Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 22, 1612-1668. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1971.

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'Introduction', in Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 22, 1612-1668, ed. G Dyfnallt Owen( London, 1971), British History Online [accessed 19 July 2024].

'Introduction', in Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 22, 1612-1668. Edited by G Dyfnallt Owen( London, 1971), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024,

"Introduction". Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 22, 1612-1668. Ed. G Dyfnallt Owen(London, 1971), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024.

In this section


William Cecil, son of Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, was born on March 28, 1591. As a babe he ran the hazard of being suckled by a temperamental nurse who took such a proprietory interest in him, much to the alarm of the household, that "she cannot but he must be in the chamber, dinner and supper, otherwise she will die". (fn. 1) A much greater affliction overtook him in 1597 when he and his sister Frances, two years his junior, lost their mother. (fn. 2) They were fortunate enough to be able to find consolation in the genuine affection and solicitude of their aunt, Lady Stourton, and various friends of the family. In the case of William a further alleviation was provided by the company of Francis "the fool", to whom he became very attached. Whatever the standard of entertainment achieved by Francis as the family jester, he succeeded in winning the esteem of his patrons to the extent of having his portrait painted and hung in Salisbury House. (fn. 3)

No father in that competitive Elizabethan society could have paid more meticulous attention to the education of his son than did Sir Robert Cecil. On this matter he was to exercise a keen supervisory eye and a sharp admonitory tongue to the end of his life. Sir Robert may have hoped to inculcate in him some of his own delight in bibliophily which had moved one correspondent to declare that "he esteemed books more than gold". (fn. 4) In any case, if he visualized the prospect of his son's preferment within the exclusive circle of the Crown's ministers and officials, not even his great influence would necessarily suffice for that purpose, unless William displayed the qualities of an educated, widely travelled and accomplished person.

Like other boys of his rank William was precipitated at an early age into the world of tutors and text books, and gradually inured himself to the discipline and study imposed by the one and the other. By 1600 he was able to write a passable letter to his father in Latin, but his progress was accompanied by periodic indisposition. Indeed the state of his son's health and physical development was a perennial source of anxiety to Sir Robert Cecil, who often expressed deep concern about his slow rate of growth, and in language which sometimes hinted that William ought to be more disturbed about his shortness of stature. Sir Robert's own misfortune and resultant deformity may explain his agitation on this point, but in other respects he could not complain about his son's behaviour. William was thoroughly impregnated with the desire to show filial affection and submission in all questions relating to his educational and personal life. It was in this commendable state of docility that he was admitted to St. John's College, Cambridge, in Michaelmas term, 1602. It was his father's old college, and since then Sir Robert Cecil had added both strength and distinction to the Cecil entente with the University of Cambridge by becoming its Chancellor in 1601.

It was not long before William's tutor, Roger Morrell, (fn. 5) discovered that any "discontinuance from study" was liable to impair his pupil's grasp of approved subjects. He expostulated with the party responsible for such interruptions, none other than Sir Robert himself, and did not mince his words. "If therefore it might please you to continue him at his book without interrupting his course too often, it would further him greatly in his study; otherwise I shall not be able, considering his rawness, to do that good upon him that I heartily desire and you certainly expect." (fn. 6) After that, there were fewer diversions from the hard path of learning. Morrell, however, found himself saddled with a gratuitous obligation which he had not bargained for when he made his protest. It was that of compiling a daily report on William's progress and health. He might legitimately point out that this would be "as Sulpicius sometime did unto Tully, many letters uno exemplo, to one and the same effect", but he hurried to comply with the wishes of the Queen's Secretary of State. William, for his part, dutifully informed his father that he was exerting himself to win his tutor's commendation.

He might well have succeeded had not the death of the Queen brought into play new forces and influences from which he could not escape by the very nature of his relationship to the adroit statesman who was the principal manipulator of the dynastic change in 1603. The accession of James of Scotland to the English throne, and the unqualified trust reposed by him in the integrity as well as the dexterity of Sir Robert Cecil as his first minister of state, brought the latter to the height of political power. In 1605 he was created Earl of Salisbury, and William found himself being formally addressed at the age of fourteen as Viscount Cranborne.

The title need not have affected the even course of his lucubrations; his father's exalted position certainly did. It was natural that the King should take an interest in the son of his all-powerful Secretary of State, and it was politic, to say the least, that everything should be done by the father to encourage such interest. Cranborne was presented at Court and His Majesty "made much of him". Later, as the King began to extend his visits to Newmarket, Huntingdon, Royston and other localities accessible from Cambridge, Seton's Logicke and other text books were incontinently thrown aside, and the Viscount hastened to pay his respects to His Majesty and to participate in the functions and entertainments of the Court. The Earl of Salisbury could appreciate where all this expression of loyalty and devotion might eventually lead to. So could Roger Morrell, Cranborne's tutor, but his sense of direction vastly differed from that of the Secretary of State. In a report on his pupil he attempted to evaluate his virtues and defects as impartially as he could, but did not conceal the repugnance of the dedicated scholar to the frivolities of high society. "I willingly confess in him all complements of nature, all good parts of wit, capacity and memory, so that if there be anything amiss or wanting in him it is this; that he takes not that delight (which is indeed the only whetstone of the desire to learn and the spur that pricks every man forward to take pains) in his book that he does in other things, the true cause whereof I impute to nothing else but his often calling home and his long keeping from hence. . . . Neither can he go to his study all the day for revolving in his mind the sports and pastimes abroad in the world. The delights of the Court (if I may so say without offence) have greatly estranged, if not quite alienated, his mind from his books." (fn. 7)

Viscount Cranborne's pronounced inclination towards moderation in book learning could not be ignored, but between them the Earl of Salisbury and the University of Cambridge were determined to make a further effort to reconcile him to his studies. As a bait the University bestowed upon him the degree of M.A. (without exercises), while the Earl wrote exhaustively to Morrell on how to take a firmer grip on his pupil's wandering mind, and castigated his son for what seemed to be an addiction to horses and hounds. There followed two years of fitful attention on Cranborne's part before the struggle was given up. The Earl ventilated his displeasure in no uncertain terms in a letter to Morrell. "If you had given yourself a little more to put him into the ways which men provide for such as he is, without tying him and yourself to the old and dry exercises little better than the reading of Tullie's Epistles or qui mihi discipulus . . . it had not been possible for him to have made so little use of University life. For first, he cannot speak six words in Latin . . . in any part of 'storie' without book he is not able to show memory of 4 lines . . . for his logic a month would beget more knowledge than he has, in one of no greater capacity . . . if you say that his mind has affected other pleasant studies, either the mathematics, language, or that he has given himself to music [or] any other gentlemanlike quality, then must I answer you that I find no such thing, no, not so much as that he is able to write a fair hand." (fn. 8) The indictment was a severe one, although Morrell could find some comfort in the fact that the Earl did not exonerate himself entirely from blame, and that he still recognized the tutor as a person in whom Cranborne "has seen so good example for his manners, and avoiding vice or other infection to which ill company might have brought him".

