmondes the Ambassador in Brussels was asked to transmit
an official request for the release of Wright, an English Jesuit, on
the grounds that he was not only innocent of any practice against
the State but was also the confessor of Ferdinand of Styria,
later the Emperor Ferdinand II (p. 201). In the event there
was no need to reply to the request for Wright escaped from
prison (p. 280).
As might be expected, there are a number of varied references
to the prevalence of Roman Catholicism in the North—the report
on Northumberland (p. 3–4) being especially interesting in this
connection; recusancy in Yorkshire (pp. 139, 145), Lancashire
(pp. 318, 500, 504), Cheshire (p. 504) and Durham (p. 378)
is also mentioned by different correspondents. Worcestershire
is hysterically described as swarming "with multitudes of
dangerous papists" (p. 307).
Creatures like Udall the informer were of course interested in
making out that the policy of banishing priests was quite ineffective (p. 281) and in stressing the large numbers of Popish
books in circulation (p. 336). A list of searching questions to be
put to him (pp. 482–3) suggests however that he may have overstepped the mark in his claims to inside knowledge of Papists
and their doings. (fn. 9)
The two fresh penal laws of 1606 were not followed by a crop
of executions; but this does not alter the fact that quite apart
from the additional disabilities and punishments imposed upon
recusants, and the dilemma in which the latter were placed by
the Oath of Allegiance (which Paul V condemned but the Archpriest Blackwell accepted), these two new laws directly encouraged persecution of Roman Catholics in a new and particularly
insidious way. Pursuivants and informers were specifically
promised a substantial reward if their services led to convictions.
In addition the King was declared entitled to seize two-thirds of
the offender's lands in lieu of the £20 monthly fine. In consequence requests by greedy parasites for the benefit of the recusancy
of such and such a landowner poured in from all quarters, such
grants being regarded as attractive alternatives to pensions.
References to this atrocious system of profiteering are too frequent
in this Calendar to be enumerated here, but as evidence that all
classes, and not merely royal favourites, joined in the hunt for
recusants as a form of investment see pages 274, 290, 507.
Scotland and the Borders.
According to his ablest biographer it was in this year that James
made his famous remark: "This I must say for Scotland: here
I sit and govern it with my pen, I write and it is done, and by a
clerk of the Council I govern Scotland now, which others could
not do by the sword." (fn. 10) In so far as it referred to his control of
the executive the King's boast was justified. Of the leaders of
the opposition in the Kirk, the most headstrong, Andrew Melville, had been sent to the Tower (p. 490 and note) and the remainder were in exile. Moreover the Scottish Parliament had
in 1606 acknowledged the King "to be sovereign monarch,
absolute prince, judge and governor over all persons, estates
and causes both spiritual and temporal."—a declaration which
did not, however, alter the fact that although the King might
manipulate the General Assembly, he was not so foolish as to
disregard its existence or to try to abolish it.
It is in addition obvious from the large number of documents
concerned with the Borders in this Calendar that here was an
area which clung tenaciously to its turbulent past, and had as yet
little respect for the concord and union between the two countries
which the King so ardently desired.
On pages 3–5 is printed a document significantly entitled: "The
state of Northumberland for religion in the principal families,
by whom the multitude may safely be led in matter of religion or
other action"; it might equally well have been written in
Elizabethan times. No less in keeping with the previous reign
are the complaints of frequent prison-breaking at Carlisle (p. 6).
The robbery of the King's Deputy Receiver between Penrith
and Kendal is reported (p. 29). In a joint letter from the Earls
of Cumberland and Dunbar it is stated that "if the course of
confining those gentlemen that are warded had not been taken,
stealing and harbouring by all likelihood had been at such a height
this ensuing winter as your lordship would have held it marvellous
in a country of any government" (p. 254); in another letter
Dunbar expresses the opinion that there has been more frequent
marauding between England and Scotland recently than at any
time in the past six years (p. 247). The honours for the lawlessness seem to have been divided more or less equally between the
Armstrongs and the Grahams.
