Cecil Papers: February 1591

Pages 88-95

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 4, 1590-1594. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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February 1591

R. Douglas to Archibald Douglas.
1590/1, Feb. 5. Commends to his favour the bearer, Mr. James Forbes, son to the Laird of Touchone, “being for some occasions of neighbour feud forced to leave this country for a space, and retire to England. I have in hand presently some matters for your benefit, whereof within a day or two in grace of God I shall make you full advertisements.”—From Edinburgh, 5 February, 1590.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p.
Henry Billingsley to [Lord Burghley].
1590/1, Feb. 5. I received your letter of the 4th of this present for staying certain pepper discharged at Weymouth and brought to this port by land, part whereof was intended to be carried to the house of one John Alden in Botolph Lane. Before the receipt of your letter there were carried to Alden's house 9 bags of pepper, parcel, as is pretended, of 21 bags brought hither by certificate from Weymouth in the name of one John Handle of that town. The 9 bags were seized in respect they came very suspiciously, and the cocket [was] detained and not delivered to the officers, according to the statute. The merchant Alden, in whose hands they are seized, is, 1 understand, sufficient to answer for the same and hath confessed, I am informed, to have received the rest of the 21. How he may be removed from the possession of the same I leave to your further direction.—From the Custom house, 5 February, 1590.
½ p.
R. Douglas to Archibald Douglas.
1590/1, Feb. 12. The uncertainty of the proceedings in matters concerning our estate, and not following forth of such courses and “plattes” as have been devised and sometimes concluded and resolved upon, has been the cause of my so rare and unfrequent advertisements to you these days past, for fear lest writing that which certainly I knew to be in hands and doing, yet no success following thereupon, by the instability and fickleness of our faithless nobility, you should esteem me a liar or a nourisher of you with tales and forged discourses; as also seeing so small appearance of any good to be done for you in any matter that might concern your particular or private benefit, I thought it meeter to write nothing at all than by writing either to put you in vain hope or discourage you, withal not having any sure address either to whom or what way I should address my letters to you, that safely they might come to your hands, which puts me in no little fear lest my last of the 3rd of January be not come to your hands, because I have heard nothing from you of the receipt of them. I never pretermitted any good occasion that ever I could espy to travail in your particular matters, where I thought or could see any appearance of any good to be done, and principally conferring thereupon with your trustiest friend my lord the Justice Clerk; by whose advice, perceiving that your implacable and irreconcilable enemy would never suffer any matter to go forward that concerned you anyways, and that he rather chose the King's service to perish and to be spoilt than to be done by you, we thought it most expedient to let matters alone for a while, until he should run himself out of breath, principally because there was no small appearance of some sudden and violent alteration of his estate, so many being banded and united against him. But at last, seeing so many courses vanish away in the air without any effect, partly by the double dealing and partly by the beastliness and cowardice of the doers, I thought I could delay no longer, but essay what I might have done by other means, Therefore by the aforesaid advice, understanding the Chancellor's credit daily more and more to diminish in the King's opinion, and my lord of Spynie's to increase and to reach beyond him far in favour, as also understanding divers grudges of emulation and private envy to be among them, I thought it meet to essay if by his mean I could bring anything to pass for your benefit. But because my own acquaintance with him was not so great that assuredly I durst unfold to him a matter of such consequence before I had tried his mind, and knowing him to do nothing of any importance without the advice of his cousin my lord of Menmuir, with whom ever since the process with you I have had private familiarity, both because I perceived him contrary in all matters almost to the Chancellor, and very desirous of your friendship, I took occasion within this fortnight, amongst other conferences betwixt his lordship and me concerning this State and the King's service, to speak also of his dealing and the handling of his affairs with that country. And amongst many other purposes, after I had let him see sensibly how dishonourably his Majesty's affairs had been handled with that state, both with loss of honour and profit, and what good point they might have been brought unto if your advice had been followed and if those who took the only dealing in them had respected more their Master's weal than their own passions and particular profit, I asked then if it might be possible that his cousin my lord of Spynie might be moved to lay open any of those points that concerned his Master's weal so wholly unto his knowledge, and to let him see that there was some means, if not to bring it to so good a state as it might have been into, because I thought it impossible, so great an occasion being lost, yet at least to far better point nor it was at presently, which I affirmed might be easily performed if his Majesty should employ you in his service, whom I knew both to have a better ability and will also to perform it than any whom hitherto he had employed; and then suffer himself in these matters to be ruled by your advice, so far as it should be grounded upon reason and solid discourse. With this I adjoined that by this course if he might bring it to any good effect, by the benefit that should redound to the whole of his Master's service, which above all others he should most affect, and crossing the course and credit of him whom he knew to be his enemy, he should also himself reap both honour and profit thereby. Hereupon, after