Cecil Papers: November 1603

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1930.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'Cecil Papers: November 1603', Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603, (London, 1930), pp. 277-303. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol15/pp277-303 [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Cecil Papers: November 1603", in Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603, (London, 1930) 277-303. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol15/pp277-303.

. "Cecil Papers: November 1603", Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603, (London, 1930). 277-303. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol15/pp277-303.

November 1603

Francis Barnbye to the Same.
1603, Nov. 1. The enclosed being sent unto me by direction from the Nuncio in Flanders with charge that I should present them unto you first (by whose means he hopeth to know his Majesty's mind, and upon answer thereof is ready to send his Secretary to Rome for his Majesty's further assurance), I presumed to interrupt a little your other businesses, and the rather for that they contain matter I hope not disgustful and for obtaining whereof I have long laboured by connivance of this State before her late Majesty changed this life. Which being now achieved and further offer made by the Pope himself to join with his Majesty in a temporal league as other princes do, and to send his ambassadors for concluding the same if his Majesty grant them free access, I doubt not but that as his Majesty's reign hath taken a most happy beginning, so shall it continue for ever in despite of all that shall envy his happiness. Albeit for myself in guerdon of my love and loyalty to his Majesty and the reverent regard I ever carried to the Council I receive nothing but hard dealing and restraint in a most dangerous place, notwithstanding his Majesty's pardon which I have under his great seal of England; yet the obligation I owe my prince and country makes that this rigour can no whit diminish my duty or tempt me to repine. At my last being before you at your house in the Strand where I made overture of this late plot, I found your mind most inclinable to my releasement. Since I have deserved nothing to the contrary. It lieth in your hands to redress our miseries, and to take all occasion of reasonable discontentments away, by easing the heavy burden which we have long carried. Your honour can, and (I doubt not) will make a difference betwixt Catholics, and no more condemn all priests for the disloyal attempts of one or some few than all barons or knights for the treason of a few. Let us find some favour at his Majesty's hands, from whom never any rigour or violence proceeded, were it not by the instinct of those that delight in innocent blood, from which number I ever have, and if we all do not, exempt your honour, we should do you high injury and make ourselves uncapable of any grace which you shall be moved to show us.—This first of November, 1603.
Holograph. 2 pp. (102. 10.)
Lord Sheffield to the King.
[1603], Nov. 1. I entreated Lord Cessell [Cecil] to acquaint your Majesty that I had a great desire to have leave for a time to attend you at the court. Having received by letter your pleasure that I should make my stay here for the more security of these parts, I beseech you give me leave to inform you of some things, which in duty I am bound to do by the place I hold under your favour, as also to touch something that in my opinion the safety of yourself and State doth much rely upon. I know it is not unknown to your Majesty how these north parts of England stand extraordinarily affected to the popish religion and would I could but say the north parts only. As long as by the laws of this land they were kept under, that affection of theirs bred no infection. But since of late the penalty of those laws has not so absolutely as before been inflicted, as also many graces and favours showed them, they begin to grow very insolent and to show themselves and their intentions more apparently than heretofore. Of late in all these north parts (yet the Plot as themselves say came out of the south) many collect men have been employed to go up and down to get out a petition for toleration of religion, all the hands of not only recusants but also of all such as be favourers of their religion holding themselves much aggrieved that in the late certificate made to your Majesty by the bishops so few of them were therein set down and certified, as it were glorying in their numbers. I hope I have made stay of this their first attempt by committing some of the ringleaders. If your Majesty will look to it, in time religion in those parts will increase and not go back, for they change daily being encouraged by the hopes they have either of the alteration or toleration of religion.
Bear with me if I speak plainly. That your safety stands most upon that government which advances most God's glory I think no wise or religious man will doubt. Innovations are dangerous, especially when from the better to the worse. That this which the papists aim at is an innovation from better to worse both in religion and policy is so plain that I need not insist much upon it. The errors of their religion doth [sic] judge itself, and in policy I cannot see how there should arrive any safety to your Majesty by either alteration or toleration of religion. For the Protestants no doubt yet are the stronger and faithfuller; their religion binding them to obedience, the other giving liberty to disloyalty as appeared in the late Queen's days, when the Pope by his bull excommunicated her and absolved her subjects from all obedience to her. I need not intimate thus much to your Majesty, your wisdom and learning being so great, of which to my great comfort I have been an ear-witness but to show my love and duty and to discharge my conscience.—York, 1 No.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1 Nov." 2¼ pp. (118. 36.)
Lord Stafford to Lord Cecil.
1603, Nov. 2. Expresses his thanks for Cecil's favour showed him, and begs him to let him know what it is his duty to do, concerning what he wrote of. Stafford Castle, 2 Nov., 1603.
Holograph. ½ p. (187. 124.)
Dr. Jo. Harmar, Warden of Winchester, to the Same.
1603, Nov. 4. His Highness by his letters bearing date the third instant commanded me to remove myself, the fellows and scholars, from the college to a place appointed by our founder in case of necessity, and forthwith to yield our house and lodgings to his Majesty's judges and serjeants for the time of their attending his special service this term in this place. Let his Highness understand that we have no such set place by our founder's institution but only a part of a farm house reserved through our own providence by covenant for the placing of our scholars and some three or four governors with them on imminent danger of infection, which being in a tenant's occupation and out of necessary repair will by no possible means be suddenly fitted for them. Notwithstanding both for the present accommodating of his Majesty's officers of justice, and for the avoiding of that danger which we have special cause to fear (the infection creeping further) we have resolved the sooner to dismiss our scholars to such places with their friends as they may be safely sent unto, until they may be provided for where they are to meet together; and will draw ourselves into as narrow rooms as we may, to give place to his Highness's pleasure and commandment.—From the College by Winchester, 4 November, 1603.
Signed. ½ p. (102. 11.)
George Fane to the Same.
1603, Nov. 7. Your letter of the 2nd inst. directed by post to Sir Thomas Fane, Lieutenant of Dover Castle, in the absence of him as also of Sir Thomas Waller his substitute, by his appointment I have received. You require that Andrew Smale should be sent up unto you in company of one of Sir Thomas Fane's servants. Sir Tho. Fane's servants are all with him at his house in the country; so I held it not disrespondent to your commandment to send Smale unto you by this bearer William Jones, deputy clerk of the passage here, who hath had the custody of him ever since his imprisonment here, and who by his said office hath been accustomably employed in such services. No other informations have been delivered against Smale but such as have been heretofore signified to you by letters from Sir Tho. Fane; which informations Jaques Hermishaue his accuser confronting him hath constantly averred, and Smale absolutely denying the same (except that he confesseth he desired his host should cause certain masses to be said for him at his departure out of France for England) hath offered to be deposed for his better justification therein.—Dover this 7th of November, 1603.
PS.—I have sent enclosed a copy of the particulars wherewith Jaques Hermishaue hath charged Andrew Smale, with the answers of Smale thereunto. (fn. 1)
Signed. 1 p. (102. 12.)
Sir John Peyton to Lord Cecil.
