and reprinted from
Peck, ed., Leicester's Commonwealth (Athens and
London: Ohio University Press, 1985).
Copy of a Letter
Written by a Master of Art of Cambridge to his friend in
London, concerning some talk passed of late between two worshipful and grave men
about the present state and some proceedings of the Earl of Leicester and his
friends in England.
spoken and published with most earnest protestation of all dutiful good will and
affection towards her most excellent Majesty and the realm, for whose good only
it is made common to many.
To Mr. G. M.
Gracious Street in London1
and loving friend, I received about ten days gone your letter of the ninth of
this present, wherein you demand and solicit again the thing that I so flatly
denied you at my late being in your chamber; I mean, to put in writing the relation
which then I made unto you of the speech had this last Christmas in my presence,
between my right worshipful good friend and patron and his guest the old lawyer,
of some matters in our state and country. And for that2 you
press me very seriously at this instant, both by request and many reasons, to
yield to your desire herein, and not only this, but also to give my consent for
the publishing of the same by such secret means as you assure me you can there
find out, I have thought good to confer the whole matter with the parties themselves
whom principally it concerneth (who at the receipt of your letter were not far
off from me). And albeit at the first I found them averse and nothing inclined
to grant your demand, yet after, upon consideration of your reasons and assurance
of secrecy (especially for that there is nothing in the same contained repugnant
to charity or to our bounden duty toward our most gracious Princess or country,
but rather for the special good of them both and for the forewarning of some dangers
imminent to the same), they have referred over the matter to me, yet with this
PROVISO, that they will know nothing nor yet yield consent to the publishing hereof,
for fear of some future flourish of the Ragged Staff3 to
come hereafter about their ears if their names should break forth, which (I trust)
you will provide shall never happen, both for their security and for your own.
And with this I will end, assuring you that within these five or six days you
shall receive the whole in writing by another way and secret means; neither shall
the bearer suspect what he carrieth, whereof also I thought good to premonish
you. And this shall suffice for this time.
PREFACE OF THE CONFERENCE
Not long before the last Christmas, I was requested by a letter from a
very worshipful and grave gentleman, whose son was then my pupil in Cambridge,
to repair with my said scholar to a certain house of his near London and there
to pass over the holy days in his company; for that it was determined that in
Hilary term following his said son should be placed in some Inn of Chancery to
follow the study of the common law, and so to leave the University. This request
was grateful unto me both in respect of the time as also of the matter, but especially
of the company. For that, as I love much the young gentleman my pupil for his
towardliness in religion, learning, and virtue, so much more do I reverence his
father for the riper possession of the same ornaments, and for his great wisdom,
experience, and grave judgment in affairs of the world that do occur; but namely
touching our own country, wherein truly I do not remember to have heard any man
in my life discourse more substantially, indifferently, and with less passion,
more love and fidelity, than I have heard him, which was the cause that I took
singular delight to be in his company and refused no occasion to enjoy the same.
Which also he perceiving, dealt more openly and confidently with me than with
many other of his friends, as by the relation following may well appear.
I came to the foresaid house by London, I found there among other friends an ancient
man that professed the law and was come from London to keep his Christmas in that
place, with whom at divers former times I had been well acquainted, for that he
haunted much the company of the said gentleman my friend and was much trusted
and used by him in matters of his profession, and not a little beloved also for
his good conversation, notwithstanding some difference in religion between us.
For albeit this lawyer was inclined to be a Papist, yet was it with such moderation
and reservation of his duty towards his prince and country, and proceedings of
the same, as he seemed always to give full satisfaction in this point to us that
were of contrary opinion.
did he let to protest oftentimes with great affection that as he had many friends
and kinsfolk of contrary religion to himself, so did he love them never the less
for their different conscience, but, leaving that to God, was desirous to do them
any friendship or service that he could, with all affection, zeal, and fidelity.
Neither was he willful or obstinate in his opinion, and much less reproachful
in speech (as many of them be), but was content to hear whatsoever we should say
to the contrary (as often we did) and to read any book also that we delivered
him for his instruction.
temperate behavior induced this gentleman and me to affect the more his company,
and to discourse as freely with him in all occurrents as if he had been of our
ENTRANCE TO THE MATTER
day, then, of the Christmas, we three retiring ourselves after dinner into a large
gallery for our recreation (as often we were accustomed to do, when other went
to cards and other pastimes), this lawyer by chance had in his hand a little book
then newly set forth, containing A Defense of the Public Justice Done of Late
in England upon Divers Priests and Other Papists for Treason,4
which book the lawyer had read to himself a little before and was now putting
it up into his pocket. But the gentleman my friend, who had read over the same
once or twice in my company before, would needs take the same into his hand again
and asked the lawyer his judgment upon the book.
The lawyer answered that it was not evil penned, in his opinion, to prove the
guiltiness of some persons therein named in particular, as also to persuade in
general that the Papists both abroad and at home who meddle so earnestly with
defense and increase of their religion (for these are not all, said he) do consequently
wish and labor some change in the state. But yet whether so far forth and in so
deep a degree of proper treason as here in this book both in general and particular
is presumed and enforced, that (quoth he) is somewhat hard (I ween) for you or
me (in respect of some other difference between us) to judge or discern with indifferency.
Nay truly, said the gentleman, for my part I think not so, for
that reason is reason in what religion soever. And for myself I may protest that
I bear the honest Papist (if there be any) no malice for his deceived conscience,
whereof among others yourself can be a witness; marry, his practices against the
state I cannot in any wise disgiest,5 and much less may the
commonwealth bear the same (whereof we all depend), being a sin of all other the
most heinous and least pardonable. And therefore, seeing in this you grant the
Papist both in general abroad and at home, and in particular such as are condemned,
executed, and named in this book to be guilty, how can you insinuate (as you do)
that there is more presumed or enforced upon them by this book than there is just
cause so to do?
Good Sir, said the other, I stand not here to examine the doings of my superiors,
or to defend the guilty, but wish heartily rather their punishment that have deserved
the same. Only this I say, for explication of my former speech, that men of a
different religion from the state wherein they live may be said to deal against
the same state in two sorts: the one, by dealing for the increase of their said
different religion, which is always either directly or indirectly against the
state. Directly, when the said religion containeth any point or article directly
impugning the said state (as perhaps you will say that the Roman religion doth
against the present state of England in the point of supremacy), and indirectly,
for that every different religion divideth in a sort and draweth from the state,
in that there is no man who in his heart would not wish to have the chief governor
and state to be of his religion if he could, and consequently misliketh the other
in respect of that; and in this kind not only those whom you call busy Papists
in England, but also those whom we call hot Puritans among you (whose differences
from the state, especially in matters of government, is very well known) may be
called all traitors, in mine opinion, for that everyone of these indeed do labor
indirectly (if not more) against the state, in how much soever each one endeavoreth
to increase his part or faction that desireth a governor of his own religion.
in this case also are the Protestants in France and Flanders under Catholic princes;
the Calvinists (as they are called) under the Duke of Saxony, who is a Lutheran;
the Lutherans under Casimir, that favoreth Calvinists; the Grecians and other
Christians under the Emperor of Constantinople, under the Sophy, under the Great
Cham of Tartary, and under other princes that agree not with them in religion.
All which subjects do wish (no doubt) in their hearts that they had a prince and
state of their own religion, instead of that which now governeth them, and consequently
in this first sense they may be called all traitors, and every act they do for
advancement of their said different religion (dividing between the state and them)
tendeth to treason; which their princes supposing, do sometimes make divers of
their acts treasonable or punishable for treason. But yet so long as they break
not forth unto the second kind of treason, which containeth some actual attempt
or treaty against the life of the prince or state, by rebellion or otherwise,
we do not properly condemn them for traitors, though they do some acts of their
religion made treason by the prince his laws, who is of a different faith.
so to apply this to my purpose, I think, Sir, in good sooth, that in the first
kind of treason, as well the zealous Papist, as also the Puritans in England,
may well be called and proved traitors; but in the second sort (whereof we speak
properly at this time) it cannot be so precisely answered, for that there may
be both guilty and guiltless in each religion. And as I cannot excuse all Puritans
in this point, so you cannot condemn all Papists, as long as you take me and some
other to be as we are.6
I grant your distinction of treasons to be true (said the gentleman), as also
your application thereof to the Papists and Puritans (as you call them) not to
want reason, if there be any of them that mislike the present state (as perhaps
there be); albeit for my part, I think these two kinds of treasons which you have
put down be rather divers degrees than divers kinds; wherein I will refer me to
the judgment of our Cambridge friend here present, whose skill is more in logical
distinctions. But yet my reason is this, that indeed the one is but a step or
degree to the other, not differing in nature, but rather in time, ability, or
opportunity. For if (as in your former examples you have showed) the Grecians
under the Turk, and other Christians under other princes of a different religion,
and as also the Papists and Puritans (as you term them) in England (for now this
word shall pass between us for distinction sake), have such alienation of mind
from their present regiment and do covet so much a governor and state of their
own religion, then no doubt but they are also resolved to employ their forces
for accomplishing and bringing to pass their desires, if they had opportunity;
and so being now in the first degree or kind of treason do want but occasion or
ability to break into the second.
True, Sir, said the lawyer, if there be no other cause or circumstance that may
And what cause or circumstance may stay them, I pray you (said the gentleman),
when they shall have ability and opportunity to do a thing which they so much
Divers causes (quoth the lawyer), but especially and above all other (if it be
at home in their own country) the fear of servitude under foreign nations may
restrain them from such attempts; as we see in Germany that both Catholics and
Protestants would join together against any stranger that should offer danger
to their liberty. And so they did, against Charles V.7 And
in France not long ago, albeit the Protestants were up in arms against their king
and could have been content, by the help of us in England, to have put him down
and placed another of their own religion, yet when they saw us once seized of
Newhaven, and so like to proceed to the recovery of some part of our states on
that side the sea, they quickly joined with their own Catholics again to expel
Flanders likewise, though Monsieur were called thither by the Protestants especially
for defense of their religion against the Spaniard, yet we see how dainty divers
chief Protestants of Antwerp, Gaunt, and Bruges were in admitting him, and how
quick in expelling, so soon as he put them in the least fear of subjection to
the French.9 And as for Portugal, I have heard some of the
chiefest Catholics among them say, in this late contention about their kingdom,
that rather than they would suffer the Castilian to come in upon them, they would
be content to admit whatsoever aids of a contrary religion to themselves and to
adventure whatsoever alteration in religion or other inconvenience might befall
them by that means, rather than endanger their subjection to their ambitious neighbor.10
like is reported in divers histories of the Grecians at this day, who do hate
so much the name and dominion of the Latins as they had rather to endure all the
miseries which daily they suffer under the Turk for their religion and otherwise,
than by calling for aid from the west to hazard their subjection to the said Latins.
So that by these examples you see that fear and horror of external subjection
may stay men in all states, and consequently also both Papists and Puritans in
the state of England, from passing to the second kind or degree of treason, albeit
they were never so deep in the first and had both ability, time, will, and opportunity
for the other.
Here I presumed to interrupt their speech, and said that this seemed to me most
clear and that now I understood what the lawyer meant before, when he affirmed
that albeit the most part of Papists in general might be said to deal against
the state of England at this day, in that they deal so earnestly for the maintenance
and increase of their religion, and so to incur some kind of treason; yet (perhaps)
not so far forth nor in so deep a degree of proper treason as in this book is
presumed or enforced; though for my part (said I) I do not see that the book presumeth
or enforceth all Papists in general to be properly traitors, but only such as
in particular are therein named, or that are by law attainted, condemned, or executed.
And what will you say (quoth I) to those in particular?
Surely (quoth he), I must say of these, much after the manner which I spake before,
that some here named in this book are openly known to have been in the second
degree or kind of treason, as Westmoreland, Norton, Sanders, and the like.11
But divers others (namely the priests and seminaries12 that
of late have suffered), by so much as I could see delivered and pleaded at their
arraignments, or heard protested by them at their deaths, or gathered by reason
and discourse of myself (for that no foreign prince or wise counsellor would ever
commit so great matters of state to such instruments), I cannot (I say) but think
that to the wise of our state that had the doing of this business, the first degree
of treason (wherein no doubt they were) was sufficient to dispatch and make them
away, especially in such suspicious times as these are; to the end that being
hanged for the first, they should never be in danger to fall into the second,
nor yet to draw other men to the same, which perhaps was most of all misdoubted.13
the lawyer had spoken this, I held my peace, to hear what the gentleman would
answer; who walked up and down two whole turns in the gallery without yielding
any word again, and then, staying upon the sudden, cast his eyes sadly upon us
both and said:
My masters, howsoever this be, which indeed appertaineth not to us to judge or
discuss, but rather to persuade ourselves that the state hath reason to do as
it doth and that it must oftentimes as well prevent inconveniences as remedy the
same when they are happened, yet for my own part I must confess unto you that
upon some considerations which use to come unto my mind, I take no small grief
of these differences among us (which you term of divers and different religions),
for which we are driven of necessity to use discipline towards divers who possibly
otherwise would be no great malefactors. I know the cause of this difference is
grounded upon a principle not easy to cure, which is the judgment and conscience
of a man, whereunto obeyeth at length his will and affection, whatsoever for a
time he may otherwise dissemble outwardly. I remember your speech before of the
doubtful and dangerous inclination of such as live discontented in a state of
a different religion, especially when either indeed or in their own conceit they
are hardly dealt withal, and where every man's particular punishment is taken
to reach to the cause of the whole.
am not ignorant how that misery procureth amity and the opinion of calamity moveth
affection of mercy and compassion, even towards the wicked; the better fortune
always is subject to envy, and he that suffereth is thought to have the better
cause; my experience of the divers reigns and proceedings of King Edward, Queen
Mary, and of this our most gracious sovereign hath taught me not a little touching
the sequel of these affairs. And finally (my good friends), I must tell you plain
(quoth he, and this he spake with great asseveration) that I could wish with all
my heart that either these differences were not among us at all, or else that
they were so temperately on all parts pursued as the common state of our country,
the blessed reign of her Majesty, and the common cause of true religion were not
endangered thereby. But now - and there he brake off and turned aside.
The lawyer seeing him hold his peace and depart, he stepped after him and, taking
him by the gown, said merrily: Sir, all men are not of your complexion, some are
of quicker and more stirring spirits and do love to fish in water that is troubled,
for that they do participate [in] the black-moor's humor, that dwell in Guinea
(whereof I suppose you have heard and seen also some in this land), whose exercise
at home is (as some write) the one to hunt, catch, and sell the other and always
the stronger to make money of the weaker for the time. But now if in England we
should live in peace and unity of the state, as they do in Germany notwithstanding
their differences of religion, and that the one should not prey upon the other,
then should the great falcons for the field (I mean the favorites of the time)
fail whereon to feed, which were an inconvenience as you know.
Truly, Sir, said the gentleman, I think you rove nearer the mark than you ween,
for if I be not deceived the very ground of much of these broils whereof we talk
is but a very prey; not in the minds of the prince or state (whose intentions
no doubt be most just and holy), but in the greedy imagination and subtile conceit
of him who at this present in respect of our sins is permitted by God to tyrannize
both prince and state, and, being himself of no religion, feedeth notwithstanding
upon our differences in religion, to the fatting of himself and ruin of the realm.
For whereas by the common distinction now received in speech there are three notable
differences of religion in the land, the two extremes whereof are the Papist and
the Puritan, and the religious Protestant obtaining the mean, this fellow being
of neither maketh his gain of all, and as he seeketh a kingdom by the one extreme
and spoil by the other, so he useth the authority of the third to compass the
first two, and the countermine of each one to the overthrow of all three.
To this I answered: In good sooth, Sir, I see now where you are, you are fallen
into the common place of all our ordinary talk and conference in the University,
for I know that you mean my Lord of Leicester, who is the subject of all pleasant
discourses at this day throughout the realm.
Not so pleasant as pitiful, answered the gentleman, if all matters and circumstances
were well considered, except any man take pleasure to jest at our own miseries,
which are like to be greater by his iniquity (if God avert it not) than by all
the wickedness of England besides, he being the man that by all probability is
like to be the bane and fatal destiny of our state, with the eversion14
of true religion, whereof by indirect means he is the greatest enemy that the
land doth nourish.
Now verily (quoth the lawyer), if you say thus much for the Protestants' opinion
of him, what shall I say for his merits towards the Papists? Who for as much as
I can perceive do take themselves little beholding unto him, albeit for his gain
he was some years their secret friend against you, until by his friends he was
persuaded, and chiefly by the Lord North,15 by way of policy,
as the said Lord boasteth, in hope of greater gain to step over to the Puritans
against us both, whom notwithstanding it is probable that he loveth as much as
he doth the rest.
You know the bear's love, said the gentleman, which is all for his own paunch,
and so this Bearwhelp turneth all to his own commodity, and for greediness thereof
will overturn all if he be not stopped or muzzled in time.
surely unto me it is a strange speculation, whereof I cannot pick out the reason
(but only that I do attribute it to God's punishment for our sins) that in so
wise and vigilant a state as ours is, and in a country so well acquainted and
beaten with such dangers, a man of such a spirit as he is known to be, of so extreme
ambition, pride, falsehood, and treachery; so born, so bred up, so nuzzled in
treason from his infancy; descended of a tribe of traitors, and fleshed in conspiracy
against the royal blood of King Henry's children in his tender years, and exercised
ever since in drifts against the same by the blood and ruin of divers others;
a man so well known to bear secret malice against her Majesty for causes irreconcilable
and most deadly rancor against the best and wisest counsellors of her Highness;
that such a one (I say), so hateful to God and man and so markable to the simplest
subject of this land by the public ensigns of his tyrannous purpose, should be
suffered so many years without check to aspire to tyranny by most manifest ways
and to possess himself (as now he hath done) of Court, Council, and country without
controlment, so that nothing wanteth to him but only his pleasure, and the day
already conceived in his mind to dispose as he list both of prince, crown, realm,
It is much, truly (quoth I), that you say, and it ministreth not a little marvel
unto many, whereof your worship is not the first nor yet the tenth person of accompt16
which I have heard discourse and complain. But what shall we say hereunto? There
is no man that ascribeth not this unto the singular benignity and most bountiful
good nature of her Majesty, who measuring other men by her own heroical and princely
sincerity cannot easily suspect a man so much bounden to her grace as he is, nor
remove her confidence from the place where she hath heaped so infinite benefits.
No doubt (said the gentleman) but this gracious and sweet disposition of her Majesty
is the true original cause thereof, which princely disposition, as in her Highness
it deserveth all rare commendation, so lieth the same open to many dangers oftentimes,
when so benign a nature meeteth with ingrate and ambitious persons; which observation,
perhaps, caused her Majesty's most noble grandfather and father (two renowned
wise princes) to withdraw sometime upon the sudden their great favor from certain
subjects of high estate. And her Majesty may easily use her own excellent wisdom
and memory to recall to mind the manifold examples of perilous haps fallen to
divers princes by too much confidence in obliged proditors,17
with whom the name of a kingdom and one hour's reign weigheth more than all duty,
obligation, honesty, or nature in the world. Would God her Majesty could see the
continual fears that be in her faithful subjects' hearts whiles that man is about
her noble person, so well able and likely (if the Lord avert it not) to be the
calamity of her princely blood and name.
talk will never out of many mouths and minds that divers ancient men of this realm,
and once a wise gentleman now a Councillor18 had with a certain
friend of his, concerning the presage and deep impression which her Majesty's
father had of the house of Sir John Dudley to be the ruin in time of his Majesty's
royal house and blood, which thing was like to have been fulfilled soon after
(as all the world knoweth) upon the death of King Edward by the said Dudley this
man's father, who at one blow procured to dispatch from all possession of the
crown all three children of the said noble king. And yet in the midst of those
bloody practices against her Majesty that now is and her sister (wherein also
this fellow's hand was so far as for his age he could thrust the same), within
sixteen days before King Edward's death he (knowing belike19
that the king should die) wrote most flattering letters to the Lady Mary (as I
have heard by them who then were with her) promising all loyalty and true service
to her after the decease of her brother, with no less painted words than this
man now doth use to Queen Elizabeth.20
dealt he then with the most dear children of his good king and master, by whom
he had been no less exalted and trusted than this man is by her Majesty. And so
deeply dissembled he then when he had in hand the plot to destroy them both. And
what then (alas) may not we fear and doubt of this his son, who in outrageous
ambition and desire of reign is not inferior to his father or to any other aspiring
spirit in the world, but far more insolent, cruel, vindicative, expert, potent,
subtile, fine, and fox-like than ever he was? I like well the good motion propounded
by the foresaid gentleman21 to his friend at the same time,
and do assure myself it would be most pleasant to the realm and profitable to
her Majesty, to wit: that this man's actions might be called publicly to trial,
and liberty given to good subjects to say what they knew against the same, as
it was permitted in the first year of King Henry VIII against his grandfather,
and in the first of Queen Mary against his father;22 and
then I would not doubt but if these two his ancestors were found worthy to leese
their heads for treason, this man would not be found unworthy to make the third
in kindred, whose treacheries do far surpass them both.
After the gentleman had said this, the lawyer stood still, somewhat smiling to
himself and looking round about him, as though he had been half afeard, and then
said: My masters, do you read over or study the statutes that come forth? Have
you not heard of the PROVISO made in the last Parliament for punishment of those
who speak so broad of such men as my Lord of Leicester is?23
Yes, said the gentleman, I have heard how that my Lord of Leicester was very careful
and diligent at that time to have such a law to pass against talkers, hoping (belike)
that his Lordship under that general restraint might lie the more quietly in harbrough
from the tempest of men's tongues, which tattled busily at that time of divers
his Lordship's actions and affairs which perhaps himself would have wished to
pass with more secrecy. As of his discontentment and preparation to rebellion
upon Monsieur's first coming into the land;24 of his disgrace
and checks received in Court; of the fresh death of the noble Earl of Essex; and
of this man's hasty snatching up of the widow, whom he sent up and down the country
from house to house by privy ways, thereby to avoid the sight and knowledge of
the Queen's Majesty. And albeit he had not only used her at his good liking before,
for satisfying of his own lust, but also married and remarried her for contentation
of her friends; yet denied he the same by solemn oath to her Majesty and received
the holy communion thereupon (so good a conscience he hath) and consequently threatened
most sharp revenge towards all subjects which should dare to speak thereof; and
so for the concealing both of this and other his doings which he desired not to
have public, no marvel though his Lordship were so diligent a procurer of that
law for silence.
Indeed (said I), it is very probable that his Lordship was in great distress about
that time when Monsieur's matters were in hand, and that he did many things and
purposed more whereof he desired less speech among the people, especially afterwards
when his said designments took not place. I was myself that year not far from
Warwick when he came thither from the Court a full malcontent, and when it was
thought most certainly throughout the realm that he would have taken arms soon
after if the marriage of her Majesty with Monsieur had gone forward. The thing
in Cambridge and in all the country as I rode was in every man's mouth, and it
was a wonder to see not only the countenances, but also the behavior, and to hear
the bold speeches of all such as were of his faction.
Lord himself had given out a little before at Killingworth that the matter would
cost many broken heads before Michaelmas day next,25 and
my Lord of Warwick had said openly at his table in Greenwich, Sir Thomas Hennige
[Heneage] being by (if I be not deceived), that it was not to be suffered (I mean
the marriage), which words of his once coming abroad (albeit misliked by his own
lady then also present )26 every servingman and common companion
took then up in defense of his Lordship's part against the Queen's Majesty. Such
running there was, such sending and posting about the realm, such amplification
of the powers and forces of Casimir and other princes,27
ready (as was affirmed) to present themselves unto his aid for defense of the
realm and religion against strangers (for that was holden to be his cause), such
numbering of parties and complices within the realm (whereof himself showed the
catalogue to some of his friends for their comfort),28 such
debasing of them that favored the marriage (especially two or three Councillors
by name, who were said to be the cause of all and for that were appointed out
to be sharply punished to the terror of all others),29 such
letters were written and intercepted of purpose, importing great powers to be
ready, and so many other things done and designed, tending all to manifest and
open war, as I began heartily to be afeard and wished myself back at Cambridge
again, hoping that being there my scholar's gown should excuse me from necessity
of fighting, or if not, I was resolved (by my Lord's good leave) to follow Aristotle,
who preferreth always the Lion before the Bear; assuring myself withal that his
Lordship should have no better success in this (if it came to trial) than his
father had in as bad a cause, and so much the more for that I was privy to the
minds of some of his friends, who meant to have deceived him if the matter had
broken out. And amongst other there was a certain Vicepresident in the world,30
who being left in the room and absence of another to procure friends, said in
a place secretly not far from Ludlow that if the matter came to blows he would
follow his Mistress and leave his master in the briars.
Marry, Sir (quoth the gentleman), and I trow many more would have followed that
example. For albeit I know that the Papists were most named and misdoubted of
his part in that cause, for their open inclination towards Monsieur, and consequently
for greater discredit of the thing itself it was given out everywhere by this
champion of religion that her Majesty's cause was the Papists' cause (even as
his father had done in the like enterprise before him, though all upon dissimulation
as appeared at his death, where he professed himself an earnest Papist );31
yet was there no man so simple in the realm which descried not this vizard at
the first, neither yet any good subject (as I suppose) who, seeing her Majesty
on the one part, would not have taken against the other part, whatsoever he had
been. And much more the thing itself in controversy (I mean the marriage of her
royal Majesty with the brother and heir apparent of France), being taken and judged
by the best, wisest, and faithfullest Protestants of the realm to be both honorable,
convenient, profitable, and needful. Whereby only, as by a most sovereign and
present remedy, all our maladies both abroad and at home had at once been cured:
all foreign enemies and domestical conspirators, all differences, all dangers,
all fears had ceased together, France had been ours most assured, Spain would
not a little have trembled, Scotland had been quiet, our competitors in England
would have quaked, and for the Pope, he might have put up his pipes. Our differences
in religion at home had been either less or no greater than now they are, for
that Monsieur, being but a moderate Papist and nothing vehement in his opinions,
was content with very reasonable conditions for himself and his strangers only
in use of their conscience, not unlikely (truly) but that in time he might by
God's grace and by the great wisdom and virtue of her Majesty have been brought
also to embrace the gospel, as King Ethelbert, an heathen, was by noble Queen
Bertha his wife, the first Christian of our English princes.32
all which felicity, if the Lord in mercy should have added also some issue of
their royal bodies (as was not impossible when first this noble match was moved),
we then (doubtless) had been the most fortunate people under heaven and might
have been (perhaps) the mean to have restored the gospel throughout all Europe
besides, as our brethren of France well considered and hoped.
all which singular benefits both present and to come, both in RE and in SPE,33
this tyrant for his own private lucre (fearing lest hereby his ambition might
be restrained and his treachery revealed) hath bereaved the realm and done what
in him lieth besides to alienate forever and make our mortal enemy this great
prince, who sought the love of her Majesty with so much honor and confidence as
never prince the like, putting twice his own person to jeopardy of the sea and
to the peril of his malicious enviers here in England for her Majesty's sake.