that Mr. John had made some difficulties upon the Chancellor's credit, and the King's mind preoccupied with divers sinister informations against you, yet he took upon him to communicate these matters with my lord of Spynie and to persuade him thereunto; and the next day of our conference, seeing matters drive over and not take that deep impression in that young lord's mind that I would have wished, to give him a spur to follow it more ardently and bring it about to some good success, knowing him to be very desirous to have some interest in the lands of Abernethy, which is a part of his wife's conjoint fee, and seeing heretofore Mr. John had been in hand with me upon that same matter to see if you would sell it on a light price as a thing desperate, I affirmed to him that I knew verily and would take in hand that if his lordship should effectuate any good matter in this for you, that should turn also more to the weal of the King's service nor any your particular, you should be content easily to agree with him for the silver you had upon these lands; and I for my particular upon the sight of any good course taken for you, would willingly quit any interest or right you had made, or would make to me thereof. This proposition has moved them both farther, principally my lord of Spynie, who offered upon that to purchase me any letters from the King to you that I would devise. But I have refused that altogether, except the King deal with you altogether in such a sort as may be both honourable for him and for you to deal in; and therefore I have answered that I must both have a commission for you as Ambassador for his Majesty, and a letter to the Queen testifying and advowing the same, by letters and particular instructions to yourself. But because in these matters I would make no conclusion without your own advice, I thought it meet to communicate the same with you before I come to any conclusion, both to understand your opinion of this my dealing, which I hope shall produce good effects, and to inform me what further ye think meetest to be done : as also generally by some particular heads to set down how the King's service has been spoilt these times past, and yet how and in what sort it may be best helped, as also in what form ye would have your commission renewed, and what particular heads set down in your instructions most able to be obtained and most plausible to the King. In the meantime I shall hold. my lord of Spynie in good and diligent remembrance thereof to prepare the King's mind to be willing thereunto, and inform the best I can of such matters as heretofore I have understood of you concerning the King's service, and how far it has been by imprudent and malicious dealing evil handled, with the best way I can devise to help it; and if the King can be persuaded to bring it before the Council to be reasoned, which is the principal [thing] I desire, I have dealt with my lord Treasurer and others, no great friends to the Chancellor, and informed them sufficiently in the matter; as also the Justice Clerk will do his best and hold good hand thereunto with all his heart, so that in Grace of God I hope for nothing but good and happy success thereunto. Therefore I pray your lordship haste me your answer back with expedition, that before matters wax cold we may put them to some point. And because I purpose in grace of God to come to you with these instructions some time in the next month, remember how I may do it and take some order thereunto. Direct your letters to Mr. Bouis with some friendly letters to him from yourself, with whom, notwithstanding , I neither have nor will as yet communicate any of this purpose. Our State stands ever as it was, the Chancellor's credit daily diminishing and yet he so blinded as he will not perceive it, but continues still in his wonted presumption; the Treasurer and he formally contrary, every one seeking the other's overthrow, but the Treasurer by surer means, for by the whole nobility almost banded against him. He has also adjoined the King's whole chamber, principally my lord of Spynie, who carries the greatest credit and who now is principal friend to the Treasurer. Divers, and amongst others the Ambassador, seek to hold them together, but it will not be : matters are gone so far that there is no hope of agreement. Your lordship shall do well, to my judgment, because that country fears his taking away may produce dangerous effects against their State, to do your best to put them out of that opinion, and to let them understand of how small consequence his friendship has been or is to any, and that they may have more assured and better friendship by others than him; and that there will come in his room others both better affected in religion and to the peace betwixt the two countries than he, who was never addicted to any one. sound course, but swimming betwixt two waters held himself ready to embrace that whereof he hoped to receive greatest benefit, without respect to the weal of his prince or country. Matters betwixt Huntly and Athol, Murray and the rest of that faction are not yet compounded but lies over, suppose he and Marshall be agreed, who now and Arrol are presently in this town. The Council has been occupied all this fortnight and more upon the sustentation of the King's house, which was like to have been given up for lack of moyen, to the King's no small grief. There are now orders appointed for the keeping of it, and by 20,000 marks which the Isles should pay and the impost granted upon the wines and the customs. A revocation is to be made of all things disposed out of the King's property, or thirds for sustentation thereof, which will offend a number. The plat that has long been in hands for the provision for ministers is now vanished away in smoke without any effect. I received a letter directed from you and sent by Gilbert Ollitt who never came towards me, but sent them to the Justice Clerk that same day he departed to return, so that I could never see him. Your lordship wrote therein of a general peace betwixt our nobility and Chancellor, and of some sharp words used by the King against him. Surely I never heard of any such matter; and for the agreement, there was none but betwixt him and Huntly, as I wrote to you before.—Edinburgh, 12 February, 1590.