1603, Nov. 9. About three weeks since I sent by Mr. Fowles an answer to your letters of 4 October, the which I hope is long since come unto your hands. My stay here continueth longer than I expected, by occasion of the multitude of appeals and petitions which I found returned by his Majesty's direction, and the Lords of the Council their reference, to be revised and ordered by the governor here. I endeavour to determine them so as neither his Majesty nor your lordships may be any further troubled with any of those causes, finding that in some one particular matter, out of the litigious humour of the parties, your lordship and the rest of my lords have been by them importuned to write above 20 several letters and directions, and by that means prejudiced in public causes of more importance. These being drawn to some conclusion I will attend your lordship, and in the interim do present to you such fruits as this government hath afforded.—Jersey, 9th of November, 1603.
Holograph. 2/3 p. (102. 13.)
William Udall to [Lord Cecil?]
[1603], Nov. 11. You shall receive enclosed a letter greatly concerning his Majesty. I beseech you upon your zeal and allegiance to have an especial regard that it may be delivered most safely to his Majesty, and that you make no one acquainted with it except it be some nobleman of Scotland. I do not write particulars so plainly as I should in regard I hazard the throwing out of the letter at a window with some danger, and I have no reason to put matters of that weight into such a danger. But I doubt not but his Majesty upon that which is written will take a course by yourself or by whom he shall appoint that I may have means without danger to supply what is wanting.
This petition to the King enclosed is to be delivered with the letter, for upon the petition his Majesty may take notice of me without giving any cause of jealousy to them who keep me in prison without all cause in the world but to suppress these discoveries. I have put myself now into your protection; let me assure you upon my allegiance you shall never find my life stained with any crime. All the malice which doth oppress me and all the extremities I do and have endured is and are only for his Majesty. Let me not be oppressed with speeches without proof, let me be brought to all ample trial; to have justice is all the protection I can desire.—11 November.
PS.—You must please to excuse the paper, pen and ink; never such shift made to write letters for a King.
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 14.)
The Enclosure:—[1603], Nov. 11.—William Udall to the King. Offers to make a discovery for the King's security. Of his miseries through the late death of his wife and 4 children, and through injustice and oppression. Two years ago last April he was acquainted with a plot against the late Queen, and when ready to come to England to discover it, was accused of high treason before the Lord Deputy and Council for saying that the King [James] had the best right to the three crowns, and was imprisoned. At the Queen's death, some gentlemen discovered to him a plot intended against the King. Details his various fruitless efforts to make it known to the King. At length this conspiracy of Lord Cobham, Lord Grey and others was made known, some of the parties having been named by him [Udall] long before. After the King's coronation he endeavoured to obtain access to some Scots nobleman to make a further discovery; but was made close prisoner, and has remained so three months. It is objected against him that Watson, the priest, a man he never saw, who accused him 5 years ago, now charges him with sending him word that he [Udall] "was able to charge some great man in Easter term with high matters"; but he believes his imprisonment is really to suppress his discoveries.
The plot which he offers to discover touches Lord Cobham and Sir Walter Ralegh: yet there is a greater confederacy than any yet made known. Lord Cobham and the rest never durst nor could by themselves undertake any conspiracy against the King without some great head. The French King, when he conferred with some Englishmen concerning his offers, made reckoning of other men than these. The book, which was printed in Paris in French and English, to give the French King a title to the crown of England, had other patrons than these. The French King would never have dealt with the Pope upon so weak a ground as this. If he receives any gracious respect, the King shall quickly have all matters laid open. Prays that he may either have his liberty, or be examined by some of the Scots subjects. He is suppressed because he knows too much. —Gatehouse in Westminster, 11 Nov.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." 3½ pp. (187. 125.)
George Brooke to the Privy Council.
[1603, after Nov. 11.] I could not but take it very heavily to see that at your last being here being earnestly pressed by me it pleased you to visit every prisoner of importance but myself. Is malice grown to be less than error? or what have I done? Have patience yet, I beseech you, to consider this paper. It was my intention to move your lordships in three things. The first was in the behalf of truth, that seeing my brother (against his custom) had kept a promise he made in the town to display me at the bar, I might obtain so much equity from you as to have those objections or reproaches, in what kind soever they had touched me, delivered me in articles that by my answer both the King and your lordships might remain the better satisfied, but especially that the truth might be cleared. The next is in the behalf of justice and honour, that your lordships will believe that whilst I breathe, if not after, I shall claim those promises I have received both from the King and your lordships in several manner assuring more than life, and which can have no interpretation in that I have already suffered, much less in that I now expect. To object errors committed since is a frivolous cavillation, seeing I have committed none but for want of the direction I required, and they are far from being capital. My last demand is in charity, that if my just claim must be violently wrested from me in lieu of these hopes and promises wherein I have been so long nourished, I may have now time given me to forget them and raze out that false apprehension; for I cannot, remembering the firmness of a promise in myself, but yet hold myself as vital as any man. In that time I hope your lordships will give my wife leave to have access to me that I may give her that comfort and advice which may be to the benefit of her and my children hereafter: to whom if you perform not truly all those favours which were once meant unto me (and still I challenge them) I know not what excuse you can have either before God or the world.—Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." and in a much later hand: "Wrote after Nov. 11." 1½ pp. (102. 15.)
Ralph Fetherstonhalgh to Henry Sanderson.
1603, Nov. 12. I never more heartily wished your company than at this time when our ears are even cloyed by rumours bruited by the enemies of God's truth (I mean the papists). I doubt not I should from your mouth receive that certainty concerning the truth of those reports as I might be able to erect the languishing spirits of the one and abate the intolerable insolency of the other. It is hardly credible in what jollity they now live; never in the like since I had discretion to make observation of the behaviour of men. What! say they, hath not the King restored Arundel, Westmoreland and Paget, all of them known favourers if not professors of the Romish religion? hath he not graced with knighthood sundry famous recusants? doth he not refuse to take either the penalty of 20l. monthly or the two parts of their lands? be there not some notoriously known to affect popery, yea whose wives are recusants, that of late since his Majesty came to the crown, and not before, are both put into the commission for the peace and sworn of the Council at York? are not these, say they, good testifications of his Majesty's favourable inclination to our cause? Aye but they have yet a better testimony, for they give out that Mr. Patrick Galloway, one of his Highness's chaplains, for his forwardness in matter of religion only hath lost his Majesty's favour and by his royal direction committed prisoner to the Tower; and that the late proclamation against such as should inveigh against the ministers of the ecclesiastical courts and jurisdiction was indeed intended against Mr. Galloway and his sectaries only. They make no question to obtain at least a toleration if not an alteration of religion; in hope whereof many who before did dutifully frequent the church are of late become recusants. They were never in so great bravery as now. I assure you it is high time they were looked unto, for I heard a secret favourer of theirs say that he knew they were resolved rather to hazard all at once than to live in such bondage as they did under Queen Elizabeth. I pray God preserve his Majesty and direct his royal heart. I wish every good man would put to his hand by all lawful means to seek the confirmation of the now professed religion, and not in confidence of the goodness of the cause carelessly to neglect means that may give furtherance to the propagating of the gospel, considering the industry of our adversaries to add greater numbers daily to their former strength, and as the proverb is leave no stone unrolled that may bring their building to perfection. They are already labouring tooth and nail for places in the Parliament, and do so mightily prevail by their importune and indirect means as I cannot see how their so dangerous course can be stopped unless some higher authority speedily interpose itself.—Branspeth, 12 November, 1603.