When you speak of Monsieur (said the lawyer), I cannot but greatly be moved, both
for these considerations well touched by you, as also for some other; especially
one wherein (perhaps) you will think me partial, but truly I am not, for that
I speak it only in respect of the quiet and good of my country, and that is, that
by Monsieur's match with our noble Princess, besides the hope of issue (which
was the principal), there wanted not also probability that some union or little
toleration in religion between you and us might have been procured in this state,
as we see that in some other countries is admitted to their great good. Which
thing (no doubt) would have cut off quite all dangers and dealings from foreign
princes and would have stopped many devices and plots within the realm; whereas
now by this breach with France we stand alone, as me seemeth, without any great
unition34 or friendship abroad, and our differences at home
grow more vehement and sharp than ever before. Upon which two heads, as also upon
infinite other causes, purposes, drifts, and pretenses, there do ensue daily more
deep, dangerous, and desperate practices, every man using either the commodity
or necessity of the time and state for his own purpose. Especially now when all
men presume that her Majesty (by the continual thwartings which have been used
against all her marriages) is not like to leave unto the realm that precious jewel
so much and long desired of all English hearts, I mean the royal heirs of her
Thwartings call you the defeating of all her Majesty's most honorable offers of
marriage? (said the other); truly in my opinion you should have used another word
to express the nature of so wicked a fact, whereby alone, if there were no other,
this unfortunate man hath done more hurt to his commonwealth than if he had murdered
many thousands of her subjects or betrayed whole armies to the professed enemy.
I can remember well myself four treatises to this purpose undermined by his means:
the first with the Swethen king, the second with the Archduke of Austria, the
third with Henry King of France that now reigneth, and the fourth with the brother
and heir of the said kingdom.35 For I let pass many other
secret motions made by great potentates to her Majesty for the same purpose, but
these four are openly known and therefore I name them. Which four are as well
known to have been all disturbed by this DAVUS36 as they
were earnestly pursued by the other.
for the first three suitors, he drove them away by protesting and swearing that
himself was contracted unto her Majesty, whereof her Highness was sufficiently
advertised by Cardinal Châtillon in the first treaty for France, and the
Cardinal soon after punished (as is thought) by this man with poison. But yet
this speech he gave out then everywhere among his friends, both strangers and
other, that he (forsooth) was assured to her Majesty and consequently that all
other princes must give over their suits for him. Whereunto notwithstanding, when
the Swethen would hardly give ear, this man conferred with his privado37
to make a most unseemly and disloyal proof thereof for the other's satisfaction,
which thing I am enforced by duty to pass over with silence for honor to the parties
who are touched therein, as also I am to conceal his said filthy privado, though
worthy otherwise for his dishonesty to be displayed to the world; but my Lord
himself, I am sure, doth well remember both the man and the matter. And albeit
there was no wise man at that time who, knowing my Lord, suspected not the falsehood
and his arrogant affirmation touching this contract with her Majesty, yet some
both abroad and at home might doubt thereof perhaps; but now of late, by his known
marriage with his minion Dame Lettice of Essex, he hath declared manifestly his
own most impudent and disloyal dealing with his sovereign in this report.
For that report (quoth the lawyer), I know that it was common and maintained by
many for divers years; yet did the wiser sort make no accompt thereof, seeing
it came only from himself and in his own behalf. Neither was it credible that
her Majesty, who refused so noble knights and princes as Europe hath not the like,
would make choice of so mean a peer as Robin Dudley is, noble only in two descents
and both of them stained with the block, from which also himself was pardoned
but the other day, being condemned thereunto by law for his deserts, as appeareth
yet in public records.38 And for the widow of Essex, I marvel,
Sir (quoth he), how you call her his wife, seeing the canon law standeth yet in
force touching matters of marriage within the realm.
Oh (said the gentleman, laughing), you mean for that he procured the poisoning
of her husband in his journey from Ireland. You must think that Doctor Dale will
dispense in that matter, as he did (at his Lordship's appointment) with his Italian
physician Doctor Julio to have two wives at once; at the leastwise the matter
was permitted and borne out by them both publicly (as all the world knoweth) and
that against no less persons than the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, whose
overthrow was principally wrought by this tyrant for contrarying his will in so
beastly a demand.39 But for this controversy whether the
marriage be good or no, I leave it to be tried hereafter between my young Lord
of Denbigh and Mr. Philip Sidney, whom the same most concerneth.40
For that it is like to deprive him of a goodly inheritance if it take place, as
some will say that in no reason it can, not only in respect of the precedent adultery
and murder between the parties, but also for that my Lord was contracted at least
to another lady before that yet liveth, whereof Mr. Edward Dyer and Mr. Edmund
Tilney, both courtiers, can be witnesses, and consummated the same contract by
generation of children.41 But this (as I said) must be left
to be tried hereafter by them which shall have most interest in the case. Only
for the present I must advertise you that you may not take hold so exactly of
all my Lord's doings in women's affairs, neither touching their marriages, neither
yet their husbands.
first his Lordship hath a special fortune, that when he desireth any woman's favor,
then what person soever standeth in his way hath the luck to die quickly for the
finishing of his desire. As for example, when his Lordship was in full hope to
marry her Majesty and his own wife stood in his light, as he supposed, he did
but send her aside to the house of his servant Forster of Cumnor by Oxford, where
shortly after she had the chance to fall from a pair of stairs and so to break
her neck, but yet without hurting of her hood that stood upon her head.42
But Sir Richard Varney, who by commandment remained with her that day alone, with
one man only, and had sent away perforce all her servants from her to a market
two miles off, he (I say) with his man can tell how she died, which man, being
taken afterward for a felony in the marches of Wales and offering to publish the
manner of the said murder, was made away privily in the prison. And Sir Richard
himself, dying about the same time in London, cried piteously and blasphemed God,
and said to a gentleman of worship of mine acquaintance not long before his death
that all the devils in hell did tear him in pieces. The wife also of Bald Buttler,
kinsman to my Lord,43 gave out the whole fact a little before
her death. But to return unto my purpose, this was my Lord's good fortune to have
his wife die at that time when it was like to turn most to his profit.44
after this, he fell in love with the Lady Sheffield, whom I signified before,
and then also had he the same fortune to have her husband die quickly with an
extreme rheum in his head (as it was given out), but as other say of an artificial
catarrh that stopped his breath.45 The like good chance had
he in the death of my Lord of Essex (as I have said before) and that at a time
most fortunate for his purpose; for when he was coming home from Ireland with
intent to revenge himself upon my Lord of Leicester for begetting his wife with
child in his absence (the child was a daughter and brought up by the Lady Shandoies,
W. Knooles his wife),46 my Lord of Leicester hearing thereof,
wanted not a friend or two to accompany the deputy, as among other, a couple of
the Earl's own servants, Crompton (if I miss not his name), yeoman of his bottles,
and Lloyd, his secretary, entertained afterward by my Lord of Leicester.47
And so he died in the way, of an extreme flux, caused by an Italian recipe,
as all his friends are well assured, the maker whereof was a surgeon (as is believed)
that then was newly come to my Lord from Italy. A cunning man and sure in operation,
with whom if the good lady had been sooner acquainted and used his help, she should
not have needed to have sitten so pensive at home and fearful of her husband's
former return out of the same country, but might have spared the young child in
her belly, which she was enforced to make away (cruelly and unnaturally) for clearing
the house against the goodman's arrival.
must you marvel though all these died in divers manners of outward diseases, for
this is the excellency of the Italian art, for which this surgeon and Dr. Julio
were entertained so carefully, 48 who can make a man die
in what manner or show of sickness you will; by whose instructions no doubt but
his Lordship is now cunning, especially adding also to these the counsel of his
Doctor Bayley,49 a man also not a little studied (as he seemeth)
in this art. For I heard him once myself in a public act in Oxford (and that in
presence of my Lord of Leicester, if I be not deceived) maintain that poison might
be so tempered and given as it should not appear presently, and yet should kill
the party afterward at what time should be appointed. Which argument belike pleased
well his Lordship, and therefore was chosen to be discussed in his audience, if
I be not deceived of his being that day present. So though one die of a flux and
another of a catarrh, yet this importeth little to the matter, but showeth rather
the great cunning and skill of the artificer.
Cardinal Châtillon (as I have said before), having accused my Lord of Leicester
to the Queen's Majesty and after that passing from London towards France about
the marriage, died by the way at Canterbury of a burning fever and so proved Dr.
Bayley's assertion true, that poison may be given to kill at a day.50
At this the lawyer cast up his eyes to heaven, and I stood somewhat musing and
thinking of that which had been spoken of the Earl of Essex, whose case indeed
moved me more than all the rest, for that he was a very noble gentleman, a great
advancer of true religion, a patron to many preachers and students, and towards
me and some of my friends in particular he had been in some things very beneficial;
and therefore I said that it grieved me extremely to hear or think of so unworthy
a death contrived by such means to so worthy a peer. And so much the more, for
that it was my chance to come to the understanding of divers particulars concerning
that thing, both from one Lea, an Irishman,51 Robin Hunnis,
and other, that were present at Penteneis the merchant's house in Develing upon
the quay,52 where the murder was committed. The matter was
wrought especially by Crompton, yeoman of the bottles, by the procurement of Lloyd,
as you have noted before, and there was poisoned at the same time and with the
same cup (as given of courtesy by the Earl) one Mistress Alice Draycot, a goodly
gentlewoman whom the Earl affectioned much, who departing thence towards her own
house (which was eighteen miles off), the foresaid Lea accompanying her and waiting
upon her, she began to fall sick very grievously upon the way, and continued with
increase of pains and excessive torments by vomiting until she died, which was
the Sunday before the Earl's death ensuing the Friday after; and when she was
dead, her body was swollen unto a monstrous bigness and deformity, whereof the
good Earl hearing the day following, lamented the case greatly and said in the
presence of his servants: Ah, poor Alice, the cup was not prepared for thee, albeit
it were thy hard destiny to taste thereof.
Hunnis also, whose father is Master of the Children of her Majesty's Chapel,53
being at that time page to the said Earl and accustomed to take the taste of his
drink (though since entertained also among other by my Lord of Leicester for better
covering of [the] matter), by his taste that he then took of the compound cup
(though in very small quantity, as you know the fashion is), yet was he like to
have lost his life, but escaped in the end (being young) with the loss only of
his hair; which the Earl perceiving and taking compassion of the youth, called
for a cup of drink a little before his death and drank to Hunnis, saying: I drink
to thee, my Robin, and be not afeard, for this is a better cup of drink than that
whereof thou tookest the taste when we were both poisoned, and whereby thou hast
lost thy hair and I must leese my life. This hath young Hunnis reported openly
in divers places and before divers gentlemen of worship sithence his coming into
England, and the foresaid Lea, Irishman, at his passage this way towards France,
after he had been present at the forenamed Mistress Draycot's death, with some
other of the Earl's servants have and do most constantly report the same where
they may do it without the terror of my Lord of Leicester's revenge. Wherefore
in this matter there is no doubt at all, though most extreme vile and intolerable
indignity, that such a man should be so openly murdered without punishment.54
What nobleman within the realm may be safe if this be suffered? Or what worthy
personage will adventure his life in her Majesty's service if this shalbe his
reward? But (Sir) I pray you pardon me, for I am somewhat perhaps too vehement
in the case of this my patron and noble peer of our realm. And therefore I beseech
you to go forward in your talk whereas you left.
I was recounting unto you others (said the gentleman) made away by my Lord of
Leicester with like art, and the next in order I think was Sir Nicholas Throgmorton,
who was a man whom my Lord of Leicester used a great while (as all the world knoweth)
to overthwart and cross the doings of my Lord Treasurer then Sir William Cecil,
a man especially misliked always of Leicester, both in respect of his old master
the Duke of Somerset, as also for that his great wisdom, zeal, and singular fidelity
to the realm was like to hinder much this man's designments; wherefore understanding
after a certain time that these two knights were secretly made friends, and that
Sir Nicholas was like to detect his doings (as he imagined), which might turn
to some prejudice of his purposes (having conceived also a secret grudge and grief
against him, for that he had written to her Majesty at his being ambassador in
France that he heard reported at Duke Memorance's [Montmorency's] table that the
Queen of England had a meaning to marry her horsekeeper);55
he invited the said Sir Nicholas to a supper at his house in London and at supper
time departed to the Court, being called for (as he said) upon the sudden by her
Majesty, and so perforce would needs have Sir Nicholas to sit and occupy his Lordship's
place, and therein to be served as he was; and soon after by a surfeit there taken
he died of a strange and incurable vomit. But the day before his death, he declared
to a dear friend of his all the circumstance and cause of his disease, which he
affirmed plainly to be of poison given him in a salad at supper, inveighing most
earnestly against the Earl's cruelty and bloody disposition, affirming him to
be the wickedest, most perilous and perfidious man under heaven. But what availed
this, when he had now received the bait?56
then is to show the man's good fortune, in seeing them dead whom for causes he
would not have to live. And for his art of poisoning, it is such now and reacheth
so far as he holdeth all his foes in England and elsewhere, as also a good many
of his friends, in fear thereof, and if it were known how many he hath dispatched
or assaulted that way, it would be marvelous to the posterity. The late Earl of
Sussex wanted not a scruple for many years before his death of some dram received
that made him incurable. And unto that noble gentleman Monsieur Simiers, it was
discovered by great providence of God that his life was to be attempted by that
art, and that not taking place (as it did not through his own good circumspection),
it was concluded that the same should be assaulted by violence, whereof I shall
have occasion to say more hereafter.
hath been told me also by some of the servants of the late Lady Lennox, who was
also of the blood royal by Scotland, as all men know, and consequently little
liked by Leicester, that a little before her death or sickness, my Lord took the
pains to come and visit her with extraordinary kindness at her house at Hackney,
bestowing long discourses with her in private; but as soon as he was departed,
the good lady fell into such a flux as by no means could be stayed so long as
she had life in her body, whereupon both she herself and all such as were near
about her and saw her disease and ending day were fully of opinion that my Lord
had procured her dispatch at his being there. Whereof let the women that served
her be examined, as also Fowler, that then had the chief doings in her affairs
and since hath been entertained by my Lord of Leicester. Mallet also, a stranger
born, that then was about her, a sober and zealous man in religion and otherwise
well qualified, can say somewhat in this point (as I think) if he were demanded.57
So that this art and exercise of poisoning is much more perfect with my Lord than
praying, and he seemeth to take more pleasure therein.
for the second point which I named, touching marriages and contracts with women;
you must not marvel though his Lordship be somewhat divers, variable, and inconstant
with himself, for that according to his profit or his pleasure, and as his lust
and liking shall vary (wherein by the judgment of all men he surpasseth not only
Sardanapalus and Nero, but even Heliogabalus himself),58
so his Lordship also changeth wives and minions by killing the one, denying the
other, using the third for a time, and the[n] fawning upon the fourth. And for
this cause he hath his terms and pretenses (I warrant you) of contracts, precontracts,
postcontracts, protracts, and retracts; as for example, after he had killed his
first wife and so broken that contract, then forsooth would he needs make himself
husband to the Queen's Majesty and so defeat all other princes by virtue of his
precontract. But after this, his lust compelling him to another place, he would
needs make a postcontract with the Lady Sheffield, and so he did, begetting two
children upon her, the one a boy called Robin Sheffield now living, some time
brought up at Newington, and the other a daughter, born (as is known) at Dudley
Castle.59 But yet after, his concupiscence changing again
(as it never stayeth), he resolved to make a retract of this postcontract (though
it were as surely done, as I have said, as bed and bible could make the same),
and to make a certain new protract (which is a continuation of using her for a
time) with the widow of Essex. But yet to stop the mouths of outcriers and to
bury the Synagogue with some honor (for these two wives of Leicester were merrily
and wittily called his Old and New Testaments by a person of great excellency
within the realm), he was content to assign to the former a thousand pounds in
money with other petty considerations (the pitifullest abused that ever was poor
lady) and so betake his limbs to the latter, which latter notwithstanding he so
useth (as we see), now confessing, now forswearing, now dissembling the marriage,
as he will always yet keep a void place for a new surcontract with any other,
when occasion shall require.
Now, by my truth, Sir (quoth I), I never heard nor read the like to this in my
life, yet have I read much in my time of the carnality and licentiousness of divers
outrageous persons in this kind of sin, as namely these whom you have mentioned
before: especially the Emperor Heliogabalus, who passed all other and was called
Varius, of the variety of filth which he used in this kind of carnality or carnal
beastliness. Whose death was, that being at length odious to all men, and so slain
by his own soldiers, [he] was drawn through the city upon the ground like a dog
and cast into the common privy, with this epitaph: Hic projectus est indomitae
et rabide libidinus catulus - Here is thrown in the whelp of unruly and raging
lust, which epitaph may also one day chance to serve my Lord of Leicester (whom
you call the Bearwhelp) if he go forward as he hath begun and die as he deserveth.
(good Sir) what a compassion is this, that among us Christians, and namely in
so well governed and religious a commonwealth as ours is, such a riot should be
permitted upon men's wives, in a subject; whereas we read that among the very
heathens less offenses than these, in the same kind, were extremely punished in
princes themselves, and that not only in the person delinquent alone, but also
by extirpation of the whole family for his sake, as appeareth in the example of
the Tarquinians among the Romans. And here also in our own realm, we have registered
in chronicle how that one King Edwin above six hundred years past was deprived
of his kingdom for much less scandalous facts than these.60
I remember well the story (quoth the gentleman) and thereby do easily make conjecture
what difference there is betwixt those times of old and our days now; seeing then,
a crowned prince could not pass unpunished with one or two outrageous acts, whereas
now a subject raised up but yesterday from the meaner sort rangeth at his pleasure
in all licentiousness, and that with security, void of fear both of God and man.
No man's wife can be free from him, whom his fiery lust liketh to abuse, nor their
husbands able to resist nor save from his violence if they show dislike or will
not yield their consent to his doings. And if I should discover in particular
how many good husbands he had plagued in this nature, and for such delights, it
were intolerable; for his concupiscence and violence do run jointly together,
as in furious beasts we see they are accustomed. Neither holdeth he any rule in
his lust besides only the motion and suggestion of his own sensuality. Kindred,
affinity, or any other band of consanguinity, religion, honor, or honesty taketh
no place in his outrageous appetite. What he best liketh, that he taketh as lawful
for the time. So that kinswoman, ally, friend's wife or daughter, or whatsoever
female sort besides doth please his eye (I leave out of purpose and for honor
sake terms of kindred more near), that must yield to his desire.
keeping of the mother with two or three of her daughters at once or successively
is no more with him than the eating of an hen and her chicken[s] together. There
are not (by report) two noblewomen about her Majesty (I speak upon some accompt
of them that know much) whom he hath not solicited by potent ways; neither contented
with this place of honor, he hath descended to seek pasture among the waiting
gentlewomen of her Majesty's Great Chamber, offering more for their allurement
than I think Lais did commonly take in Corinth, if three hundred pounds for a
night will make up the sum;61 or if not, yet will he make
it up otherwise, having reported himself (so little shame he hath) that he offered
to another of higher place an hundred pound lands by the year with as many jewels
as most women under her Majesty used in England, which was no mean bait to one
that used traffic in such merchandise, she being but the leavings of another man
before him,62 whereof my Lord is nothing squeamish for satisfying
of his lust but can be content (as they say) to gather up crumbs when he is hungry,
even in the very laundry itself or other place of baser quality.
albeit the Lord of his great mercy, to do him good, no doubt, if he were revocable,
hath laid his hand upon him in some chastisement in this world by giving him a
broken belly on both sides of his bowels, whereby misery and putrefaction is threatened
to him daily, and to his young son by the widow of Essex (being filius peccati)
such a strange calamity of the falling sickness in his infancy as well may be
a witness of the parents' sin and wickedness and of both their wasted natures
in iniquity;63 yet is this man nothing amended thereby,
but according to the custom of all old adulterers is more libidinous at this day
than ever before, more given to procure love in others by conjuring, sorcery,
and other such means. And albeit for himself, both age and nature spent do somewhat
tame him from the act, yet wanteth he not will, as appeareth by the Italian ointment
procured not many years past by his surgeon or mountebank of that country, whereby
(as they say) he is able to move his flesh at all times, for keeping of his credit,
howsoever his inability be otherwise for performance; as also one of his physicians
reported to an earl of this land, that his Lordship had a bottle for his bedhead
of ten pounds the pint to the same effect. But, my masters, whither are we fallen
unadvised? I am ashamed to have made mention of so base filthiness.
Not without good cause (quoth I) but that we are here alone and no man heareth
us. Wherefore I pray you let us return whereas we left; and when you named my
Lord of Leicester's daughter born of the Lady Sheffield in Dudley Castle, there
came into my head a pretty story concerning that affair, which now I will recompt
(though somewhat out of order), thereby to draw you from the further stirring
of this unsavory puddle and foul dunghill whereunto we are slipped by following
my Lord somewhat too far in his paths and actions.
to tell you the tale as it fell out: I grew acquainted these months past with
a certain minister that now is dead and was the same man that was used at Dudley
Castle for complement of some sacred ceremonies at the birth of my Lord of Leicester's
daughter in that place, and the matter was so ordained by the wily wit of him
that had sowed the seed that for the better covering of the harvest and secret
delivery of the Lady Sheffield, the good wife of the castle64
also (whereby Leicester's appointed gossips might without other suspicion have
access to the place) should feign herself to be with child, and after long and
sore travail (God wot) to be delivered of a cushion (as she was indeed), and a
little after a fair coffin was buried with a bundle of clouts in show of a child;
and the minister caused to use all accustomed prayers and ceremonies for the solemn
interring thereof, for which thing afterward, before his death, he had great grief
and remorse of conscience, with no small detestation of the most irreligious device
of my Lord of Leicester in such a case.65
Here the lawyer began to laugh apace both at the device and at the minister, and
said: Now truly, if my Lord's contracts hold no better, but hath so many infirmities,
with subtilties and by-places besides, I would be loth that he were married to
my daughter, as mean as she is.
But yet (quoth the gentleman), I had rather of the two be his wife for the time
than his guest, especially if the Italian surgeon or physician be at hand.
True it is (said the lawyer), for he doth not poison his wives, whereof I somewhat
marvel; especially his first wife, I muse why he chose rather to make her away
by open violence than by some Italian confortive.66
Hereof (said the gentleman) may be divers reasons alleged. First
that he was not at that time so skillful in those Italian wares, nor had about
him so fit physicians and surgeons for the purpose; nor yet in truth do I think
that his mind was so settled then in mischief as it hath been sithence. For you
know that men are not desperate the first day, but do enter into wickedness by
degrees and with some doubt or staggering of conscience at the beginning. And
so he at that time might be desirous to have his wife made away, for that she
letted him in his designments, but yet not so stony-hearted as to appoint out
the particular manner of her death, but rather to leave that to the discretion
of the murderer.
it is not also unlikely that he prescribed unto Sir Richard Varney at his going
thither that he should first attempt to kill her by poison, and if that took not
place, then by any other way to dispatch her howsoever. This I prove by the report
of old Doctor Bayley67 who then lived in Oxford (another
manner of man than he who now liveth about my Lord of the same name) and was Professor
of the Physic Lecture in the same University. This learned grave man reported
for most certain that there was a practice in Cumnor among the conspirators to
have poisoned the poor lady a little before she was killed, which was attempted
in this order:
seeing the good lady sad and heavy (as one that well knew by her other handling
that her death was not far off) began to persuade her that her disease was abundance
of melancholy and other humors, and therefore would needs counsel her to take
some potion, which she absolutely refusing to do, as suspecting still the worst,
they sent one day (unawares to her) for Doctor Bayley and desired him to persuade
her to take some little potion at his hands, and they would send to fetch the
same at Oxford upon his prescription, meaning to have added also somewhat of their
own for her comfort, as the Doctor upon just causes suspected, seeing their great
importunity and the small need which the good lady had of physic; and therefore
he flatly denied their request, misdoubting (as he after reported) lest if they
had poisoned her under the name of his potion he might after have been hanged
for a cover of their sin. Marry, the said Doctor remained well assured that this
way taking no place she should not long escape violence, as after ensued. And
the thing was so beaten into the heads of the principal men of the University
of Oxford, by these and other means - as for that she was found murdered (as all
men said) by the crowner's68 inquest, and for that she being
hastily and obscurely buried at Cumnor (which was condemned above as not advisedly
done), my good Lord, to make plain to the world the great love he bare to her
in her life and what a grief the loss of so virtuous a lady was to his tender
heart, would needs have her taken up again and reburied in the University church
at Oxford, with great pomp and solemnity - that Doctor Babington, my Lord's chaplain,
making the public funeral sermon at her second burial, tript once or twice in
his speech by recommending to their memories that virtuous lady so pitifully murdered,
instead of so pitifully slain.69
third cause of this manner of the lady's death may be the disposition of my Lord's
nature, which is bold and violent where it feareth no resistance (as all cowardly
natures are by kind), and where any difficulty or danger appeareth, there more
ready to attempt all by art, subtilty, treason, and treachery. And so for that
he doubted no great resistance in the poor lady to withstand the hands of them
which should offer to break her neck, he durst the bolder attempt the same openly.
in the men whom he poisoned, for that they were such valiant knights, the most
part of them, as he durst as soon have eaten his scabbard as draw his sword in
public against them, he was enforced (as all wretched, ireful, and dastardly creatures
are) to supplant them by fraud and by other men's hands. As also at other times
he hath sought to do unto divers other noble and valiant personages, when he was
afeard to meet them in the field as a knight should have done.
treacheries towards the noble late Earl of Sussex in their many breaches is notorious
to all England. As also the bloody practices against divers others.
as among many, none were more odious and misliked of all men than those against
Monsieur Simiers, a stranger and ambassador; whom first he practised to have poisoned
(as hath been touched before) and when that device took not place, then he appointed
that Robin Tider his man (as after upon his ale bench he confessed) should have
slain him at the Blackfriars at Greenwich as he went forth at the garden gate;70
but missing also of that purpose, for that he found the gentleman better provided
and guarded than he expected, he dealt with certain Flushingers and other pirates71
to sink him at sea with the English gentlemen his favorers that accompanied him
at his return into France. And though they missed of this practice also (as not
daring to set upon him for fear of some of her Majesty's ships, who to break off
this designment attended by special commandment to waft him over in safety), yet
the foresaid English gentlemen were holden four hours in chase at their coming
back, as Mr. Rawley [Raleigh] well knoweth, being then present, and two of the
chasers named Clark and Harris confessed afterward the whole designment.72
The Earl of
Ormonde in like wise hath often declared, and will avouch it to my Lord of Leicester's
face whensoever he shalbe called to the same, that at such time as this man had
a quarrel with him and thereby was likely to be enforced to the field (which he
trembled to think of), he first sought by all means to get him made away by secret
murder, offering five hundred pounds for the doing thereof, and secondly, when
that device took no place, he appointed with him the field, but secretly suborning
his servant William Killigrew to lie in the way where Ormonde should pass and
so to massacre him with a caliver before he came to the place appointed. Which
murder though it took no effect, for that the matter was taken up before the day
of meeting, yet was Killigrew placed afterward in her Majesty's Privy Chamber
by Leicester, for showing his ready mind to do for his master so faithful a service.73
So faithful a service? (quoth I). Truly, in my opinion, it was but an unfit preferment
for so facinorous74 a fact. And as I would be loth that
many of his Italians or other of that art should come nigh about her Majesty's
kitchen, so much less would I that many such his bloody champions should be placed
by him in her Highness' chamber. Albeit for this gentleman in particular, it may
be that with change of his place in service he hath changed also his mind and
affection, and received better instruction in the fear of the Lord.
yet in general I must needs say that it cannot be but prejudicial and exceeding
dangerous unto our noble prince and realm that any one man whatsoever (especially
such a one as the world taketh this man to be) should grow to so absolute authority
and commandry in the Court, as to place about the Princess' person (the head,
the heart, the life of the land) whatsoever people liketh him best, and that not
upon their deserts towards the prince but towards himself, whose fidelity being
more obliged to their advancer than to their sovereign, do serve for watchmen
about the same, for the profit of him by whose appointment they were placed. Who
by their means casting indeed but nets and chains and invisible bands about that
person whom most of all he pretendeth to serve, he shutteth up his prince in a
prison most sure, though sweet and senseless.
is this art of aspiring new or strange unto any man that is experienced in affairs
of former time, for that it hath been from the beginning of all government a trodden
path of all aspirers. In the stories both sacred and profane, foreign and domestical,
of all nations, kingdoms, countries, and states, you shall read that such as meant
to mount above other and to govern all at their own discretion did lay this for
the first ground and principle of their purpose, to possess themselves of all
such as were in place about the principal; even as he who intending to hold a
great city at his own disposition nor dareth make open war against the same, getteth
secretly into his hands or at his devotion all the towns, villages, castles, fortresses,
bulwarks, rampires,75 waters, ways, ports, and passages
about the same, and so without drawing any sword against the said city he bringeth
the same into bondage to abide his will and pleasure.
did all these in the Roman Empire who rose from subjects to be great princes and
to put down emperors. This did all those in France and other kingdoms who at sundry
times have tyrannized their princes. And in our own country the examples are manifest
of Vortiger[n], Harold, Henry of Lancaster, Richard of Warwick, Richard of Gloucester,
John of Northumberland, and divers others who by this mean specially have pulled
down their lawful sovereigns.76
to speak only a word or two of the last, for that he was this man's father, doth
not all England know that he first overthrew the good Duke of Somerset by drawing
to his devotion the very servants and friends of the said Duke? And afterward,
did not he possess himself of the king's own person, and brought him to the end
which is known, and before that, to the most shameful disheriting of his own royal
sisters; and all this, by possessing first the principal men that were in authority
Sir, if my Lord of Leicester have the same plot in his head (as most men think)
and that he meaneth one day to give the same push at the crown by the house of
Huntingdon, against all the race and line of King Henry VII in general, which
his father gave before him by pretense of the house of Suffolk against the children
of King Henry VIII in particular, he wanteth not reason to follow the same means
and platform of planting special persons for his purpose about the prince; for
surely his father's plot lacked no witty device or preparation, but only that
God overthrew it at the instant, as happily he may do this man's also, notwithstanding
any diligence that human wisdom can use to the contrary.