Against this we must set the undoubted fact that AngloScottish co-operation, which had been by no means a certainty in
Elizabeth's reign, did mean that the great days of Border raiding
were passing; symptomatic of this co-operation is the prominent
part played by Dunbar in the work of pacification on the English
side of the Border. He was undoubtedly the ablest of the Scots
who had accompanied James to England, being a great deal more
than a mere courtier, and it would appear that his relations with
Salisbury with whom he corresponded frequently were good (see
for example their exchange of letters pp. 314–5, 350–1, 320). It
is probable that the tributes paid to him, and to Lord William
Howard (a Border magnate who was also a Roman Catholic) for
their industry in dealing with outlaws were well-deserved (e.g.
pp. 6, 44).
Another recent and important deterrent to Border thieving—
the deportation of offenders and suspects to Ireland—seems to
have been closely supervised by the Council and by Salisbury
himself and to have worked well provided their wives were sent
also (p. 127).
Plainly 1607 is too early a date to refer to the Borders as
enjoying "a quiet and order which they had never before experienced" (fn. 11) ; but equally plainly the reivers were being driven
on to the defensive. It was only two years later that Dunbar
described the Borders as being as peaceful and quiet as any part
in any kingdom of Christendom.
The names of George Bowes, Bevis Bulmer, Thomas Foullis
and Thomas Hamilton appear in this Calendar in connection
with mining at Crawford Muir and, more recently, at Hilderstone. (fn. 12)
Reports on the silver yielded at the latter mine were at this stage
somewhat non-committal and Salisbury's enquiry as to progress
skilfully combined a sceptical attitude with wishes for good
success (pp. 461–2).
The celebrated episode of the flight of the Earls of Tyrconnel
and Tyrone is already well documented and most of the abstracts
from the reports of Sir Thomas Edmondes in this volume which
refer to their reception in the Spanish Netherlands are printed
at length in Cal. S.P. Ireland 1606–08. However the letters and
petitions of a young merchant of Dublin, James Fitzgerald, are
of some interest (pp. 429–30, 496–7) for it appears from them that
he was asked by Tyrconnel to arrange for his wife (who had been
left behind in their precipitate departure) to join them in exile.
Plans for her flight were balked however, and the Countess dissociated herself emphatically from her husband's behaviour
(p. 482). She never saw him again as both Tyrconnel and his
Secretary O'Multully (referred to on pp. 480–1) died in Rome the
The Irish background to the flight of the Earls—disputes over
lands and the rights thereto, and the steady erosion of the authority
of Tyrone is well exemplified by Salisbury's comment (p. 463)
that "there is nothing more sure than that titles are obscure in
Ireland," and by the petition of Shane McBryan (p. 499). The
flight of the Earls produced an immediate reaction from Englishmen with experience of life in Ireland—see for example the
petition from a soldier with 18 years' service in the Irish wars for
the command of one of the forts to be kept in Ulster (p. 425),
and Sir James Perrott's recommendation that a garrison should
be placed in every port of consequence there (p. 451).
But although English political supremacy in Ireland was
strengthened by the flight of Tyrone and by the policy of detaining
in prison indefinitely such potentially dangerous characters as
Florence McCarthy (pp. 444–6), the ascendancy of Roman
Catholicism in the island remained unshaken. That picturesque
old ruffian and apostate Franciscan Myler MacGrath, Archbishop
of Cashel, who was accused of a number of abuses within his
diocese, complained indeed that he was excluded from Cashel by
its inhabitants and that the Romish Archbishop (brother to the
Portreeve of the town) had been active in the vicinity for the
past three years (pp. 194–5, 260, 413).
It is not the purpose of this Introduction to follow the progress
of the negotiations which took place during the year between the
United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands, or between the
United Provinces and Britain. Comparatively few letters from
Winwood, the British representative at the Hague, appear in this
volume; there is likewise little news of Spencer his fellow Commissioner, and the correspondence of Edmondes the Ambassador
in Brussels printed here consists mainly of summaries from his
despatches which are more frequently to be found in the Letter
Book at Hatfield than are complete copies. In very many cases
the originals of such abstracts are to be found among State
Papers, Flanders, in the Public Record Office.