The Earl of Salisbury, however, was aware that his son already enjoyed the good will of Prince Henry, the heir to the throne. It was a promising start in the world of royal patronage and court advancement reserved for young men of his rank and circumstances. Now that Cranborne was sixteen years of age, it was advisable that he should prosecute his advantage, and acquire a wider experience of men and affairs that would equip him for high office or a position of responsibility in the government of the country. Without further delay he left St. John's College, where he had spent five not entirely unprofitable years, and prepared himself for the second stage of his education.

Part II

In his essay on Travels Sir Francis Bacon had written that "travel in the younger sort is a part of education", and he undoubtedly reflected the prevailing opinion of contemporary English society. With his shrewd perception of the useful and the practical, he had also recommended that the young traveller should pay particular attention to the courts of princes, the fortifications of towns, navies, harbours, arsenals, money-markets, even the warehouses of foreign countries, and cultivate contacts with the secretaries and staffs of ambassadors. This advice was consonant with his cherished philosophical conviction that men should base their beliefs and actions on the proper observation and correct interpretation of facts. It also made it transparently clear that one fact, in the eminent author's view, which could conduce to the advancement of an able man's career as well as of his learning was the careful assembling and collation of political intelligence when he was abroad.

The Earl of Salisbury may have disputed certain notions of his more scholarly cousin, but he would have scarcely quarrelled with him on this point. It was the knowledge of foreign states, their internal politics and resources, their secret ambitions and military intentions, that had enabled his father and himself to steer a safe course through the rough seas of international diplomacy. The conflicting interests of England's neighbours were as irreconcilable as ever, and an uneasy peace was liable to be broken at any moment. It was imperative, as part of his political education, that Viscount Cranborne should become conversant with the conditions and affairs of continental states, and obtain a footing in their courts and society as one way of familiarizing himself with events. His breeding and status as the Earl of Salisbury's son would facilitate his entry into their social world. The Earl himself hoped that an intelligent curiosity guided by parental injunctions would combine to open Cranborne's mind to the real significance of political and economic developments.

At the beginning of 1608 he was sent to France to learn the language and improve himself in courtly manners. Again, as in his college days, his studies were interrupted by his father, but with greater justification on this occasion. It is very likely that Salisbury, now harnessed with the double yoke of Treasurership and Secretaryship and in indifferent health, considered the time opportune to ensure a greater measure of regularity in his son's domestic life, and of permanence in the King's known affection for him; the first by marriage and the other by a firmer attachment to the service of Prince Henry.

Feelings akin to friendship between the ministers of the Crown were only too rare. Normally they were conceivable strictly within the limits of accommodating interests, but the close understanding and collaboration between the Earl of Salisbury and the influential Howard family sometimes transcended mere political considerations. For Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk and Lord Chamberlain, Salisbury had real affection which was genuinely reciprocated, and it was to transmit this bond of inter-family solidarity to the second generation that both agreed to the marriage of Cranborne to Suffolk's daughter, Catherine. Molini, the Venetian Ambassador, however, brushed sentiment aside as the cardinal motive behind the alliance. In his view, it was a calculated move to reconcile the young Earl of Essex and the Devereux faction to the Earl of Salisbury who, supported by the Howards, had suppressed the rebellion of the Earl's father in 1601, with fatal results to that colourful and impetuous nobleman. "Though Essex is not rich nor in enjoyment of the power Lord Salisbury wields, yet if the latter were to die his son would not succeed to the influence and authority which his father possesses." (fn. 9) And Essex, it is implied, might find means and support to retaliate on the son if not disarmed in advance. If this was the correct reading of Salisbury's intentions, even here he showed his skill in handling people. For Essex too was married to another of Suffolk's daughters, Frances, and thrown so much into Cranborne's company that they became good friends. The spirit of Devereux revanchisme was well and truly exorcized.

Negotiations concerning a marriage had begun as far back as 1605, but it was only in July, 1608, that the terms were finalized and the contract signed. On the first of December, Cranborne and Catherine Howard were pronounced man and wife "privatly" in Lady Walsingham's house near the Tiltyard at Whitehall. Society lifted its eyebrows at the secrecy of the ceremony, and may have found plausible reasons to account for the absence of the bride's mother. John Chamberlain deplored the choice of the locality, "which methinks was not so fit, for holy things should be solemnised in holy places". (fn. 10) It was an inauspicious beginning to what turned out to be sixty years of happy companionship and exemplary family life.

With Cranborne's feet set firmly on marital ground, it was now possible to contemplate a resumption of his travels with greater confidence in his ability to resist the temptations of continental life. One matter still remained to be settled. A plan to ensure the continuance of Prince Henry's liking for Cranborne was quickly devised and implemented. The Earl of Salisbury wrote a flattering letter to the Queen, Anne of Denmark, with a request that she would use her influence to procure a place for Cranborne in the Prince's service. The Queen had never cared very much for the Earl, but it was probably a pleasant change to be asked to do a favour for him, which he could have obtained without her assistance anyway. Then followed an exchange of letters between Henry and Cranborne, in which the Prince assured him of his trust and friendship, and hoped that whatever Cranborne learned abroad would be of use to him later in his capacity as his servant. (fn. 11) It was enough of a royal commitment to satisfy the Earl of Salisbury.

Entrenched in the affection of wife and Prince, Cranborne was allowed little time to enjoy the company of either. He crossed to Calais on December 11, experiencing the tortures of seasickness, as he invariably did, (fn. 12) and returned to Paris. Henry IV of France might be reluctant to pay his debts to the English Crown, but he showed exceptional generosity to the son of the Lord Treasurer of England who was pressing him hard to discharge them. (fn. 13) Cranborne became a welcome visitor to the French Court, made many friends there, accompanied the French King on his excursions outside Paris, hunted the badger with the Dauphin at Fontainebleau, attended the Queen's ballet, and would have been gratified, no doubt, to hear that in a letter to King James, Henry had graciously remarked that Salisbury's son "promet destre vray ymytateur des vertus de son pere". (fn. 14) Between whiles he seems to have had his hands full in preventing bloodshed between high spirited Englishmen who had become infected with the prevailing French fashion for duels to the death. A lengthy tour to the west and south of France and to Geneva also permitted him to learn something of the disposition of Protestant strength in the provinces and Switzerland, and to please his father by keeping a diary in French.