PS.—I had almost forgotten to tell you what pealing and ringing of bells there was at Staindroppe by the papists for joy that the Earl of good Westmoreland was restored; and I wish you should give good respect to your own safety, for the number of your enemies was never greater.
Holograph. Seal. 2 pp. (102. 16.)
Sir Richard Musgrave to Lord Cecil.
1603, Nov. 12. The 10th inst. there resorted to Carlisle a gentleman, Mr. George Bowes, who made me privy to a letter from the Privy Council, your own name subscribed thereunto; and for that the said letter imported his presence here to meet with others for his Majesty's service, and that he further required to give way to his letter directed to you and my Lord Chamberlain, I thought it my duty to give my best furtherance therein.— Carlisle, 12 November, 1603.
Holograph. ½ p. (102. 17.)
George Bowes to the Same.
1603, Nov. 12. According to the letter I received from you and others of the Privy Council, signifying his Majesty's pleasure to put myself in readiness to be at Carlisle to meet Sir Wm. Godolphin and Mr. Bulmer the tenth of November, at which time I should understand more particularly of his Majesty's pleasure, I have observed time and place mentioned; but finding neither of them as yet come thither hath moved me to return these presents. I still purpose to remain to attend their repair, so as I may have your timely advertisement whether any alteration or stay be in this service.—Carlisle, 12 November, 1603.
Holograph. ½ p. (102. 29.)
Sir Walter Ralegh to the Same.
[1603, before Nov. 17.] If the power of law be not greater than the power of truth, I may justly beseech you to relieve me in this my affliction. You know my accuser, and have ever known my affection to that nation for which I am accused. A heavy burden of God, to be in danger of perishing for a prince which I have so long hated, and to suffer these miseries under a prince whom I have so long loved! What malice may do against me I know not; my cause hath been handled by strong enemies, but if ever I so much as suspected this practice laid to my charge, leave me to death, if the same by any equity shall be proved against me. Vouchsafe now so to use the power which God and the King hath given you as to defend me from undeserved cruelty. Your lordship hath known in your time one in this place condemned, and in this place he perished, who at the hour of his death received the sacrament that he was innocent. How therefore I shall be judged I know not, how I have deserved to be judged I know and I desire nothing but secundum meritum meum. For yourself, and for me sometime your true friend, if aught remain of good, of love, or of compassion towards me you will now show it, when I am now most unworthy of your love and most unable to deserve it.
PS.—Your lordship will find that I have been strangely practised against, and that others have their lives promised to accuse me.—Undated.
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 67b.)
[Printed in extenso in Edwards, Life of Ralegh. ii, 278.]
Contemporary copy of the preceding. 2 pp. (206. 96.)
E. Lady Ralegh to Lord Cecil.
[1603, after Nov. 17.] If Cecil truly knew her sorrow he would pity her but most especially his poor unfortunate friend who relies wholly on his wonted favour. Far from wishing the King harm, he would have spent his life as soon for him as any creature living. Beseeches Cecil to be good to him and deal with the King for him for one that is more worthy of favour than many else. Let him pity the name of his ancient friend, "this poor little creature which may live to honour you." Is not able to stand or would have waited now on Cecil or be directed wholly by him.—Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." Two seals. ½ p. (102. 20.)
[Printed in extenso in Edwards, Life of Ralegh, ii, 406.]
Sir Walter Ralegh to the King.
[1603, after Nov. 17.] It is one part of the office of a just and worthy prince to hear the complaints of his vassals, especially of such as are in greatest misery. Trusts that no man will persuade his Majesty to leave the word 'merciful' out of his style; for it will no less profit him and become his greatness than the word 'invincible.' Protests that he never invented treason, consented to treason, or performed treason against the King. Beseeches him to remember that he has loved him now twenty years, for which his Majesty has yet given him no reward. Prays the King to save him, that he may owe his Majesty his life itself, than which there cannot be a greater debt.—Undated.
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 67.)
[Printed in extenso in Edwards, Life of Ralegh ii, 280.]
The Same to the Earls of Suffolk and Devon, and Lords Cecil, Henry Howard and Wotton.
[1603, ? after Nov. 17.] It was so late ere their lordships came as he could not in good manners beseech them of longer time. They told him of a new accusation, of the landing of Spaniards at Milford Haven. First he was accused to have persuaded Lord Cobham to have gone into Spain and to have brought him 600,000 crowns to Jersey; he was strongly suspected that the money offered him for the peace was for the surprise, or for some other ill intent. The first accusation for which he was committed, indicted and arraigned their lordships know to be false; and yet it was believed by them, and the Lord Chief Justice avowed it could not be otherwise, because Cobham accused himself also therein. The presumption of the money was also inferred against him and would have strengthened his condemnation and yet neither was true. The letter delivered by Rensey in his presence, being unknown to be the Count Arramberk's (Aremberg) by him, was yet a third presumption against him. If this matter of Milford had been true, what needed Cobham to have invented a treason against him which was not true? It had been easier to have remembered that which was than that which was not, and in this accusation Cobham might have endangered Ralegh and spared himself. Let their lordships judge as they would be judged, and remember Cobham's letter which he meant no creature should see but Ralegh. The night before Ralegh's arraignment Cobham spake not a word of this, when he then studied all he could to destroy him.
Quotes scripture as to the commandments of God touching the shedding of blood. But the law is past against him, the mercy of his sovereign is all that remains for his comfort. Desires their lordships to move so merciful a prince to compassion and that the extremity of all extremities be not laid on him. If he may not beg a pardon or a life, let him beg a time at the King's merciful hands. Let him have one year to give to God in a prison and to serve Him. If the King withdraws all his grace from him it must be the last breath that he will draw in the world that he dies his true vassal, although he must confess that he is most worthy of this heavy affliction for the neglect of his duty in giving ear to some things and in taking on him to hearken to the offer of money.—Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed in a later hand: "1603." 1 p. (102. 25.)
[Printed in extenso in Edwards, Life of Ralegh, ii. 274, where it is conjectured to be of October, 1603.]
George Brooke to the King.
[1603] Nov. 18. Accept the humble submission, my sacred lord, of a man that lies deadly wounded by the stroke of your law and can receive no ease but from your sovereign hands. Shall I rehearse? that were to challenge. Shall I reason? that were to justify. No. I throw myself down at the feet of the lion; and as my offence doth grieve me more than my punishment, so your gracious compassion shall content me more than the consequence, though it be great, and having failed of the happiness to receive your favour I desire now only to be made happy by receiving your mercy. I have been hitherto your subject, but now if it please you of your grace to restore me I shall become your creature. Among the saints of God there are none so glorious as they that have fallen and are returned. Imitate Him then, gracious sovereign, Whose place you hold upon earth, and reject not his true repentance whose offence was of frailty, not of malice, If your Majesty could discern my heart my pen might well be spared; but of that I doubt not, seeing your heart is in the hand of God who will direct you to know what is hidden to others and to judge above the reach of ordinary men.—18 of November.