This Calendar does however contain a number of interesting
letters from Sir John Ogle, a cousin of Salisbury who was in the
service of the Dutch. In addition to mentioning important
contemporary news, these letters reflect very well the shifts,
uncertainties and divisions of opinion among the Dutch as to
whether the truce would or should lead to a peace treaty. The
comments of Ferdinando Gorges (pp. 48–9, 88–9) in relation to
these negotiations evince alternately fear of France and of Spain.
The danger of Dutch competition damaging Anglo-Spanish
trade is also mentioned (p. 175). Salisbury however felt that
the reinforcement of the garrisons of the Cautionary towns was
not necessary and discounted the likelihood of Flushing being
handed over to the French (p. 133).
A reassuring development was the arrival in the summer of
deputies from the United Provinces to invite the King to send
commissioners to join the French and their own representatives
in settling the terms of the proposed "aggreation" with Spain
(for Salisbury's comments see pp. 236–8; a joint letter from
Spencer and Winwood written just before their departure is on
The comments of both Salisbury and the King on the new
alliance which the Dutch planned to conclude with Britain and
France are of considerable interest (pp. 328–9, 351–2, 483–4).
Understandably Salisbury was anxious that rumours of this
league should not be taken amiss in the Spanish Netherlands,
where, much to his annoyance, Tyrone had just been received as
an honoured guest. He was careful to point out to Edmondes
therefore that the purpose of the alliance was purely defensive,
and that it would only come into effect if the United Provinces
and Spain came to terms; in addition it was to Britain's interest
to prevent France alone from concluding an alliance with the
Dutch and to use the proposed league as a lever to extract from
the latter and France better terms for the repayment of money
advanced to assist them in the past.
The Dutch however expected far more assistance than either
Salisbury or the King thought reasonable—on the principle that
"if they ask too much, the Kings may offer half of that they
ask them" (p. 339). James, who had at the best of times little
sympathy with "this vain-glorious thirsting [of the Dutch] for
the title of a free state" angrily commented that it would be
simpler for France and Britain to partition the United Provinces
if they were too weak to stand on their own without large subsidies, and that "the pelican bestoweth her heart's blood upon her
own children but not upon strangers" (p. 352). Uneasily aware
as he was of the "continual haemorrhage of outletting" (p. 285)
for the benefit of his courtiers, the King felt great repugnance at
the idea of advancing large sums to an upstart republic already
indebted to the English Crown. His attitude both towards
the United Provinces and towards France was one of suspicion
(pp. 352–3, 358–60; for Salisbury's comments see pp. 468,
Except in so far as they concern the United Provinces, this
Calendar contains few references of importance to Anglo-French
relations. A memorial from the French Ambassador (pp. 400–1)
mentions some of the hazards to which foreigners in London could
find themselves exposed.
A number of cases involving British subjects in Spain or in
Spanish possessions are specified in the memorials printed on
pages 9–10. Fresh cause for ill-feeling between England and
Spain was afforded by the interception North of the West Indies
of a ship sailing from Plymouth to Virginia (pp. 26–7, 36–7, 47,
109). Letters from the Captain (pp. 155–6, 160, 227–8) complain
bitterly of the cruel and unjust treatment of himself and his
crew, and of the dilatoriness and indifference of the Ambassador,
Cornwallis. Sir Ferdinando Gorges also wrote to Salisbury in
their favour (pp. 209, 265). Further news of Challons and his
company is given in a series of letters from Nevill Davis, a
merchant in Seville (pp. 216–7, 243–4, 272–3, 312).
Against such complaints of Spanish injustice and procrastination
must be set the memorial of grievances submitted by the Spanish
Ambassador (pp. 168–71). Some of these are referred to in the
undated petitions etc. printed at the end of this Calendar (see
pp. 510–12, 514–5, 517). Salisbury himself adopted a noticeably
detached attitude in considering such disputes and complaints.
"Of the merchants' causes I grow almost weary," he wrote to
Cornwallis on 27 September, "and pity you, I protest, that are
indeed made rather a Factor than an Ambassador, and so I have
told the King, and so he apprehends it . . . the complaints of
merchants are commonly troublesome to be prosecuted in respect
that they are confused and indigested, and that they are often
without cause or ground." (Winwood: Memorials II, p. 342).
