Cecil Papers: October 1579

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 2, 1572-1582. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.

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'Cecil Papers: October 1579', in Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 2, 1572-1582( London, 1888), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol2/pp267-274 [accessed 25 July 2024].

'Cecil Papers: October 1579', in Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 2, 1572-1582( London, 1888), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol2/pp267-274.

"Cecil Papers: October 1579". Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 2, 1572-1582. (London, 1888), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol2/pp267-274.

October 1579

761. The Consultations at Greenwich respecting the Queen's Marriage with the Duke of Anjou.
1579, Oct 2. The order to be observed in these consultations is to consider : (1.) What dangers may follow to her Majesty's person, to her Government, and to the state of the realm in general, if she shall not marry : (2.) How these dangers may be removed or withstood : (3.) What dangers may follow to her person and government and to the realm if she shall marry : (4.) What profits or benefits may accrue by such marriage : (5.) To compare together the dangers that may attend her not marrying and her marriage respectively; and finally, if her marriage shall seem to be accompanied by the lesser perils, to consider in what order and with what cautions and provisions the same is to be pursued.
If her Majesty shall resolve not to marry, the following dangers are likely to ensue :
All such as look upon any special person as her Majesty's successor in right or otherwise will secretly, yea and openly also as they dare, incline themselves and induce others to seek the favour of such a person; for the people will, as the old saying is, look potius ad orientem quam occidentem solem.
The good and faithful subjects who have long desired her Majesty's marriage will be greatly discontented and deeply grieved, as though her Majesty had no care over them, but only to provide for herself, and to leave them and their posterity to the mercy of “the bloody heyres.” Her Majesty's own person will be in more danger, lacking a child, from the attempts of wicked subjects and foreign enemies.
Division must needs follow amongst her subjects especially in matters of religion, a successor being hoped for who will restore popery and extirpate the true religion, in which there would be no lack of assistance from abroad.
Nothing could be looked for from abroad but displeasure both from France, Spain, and the Pope, who although they have hitherto forborne to offend her Majesty with any open invasion, would show great wisdom by sending some part of their forces to England, Scotland and Ireland, to stir up civil wars in each of those countries, of which Scotland has already shown a disposition to quarrel with her Majesty.
For the removal of these dangers, Her Majesty is to rely on the love and goodwill of her subjects, which she is to continue by zealously upholding the laws established for the protestant religion, by which the numbers of her devout subjects will continue and daily increase, and those of a contrary religion will diminish.
She is also to continue the devotion of her people to her, by due and upright execution of her laws, for which purpose godly learned and sufficient men should be appointed, who will exercise their offices without partiality. And generally her Majesty is to punish, and in no wise to pardon, two notable crimes that do greatly offend her people; that is Piracies, and Forgers of false moneys, faults not pardonable by laws of other countries. And also it is more than needful that penal laws be not dispensed withal for private men's profits, a matter generally misliked by all good people.
In observing this manner of Government in these and all other like cases, it is most probable that her Majesty will have such a reputation amongst her people, that whilst her life shall be prolonged by their daily intercession, many accidents may happen abroad in the world to alter the malice of her enemies, or the ambitious gaping for her death by any in respect of Titles.
The keeping under the bonds of law the evil-contented subjects for Religion or Faction is the best bridle to stay them from all dangers. They should also be kept as far as possible from any office of power or credit, and from the possession of any defensive armour. To avoid the hope that rebels or enemies may have of a Person “kept in store at home” meet to be made the head, more stringent laws should be provided by which that hope or possibility would be made weaker for doing harm during her Majesty's life; and if thereto were added that, if any faction of such person should either move sedition at home or notorious preparation of forces abroad in her favour, she should be the first that should suffer for it,” there would in all likelihood be a general forbearance, or a great wariness of all attempts to be made during her Majesty's life, for the said Queen's advancement or enlargement. If good government be at home, and the hope of inward troubles stayed, the outward shall be the less perilous, and yet of necessity they must be provided for. It is shown by experience that nothing hath hitherto so much stayed the two great kings of France and Spain from offending this realm as their own domestic troubles. It therefore behoves her Majesty, in her own defence, to foster them as much as possible by rendering all the assistance in her power, in men or money, or both, to the oppressed protestants in those countries; and to that end it would be well to contract a league offensive and defensive for religion, with the King of Navarre, in the name of all the Protestants of France and of the Low Countries.