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 26.)
Copy of the above. 2/3 p. (102. 27c.)
Thomas Bennett, Lord Mayor of London, to Lord Cecil.
1603, Nov. 21. He has heretofore signified the misdemeanour of Dennys Groughan, an Irish priest, whose examination he sent. Encloses further testimony against him. Prays to know Cecil's pleasure as to Dennys, as there are divers suitors for his release. —London, 21 Nov., 1603.
Holograph. ½ p. (187. 128.)
The Enclosure:—Examination of Henry Buckberd, of the parish of St. Leonard's in Foster Lane, London, taken before Sir Thomas Bennett, Lord Mayor, 21 Nov. 1603.
Saith that Dennys Grougham, being at supper at his home a little before the coronation, upon speech had touching the continuance of the Gospel by his Majesty's coming to the crown, said that the King did but counterfeit to get the people's good will, until he was crowned; for before he came hither both he and the Queen were Papists, and so afterwards would prove a rank Papist and his Queen too; and further, that he would hardly come to his crown, but if he did the said Dennys would lose his head if his Majesty continued half a year after.
Signed by Buckberd and Bennett. ½ p. (187. 127.)
Captain St. Vittore to "Sir Robert Cecil."
[1603], ? Nov. 21. Three letters:—
1. Is surprised to find himself prisoner in a country where he thought he would be in perfect safety. Has dwelt in Paris for more than 12 years, and has not been for a year in Antwerp, or any other town in the jurisdiction of the Archduke, nor has he any relations with those parts. Came to this country only to see the magnificence "du couronnement de sa Majesté," and to see the Christmas feasts.—Undated.
Holograph. French. Endorsed: "21 November, 1600 (sic). Captain St. Vittore from the Gate House." (250. 66.)
2. The master of the prison demands money of him, and he has none to give him. For the three weeks he has been a prisoner, has bought all his own food, except four meals: nevertheless the master claims payment as if he had fed him: which is not reasonable. Prays Cecil to order the matter; also for his liberty.—Undated.
Holograph. French. 1 p. (250. 77.)
3. Has only just obtained paper from the Master "de ceans" [? the Gatehouse] on which to write. He is ill with fever, caused by his own wounds: having his head trepanned, a cut in his arm, and a mortified leg, Prays Cecil to have pity on him, seeing his innocence, and to have speech with him, when he could give him satisfaction.—Undated.
Holograph. French. 1 p. (250. 109.)
Richard Hawkins, Mayor of Plymouth, to the Privy Council.
1603, Nov. 24. One Robert Thornton, master of a ship of London, coming to this harbour inquired how he might convey a letter to Sir Robert Bassett's brother which was delivered unto him in Italy by Sir Robert Bassett: and being answered that Sir Robert Bassett was in reputation of a fugitive or traitor he presently came to me and delivered me the letter, which I thought it my duty to send unto you as I received it.
I have formerly besought your direction for the recusants here in our prison, and humbly pray your order if I shall send them to the jail or dispose otherwise of them.—From Plymouth, 24 November, 1603.
Holograph. ½ p. (102. 31.)
The Enclosure:—1603. Sept. 19/29,—Sir Robert Bassett to his brother Arthur Bassett. The last letter I wrote was from Marseilles, which did specify my constant resolution to prosecute my settled intentions, wherewith in my former I acquainted you. Finding how they are like to succeed I wish with my heart that I were at Lundy in as poor case as I came from thence, where I would gladly spend my days in an obscure hermitage. Whereas I wrote unto you to come to me, I hope you are wiser than so, for you may light with good fortunes which I shall always wish unto you, though I have little reason to hope for any. You know what you have to do without my farther direction, and yourself can best judge how necessary it is for you to put yourself into a course of action, which I hope you have done already, for I would not have you rely on my uncertain hopes. I hope by this time you have disposed of that unfortunate ship of ours, or else I would she were on fire. I would gladly hear of all matters concerning you; you shall do well to direct your letters to the place I mentioned in my letter delivered you by John Cullomore, and let them be delivered to Mr. John Sweete in the English College. I will always love you as dearly as myself; but I pray curse that damned filthy old judge as heartily as myself, who for my natural affection to my children and his base brood hath forced me to this desperate course, —From Pisa the 29th of September, stilo nuovo.
PS.—Remember to demand 27l. of Mr. John Browne which I lent him in Rochelle. I would I had it, for my money is all done and I know not where to get more.
Addressed:—"Leave this letter with my servant George Lyde to be delivered to my brother accordingly."
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 30.)
Lord Cobham to his brother-in-law, Lord Cecil.
1603, [after Nov 25]. God is my record this comfort of your favour towards me I hold so assured that absolutely of ruin I hope not, but that you will remember the ancient love that was betwixt our fathers, the happiness and comfort you had with my sister, the blessing that from her you have in your children; and I must not forget to remember likewise the faithful bond of friendship which hath been between us. Let him be as an "Anathemie" that was the cause of the breach of it.
My lord, mercy is that I crave, and your mediation thereof I entreat. In you no exceptions can be taken to sue for me; alliance and friendship betwixt our houses doth require so much of you. If you undergo it not for me God I hope will give me comfort; other hope in this world I have none, for that means which other men have by their wives I am barred and despair of, so conclude for this that if you do not for me this work of charity I despair of comfort in this world. God I know will comfort me in the everlasting world.
Be pleased that I may send to my house at the Blackfriars for such things [as] I need, and that my steward may have access unto my gallery to bring me hither such things as I now need. My servant Wood that is now with me desires to go home to his wife, which I pray may be permitted him, and that I may have in his room Morgan my servant.
Holograph. Endorsed:—"Lord Cobham to my lord from the Tower." Seal. 1 p. (102. 32.)
The Same to the King.
1603, [? after Nov. 25]. My repentance and acknowledgment for my fault ceaseth not. God who knoweth the secrets of all hearts is my witness that it is unfeigned; other means I have not to make a recompense for my offence. I have confessed all I know. The imputation that is laid upon me for that horrible speech which my heart detesteth to think, much more to speak, concerning your Majesty and your royal issue—which I pray may for ever continue as the happiness of this estate; wherein all honest and religious men are comforted, with God's blessing to this kingdom as His assurance of His continuance in the preserving of this realm. If ever estate were governed by a religious and wise prince, that praise must be attributed unto your Majesty, and so I pronounce mine own doom if such unworthiness should have proceeded from me. I have been religiously brought up and know that God's blessing is in nothing more unto His servants than in placing over them a worthy prince. I know there cannot be an offence so merciless as to have a thought against God's anointed. I confess that my life and all that I have in this world is in your mercy; God I hope will put compassion in your heart to forgive him that will never more offend your Majesty.—Undated.
Holograph. 1 p. (102. 33.)
[A copy of this letter is in S.P.D. James I, Vol. 4. No. 90.]
Lord Cobham to the King.