On 1 November he wrote to Bindon that "the continual practise
of the English with the Hollanders [in piracy] is so visible as the
whole nation grows scandalous by it; insomuch as I will not
hide it from you that even from the Turk, . . . one part of his
instructions to his Ambassador hither has been expressly to
understand whether it be true that the world conceives, that
piracy is here no sin." (p. 311).
His attitude to Spanish sea power as such was however very
different:—"Seeing the greatest hurt the King of Spain can do
upon any of his Majesty's territories is by sea, it is the service
which you must particularly intend to advertise us of those
things . . ." he wrote to Cornwallis in the letter cited above,
"For what can be more plain and easy for you to know (living
in Spain) than what number of ships are in the Groyne [Corunna],
Civyll and Lisbone, a thing done every Week by some that lie in
the ports." In rebuking Cornwallis for this omission Salisbury
was probably underestimating the distance between Madrid and
the sea coast and the difficulty of finding reliable Spanish agents
who could keep Cornwallis regularly informed. In fact the
attention paid by such men as Lee and Davis to the movement
of shipping is very noticeable in this Calendar. Taken in conjunction with the manifest dislike of Spain evinced by Salisbury
himself (pp. 310–11), such reports serve to remind us that despite
the peace of 1604, the King's dislike of the Dutch and his mistrust
of the French, English foreign policy was still based above all on
fear of Spanish power.
References to events in Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and Italy are to be found scattered throughout the Calendar.
A number of these reports are translations of News Letters or
correspondence addressed to persons other than Salisbury and
written in Dutch, Italian or French; some of them are extremely
detailed but there is no coherent and consecutive series of letters
from these countries contained in this Calendar.
The interesting letter from William Bruce from Danzig on
pages 185–90 gives a graphic account of the rebellion against
Sigismund III of Poland: the word "Rockusaners" which
Bruce uses several times in this letter simply means "insurgents",
being derived from the Polish word rokosz (cf. p. 332 and footnote). On pages 387–8 is printed a letter from Sigismund III to
the Sultan emphasising his desire for friendship and expressing
the somewhat forlorn hope that raids from the Crimea could be
brought under control in future.
An unusual petition at the end of this volume complains that
letters "in the behalf of a noble gentleman, late Secretary to
Demetrius the Great Duke [of Muscovy]," have been stayed
"upon some needless surmise" (p. 518). It must have been
rather difficult for a Jacobean to keep up to date with what was
going on in Russia during the Time of Troubles; but one wonders
whether the "needless surmise" was not, in this case, a wellfounded report that Demetrius, true or false, was well and truly
English Travellers Abroad.
As a result of the peace with Spain in 1604 travel on the
Continent was becoming increasingly fashionable. (fn. 13) Salisbury's
correspondents from Europe in 1607 included not only Ambassadors, merchants (such as Davis), soldiers (such as Sir John
Ogle), and penurious exiles (such as Sir Griffin Markham); he
received also letters from the young Earl of Essex (pp. 33–4,
150), his kinsman Richard Cave (p. 121: cf. p. 226) and Tibbot
Gorges (pp. 67–8, 201, 317–8). Salisbury's nephew, Lord Roos,
was sent forthwith to France "to the end he may spend his time
better there than at home" (p. 429). Thomas Morgan, an
elderly Welsh Catholic, who had fled abroad more than thirty
years ago and during his chequered career had combined ostensible
devotion to Mary, Queen of Scots with extreme animosity against
the Jesuits, forwarded letters from Roos and reported some
gossip from the French Court (p. 283). There are also some
curious letters from a rather more obscure and even more dubious
character, John Ball, alias Robert Williams, alias William Roberts
(pp. 371, 386, 393), who was in correspondence with the wife of
Thomas Phelippes (formerly in Walsingham's service as a decipherer but now a prisoner in the Tower); and a curious polyglot
jumble of information from Francis Michell is printed on pages
122–4. John Finet or Finetti (an Italian acquaintance of
Salisbury's secretary Thomas Wilson), shows a better command
of coherent English in his interesting letter from Paris (pp.