To this said the gentleman: That my Lord of Leicester hath a purpose
to shoot one day at the diadem by the title of Huntingdon is not a thing obscure
in itself, and it shalbe more plainly proved hereafter. But now will I show unto
you, for your instruction, how well this man hath followed his father's platform
(or rather passed the same) in possessing himself of all her Majesty's servants,
friends, and forces to serve his turn at that time for execution, and in the mean
space for preparation.
in the Privy Chamber, next unto her Majesty's person, the most part are his own
creatures (as he calleth them), that is, such as acknowledge their being in that
place from him; and the rest he so overruleth either by flattery or fear as none
may dare but to serve his turn. And his reign is so absolute in this place (as
also in all other parts of the Court) as nothing can pass but by his admission;
nothing can be said, done, or signified whereof he is not particularly advertised;
no bill, no supplication, no complaint, no suit, no speech can pass from any man
to the Princess (except it be from one of the Council) but by his good liking;
or if there do, he being admonished thereof (as presently he shall), the party
delinquent is sure after to abide the smart thereof. Whereby he holdeth as it
were a lock upon the ears of his prince, and the tongues of all her Majesty's
servants so surely chained to his girdle as no man dareth to speak any one thing
that may offend him, though it be never so true or behoveful for her Majesty to
appeared in his late marriage with Dame Essex, which albeit it was celebrated
twice - first at Killingworth and secondly at Wanstead (in presence of the Earl
of Warwick, Lord North, Sir Francis Knollys, and others) and this exactly known
to the whole Court, with the very day, the place, the witnesses, and the minister
that married them together77 - yet no man durst open his
mouth to make her Majesty privy thereunto until Monsieur Simiers disclosed the
same (and thereby incurred his high displeasure), nor yet in many days after for
fear of Leicester. Which is a subjection most dishonorable and dangerous to any
prince living, to stand at the devotion of his
subject what to hear or not to hear of things that pass within his own realm.
hereof it followeth that no suit can prevail in Court, be it never so mean, except
he first be made acquainted therewith and receive not only the thanks, but also
be admitted unto a great part of the gain and commodity thereof. Which, as it
is a great injury to the suitor, so is it far more greater to the bounty, honor,
and security of the prince, by whose liberality this man feedeth only and fortifieth
himself, depriving his sovereign of all grace, thanks, and good will for the same.78
For which cause also he giveth out ordinarily to every suitor that her Majesty
is nigh and parsimonious of herself and very difficile to grant any suit, were
it not only upon his incessant solicitation. Whereby he filleth his own purse
the more and emptieth the hearts of such as receive benefit from due thanks to
their Princess for the suit obtained.79
also ensueth that no man may be preferred in Court (be he otherwise never so well
a deserving servant to her Majesty), except he be one of Leicester's faction or
followers; none can be advanced, except he be liked and preferred by him; none
receive grace, except he stand in his good favor, no one may live in countenance
or quiet of life, except he take it, use it, and acknowledge it from him, so as
all the favors, graces, dignities, preferments, riches, and rewards which her
Majesty bestoweth or the realm can yield must serve to purchase this man private
friends and favorers, only to advance his party and to fortify his faction. Which
faction if by these means it be great (as indeed it is) you may not marvel, seeing
the riches and wealth of so worthy a commonweal do serve him but for a price to
buy the same.
thing himself well knowing, frameth his spirit of proceeding accordingly. And
first, upon confidence thereof is become so insolent and impotent of his ire80
that no man may bear the same, how justly or injustly soever it be conceived;
for albeit he begin to hate a man upon bare surmises only (as commonly it falleth
out, ambition being always the mother of suspicion), yet he prosecuteth the same
with such implacable cruelty as there is no long abiding for the party in that
place. As might be showed by the examples of many whom he hath chased from the
Court upon his only displeasure, without other cause, being known to be otherwise
zealous Protestants, as Sir Jerome Bowes, Mr. George Scott, and others that we
this insolency is also joined (as by nature it followeth) most absolute and peremptory
dealing in all things whereof it pleaseth him to dispose, without respect either
of reason, order, due, right, subordination, custom, conveniency, or the like,
whereof notwithstanding princes themselves are wont to have regard in disposition
of their matters; as for example, among the servants of the Queen's Majesty's
household it is an ancient and most commendable order and custom that when a place
of higher room falleth void, he that by succession is next and hath made proof
of his worthiness in an inferior place should rise and possess the same (except
it be for some extraordinary cause), to the end that no man unexperienced or untried
should be placed in the higher rooms the first day to the prejudice of others
and disservice of the prince.
most reasonable custom this man contemning and breaking at his pleasure, thrusteth
into higher rooms any person whatsoever, so he like his inclination or feel his
reward, albeit he neither be fit for the purpose nor have been so much as clerk
in any inferior office before.
like he useth out of the Court, in all other places where matters should pass
by order, election, or degree; as in the Universities, in election of scholars
and heads of houses, in ecclesiastical persons for dignities of church, in officers,
magistrates, stewards of lands, sheriffs and knights of the shires, in burgesses
of the Parliament, in commissioners, judges, justices of the peace (whereof many
in every shire must wear his livery), and all other the like, where this man's
will must stand for reason and his letters for absolute laws; neither is there
any man, magistrate or commoner, in the realm who dareth not sooner deny their
petition of her Majesty's letters upon just causes (for that her Highness is content
after to be satisfied with reason) than to resist the commandment of this man's
letters, who will admit no excuse or satisfaction but only the execution of his
said commandment, be it right or wrong.
To this answered the lawyer: Now verily (Sir), you paint unto me a strange pattern
of a perfect potentate in the Court; belike that stranger who calleth our state
in his printed book Leicestrensem rempublicam, a Leicestrian commonwealth, or
the commonwealth of my Lord of Leicester, knoweth much of these matters.82
But to hold (Sir) still within the Court, I assure you that by considerations
which you have laid down I do begin now to perceive that his party must needs
be very great and strong within the said Court, seeing that he hath so many ways
and means to increase, enrich, and encourage the same, and so strong abilities
to tread down his enemies. The common speech of many wanteth not reason, I perceive,
which calleth him the heart and life of the Court.
They which call him the heart (said the gentleman) upon a little occasion more
would call him also the head, and then I marvel what should be left for her Majesty
when they take from her both life, heart, and headship in her own realm? But the
truth is that he hath the Court at this day in almost the same case as his father
had it in King Edward's days, by the same device (the Lord forbid that ever it
come fully to the same state, for then we know what ensued to the principal),
and if you will have an evident demonstration of this man's power and favor in
that place, call you but to mind the times when her Majesty upon most just and
urgent occasions did withdraw but a little her wonted favor and countenance towards
him; did not all the Court, as it were, mutiny presently? Did not every man hang
the lip, except a few, who afterward paid sweetly for their mirth? Were there
not every day new devices sought out, that some should be on their knees to her
Majesty; some should weep and put finger in their eyes; other should find out
certain covert manner of threatening; other, reasons and persuasions of love;
other, of profit; other, of honor; other, of necessity; and all to get him recalled
back to favor again? And had her Majesty any rest permitted unto her until she
had yielded and granted to the same?
then (I pray you) that if at that time, in his disgrace, he had his faction so
fast assured to himself, what hath he now in his prosperity, after so many years
of fortification? Wherein by all reason he hath not been negligent, seeing that
in policy the first point of good fortification is to make that fort impregnable
which once hath been in danger to be lost. Whereof you have an example in Richard
Duke of York, in the time of King Henry VI, who being once in the king's hands
by his own submission and dismissed again (when for his deserts he should have
suffered), provided after that the king should never be able to overreach him
the second time, or have him in his power to do him hurt, but made himself strong
enough to pull down the other with extirpation of his family.83
this of the Court, household, and chamber of her Majesty. But now if we shall
pass from Court to Council we shall find him no less fortified, but rather more,
for albeit the providence of God hath been such that in this most honorable assembly
there hath not wanted some two or three of the wisest, gravest, and most experienced
in our state that have seen and marked this man's perilous proceedings from the
beginning (whereof notwithstanding two are now deceased, and their places supplied
to Leicester's good liking),84 yet (alas) the wisdom of
these worthy men hath discovered always more than their authorities were able
to redress (the other's great power and violence considered); and for the residue
of that bench and table, though I doubt not but there be divers who do in heart
detest his doings (as there were also no doubt among the Councillors of King Edward
who misliked this man's father's attempts, though not so hardy as to contrary
the same), yet for most part of the Council present, they are known to be so affected
in particular, the one for that he is to him a brother, the other a father, the
other a kinsman, the other an ally, the other a fast obliged friend, the other
a fellow or follower in faction, as none will stand in the breach against him;
none dare resist or encounter his designments; but every man yielding rather to
the force of his flow permitteth him to pierce and pass at his pleasure in whatsoever
his will is once settled to obtain.
hereof (were I not stayed for respect of some whom I may not name) I could allege
strange examples, not so much in affairs belonging to subjects and to private
men (as were the cases of Snowden Forest, [of] Denbigh, of Killingworth, of his
fair pastures foully procured by Southam, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, of
the Lord Berkeley, of Sir John Throgmorton, of Mr. Robinson, and the like)85
wherein those of the Council that disliked his doings least dared to oppose themselves
to the same, but also in things that appertain directly to the crown and dignity,
to the state and commonweal, and to the safety and continuance thereof. It is
not secure for any one Councillor or other of authority to take notice of my Lord's
errors or misdeeds but with extreme peril of their own ruin.
for example, in the beginning of the rebellion in Ireland, when my Lord of Leicester
was in some disgrace and consequently, as he imagined, but in frail state at home,
he thought it not unexpedient for his better assurance to hold some intelligence
also that way for all events, and so he did, whereof there was so good evidence
and testimony found upon one of the first of accompt that was there slain (as
honorable personages of their knowledge have assured me) as would have been sufficient
to touch the life of any subject in the land, or in any state Christian, but only
my Lord of Leicester, who is a subject without subjection.86
what think you? Durst any man take notice hereof or avouch that he had seen thus
much? Durst he that took it in Ireland deliver the same where especially he should
have done? Or they who received it in England (for it came to great hands) use
it to the benefit of their Princess and country? No, surely; for if it had been
but only suspected that they had seen such a thing, it would have been as dangerous
unto them as it was to Acteon to have seen Diana and her maidens naked;87
whose case is so common now in England as nothing more, and so do the examples
of divers well declare, whose unfortunate knowledge of too many secrets brought
them quickly to unfortunate ends.
we hear of one Salvatore, a stranger, long used in great mysteries of base affairs
and dishonest actions, who afterward (upon what demerit I know not) sustained
a hard fortune, for being late with my Lord in his study (well near until midnight,
if I be rightly informed), went home to his chamber and the next morning was found
slain in his bed.88 We hear also of one Doughty, hanged
in haste by Captain Drake upon the sea, and that by order (as is thought) before
his departure out of England, for that he was over-privy to the secrets of this
was also this last summer past one Gates hanged at Tyburn, among others, for robbing
of carriers,90 which Gates had been lately clerk of my Lord's
kitchen and had laid out much money of his own (as he said) for my Lord's provision,
being also otherwise in so great favor and grace with his Lordship as no man living
was thought to be more privy of his secrets than this man, whereupon also it is
to be thought that he presumed the rather to commit this robbery (for to such
things doth my Lord's good favor most extend), and being apprehended and in danger
for the same, he made his recourse to his honor for protection (as the fashion
is) and that he might be borne out, as divers of less merit had been by his Lordship
in more heinous causes before him.
good Earl answered his servant and dear privado courteously and assured him for
his life, howsoever for utter show or complement the form of law might pass against
him. But Gates, seeing himself condemned and nothing now between his head and
the halter but the word of the magistrate, which might come in an instant, when
it would be too late to send to his Lord, remembering also the small assurance
of his said Lord's word by his former dealings towards other men, whereof this
man was too much privy, he thought good to solicit his case also by some other
of his friends, though not so puissant as his Lord and master; who dealing indeed
both diligently and effectually in his affair found the matter more difficult
a great deal than either he or they had imagined, for that my Lord of Leicester
was not only not his favorer but a great hastener of his death under hand and
that with such care, diligence, vehemency, and irresistible means (having the
law also on his side) that there was no hope at all of escaping; which thing when
Gates heard of he easily believed, for the experience he had of his master's good
nature, and said that he always mistrusted the same, considering how much his
Lordship was in debt to him and he made privy to his Lordship['s] foul secrets,
which secrets he would there presently have uttered in the face of all the world
but that he feared torments or speedy death with some extraordinary cruelty if
he should so have done, and therefore he disclosed the same only to a gentleman
of worship whom he trusted specially, whose name I may not utter for some causes
(but it beginneth with H.). And I am in hope ere it be long, by means of a friend
of mine, to have a sight of that discourse and report of Gates, which hitherto
I have not seen nor ever spake I with the gentleman that keepeth it, though I
be well assured that the whole matter passed in substance as I have here recounted
Whereunto I answered that in good faith it were pity that this relation should
be lost, for that it is very like that many rare things be declared therein, seeing
it is done by a man so privy to the affairs themselves, wherein also he had been
used an instrument.92
I will have it (quoth the gentleman), or else my friends shall fail me, howbeit
not so soon as I would, for that he is in the west country that should procure
it for me and will not return for certain months, but after I shall see him again
I will not leave him until he procure it for me as he hath promised.
Well (quoth I), but what is become of that evidence found in Ireland under my
Lord's hand, which no man dare pursue, avouch, or behold?
Truly (said the gentleman), I am informed that it lieth safely reserved in good
custody, to be brought forth and avouched whensoever it shall please God so to
dispose of her Majesty's heart as to lend an indifferent ear as well to his accusers
as to himself in judgment.
must you think that this is strange, nor that the things are few which are in
such sort reserved in deck for the time to come, even among great personages and
of high calling, for seeing the present state of his power to be such and the
tempest of his tyranny to be so strong and boisterous as no man may stand in the
rage thereof without peril - for that even from her Majesty herself in the lenity
of her princely nature he extorteth what he designeth either by fraud, flattery,
false information, request, pretense, or violent importunity to the over-bearing
of all whom he meanth to oppress - no marvel then though many even of the best
and faithfullest subjects of the land do yield to the present time and do keep
silence in some matters that otherwise they would take it for duty to utter.
in this kind, it is not long sithence a worshipful and wise friend of mine told
me a testimony in secret from the mouth of as noble and grave a Councillor as
England hath enjoyed these many hundred years, I mean the late Lord Chamberlain,93
with whom my said friend being alone at his house in London not twenty days before
his death, conferred somewhat familiarly about these and like matters, as with
a true father of his country and commonwealth; and after many complaints in the
behalf of divers who had opened their griefs unto Councillors and saw that no
notice would be taken thereof, the said nobleman, turning himself somewhat about
from the water (for he sat near his pondside, where he beheld the taking of a
pike or carp), said to my friend: It is no marvel (Sir), for who dareth intermeddle
himself in my Lord's affairs? I will tell you (quoth he), in confidence between
you and me, there is as wise a man and as grave and as faithful a Councillor as
England breedeth (meaning thereby the Lord Treasurer) who hath as much in his
keeping of Leicester's own handwriting as is sufficient to hang him, if either
he durst present the same to her Majesty or her Majesty do justice when it should
be presented. But indeed (quoth he), the time permitteth neither of them both,
and therefore it is in vain for any man to struggle with him.
were that noble man's words, whereby you may consider whether my Lord of Leicester
be strong this day in Council or no, and whether his fortification be sufficient
in that place.
now if out of the Council we will turn but our eye in the country abroad, we shall
find as good fortification also there as we have perused already in Court and
Council, and shall well perceive that this man's plot is no fond or indiscreet
plot, but excellent well grounded and such as in all proportions hath his due
then the chief and principal parts of this land for martial affairs, for use and
commodity of armor, for strength, for opportunity, for liberty of the people,
as dwelling farthest off from the presence and aspect of their prince, such parts
(I say) as are fittest for sudden enterprises without danger of interception,
as are the north, the west, the countries of Wales, the islands round about the
land, and sundry other places within the same; are they not all at this day at
his disposition? Are they not all (by his procurement) in the only hands of his
friends and allies, or of such as by other matches have the same complot and purpose
York is President the man that of all other is fittest for that place, that is,
his nearest in affinity, his dearest in friendship, the head of his faction and
open competitor of the scepter.95 In Berwick is Captain
his wife's uncle, most assured to himself and Huntingdon as one who at convenient
time may as much advance their designments as anyone man in England.96
Wales the chief authority from the prince is in his own brother-in-law,97
but among the people, of natural affection, [it] is in the Earl of Pembroke, who
both by marriage of his sister's daughter is made his ally and by dependence is
known to be wholly at his disposition.98 The west part of
England is under Bedford, a man wholly devoted to his and the Puritans' faction.99
In Ireland was governor of late the principal instrument100
appointed for their purposes, both in respect of his heat and affection toward
their designments, as also of some secret discontentment which he hath towards
her Majesty and the state present for certain hard speeches and ingrate recompenses,
as he pretendeth;101 but indeed for that he is known to
be of nature fiery and impatient of stay from seeing that commonwealth on foot
which the next competitors for their gain have painted out to him and such others,
more pleasant than the Terrestrial Paradise itself.
then is the Hector, this is the Ajax, appointed for the enterprise when the time
shall come. This must be (forsooth) another Richard of Warwick, to gain the crown
for Henry IX of the house of York, as the other Richard did put down Henry VI
of the house of Lancaster and placed Edward IV, from whom Huntingdon deriveth
his title; therefore this man is necessarily to be entertained from time to time
(as we see now he is) in some charge and martial action, to the end his experience,
power, and credit may grow the more and he be able at the time to have soldiers
at his commandment. And for the former charge which [he] held of late in Ireland,
as this man had not been called away but for execution of some other secret purpose102
for advancement of their designments, so be well assured that for the time to
come it is to be furnished again with a sure and fast friend to Leicester and
to that faction.103
the Isle of Wight I grant that Leicester hath lost a great friend and a trusty
servant by the death of Captain Horsey,104 but yet the matter
is supplied by the succession of another no less assured unto him than the former,
or rather more, through the band of affinity by his wife.105
The two islands of Jersey and Guernsey are in the possession of two friends and
most obliged dependents. The one, by reason he is exceedingly addicted to the
Puritan proceedings;106 the other, as now being joined unto
him by the marriage of Mistress Bess his wife's sister, both daughters to Sir
Francis or (at least) to my Lady Knollys, and so become a rival, companion, and
brother, who was before (though trusty) yet but his servant.107
these are the chief keys, fortresses, and bulwarks within, without, and about
the realm, which my Lord of Leicester possessing (as he doth), he may be assured
of the body within; where notwithstanding (as hath been showed) he wanteth no
due preparation for strength, having at his disposition (besides all aids and
other helps specified before) her Majesty's horse and stable, by interest of his
own office; her armor, artillery, and munition, by the office of his brother the
Earl of Warwick;108 the Tower of London and treasure therein,
by the dependence of Sir Owen Hopton, his sworn servant, as ready to receive and
furnish him with the whole (if occasion served) as one of his predecessors was
to receive his father in King Edward's days, for the like effect, against her
Majesty and her sister.109
in the city of London itself, what this man at a pinch could do by the help of
some of the principal men and chief leaders and (as it were) commanders of the
commons there,110 and by the bestirring of Fleetwood, his
mad Recorder,111 and other such his instruments; as also
in all other towns, ports, and cities of importance, by such of his own setting
up as he hath placed there to serve his designments, and justices of [the] peace
with other, that in most shires do wear his livery and are at his appointment,
the simplest man within the realm doth consider.
if you add now his own forces and furniture which he hath in Killingworth Castle
and other places, as also the forces of Huntingdon in particular, with their friends,
followers, allies, and compartners, you shall find that they are not behind in
For my Lord of Huntingdon's forwardness in the cause (said I), there is no man,
I think, which maketh doubt; marry, for his private forces, albeit they may be
very good for anything I do know to the contrary (especially at his house within
twenty-five miles of Killingworth,112 where one told me
some years past that he had furniture ready for five thousand men), yet do I not
think but that they are far inferior to my Lord of Leicester's, who is taken to
have excessive store, and that in divers places. And as for the castle last mentioned
by you, there are men of good intelligence and of no small judgment who report
that in the same he hath well to furnish ten thousand good soldiers of all things
necessary both for horse and man, besides all other munition, armor, and artillery
(whereof great store was brought thither under pretense of triumph when her Majesty
was there and never as yet carried back again),113 and besides
the great abundance of ready coin there laid up (as is said), sufficient for any
great exploit to be done within the realm.
I know that the estimation of this place was such among divers many years ago,
as when at a time her Majesty lay dangerously sick and like to die at Hampton
Court, a certain gentleman of the Court114 came unto my
Lord of Huntingdon and told him that for so much as he took his Lordship to be
next in succession after her Majesty he would offer him a mean of great help for
compassing of his purpose after the decease of her Majesty, which was the possession
of Killingworth Castle (for at that time these two Earls were not yet very friends,
nor confederate together), and that being had, he showed to the Earl the great
furniture and wealth which thereby he should possess for pursuit of his purpose.
proposition was well liked, and the matter esteemed of great importance, and consequently
received with many thanks. But yet afterward her Majesty by the good providence
of God recovering again letted the execution of the bargain, and my Lord of Huntingdon,
having occasion to join amity with Leicester, had more respect of his own commodity
than to his friend's security (as commonly in such persons and cases it falleth
out) and so discovered the whole device unto him, who forgot not after, from time
to time, to plague the deviser by secret means, until he hath brought him to that
poor estate as all the world seeth, though many men be not acquainted with the
true cause of this his disgrace and bare fortune.
To this answered the lawyer: In good faith (gentlemen), you open great mysteries
unto me, which either I knew not or considered not so particularly before, and
no marvel, for that my profession and exercise of law restraineth me from much
company keeping, and when I happen to be among some that could tell me much herein,
I dare not either ask or hear if any of himself begin to talk, lest afterward
the speech coming to light I be fetched over the coals (as the proverb is) for
the same, under pretense of another thing. But you (who are not suspected for
religion) have much greater privilege in such matters both to hear and speak again,
which men of mine estate dare not do. Only this I knew before, that throughout
all England my Lord of Leicester is taken for Dominus factotum, whose excellency
above others is infinite, whose authority is absolute, whose commandment is dreadful,
whose dislike is dangerous, and whose favor is omnipotent.
for his will, though it be seldom law, yet always is his power above law, and
therefore we lawyers in all cases brought unto us have as great regard to his
inclination as astronomers115 have to the planet dominant,
or as seamen have to the North Pole.
as they that sail do direct their course according to the situation and direction
of that star which guideth them at the Pole, and as astronomers who make prognostications
do foretell things to come according to the aspect of the planet dominant or bearing
rule for the time, so we do guide our client's bark and do prognosticate what
is like to ensue of his cause by the aspect and inclination of my Lord of Leicester.
And for that reason, as soon as ever we hear a case proposed, our custom is to
ask what part my Lord of Leicester is like to favor in the matter (for in all
matters lightly116 of any importance he hath a part) or
what may be gathered of his inclination therein, and according to that we give
a guess, more or less, what end will ensue.
this (my masters) is from the purpose, and therefore returning to your former
speech again, I do say that albeit I was not privy before to the particular provisions
of my Lord and his friends in such and such places, yet seeing him accompted Lord
General over all the realm, and to have at his commandment all these several commodities
and forces pertaining to her Majesty which you have mentioned before, and so many
more as be in the realm and not mentioned by you (for in fine he hath all), I
could not but accompt him (as he is) a potent prince of our state, for all furniture
needful to defense or offense, or rather the only monarch of our nobility, who
hath sufficient of himself to plunge his prince if he should be discontented,
especial for his abundance of money (which by the wise is termed the sinours117
of martial actions), wherein by all men's judgments he is better furnished at
this day than ever any subject of our land either hath been heretofore or lightly
may be hereafter, both for banks without the realm and stuffed coffers within.
Insomuch that being myself in the last Parliament when the matter was moved for
the grant of a subsidy, after that one for her Majesty118
had given very good reasons why her Highness was in want of money and consequently
needed the assistance of her faithful subjects therein, another that sat next
me of good accompt said in mine ear secretly: These reasons I do well allow and
am contented to give my part in money, but yet, for her Majesty's need, I could
make answer as one answered once the Emperor Tiberius in the like case and cause:
Abunde ei pecuniam fore, si a liberto suo in societatem reciperetur - that
her Majesty should have money enough if one of her servants would vouchsafe to
make her Highness partaker with him, meaning thereby my Lord of Leicester, whose
treasure must needs in one respect be greater than that of her Majesty, for that
he layeth up whatsoever he getteth and his expenses he casteth upon the purse
of his Princess.