1603, [after Nov. 25]. Merit I cannot plead, but with sorrow and grief do crave your Majesty mercy. Repentance doth reconcile all offences before God, being unfeigned; and there is no one thing that doth resemble great princes unto God, Whose viceregent on earth they are, than to imitate Him in mercy. Your noble father did christen me; if you do give me my life what creature in the world can be more bound to so gracious a Sovereign as myself? Not out of desert I plead, but truth I speak. Except the house of Norfolk no one house of England received more disgrace and jealousy for many years together in the time past than my poor house. God incline your heart to show mercy on me. Howsoever while I breathe with a faithful heart I will pray for your Majesty and your royal issue. "Your Majesty's most humble and faithful vassal once Cobham now Henry Brooke."—Undated.
Holograph. 1½ pp. (102. 34.)
The Same to his brother-in-law, Lord Cecil.
1603, [after Nov. 25.] Now is the time that from you I must receive comfort, and your daily solicitation for me must breed my happiness. I have written unto his Majesty what here open I send unto you. If you like it then you may seal it, and bind me more than ever I shall be able to make requital to deliver it for me, in such humble and submissive manner as the greatness of my fault requires. For God is my witness never offender was more sorry for his offence than I am. My everlasting hope is in God; in this world wholly in you and my Lord Chamberlain, and [I] receive comfort to myself in this affliction that you will do what you can for your poor distressed friend.—Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." Seal. 1 p. (102. 35.)
Lord Grey to the Same.
1603, [before Nov. 26.] Beseeches him to forget not to move the King for his scholar. If the King think his letter imperfect, he will relate what passed by him from his first entrance with George Brooke; wherein if he be proved to have concealed any man or passage let him die without judgment: or if from his beginning with George Brooke unto his breach with Markham he do not demonstrate a clear heart of ill intention to the King and state of England. With patience he will endure the King's pleasure, and doubts not to live to make the King and the world see how he has been misjudged in this business to him and his own religion. Knows not the gentleman in the kingdom out of this place that he can say has thought of innovation.— Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." 1 p. (102. 40.)
[Printed in extenso in Edwards, Life of Ralegh, ii, 482.]
Sir Francis Stonor to Lord Cecil.
1603, Nov. 26. Has attended two days to show Cecil the draught of the petition enclosed; but perceiving him not at leisure sends it for delivery to the King. Hopes his Highness will take it in good part for it tends much to his profit and the good of many of his subjects. Wishes the matter may be effected by Cecil. There may be as many gentlemen's hands procured unto it as shall be fit.—London, 26 November 1603.
Signed. ½ p. (102. 37.)
Lord Zouche to the Same.
[?1603], Nov. 26. Thanks him for his letters. With regard to his requests, he is sorry Cecil will never give him hope, nor an end of his hopes, for "that young imp": who, if the King's favour be forborne from him, will wither and be of short abode. Thanks Cecil for his favour to his friend Mr. Tate, and prays his furtherance at the privy seal. That which he wrote of the speech here that the Remembrancer's office is bestowed upon some other, proceeded not from doubt of Cecil, but that he might understand such things are reported. Wishes that the reporter might "feel of" his report, for in these parts most expect his (Zouche's) disgrace. He respects the King's service more than anything else, and is much comforted that his labour is acceptable to him, and that Mr. Minos shall be respected which will breed encouragement to others.
PS.—He is so pressed by Barker the vicar and his people that he must pray Cecil's advice when Barker may be released and upon what submission: and whether Barker shall make means to the King by petition.—Ludlowe, 26 Nov.
Holograph. Endorsed: "Lord President of Wales." 2 pp. (107. 146.)
Lord Grey to the King.
[1603, after Nov. 26.] So long as your mercy draws out my life I cannot deny it the only object it aspires to; by unfeigned confessions and contrition to diminish of my offence, of your displeasure, wherein as death is but welcome, so, should your mercy revive me, would life be most precious to efface my blemish, in time to recover your royal favour. If then the extreme sense of your disfavour have 'deaded' me even against death, imagine I beseech you what would your mercy unto life; even quicken one dead (for ever to offence) and inspire life into that soul which only desires it to serve and obey you till death. The Lord of heaven give you a merciful choice; yet if death I will dutifully obey; but if life it is yours for ever for you only give it.—Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." Seal broken. 1 p. (102. 38.)
Lord Grey to the King.
[1603, after Nov. 26.] My life is absolutely yours; mine only to give it willingly, penitently to God and your royal Majesty, which I do as unfeignedly as pleased it you in mercy [I] would have lived loyally, faithfully. Oh in my death, which I only expect, forget, forgive me, and let my young blood clear my great offence. These dying sparks even while they have any life cry unto you for a gracious construction of my too much earnestness in my last defence. Consider I beseech you the jewel I fought to preserve, even my loyalty to your Majesty so dear, so invaluable that could the dearest drop of my heart have cleared it I had never lived to have heard it stained. Pardon me then if inforced, most unjust questions constrained my present ruin or dangerous reply: if impatiency to endure the sentence I so far undervalued to death drew me subject to miserable censure. Your gracious pleasure I attend humbly.— Undated.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." 1 p. (102. 39.)
The Same to Lord Cecil.
[1603, after Nov. 26.] Almost desperate of the honour to see you, accept this last farewell from him who loved and esteemed you the greatest treasure he had. Times altered and gave divers jealousies; conclude not yet. One of your ears hath been infected, preserve the other, if not for my reply (which is unlikely) yet for future. If you think my heart infected to my King, England or yourself, use no industry to preserve me; but if God give you true judgment, that for the former I value them more dear than ten thousand lives, to the last I was as faithful while I professed it and will be as thankful now as mortal heart can approve. Study for your poor friend that an ignominious death in youth cut me not off from King, country and friends. The God of heaven be with you and bless you with increase of honour and true faith in Him, and on earth with many, many friends as faithful as was and now is your poor condemned friend.
PS.—I know not whether a councillor may deliver a condemned man's letters; if you dare perform this last bequest I beseech you favourably; if not this honest bishop will.— Undated.
Initialled: "B.D." Holograph. 1 p. (102. 107.)
Copy of the above. ½ p. (102. 27a.)
— Owen, priest at Mantes, to his brother Hugh Owen.
1603, Nov. 27/Dec 7. Yours of the 17th last is come, in which you guess well why I have been so long silent. The poor old man is recovered, as he writeth to me with this from you, and so we may use him as heretofore. And during his disease I wrote unto you twice and that by Captain Elyott, who I fear me shall find a cold winter in those quarters. I would be glad it fall out otherwise for him, if that may be in the time of treaty between your Mrs. and our enemies. Touching the paper enclosed in yours I have translated the points concerning [symbol] and so send them to [symbol] to make his profit thereof, if he have the grace so to do. I hope the said articles be not feigned, for so might they do more harm to me especially than good. These men have good noses, and do smell I warrant you to what end [symbol] and his do drive. If [symbol] close with [symbol] and put out [symbol] for a wrangler, this will be good laughing, and peradventure God will turn all to his glory. I stay from making any word of XVHde till I hear of his return to Paris. For if it prove that he come not, our advertisement would prove ridiculous; further it were good the same advice were given by some other as y tad cotton, syd faur gidar brenin ne y negessir o franc syd yna, canys fo ny' [symbol], nad ta gannym i mo XVH. Nevertheless if I should hear of his arrival before you accomplish this I write, I will be at him with this weapon you have given me in omnem eventum. I am sure the negessir Taxis is advertised of this, for to him the other used to go often. Keep your promise in letting me hear how things will fall out rpung yours meistred ar Saysson, and if that prove to an agreement use all your cunning i hogi ye hain, a red yn gynt ag fro much, as hyny a fyd ag as digio a man, nar guyr dnon o bel. In the meantime I will follow your counsel a lechy.