The activities on the Continent of two of the King's subjects
in particular aroused grave suspicion in this year—Sir Robert
Dudley and the Earl of Tyrone. Both had gone abroad abruptly;
both were Roman Catholics; both had grievances against the
King and his Government and both were considered of sufficient
importance to receive a cordial welcome from the ruler or rulers
with whom they found refuge (for Dudley's reception at Florence
see pp. 61, 63). Both were men of exceptional ability, and the
Grand Duke of Tuscany was quick to make use of Dudley's talents
as a ship-builder, (fn. 14) for, as can be confirmed by several references in
this Calendar to the activities of his fleet, he was eager to cleanse
the Mediterranean of pirates (amongst whom the notorious
English pirate Ward was conspicuous).
Sir Robert Dudley had left England as a convert and arrived
in Florence more than a year afterwards. Toby Mathew on the
other hand returned to England from Florence as a convert in
this year. Bancroft was not disposed to allow the son of his
fellow Archbishop his freedom under such circumstances, and,
after he had refused the Oath of Allegiance, sent him to the Fleet
(pp. 192, 205, 233, 446).
The Sherley Brothers.
Sir Thomas, the oldest of these three picaresque characters,
after two years in prison in Constantinople, had been released
through the intercession of King James at the end of 1605; making a leisurely journey homewards through Italy and Germany
he reached London a year later. According to Glover (who had
just succeeded Lello as English Ambassador at Constantinople
and was pursuing a vindictive campaign against his predecessor),
Sir Thomas's father, Sir Thomas Sherley the older, was wrongfully obliged to pay 1,000 dollars for his release (p. 212)—a
sum which, to judge from the tone of his letter to Salisbury
at the end of 1607, the old knight could ill afford to lose (pp.
It is a safe assumption that it was under the auspices of the
younger Sir Thomas that Nixon's book The Three English Brothers
and the play The Travailes of the Three English Brothers were
printed during the course of the year. (fn. 15) No doubt by such means
he succeeded in making the exploits (both real and imaginary)
of himself and his brothers more widely known. But his other
activities rendered him suspect to the Government and this
Calendar provides far fuller information than has hitherto been
available as to the reasons for his sudden imprisonment in the
Tower early in September 1607 (pp. 243, 324). The oft-quoted
contemporary statement that he was sent there "for turning
Turk" (fn. 16) , if taken literally, is obviously absurd, for Sherley's antiTurkish bias emerges clearly from his Discours of the Turkes
which was probably written early in the year (p. 475 note);
but "to turn Turk" meant also in contemporary parlance "to
turn traitor". (fn. 17) Sherley's friendly letter to his kinsman, Sir
Robert Dudley, a recent refugee from England, was rendered
yet more suspicious by being addressed to him as "Earl of
Warwick"—a title which Dudley had been consistently denied
by Elizabeth and James alike (pp. 172–3). In addition Sherley's
detestation of the Turks was extended with equal impartiality
to the Levant Company; "to shake the foundation of the trade
of the English in those parts" he was only too ready to welcome
the support of their rivals the Venetians (pp. 173, 287) one of
whom urged him to join Dudley in the service of the Grand Duke
of Tuscany (pp. 225–6). Some indiscreet correspondence was
intercepted (pp. 172–3, 243) and he was cross-examined before
the Council; to judge from his explanatory letters written shortly
afterwards to Salisbury his answers were not remarkable for their
candour (pp. 244, 253, 474–5) although it is clear that he had
committed no serious offence. After five weeks in prison he
was allowed to take his meals with Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower (p. 280); and Sir Thomas Sherley the older
consoled himself with the thought that although his son was still
in confinement, at least he was a prisoner in the Tower and not
in the Fleet (p. 282). By the end of the year Sherley had been
released and was asking Salisbury to help to restore him to the
King's favour (p. 394). An interesting memorial in which
Sherley urged the latter to allow the Jews to settle in Ireland to
improve trade and benefit the customs, suggests that he was, for
all his escapades and indiscretions, a man who was probably
considered useful to the Government owing to his knowledge of
Mediterranean affairs (pp. 473–4). However, so far as is known,
he never left England again.
Sir Thomas Sherley could at least be temporarily clapped into
jail when under suspicion; his brother, Sir Anthony was however
very much at large. His reception at the Spanish Court attracted
some comment (p. 73), and there is a decidedly contemptuous
account of his travels through Italy (p. 241), and of his schemes
for piracy in the Levant (pp. 340–1), It is clear from internal
evidence that Sir Robert Sherley's letter printed on page 109,
was in fact written eight years previously.