For that (said the gentleman), whether he do or no it importeth little to the
matter, seeing both that which he spendeth and that he hoardeth is truly and properly
his Princess' treasure, and seeing he hath so many and divers ways of gaining,
what should he make accompt of his own private expenses? If he lay out one for
a thousand, what can that make him the poorer - he that hath so goodly lands,
possessions, seignories, and rich offices of his own as he is known to have; he
that hath so special favor and authority with the prince as he can obtain whatsoever
he listeth to demand; he that hath his part and portion in all suits besides that
pass by grace or else (for the most part) are ended by law; he that may chop and
change what lands he listeth with her Majesty, despoil them of all their woods
and other commodities, and rack them afterward to the uttermost penny, and then
return the same so tenter-stretched and bare shorn into her Majesty's hands again
by fresh exchange, rent for rent, for other lands never enhanced before;119
he that possesseth so many gainful licenses to himself alone, of wine, oils, currants,
cloth, velvets, with his new office for license of alienation,120
most pernicious unto the commonwealth as he useth the same, with many other the
like, which were sufficient to enrich whole towns, corporations, countries, and
commonwealths; he that hath the art to make gainful to himself every offense,
displeasure, and falling out of her Majesty with him, and every angry countenance
cast upon him; he that hath his share in all offices of great profit and holdeth
an absolute monopoly of the same; he that disposeth at his will the ecclesiastical
livings of the realm, maketh bishops none but such as will do reason or of his
chaplains whom he listeth and retaineth to himself so much of the living as liketh
him best; he that sweepeth away the glebe from so many benefices throughout the
land and compoundeth with the parson for the rest; he that so scoureth the University
and colleges where he is Chancellor and selleth both headships and scholars' places
and all other offices, rooms, and dignities that by art or violence may yield
money; he that maketh title to what land or other thing he please and driveth
the parties to compound for the same; he that taketh in whole forests, commons,
woods, and pastures to himself, compelling the tenants to pay him new rent and
what he cesseth; he that vexeth and oppresseth whomsoever he list, taketh from
any what he list, and maketh his own claim, suit, and end as he list; he that
selleth his favor with the prince, both abroad in foreign countries and at home,
and setteth the price thereof what himself will demand; he that hath and doth
all this, and besides this hath infinite presents daily brought unto him of great
value, both in jewels, plate, all kind of furniture, and ready coin, this man
(I say) may easily bear his own expenses and yet lay up sufficiently also to weary
his prince when needs shall require.
You have said much, Sir (quoth the lawyer), and such matter as toucheth nearly
both her Majesty and the commonwealth, and yet, in my conscience, if I were to
plead at the bar for my Lord, I could not tell which of all these members to deny.
But for that which you mention in the last part, of his gaining by her Majesty's
favor both at home and abroad: touching his home gain it is evident, seeing all
that he hath is gotten only by the opinion of her Majesty's favor towards him,
and many men do repair unto him with fat presents rather for that they suppose
he may by his favor do them hurt if he feel not their reward than for that they
hope he will labor anything in their affairs.
remember (I doubt not) the story of him that offered his prince a great yearly
rent to have but this favor only, that he might come every day in open audience
and say in his ear God save your Majesty, assuring himself that by the opinion
of confidence and secret favor which hereby the people would conceive to be in
the prince towards him, he should easily get up his rent again doubletold. Wherefore
my Lord of Leicester, receiving daily from her Majesty greater tokens of grace
and favor than this, and himself being no evil merchant to make his own bargain
for the best of his commodities, cannot but gain exceedingly at home by his favor.
for his lucre abroad upon the same cause I leave to other men to conceive what
it may be sithence the beginning of her Majesty's reign; the times whereof and
condition of all Christendom hath been such as all the princes and potentates
round about us have been constrained at one time or other to sue to her Highness
for aid, grace, or favor, in all which suits men use not to forget (as you know)
the parties most able by their credit to further or let the same.
particular only this I can say, that I have heard of sundry Frenchmen that at
such time as the treaty was between France and England for the redelivery of Calais
unto us again in the first year of her Majesty's reign that now is, when the Frenchmen
were in great distress and misery and King Philip refused absolutely to make peace
with them except Calais were restored to England (whither for that purpose he
had now delivered the French hostages), the Frenchmen do report (I say) that my
Lord of Leicester stood them in great stead at that necessity, for his reward
(which you may well imagine was not small for a thing of such importance), and
became a suitor that peace might be concluded with the release of Calais to the
French, which was one of the most impious facts (to say the truth) that ever could
be devised against his commonwealth.121
A small matter in him (said the gentleman), for in this he did no more but as
Christ said of the Jews, that they filled up the measure of their fathers' sins.
And so if you read the story of King Edward's time you shall find it most evident
that this man's father before him sold Boulogne to the French by like treachery.
For it was delivered up upon composition, without necessity or reason, the 25
of April in the fourth year of King Edward VI, when he (I mean Duke Dudley) had
now put in the Tower the Lord Protector and thrust out of the Council whom he
listed, as namely the Earls of Arundel and Southampton, and so invaded the whole
government himself, to sell, spoil, and dispose at his pleasure.122
Wherefore this is but natural to my Lord of Leicester by descent to make merchandise
of the state, for his grandfather Edmund also was such a kind of copesman.123
An evil race of merchants for the commonwealth (quoth the lawyer), but yet, Sir,
I pray you (said he), expound unto me somewhat more at large the nature of these
licenses which you named, as also the changing of lands with her Majesty, if you
can set it down any plainer, for they seem to be things of excessive gain, especially
his way of gaining by offending her Majesty or by her Highness' offense towards
him, for it seemeth to be a device above all skill or reason.
Not so (quoth the gentleman), for you know that every falling out must have an
atonement again, whereof he being sure by the many and puissant means of his friends
in Court, as I have showed before, who shall not give her Majesty rest until it
be done, then for this atonement, and in perfect reconciliation on her Majesty's
part, she must grant my Lord some suit or other which he will have always ready
provided for that purpose, and this suit shall be well able to reward his friends
that labored for his reconcilement and leave also a good remainder for himself.
And this is now so ordinary a practice with him as all the realm observeth the
same and disdaineth that her Majesty should be so unworthily abused. For if her
Highness fall not out with him as often as he desireth to gain this way, then
he picketh some quarrel or other to show himself discontented with her, so that
one way or other this gainful reconciliation must be made, and that often, for
his commodity. The like art he exerciseth in inviting her Majesty
to his banquets and to his houses, where if she come she must grant him in suits
ten times so much as the charges of all amount unto; so that Robin playeth the
broker in all his affairs and maketh the uttermost penny of her Majesty every
his change of lands, I think I have been reasonable plain before, yet for your
fuller satisfaction, you shall understand his further dealing therein to be in
this sort. Besides the good lands and of ancient possession to the crown procured
at her Majesty's hand and used as before was declared, he useth the same trick
for his worst lands that he possesseth any way, whether they come to him by extort
means and plain oppression, or through maintenance and broken titles, or by cozenage
of simple gentlemen to make him their heir,124 or by what
hard title or unhonest means soever (for he practiceth store of such and thinketh
little of the reckoning), after he hath tried them likewise to the uttermost touch
and letten them out to such as shall gain but little by the bargain, then goeth
he and changeth the same with her Majesty for the best lands he can pick out of
the crown, to the end that hereby he may both enforce her Majesty to the defense
of his bad titles and himself fill his coffers with the fines and uttermost commodity
of both the lands.
licenses do stand thus: first he got license for certain great numbers of cloths
to be transported out of this land, which might have been an undoing to the merchant
subject if they had not redeemed the same with great sums of money, so that it
redounded to great damage of all occupied about that kind of commodity.125
After that he had the grant for carrying over of barrel staves and of some other
such like wares. Then procured he a monopoly for bringing in of sweet wines, oils,
currants, and the like, the gain whereof is inestimable.126
He had also the forfeit of all wine that was to be drawn above the old ordinary
price, with license to give authority to sell above that price, wherein Captain
Horsey was his instrument;127 by which means it is incredible
what treasure and yearly rent was gathered of the vintners throughout the land.
this add now his license of silks and velvets, which only were enough to enrich
the Mayor and aldermen of London if they were all decayed (as often I have heard
divers merchants affirm). And his license of alienation of lands, which (as in
part I have opened before) serveth him not only to excessive gain, but also for
an extreme scourge wherewith to plague whom he please in the realm. For seeing
that without this license, no man can buy, sell, pass, or alienate any land that
any ways may be drawn to that tenure as holden in chief of the prince (as commonly
now most land may), he calleth into question whatsoever liketh him best, be it
never so clear, and under this color not only enricheth himself without all measure,
but revengeth himself also where he will, without all order.
Here the lawyer stood still a pretty while, biting his lip as he were astonished,
and then said: Verily, I have not heard so many and so apparent things or so odious
of any man that ever lived in our commonwealth. And I marvel much of my Lord of
Leicester, that his grandfather's fortune doth not move him much, who lost his
head in the beginning of King Henry VIII's days for much less and fewer offenses
in the same kind committed in the time of King Henry VII; for he was thought to
be the inventor of these poolings128 and molestations wherewith
the people were burdened in the later days of the said king. And yet had he great
pretense of reason to allege for himself, in that these exactions were made to
the king's use and not to his (albeit no doubt but his own gain was also there).129
Mr. Stow writeth in his Chronicle that in the time of his imprisonment
in the Tower he wrote a notable book entitled The Tree of Commonwealth,
which book the said Stow saith that he hath delivered to my Lord of Leicester
many years gone.130 And if the said book be so notable as
Mr. Stow affirmeth, I marvel that his Lordship in so many years doth not publish
the same for the glory of his ancestors.
It may be (said the gentleman) that the secrets therein contained be such as it
seemeth good to my Lord to use them only himself and to gather the fruit of that
tree into his own house alone. For if the tree of the commonwealth in Edmund Dudley's
book be the prince and his race, and the fruits to be gathered from that tree
be riches, honors, dignities, and preferments, then no doubt but as the writer
Edmund was cunning therein, so have his two followers John and Robert well studied
and practiced the same, or rather have exceeded and far passed the author himself.131
The one of them gathering so eagerly and with such vehemency as he was like to
have broken down the main boughs for greediness; the other yet plucking and heaping
so fast to himself and his friends as it is and may be most justly doubted that
when they have cropped all they can from the tree left them by their father Edmund
(I mean the race of King Henry VII), then will they pluck up the stem itself by
the roots as unprofitable and pitch in his place another trunk (that is, the line
of Huntingdon) that may begin to feed anew with fresh fruits again and so for
a time content their appetites, until of gatherers they may become trees (which
is their final purpose) to feed themselves at their own discretion.
howsoever this be, it cannot be denied but that Edmund Dudley's brood have learned
by this book and by other means to be more cunning gatherers than ever their first
progenitor was, that made the book. First, for that he made profession to gather
to his prince (though wickedly), and these men make demonstration that they have
gathered for themselves, and that with much more iniquity. Secondly, for that
Edmund Dudley, though he got himself near about the tree, yet was he content to
stand on the ground and to serve himself from the tree as commodity was offered,
but his children, not esteeming that safe gathering, will needs mount aloft upon
the tree to pull, crop, and rifle at their pleasure. And as in this second point
the son John Dudley was more subtile than Edmund the father, so in a third point
the nephew132 Robert Dudley is more crafty than they both
[were]. For that, he seeing the evil success of those two that went before him,
he hath provided to gather so much in convenient time and to make himself therewith
so fat and strong (wherein the other two failed), as he will never be in danger
more to be called to any accompt for the same.
In good faith, Sir (quoth the lawyer), I thank you heartily for this pleasant
discourse upon Edmund Dudley's tree of commonwealth. And by your opinion, my Lord
of Leicester is the most learned of all his kindred and a very cunning logicianer
indeed, that can draw for himself so commodious conclusions out of the perilous
premises of his progenitors.
No marvel (quoth the gentleman), for that his Lordship is Master of Art in Oxford
and Chancellor besides of the same University, where he hath store (as you know)
of many fine wits and good logicianers at his commandment and where he learneth
not only the rules and art of cunning gathering, but also the very practice (as
I have touched before), seeing there is no one college or other thing of commodity
within that place wherehence he hath not pulled whatsoever was possibly to be
gathered either by art or violence.
Touching Oxford (said I), for that I am an University man myself and have both
experience of Cambridge and good acquaintance with divers students of the other
University, I can tell you enough, but in fine all tendeth to this conclusion,
that by his Chancellorship is cancelled almost all hope of good in that University,133
and by his protection it is like soon to come to destruction. And surely if there
were no other thing to declare the odds and difference betwixt him and our Chancellor134
(whom he cannot bear, for that every way he seeth him to pass him in all honor
and virtue), it were sufficient to behold the present state of the two Universities
whereof they are heads and governors.
our own, I will not say much, lest I might perhaps seem partial, but let the thing
speak for itself. Consider the fruit of the garden, and thereby you may judge
of the gardener's diligence. Look upon the bishoprics, pastorships, and pulpits
of England and see whence principally they have received their furniture for advancement
of the gospel. And on the contrary side, look upon the seminaries of Papistry
at Rome and Rheims, upon the colleges of Jesuits and other companies of Papists
beyond the seas, and see wherehence they are especially fraught.135
priests and Jesuits here executed within the land and other that remain either
in prison or abroad in corners, are they not all (in a manner) of that University?
I speak not to the disgrace of any good that remain there or that have issued
out thence into the Lord's vineyard, but for the most part there, of this our
time, have they not either gone beyond the seas, or left their places for discontentment
in religion, or else become servingmen, or followed the bare name of law or physic,
without profiting greatly therein or furthering the service of God's Church or
wherehence (I pray you) ensueth all this but by reason that the chief governor
thereof is an atheist himself and useth the place only for gain and spoil? For
herehence it cometh that all good order and discipline is dissolved in that place,
the fervor of study extinguished, the public lectures abandoned (I mean of the
more part), the taverns and ordinary tables frequented, the apparel of students
grown monstrous, and the statutes and good ordinance both of the University and
of every college and hall in private broken and infringed at my Lord's good pleasure,
without respect either of oath, custom, or reason to the contrary. The heads and
officers are put in and out at his only discretion, and the scholars' places either
sold or disposed by his letters or by these of his servants and followers; nothing
can be had there now without present money; it is as common buying and selling
of places in that University as of horses in Smithfield, whereby the good and
virtuous are kept out and companions thrust in, fit to serve his Lordship afterward
in all affairs that shall occur.136
as for leases of farms, woods, pastures, parsonages, benefices, or the like, which
belong any way to any part of the University to let or bestow, these his Lordship
and his servants have so fleeced, shorn, and scraped already that there remaineth
little to feed upon hereafter, albeit he want not still his spies and intelligencers
in the place to advertise him from time to time when any little new morsel is
offered. And the principal instruments which for this purpose he hath had there
before this have been two physicians, Bayley and Culpepper, both known Papists
a little while ago but now just of Galen's religion and so much the fitter for
my Lord's humor;137 for his Lordship doth always covet to
be furnished with certain chosen men about him, for divers affairs, as these two
Galenists for agents in the University, Dee and Allen (two atheists) for figuring
and conjuring,138 Julio the Italian and Lopez the Jew for
poisoning and for the art of destroying children in women's bellies,139
Verneys for murdering, Digbys for bawds,140 and the like
in other occupations which his Lordship exerciseth.
to return to the speech where we began, most clear it is that my Lord of Leicester
hath means to gain and gather also by the University as well as by the country
abroad. Wherein (as I am told) he beareth himself so absolute a lord as if he
were their king and not their Chancellor; nay, far more than if he were the general
and particular founder of all the colleges and other houses of the University,
no man daring to contrary or interrupt the least word or signification of his
will but with his extreme danger, which is a proceeding more fit for Phalaris
the Tyrant141 or some governor in Tartary than for a Chancellor
of a learned University.
To this answered the lawyer: For my Lord's wrath towards such as will not stand
to his judgment and opinion I can myself be a sufficient witness, who, having
had often occasion to deal for composition of matters betwixt his Lordship and
others, have seen by experience that always they have sped best who stood least
in contention with him, whatsoever their cause were. For as a great and violent
river, the more it is stopped or contraried, the more it riseth and swelleth big
and in the end dejecteth with more force the thing that made resistance, so his
Lordship, being the great and mighty potentate of this realm and accustomed now
to have his will in all things, cannot bear to be crossed or resisted by any man,
though it were in his own necessary defense.
I have seen examples, in the causes of Snowden Forest in Wales, of Denbigh, of
Killingworth, of Drayton, and others, where the parties that had interest or thought
themselves wronged had been happy if they had yielded at the first to his Lordship's
pleasure without further question, for then had they escaped much trouble, charges,
displeasure, and vexation which by resistance they incurred to their great ruin
(and loss of life to some),142 and in the end were fain
also to submit themselves unto his will with far worse conditions than in the
beginning were offered unto them, which thing was pitiful indeed to behold, but
yet such is my Lord's disposition.
A noble disposition (quoth the gentleman), that I must give him my coat if he
demand the same, and that quickly also, for fear lest if I stagger or make doubt
thereof he compel me to yield both coat and doublet in penance of my stay. I have
read of some such tyrants abroad in the world; marry, their end was always according
to their life, as it is very like that it wilbe also in this man, for that there
is small hope of his amendment and God passeth not over commonly such matters
unpunished in this life as well as in the life to come.
I pray you, Sir, seeing mention is now made of the former oppressions so much
talked of throughout the realm, that you will take the pains to explain the substance
thereof unto me, for albeit in general every man doth know the same and in heart
do detest the tyranny thereof, yet we abroad in the country do not understand
it so well and distinctly as you that be lawyers, who have seen and understood
the whole process of the same.
The case of Killingworth and Denbigh (said the Lawyer) are much alike in matter
and manner of proceeding, though different in time, place, and importance. For
that the lordship of Denbigh in North Wales being given unto him by her Majesty
a great while ago143 at the beginning of his rising (which
is a lordship of singular great importance in that country, having, as I have
heard, well near two hundred worshipful gentlemen freeholders to the same), the
tenants of the place, considering the present state of things and having learned
the hungry disposition of their new lord, made a common purse of a thousand pounds
to present him withal at his first entrance. Which though he received (as he refuseth
nothing), yet accompted he the sum of small effect for satisfaction of his appetite,
and therefore applied himself not only to make the uttermost that he could by
leases and such like ways of commodity, but also would needs enforce the freeholders
to raise their old rent of the lordship from two hundred and fifty pounds a year
or thereabouts (at which rate he had received the same in gift from her Majesty)
unto eight or nine hundred pounds by the year. For that he had found out (forsooth)
an old record (as he said) whereby he could prove that in ancient time long past
that lordship had yielded so much old rent, and therefore he would now enforce
the present tenants to make up so much again upon their lands, which they thought
was against all reason for them to do; but my Lord perforce would have it so and
in the end compelled them to yield to his will, to the impoverishing of all the
whole country about.144
like proceeding he used with the tenants about Killingworth, where he, receiving
the said lordship and castle from the prince in gift of twenty-four pounds yearly
rent or thereabout,145 hath made it now better than five
hundred by [the] year, by an old record also, found by great fortune in the hole
of a wall as is given out (for he hath singular good luck always in finding out
records for his purpose); by virtue whereof he hath taken from the tenants round
about their lands, woods, pastures, and commons to make himself parks, chases,
and other commodities therewith, to the subversion of many a good family which
was maintained there before this devourer set foot in that country.
the matter of Snowden Forest doth pass all the rest both for cunning and cruelty,
the tragedy whereof was this: he had learned by his intelligencers abroad (whereof
he hath great store in every part of the realm) that there was a goodly ancient
forest in North Wales which hath almost infinite borderers about the same, for
it lieth in the midst of the country, beginning at the hills of Snowden (whereof
it hath his name) in Carnarvonshire and reacheth every way towards divers other
shires. When my Lord heard of this, he entered presently into the conceit of a
singular great prey and, going to her Majesty, signified that her Highness was
oftentimes abused by the encroaching of such as dwelt upon her forests, which
was necessary to be restrained, and therefore beseeched her Majesty to bestow
upon him the encroachments only which he should be able to find out upon the forest
of Snowden, which was granted.146
thereupon he chose out commissioners fit for the purpose and sent them into Wales
with the like commission as a certain Emperor was wont to give his magistrates
when they departed from him to govern, as Suetonius writeth: Scitis quid velim,
et quibus opus habeo147 - you know what I would have
and what I have need of. Which recommendation these commissioners taking to heart,
omitted no diligence in execution of the same, and so going into Wales, by such
means as they used of setting one man to accuse another, brought quickly all the
country round about in three or four shires within the compass of forest ground
and so entered upon the same for my Lord of Leicester. Whereupon, when the people
were amazed and expected what order my Lord himself would take therein, his Lordship
was so far off from
refusing any part of that which his commissioners had presented and offered him
as he would yet further stretch the forest beyond the sea into the Isle of Anglesey,
and make that also within his compass and bounder.
when the commonalty saw, and that they profited nothing by their complaining and
crying out of this tyranny, they appointed to send some certain number of themselves
to London to make supplication to the prince, and so they did, choosing out for
that purpose a dozen gentlemen and many more of the commons of the country of
Lleyn to deal for the whole. Who coming to London and exhibiting a most humble
supplication to her Majesty for redress of their oppression, received an answer
by the procurement of my Lord of Leicester that they should have justice if the
commonalty would return home to their houses and the gentlemen remain there to
solicit the cause. Which as soon as they had yielded unto, the gentlemen were
all taken and cast into prison, and there kept for a great space, and afterward
were sent down to Ludlow (as the place most eminent of all these countries), there
to wear papires of perjury148 and receive other punishments
of infamy for their complaining; which punishments notwithstanding, afterward
upon great suit of the parties and their friends, were turned into great fines
of money, which they were constrained to pay and yet besides to agree also with
my Lord of Leicester for their own lands, acknowledging the same to be his and
so to buy it of him again.
not only these private gentlemen but all the whole country thereabout was and
is (in a manner) utterly undone. And the participation of this injury reacheth
so far and wide and is so general in these parts as you shall scarce find a man
that cometh from that coast who feeleth not the smart thereof, being either impoverished,
beggared, or ruinated thereby.
I assure you that the hatred of all that country is so universal and vehement
against my Lord as I think never thing created by God was so odious to that nation
as the very name of my Lord of Leicester is. Which his Lordship well knowing,
I doubt not but that he will take heed how he go thither to dwell or send thither
For his posterity (quoth the gentleman), I suppose he hath little cause to be
solicitous, for that God himself taketh care commonly that goods and honors so
gotten and maintained as his be shall never trouble the third heir. Marry, for
himself, I confess (the matter standing as you say) that he hath reason to forbear
that country and to leave off his building begun at Denbigh, as I hear say he
hath done.150 For that the universal hatred of a people is a
perilous matter. And if I were in his Lordship's case, I should often think of
the end of Nero, who, after all his glory, upon fury of the people was adjudged
to have his head thrust into a pillory and so to be beaten to death with rods
rather I should fear the success of Vitellius, the third Emperor after Nero, who
for his wickedness and oppression of the people was taken by them at length, when
fortune began to fail him, and led out of his palace naked, with hooks of iron
fastened in his flesh, and so drawn through the city with infamy, where, loaden
in the streets with filth and ordure cast upon him and a prick put under his chin
to the end he should not look down or hide his face, [he] was brought to the bank
of Tiber and there, after many hundred wounds received, was cast into the river.152
So implacable a thing is the furor of a multitude when it is once stirred and
hath place of revenge. And so heavy is the hand of God upon tyrants in this world,
when it pleaseth his divine Majesty to take revenge of the same.
have read in Leander, in his description of Italy,153 how that
in Spoleto (if I be not deceived), the chief city of the country of Umbria, there
was a strange tyrant who in the time of his prosperity contemned all men and forbare
to injury no man that came within his claws, esteeming himself sure enough for
ever being called to render accompt in this life, and for the next he cared little.
But God upon the sudden turned upsidedown the wheel of his felicity and cast him
into the people's hands, who took him and bound his naked body upon a plank in
the market place, with a fire and iron tongs by him, and then made proclamation
that, seeing this man was not otherwise able to make satisfaction for the public
injuries that he had done, every private person annoyed by him should come in
order and with the hot burning tongs there ready should take of his flesh so much
as was correspondent to the injury received, as indeed they did until the miserable
man gave up the ghost, and after too, as this author writeth.
to the purpose: seeing my Lord careth little for such examples and is become so
hardy now as he maketh no accompt to injury and oppress whole countries and commonalties
together, it shalbe bootless to speak of his proceedings towards particular men,
who have not so great strength to resist as a multitude hath. And yet I can assure
you that there are so many and so pitiful things published daily of his tyranny
in this kind as do move great compassion towards the party that do suffer and
horror against him who shameth not daily to offer such injury.
for example, whose heart would not bleed to hear the case before mentioned of
Mr. Robinson of Staffordshire, a proper young gentleman and well given both in
religion and other virtues. Whose father died at Newhaven in her Majesty's service
under this man's brother the Earl of Warwick and recommended at his death this
his eldest son to the special protection of Leicester and his brother, whose servant
also this Robinson hath been from his youth upward and spent the most of his living
in his service. Yet notwithstanding all this, when Robinson's lands were entangled
with a certain Londoner upon interest for his former maintenance in their service,
whose title my Lord of Leicester (though craftily, yet not covertly) under Ferris
his cloak154 had gotten to himself, he ceased not to pursue
the poor gentleman even to imprisonment, arraignment, and sentence of death, for
greediness of the said living; together with the vexation of his brother-in-law
Mr. Harcourt and all other his friends, upon pretense, forsooth, that there was
a man slain by Robinson's party in defense of his own possession against Leicester's
intruders that would by violence break into the same.155
shall I speak of others, whereof there would be no end? As of his dealing with
Mr. Richard Lee for his manor of Hook Norton (if I fail not in the name);156
with Mr. Lodovick Greville, by seeking to bereave him of all his living at once
if the drift had taken place;157 with George Whitney, in the
behalf of Sir Henry Lee, for enforcing him to forgo the Controllership of Woodstock
which he holdeth by patent from King Henry VII?158 With my Lord
Berkeley, whom he enforced to yield up his lands to his brother Warwick which
his ancestors had held quietly for almost two hundred years together?159
shall I say of his intolerable tyranny upon the last Archbishop of Canterbury
for Doctor Julio his sake, and that in so foul a matter?160
Upon Sir John Throgmorton, whom he brought pitifully to his grave before his time
by continual vexations for a piece of faithful service done by him to his country
and to all the line of King Henry against this man's father in King Edward and
Queen Mary's days?161 Upon divers of the Lanes, for one man's
sake of that name before mentioned, that offered to take Killingworth Castle?
Upon some of the Giffords and other for Throgmorton's sake162
(for that is also his Lordship's disposition, for one man's cause whom he brooketh
not to plague a whole generation that any way pertaineth or is allied to the same)?