2 seals. 5 pp.
The Handicraftsmen of the Mystery of Skinners of London to the Queen.
[1590/1, Feb. 13.] Vouchsafe, dear Sovereign, your most gracious compassion to your faithful subjects, the poor miserable decayed people, handicraftsmen of the Mystery of the Skinners of London, who, where their predecessors were not only of competency to live, but able to supply subsidies, loans, and like services, are now both in number so decayed, of their wonted trade so stripped, that they hardly can earn wherewith to maintain their families, which lamentable decay is not a little occasioned by that the usual wearing of furs (especially of the breed of this realm) is utterly neglected and eaten out by the too ordinary lavish and unnecessary use of velvets and silks, drinking up the wealth of this realm. So it is much enforced, not only by removing them from their wonted trade in the free buying and selling or conveying of such commodities . into foreign countries (from which they have been restrained under colour of licences procured by others), but also, in that divers bad, idle, and evil-disposed people, roaming and ranging abroad in all parts of this realm, being altogether ignorant of the choice and sorting of such skins or furs, do yet engross and buy in the greatest part of the furs and skins of this realm, and then sell to such as convey them out of the realm under such licences. That your suppliants are thereby prevented of the choice they were (when their trade lay free and open) accustomed to have, and had skill and knowledge to make of the best and fittest skins and furs to be used and employed for the wear of your subjects here at home. Insomuch that those who willingly would use the furs of this realm cannot be furnished with such as be fit for wear, but are by want thereof urged to the more use of foreign commodities, to the impoverishment of your realm, enriching of foreign countries, and overthrow of the ancient and accustomed trade of the said mystery.—Undated.
Endorsed :—13 Feb. 1590. “Her Majesty seemed graciously inclined to relieve the petitioners by all good means, and hath referred the consideration of this their petition to the right honourable the Lord Treasurer, calling unto him such other of her Highness's Privy Council as it shall seem good to his Lordship, if his Lordship shall find so requisite; otherwise, that his Lordship will be pleased to enter to the consideration and resolution thereof alone.” “Wm. Aubrey.”
Twelve signatures. One sheet of paper.
Francis le Fort.
1590/1, Feb. 16. Licence to Francis le Fort to pay only the moiety of the customs and subsidies for such merchandise as for the space of two years he shall bring in at one port and transport at another.—Greenwich, Feb. 16, 1590.
Sign manual.
1 p.
Henry IV. King of France to M. Beauvoir la Nocle.
1590/1, Feb. 22/Mar. 4. Remerciez sans refuser ny accepter la dite promesse, et le priez garder ceste bonne volonté pour l'effectuer. si j'en ay besoing. Vous luy ferez doncques tenir la dite lettre par la plus seure et commode voye qui se pourra offrir. (Fin du chiffre).