Cranborne's natural inclination after this journey, which had seen him laid low with smallpox at La Rochelle, was to return home to his wife and friends. The Earl of Salisbury did not wish him to do so until he had completed two years of residence abroad. But neither did he desire him to spend all his time in Paris, where he was associating with too many Englishmen for the good of his French and, apparently, of his reputation as well. The disturbing news had already reached London of his unsuspected predilection for slipping into that city whenever the backs of his doctor and gentleman companion were turned. A solution that recommended itself was to send him to Germany to learn something of war, since there was every likelihood that the dispute over the Jülich-Cleves succession would erupt into hostilities. If Henry IV had actually joined his forces to prevent Imperialist and Spanish aggression, as he had proclaimed he would, Cranborne would probably have accompanied him and seen or taken part in military operations. The assassination of the French King in May, 1610, deprived him of that experience. Nevertheless, it was some consolation to exchange the gloomy atmosphere of the French Court for that of Whitehall, where active preparations were in hand for the investiture of the King's heir as Prince of Wales. Cranborne was accorded the privilege, together with his cousin Lord Burghley, of holding the King's train when that ceremony was ostentatiously performed on 4 June, 1610. (fn. 15)

In September he crossed the Channel again, bound on an arduous itinerary to Italy. He had strict injunctions from the Earl of Salisbury not to stray inadvertently into Papal territories, and not to be so "indiscreet as to stir abroad in the night where murders and mischief are lawless". Cranborne covered the distance between Calais and Venice in slightly under two months. With unremitting precision he noted down in his diary the towns he passed through and the mileage separating them, with as many items of touristic interest as the speed of his journey allowed him to register. At Padua he became dangerously ill, a condition which persuaded him that he was not the stuff of which seasoned travellers are made. Even the thought that he had not completed his travels according to his father's express wishes no longer deterred him from leaving Italy, and he passed through the Tyrol, Germany and Holland as fast as horse, coach or boat could carry him, arriving at Calais in about six weeks. It had been an exhausting journey, but he had shown remarkable energy and physical endurance for a young man of nineteen; had met rulers and statesmen of European fame, amongst them Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy and Maurice, Prince of Orange; and had paid dutiful reverence to the antiquities and artistic treasures of Italy. He never set foot outside his native island again.

Part III

For the next year or so, Cranborne led the pleasant life of an attentive and much favoured courtier, in constant attendance on the Prince who had set up his own court at St. James's Palace. He shared enthusiastically in the Prince's sports and entertainments, in hunting, tilting and gambling, and in tennis, but apparently was outmatched on that court by his friend Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery. From time to time he was selected by the King for such privileged duties as receiving and conducting Venetian ambassadors to their audiences, and handing His Majesty's napkin to him at a State banquet. There was every prospect that his assiduity and devotion would be suitably rewarded in time, despite the crush and clamour of other contestants for royal indulgence.

1612 proved to be a climacteric year for Cranborne, for Fate dealt him two crushing blows, reserving a third—with a more insidious effect—for future application. On 24 May, the Earl of Salisbury died on his way home from Bath, where he had been seeking relief from a recurrence of a severe illness by immersion in its famous waters. Cranborne's world of an agreeable society and courtly distractions crumbled around him, and he found himself face to face with certain unpleasant realities. One was the staggering debt of £38,000 which the Lord Treasurer had left behind him. Another was the unexpected vindictiveness with which the late Earl of Salisbury was charged with irregularities in his personal and ministerial life. It was a deliberate campaign of vilification, which was certainly not moderated by Sir Francis Bacon's observations on deformity in another of his essays, in which the public chose to see a true to life delineation of his deceased cousin. Cranborne could deal with the financial obligations, onerous as they were; it was a matter of disposing of some portions of his patrimony to meet them, as well as of recruiting a reliable and competent body of estate and household officials to undertake the thorough administration of the substantial property that still remained. As for the defence of the Earl of Salisbury's reputation and integrity, he could safely leave that to such estimable politicians and diplomatists as Sir Walter Cope and Sir Henry Wotton. What he could not hope to retrieve was the loss of his father's shrewd advice and guidance. For many years undeviating compliance with the Lord Treasurer's wishes had bred in him a feeling of dependence and lack of confidence. These were hardly the weapons with which to try conclusions with more assertive rivals and self-reliant friends. It was now that Cranborne began to show signs of that irresolution and vacillation which were to render him suspect, even obnoxious, to some of his contemporaries in the course of time, often without justification.

If the Lord Treasurer's death threw Cranborne, now Earl of Salisbury, on his own resources, that of Prince Henry on 6 November in the same year dashed his hopes of increasing them. Although some of the apparatus of a separate household was transferred to the next heir to the throne, Charles, Duke of York, he was too young and sickly to be invested with the prerogatives of his brother as Prince of Wales. Inevitably the pendulum of royal favour swung back to the King's Court at Whitehall. But circumstances were less propitious than before for meritorious but modest young courtiers like the new Earl of Salisbury. The King recovered from the death of his eldest son with a facility that barely concealed his want of grief. "We heare," wrote John Chamberlain, "that the King begins to disgest his late losse and seems to have no more feeling of so rude a blowe." (fn. 16) The fact was that James had already transferred his affection to Robert Carr, his former page and the first of the two favourites who were to play havoc with the credit, policies and finances of the government during the remainder of the reign. By 1613, Carr had been created Earl of Somerset, had married the Earl of Essex's wife Frances after a undignified show of divorce proceedings, and had allied himself with the Howard family who were now all-powerful at the Court.

As son-in-law of Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, now Lord High Treasurer, and brother-in-law of the King's favourite, Cranborne might have been expected to exploit his family connections for his own advantage. If he did so, little came of it. In any case, events were soon to show that anyone claiming relationship with the dominant clique at the Court laid himself open to the most unforeseen and calamitous consequences. The sickbed confession of a former London apprentice in Brussels led to a series of disclosures which implicated the Countess of Somerset in the suspected murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower of London a few years previously. The trial which opened in October, 1615, uncovered a dreadful conspiracy of practising sorcerers, corruptible apothecaries, murderous servants and timorous officers of state to dispatch Overbury by poison. The inevitable executions followed, but the Countess and Somerset were reprieved by the King and forced into dishonourable retirement.

What Somerset and his wife had done to damage the position of the Howards by their misdemeanours made it all the easier for the King's second favourite, Sir George Villiers, to ruin it irremediably. Created Earl of Buckingham in 1617, he took advantage of the disorderly state of the country's finances to support charges of peculation and misappropriation against the Earl of Suffolk in the following year. Suffolk's dismissal from the Lord Treasurership and the removal of his relations and friends from all their posts at Court elevated Buckingham with one stroke to the centre of government, and silenced all opposition at Whitehall. Henceforth if there was to be criticism, it would have to come from Westminster, whenever the King found it opportune or necessary to convene Parliament.