His endless persecuting of Sir Drew Drury and many other courtiers both men and
women?163 All these (I say) and many others who daily suffer
injuries, rapines, and oppressions at his hands throughout the realm, what should
it avail to name them in this place, seeing neither his Lordship careth anything
for the same, neither the parties aggrieved are like to attain any least release
of affliction thereby, but rather double oppression for their complaining.
to return again whereas we began, you see by this little who and how great and
what manner of man my Lord of Leicester is this day in the state of England. You
see and may gather in some part by that which hath been spoken his wealth, his
strength, his cunning, his disposition. His wealth is excessive in all kind of
riches for a private man and must needs be much more than anybody lightly can
imagine, for the infinite ways he hath had of gain so many years together. His
strength and power is absolute and irresistable, as hath been showed, both in
Chamber, Court, Council, and country. His cunning in plotting and fortifying the
same, both by force and fraud, by mines and countermines, by trenches, bulwarks,
flankers, and rampires, by friends, enemies, allies, servants, creatures, and
dependents, or any other that may serve his turn, is very rare and singular. His
disposition to cruelty, murder, treason, and tyranny, and by all these to supreme
sovereignty over other, is most evident and clear. And then judge you whether
her Majesty that now reigneth (whose life and prosperity the Lord in mercy long
preserve) have not just cause to fear in respect of these things only, if there
were no other particulars to prove his aspiring intent besides?
No doubt (quoth the lawyer) but these are great matters in the
question of such a cause as is a crown. And we have seen by example that the least
of these four which you have here named, or rather some little branch contained
in any of them, hath been sufficient to found just suspicion, distrust, or jealousy
in the heads of most wise princes towards the proceedings of more assured subjects
than my Lord of Leicester in reason may be presumed to be. For that the safety
of a state and prince standeth not only in the readiness and ability of resisting
open attempts when they shall fall out, but also (and that much more, as statists164
write) in a certain provident watchfulness, of preventing all possibilities and
likelihoods of danger or suppression, for that no prince commonly will put himself
to the courtesy of another man (be he never so obliged) whether he shall retain
his crown or no, seeing the cause of a kingdom acknowledgeth neither kindred,
duty, faith, friendship, nor society.
know not whether I do expound and declare myself well or no, but my meaning is
that whereas every prince hath two points of assurance from his subject, the one
in that he is faithful and lacketh will to annoy his sovereign, the other for
that he is weak and wanteth ability to do the same, the first is always of more
importance than the second and consequently more to be eyed and observed in policy,
for that our will may be changed at our pleasure but not our ability.
then upon that which hath been said and specified before, how that my Lord of
Leicester hath possessed himself of all the strength, powers, and sinews of the
realm, hath drawn all to his own direction, and hath made his party so strong
as it seemeth not resistable, you have great reason to say that her Majesty may
justly conceive some doubt, for that if his will were according to his power most
assured it is that her Majesty were not in safety.
Say not so, good Sir (quoth I), for in such a case truly I would repose little
upon his will, which is so many ways apparent to be most insatiable of ambition.
Rather would I think that as yet his ability serveth not, either for time, place,
force, or some other circumstance, than that any part of good will should want
in him, seeing that not only his desire of sovereignty but also his intent and
attempt to aspire to the same is sufficiently declared (in my conceit) by the
very particulars of his power and plots already set down. Which if you please
to have the patience to hear a scholar's argument, I will prove by a principle
of our philosophy.
if it be true which Aristotle saith, there is no agent so simple in the world
which worketh not for some final end (as the bird buildeth not her nest but to
dwell and hatch her young ones therein), and not only this, but also that the
same agent doth always frame his work according to the proportion of his intended
end (as when the fox or badger maketh a wide earth or den it is a sign that he
meaneth to draw thither great store of prey); then must we also in reason think
that so wise and politic an agent as is my Lord of Leicester for himself wanteth
not his end in these plottings and preparations of his, I mean an end proportionable
in greatness to his preparations. Which end can be no less nor meaner than supreme
sovereignty, seeing his provision and furniture do tend that way and are in every
point fully correspondent to the same.
meaneth his so diligent besieging of the Princess' person? His taking up the ways
and passages about her? His insolency in Court? His singularity in the Council?
His violent preparation of strength abroad? His enriching of his complices? The
banding of his faction, with the abundance of friends everywhere? What do these
things signify (I say) and so many other, as you have well noted and mentioned
before, but only his intent and purpose of supremacy? What did the same things
protend165 in times past in his father but even that which now
they protend in the son? Or how should we think that the son hath another meaning
in the very same actions than had his father before him, whose steps he followeth?
remember I have heard oftentimes of divers ancient and grave men in Cambridge
how that in King Edward's days the Duke of Northumberland this man's father was
generally suspected of all men to mean indeed as afterward he showed, especially
when he had once joined with the house of Suffolk and made himself a principal
of that faction by marriage. But yet for that he was potent, and protested everywhere
and by all occasions his great love, duty, and special care, above all others,
that he bare towards his prince and country, no man durst accuse him openly until
it was too late to withstand his power (as commonly it falleth out in such affairs),
and the like is evident in my Lord of Leicester's actions now (albeit to her Majesty
I doubt not but that he will pretend and protest, as his father did to her brother),
especially now after his open association with the faction of Huntingdon, which
no less impugneth under this man's protection the whole line of Henry VII for
right of the crown than the house of Suffolk did under his father the particular
progeny of King Henry VIII.
Nay, rather much more (quoth the gentleman), for that I do not
read in King Edward's reign (when the matter was in plotting notwithstanding)
that the house of Suffolk durst ever make open claim to the next succession. But
now the house of Hastings is become so confident upon the strength and favor of
their fautors166 as they dare both plot, practice, and pretend
all at once, and fear not to set out their title in every place whereas they come.
And do they not fear the statute (said the lawyer), so rigorous in this point
as it maketh the matter treason to determine of titles?167
No, they need not (quoth the gentleman), seeing their party is so strong and terrible
as no man dare accuse them; seeing also they well know that the procurement of
that statute was only to endanger or stop the mouths of the true successors whiles
themselves in the mean space went about underhand to establish their own ambushment.
Well (quoth the lawyer), for the pretense of my Lord of Huntingdon to the crown
I will not stand with you, for that it is a matter sufficiently known and seen
throughout the realm. As also that my Lord of Leicester is at this day a principal
favorer and patron of that cause, albeit some years past he were an earnest adversary
and enemy to the same. But yet I have heard some friends of his in reasoning of
these matters deny stoutly a point or two which you have touched here, and do
seem to believe the same.
that is, first, that howsoever my Lord of Leicester do mean to help his friend
when time shall serve, yet pretendeth he nothing to the crown himself. The second
is that whatsoever may be meant for the title, or compassing the crown after her
Majesty's death, yet nothing is intended during her reign. And of both these points
they allege reasons.
for the first, that my Lord of Leicester is very well known to have no title to
the crown himself, either by descent in blood, alliance, or otherways. For the
second, that his Lordship hath no cause to be a malcontent in the present government
nor hope for more preferment if my Lord of Huntingdon were king tomorrow next
than he receiveth now at her Majesty's hands, having all the realm (as hath been
showed) at his own disposition.
For the first (quoth the gentleman), whether he mean the crown
for himself or for his friend it importeth not much, seeing both ways it is evident
that he meaneth to have all at his own disposition. And albeit now for the avoiding
of envy he give it out, as a crafty fox, that he meaneth not but to run with other
men and to hunt with Huntingdon and other hounds in the same chase, yet is it
not unlike but that he will play the Bear when he cometh to dividing of the prey
and will snatch the best part to himself. Yea, and these selfsame persons of his
train and faction whom you call his friends, though in public, to excuse his doings
and to cover the whole plot, they will and must deny the matters to be so meant,
yet otherwise they both think, hope, and know the contrary and will not stick
in secret to speak it, and among themselves it is their talk of consolation.
words of his special counsellor the Lord North are known, which he uttered to
his trusty Pooley upon the receipt of a letter from Court of her Majesty's displeasure
towards him for his being a witness at Leicester's second marriage with Dame Lettice
(although I know he was not ignorant of the first) at Wanstead, of which displeasure
this Lord making far less accompt than in reason he should of the just offense
of his sovereign, said that for his own part he was resolved to sink or swim with
my Lord of Leicester, who (saith he) if once the cards may come to shuffling (I
will use but his very own words), I make no doubt but he alone shall bear away
words also of Sir Thomas Leighton to Sir Henry Neville, walking upon the terrace
at Windsor, are known, who told him, after long discourse of their happy conceived
kingdom, that he doubted not but to see him one day hold the same office in Windsor
of my Lord of Leicester which now my Lord did hold of the Queen. Meaning thereby
the goodly office of Constables hip, with all royalties and honors belonging to
the same, which now the said Sir Henry exerciseth only as deputy to the Earl.169
Which was plainly to signify that he doubted not but to see my Lord of Leicester
one day king, or else his other hope could never possibly take effect or come
same point tended the words of Mistress Anne West, Dame Lettice's sister, unto
the Lady Anne Askew in the Great Chamber, upon a day when her brother Robert Knowles
had danced disgraciously and scornfully before the Queen in presence of the French.170
Which thing for that her Majesty took to proceed of will in him, as for dislike
of the strangers in presence and for the quarrel of his sister Essex, it pleased
her Highness to check him for the same, with addition of a reproachful word or
two (full well deserved), as though done for despite of the forced absence from
that place of honor of the good old gentlewoman (I mitigate the words) his sister.
Which words the other younger twig receiving in deep dudgeon, brake forth in great
choler to her forenamed companion and said that she nothing doubted but that one
day she should see her sister, upon whom the Queen railed now so much (for so
it pleased her to term her Majesty's sharp speech), to sit in her place and throne,
being much worthier of the same for her qualities and rare virtues than was the
other. Which undutiful speech, albeit it were overheard and condemned of divers
that sat about them, yet none durst ever report the same to her Majesty, as I
have heard sundry courtiers affirm, in respect of the revenge which the reporters
should abide at my Lord of Leicester's hands whensoever the matter should come
this is now concerning the opinion and secret speech of my Lord's own friends,
who cannot but utter their conceit and judgment in time and place convenient,
whatsoever they are willed to give out publicly to the contrary for deceiving
of such as will believe fair painted words against evident and manifest demonstration
say reason, for that if none of these signs and tokens were, none of these preparations
nor any of these speeches and detections by his friends that know his heart, yet
in force of plain reason I could allege unto you three arguments only which to
any man of intelligence would easily persuade and give satisfaction that my Lord
of Leicester meaneth best and first for himself in this suit. Which three arguments,
for that you seem to be attent, I will not stick to run over in all brevity.
the first is the very nature and quality of ambition itself, which is such (as
you know) that it never stayeth, but passeth from degree to degree, and the more
it obtaineth the more it coveteth and the more esteemeth itself both worthy and
able to obtain. And in our matter that now we handle, even as in wooing, he that
sueth to a lady for another and obtaineth her good will entereth easily into conceit
of his own worthiness thereby, and so commonly into hope of speeding himself while
he speaketh for his friend; so much more in kingdoms, he that seeth himself of
power to put the crown off another man's head will quickly step to the next degree,
which is to set it of [on] his own, seeing that always the charity of such good
men is wont to be so orderly as (according to the precept) it beginneth with itself
to this that ambition is jealous, suspicious, and fearful of itself, especially
when it is joined with a conscience loaden with the guilt of many crimes, whereof
he would be loth to be called to accompt or be subject to any man that might by
authority take review of his life and actions when it should please him. In which
kind, seeing my Lord of Leicester hath so much to increase his fear, as before
hath been showed, by his wicked dealings, it is not like that ever he will put
himself to another man's courtesy for passing his audit in particular reckonings
which he can no way answer or satisfy, but rather will stand upon the gross sum
and general quietus est by making himself chief auditor and master of all accompts
for his own part in this life, howsoever he do in the next, whereof such humors
have little regard. And this is for the nature of ambition in itself.
second argument may be taken from my Lord's particular disposition, which is such
as may give much light also to the matter in question, being a disposition so
well liking and inclined to a kingdom as it hath been tampering about the same
from the first day that he came in favor. First by seeking openly to marry with
the Queen's Majesty herself, and so to draw the crown upon his own head and to
his posterity. Secondly, when that attempt took not place, then he gave it out,
as hath been showed before, how that he was privily contracted to her Majesty
(wherein as I told you his dealing before for satisfaction of a stranger, so let
him with shame and dishonor remember now also the spectacle he secretly made for
the persuading of a subject and Councillor of great honor in the same cause)171
to the end that if her Highness should by any way have miscarried, then he might
have entitled any one of his own brood (whereof he hath store in many places,
as is known) to the lawful succession of the crown under color of that privy and
secret marriage, pretending the same to be by her Majesty, wherein he will want
no witnesses to depose what he will. Thirdly, when he saw also that this device
was subject to danger, for that his privy contract might be denied more easily
than he able justly to prove the same after her Majesty's decease, he had a new
fetch to strengthen the matter, and that was to cause these words of NATURAL ISSUE
be put into the statute of succession for the crown, against all order and custom
of our realm and against the known common style of law accustomed to be used in
statutes of such matter, whereby he might be able after the death of her Majesty
to make legitimate to the crown any one bastard of his own by any of so many hackneys
as he keepeth, affirming it to be the natural issue of her Majesty by himself.
For no other reason can be imagined why the ancient usual words of LAWFUL ISSUE
should so cunningly be changed into NATURAL ISSUE. Thereby not only to endanger
our whole realm with new quarrels of succession, but also to touch (as far as
in him lieth) the royal honor of his sovereign, who hath been to him but too bountiful
when after a time these fetches and devices began to be discovered, he changed
straight his course and turned to the Papists' and Scottish faction, pretending
the marriage of the Queen in prison.173 But yet after this again,
finding therein not such success as contented him thoroughly and having in the
mean space a new occasion offered to bait, he betook himself fifthly to the party
of Huntingdon, having therein (no doubt) as good meaning to himself as his father
had by joining with Suffolk. Marry, yet of late he hath cast anew about once again
for himself in secret by treating the marriage of young Arbella with his son entitled
the Lord Denbigh.174
that by this we see the disposition of this man bent wholly to a scepter. And
albeit in right, title, and descent of blood (as you say), he can justly claim
neither kingdom nor cottage (considering either the baseness or disloyalty of
his ancestors), if in respect of his present state and power, and of his natural
pride, ambition, and crafty conveyance received from his father, he hath learned
how to put himself first in possession of chief rule, under other pretenses, and
after to devise upon the title at his leisure.
now to come to the third argument: I say more and above all this that the nature
and state of the matter itself permitteth not that my Lord of Leicester should
mean sincerely the crown for Huntingdon, especially seeing there hath passed between
them so many years of dislike and enmity, which albeit for the time and present
commodity be covered and pressed down, yet by reason and experience we know that
afterward when they shall deal together again in matters of importance, and when
jealousy shalbe joined to other circumstances of their actions, it is impossible
that the former mislike should not break out in far higher degree than ever before.
we saw in the examples of the reconciliation made betwixt this man's father and
Edward Duke of Somerset, bearing rule under King Edward VI, and between Richard
of York and Edmund Duke of Somerset, bearing rule in the time of King Henry VI.
Both which Dukes of Somerset, after reconciliation with their old, crafty, and
ambitious enemies, were brought by the same to their destruction soon after.175
Whereof I doubt not but my Lord of Leicester will take good heed in joining by
reconciliation with Huntingdon after so long a breach, and will not be so improvident
as to make him his sovereign who now is but his dependent. He remembereth too
well the success of the Lord Stanley, who helped King Henry VII to the crown,
of the Duke of Buckingham, who did the same for Richard III, of the Earl of Warwick,
who set up King Edward IV, and of the three Percies, who advanced to the scepter
King Henry IV. All which noblemen upon occasions that after fell out were rewarded
with death by the selfsame princes whom they had preferred.176
that not without reason, as Seignior Machavel my Lord's counsellor affirmeth.177
For that such princes afterward can never give sufficient satisfaction to such
friends for so great a benefit received. And consequently, lest upon discontentment
they may chance do as much for others against them as they have done for them
against others, the surest way is to recompense them with such a reward as they
shall never after be able to complain of.
I can never think that my Lord of Leicester will put himself in danger of the
like success at Huntingdon's hands, but rather will follow the plot of his own
father with the Duke of Suffolk, whom no doubt but he meant only to use for a
pretext and help whereby to place himself in supreme dignity, and afterwards,
whatsoever had befallen of the state, the other's head could never have come to
other end than it enjoyed. For if Queen Mary had not cut it off, King John of
Northumberland would have done the same in time, and so all men do well know that
were privy to any of his cunning dealings.178
what Huntingdon's secret opinion of Leicester is (notwithstanding this outward
show of dependence) it was my chance to learn from the mouth of a special man
of that Hasty king who was his ledger or agent in London,179
and at a time falling in talk of his master's title declared that he had heard
him divers times in secret complain to his lady (Leicester's sister) as greatly
fearing that in the end he would offer him wrong and pretend some title for himself.
Well (quoth the lawyer), it seemeth by this last point that these two lords are
cunning practitioners in the art of dissimulation, but for the former whereof
you spake, in truth, I have heard men of good discourse affirm that the Duke of
Northumberland had strange devices in his head for deceiving of Suffolk (who was
nothing so fine as himself) and for bringing the crown to his own family. And
among other devices it is thought that he had most certain intention to marry
the Lady Mary himself (after once he had brought her into his own hands) and to
have bestowed her Majesty that now is upon some one of his children (if it should
have been thought best to give her life) and so consequently to have shaken off
Suffolk and his pedigree, with condign punishment for his bold behavior in that
Verily (quoth I), this had been an excellent stratagem if it had taken place.
But I pray you (Sir), how could himself have taken the Lady Mary to wife, seeing
he was at that time married to another?180
Oh (quoth the gentleman), you question like a scholar. As though my Lord of Leicester
had not a wife alive when he first began to pretend marriage to the Queen's Majesty.
Do not you remember the story of King Richard III, who at such time as he thought
best for the establishing of his title to marry his own niece, that afterward
was married to King Henry VII, how he caused secretly to be given abroad that
his own wife was dead, whom all the world knew to be then alive and in good health,
but yet soon afterward she was seen dead indeed?181 These great
personages, in matters of such weight as is a kingdom, have privileges to dispose
of women's bodies, marriages, lives and deaths, as shalbe thought for the time
what do you think (I pray you) of this new TRIUMVIRATE so lately concluded about
Arbella (for so I must call the same, though one of the three persons be no vir,
but virago)?182 I mean of the marriage between young Denbigh
and the little daughter of Lennox, whereby the father-in-law, the grandmother,
and the uncle of the new designed queen have conceived to themselves a singular
triumphant reign. But what do you think may ensue hereof? Is there nothing of
the old plot of Duke John of Northumberland in this?
(quoth the lawyer), if this be so, I dare assure you there is sequel enough pretended
hereby. And first no doubt but there goeth a deep drift by the wife and son against
old Abraham (the husband and father) with the well-lined large pouch. And secondly
a far deeper by trusty Robert against his best mistress; but deepest of all by
the whole crew against the designments of the Hasty Earl, who thirsteth a kingdom
with great intemperance and seemeth (if there were plain dealing) to hope by these
good people to quench shortly his drought. But either part, in truth, seeketh
to deceive other, and therefore it is hard to say where the game in fine will
Well, howsoever that be (quoth the gentleman), I am of opinion that my Lord of
Leicester will use both this practice and many mo for bringing the scepter finally
to his own head, and that he will not only employ Huntingdon to defeat Scotland
and Arbella to defeat Huntingdon, but also would use the marriage of the Queen
imprisoned to defeat them both if she were in his hand; and any one of all three
to dispossess her Majesty that now is, as also the authority of all four to bring
it to himself; with many other fetches, flings, and friscoes besides which simple
men as yet do not conceive.
howsoever these two conjoined Earls do seem for the time to draw together and
to play booty, yet am I of opinion that th'one will beguile th'other at the upshot.
And Hastings, for aught I see, when he cometh to the scambling is like to have
no better luck by the Bear than his ancestor had once by the Boar.183
Who using his help first in murdering the son and heir of King Henry VI and after
in destroying the faithful friends and kinsmen of King Edward V, for his easier
way to usurpation, made an end of him also in the Tower at the very same day and
hour that the other were by his counsel destroyed in Pontefract Castle.184
So that where the goal and prize of the game is a kingdom, there is neither faith,
neither good fellowship, nor fair play among the gamesters. And this shalbe enough
for the first point, viz., what good my Lord of Leicester meaneth to himself in
respect of Huntingdon.
the second, whether the attempt be purposed in her Majesty's days or no, the matter
is much less doubtful to him that knoweth or can imagine what a torment the delay
of a kingdom is to such a one as suffereth hunger thereof and feareth that every
hour may breed some alteration to the prejudice of his conceived hope. We see
oftentimes that the child is impatient in this matter, to expect the natural end
of his parent's life. Whom notwithstanding by nature he is enforced to love and
who also by nature is like long to leave this world before him, and after whose
decease he is assured to obtain his desire, but most certain of dangerous event
if he attempt to get it while yet his parent liveth. Which four considerations
are (no doubt) of great force to contain a child in duty and bridle his desire,
albeit some times not sufficient to withstand the greedy appetite of reigning.
what shall we think where none of these four considerations do restrain? Where
the present possessor is no parent? Where she is like by nature to outlive the
expecter? Whose death must needs bring infinite difficulties to the enterprise?
And in whose lifetime the matter is most easy to be achieved, under color and
authority of the present possessor? Shall we think that in such a case the ambitious
man will overrule his own passion and leese his commodity?
for that which is alleged before for my Lord in the reason of his defenders, that
his present state is so prosperous as he cannot expect better in the next change
whatsoever [it] should be, is of small moment in the conceit of an ambitious head,
whose eye and heart is always upon that which he hopeth for and enjoyeth not,
and not upon that which already he possesseth, be it never so good. Especially
in matters of honor and authority, it is an infallible rule that one degree desired
and not obtained afflicteth more than five degrees already possessed can give
consolation; the story of Duke Aman confirmeth this evidently,185
who being the greatest subject in the world under King Assuerus, after he had
reckoned up all his pomp, riches, glory, and felicity to his friends, yet he said
that all this was nothing unto him until he could obtain the revenge which he
desired upon Mardocheus his enemy,186 and hereby it cometh ordinarily
to pass that among highest in authority are found the greatest store of malcontents
that most do endanger their prince and country.
the Percies took part with Henry of Bolingbroke against King Richard II, their
lawful sovereign, it was not for lack of preferment, for they were exceedingly
advanced by the said king and possessed the three earldoms of Northumberland,
Worcester, and Stafford together, besides many other offices and dignities of
sort, when the two Nevilles took upon them to join with Richard of York to put
down their most benign prince King Henry VI, and after again in the other side
to put down King Edward IV, it was not upon want of advancement, they being Earls
both of Salisbury and Warwick and lords of many notable places besides.187
But it was upon a vain imagination of future fortune, whereby such men are commonly
led, and yet had not they any smell in their nostrils of getting the kingdom for
themselves as this man hath to prick him forward.
you say that these men hated their sovereign and that thereby they were led to
procure his destruction, the same I may answer of my Lord living, though of all
men he hath least cause so to do. But yet such is the nature of wicked ingratitude
that where it oweth most and disdaineth to be bound, there upon every little discontentment
it turneth double obligation into triple hatred.
he showed evidently in the time of his little disgrace, wherein he not only did
diminish, vilipend,188 and debase among his friends the inestimable
benefits he hath received from her Majesty, but also used to exprobate his own
good services and merits and to touch her Highness with ingrate consideration
and recompense of the same. Which behavior, together with his hasty preparation
to rebellion and assault of her Majesty's royal person and dignity upon so small
a cause given, did well show what mind inwardly he beareth to his sovereign, and
what her Majesty may expect if by offending him she should once fall within the
compass of his furious paws, seeing such a smoke of disdain could not proceed
but from a fiery furnace of hatred within.
surely it is a wonderful matter to consider what a little check, or rather the
bare imagination of a small overthwart, may work in a proud and disdainful stomach.
The remembrance of his marriage missed that he so much pretended and desired with
her Majesty doth stick deeply in his breast and stirreth him daily to revenge.
As also doth the disdain of certain checks and disgraces received at some times,
especially that of his last marriage, which irketh him so much the more by how
much greater fear and danger it brought him into at that time and did put his
widow in such open frenzy as she raged many months after against her Majesty and
is not cold yet, but remaineth as it were a sworn enemy for that injury, and standeth
like a fiend or fury at the elbow of her Amadis to stir him forward when occasion
shall serve.189 And what effect such female suggestions may
work when they find an humor proud and pliable to their purpose, you may remember
by the example of the Duchess of Somerset, who enforced her husband to cut off
the head of his only dear brother, to his own evident destruction, for her contentation.190
to conclude this matter without further dispute or reason, seeing there is so
much discovered in the case as there is, so great desire of reign, so great impatience
of delay, so great hope and ability of success if it be attempted under the good
fortune and present authority of the competitors, seeing the plots be so well
laid, the preparation so forward, the favorers so furnished, the time so propitious,
and so many other causes conviting together; seeing that by deferring all may
be hazarded and by hastening little can be endangered, the state and condition
of things well weighed; finding also the bands of duty so broken already in the
conspirators, the causes of mislike and hatred so manifest, and the solicitors
to execution so potent and diligent as women, malice, and ambition are wont to
be; it is more than probable that they will not leese their present commodity,
especially seeing they have learned by their archetype or protoplot which they
follow (I mean the conspiracy of Northumberland and Suffolk in King Edward's days)
that herein there was some error committed at that time which overthrew the whole,
and that was the deferring of some things until after the king's death which should
have been put in execution before.
if in the time of their plotting, when as yet their designments were not published
to the world, they had under the countenance of the king (as well they might have
done) gotten into their hands the two sisters and dispatched some other few affairs
before they had caused the young prince to die, no doubt but in man's reason the
whole designment had taken place, and consequently it is to be presupposed that
these men (being no fools in their own affairs) will take heed of falling into
the like error by delay, but rather will make all sure by striking while the iron
is hot, as our proverb warneth them.
It cannot be denied in reason (quoth the lawyer) but that they
have many helps of doing what they list now, under the present favor, countenance,
and authority of her Majesty, which they should not have after her Highness' decease,
when each man shall remain more at liberty for his supreme obedience by reason
of the statute provided for uncertainty of the next succession,191
and therefore I for my part would rather counsel them to make much of her Majesty's
life, for after that they little know what may ensue or befall their designments.
They will make the most thereof (quoth the gentleman) for their own advantage,
but after that what is like to follow the examples of Edward and Richard II, as
also of Henry and Edward VI, do sufficiently forewarn us, whose lives were prolonged
until their deaths were thought more profitable to the conspirators and not longer.
And for the statute you speak of, procured by themselves for establishing the
incertainty of the next true successor (whereas all our former statutes were wont
to be made for the declaration and certainty of the same), it is with PROVISO
(as you know) that it shall not endure longer than the life of her Majesty that
now reigneth; that is, indeed, no longer than until themselves be ready to place
another.192 For then, no doubt but we shall see a fair proclamation
that my Lord of Huntingdon is the only next heir, with a bundle of halters to
hang all such as shall dare once open their mouth for denial of the same.