I am glad to hear of a nephew of ours being with you and that he is in catechising: you shall do well to stay him from not returning home in haste and employ him in "marshall" seeing he is already entered into that profession. If a scholar come of our kindred I could assist him here, where there is good commodity to profit in that vocation. I hope to be in Paris before the end of January, and as things fall out you shall hear, and whether my [sic any ?] commodity present itself to do somewhat for this nephew. Your Ostend sticketh to my part; I am glad to hear of some hope thereof given by M. Spin. I marvel that D. Gyfford had no better welcome for his good services, such is wont to be the recompense of such travails; he shall not lose all if that voyage make him wiser, by all sides and letters. I perceive there is no hope at all of any amendment in yn brenin braint te drug y discayd dayoni ar lan Alba nachdyn, as eif i dilio argluidi Saissan i lany ag i rar i da a ei tiroed, o oi gardatnyy; when thieves fall out true men, &c. And as for their graceless priests, they are better out of this world than in it, seeing they cannot be quiet nor obedient to their superiors spirituals. You write thus and I know not what you mean by it: Cousyn Guyn is in the Tower still, God comfort him; you never wrote unto me any word of my cousin Guyn before now. If the Puritans prevail, adieu all bells and copes, and churches too, except God work. You promised to send me a book of the King's making; it hath been seen in French by some that told me thereof. Vale, with my hearty commendations to your camerado and yourself, and our nephew. I pray God make him a good man.— M[antes], 7 Dec., 1603.
Endorsed: "The copy of a letter from Mr. Owen the priest at Mantes, to Mr. Owen his brother at Brussels."
Copy (probably incorrect). 2 pp. (102. 61.)
George Brooke to the King.
[1603], Nov. 29. If it shall please you exactly to understand both my case and carriage since the beginning of this accursed action I beseech you to speak yourself with Sir William Waad, to whom (having been of late his charge) I have imparted more than to any other, and from whom I received one of my first comforts from your Majesty. Another demand I have, that your Majesty will not suffer your opinion to be altered upon the reports of anything that may charge me since I am sentenced, as my brother's slanders at the bar and since, for as I know not what they are, so is my answer unknown; but that your Majesty will command them to be delivered me in articles, and if I be not able to clear myself I will desist any farther to ask any favour. The last act of mine, whereto I was transported by the affection I bear to your service, I fear hath stript me almost of all the friends I had in Court, so that now I must solely depend upon your proper and innate goodness, which if it fail me I may even here take my leave of you, most excellent King, upon whom I have relied and in whom I am overthrown. Hitherto my words and my actions have been sifted, I will now voluntarily confess my thoughts unto you with this imprecation, that I may never receive joy either here or where the true habitation of joy is if I can accuse myself but of a disloyal intention either against your Majesty or my country. I shall go then whensoever your Majesty commands, not as an offender to be punished but as a lamb to be sacrificed; and though I have hitherto received nothing but bitterness at your hands yet at my end I shall give you benedictionem pereuntis. But what shall I give your Majesty to remember me when I am gone? Even the greatest blessings that ever God gave me upon earth, my wife and my children. Take this, my sovereign, for a gift not for a burden, seeing their fortune ought not in justice to be entangled with mine, and their protection will be much more honourable for your Majesty than their misery and mine. All this is upon that supposition which out of my conscience I cannot fear before it falls, but will rather hope that your Majesty will restore us each to other.—29 November.
Holograph. Endorsed: "1603." 2 pp. (102. 41.)
William Udall.
[1603], Nov. 30. "Brief Collections out of the letters Udall sent the B[ishop] of Bristol. Dated the last of November."
1. Udall did write a letter to his Majesty by a Scottish gentleman because he supposed himself to be in danger to be made away, wherein he offered a greater and farther discovery than any yet was made known to his Majesty.
2. He knoweth his discovery concerneth his Majesty never any more: and requireth me the B. of Bristol as I tender his Majesty and regard his highest services to make so much known to him, that some course may be taken that he may make known what hath been practised against his Majesty. Which as he knoweth to be suppressed so no discovery whatsoever can more concern his Majesty to know.
3. He saith he is disgraced and crossed for no cause but what doth concern his Majesty, that his Majesty might not know so huge and main a discovery, which by Udall and his proofs he is able to make known; which he saith his Majesty at first hearing will apprehend it, when he shall know (howsoever things are not smothered) such and such courses were for such a purpose, and such and such persons were employed for such ends.
4. He requireth that if the B. will ever do his Majesty a royal service, or his country the greatest good, that he move his Majesty in this his offer.
5. He prayeth trial, for that no subject durst against so potent adversaries offer this except he knew his grounds clear.
6. Except the King by himself or by some especially Scottish noblemen do enter into consideration of this weighty cause it will utterly be dashed and suppressed; and he saith that not only his Majesty's security standeth upon this discovery, but, &c.
7. He allegeth practices to make him away, but saith if he be made away we are all in danger; no man will dare discover, but every one shift for himself.
8. He desireth some to be sent to examine what he can say and to set it down in writing, and then his Majesty shall find never was the like offer of discovery made to a King.
9. He understandeth that suits were made for them who practised against the King, but complaineth of cruelty against him, and that none dare speak for him who seeketh to preserve the King.
10. He maketh this offer for no other respect but to discharge his duty to God, his loyalty to the King, his country and his dearest friends.
11. He wisheth there might be no delay for examining him, nescimus enim qua hora venturus est fur. If he be not heard his Majesty will never know wherein the greatest danger lieth.
12. He requireth that if Ralegh be pardoned, to make ten times the more haste.
13. And so concludeth, if the B. take not time while he may, frustra dolebit amissum; and demandeth what king was that which should be invited to a solemn 'jusse" or triumph to Oxford, and what was the mystery that Irish causes before her Majesty's death were so compounded.
Endorsed by Cecil: "B. of Bristol," 2 pp. (102. 42.)
[William Udall ?] to —.
[1603, ? Nov.] My good Lord, albeit this day I could not discover matters so far as I must and will, yet I doubt not but your Honour did perceive most indirect and strange courses held with me, although far from that which you shall find if matters may be examined to the full, as my hope is they shall now, since I find your Honour is directed by his Majesty to hear me. I must take this course to deal resolutely and plainly with you, and must tell you that I am very sorry that Sir William Waade saw any of these articles before I had spoken privately with you. I found him this day a far other man than when I was last before him. This day he seemed to farther those discoveries which before he suppressed in all show of extremity against me. Till I have made a further discovery and matters be further examined, make nothing that I write known to any Englishman whatsoever but only to the King and to yourself as in my discovery you shall find just cause.