The irreversible decline of the fortunes of the Howards could hardly have left Salisbury unaffected, and with the forfeiture of their offices after the dismissal of the Earl of Suffolk he must have felt like renouncing all hopes of qualifying for the King's patronage. Nevertheless, such assets as he possessed, and they were not inconsiderable—youth, good nature, knightly accomplishments and lineage—saved him from being relegated to the periphery of Court society. The King, although fascinated and dominated by Buckingham, still retained sufficient good will to become godfather to his son, Viscount Cranborne, and allowed himself to be entertained periodically at Hatfield House and Cranborne. That pieces of plate were sometimes missing after these visits by James and his courtiers did not entirely destroy the effect of such public demonstrations of royal favour. But what really proved that Salisbury's kinship by marriage with the discomfited Howards was not irremediably damaging to his prospects was the fact that Buckingham himself chose to profess friendship for the young Earl.

It was fortunate that vindictiveness was foreign to the easygoing disposition of the King's favourite. To deprive the Howards and their partisans of power at Whitehall, not to convert them into implacable enemies, had been his cardinal objective. Having reached it, Buckingham saw no good reason for not gaining their benevolent neutrality at least, and he proceeded to do so by calculated acts of conciliation. Through his influence Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, achieved his life's ambition of becoming Earl Marshal of England; Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham and Lord Admiral, was forgiven the appalling state into which the Navy had fallen, and allowed to retire on a handsome pension; and Salisbury, trailing behind these eminent personages, was honoured with the correspondence and company of the Great Villiers.

This was gratifying as far as it went, and it could be useful too. When James decided to pay a state visit to Scotland in 1616, Salibury found it inconvenient for domestic and health reasons to comply with the royal summons for his attendance. Any excuse, however legitimate, was liable to annoy the King who kept a close watch on the nobility for any sign of dereliction of duty or want of respect. But Buckingham willingly undertook to induce James to acquiesce in Salisbury's absence, and did so without straining his powers of persuasion. On the other hand, there was a limit to his control of the King's wishes, and this was made evident when Salisbury tried to obtain the Captaincy of the Yeomen of the Guard in 1617. Encouraged by Buckingham he approached Thomas Erskine, Viscount Fentoun, who had replaced Ralegh as Captain in 1603, with an offer to negotiate the transfer of the post. He found another competitor in the field, Henry Rich, son of the Earl of Warwick, who offered Fentoun £5000. Salisbury raised his bid to £6000, and confidently expected that the generosity of the proposal and the publicity with which his candidature was supported by Buckingham would turn the scales in his favour. He was much mistaken; it was Rich who secured the prize, and the reason was made painfully known to Salisbury in person. The Queen had transferred her secret resentment against the House of Salisbury from the deceased Lord Treasurer to his son, and had waited throughout the years for an opportunity to demonstrate it. It came when Salisbury asked her leave to attend upon her and discuss the matter. Her answer was "that I might attend her leisure, expressing much violence against me in this business, saying that she loved her children as much as any loved theirs, and that she would be very careful who should be admitted into those places of trust, adding withal that she would never give way that I should be Captain of the Guard as long as she lived" (fn. 17) The notion that the lives of the Royal children would be endangered by Salisbury's appointment was both ludicrous and offensive, but it was the Queen who gained James's ear on this occasion, not Buckingham.

The disappointment he experienced taught Salisbury not to indulge in sanguine expectations of preferment, and it plainly lay behind the open confession that he made to Sir Dudley Carleton, the English Ambassador at the Hague, that he had not sufficient influence at the Court to obtain favours. (fn. 18) He continued to frequent Buckingham's immediate circle, but at the same time he paid increasing attention to other interests and to those duties which men of his rank assumed in the operations and conduct of local government.

In July, 1612, he had followed in his father's footsteps as Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. As the supreme representative of the Crown in the county he had exercised his office conscientiously, but not without an occasional display of those personal feelings which too often marred the harmonious co-operation of the landed gentry upon whom Whitehall relied for the orderly administration of the country. "Yesterday your cousin Lytton", wrote John Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, "trained his company at Hitchin. I had much ado to disswade him from putting of his captainship which wold have ben taken for a scorn, there beeing a driness alredy twixt him and the Earle of Salisberie, their Lord Lieutenant, who indeed hath shewed many arguments of small affection towards him." (fn. 19)

A primary responsibility of the Lord Lieutenant was the efficient drilling and adequate equipment of the trained bands of the shire to meet a state of national emergency should one arise. With the signing of the treaty between England and Spain in August, 1604, and the policy of non-belligerency indefatigably pursued by James since that year, the nation had gradually lost its sense of insecurity. Consequently, the state of preparedness of the local militia had been allowed to drift into a perfunctory compliance with directives from London concerning musters and weapons. The effects of fifteen years of peace were made manifest when the King forgot that a marriage alliance could have unpleasant political implications, and was forced in 1620 to witness the disastrous defeat and expulsion of his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine Frederick, husband of his daughter Elizabeth, from Bohemia and the invasion of the Palatinate itself by Spanish forces. For a wild moment James thought in terms of a military expedition to save the Palatinate. It was ruled out by the enormous sum of money needed to raise an army of 30,000 men with artillery. In his impotence, the King fell back on the usual expedient of instructing the local authorities to organize voluntary contributions and forced levies of soldiers. Like other Lord Lieutenants, Salisbury received a stream of orders from the Privy Council. He dutifully subscribed to the Palatinate fund, and saw to it that the gentry and freeholders of Hertfordshire did the same. The county was called upon to find 300 men for service abroad under Count Ernest Mansfeld, but Salisbury was warned not to deprive the shire of those who still retained some idea of how to handle a pike or musket. That the levies which eventually assembled at Dover to cross the Channel with Mansfeld in January, 1625, were ill-equipped, inexperienced and undisciplined was, in the circumstances, not surprising. Within a few weeks his expeditionary force had wasted away before even making an attempt to recover the Palatinate. But for Salisbury, who had shown commendable energy in meeting the requirements of the Government in this and other matters, there had been a reward. In December, 1624, he was made a Knight of the Garter. It was the only distinction enjoyed by the former Lord Treasurer which the King felt justified in bestowing on the son, and he just managed to do so before dying in March, 1625.

Part IV

The accession of Charles meant little change in the conduct of the country's affairs, for the new King was as malleable to the wishes of Buckingham as James had been. The favourite proceeded to direct the Government's policy with complete disregard for any interests except those which served to inflate his illusions that he was cutting an impressive figure in international diplomacy and military action. In less than three years he had organized two expeditions which recorded humiliating failures at Cadiz and La Rochelle; alienated France to such an extent that the two countries were at war; and exacerbated public opinion at home by forcing Charles to dissolve two Parliaments in order to protect his favourite against charges of incompetence and abuses of power which were formalized into a demand for the impeachment of the Duke.