At these words the old lawyer stepped back, as somewhat astonied, and began to
make crosses in the air after their fashion,193 whereat we laughed,
and then he said: Truly, my masters, I had thought that no man had conceived so
evil imagination of this statute as myself, but now I perceive that I alone am
not malicious. For my own part, I must confess unto you that as often as I read
over this statute, or think of the same (as by divers occasions many times I do),
I feel myself much grieved and afflicted in mind, upon fears which I conceive
what may be the end of this statute to our country and what privy meaning the
chief procurers thereof might have for their own drifts against the realm and
life of her Majesty that now reigneth.
so much more it maketh me to doubt for that in all our records of law you shall
not find (to my remembrance) any one example of such a device for concealing of
the true inheritor, but rather in all ages, states, and times (especially from
Richard I downward),194 you shall find statutes, ordinances,
and provisions for declaration and manifestation of the same, as you have well
observed and touched before. And therefore this strange and new device must needs
have some strange and unaccustomed meaning, and God of his mercy grant that it
have not some strange and unexpected event.
sight of all men this is already evident, that never country in the world was
brought into more apparent danger of utter ruin than ours is at this day by pretense
of this statute. For whereas there is no gentleman so mean in the realm that cannot
give a guess more or less who shall be his next heir, and his tenants soon conjecture
what manner of person shalbe their next lord, in the title of our noble crown,
whereof all the rest dependeth, neither is her Majesty permitted to know or say
who shalbe her next successor, nor her subjects allowed to understand or imagine
who in right may be their future sovereign, an intolerable injury in a matter
of so singular importance.195
(alas) what should become of this our native country if God should take from us
her most excellent Majesty (as once he will) and so leave us destitute upon the
sudden? What should become of our lives, of our states, and of our whole realm
or government? Can any man promise himself one day longer of rest, peace, possession,
life, or liberty within the land than God shall lend us her Majesty to reign over
us? Which albeit we do and are bound to wish that it may be long, yet reason telleth
us that by course of nature it cannot be of any great continuance, and by a thousand
accidents it may be much shorter. And shall then our most noble commonwealth and
kingdom, which is of perpetuity and must continue to ourselves and our posterity,
hang only upon the life of her Highness alone, well strocken in years and of no
great good health or robustious and strong complexion.
was within hearing some six or seven years ago when Sir Christopher Hatton, in
a very great assembly, made an eloquent oration (which after I ween was put in
print) at the pardoning and delivery of him from the gallows that by error (as
was thought) had discharged his piece upon her Majesty's barge and hurt certain
persons in her Highness' presence.196 And in that oration he
declared and described very effectually what inestimable damage had ensued to
the realm if her Majesty
by that or any other means should have been taken from us. He set forth most lively
before the eyes of all men what division, what dissension, what bloodshed had
ensued, and what fatal dangers were most certain to fall upon us whensoever that
doleful day should happen, wherein no man should be sure of his life, of his goods,
of his wife, of his children; no man certain whither to fly, whom to follow, or
where to seek repose and protection.
as all the hearers there present did easily grant that he therein said truth and
far less than might have been said in that behalf, things standing as they do,
so many [a] one (I trow) that heard these words proceed from a Councillor that
had good cause to know the state of his own country, entered into this cogitation,
what punishment they might deserve then at the whole state and commonwealth's
hands who first by letting her Majesty from marriage and then by procuring this
statute of dissembling the next inheritor had brought their realm into so evident
and inevitable dangers? For everyone well considered and weighed with himself
that the thing which yet only letted these dangers and miseries set down by Sir
Christopher must necessarily one day fail us all, that is, the life of her Majesty
now present; and then (say we) how falleth it out that so general a calamity as
must needs overtake us ere it be long (and may, for anything we know, tomorrow
next) is not provided for, as well as foreseen.
there no remedy but that we must willingly and wittingly run into our own ruin?
And for the favor or fear of some few aspirers betray our country and the blood
of so many thousand innocents as live within the land?
tell me (good Sirs), I pray you, if her Majesty should die tomorrow next (whose
life God long preserve and bless) - but if she should be taken from us (as by
condition of nature and human frailty she may), what would you do? Which way would
you look? Or what head or part knew any good subject in the realm to follow? I
speak not of the conspirators, for I know they wilbe ready and resolved whom to
follow, but I speak of the plain, simple, and well meaning subject, who following
now the utter letter of this fraudulent statute (fraudulent, I mean, in the secret
conceit of the cunning aspirers) shalbe taken at that day upon the sudden and,
being put in a maze by the unexpected contention about the crown, shalbe brought
into a thousand dangers both of body and goods, which now are not thought upon
by them who are most in danger of the same. And this is for the commonwealth and
unto her Majesty, for whose good and safety the statute is only pretended to be
made, no doubt but that it bringeth far greater dangers than any device that they
have used besides. For hereby under color of restraining the claims and titles
of true successors (whose endeavors notwithstanding are commonly more calm and
moderate than [those] of usurpers), they make unto themselves a mean to foster
and set forward their own conspiracy without controlment, seeing no man of might
may oppose himself against them but with suspicion that he meaneth to claim for
himself. And so they being armed on the one side with their authority and force
of present fortune and defended on the other side by the pretense of the statute,
they may securely work and plot at their pleasure, as you have well proved before
that they do. And whensoever their grounds and foundations shalbe ready, it cannot
be denied but that her Majesty's life lieth much at their discretion, to take
it or use it to their best commodity (and there is no doubt but they will), as
such men are wont to do in such affairs. Marry, one thing standeth not in their
powers so absolutely, and that is to prolong her Majesty's days or favor towards
themselves at their pleasures, whereof it is not unlike but they will have due
consideration, lest perhaps upon any sudden accident they might be found unready.
They have good care thereof, I can assure you (quoth the gentleman), and mean
not to be prevented by any accident or other mishap whatsoever; they wilbe ready
for all events, and for that cause they hasten so much their preparations at this
day more than ever before by sending out their spies and solicitors everywhere
to prove and confirm their friends, by delivering their common watchword, by complaining
on all hands of our Protestant bishops and clergy and of all the present state
of our irreformed religion (as they call it), by amplifying only the danger of
Papists and Scottish faction, by giving out openly that now her Majesty is past
hope of childbirth and consequently seeing God hath given no better success that
way in two women one after the other, it were not convenient (say they) that another
of that sex should ensue, with high commendation of the Law Salic in France whereby
women are forbidden to succeed. Which speech, though in show it be delivered against
the Queen of Scots and other of King Henry VII his line that descend of sisters,
yet all men see that it toucheth as well the disabling of her Majesty that is
present as others to come, and so tendeth directly to maturation of the principal
purpose, which I have declared before.
Here said I: For the rest which you speak of, besides the watchword,
it is common and everywhere treated in talk among them, but yet for the watchword
itself (for that you name it), I think (Sir) many know it not, if I were the first
that told you the story, as perchance I was. For in truth I came to it by a rare
hap (as then I told you), the thing being uttered and expounded by a baron of
their own faction to another nobleman of the same degree and religion, though
not of the same opinion in these affairs. And for that I am requested not to utter
the second, who told it me in secret, I must also spare the name of the first,
which otherwise I would not, nor the time and place where he uttered the same.
To this said the lawyer: You do well in that, but yet I beseech you, let me know
this watchword (if there be any such) for mine instruction and help, when need
shall require. For I assure you that this gentleman's former speech of halters
hath so terrified me as if any should come and ask or feel my inclination in these
matters, I would answer them fully to their good contentment, if I knew the watchword
whereby to know them. For of all things I love not to be hanged for quarrels of
The watchword is (said I) WHETHER YOU BE SETTLED OR NO? and if you answer yea
and seem to understand the meaning thereof, then are you known to be of their
faction, and so to be accompted and dealt withal for things to come.197
But if you stagger or doubt in answering, as if you knew not perfectly the mystery
(as the noble man my good Lord did, imagining that it had been meant of his religion,
which was very well known to be good and settled in the gospel), then are you
descried thereby, either not to be of their side or else to be but a puny198
not well instructed, and consequently he that moveth you the question will presently
break off that speech and turn to some other talk until afterward occasion be
given to persuade you or else instruct you better in that affair.
the nobleman whereof I spake before, perceiving by the demanding that there was
some mystery in covert under the question, took hold of the words and would not
suffer the propounder to slip away (as he endeavored), but with much entreaty
brought him at length to expound the full meaning and purpose of the riddle. And
this was the first occasion (as I think) whereby this secret came abroad. Albeit
afterwards at the public communions which were made throughout so many shires
the matter became more common, especially among the strangers that inhabit (as
you know) in great numbers with us at this day. All which (as they say) are made
most assured to this faction and ready to assist the same with great forces at
Good Lord (quoth the lawyer), how many mysteries and secrets be there abroad in
the world whereof we simple men know nothing and suspect less. This watchword
should I never have imagined, and for the great and often assemblies under pretense
of communions, though of themselves and of their own nature they were unaccustomed
and consequently subject to suspicion, yet did I never conceive so far forth as
now I do, as neither of the lodging and entertaining of so many strangers in the
realm, whereof our artisans do complain everywhere. But now I see the reason thereof,
which (no doubt) is founded upon great policy for the purpose. And by this also
I see that the house of Huntingdon presseth far forward for the game and shouldereth
near the goal to lay hands upon the same. Which to tell you plainly liketh me
but a little, both in respect of the good will I bear to the whole line of King
Henry, which hereby is like to be dispossessed, as also for the misery which I
do foresee must necessarily ensue upon our country if once the challenge of Huntingdon
take place in our realm. Which challenge being derived from the title of Clarence
only, in the house of York, before the union of the two great houses, raiseth
up again the old contention between the families of York and Lancaster wherein
so much English blood was spilt in times past, and much more like to be poured
out now if the same contention should be set on foot again. Seeing that to the
controversy of titles would be added also the controversy of religion, which of
all other differences is most dangerous.
Sir (quoth the gentleman), now you touch a matter of consequence indeed and such
as the very naming thereof maketh my heart to shake and tremble. I remember well
what Philippe Comines setteth down in his history of our country's calamity by
that contention of those two houses distinguished by the red rose and the white,
but yet both in their arms might justly have borne the color of red with a fiery
sword in a black field to signify the abundance of blood and mortality which ensued
in our country by that most woeful and cruel contention.200
will not stand here to set down the particulars observed and gathered by the foresaid
author, though a stranger, which for the most part he saw himself while he lived
about the Duke of Burgundy and King Louis of France of that time, namely the pitiful
description of divers right noblemen of our realm, who besides all other miseries
were driven to beg openly in foreign countries and the like.201
Mine own observation in reading over our country['s] affairs is sufficient to
make me abhor the memory of that time and to dread all occasion that may lead
us to the like in time to come, seeing that in my judgment neither the civil wars
of Marius and Sulla or of Pompey and Caesar among the Romans, nor yet the Guelphians
and Ghibellines among the Italians did ever work so much woe as this did to our
poor country. Wherein by reason of the contention of York and Lancaster were foughten
sixteen or seventeen pitched fields in less than an hundred years. That is, from
the eleventh or twelfth year of King Richard II his reign (when this controversy
first began to bud up) unto the thirteenth year of King Henry VII. At what time
by cutting off the chief titler of Huntingdon's house, to wit, young Edward Plantagenet,
Earl of Warwick,202 son and heir to George Duke of Clarence,
the contention most happily was quenched and ended, wherein so many fields (as
I have said) were foughten between brethren and inhabitants of our own nation.
And therein and otherwise only about the same quarrel were slain, murdered, and
made away about nine or ten kings and kings' sons, besides above forty earls,
marquesses, and dukes of name, but many mo lords, knights, and great gentlemen
and captains, and of the common people without number, and by particular conjecture
very near two hundred thousand. For that in one battle foughten by King Edward
IV203 there are recorded to be slain on both parts five and
thirty thousand seven hundred and eleven persons, besides other wounded and taken
prisoners to be put to death afterward at the pleasure of the conqueror; at divers
battles after, ten thousand slain at a battle, as in those of Barnet and Tewkesbury
foughten both in one year.204
suffered our afflicted country in those days by this infortunate and deadly contention,
which could never be ended but by the happy conjunction of those two houses together
in Henry VII; neither yet so (as appeareth by chronicle) until (as I have said)
the state had cut off the issue male of the Duke of Clarence, who was cause of
divers perils to King Henry VII though he were in prison. By whose sister the
faction of Huntingdon at this day doth seek to raise up the same contention again,
with far greater danger both to the realm and to her Majesty that now reigneth
than ever before.
for the realm it is evident, by that it giveth room to strangers' competitors
of the house of Lancaster, better able to maintain their own title by sword than
ever was any of that lineage before them. And for her Majesty's peril present,
it is nothing hard to conjecture, seeing the same title in the foresaid Earl of
Warwick was so dangerous and troublesome to her grandfather (by whom she holdeth)
as he was fain twice to take arms in defense of his right against the said title,
which was in those days preferred and advanced by the friends of Clarence before
that of Henry, as also this of Huntingdon is at this day by his faction before
that of her Majesty, though never so unjustly.
Touching Huntingdon's title before her Majesty (quoth the lawyer)
I will say nothing, because in reason I see not by what pretense in the world
he may thrust himself so far forth, seeing her Majesty is descended not only of
the house of Lancaster but also before him most apparently from the house of York
itself, as from the eldest daughter of King Edward IV, being the eldest brother
of that house. Whereas Huntingdon claimeth only by the daughter of George Duke
of Clarence, the younger brother. Marry, yet I must confess that if the Earl of
Warwick's title were better than that of King Henry VII (which is most false,
though many attempted to defend the same by sword), then hath Huntingdon some
wrong at this day by her Majesty. Albeit in very truth, the attaints of so many
of his ancestors by whom he claimeth would answer him also sufficiently in that
behalf if his title were otherwise allowable.205
I know besides this they have another fetch of King Richard III, whereby he would
needs prove his elder brother King Edward to be a bastard and consequently his
whole line as well male as female to be void. Which device, though it be ridiculous
and was at the time when it was first invented, yet as Richard found at that time
a Doctor Shaw that shamed not to publish and defend the same at Paul's Cross in
a sermon,206 and John of Northumberland, my Lord of Leicester's
father, found out divers preachers in his time to set up the title of Suffolk
and to debase the right of King Henry's daughter both in London, Cambridge, Oxford,
and other places, most apparently against all law and reason, so I doubt not but
these men would find out also both Shaws, Sands, and others to set out the title
of Clarence before the whole interest of King Henry VII and his posterity if occasion
served.207 Which is a point of importance to be considered by
her Majesty, albeit for my part I mean not now to stand thereupon but only upon
that other of the house of Lancaster, as I have said.For
as that most honorable, lawful, and happy conjunction of the two adversary houses
in King Henry VII and his wife made an end of the shedding of English blood within
itself and brought us that most desired peace which ever sithence we have enjoyed
by the reign of their two most noble issue, so the plot that now is in hand for
the cutting off the residue of that issue and for recalling back of the whole
title to the only house of York again is like to plunge us deeper than ever in
civil discord and to make us the bait of all foreign princes; seeing there be
among them at this day some of no small power (as I have said) who pretend to
be the next heirs by the house of Lancaster208 and consequently
are not like to give over or abandon their own right if once the door be opened
to contention for the same by disannulling the line of King Henry VII, wherein
only the keys of all concord remain knit together.
albeit I know well that such as be of my Lord of Huntingdon's party will make
small accompt of the title of Lancaster, as less rightful a great deal than that
of York (and I for my part mean not greatly to avow the same as now it is placed,
being myself no favorer of foreign titles), yet indifferent men have to consider
how it was taken in times past and how it may again in time to come if contention
should arise; how many noble personages of our realm did offer themselves to die
in defense thereof; how many oaths and laws were given and received throughout
the realm for maintenance of the same against the other house of York forever;
how many worthy kings were crowned and reigned of that house and race, to wit,
the four most noble Henrys, one after another, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth,
and the seventh, who both in number, government, sanctity, courage, and feats
of arms were nothing inferior (if not superior) to those of the other house and
line of York after the division between the families.
is to be considered also as a special sign of the favor and affection of our whole
nation unto that family that Henry Earl of Richmond, though descending but of
the last son and third wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster,209
was so respected for that only by the universal realm as they inclined wholly
to call him from banishment and to make him king, with the deposition of Richard
which then ruled of the house of York, upon condition only that the said Henry
should take to wife a daughter of the contrary family; so great was in those days
the affection of English hearts towards the line of Lancaster for the great worthiness
of such kings as had reigned of that race, how good or bad soever their title
were; which I stand not here at this time to discuss, but only to insinuate what
party the same found in our realm in times past and consequently how extreme dangerous
the contention for the same may be hereafter, especially seeing that at this day
the remainder of that title is pretended to rest wholly in a stranger whose power
is very great. Which we lawyers are wont to esteem as a point of no small importance
for justifying of any man's title to a kingdom.
You lawyers want not reason in that, Sir (quoth I), howsoever you want right,
for if you will examine the succession of governments from the beginning of the
world unto this day, either among Gentile, Jew, or Christian people, you shall
find that the sword hath been always better than half the title, to get, establish,
or maintain a kingdom, which maketh me the more appalled to hear you discourse
in such sort of new contentions and foreign titles accompanied with such power
and strength of the titlers. Which cannot be but infinitely dangerous and fatal
to our realm, if once it come to action, both for the division that is like to
be at home and the variety of parties from abroad. For as the prince whom you
signify will not fail (by all likelihood) to pursue his title with all forces
that he can make, if occasion were offered, so reason of state and policy will
enforce other princes adjoining to let and hinder him therein what they can, and
so by this means shall we become Judah and Israel among ourselves, one killing
and vexing the other with the sword; and to foreign princes we shalbe as the island
of Salamina [Salamis] was in old time to the Athenians and Megarians, and as the
island of Sicilia was afterward to the Grecians, Carthaginians, and Romans, and
as in our days the kingdom of Naples hath been to the Spaniards, Frenchmen, Germans,
and Venetians; that is, a bait to feed upon and a game to fight for.
I beseech the Lard to avert from us all occasions of such miseries. And I pray
you, Sir, for that we are fallen into the mention of these matters, to take so
much pains as to open unto me the ground of these controversies so long now quiet
between York and Lancaster, seeing they are now like to be raised again. For albeit
in general I have heard much thereof, yet in particular I either conceive not
or remember not the foundation of the same, and much less the state of their several
titles at this day, for that it is a study not properly pertaining unto my profession.
The controversy between the houses of York and Lancaster (quoth the lawyer) took
his actual beginning in the issue of King Edward III, who died somewhat more than
two hundred years gone, but the occasion, pretense, or cause of that quarrel began
in the children of King Henry III, who died an hundred years before that and left
two sons: Edward, who was king after him by the name of Edward I and was grandfather
to Edward III, and Edmund (for his deformity called Crookback), Earl of Lancaster
and beginner of that house, whose inheritance afterward in the fourth descent
fell upon a daughter named Blanche, who was married to the fourth son of King
Edward III, named John of Gaunt for that he was born in the city of Gaunt in Flanders,
and so by this his first wife he became Duke of Lancaster and heir of that house.
And for that his son Henry of Bolingbroke (afterward called King Henry IV) pretended
among other things that Edmund Crookback, great-grandfather to Blanche his mother,
was the elder son of King Henry III and injustly put by the inheritance of the
crown for that he was crookbacked and deformed, he took by force the kingdom from
Richard II, nephew to King Edward III by his first son,210 and
placed the same in the house of Lancaster where it remained for three whole descents,
until afterward Edward Duke of York, descended of John of Gaunt's younger brother,
making claim to the crown by title of his grandmother that was heir to Lionel
Duke of Clarence, John of Gaunt's elder brother, took the same by force from Henry
VI of the house of Lancaster and brought it back again to the house of York, where
it continued with much trouble in two kings only, until both houses were joined
together in King Henry VII and his noble issue.
we see how the issue of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son to King Edward
III, pretended right to the crown by Edmund Crookback before the issue of all
the other three sons of Edward III, albeit they were the elder brothers, whereof
we will speak more hereafter. Now John of Gaunt, though he had many children,
yet had he four only of whom issue remain, two sons and two daughters. The first
son was Henry of Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, who took the crown from King
Richard II, his uncle's son, as hath been said, and first of all planted the same
in the house of Lancaster where it remained in two descents after him, that is,
in his son Henry V and in his nephew Henry VI, who was afterward destroyed together
with Henry Prince of Wales, his only son and heir,211 and consequently
all that line of Henry Bolingbroke extinguished by Edward IV of the house of York.
other son of John of Gaunt was John Duke of Somerset, by Katherine Swynford, his
third wife;212 which John had issue another John, and he, Margaret
his daughter and heir, who being married to Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, had
issue Henry Earl of Richmond, who after was named King Henry VII, whose line yet
two daughters of John of Gaunt were married to Portugal and Castile; that is,
Philippe born of Blanche, heir to Edmund Crookback as hath been said, was married
to John King of Portugal, of whom is descended the king that now possesseth Portugal
and the other princes which have or may make title to the same; and Katherine,
born of Constance, heir of Castile, was married back again to Henry King of Castile
in Spain, of whom King Philip is also descended.213 So that
by this we see where the remainder of the house of Lancaster resteth if the line
of King Henry VII were extinguished, and what pretext foreign princes may have
to subdue us if my Lord of Huntingdon either now or after her Majesty's days will
open to them the door by shutting out the rest of King Henry's line and by drawing
back the title to the only house of York again, which he pretendeth to do upon
this that I will now declare.
Edward III, albeit he had many children, yet five only will we speak of at this
time, whereof three were elder than John of Gaunt and one younger. The first of
the elder was named Edward the Black Prince, who died before his father leaving
one only son named Richard, who afterward being king and named Richard II was
deposed without issue and put to death by his cousin german named Henry Bolingbroke,
Duke of Lancaster, son to John of Gaunt as hath been said, and so there ended
the line of King Edward's first son.
Edward's second son was William of Hatfield, that died without issue.
third son was Lionel Duke of Clarence, whose only daughter and heir, called Philippe,
was married to Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, and after that, Anne, the daughter
and heir of Mortimer,214 was married to Richard Plantagenet,
Duke of York, son and heir to Edmund of Langley, the first Duke of York,215
which Edmund was the fifth son of King Edward III and younger brother to John
of Gaunt. And this Edmund of Langley may be called the first beginner of the house
of York, even as Edmund Crookback the beginner of the house [of] Lancaster.
Edmund Langley then, having a son named Richard that married Anne Mortimer, sole
heir to Lionel Duke of Clarence, joined two lines and two titles in one; I mean
the line of Lionel and of Edmund Langley, who were (as hath been said) the third
and the fifth sons to King Edward III. And for this cause, the child that was
born of this marriage, named after his father Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York,
seeing himself strong and the first line of King Edward III's eldest son to be
extinguished in the death of King Richard II, and seeing William of Hatfield,
the second son, dead likewise without issue, made demand of the crown for the
house of York by the title of Lionel the third son of King Edward. And albeit
he could not obtain the same in his days, for that he was slain in a battle against
King Henry VI at Wakefield, yet his son Edward got the same and was called by
the name of King Edward IV.
king at his death left divers children, as namely two sons, Edward V and his brother,
who after were both murdered in the Tower, as shalbe showed; and also five daughters,
to wit: Elizabeth, Cecily, Anne, Katherine, and Bridget. Whereof the first was
married to Henry VII, the last became a nun, and the other three were bestowed
upon divers other husbands.216
had also two brothers: the first was called George Duke of Clarence, who afterward
upon his deserts (as is to be supposed) was put to death in Calais by commandment
of the king and his attainder allowed by Parliament. And this man left behind
him a son named Edward Earl of Warwick, put to death afterward without issue by
King Henry VII, and a daughter named Margaret Countess of Salisbury who was married
to a mean gentleman named Richard Poole,217 by whom she had issue Cardinal Poole
that died without marriage and Henry Poole that was attainted and executed in
King Henry VIII his time (as also herself was), and this Henry Poole left a daughter
married afterward to the Earl of Huntingdon, by whom this Earl that now is maketh
title to the crown.218 And this is the effect of my Lord of
second brother of King Edward IV was Richard Duke of Gloucester, who after the
king's death caused his two sons to be murdered in the Tower and took the kingdom
to himself.219 And afterward he being slain by King Henry VII
at Bosworth field, left no issue behind him. Wherefore King Henry VII, descending
as hath been showed of the house of Lancaster, by John of Gaunt's last son and
third wife, and taking to wife Lady Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King Edward
IV of the house of York, joined most happily the two families together and made
an end of all controversies about the title.
King Henry VII had issue three children of whom remaineth posterity. First, Henry
VIII, of whom is descended our sovereign her Majesty that now happily reigneth
and is the last that remaineth alive of that first line. Secondly, he had two
daughters, whereof the first, named Margaret, was married twice, first to James
King of Scotland, from whom are directly descended the Queen of Scotland that
now liveth and her son, and, King James being dead, Margaret was married again
to Archibald Douglas, Earl of Anguish,220 by whom she had a
daughter named Margaret which was married afterward to Matthew Steward, Earl of
Lennox, whose son Charles Steward was married to Elizabeth Candish [Cavendish],
daughter to the present Countess of Shrewsbury,221 and by her
hath left his only heir, a little daughter named Arbella, of whom you have heard
some speech before. And this is touching the line of Scotland, descending from
the first and eldest daughter of King Henry VII.
second daughter of King Henry VII, called Mary, was twice married also, first
to the king of France, by whom she had no issue,222 and after
his death to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by whom she had two daughters,
that is, Frances, of which the children of my Lord of Hertford do make their claim,
and Eleanor, by whom the issue of the Earl of Derby pretendeth right, as shalbe
declared. For that Frances, the first daughter of Charles Brandon by the Queen
of France, was married to the Marquess of Dorset, who after Charles Brandon's
death was made Duke of Suffolk in right of his wife and was beheaded in Queen
Mary's time for his conspiracy with my Lord of Leicester's father. And she had
by this man three daughters: that is, Jane, that was married to my Lord of Leicester's
brother and proclaimed queen after King Edward's death, for which both she and
her husband were executed; Catherine, the second daughter, who had two sons yet
living by the Earl of Hertford; and Mary, the third daughter, which left no children.
other daughter of Charles Brandon by the Queen of France, called Eleanor, was
married to George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland,223 who left
a daughter by her named Margaret, married to the Earl of Derby, which yet liveth
and hath issue. And this is the title of all the house of Suffolk, descended from
the second daughter of King Henry VII, married (as hath been showed) to Charles
Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. And by this you see also how many there be who do think
their titles to be far before that of my Lord of Huntingdon's, if either right,
law, reason, or consideration of home affairs may take place in our realm; or
if not, yet you cannot but imagine how many great princes and potentates abroad
are like to join and buckle with Huntingdon's line for the pre-eminence if once
the matter fall again to contention by excluding the line of King Henry VII, which
Truly, Sir (quoth I), I well perceive that my Lord's turn is not so nigh as I
had thought, whether he exclude the line of King Henry or no. For if he exclude
that, then must he enter the combat with foreign titlers of the house of Lancaster,
and if he exclude it not, then in all appearance of reason and in law too (as
you have said) the succession of the two daughters of King Henry VII (which you
distinguish by the two names of Scotland and Suffolk) must needs be as clearly
before him and his line, that descendeth only from Edward IV his brother, as the
Queen's title that now reigneth is before him. For that both Scotland, Suffolk,
and her Majesty do hold all by one foundation, which is the union of both houses
and titles together in King Henry VII, her Majesty's grandfather.