Besides this diverting of wars from the realm, it will be needful for her Majesty to put all her realm in strength, both by sea and land. To this end sufficient treasure might be procured of the gift of the realm, which aboundeth in riches, “as may be seen by the general excess of the people in purchasing, in buildings, in meat, drink, and feastings, and notably in apparel.” For this purpose two subsidies might be levied, one as a gift and one as a loan merely. A number of good captains and horsemen should also be kept in readiness. Her Majesty might also, seeing she hath no child to be her heir, increase her treasure by selling, or letting in fee-farm, some portion of her own possessions.
Her Majesty, in respect that the King and realm of Scotland professeth her religion, would do well to join him also in the league with the King of Navarre, and so to keep him and his people from the attempts of France or other foreign states. And as he is unmarried and but poor, her Majesty would do well to win him by kindness and liberality to marry either in England or Scotland, and so to have nothing to do with strangers. Some part of the charge which her Majesty is at with the Queen of Scots might be converted to her son for this purpose. The merchants of Scotland might also be allured by the grant by law of certain immunities and graces as they have in France.
Lastly, with regard to the offence that might be taken by the Duke of Anjou at his refusal, it might be alleged that such refusal does not proceed from any will of her Majesty, but from the alteration of her people's minds, who fear that by the conjunction of the two crowns of England and France, this realm might be brought into subjection. So that his rejection doth not proceed from any lack of worthiness in him, but he is rather wisely forborne “for his over much greatness.”
The dangers that may follow this marriage are :—
Doubtfulness to have a child or doubtfulness of safe delivery.
Discontentation to herself if she should have no children.
Discontentation if he should become French King and so depart from her as King Philip did from Queen Mary.
Discontentation if she should find him not to be beloved and honoured of her people generally, or that he should seek not to observe sincerely all pacts made for preserving of religion or for the continuance of the subjects of the Realm in their liberties and honours.
1. Because he professeth a religion contrary to the Queen there can be hardly hoped a hearty love of Her Majesty.
2. By reason of his religion such as are the worst subjects of her Majesty, yea, her rebels abroad, the obstinate papists at home will take no comfort of her life or “regiment”; all these will in their hearts love and honour the Duke, and he cannot in good reason hate them or wish them evil, so that it may be feared to be pronounced Regnum in se divisum desolabitur.
3. It may be doubted that, considering he is much younger than the Queen, and may also in her lifetime become King of France; that if he shall overlive her without children, he may either by his greatness keep possession, or marry some person unmeet for the “Realm that shall have some colour of title, by whom religion shall be altered, and all those that oppose themselves shall be “disherysed,” as was in the time of William the Conqueror.”
4. The greatest mischief that can come to the perpetual diminution of the glory of this kingdom, is the possibility that, in the issue male of him, being French King, the Crown of England shall be spoiled of the comfort of a King, and shall be subject to a Vice-Roy.
The profits that may come to the Realm by Her Majesty's marriage are the following :—
By marriage with Monsieur she is likely to have children, because of his youth, and thereby the greatest danger which threatens the state, that of dissensions after her death in consequence of the uncertainty of the succession, and of the Government falling by means of the sword into the hands of a person who would wholly extirpate by fire and sword the profession of the Gospel, would be avoided. And though it may be alleged that the marriage with Monsieur may, in process of time, bring the realm to the like peril, yet the fear thereof, being conditional and not certain, is to be preferred to a matter absolute and without condition.
This marriage will also bring profit to the Realm not only by the avoidance of great dangers but also by the alliance with a foreign Prince and by the addition to its forces of the assistance and power which he either hath or may have. It will also be a cause to stay the dangers that are to be feared from the French King, who, when he findeth his brother husband to the Queen of a great realm, who also favoureth those whom the French King most feareth in his own realm, will rather make fair weather and offer friendship than dare to offend him. Again, though Monsieur doth not profess any other than the Catholic religion, all his proceedings and actions, yea his protestations published to the world, manifestly testify his countenance of the Protestant religion both in France and in the Low Countries, on whose behalf he did not hesitate to take up arms against his brother; whereas here he will be married to the Queen of a Realm which she commandeth absolutely and where she is generally loved and obeyed, himself being but as a private man for power to offend first the Queen his wife, and then hazard his person and life againt the force of the Realm.
And yet no benefit can be derived from this marriage unless wise provisions are established to withstand certain apparent dangers; which being done as far as the wisdom of man can devise, the event is to be left to God, to whom intercession should be made to direct her Majesty to that which shall be most for her honour, her comfort, and the weal of her subjects.
Minutes by Lord Burghley. 15 pp.