Buckingham's ineptitude and the growing unpopularity of the Government do not seem to have placed a strain on Salisbury's loyalty to the King and his favourite. No doubt it was by Buckingham's influence that he was made a Privy Councillor in 1626. The Duke was intelligent enough to see that, should Charles be forced to dispense with the House of Commons and its selective subsidies, the whole burden of financing his political or military aims would devolve on the King's Council. To secure a preponderance of sympathizers and friends on that Council was the most natural thing for him to do. Henceforth, as far as Hertfordshire was concerned, the orders of the Council for the defence of the realm against foreign invasion (a contingency which was taken quite seriously by the Government), and for the levying of soldiers to be sent overseas were vigorously performed by Salisbury, despite the general detestation of Buckingham which manifested itself in the growing number of desertions amongst the pressed men. But with the assassination of the Duke in August, 1628, there were few who did not hope that the inefficient and corrupt rule of favourites would be replaced by a wiser and less wasteful government, and by a working partnership between King and Parliament. Charles certainly intended that the kingdom should enjoy prosperity and good government, but his summary dismissal of Parliament in 1629 indicated that he proposed to confer that benefit on his own terms and under his personal guidance.

For eleven years Parliament was put into cold storage, and the King proceeded to establish his form of divine absolutism on royal decrees issued through the Privy Council, and on royal justice administered by the prerogative courts and, with few exceptions, by a submissive judiciary. In common with other members of the nobility and landed gentry, Salisbury found his services constantly requisitioned by Whitehall for the execution or supervision of the paternalistic royal decrees which were intended to convince the country at large that Charles had the interests of all classes at heart, and that conformity with the King's wishes were most relevant to national welfare and progress.

One way of publicizing the Government's concern with national affairs was the nomination of Commissioners to inquire into and deal with questions of law and administration. Salisbury was prominent in these official investigations which were carried out by some of the highest dignitaries in church and state. He was a member of the imposing body which conducted an examination into the application of legislation concerning poor relief, apprentices, assistance to maimed soldiers, the maintenance of houses of correction, the curtailment of excessive drunkenness, and other social arrangements. Later he appeared among the Commissioners appointed to attend to the repairs of St. Paul's in London, and to the composition with men of property who had neglected to purchase a knighthood at the King's command. (fn. 20) His assiduity won the King's highest approval, to such an extent that Charles assured him of his intention to confer on him the Mastership of the Court of Wards, an office which had been held by Salisbury's father and grandfather. (fn. 21) The King had added, perhaps as an afterthought, that if he could express his esteem for the Earl in the interval before the Mastership became void, by preferring him to an equally exalted and profitable post, he would do so. Salisbury waited patiently for four years until the Master, Sir Robert Naunton, died in 1635, only to see the office ceremoniously bestowed upon the influential Francis, Lord Cottington. But the King did not entirely forget his promise. In May of the same year Salisbury was invested with the dignity of Captain of the Band of the King's Gentlemen Pensioners. He could, at least, enjoy the privilege of easy access to the presence of the King and the Royal family.

Outside the Court, his position, worth and material wealth were more than adequate to compensate him for the disproportionate rewards he had—to all appearances—received for his loyal services. A good measure of the success which he experienced can be attributed to certain personal qualities. Perhaps not the least remarkable, particularly in that age, was his spirit of conciliation, his reluctance to foster old quarrels, and his obvious preference for friendship rather than rivalry. It was this amiable disposition that may have led him to welcome the advances of Lord Percy, heir of the 9th Earl of Northumberland, for a marriage with Salisbury's daughter, Anne. Recollecting how he himself had been used by his father to cement the alliance with the Howards by marriage, Salisbury made every effort to win over Northumberland who opposed the match on the ground that the injuries inflicted on him by the late Lord Treasurer (including a prolonged stay in the Tower) were an insurmountable barrier to any union between the two families. Eventually Salisbury's liberality, tact and sincere protestations of friendship dissipated Northumberland's hostility, and the marriage took place in 1628. It was noteworthy that one of the most powerful and aristocratic families should have chosen to ally itself with Salisbury; in turn, he was to experience the constancy of Percy's esteem for him throughout the troublesome years that lay ahead. It was to affect appreciably Salisbury's attitude towards the alignment of political forces when the King's personal rule collapsed in ignominy.

Now that political action at Westminster was denied them, many of the nobility and gentry turned with energy to the development of their estates and the accumulation of greater wealth through commercial enterprise. Salisbury was no less conspicuous in these activities. His interests ranged from the possibility of obtaining some benefit from the extraction of tin in Cornwall and the promotion of discovery and settlement in the New World, (fn. 22) to the improvement of his property in London. One of the forms which that improvement took was the exploitation of spring water in Soho and the provision of running water to the houses of tenants, as well as the organization of a more effectual system of sewerage. The prevalence of the plague and the lack of hygiene in London made both highly desirable, but they also contributed towards the growth of the area around Covent Garden as a select residential quarter.

At the same time Salisbury had to take account of the growth of his own family. Eleven children were born to him and the Countess, and he was as determined as his father had been that learning and civility should be the foundation of their upbringing. The sons were first taught by private tutors, and some sent to the famous Westminster School, before proceeding to Cambridge and the continent. The daughters were instructed at home, and encouraged to acquire grace and knowledge by reading, dancing and singing. Salisbury was no bigot in his views of what constituted legitimate distraction for his children. He himself was a man of good taste and respectable learning, the patron of the painters George Geldorp and Peter Lely, of the musicians Henry Oxford and Nicholas Lanier, and of the artistic and cultivated gardener, John Tradescant. But he allowed his sons a liberal choice of entertainment. The two elder, Viscount Cranborne and his brother Robert, went regularly to the Globe Theatre to see plays, English and French, and occasionally stepped aside to witness more exciting events such as "dancing on ye ropes". And there must have been an atmosphere of keen expectation at Hatfield House when one day in September, 1629, the family were shown "moveinge motions".

Hatfield was an open house to the Earl's relations and friends, and on no occasion did he show greater hospitality than when organizing hunting parties. Lord Cottingham, his successful rival for the Mastership of the Court of Wards, was as welcome as the rest. When he arrived he was "bravely horsed, besides his coach attending him, in a white beaver with a studded hatband, his sword better put on then my Lord Jaggards, caused nine melons to be here the next morning and six more at night, of brave kinds, some white within as the winter melons". (fn. 23) Salisbury often hunted with the King, and his relations with him seem to have been of the happiest during these years. He accompanied Charles when he visited Scotland to be crowned at Edinburgh in 1633, and was admitted member of the Council of Scotland. Some time later the King furnished extraordinary proof of his regard for the Earl by ordering a ship of the Navy to Dieppe to bring two of his sons home from France. (fn. 24) He even listened to Salisbury when he mediated on behalf of the Earl of Cork who had fallen foul of his enemy, the Lord Deputy of Ireland. It was a venturous thing to oppose, even by intercession, the power of Thomas, Baron Wentworth, and Salisbury's partial success may have reminded him that his position had vastly altered since those days when he had complained to Carleton that he possessed little influence at Court.