That is true (quoth the gentleman) and evident enough in every man's eye, and
therefore no doubt but that as much is meant against her Majesty, if occasion
serve, as against the rest that hold by the same title. Albeit her Majesty's state
(the Lord be praised) be such at this time as it is not safety to pretend so much
against her as against the rest, whatsoever be meant. And that in truth more should
be meant 'gainst her Highness than against all the rest there is this reason,
for that her Majesty by her present possession letteth more their desires than
all the rest together with their future pretenses. But as I have said, it is not
safety for them, nor yet good policy, to declare openly what they mean against
her Majesty; it is the best way for the present to hew down the rest and to leave
her Majesty for the last blow and upshot to their game. For which cause, they
will seem to make great difference at this day between her Majesty's title and
the rest that descend in like wise from King Henry VII, avowing the one and disallowing
the other. Albeit my Lord of Leicester's father preferred that of Suffolk, when
time was, before this of her Majesty and compelled the whole realm to swear thereunto.
Such is the variable policy of men that serve the time, or rather that serve themselves
of all times, for their purposes.
I remember (quoth I) that time of the Duke and was present myself
at some of his proclamations for that purpose. Wherein my Lord his son that now
liveth being then a doer (as I can tell he was), I marvel how he can deal so contrary
now, preferring not only her Majesty's title before that of Suffolk (whereof I
wonder less because it is more gainful to him), but also another much further
off. But you have signified the cause, in that the times are changed, and other
bargains are in hand of more importance for him. Wherefore leaving this to be
considered by others whom it concerneth, I beseech you, Sir (for that I know your
worship hath been much conversant among their friends and favorers), to tell me
what are the bars and lets which they do allege why the house of Scotland and
Suffolk descending of King Henry VII his daughters should not succeed in the crown
of England after her Majesty, who endeth the line of the same king by his son,
for in my sight the matter appeareth very plain.
They want not pretenses of bars and lets against them all (quoth
the gentleman), which I will lay down in order as I have heard them alleged. First,
in the line of Scotland there are three persons, as you know, that may pretend
right; that is, the Queen and her son by the first marriage of Margaret, and Arbella
by the second. And against the first marriage I hear nothing affirmed, but against
the two persons proceeding thereof I hear them allege three stops: one, for that
they are strangers born out of the land and consequently incapable of inheritance
within the same; another, for that by a special testament of King Henry VIII,
authorized by two several Parliaments, they are excluded; the third, for that
they are enemies to the religion now received among us and therefore to be debarred.
the second marriage of Margaret, with Archibald Douglas, whereof Arbella is descended,
they allege that the said Archibald had a former wife at the time of that marriage
which lived long after, and so neither that marriage lawful nor the issue thereof
same bar they have against all the house and line of Suffolk, for first they say
that Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, had a known wife alive when he married
Mary Queen of France, and consequently that neither the Lady Frances nor Eleanor
born of that marriage can be lawfully born.225 And this is all
I can hear them say against the succession of the Countess of Derby, descended
of Eleanor. But against my Lord of Hertford's children that come from Frances
the eldest daughter I hear them allege two or three bastardies more besides this
of the first marriage. For first, they affirm that Henry Marquess Dorset, when
he married the Lady Frances, had to wife the old Earl of Arundel's sister, who
lived both then and many years after and had a provision out of his living to
her dying day, whereby that marriage could no way be good.226
Secondly, that the Lady Catherine, daughter to the said Lady Frances by the Marquess
(by whom the Earl of Hertford had his children) was lawfully married to the Earl
of Pembroke that now liveth, and consequently could have no lawful issue by any
other during his life.227 Thirdly, that the said Catherine was
never lawfully married to the said Earl of Hertford, but bare him those children
as his concubine. Which (as they say) is defined and registered in the Archbishop
of Canterbury's court, upon due examination taken by order of her Majesty that
now reigneth, and this is in effect so much as I have heard them allege about
It is much (quoth I) that you have said, if it may be all proved. Marry, yet by
the way, I cannot but smile to hear my Lord of Leicester allow of so many bastardies
now upon the issue of Lady Frances, whom in time past, when Jane her eldest daughter
was married to his brother, he advanced in legitimation before both the daughters
of King Henry VIII. But to the purpose: I would gladly know what grounds of verity
these allegations have and how far in truth they may stop from inheritance, for
indeed I never heard them so distinctly alleged before.
Whereto answered the gentleman that our friend the lawyer could best resolve that,
if it pleased him to speak without his fee, though in some points alleged every
other man (quoth he) that knoweth the state and common government of England may
easily give his judgment also. As in the case of bastardy, if the matter may be
proved there is no difficulty, but that no right to inheritance can justly be
pretended; as also (perhaps) in the case of foreign birth, though in this I am
not so cunning; but yet I see by experience that foreigners born in other lands
can hardly come and claim inheritance in England, albeit to the contrary I have
heard great and long disputes but such as indeed passed my capacity. And if it
might please our friend here present to expound the thing unto us more clearly,
I for my part would gladly bestow the hearing, and that with attention.
To this answered the lawyer: I will gladly, Sir, tell you my mind in any thing
that it shall please you demand, and much more in this matter wherein by occasion
of often conference I am somewhat perfect.
impediments which these men allege against the succession of King Henry VIII his
sisters are of two kinds, as you see, the one known and allowed in our law, as
you have well said, if it may be proved, and that is bastardy, whereby they seek
to disable all the whole line and race of Suffolk, as also Arbella of the second
and later house of Scotland. Whereof it is to small purpose to speak anything
here, seeing the whole controversy standeth upon a matter of fact only, to be
proved or improved by records and witnesses. Only this I will say, that some of
these bastardies before named are rife in many men's mouths and avowed by divers
that yet live; but let other men look to this, who have most interest therein
and may be most damnified by them if they fall out true.
other impediments which are alleged only against the Queen of Scots and her son
are in number three, as you recite them: that is, foreign birth, King Henry's
testament, and religion, whereof I am content to say somewhat seeing you desire
it, albeit there be so much published already in books of divers languages beyond
the sea, as I am informed, concerning this matter as more cannot be said. But
yet so much as I have heard pass among lawyers my betters in conference of these
affairs I will not let to recite unto you, with this proviso and protestation
always, that what I speak I speak by way of recital of other men's opinions, not
meaning myself to incur the statute of affirming or avowing any person's title
to the crown whatsoever.
then,229 touching foreign birth, there be some men in the world
that will say that it is a common and general rule of our law that no stranger
at all may inherit anything by any means within the land, which in truth I take
to be spoken without ground, in that general sense. For I could never yet come
to the sight of any such common or universal rule, and I know that divers examples
may be alleged in sundry cases to the contrary; and by that which is expressly
set down in the seventh and ninth years of King Edward IV, and in the eleventh
and fourteenth of Henry IV, it appeareth plainly that a stranger may purchase
lands in England, as also inherit by his wife if he marry an inheritrix. Wherefore
this common rule is to be restrained from that generality into proper inheritance
only; in which sense I do easily grant that our common law hath been of ancient,
and is at this day, that no person born out of the allegiance of the king of England
whose father and mother were not of the same allegiance at the time of his birth
shalbe able to have or demand any heritage within the same allegiance as heir
to any person. And this rule of our common law is gathered in these selfsame words
of a statute made in the twenty-fifth year of King Edward III, which indeed is
the only place of effect that can be alleged out of our law against the inheritance
of strangers in such sense and cases as we now treat of.
albeit now the common law of our country do run thus in general, yet will the
friends of the Scottish claim affirm that hereby that title is nothing let or
hindered at all towards the crown, and that for divers manifest and weighty reasons,
whereof the principal are these which ensue.
it is common and a general rule of our English laws that no rule, axiom, or maxima
of law (be it never so general) can touch or bind the crown except express mention
be made thereof in the same, for that the king and crown have great privilege
and prerogative above the state and affairs of subjects and great differences
allowed in points of law.
for example, it is a general and common rule of law that the wife, after the decease
of her husband, shall enjoy the third of his lands, but yet the queen shall not
enjoy the third part of the crown after the king's death, as well appeareth by
experience and is to be seen by law, Anno 5. and 21. of Edward III and Anno 9.
and 28. of Henry VI.230 Also it is a common rule that the husband
shall hold his wife's lands after her death as tenant by courtesy during his life,
but yet it holdeth not in a kingdom.
like manner, it is a general and common rule that if a man die seized of land
in fee simple, having daughters and no son, his lands shalbe divided by equal
portions among his daughters, which holdeth not in the crown, but rather the eldest
daughter inheriteth the whole as if she were the issue male. So also it is a common
rule of our law that the executor shall have all the goods and chattels of the
testator, but yet not in the crown. And so in many other cases which might be
recited it is evident that the crown hath privilege above others and can be subject
to no rule, be it never so general, except express mention be made thereof in
the same law, as it is not in the former place and a statute alleged; but rather
to the contrary (as after shalbe showed), there is express exception for the prerogative
of such as descend of royal blood.
second reason is for that the demand or title of a crown cannot in true sense
be comprehended under the words of the former statute forbidding aliens to demand
heritage within the allegiance of England, and that for two respects. The one,
for that the crown itself cannot be called an heritage of allegiance or within
allegiance, for that it is holden of no superior upon earth but immediately from
God himself; the second, for that this statute treateth only and meaneth of inheritance
by descent, as heir to the same (for I have showed before that aliens may hold
lands by purchase within our dominion), and then say they, the crown is a thing
incorporate and descendeth not according to the common course of other private
inheritances, but goeth by succession as other incorporations do. In sign whereof,
it is evident that albeit the king be more favored in all his doings than any
common person shalbe, yet cannot he avoid by law his grants and letters patent
by reason of his nonage (as other infants and common heirs under age may do),
but always be said to be of full age in respect of his crown, even as a prior,
parson, vicar, dean, or other person incorporate shalbe, which cannot by any means
in law be said to be within age, in respect of their incorporations.
thing maketh an evident difference in our case from the meaning of the former
statute, for that a prior, dean, or parson, being aliens and no denizens, might
always in time of peace demand lands in England in respect of their corporations,
notwithstanding the said statute or common law against aliens, as appeareth by
many book-cases yet extant, as also by the statute made in the time of King Richard
II, which was after the foresaid statute of King Edward III.231
third reason is for that in the former statute itself of King Edward there are
excepted expressly from this general rule INFANTES DU ROY, that is, the king's
offspring or issue, as the word INFANT doth signify both in France, Portugal,
Spain, and other countries, and as the Latin word liberi (which answereth
the same) is taken commonly in the civil law. Neither may we restrain the French
words of that statute, INFANTES DU ROY, to the king's children only of the first
degree (as some do, for that the barrenness of our language doth yield us no other
word for the same), but rather that thereby are understood as well the nephews
and other descendants of the king or blood royal as his immediate children. For
it were both unreasonable and ridiculous to imagine that King Edward by this statute
would go about to disinherit his own nephews if he should have any born out of
his own allegiance (as easily he might at that time, his sons being much abroad
from England, and the Black Prince, his eldest son, having two children born beyond
the seas), and consequently it is apparent that this rule or maxima set down against
aliens is no way to be stretched against the descendants of the king or of the
fourth reason is that the meaning of King Edward and his children (living at such
time as this statute was made) could not be that any of their lineage or issue
might be excluded in law from inheritance of their right to the crown by their
foreign birth wheresoever. For otherwise it is not credible that they would so
much have dispersed their own blood in other countries as they did by giving their
daughters to strangers and other means. As Lionel the king's third son was married
in Milan, and John of Gaunt the fourth son gave his two daughters Philippe and
Katherine to Portugal and Castile and his niece Joan to the king of Scots; as
Thomas of Woodstock also, the youngest brother, married his two daughters, the
one to the king of Spain , and the other to the Duke of Brittany. Which no doubt
they (being wise princes and so near of the blood royal) would never have done
if they had imagined that hereby their issue should have lost all claim and title
to the crown of England, and therefore it is most evident that no such bar was
then extant or imagined.
fifth reason is that divers persons born out of all English dominion and allegiance,
both before the Conquest and sithence, have been admitted to the succession of
our crown as lawful inheritors without any exception against them for their foreign
birth. As before the Conquest is evident in young Edgar Etheling, born in Hungary
and thence called home to inherit the crown by his great uncle King Edward the
Confessor with full consent of the whole realm, the Bishop of Worcester being
sent as ambassador to fetch him home with his father, named Edward the Outlaw.232
since the Conquest, it appeareth plainly in King Stephen and King Henry II, both
of them born out of English dominions and of parents that at their birth were
not of the English allegiance, and yet were they both admitted to the crown. Young
Arthur also, Duke of Bretaigne233 by his mother Constance that
matched with Geoffrey, King Henry II's son, was declared by King Richard his uncle
at his departure towards Jerusalem, and by the whole realm, for lawful heir apparent
to the crown of England, though he were born in Bretaigne out of English allegiance,
and so he was taken and adjudged by all the world at that day; albeit after King
Richard's death his other uncle John most tyrannously took both his kingdom and
his life from him.234 For which notable injustice he was detested
of all men both abroad and at home, and most apparently scourged by God with grievous
and manifold plagues both upon himself and upon the realm which yielded to his
usurpation. So that by this also it appeareth what the practice of our country
hath been from time to time in this case of foreign birth, which practice is the
best interpreter of our common English law, which dependeth especially and most
of all upon custom; nor can the adversary allege anyone example to the contrary.
sixth is of the judgment and sentence of King Henry VII and of his Council, who
being together in consultation at a certain time about the marriage of Margaret
his eldest daughter into Scotland, some of his Council moved this doubt, what
should ensue if by chance the king' s issue male should fail and so the succession
devolve to the heirs of the said Margaret as now it doth? Whereunto that wise
and most prudent prince made answer that if any such event should be, it could
not be prejudicial to England, being the bigger part, but rather beneficial, for
that it should draw Scotland to England, that is, the lesser to the more, even
as in times past it happened in Normandy, Aquitaine, and some other provinces.
Which answer appeased all doubts and gave singular content[at]ion to these of
his Council, as Polydore writeth that lived at that time and wrote the special
matters of that reign by the king's own instruction.235 So that
hereby we see no question made of King Henry or his Councillors touching foreign
birth to let the succession of Lady Margaret's issue, which no doubt would never
have been omitted in that learned assembly if any law at that time had been esteemed
or imagined to bar the same.
these are six of their principalest reasons to prove that neither by the words
nor meaning of our common laws, nor yet by custom or practice of our realm an
alien may be debarred from claim of his interest to the crown when it falleth
to him by rightful descent in blood and succession. But in the particular case
of the Queen of Scots and her son they do add another reason or two, thereby to
prove them in very deed to be no aliens. Not only in respect of their often and
continual mixture with English blood from the beginning (and especially of late,
the Queen's grandmother and husband being English, and so her son begotten of
an English father), but also for two other causes and reasons, which seem in truth
of very good importance.
first is for that Scotland by all Englishmen (howsoever the Scots deny the same)
is taken and holden as subject to England by way of homage, which many of their
kings at divers times have acknowledged; and consequently the Queen and her son
being born in Scotland are not born out of the allegiance of England, and so no
second cause or reason is for that the forenamed statute of foreigners in the
five and twenty year of King Edward III is entitled of those that are born
beyond the seas. And in the body of the same statute the doubt is moved of
children born out of English allegiance beyond the seas, whereby cannot be understood
Scotland for that it is a piece of the continent land within the seas. And all
our old records in England that talk of service to be done within these two countries
have usually these Latin words, infra quatuor maria, or in French, deins
lez quatre mers; that is, within the four seas, whereby must needs be understood
as well Scotland as England, and that perhaps for the reason before mentioned,
of the subjection of Scotland by way of homage to the crown of England. In respect
whereof it may be that it was accompted of old but one dominion or allegiance,
and consequently no man born therein can be accompted an alien to England.237
And this shall suffice for the first point, touching foreign nativity.238
the second impediment objected, which is the testament of King Henry VIII,239
authorized by Parliament, whereby they affirm the succession of Scotland to be
excluded, it is not precisely true that they are excluded, but only that they
are put back behind the succession of the house of Suffolk. For in that pretended
testament (which after shalbe proved to be none indeed), King Henry so disposeth
that after his own children (if they should chance to die without issue) the crown
shall pass to the heirs of Frances and of Eleanor, his nieces by his younger sister
Mary Queen of France; and after them (deceasing also without issue) the succession
to return to the next heirs again. Whereby it is evident that the succession of
Margaret Queen of Scotland, his eldest sister, is not excluded, but thrust back
only from their due place and order to expect the remainder which may in time
be left by the younger. Whereof in mine opinion do ensue some considerations against
the present pretenders themselves.
that in King Henry's judgment the former pretended rule of foreign birth was no
sufficient impediment against Scotland, for if it had been, no doubt but that
he would have named the same in his alleged testament and thereby have utterly
excluded that succession. But there is no such thing in the testament.
if they admit this testament, which alloteth the crown to Scotland next after
Suffolk, then, seeing that all the house of Suffolk (by these men's assertion)
is excluded by bastardy, it must needs follow that Scotland by their own judgment
is next, and so this testament will make against them, as indeed it doth in all
points most apparently but only that it preferreth the house of Suffolk before
that of Scotland. And therefore I think (Sir) that you mistake somewhat about
their opinion in alleging this testament. For I suppose that no man of my Lord
of Huntingdon's faction will allege or urge the testimony of this testament, but
rather some friend of the house of Suffolk, in whose favor I take it that it was
first of all forged.
It may be (quoth the gentleman), nor will I stand obstinately in the contrary,
for that it is hard sometime to judge of what faction each one is who discourseth
of these affairs. But yet I marvel (if it were as you say) why Leicester's father
after King Edward's death made no mention thereof in the favor of Suffolk in the
other testament which then he proclaimed, as made by King Edward deceased, for
preferment of Suffolk before his own sisters?
The cause of this is evident (quoth the lawyer), for that it made not sufficiently
for his purpose, which was to disinherit the two daughters of King Henry himself
and advance the house of Suffolk before them both.240
A notable change (quoth the gentleman), that a title so much exalted of late by
the father, above all order, right, rank, and degree, should now be so much debased
by the son, as though it were not worthy to hold any degree, but rather to be
trodden under foot for plain bastardy. And you see by this how true it is which
I told you before, that the race of Dudleys are most cunning merchants to make
their gain of all things, men, and times. And as we have seen now two testaments
alleged, the one of the king father and the other of the king son, and both of
them in prejudice of the testators' true successors, so many good subjects begin
greatly to fear that we may chance to see shortly a third testament of her Majesty
for the entitling of Huntingdon and extirpation of King Henry's blood, and that
before her Majesty can think of sickness, wherein I beseech the Lord I be no prophet.
But now (Sir), to the foresaid will and testament of King Henry, I have often
heard in truth that the thing was counterfeit, or at the least not able to be
proved, and that it was discovered, rejected, and defaced in Queen Mary's time;
but I would gladly understand what you lawyers esteem or judge thereof.
Touching this matter (quoth the lawyer), it cannot be denied but
that in the twenty and eighth and thirty and sixth years of King Henry's reign,241
upon consideration of some doubt and irresolution which the king himself had showed
to have about the order of succession in his own children, as also for taking
away all occasions of controversies in those of the next blood, the whole Parliament
gave authority unto the said king to debate and determine those matters himself,
together with his learned Council, who best knew the laws of the realm and titles
that any man might have thereby; and that whatsoever succession his Majesty should
declare as most right and lawful under his letters patent sealed, or by his last
will and testament rightfully made and signed with his own hand, that the same
should be received for good and lawful.
pretense whereof, soon after King Henry's death there was showed a will with the
king's stamp at the same and the names of divers witnesses, wherein (as hath been
said) the succession of the crown, after the king's own children, is assigned
to the heirs of Frances and of Eleanor, nieces to the king by his younger sister.
Which assignation of the crown, being as it were a mere gift in prejudice of the
elder sister's right (as also of the right of Frances and Eleanor themselves,
who were omitted in the same assignation and their heirs entitled only), was esteemed
to be against all reason, law, and nature, and consequently not thought to proceed
from so wise and sage a prince as King Henry was known to be, but rather either
the whole forged or at leastwise that clause inserted by other and the king's
stamp set unto it after his death, or when his Majesty lay now past understanding.
And hereof there wanteth not divers most evident reasons and proofs.
first, it is not probable or credible that King Henry would ever go about, against
law and reason, to disinherit the line of his eldest sister without any profit
or interest to himself, and thereby give most evident occasion of civil war and
discord within the realm, seeing that in such a case of manifest and apparent
wrong in so great a matter the authority of Parliament taketh little effect against
the true and lawful inheritor, as well appeared in the former times and contentions
of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III, in whose reigns the divers and contrary
Parliaments made and holden against the next inheritor held no longer with any
man than until the other was able to make his own party good.
likewise in the case of King Edward III his succession to France in the right
of his mother, though he were excluded by the general assembly and consent of
their parliaments, yet he esteemed not his right extinguished thereby, as neither
did other kings of our country that ensued after him. And for our present case,
if nothing else should have restrained King Henry from such open injustice towards
his eldest sister, yet this cogitation at least would have stayed him, that by
giving example of supplanting his elder sister's line by virtue of a testament
or pretense of Parliament, some other might take occasion to displace his children
by like pretense, as we see that Duke Dudley did soon after by a forged testament
of King Edward VI. So ready scholars there are to be found which easily will learn
such lessons of iniquity.
there be too many incongruities and indignities in the said pretended will to
proceed from such a prince and learned Council as King Henry's was. For first,
what can be more ridiculous than to give the crown unto the heirs of Frances and
Eleanor and not to any of themselves? Or what had they offended that their heirs
should enjoy the crown in their right and not they themselves? What if King Henry's
children should have died whiles Lady Frances had been yet alive? Who should have
possessed the kingdom before her, seeing her line was next? And yet by this testament
she could not pretend herself to obtain it. But rather, having married Adrian
Stokes her horsekeeper, she must have suffered her son by him (if she had any)
to enjoy the crown, and so Adrian of a servingman and master of horses should
have become the Great Master and Protector of England.242 Of
like absurdity is that other clause also, wherein the king bindeth his own daughters
to marry by consent and direction of his Council or otherwise to leese the benefit
of their succession, but yet bindeth not his nieces' daughters, to wit, the daughters
of Frances and Eleanor (if that they had any) to any such condition.
there may be divers causes and arguments alleged in law why this pretended will
is not authentical, if otherwise it were certain that King Henry had meant it.
First, for that it is not agreeable to the mind and meaning of the Parliament,
which intended only to give authority for declaration and explication of the true
title and not for donation or intricating of the same to the ruin of the realm.
Secondly, for that there is no lawful and authentical copy extant thereof, but
only a bare enrollment in the Chancery, which is not sufficient in so weighty
an affair;243 no witness of the Privy Council or of nobility
to the same, which had been convenient in so great a case (for the best of the
witnesses therein named is Sir John Gates, whose miserable death is well known);244
no public notary; no probation of the will before any bishop or any lawful court
for that purpose; no examination of the witnesses or other thing orderly done
for lawful authorizing of the matter.
of all other things this is most of importance, that the king never set his own
hand to the foresaid will, but his stamp was put thereunto by others, either after
his death or when he was past remembrance, as the late Lord Paget in the beginning
of Queen Mary's days, being of the Privy Council, first of all other discovered
the same of his own accord and upon mere motion of conscience, confessing before
the whole Council and afterward also before the whole Parliament how that himself
was privy thereunto and partly also culpable (being drawn thereunto by the instigation
and forcible authority of others), but yet afterward upon other more godly motions
detested the device and so of his own free will very honorably went and offered
the discovery thereof to the Council.245 As also did Sir Edward
Montague, Lord Chief Justice, that had been privy and present at the said doings,246
and one William Clark, that was the man who put the stamp unto the paper and is
ascribed among the other pretensed witnesses, confessed the whole premises to
be true and purchased his pardon for his offense therein.247
Whereupon Queen Mary and her Council caused presently the said enrollment lying
in the Chancery to be cancelled, defaced, and abolished.
sithence that time, in her Majesty's days that now liveth about the eleventh or
twelfth year of her reign (if I compt not amiss), by occasion of a certain little
book spread abroad at that time very secretly for advancing of the house of Suffolk
by pretense of this testament,248 I remember well the place
where the late Duke of Norfolk, the Marquess of Winchester (which then was Treasurer),
the old Earls of Arundel and Pembroke that now are dead, with my Lord of Pembroke
that yet liveth (as also my Lord of Leicester himself, if I be not deceived),
with divers others, met together upon this matter; and after long conference about
the foresaid pretensed will and many proofs and reasons laid down why it could
not be true or authentical, the old Earl of Pembroke protesting that he was with
the king in his chamber from the first day of his sickness unto his last hour
and thereby could well assure the falsification thereof, at length it was moved
that from that place they should go, with the rest of the nobility, and proclaim
the Queen of Scotland heir apparent in Cheapside. Wherein my Lord of Leicester
(as I take it) was then as forward as any man else, howbeit now for his profit
he be turned aside, and would turn back again tomorrow next for a greater commodity.
albeit, for some causes to themselves best known, they proceeded not in the open
publishing of their determination at that time, yet my Lord of Pembroke now living
can bear witness that thus much is true, and that his father the old Earl at that
time told him openly before the other noblemen that he had brought him to that
assembly and place to instruct him in that truth, and to charge him to witness
the same and to defend it also with his sword (if need required) after his death.249
And I know that his Lordship is of that honor and nobility as he cannot leave
off easily the remembrance or due regard of so worthy an admonition. And this
shall suffice for the second impediment, imagined to proceed of this supposed
testament of King Henry VIII.
for the third impediment,250 of religion, it is not general
to all, for that only one person (if I be not deceived) of all the competitors
in King Henry's line can be touched with suspicion of different religion from
the present state of England. Which person notwithstanding (as is well known)
while she was in government in her own realm of Scotland permitted all liberty
of conscience and free exercise of religion to those of the contrary profession
and opinion, without restraint. And if she had not, yet do I not see either by
prescript of law or practice of these our times that diversity of religion may
stay just inheritors from enjoying their due possessions in any state or degree
of private men, and much less in the claim of a kingdom, which always in this
behalf (as hath been said before) is preferred in privilege.
we see by experience in divers countries and parts of the world at this day, as
in Germany, where among so many princes and so divided in religion as they be,
yet everyone succeedeth to the state whereto he hath right without resistance
for his religion. The examples also of her Majesty that now is and of her sister
before is evident, who being known to be of two different inclinations in religion
and the whole realm divided in opinion for the same cause, yet both of them at
their several times with general consent of all were admitted to their lawful
inheritance, excepting only a few traitors against the former,251
who withstood her right as also in her the right of her Majesty that is present,
and that not for religion (as appeared by their own confession after), but for
ambition and desire of reign. Monsieur, the king's brother and heir of France,
as all the world knoweth, is well accepted, favored, and admitted for successor
of that crown by all the Protestants at this day of that country, notwithstanding
his opinion in religion known to be different. And I doubt not but the King of
Navarre or Prince of Condé, in the contrary part, would think themselves
greatly injuried by the state of France, which is different from them in religion
at this day, if after the death of the king that now is and his brother without
issue (if God so dispose) they should be barred from inheriting the crown under
pretense only of their religion.252 My Lord of Huntingdon himself
also, is he not known to be of a different religion from the present state of
England? And that if he were king tomorrow next, he would alter the whole government,
order, condition, and state of religion now used and established within the realm?
as I said in the beginning, if one of a whole family or of divers families be
culpable or to be touched herein, what have the rest offended thereby? Will you
exclude all, for the mislike of one? And to descend in order, if the first of
King Henry's line after her Majesty may be touched in this point, yet why should
the rest be damnified thereby? The King of Scotland her son, that next ensueth
(to speak in equity), why should he be shut out for his religion? And are not
all the other in like manner Protestants whose descent is consequent by nature,
order, and degree?