If this late letter which I have sent to his Majesty and upon which your Honour cometh to hear me had been the first offer that I had made of this service, there might have been cause of suspicion that I might make this offer upon some indirect meaning, but if you find that my offer was made many times both before his Majesty's coming to York, and before his coming to London, and before ever the plot of the Lord Cobham, the Lord Grey, and the rest, was heard of, you cannot but know that I had some great ground for what I did. But further when as you partly find and shall prove that my letters have been intercepted and suppressed several times, in which I have made offer of so great matters, and that I have been kept close prisoner, and laden with irons, and disgraced with false and odious inventions, my wife murdered, my children pitifully cast away for no cause in the world that can be alleged against me, but for offering these discoveries when my letters have been intercepted, both your Honour and his Majesty cannot but find that my enemies make proof for me that they fear I know somewhat more than they would the King or any nobleman of Scotland should know, otherwise why should they intercept my letters and use those extremities against me which they have done.
It concerneth his Majesty and all you noblemen of Scotland to examine every particular that I write, which course, if it be taken, my discovery will be justified by my very adversaries themselves. If I ever wrote [a] letter of discovery of matters for the King, or of any plot against him, why should any subject intercept it or keep it from him, and enforce me for my offer to that extremity which I have endured? How can this course be answered? But now that you may know what I can say to every article taken out of my letters, I will in order answer each article generally, as followeth.
Concerning the first, I did not write one letter to his Majesty, but several letters, and at several times to make as much known as now I will, which importeth his Majesty to know how and by whom they were suppressed and upon what causes. First before his Majesty came to York, and I think, before he came into England, being then able to bring my authors at an hour's warning in London, I sent in all haste for these two Scottishmen, Mr. James Hammilton and one Alexander Daniellson. The first serveth the Duke of Lennox, the second dwelleth at the sign of the Unicorn, and to them I discovered that I was able to make proof of a plot against the King, and by my letters to Mr. Hamilton, and my speeches to them both, I vehemently importuned that I might by their means either be brought to the king, or to some Scottish nobleman, to make this known in all haste; upon what cause they dealt no further in this matter I leave to further examination.
But hearing no more of Mr. Hamilton whom I especially trusted, I made a kind of an offer to Watson the priest under colour to discover the author of the book which was printed in Paris for the French King's title, supposing that Watson had been a true man to the King, but upon so small a show made to Watson, by what practice I know not, trial will discover it. But there was sent unto me a Scottish woman, called by her husband Marie Basset, well known to Mr. Hammilton, and to divers Scottishmen. This woman, whom I had no cause then to suspect, made me offer by herself and the Herrys to deliver what I would to the King for my good, whereupon in my zeal I wrote both to his Majesty, and to the Lord Herrys, vehemently importuning my access for this discovery. So soon as she had these letters she carried them, as I was told since, to the Lord Cecil, where I never heard more of them but what was uttered by Levinus [Monck], the Lord Cecil's secretary, that that Scottish woman brought those letters to his lordship.
After this one Bayleys, a prisoner then here, and partly acquainted with these matters, being come new out of France, in discourse made show of his knowledge, whereupon we both joined, and I wrote the letters in his name, making an offer of the same matters to the Bishop of London, with this regard, that if what I wrote were entertained we would descend to particulars, if not, that which was written was too much for these offers. How and upon [what] cause the offer was refused, my Lord of London doth best know. All this and more was done, before ever any word was known abroad of Lord Cobham or Sir Walter Rawley.
When Sir Walter Rawley and the Lords were publicly discovered, I then expected daily further discoveries of greater matters and thought that my service was prevented. But being in daily expectation till the King's coronation and finding nothing in show, but idle inventions to that which was discovered to me, I began presently after the coronation to revive my former offer, and sent my wife with letters to the Court, some to Sir James Elveston, making this offer, and another to Sir Thomas Heskitt. The letter to Sir Thomas Heskitt was lost or stolen from my wife, but before ever I could write another I was shut up close prisoned, which I have endured now 19 weeks, kept from wife and children, and my wife murdered I fear, because nobody should make this matter known, and I doubt not but by anything that could be alleged against me before your Honour by Sir William Waade, you could find no cause why I should be either close, or put into irons.
Being close prisoned and more careful of his Majesty than of myself, and knowing there could be no cause against me, neither did Sir William Waade, at my being before him, object any other but what did concern his Majesty, in my loyalty, I sought by all possible means to write to his Majesty. All passages were stopped or crossed. At length some six days before the arraignment at Winchester I wrote a very vehement letter to his Majesty of a sheet of paper. That letter did touch to the purpose. This letter I sent to Alexander Danielson, who undertook to send it in all haste to the King by some Scottish nobleman, he named Sir George Douglas. What became of that letter I know not, but in four days after I was cast into monstrous bolts, and lay fourteen days upon my back, not able to stir otherwise, for what cause alleged your Honour heard. This letter I wrote before the arraignment, because I would give his Majesty a taste beforehand how matters would go at the arraignment. And if Sir Walter Rawley be pardoned, and Lord Cobham, I am nothing deceived as you shall find in the following discourse.
But these letters of all my letters I beseech you might be called for, because they did touch, and the withholding of them from the King may perhaps discover further mysteries in the concealing of them.
This Alexander Danielson, who was trusted with these letters, dwelleth, as I wrote before, at the sign of the Unicorn at Charing Cross. I may not forget, as you heard this day Sir William Waade said he never heard of my irons, nor of my usage, and that he would have received any letter from me. Mr. James Hamilton and the Bishop of Winchester's steward both together offered him a letter from me at Winchester, which he utterly refused to read, when he heard it was from me.
It is well known to the Bishop of Bristowe, to the Lord Cecil, [and] to Sir John Stanhope that I have complained twice of vehement suspicion of poisoning in this prison, once when a dog was poisoned with my meat, and now to be used with irons as I have been, I appeal to your Honour what cause I had to stand in doubt, when as the keeper allegeth no cause of my irons but his own authority to keep me safe. But this is known, the keeper put upon his authority and displeasure five of his prisoners into irons without all cause, whereof two of them died presently upon it, and all the rest died shortly afterward. The plague hath excused many murders, but it is known the two first died of no plague at all. So it was thought that I lying in irons in cold, without fire, light, or apparel with grief and discontent would be made away, as long I could not have lived, except his Majesty had relieved me.
For the second article it shall be set down when I set down to you to-morrow the plot. Then shall you find whether that which I write down do not highly import.—Undated.
Unsigned. 4 pp. (103. 69 (2, 3).)
Sir James Lindesay.
1603, Nov. Pass for Sir James Lindesay and retinue, repairing into France for his Majesty's service.—From the Court at Wilton this [blank] of November, 1603.
Signed: "E. Worcester, Ro. Cecyll." Seal. ½ p. (102. 43.)
The King to Sir Thomas Parry.