Part V

The King's failure to impose his ecclesiastical policy on Scotland was only partly due to the rejection by the Scots of Episcopacy and their armed adherence to their own Covenant. A contributory cause lay nearer at home, in the realization by an influential section of the community—the gentry and freeholders—that the Government was as insensitive to their liberties and feelings as it was to the religious convictions of their northern neighbours. Nowhere was this resentment more articulate and undisguised than in Hertfordshire, where Salisbury had been grappling with the unenviable task of pressing refractory soldiers for the campaigns against the Scots.

The first Bishops' War of 1639 had seen him present in the English camp at Berwick, where his son-in-law, Algernon Percy, now Earl of Northumberland, was commanding the King's forces. He had taken part in the deliberations between the Scottish delegates and those of the Privy Council selected to meet them, and agreed to the terms of the Pacification of Berwick. The tension engendered by the obviously irreconcilable attitudes of the King and the Covenanters led to an unpleasant scandal. (fn. 25) There were rumours, to which the King paid attention, that Salisbury and some of his colleagues had indiscreetly commended the publication and distribution of a distorted Scottish version of the negotiations. The Earl was able to acquit himself from suspicions of connivance, but he had to do so at the Council table and in the presence of Charles.

It was the campaign of 1640 that finally ignited the spirit of popular resistance to the Government. Salisbury had been ordered by the King personally to organize his Band of Gentlemen Pensioners into an armed troop for the defence of the Queen and her children. He was thus saved, as was Northumberland who opportunely resigned his command, from the humiliation of the English defeat on the Tyne. But he found it considerably easier to deal with his Gentlemen Pensioners than with the indignant inhabitants of Hertfordshire. The Government had, for the first time, decreed that the pressed soldiers should be selected from the trained bands and conducted to Harwich to be shipped to the north. The men of substance who constituted the bands were outraged by the proposal that they should be subjected to such undignified treatment. In a protest they denied the right of the authorities to transport them to any place by sea or to oblige them to fight in any foreign land, which, apparently, in their view, included Scotland. "We, the yeomanry, are as free born as any of the gentry of this kingdom," ran the protest, "and in this respect we know no privilege they have above us." And there was an ominous reference to the Petition of Rights passed by the last Parliament and accepted by the King. (fn. 26) However much the authorities might deplore the mood of resentment, they could do little to counteract it. The Deputy-Lieutenants of the county themselves seemed to be contaminated by an identical reverence for the Petition of Rights; even the hundred constables refused or delayed to collect coat and conduct money from the parishes; and, finally, some of the soldiers got out of hand and pulled down the communion rails in Hatfield church. It is not surprising that Salisbury expressed the view, in a Privy Council meeting in August, 1640, that it was open to doubt whether the shires would shoulder the charges of mobilization for the King's service in Scotland. (fn. 27)

Salisbury's doubts were not lost on the Government. It was decided to disband the Hertfordshire levies before they could do more damage. For his part, the Earl was summoned to York where Charles, faced with the invasion of the Scots and discontent and riots in his rear, had convened a Council of Peers to extricate him from his difficulties. In such a desperate situation there was no alternative to a second round of negotiations with the Covenanters, and again Salisbury was made one of the Commissioners to meet them at Ripon. He and his colleagues could do little but concede one demand after the other, and with the removal of the treaty talks to London and the summoning of Parliament, the future of the government of the kingdom was thrown into the melting pot.

The crucial principle at stake between the contending parties of Crown and Commons was the gradual substitution of responsible for absolute government, with Parliament gaining ground at the expense of the Royal prerogative. In the manœuvrings which preceded the final rupture in 1642, a significant development was the emergence of a moderate party in the House of Lords which worked for an accommodation between King and Parliament, but which was also prepared to support the Commons in the removal of the instruments of despotism and the ministers and officials who operated them. Salisbury had responded to Charles's appeal for financial help in lending him £10,000; but the fact that the Commons, followed by the Lords, recommended him to be Lord Treasurer in August, 1641, showed quite clearly that the Earl was regarded with favour by the reformists of both Houses, and that he was not irrevocably committed to the King's cause. (fn. 28) The deterioration in the political situation in 1642, however, produced a crisis amongst the moderates in the House of Lords, who realized that the conflict of opinion would lead sooner or later to civil war. The King's summons to the peers to meet him at York in March brought the crisis to a head, for the House of Commons retaliated by ordering them to remain in Westminster. The time for positive alignments had come, and vacillation would no longer be condoned by either party.

It was now that Salisbury's conduct confirmed the suspicions of those of his contemporaries who believed him shifting and inconstant in his political beliefs and in his allegiance to the Crown. He appeared amongst the thirty-five peers who assembled in York, and signed the declaration that the King had no intention of waging war on his Parliament. But a few days later he hurriedly left York and rejoined the rump of the House of Lords in London.

What caused this abrupt change of front can only be surmised, but there are reasons for believing that Salisbury was influenced by personal as well as political considerations. Not the least, perhaps, was the fear of isolation in his adherence to the King. It may have struck him that, although Charles had, for the moment, rallied a good half of the peers to his side, many prominent members of the nobility had preferred to throw in their lot with Parliament. Among them there were four with whom he was intimately associated, the Earls of Northumberland, Pembroke, Essex and Holland. The fact that Northumberland, in particular—his former son-in-law and the greatest aristocrat in England—had made this choice may have convinced him that, in following the example of a former trusted friend of the King, his motives would not be impugned nor his loyalty questioned. The peers at Westminster were considerably more vociferous than the House of Commons in publicizing their intention to preserve the King's honour, dignity and rightful power, and to reconcile him with Parliament. There is evidence that Salisbury spent some time at York in painful indecision, but the clear warning and blunt advice conveyed in Northumberland's letters to him demolished whatever scruples the Earl may have had, and galvanized him into his sudden flight from the northern capital. (fn. 29)

There were two other factors which he could not entirely ignore. One was the unequivocal attitude of his own family in this crisis. His two eldest sons, Viscount Cranborne and Robert Cecil, who had been elected Members of Parliament for Hertford and Old Sarum respectively, had pronounced views in favour of the House of Commons, and none of their father's hesitation in taking up the popular cause. The other fact, of which Salisbury was well aware, was the strong tide running in favour of Parliament throughout Hertfordshire. The shire had always shown reluctance in paying shipmoney, and some of the defaulters were to be found amongst its principal gentry. (fn. 30) It had also made its position perfectly clear in the elections to the Short and Long Parliaments, when out of six members returned five were enthusiastic supporters of Pym and his party. To fulfil the duties of a Royalist Lord Lieutenant in a county so devoted to Parliament might have unpleasant consequences. The Earl had enough experience of past insubordination and militant passive resistance to visualize the forms they were likely to take, and this realistic appraisal helped him to shape his conduct accordingly.