Far ma presedente vous aurez entendu le siege que nous avons mis devant ceste ville. Nous trouvons la besogne plus longue que ne nous promettoient ceux qui nous y ont faict venir. Le mauvais temps nous y incommode fort. J'espere toutefoys qu'elle ne nous eschappera pas. Je vous envoye bonne instruction, dont l'original a esté pris en Auvergne; vous en ferez part à la Royne. C'est ce que je vous en diray, pour ce coup.—Escrit au Camp devant Chartres ce 4 jour de Mars, 1591.
Par apostille.—J'ai depuis avisé d'ajouster, aux trois mil vieux soldats, que je desire me venir trouver, mil des nouveaux, si vous obtenez les deux nombres; et me contenter de trois mil pour la Bretaigne : dont je vous ai voulu advertir pour y conformer ce que vous traiterez pour ce regard.
Copy, ½ p.
Thomas Douglas to Archibald Douglas.
1590/1, Feb. 26. To the same effect as a former letter [see p. 51]. I am compelled to desire your lordship, of that you have here in Scotland, to give me a pension, because I am as near, and should be as dear to you, as any to whom you ever have given or can give anything. I have found greater kindness with Thomas Hall than ever I found with John Luf; who will inform you of my whole mind, and faithfully report your mind towards me. If your lordship now at last satisfy my reasonable request, I will thank you and quiet myself here; otherwise I will be constrained to leave writing of my estate and come and communicate the same face to face, for I fear the common proverb be over true—Hounds eat other men's viands. And if I come I am assured, as it will be painful to me, so will it be nothing pleasant to your lordship.—At Whittingham, 26 February, 1590.
1 p.
Drs. William Aubrey and Julius Caesar to [Lord Burghley].
1590/1, Feb. 27. We have had sundry meetings about the goods laden in the Venetian ship “Ugiera Sal vagina” and heard at good length the counsel of both parties. Our opinion, and Mr. Dr. Foorthe's, is that all the goods are of three natures : those in the schedule enclosed we find to appertain merely to Spaniards and Portingals, the residue to be Venetian and Florentine, except such goods as were laden by Raphael Fantoni, Lewes Vesato, and Julio Nessi, who although they are Venetians born, yet it is deposed by many witnesses that they have been long dwellers in Lisbon, there married and denizens, and that Fantoni hath been a practiser in matters of state against her Majesty and the realm. In these three persons' goods, which are of very great value, we are not yet resolved because we have not heard all the Italians have to say; and for the other goods, we could think it reasonable to deliver the goods that clearly appertain to Spaniards and Portingals to the takers, as good prize, and th'other to the Italians as their due; but they pretending spoil to be committed by the takers, and great embezzlings, desire these damages may be repaired out of the prize; the takers affirming that their goods, being good prize, are greatly spoiled by default of the Italians, are earnest they may be recompensed out of the Italian goods. We are of opinion that the goods may be delivered to both parties to whom they appertain, upon sureties on either side to answer the damages and losses according to law. The goods of Fantoni, Vesato, and Nessi may remain as they are until the cause be more fully examined.— At London, this Saturday, 27 February, 1590.
1 p.
1590/1, Feb. 27. Modern copy of the above.
Mons. Filiazzi to Lord Burghley.
1591, Feb. 28/March 10. letter in Italian, much of it in cipher, referring to the movements of one of Burghley's spies.
Endorsed. —“Monsieur Filiazzi to my Lord. La prima.”
5 pp.
The Handicraftsmen of the Mystery of Skinners of London to Lord Burghley.
[1590/1, Feb.] Asking for his decision upon their endorsed petition [see 13 Feb. 1590/1] as to whether he would receive the hearing of their grievances himself.
Undated. ¼ p.
The Earl of Essex to the Bailiff and Burgesses of Lemster.
[1590/1,] Feb. Thanks for their kindness. Concerning the charge they have committed to him, thinks it necessary to appoint a deputy in his absence, and has chosen their neighbour Mr. Conisbie, whom he commends to their respect. “He certifies me of certain legacies due to you by the wills of the late Bishop and Sir John Hubert, whereof because I understand part to be received but not employed according to the testator's meaning, and part yet detained, I have thought good to mention it unto you.”—From the Court the—of February, 1590.
Endorsed :—“The Earl of Essex his letter to divers persons.”
1 p.
Legal Notes.
1590/1, Feb. “Prohibitio formata de statuto articuli cleri.”