[1603, Nov.] Having received in your last dispatch a letter from the Nuncio at Paris containing divers articles from the Pope concerning us, with a letter inclosed from the Cardinal Aldebrandino directed to the Nuncio, we think it fit to give you instructions, how to answer him, in our name. You shall let him know, that we observe so many arguments of honour and integrity in this and many other the Pope's carriages towards us, as we must needs acknowledge, that no message could be more acceptable to us, nor any mean so agreeable, as himself to deal between us. We confess that nothing has distracted us than how to cherish a sound and lawful correspondency, without being subject to those inconveniences which often happen to princes. Of all which doubts we are now sufficiently relieved by the interposition of one who has so well approved his upright carriage towards all and [his] particular goodness to ourselves. So for our further testimony of our confidence in him, you shall now declare that we would not only have him truly understand what has passed before our coming to this crown (upon like occasion given by a letter and message sent us, before the Queen's death, from the Pope by one of our own subjects) but are desirous also he should have the sole conduct hereafter of all our correspondencies. For the points contained in his articles touching the Pope's reason for forbearing to send any embassy, for his resolution to revoke all turbulent Catholics, and in case of disobedience to excommunicate them, the excuse from Cardinal Aldebrandino, for slander cast upon him about the Duke of Parma; fourthly his report of the prayers used in Rome for our preservation; lastly for the Nuncio's desire to be assigned some person in our behalf to confer with him upon such accidents as may occur, you shall first, in the general, give him this assurance, that our desire to yield him a just requital shall ever be worthy of our profession as an absolute Christian King or as a civil honest man.
And now for answer to the articles—first, concerning the forbearing to send any ambassador, the Pope has shown therein both his wisdom and affection in sparing those formalities which might cross the substance of our amities. For the second, his offer to make difference between those that follow the rules of conscience only and others that delight in turbulent practices is so great an argument of the equity of his judgment, as we assure ourselves, so to use our authority over our people, as neither himself, nor any other of clear understanding, shall have reason to mislike the course of our government; which we seek to establish by no other means than by a provident and temperate administration. For the third and fourth, wherein the Cardinal Aldebrandino advertises the general voice at Rome of well-wishing to our state, and excuses the slanderous report of his practices against us, we desire he may also know our contentment for the first, and how thankfully we take his care to satisfy us for the second.
Lastly for the Nuncio to be assigned a meet person to confer with him, as occasion shall happen, we assent most willingly to that motion, and authorise you to correspond with him at all times, as in both your discretions you shall think fittest.
It now remains to touch the second point which concerns the narrative of that which passed before. We think fit, in the first place, to set down our excuse in that the Pope has had no answer, till now, to that dispatch, which he sent by a subject of ours, Sir James Lindsay, and next to impart to the Nuncio not only the instructions he had from us, but the particular credit given him also at that time. For which purpose you shall let him know that some few months before the late Queen died the Pope made choice of the party aforesaid, and sent him to us with a courteous letter and kind profession of friendship, besides a particular offer to prevent and divert all such pretensions or practices as might be most prejudicial to our right, adding further that if we could be contented to transfer the education of our son to his appointment, that he would largely assist us with such sums of money as might serve to establish us in this crown which we now possess. To these propositions we cannot deny but we were very desirous to return such answer as might yield him satisfaction, according to honour and reason, and therefore thought it most convenient then to return an answer by the same person whom he had chosen. Whereupon we dispatched him, long before the Queen our sister deceased, with the instructions inclosed, so as it may well appear that the Pope had long since been informed fully of our intentions, if a long-lasting sickness had not first disabled the gentleman to go on his journey, and the great accident of the Queen's death (together with our coming hither) bred such a conceit in him, that we would have made some change of the former instructions and verbal credit as he resolved to come after us into this country, and here has followed our Court, a good while, till he found we had no more [to] say to him. As therefore he had before in Scotland all that he carries now either by word or writ, the Pope will be easily satisfied that our answer stayed not through coolness on our part then, nor that the augmentation of fortune now has effected any change of our affection to yield him all honourable and civil observation. And forasmuch as we considered, when we gave him his dispatch in Scotland, that many things were fitter for memory than for paper, we are desirous the Nuncio should both peruse the instruction, and know by you the furthest of his verbal commission upon these articles, lest the gentleman, being sickly, should perish by accident, or mistake any essential point in his relation.
For the first part therefore, containing our referring the reasons (for our not writing) to his report, they are in effect no more than such as were before mentioned, for the inconveniency of sending an ambassador. For such are those circumstances which are to be observed in letters between princes, as either we must have scandalised our own private conscience and public fame with other princes and people of our profession, by giving the Pope in our letters all his usual titles, or else have given him some cause to conceive great discourtesy by coming short of that which he conceives his due.
For the second, concerning the bestowing of our own son, which is a point of greatest consequence, we desire he may clearly understand the reasons which we then gave for the same: first that it were an unnatural thing for us, whose education from our cradle has been always in the contrary, to deliver over the child of our body to be nourished in that doctrine, whereof ourselves were never yet persuaded. Secondly we added this other argument that if we would have assented to any such thing out of any other private end, yet he was not ours only as the child of a natural father, but as an heir apparent to our body politic, in whom our state and kingdom are essentially interested. Of that point therefore we commanded him to speak so plainly, without further temporising, being in a matter so repugnant to our conscience and safety.
To the third we can say no more than is contained in our answer to the Nuncio himself, for thankful acceptation of all the Pope's courtesies mentioned in his letter.
Lastly for the article in the instructions, as some words may give some colour for a messenger to enlarge his speech, we think fit hereby to set down shortly the effect thereof, viz., that in the religion we profess we found so much comfort and peace of conscience, as we could never change but by the growth of better reason, yet should our constancy to that religion beget no such severity toward those who are otherwise persuaded, but that they may enjoy under us the same fruits of justice, comfort, and safety, which others of our people do, till we shall find that disloyalty is covered with the mask of conscience. We have ever desired that all manner of differences were so well reconciled as we have always wished, and so do still, that some good course might be taken by a general council, lawfully called, whereby it might once for all be made manifest, which is the doctrine of antiquity nearest succeeding to the primitive church. There is nothing savouring of greatest antiquity in the Church of God, which we would not have duly observed, if it can be justly maintained by the word in Holy Scriptures. So far we protest are we from any wilful, obstinate, or pre-occupied passion as we would with our heart yield to an uniformity in all things that should not directly tend to maintain corruption utterly repugnant to the word of God, that thereby the peace and union of all the Christian Church might be procured.
Thus have you now a true deduction of the first and last of all that passed between us, by which we desire that the Nuncio will seriously recommend this one request of ours, that whensoever our proceeding towards him or any of his shall be scandalised by false or factious rumours, he will hold the same course which we intend towards him, to suspend his judgment till he hear our answer.—Undated.
Draft. Unsigned. (112. 150.)
[Two Latin versions of this letter of which one is printed in extenso in Dodd's Church History (ed. Tierney), App. pp. lxvilxxi, appended to a draft letter from Cecil to Sir Thomas Parry, dated 6 Nov. 1603 are in S.P. For., France, L.]
Corrected copy of the preceding. 10 pp. (134. 74.)
Edmund Nicholson to [the Council.]
[1603, Nov.] Praying that he may have recompense for large stores of arms furnished by him in the late Queen's time for the use of the trained bands in Ireland and left on his hands owing to the conclusion of peace and the cessation of a demand for warlike provisions.—Undated.
Petition. 1 p. (197. 33.)


  • 1. See below, p. 387.