The war years witnessed the slow eclipse of the truncated House of Lords which met at Westminster, and a steady diminution in the influence of the peers who attended its sessions. Their decline was not so evident at first, when the initial defeats of the Parliamentary forces inclined Pym and his supporters to use some of them as delegates acceptable to the King in the intermittent treaty negotiations between the two sides. Salisbury was invariably one of the Parliamentary Commissioners, and whatever Charles may have thought of his defection, he credited Salisbury with sufficient devotion to the Crown to nominate him a member of the Committee to which he proposed to entrust the Militia, as a preliminary to a peace conference in London with himself present in person. (fn. 31) It was to Salisbury too that the Royalist Earl of Derby turned for a personal guarantee that he would be treated with consideration and justice by Parliament, if he dismantled his fortified houses in Lancashire and so help to terminate hostilities there. (fn. 32) Salisbury may have welcomed such tokens of confidence, wherever they came from, for despite his attachment to Parliament he could not have been entirely at his ease in Westminster. There were members of the Lower House who remembered that he had firmly supported the King's arbitrary government, even to the extent of collecting arrears in shipmoney and imprisoning recalcitrant members of the House of Commons. It was an unpleasant and pointed reminder of those days to be told that he was expected to contribute from his estates towards the indemnification of those members who had suffered in person or possessions for their outspoken opposition to the Crown. (fn. 33)

Meanwhile he had felt the effects of the civil war in a more material way. Hatfield House and his property in the home and eastern counties were relatively safe from the ravages of the Royalist forces, but they had to bear a tremendous burden of taxation for the maintenance of the Parliamentary armies. In Dorsetshire and the adjacent shires, the situation was reversed. While the King was able to hold his own in the West, Salisbury's estates at Cranborne and elsewhere suffered severely from the depredations of the Cavaliers. Neither did matters improve when the Royalists were forced to retreat in the later stages of the war. Parliamentary soldiers were as predatory and ruthless as their enemies, and Salisbury's tenants knew no peace until the King recognized the inevitable victory of Parliament and surrendered.

From that moment Salisbury's actions were those of a man tossed about by uncontrollable forces and searching for security on the best terms available. With Charles in the custody of Parliament, and Parliament, in its turn, loosing its grip on the very instrument it had created—the Army with its radicallyminded troopers and its Independent commanders, the future of the peers became as uncertain as that of the Monarchy. Their representative role in a House of Lords, freed from the virus of partisan intolerance, mindful of traditional liberties and concerned with the preservation of law, was jeopardized by their own actions. Those adhering to the King had been declared incapable of attending the House; the handful at Westminster had shrunk in number still further, and had been stripped of military and political power by the Self-denying Ordinance of 1645. (fn. 34) They now damaged their corporate spirit and class interests by rejecting a motion to readmit some peers who had been active on the King's behalf. Salisbury, with other moderates, voted in its favour, but the violence of the debate and threats of impeachment showed how uncompromising the differences were and how faction had poisoned relationships. The end was in sight when, in an access of humility, Salisbury with a few other colleagues approached Sir Thomas Fairfax and offered to renounce their privileges if the Army required such an act of submission. But, in 1648, a last attempt was made to reassert the usefulness and status of the House by appointing its most respectable members, Northumberland, Pembroke, Salisbury, Middlesex and Lord Say, as members of a Parliamentary commission to treat with the King in the Isle of Wight. When the agreement concluded there was torn up by the Army, who purged the House of Commons and decided to put Charles on trial, the fate of the Upper House was sealed.

The conduct of the doomed House of Lords in its last hours was not devoid of dignity. It was evident to all that the refusal of its members to collaborate with an expurgated and militant House of Commons to put the King to death would result in their proscription as legislators. The answer of the few left to announce that refusal was unanimous and unambiguous, and on 6 February, 1649, the House of Lords ceased to exist. A few days previously the King had been executed. He also had carried himself with dignity, but not so, unfortunately, two of his former friends and servants, whom the Earl of Leicester castigated in his diary for their improper behaviour and lack of feeling. "He (the Earl of Pembroke) told me himself that out of his chamber window he looked upon the King as he went up the staires from the (St. James's) parke to the galerye in the way to his place of death, which was quickly after. That he should not have don, but have retyred himself to pray for him and to lament his misfortune, to whom he had so great obligations. As I remember, the Erle of Salsbury hath told me that he was with the Earle of Pembroke at the same time. It would have become him also to have bin away, whose father and himself were as much bound as any man to the sayd late King and his father K. James." (fn. 35)

Part VI

It was at the time of this revolutionary change in the government of England that Salisbury abandoned the path of moderation along which he had followed the Earl of Northumberland and other protagonists of a policy of mutual adjustment between the privileges of the Crown and the constitutional authority of Parliament. With a complete disregard for the opinions of his fellow peers, and with the encouragement of the Earl of Pembroke, he proceeded to parade his attachment to the Republic established under the protection of the Army. He attended the magnificent banquet at Grocers' Hall given by the Lord Mayor and the City to the Army generals, and was placed in a seat of honour near Fairfax and Cromwell. He accepted an invitation to become member of the Council of State, and showed no objection to the presence of regicides. And like Pembroke, he entered the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (being elected to represent the town of King's Lynn) with an eagerness which drew another caustic comment from the Earl of Leicester. "He is now the third Peere of England sitting in the house, and he should have don well not to have protested against it so much as he did unnecessarily and allmost in all companyes." (fn. 36)

As a member of the Council of State, Salisbury was fully committed to opposing any pretensions or title by Prince Charles to his father's throne, and to the maintenance of the Republic by legitimate means or otherwise. Employment was soon found for him, such as was judged commensurate with his abilities and experience. He sat on numerous committees—for Foreign Affairs, for the Mint, for the Admiralty and Navy, and for the conveyance of former Crown property into the hands of the State. Bearing in mind his predilection for hunting and the love of deer which he had shared in common with King James and King Charles, he was specially commissioned to proceed by law against certain people who had committed riots and outrages in Enfield Chase and killed a number of deer for the sake of their meat. Even his knowledge of racing was put to use, for the Earl had his horses and jockeys at Newmarket like any other lord. And so he was of the committee which met to consider how "the horses and mares in Tutbury race may be so disposed that the breed be not lost". (fn. 37) Salisbury would seem to have fulfilled his commitments and attended to his duties to the satisfaction of his colleagues, and they expressed their appreciation of his cooperation in the first difficult months of the new regime by making him President of the Council of State for a while. (fn. 38)