In August 1606 this English merchant and former Fellow of
Trinity College, Oxford, was arrested by order of the Inquisition
in Lisbon. His arrest was reported by Hugh Lee, the English
consul, in the following month, and the Viceroy was alleged to
have promised Sir Anthony Sherley during his brief visit to
Portugal that Gurgeny would shortly be released. (fn. 18) Nothing
however was done and it is noticeable that by the beginning of
1607 the King of Spain had been approached on the matter.
Lee refers more than once in his correspondence to Gurgeny's
continued detention and to the efforts made by his brother
(amongst others) to bring about his conversion (pp. 10, 72, 73,
268, 303, 324). Two years were to pass before his total submission and release.
Visitors from the East.
In 1606 the King's brother-in-law Christian IV of Denmark
had paid a State visit. No one of equal eminence came to Britain
in the following year—which was however marked by the visit
of a Chiaus (fn. 19) or messenger, from the Sultan "the first that ever
came hither from the Grand Signor". The merchants of the
Levant Company were understandably anxious that his entertainment should be honourable (p. 210); it appears however
that first Salisbury and then the Council refused to contribute
to his maintenance—a state of affairs which provoked much grief
among the Company "at their continual charge" and pointed
reminders from Richard Staper, one of the oldest members, that
Queen Elizabeth had been far more generous to the Company in
the days when "Mr. Harborn" and "Mr. Barton" had been
Ambassadors in Constantinople. She had, moreover, paid the
expenses of an Ambassador from Barbary and made him a
present of £100 at his departure (fn. 20) (pp. 266, 287). Staper's letter
of 17 November reporting the departure of the Chiaus (pp. 326–7)
summarises the expenditure incurred by the Levant Company in
the King's name; but if the Venetian Ambassador is to be believed the Company had no hope of being repaid, and Mustapha,
far from being contented by his reception, returned home highly
displeased with the niggardly way he had been treated. (fn. 21) Possibly
rumours that he was an impostor were encouraged by the English
Ambassador at Constantinople in an endeavour to counteract his
adverse comments; (fn. 22) it cannot be said that his mission whether
genuine or false, produced any important results.
Another exotic visitor more briefly mentioned was a so-called
Prince of Moldavia who hoped to win support for his claim by
offering to hold the principality of the King and to pay tribute
(p. 252). It was this individual whose name was later associated
with that of the King's cousin Arabella. (fn. 23) Salisbury advanced
him the sum of three hundred pounds and, unlike the Levant
Company, was promptly reimbursed (p. 309).
The appearance of an impostor claiming to be the son of Mary
Tudor is mentioned on page 177.
A portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, "taken to the life" when
she was in France, was sent to the King in November (p. 334).
There is an interesting description of the planning of an unnamed house in two letters from Sir Charles Cavendish (pp. 120–1).
Some correspondence between the Earls of Nottingham,
Salisbury, and Suffolk regarding the terms on which the Earl of
Arundel was to repurchase Arundel House in the Strand is
printed on pages 337, 478–9.
A well known letter from Sir Walter Raleigh is calendared on
The six rockers of Princess Mary's cradle petitioned shortly
after her death for a pension of thirty pounds a year "in regard
of their great charge and pains taken, continually waiting and
watching" (p. 263).
The King is reported to be offended with William Bruce "for
the unreverent form of his writing to his Majesty, which indeed
is without all good fashion, beginning with commendations to
his Majesty, and ending with a subscription of his name so close
to the lines of his letter as there is almost no distance between"
Lord Buckhurst complained that his wife's "continual violent
tempestuousness in domestical conversation" was greater than
flesh and blood could endure, citing as further examples of her
intolerable behaviour "certain foolish rhymes of her own devising" (pp. 341–2).
Finally, to close this introduction on a peaceful "domestical"
note, it should be recorded that on 28 September there was born
in the Tower "a fine young male lion whelp"; and that the
parents, named Henry and Anne, did "keep together with the
little whelp with that care as is very tender and full of love"