[Murdin, pp. 322–331. In extenso.]
762. The Queen's Marriage.
1579, Oct. 4. “Certen notes whereuppon arguments may be made as well in favor as in disfavor of hir Majeste's mariadg.”
In Lord Burghley's hand. 5 pp.
[The substance of these notes is repeated in other documents bearing on the same subject.]
763. The Queen's Marriage.
1579, Oct. 4. Notes, by Lord Burghley, of the dangers for lack of marriage and succession, with their remedies.
1 p.
764. Minute by Lord Burghley respecting the Queen's Marriage.
1579, Oct. 6. Did recite to the council the process from the beginning of the motions made respecting Her Majesty's marriage, stating that at all times when such was treated of the self same articles were propounded as are now, and that there was never made by any counsellor such objections to the marriage as are now made. That is to say that the marriage “cold not be but daungerous to relligion, unsure to hir Majesty, and unproffitable to the realm.” It must therefore be considered that as Her Majesty did heretofore proceed without any such objection, some other matter has now arisen.
½ p.
765. The Anjou Marriage.
1579, Oct. 7. A recapitulation of the reasons to assent to the Queen's marriage, “if she shall lyke Monsieur, and shall be content with such sufficient provisions and conditions as may be resonably required for avoydyng of all inconveniencies voydable by man's wisdom.”
It is to be noted that this assent is not simple but with two conditions; the one that she shall so like the Duke's person as to marry him; the other that she shall assent to all needful provisions beforehand. As to the first, there are more conjectures of her liking him than of the contrary, or otherwise it were but labour lost to pursue the matter further. First, she hath assented divers times to the French Ambassadors that she had a mind to marriage; secondly, that she liked the house of France as well as any other; and thirdly, that if she and he should like one another, which could only be ascertained by an interview, she would assent to this marriage; and yet by the consent of both it was wisely agreed that if there should be any cause of misliking on her part towards him, it should not be alleged as the cause of breaking off the marriage, but that the articles of religion should bear the burden. Well, she did assent to an interview, and on his coming privately hath seen, and had conference with him continually many days; and now, he being gone, she requireth advice what her Council shall think meet for her to do. If she did not like him, then she need not make any such question, for according to agreement the breach might have been put upon the points of religion.
Secondly, that she liketh him is still more probable from her having oftentimes pronounced these speeches : “that she will never any (if she shall marry) but hym”; and also “that she doth not mislyk of hym.” And most of those about her know that she never speaketh of him but with great allowance of his nature and conditions; and lastly, she seemeth not pleased with any person or with any argument appearing to mislike of the marriage.
With reference to the second condition, the inconveniences that may follow this marriage are many and of divers natures; some being without remedy and yet to be counter-balanced by certain reasons; others being within the compass of such provisions as wisdom can devise. To the first belong the fact of his being a Frenchman, & the heir apparent to the French Crown &c. To the second, his being of a contrary religion to Her Majesty, which is indeed a great inconvenience; but, inasmuch as he is not such a papist as to condemn Her Majesty's religion, or to mislike her on that account, and hath moreover shewn and doth shew favour to the Protestants in France whilst sundry times suffering dangers by means of the papists, it may be made tolerable by the imposition upon him of certain conditions and restrictions.
Minute, by Lord Burghley. 4 pp.
766. The Queen's Marriage.
1579, Oct. 7 & 8. “A messadge accorded in full Counsell to be delyvered to hir Majesty by the Lord Tresurer, Lord Admyrall, Erl of Sussex & Erl of Lecester, which was pronounced by the Lord Tresurer.”
That they have communed upon the matter of the marriage only by considering the benefits to accrue therefrom and the dangers in not marrying, with the provisions for the same, without proceeding to any full resolution, as is usual in such consultations, feeling that, inasmuch as her Majesty's own wishes and disposition are principally to be regarded, it was their duty first to offer to her Majesty all their services and counsel to do what best shall please her.
They therefore beg her Majesty to pardon their delay and, if she will shew to them any inclination of her mind, they will so proceed that her honour shall be preserved, and whatsoever may seem burdensome they will bear with common consent. Moreover each Councillor will at her pleasure deliver to her his opinions, whereby she may alter her mind if she will and lay what burden she pleases upon them. If it shall not please her to grant this petition, or if it shall be too tedious to her to hear so many, they desire to know her commandment whether they shall proceed to a full resolution in Council or shall forbear.