While the Long Parliament exercised supreme authority in the land, Salisbury felt his position to be secure. Even after the death of the Earl of Pembroke in 1650, he did not lack sympathizers in the House of Commons, who were ready, for example, to listen to his claims for compensation for lost offices, or permit him to remove a quantity of Portland stone from the King's house at Theobald, to his own house at Hatfield. But with the forcible dissolution of Parliament by Cromwell and the establishment of the Protectorate, the Earl soon found himself thrust into the political wilderness. What actuated Cromwell in treating him with such scant consideration is difficult to conjecture, particularly as Salisbury had never opposed the gradual usurpation of political power by the Army. Nevertheless, in 1656, when Cromwell's second Parliament met, the Earl, who had been elected for Hertfordshire, was amongst those excluded from the House. (fn. 39) The following year he was omitted from the list of peers summoned by the Protector to the Second Chamber which he was trying to create with a view to meeting the proposals contained in the Humble Petition and Advice. It was tantamount to an ignominious dismissal. Salisbury accepted it without protest, because it had always been in his nature to allow other people to thrust decisions upon him and direct his actions. In the confusion of army intrigues, Royalist conspiracies and Cromwell's difficulties with the Republican minority in Parliament, the Earl was perhaps glad of the opportunity to retire to the obscurity and safety of his seat at Hatfield.

He was to remain in political obscurity for the remainder of his long life. He was not summoned to the reconstituted House of Lords which, with the assistance of Monck, was preparing the way for the restoration of Charles II. Neither was it considered necessary to discuss whether he should be called to account for his political apostasy under the Commonwealth. Since he had obediently proclaimed Charles King at Hatfield on 13 June, 1660, and could not by any stretch of the imagination be accused of conniving at the death of the late King, he was accorded a Royal pardon on 18 July. True to his declared policy of healing the wounds of civil strife and political antagonisms, Charles invited Salisbury to attend his coronation, and later he was allowed to slip back unobtrusively into the House of Lords. But the insignificance into which he had now sunk must have been borne in upon him when the Earls of Northumberland and Leicester were resworn Privy Councillors, and former militant supporters of Parliament amongst the peers, such as Manchester, Saye and Robartes, were not only made members of the Council but given offices of state.

The years of Salisbury's retirement had their periods of fair and foul weather. There were personal tragedies which affected him deeply; in 1659, his heir, Viscount Cranborne, died of fever in Montpellier; in 1665, Hatfield House was severely damaged by fire; and in 1668 his son William, a former captain in the Parliamentary army, died at an early age. But there were also times when the Earl savoured a little of the success and social recogni tion of pre-war days. Hatfield welcomed once more a King, for Charles chose good-naturedly to visit it, and once again there were pieces of plate missing after the departure of the monarch and his courtiers. The Earl of Northumberland still corresponded in tones of respect and affection with Salisbury, and the ancient house of Rutland showed inordinate pleasure when it entered into a marriage alliance whereby Cranborne's son, James Cecil, the future 3rd Earl of Salisbury, was affianced to Margaret, daughter of John Manners, the 8th Earl of Rutland. Clarendon might have some bitter things to say of Salisbury, and denigrate his motives, but the King was more magnanimous and proved it by appointing him High Steward of St. Albans. But outside the immediate circle of his family and friends he roused little interest or curiosity. Even Pepys, who could surely have indulged in some gossip about him, was almost unnaturally reticent when he visited Hatfield. He was full of admiration for the house, and particularly for the gardens, "such as I never saw in all my life, nor so good flowers nor so great gooseberrys, as big as nutmegs". He had a glimpse of the Earl in Hatfield church, but all he remarked was, "I 'light and saw my simple Lord Salsbury sit there in his gallery." (fn. 40)

It was at Hatfield, where the news that King and Parliament were again at loggerheads must have aroused mixed feelings in him, that William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury died on 3 December, 1668.


  • 1. H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. IV, p. 445.
  • 2. She was Elizabeth, daughter of William Brooke, 10th Lord Cobham. Another daughter married John Stourton, 9th Baron Stourton.
  • 3. See infra, p. 250.
  • 4. H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. IX, p. 8.
  • 5. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and the author of Latin verses.
  • 6. H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XII, p. 406.
  • 7. H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XVII, pp. 81–2.
  • 8. H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XIX, pp. 465–6.
  • 9. Cal. S. P. Venetian, Vol. X, p. 308.
  • 10. John Chamberlain's Letters, ed. N. E. McClure, Vol. I, p. 273.
  • 11. See pp. 285–6 of Vol. XXI of the Salisbury MSS.
  • 12. See infra, p. 215.
  • 13. He did not forget, amongst other things, that the Lord Treasurer had exempted him from paying Customs duties on the lead which he imported from England for his buildings. (State Papers France, (S.P. 78), 1608, fol. 54.)
  • 14. State Papers France, 1609, Vol. 55, fol. 78.
  • 15. H.M.C. Downshire MSS, Vol. II, p. 315.
  • 16. Chamberlain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 392.
  • 17. See infra, p. 45.
  • 18. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1611–18, p. 575.
  • 19. Chamberlain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 614.
  • 20. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1629–31, pp. 175, 474.
  • 21. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1629–31, p. 312.
  • 22. As early as 1620 he had been appointed member of the Council for plantation in New England which met at Plymouth. (Cal. S.P. Dom., 1619–23, p. 188.)
  • 23. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1636–7, p. 75.
  • 24. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1637–8, p. 315.
  • 25. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1639, pp. 398, 433.
  • 26. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1640, p. 95.
  • 27. Ibid., p. 590.
  • 28. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1641–3, pp. 81, 189.
  • 29. See infra, pp. 370–1.
  • 30. M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, p. 51.
  • 31. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1645–6, p. 279.
  • 32. Ibid., pp. 137, 168.
  • 33. H.M.C. De L'Isle and Dudley MSS, Vol. VI, 1626–98, p. 560.
  • 34. C. H. Firth, The House of Lords in the Civil War, p. 150.
  • 35. H.M.C. De L'Isle and Dudley MSS, op. cit., p. 597.
  • 36. Ibid., p. 596.
  • 37. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1650, p. 67.
  • 38. Ibid., 1652–3, p. 180.
  • 39. C. H. Firth, Last Years of the Protectorate, Vol. I, p. 17.
  • 40. The Diary of Samuel Pepys (ed Wheatley), Vol. II, pp. 68–9, and Vol. IV, p. 268.