Brief extracts from Magna Charta [sic], “Registrum Brevium,” Fitzherbert's “Natura brevium,” Rastell's “Abridgement of Statutes,” and Compton's “Collections of the office of a Justice of Peace,” to prove that if is not lawful for a Bishop to cite laymen before him “ad aliquas recognitiones faciendas vel sacramentum praestandum,” except in matrimonial or testamentary causes.
Endorsed :—“February, 1590.”
1 p.
The Ecclesiastical Laws.
[1590/1, Feb.] 1. We whose names are subscribed, each man for himself, do unfeignedly acknowledge and confess, that all jurisdiction, privilege, and superiority, which by any spiritual or ecclesiastical power or authority heretofore have been, or lawfully may by the laws of this realm be, exercised or used, for the visitation, reformation, and correction of the ecclesiastical state and persons within her Majesty's dominions, and for the reformation and correction of all errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, offences, contempts and enormities within the same, are united to the imperial crown of England, and that her Majesty hath the same power and authority so united to the crown, as well by God's jaw as by the laws and statutes of this realm.
2. That by God's law and the laws of this realm there ought not to be any synods, conventicles or assemblies for the concluding or establishing of any laws, articles, ordinances or constitutions to be exercised, used, or put in use within this realm in any spiritual or ecclesiastical matters or causes, or over any persons whatsoever, otherwise than by the Queen's Majesty's assent, and by virtue of her Highness' authority”; and that all synods, conventicles, assemblies and attempts for any innovation or alteration to be made within this realm, without her Majesty's authority and assent, of or for any ecclesiastical laws or government are seditious and unlawful.
3. That the ecclesiastical government of Archbishops, Bishops, and other ecclesiastical persons now received and established by her Majesty's authority in the Church of England, is lawful and allowable by the Word of God; and that the government challenged, devised or attempted to be executed by any presbytery or church assembly consisting of doctors, pastors, elders, and deacons, or of any of them, or any such like not warranted by the laws of this realm, is not only unlawful but also very dangerous for the state of this realm.
4. We do likewise acknowledge, that it is seditious and ungodly to teach or maintain that there be, or ought to be, any potentate, officers, magistrates or any such as affirm or take upon them to be a presbytery or consistory or any other persons of whatsoever quality or degree, that hath or ought to have any power to excommunicate, remove or deprive her Majesty for any cause whatsoever, or by any means to command, move or procure her subjects to withdraw their obedience from her.
5. We acknowledge the Church of England, now established by the laws of England, to be a true member of the true Church of Christ, and that the Sacraments, ministered as they be ordained by the laws to be ministered, are godly and rightly ministered; and the whole order of public prayer and ceremonies therein by law established to be such as no man ought therefore to make any schism, division or contention in the church, or to withdraw himself from the same.
Endorsed :—“Addition to the Articles, for acknowledgment of the laws ecclesiastical.”
1 p.
Notes On the Preceding.
1590/1, Feb.—2. “To be made within the realm :” and “to be made and be executed in the realm without her Majesty's authority.”
3. “Is lawful :” dele verba sequentia, for King Henry's Book saith plainly that a Bishop's anthority is de jure humano et non divino.
Those words which were in King Edward's Articles, Art. 35, were left out of the Articles renewed in her Majesty's time by the Bishops themselves in the Convocation.
3. Not so thought in the reformation of the Ecclesiastical laws intended by King Edward.
4. I think that never any Consistory of the Reformed churches did ever think of such a matter : howsoever it may be suggested ad procurandum juridicum.
5. The words “whole order” is and will be captious, for in some cases the law alloweth some omissions and alterations, although not of the essential parts in the divine service; and herein none offend more than the Bishops, who in giving their orders follow neither the book nor statute,
Endorsed;—“February, 1590. To be considered in the Articles for acknowledging the laws ecclesiastical.”
1 p.
Arthur Asheby and William Stalye to the Queen.
1590/1, Feb. For lease in reversion for their services in the woodyard.—Endorsed :—“Feb. 1590.”
Note by W. Aubrey that the Queen grants the petition.
Enclosure. Recommendation of petitioners by James Crofts and other officers of the Greencloth.
1 p.