This message was reported to her Majesty in the forenoon, and she allowed very well of the dutiful offer of their services; nevertheless she uttered many speeches, and that not without shedding of many tears, that she should find in her Councillors by their long disputations any disposition to make it doubtful whether there could be any more surety for her and her realm than to have her marry and have a child of her own body to inherit, and so to continue the line of Henry the Eighth; and she said she condemned herself of simplicity in committing this matter to be argued by them, for that she thought to have rather had a universal request made to her to proceed in this marriage than to have made doubt of it, and being much troubled thereby she requested them to forbear her till the afternoon.
In the afternoon they came to know her pleasure and then she began to shew her great misliking of such as she thought would not proffer her marriage before any device of surety, and with a great number of arguments seemed to reprove them; and because she understood that the doubt of any change or hindrance of religion by reason of Monsieur being of a contrary faith was entertained, she marvelled “that any person wold thynk so slenderly for hir, as that she wold not for God's cause, for hirself, hir suerty, and hir people, have so streight regard therto as none ought to make that such a dout as for it to forbear marriadg, and to have the Crown settled in hir chyld.”
Finally, the before-named reported her Majesty's great misliking and the earnest disposition for this marriage they conceived in her; and thereupon, after long consultations, all the Council agreed upon a new offer to be made to her Majesty of all their services in furtherance of the marriage if it should so please her.
Die Jovis, 8 October 1579.”
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord Admiral, the Earls of Sussex and Leicester, Lord Hunsdon, Mr. Treasurer, the Lord President, Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, Mr. Secretary Wilson, Sir Peter Sadler and Sir Walter Mildmay came all to her Majesty and by the mouth of the Lord Chancellor offered their services in furtherance of the marriage if it should so like her; whereunto they were moved by two considerations, the one that her Majesty by treating with this Prince appeared to incline to marriage, which was a thing desired by them all; the other, because they had heard that her Majesty had said that if she should marry she would have him or none, and also that she misliked him not.
Her Majesty's answers were very sharp in reprehending all such as she thought would make arguments against her marriage, and though she thought it not meet to declare to them whether she would marry with Monsieur or no, yet she looked from their hands that they should with one accord have made special suit to her for the same.
Minute, in Lord Burghley's hand. 3 pp.
[Murdin, p. 336. In extenso.]
767. The Duke of Anjou to the Queen.
[1579], Oct. 10. Can never acquit himself to his own satisfaction of the obligation he owes her, but nevertheless seeks every opportunity of testifying his fidelity and desire to render her service.
She will already have heard from “nostre singe” of his departure from the Court and his reasons for so doing, of which he wishes her to be the judge, and to know if he deserves to be treated as he is in all things; his just requests, both on his own behalf and on that of his followers, being absolutely refused; from which he perceives to his great regret that the King has allowed himself to fall too much into the hands of those who cannot have his welfare nor that of his affairs so much to heart as himself. Considering all things has resolved to betake himself to his own house, there to await her Majesty's command. Hopes “nostre singe” will bring him some favourable resolution but is much in doubt, having learnt from his last despatch that her Majesty had retarded her parliament for a month in order in that time the better to ascertain the will of her people. Cannot imagine that her people could ever gainsay “une si belle royne qui les a tousjours tant bien gouvernés, quil ne se peut mieus en monarchie du monde.” Has commanded Simier if agreeable to her Majesty to return to him until such time as she can reconcile her people to her wishes.
If Simier can bring him good news he need not ask what reception he will meet with. Assures her that he will esteem him all the more because her Majesty thinks him worthy of her service and of the choice that he has made of him.
There are many who envy him on that account, but he need fear nothing so long as he has the happiness to enjoy her Majesty's good will.—Alençon, 10 October.
French. 3 pp.
768. The Queen's Marriage.
1579, Oct. 25. Minute of a consultation at Greenwich by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord Admiral, Lord Chamberlain, the E. of Leicester, Lord Hunsdon, Mr. Treasurer, Mr. Controller, the Lord President of Wales, Mr. Vice-Chamberlain and Mr. Mildmay.
Whether there can be any better surety provided for her Majesty than marriage, and whether it were better for her to live unmarried than to marry with the Duke of Anjou?
Answer : (1.) Every councillor wisheth and liketh her Majesty to marry and to have children to succeed her, and doth think it more surety for her than any other provision. (2.) Because her Majesty hath had an interview with the Duke, whereby she doth best know whether she hath liking to him or not, all the Councillors do offer their services and powers to her Majesty to favour the same if she shall like to marry him.
In Lord Burghley's hand.
1 p.