For the young King of Scotland (quoth I), the truth is that always for mine own
part I have had great hope and expectation of him, not only for the conceit which
commonly men have of such orient youths born to kingdoms, but especially for that
I understood from time to time that his education was in all learning, princely
exercises, and instruction of true religion, under rare and virtuous men for that
purpose. Whereby I conceived hope that he might not only become in time an honorable
and profitable neighbor unto us for assurance of the gospel in these parts of
the world, but also (if God should deprive us of her Majesty without issue) might
be a mean by his succession to unite in concord and government the two realms
together, which heretofore hath been sought by the price of many a thousand men's
blood and not obtained.
yet now of late (I know not by what means) there is begun in men's hearts a certain
mislike or grudge against him, for that it is given out everywhere that he is
inclined to be a Papist and an enemy to her Majesty's proceedings. Which argueth
him verily of singular ingratitude if it be true, considering the great helps
and protection which he hath received from her Highness ever sithence he was born.253
And are you so simple (quoth the gentleman) as to believe every report that you
hear of this matter? Know you not that it is expedient for my Lord of Leicester
and his faction that this youth above all other be held in perpetual disgrace
with her Majesty and with this realm? You know that Richard of Gloucester had
never been able to have usurped as he did if he had not first persuaded King Edward
IV to hate his own brother the Duke of Clarence, which Duke stood in the way between
Richard and the thing which he most of all things coveted, that is, the possibility
to the crown. And so in this case is there the like device to be observed.
truly, for the young King of Scotland's religion, it is evident to as many as
have reason that it can be no other of itself but inclined to the best, both in
respect of his education, instruction, and conversation with those of true religion,
as also by his former actions, edicts, government, and private behavior he hath
declared. Marry, these men, whose profit is nothing less than that he or any other
of that race should do well, do not cease daily by all secret ways, drifts, and
molestations possible to drive him either to mislike of our religion or else to
incur the suspicion thereof with such of our realm as otherwise would be his best
friends; or if not this, yet for very need and fear of his own life to make recourse
to such other princes abroad as may most offend or mislike this state.
for this cause, they suborn certain busy fellows of their own crew and faction
pertaining to the ministry of Scotland (but unworthy of so worthy a calling) to
use such insolency towards their king and prince as is not only undecent but intolerable.
For he may do nothing but they will examine and discuss the same in pulpit. If
he go but on hunting when it pleaseth them to call him to their preaching; if
he make but a dinner or supper when, or where, or with whom they like not; if
he receive but a couple of horses or other present from his friends or kinsmen
beyond the seas; if he salute or use courteously any man or messenger which cometh
from them (as you know princes of their nobility and courtesy are accustomed,
though they come from their enemies, as often hath been seen and highly commended
in her Majesty of England); if he deal familiarly with any ambassador which liketh
not them; or finally if he do, say, or signify anyone thing whatsoever that pleaseth
not their humor, they will presently, as seditious tribunes of the people, exclaim
in public and, stepping to the pulpit where the word of the Lord only ought to
be preached, will excite the commonalty to discontentation, inveighing against
their sovereign with such bitterness of speech, unreverend terms, and insolent
controlments as is not to be spoken.254 Now imagine what her
Majesty and her grave Council would do in England if such proceedings should be
used by the clergy against them.
No doubt (quoth I) but that such unquiet spirits should be punished
in our realm. And so I said of late to their most reverend and worthy prelate
and primate the Archbishop of St. Andrews, with whom it was my luck to come acquainted
in London, whither he was come by his king's appointment (as he said) to treat
certain affairs with our Queen and Council.255 And talking with
him of this disorder of his ministry, he confessed the same with much grief of
mind and told me that he had preached thereof before the king himself, detesting
and accusing divers heads thereof, for which cause he was become very odious to
them and other of their faction both in Scotland and England. But he said that
as he had given the reasons of his doings unto our Queen, so meaneth he shortly
to do the same unto Monsieur Beza and to the whole church of Geneva,256
by sending thither the articles of his and their doings; protesting unto me that
the proceedings and attempts of those factious and corrupt men was most scandalous,
seditious, and perilous both to the king's person and to the realm, being sufficient
indeed to alienate wholly the young prince from all affection to our religion
when he shall see the chief professors thereof to behave themselves so undutifully
That is the thing which these men his competitors most desire (quoth the gentleman),
hoping thereby to procure him most evil will and danger both at home and from
England. For which cause also they have practiced so many plots and treacheries
with his own subjects against him, hoping by that means to bring the one in distrust
and hatred of the other and consequently the king in danger of destruction by
his own. And in this machination they have behaved themselves so dexterously,
so covertly used the manage and contriving hereof, and so cunningly conveyed the
execution of many things, as it might indeed seem apparent unto the young king
that the whole plot of treasons against his realm and person doth come from England,
thereby to drive him into jealousy of our state and our state of him; and all
this for their own profit.
is this any new device of my Lord of Leicester, to draw men for his own gain into
danger and hatred with the state under other pretenses. For I could tell you divers
stories and strategems of his cunning in this kind, and the one far different
from the other in device but yet all to one end. I have a friend yet living that
was towards the old Earl of Arundel257 in good credit and by
that means had occasion to deal with the late Duke of Norfolk in his chiefest
affairs before his troubles. This man is wont to report strange things from the
Duke's own mouth of my Lord of Leicester's most treacherous dealing towards him
for gaining of his blood, as after appeared, albeit the Duke, when he reported
the same, mistrusted not so much my Lord's malice therein. But the sum of all
is this, in effect, that Leicester, having a secret desire to pull down the said
Duke, to the end that he might have no man above himself to hinder him in that
which he most desireth, by a thousand cunning devices drew in the Duke to the
cogitation of that marriage with the Queen of Scotland which afterward was the
cause or occasion of his ruin. And he behaved himself so dexterously in this drift,
by setting on the Duke on the one side and entrapping him on the other, as Judas
himself never played his part more cunningly when he supped with his master and
set himself so near as he dipped his spoon in the same dish, and durst before
others ask who should betray him, meaning that night to do it himself, as he showed
soon after supper when he came as a captain with a band of conspirators and with
a courteous kiss delivered his person into the hands of them whom he well knew
to thirst after his blood.
very like did the Earl of Leicester with the Duke of Norfolk for the art of treason,
though in the parties betrayed there were great difference of innocency. Namely
at one time, when her Majesty was at Basing in Hampshire258
and the Duke attended there to have audience, with great indifferency in himself
to follow or leave off his suit for marriage (for that now he began to suspect
her Majesty liked not greatly thereof), my Lord of Leicester came to him and counselled
him in any case to persevere and not to relent, assuring him with many oaths and
protestations that her Majesty must and should be brought to allow thereof whether
she would or no, and that himself would seal that purpose with his blood. Neither
was it to be suffered that her Majesty should have her will herein; with many
other like speeches to this purpose, which the Duke repeated again then presently
to my said friend, with often laying his hand upon his bosom and saying: I have
here [that] which assureth me sufficiently of the fidelity of my Lord of Leicester,
meaning not only the foresaid speeches, but also divers letters which he had written
to the Duke to that effect, as likewise he had done to some other person of more
importance in the realm; which matter coming afterward to light, he cozened most
notably her Majesty by showing her a reformed copy of the said letter for the
now how well he performed his promise in dealing with her Majesty for the Duke,
or against the Duke, in this matter, her Highness can best tell and the event
itself showed. For the Duke, being admitted soon after to her Majesty's speech
at another place and receiving a far other answer than he had in hope conceived
upon Leicester's promises, retired himself to London, where the same night following
he received letters both from Leicester and Sir Nicholas Throgmorton upon Leicester's
instigation (for they were at that time both friends and of a faction) that he
should presently flee into Norfolk, as he did, which was the last and final complement
of all Leicester's former devices whereby to plunge his friend over the ears in
suspicion and disgrace, in such sort as he should never be able to draw himself
out of the ditch again, as indeed he was not, but died in the same.260
herein you see also the same subtile and Machavellian sleight which I mentioned
before, of driving men to attempt somewhat whereby they may incur danger or remain
in perpetual suspicion or disgrace. And this practice he hath long used and doth
daily against such as he hath will to destroy. As for example, what say you to
the device he had of late to entrap his well deserving friend Sir Christopher
Hatton in the matter of Hall, his priest, whom he would have had Sir Christopher
to send away and hide, being touched and detected in the case of Arden, thereby
to have drawn in Sir Christopher himself, as Sir Charles Candishe can well declare
if it please him, being accessory to this plot for the overthrow of Sir Christopher.261
To which intent and most devilish drift pertained (I doubt not), if the matter
were duly examined, the late interception of letters in Paris from one Aldred
of Lyons then in Rome, to Henry Umpton, servant to Sir Christopher, in which letters
Sir Christopher is reported to be of such credit and special favor in Rome as
if he were the greatest Papist in England.262
meaneth also these pernicious late dealings against the Earl of Shrewsbury, a
man of the most ancient and worthiest nobility of our realm? What mean the practices
with his nearest both in bed and blood against him? What mean these most false
and slanderous rumors cast abroad of late of his disloyal demeanor towards her
Majesty and his country with the great prisoner committed to his charge?263
Is all this to any other end but only to drive him to some impatience, and thereby
to commit or say something which may open the gate unto his ruin? Divers other
things could I recite of his behavior towards other noblemen of the realm, who
live abroad in their countries much injuried and malcontented by his insolency,
albeit in respect of his present power they dare not complain. And surely it is
strange to see how little accompt he maketh of all the ancient nobility of our
realm, how he contemneth, derideth, and debaseth them, which is the fashion of
all such as mean to usurp, to the end they may have none who shall not acknowledge
their first beginning and advancement from themselves.
Not only usurpers
(quoth the lawyer), but all others who rise and mount aloft from base lineage
be ordinarily most contemptuous, contumelious, and insolent against others of
more antiquity. And this was evident in this man's father, who being a buck of
the first head264 (as you know) was intolerable in contempt
of others, as appeareth by those whom he trod down of the nobility in his time,
as also by his ordinary jests against the Duke of Somerset and others. But among
other times, sitting one day at his own table (as a Councillor told me that was
present), he took occasion to talk of the Earl of Arundel, whom he then had not
only removed from the Council but also put into the Tower of London, being (as
is well known) the first and chiefest earl of the realm.265
And for that the said Earl showed himself somewhat sad and afflicted with his
present state (as I marvel not, seeing himself in prison and within the compass
of so fierce a Bear's paws), it pleased this goodly Duke to vaunt upon this Earl's
misery at his own table (as I have said) and asked the noblemen and gentlemen
there present what crest or cognizance my Lord of Arundel did give? And when everyone
answered that he gave the white horse - I thought so (quoth the Duke) and not
without great cause, for as the white palfrey when he standeth in the stable and
is well provendered is proud and fierce and ready to leap upon every other horse's
back, still neighing and prancing and troubling all that stand about him, but
when he is once out of his hot stable and deprived a little of his ease and fat
feeding every boy may ride and master him at his pleasure, so is it (quoth he)
with my Lord of Arundel. Whereat many marveled that were present to hear so insolent
speech pass from a man of judgment against a peer of the realm cast into calamity.266
But you would more have marveled (quoth the gentleman) if you had seen that which
I did afterward, which was the most base and abject behavior of the same Duke
to the same Earl of Arundel at Cambridge and upon the way towards London, when
this Earl was sent to apprehend and bring him up as prisoner. If I should tell
you how he fell down on his knees, how he wept, how he besought the said Earl
to be good lord unto him, whom a little before he had so much contemned and reproached,
you would have said that himself might as well be compared to this his white palfrey
as the other.267 Albeit in this I will excuse neither of them
both, neither almost any other of these great men who are so proud and insolent
in their prosperous fortune as they are easily led to contemn any man, albeit
themselves be most contemptible of all others whensoever their fortune beginneth
to change; and so will my Lord of Leicester be also, no doubt, at that day, though
now in his wealth he triumph over all and careth not whom or how many he offend
Sir, therein I believe you (quoth I), for we have had sufficient trial already
of my Lord's fortitude in adversity. His base and abject behavior in his last
disgrace about his marriage well declared what he would do in a matter of more
importance. His fawning and flattering of them whom he hated most; his servile
speeches, his feigned and dissembled tears are all very well known; then Sir Christopher
Hatton must needs be enforced to receive at his hands the honorable and great
office of Chamberlainship of Chester,268 for that he would by
any means resign the same unto him whether he would or no, and made him provide
(not without his charge) to receive the same, though his Lordship never meant
it, as after well appeared. For that the present pang being past, it liked my
Lord to fulfill the Italian proverb of such as in dangers make vows to saints:
Scampato il pericolo, gabbato il Santo - the danger escaped, the saint
and in that necessity, no men of the realm were so much honored, commended, and
served by him as the noble Chamberlain deceased and the good Lord Treasurer yet
living, to whom at a certain time he wrote a letter, in all fraud and base dissimulation,
and caused the same to be delivered with great cunning in the sight of her Majesty,
and yet so as to show a purpose that it should not be seen, to the end her Highness
might the rather take occasion to call for the same and read it, as she did. For
Mistress Frances Howard270 (to whom the stratagem was committed)
playing her part dexterously, offered to deliver the same to the Lord Treasurer
near the door of the withdrawing chamber, he then coming from her Majesty. And
to draw the eye and attention of her Highness the more unto it, she let fall the
paper before it touched the Treasurer's hand and by that occasion brought her
Majesty to call for the same. Which after she had read and considered the style
together with the mettle and constitution of him that wrote it, and to whom it
was sent, her Highness could not but break forth in laughter with detestation
of such absurd and abject dissimulation, saying unto my Lord Treasurer there present:
My Lord, believe him not, for if he had you in like case he would play the Bear
with you, though at this present he fawn upon you never so fast.
now, Sir, I pray you go forward in your speech of Scotland, for there I remember
you left off when by occasion we fell into these digressions.
Well then (quoth the gentleman), to return again to Scotland (as
you move) from whence we have digressed; most certain and evident it is to all
the world that all the broils, troubles, and dangers procured to the prince in
that country, as also the vexations of them who any way are thought to favor that
title in our own realm, do proceed from the drift and complot of these conspirators.
Which besides the great dangers mentioned before both domestical and foreign,
temporal and of religion, must needs infer great jeopardy also to her Majesty's
person and present reign that now governeth, through the hope and heat of the
aspirers' ambition, enflamed and increased so much the more by the nearness of
their desired prey.
as soldiers entered into hope of a rich and well furnished city are more fierce
and furious when they have gotten and beaten down the bulwarks round about, and
as the greedy burglarer that hath pierced and broken down many walls to come to
a treasure is less patient of stay, stop, and delay when he cometh in sight of
that which he desireth, or perceiveth only some partition of wainscot or the like
betwixt his fingers and the coffers or moneybags, so these men, when they shall
see the succession of Scotland extinguished, together with all friends and favorers
thereof (which now are to her Majesty as bulwarks and walls and great obstacles
to the aspirers), and when they shall see only her Majesty's life and person to
stand betwixt them and their fiery desires (for they make little accompt of all
other competitors by King Henry's line), no doubt but it wilbe to them a great
prick and spur to dispatch her Majesty also, the nature of both Earls being well
considered, whereof the one killed his own wife (as hath been showed before) only
upon a little vain hope of marriage with a queen, and the other being so far blinded
and borne away with the same furious fume and most impotent itching humor of ambition
as his own mother, when she was alive, seemed greatly to fear his fingers if once
the matter should come so near as her life had only stood in his way. For which
cause the good old Countess was wont to pray God (as I have heard divers say)
that she might die before her Majesty (which happily was granted unto her),271
to the end that by standing in her son's way (whom she saw to her grief furiously
bent to wear a crown) there might not some dangerous extremity grow to her by
that nearness. And if his own mother feared this mischance, what may her Majesty
doubt at his and his companions' hands, when she only shalbe the obstacle of all
their unbridled and impatient desires?
Clear it is (quoth the lawyer) that the nearness of aspirers to the crown endangereth
greatly the present possessors, as you have well proved by reason and I could
show by divers examples if it were need. For when Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
saw not only Richard II to be without issue, but also Roger Mortimer, Earl of
March, that should have succeeded in the crown to be slain in Ireland, though
before (as is thought) he meant not to usurp, yet seeing the possibility and near
cut that he had, was invited therewith to lay hands of his sovereign's blood and
dignity, as he did. The like is thought of Richard Duke of Gloucester, that he
never meant the murder of his nephews until he saw their father dead and themselves
in his own hands, his brother also, Duke of Clarence, dispatched and his only
son and heir Earl of Warwick within his own power.
seeing it hath not pleased Almighty God, for causes to himself best known, to
leave unto this noble realm any issue by her most excellent Majesty, it hath been
a point of great wisdom in mine opinion and of great safety to her Highness' person,
state, and dignity to preserve hitherto the line of the next inheritors by the
house of Scotland (I mean both the mother and the son), whose deaths hath been
so diligently sought by the other competitors and had been long ere this achieved
if her Majesty's own wisdom and royal clemency (as is thought) had not placed
special eye upon the conservation thereof from time to time. Which princely providence,
so long as it shall endure, must needs be a great safety and fortress to her Majesty
not only against the claims, aids, or annoyance of foreign princes, who will not
be so forward to advance strange titles while so manifest heirs remain at home
nor yet so willing (in respect of policy) to help that line to possession of the
whole island, but also against practices of domestical aspirers (as you have showed)
in whose affairs no doubt but these two branches of Scotland are great blocks,
as also special bulwarks to her Majesty's life and person, seeing (as you say)
these compartners make so little accompt of all the other of that line who should
ensue by order of succession.
yet of the two, I think the youth of Scotland be of much more importance for their
purpose to be made away, both for that he may have issue and is like in time to
be of more ability for defense of his own inheritance, as also for that he being
once dispatched his mother should soon ensue by one sleight or other, which they
would devise unwitting to her Majesty, albeit I must needs confess that her Highness
hath used most singular prudence for prevention thereof in placing her restraint
with so noble, strong, and worthy a peer of our realm as the Earl of Shrewsbury
is, whose fidelity and constancy being nothing pliable to the others' faction
giveth them little contentation. And for that cause, the world seeth how many
sundry and divers devices they have used and do use daily to slander and disgrace
him and thereby to pull from him his charge committed.272
To this the gentleman answered nothing at all, but stood still
musing with himself, as though he had conceived some deep matter in his head,
and after a little pause he began to say as followeth:
cannot truly but much marvel when I do compare some things of this time and government
with the doings of former princes, progenitors to her Majesty. Namely of Henry
VII and Henry VIII, who had so vigilant an eye to the lateral line of King Edward
IV by his brother of Clarence as they thought it necessary not only to prevent
all evident dangers that might ensue that way but even the possibilities of all
peril; as may well appear by the execution of Edward Earl of Warwick before named,
son and heir to the said Duke of Clarence, and of Margaret his sister, Countess
of Salisbury, with the Lord Henry Montagu her son, by whose daughter the Earl
of Huntingdon now claimeth. All which were executed for avoiding of inconveniences,
and that at such times when no imminent danger could be much doubted by that line,
especially by the latter. And yet now when one of the same house and line, of
more ability and ambition than ever any of his ancestors were, maketh open title
and claim to the crown, with plots, packs,273 and preparations
to most manifest usurpation, against all order, all law, and all rightful succession,
and against a special statute provided in that behalf, yet is he permitted, borne
out, favored, and friended therein, and no man so hardy as in defense of her Majesty
and realm to control him for the same.
may be that her Majesty is brought into the same opinion of my Lord of Huntingdon's
fidelity as Julius Caesar was of Marcus Brutus, his dearest obliged friend, of
whose ambitious practices and aspiring when Caesar was advertised by his careful
friends, he answered that he well knew Brutus to be ambitious; but I am sure (quoth
he) that my Brutus will never attempt anything for the Empire while Caesar liveth,
and after my death let him shift for the same among others as he can. But what
ensued? Surely I am loth to tell the event, for omination's sake, but yet all
the world knoweth that ere many months passed this most noble and clement emperor
was pitifully murdered by the same Brutus and his partners in the public Senate
when least of all he expected such treason. So dangerous a thing it is to be secure
in a matter of so great sequel, or to trust them with a man's life who may pretend
preferment or interest by his death.
would God her Majesty in this case might be induced to have such due care and
regard of her own estate and royal person as the weighty moment of the matter
requireth, which containeth the bliss and calamity of so noble and worthy a kingdom
as this is.
know right well that most excellent natures are always furthest off from diffidence
in such people as profess love and are most bounden by duty, and so it is evident
in her Majesty. But yet surely this confidence so commendable in other men is
scarce allowable oftentimes in the person of a prince, for that it goeth accompanied
with so great peril as is inevitable to him that will not suspect, principally
when dangers are foretold or presaged (as commonly by God's appointment they are,
for the special hand he holdeth over princes' affairs), or when there is probable
conjecture or just surmise of the same.
know that the forenamed Emperor Caesar had not only the warning given him of the
inclination and intent of Brutus to usurpation, but even the very day when he
was going towards the place of his appointed destiny, there was given up into
his hands a detection of the whole treason with request to read the same presently,
which he upon confidence omitted to do. We read also of Alexander the Great, how
he was not only forbidden by a learned man to enter into Babylon (whither he was
then going), for that there was treason meant against him in the place, but also
that he was foretold of Antipater's mischievous meaning against him in particular.
But the young prince, having so well deserved of Antipater, could not be brought
to mistrust the man that was so dear unto him, and by that means was poisoned
in a banquet by three sons of Antipater which were of most credit and confidence
in the king's chamber.
Here, truly, my heart did somewhat tremble with fear, horror, and detestation
of such events. And I said unto the gentleman: I beseech you, Sir, to talk no
more of these matters, for I cannot well abide to hear them named, hoping in the
Lord that there is no cause nor ever shalbe to doubt the like in England, specially
from these men who are so much bounden to her Majesty and so forward in seeking
out and pursuing all such as may be thought to be dangerous to her Majesty's person,
as by the sundry late executions we have seen, and by the punishments every way
of Papists we may perceive.
Truth it is (quoth the gentleman) that justice hath been done upon
divers of late, which contenteth me greatly, for the terror and restraint of others
of what sect or religion soever they be. And it is most necessary (doubtless)
for the compressing of parties that great vigilance be used in that behalf. But
when I consider that only one kind of men are touched herein, and that all speech,
regard, doubt, distrust, and watch is of them alone without reflexion of eye upon
any other men's doings or designments; when I see the double diligence and vehemency
of certain instruments which I like not, bent wholly to raise wonder and admiration274
of the people, fear, terror, and attention to the doings, sayings, and meanings
of one part or faction alone, and of that namely and only which these conspirators
esteem for most dangerous and opposite to themselves, I am (believe me) often
tempted to suspect fraud and false measure, and that these men deal as wolves
by nature in other countries are wont to do, which going together in great numbers
to assail a flock of sheep by night do set some one or two of their company upon
the wind side of the fold afar off, who partly by their scent and other bruitling275
which of purpose they make may draw the dogs and shepherds to pursue them alone,
whiles the other do enter and slay the whole flock. Or as rebels that meaning
to surprise a town, to turn away the inhabitants from consideration of the danger
and from defense of that place where they intend to enter, do set on fire some
other parts of the town further off and do sound a false alarm at some gate where
is meant least danger.
art was used cunningly by Richard Duke of York in the time of King Henry VI when
he, to cover his own intent, brought all the realm in doubt of the doings of Edmund
Duke of Somerset, his enemy. But John of Northumberland, father to my Lord of
Leicester, used the same art much more skillfully when he put all England in a
maze and musing of the Protector and of his friends, as though nothing could be
safe about the young king until they were suppressed, and consequently all brought
into his own authority without obstacle. I speak not this to excuse Papists or
to wish them any way spared wherein they offend, but only to signify that in a
country where so potent factions be it is not safe to suffer the one to make itself
so puissant by pursuit of the other as afterwards the prince must remain at the
devotion of the stronger; but rather as in a body molested and troubled with contrary
humors, if all cannot be purged, the best physic is without all doubt to reduce
and hold them at such an equality as destruction may not be feared of the predominant.
To this said the lawyer, laughing: Yea, marry, Sir, I would to God your opinion
might prevail in this matter, for then should we be in other terms than now we
are. I was not long since in company of a certain honorable lady of the Court,
who, after some speech passed by gentlemen that were present of some apprehended
and some executed and such like affairs, brake into a great complaint of the present
time and therewith (I assure you) moved all the hearers to grief (as women you
know are potent in stirring of affections) and caused them all to wish that her
Majesty had been nigh to have heard her words.
do well remember (quoth she) the first dozen years of her Highness' reign, how
happy, pleasant, and quiet they were, with all manner of comfort and consolation.
There was no mention then of factions in religion, neither was any man much noted
or rejected for that cause, so otherwise his conversation were civil and courteous.
No suspicion of treason, no talk of bloodshed, no complaint of troubles, miseries,
or vexations. All was peace, all was love, all was joy, all was delight. Her Majesty
(I am sure) took more recreation at that time in one day than she doth now in
a whole week, and we that served her Highness enjoyed more contentation in a week
than we can now in divers years. For now there are so many suspicions everywhere,
for this thing and for that, as we cannot tell whom to trust. So many melancholic
in the Court, that seem malcontented; so many complaining or suing for their friends
that are in trouble; other slip over the sea or retire themselves upon the sudden;
so many tales brought us of this or that danger, of this man suspected, of that
man sent for up, and such like unpleasant and unsavory stuff as we can never almost
be merry one whole day together.
(quoth this lady) we that are of her Majesty's train and special service and do
not only feel these things in ourselves but much more in the grief of her most
excellent Majesty, whom we see daily molested herewith (being one of the best
natures, I am sure, that ever noble princess was endued withal), we cannot but
moan to behold contentions advanced so far forth as they are, and we could wish
most heartily that for the time to come these matters might pass with such peace,
friendship, and tranquility as they do in other countries, where difference in
religion breaketh not the band of good fellowship or fidelity. And with this in
a smiling manner she brake off, asking pardon of the company if she had spoken
her opinion overboldly like a woman.
whom answered a courtier that sat next her: Madam, your Ladyship hath said nothing
in this behalf that is not daily debated among us in our common speech in Court,
as you know. Your desire also herein is a public desire, if it might be brought
to pass, for there is no man so simple that seeth not how perilous these contentions
and divisions among us may be in the end. And I have heard divers gentlemen that
be learned discourse at large upon this argument, alleging old examples of the
Athenians, Lacedaemonians, Carthaginians, and Romans who received notable damages
and destruction also in the end by their divisions and factions among themselves,
and specially from them of their own cities and countries who upon factions lived
abroad with foreigners and thereby were always as firebrands to carry home the
flame of war upon their country.
like they also showed by the long experience of all the great cities and states
of Italy which by their factions and foruscites276 were in continual
garboil, bloodshed, and misery. Whereof our own country hath tasted also her part
by the odious contention between the houses of Lancaster and York, wherein it
is marvelous to consider what trouble a few men oftentimes, departing out of the
realm, were able to work by the part of their faction remaining at home (which
commonly increaseth towards them that are absent) and by the readiness of foreign
princes to receive always and comfort such as
are discontented in another state, to the end that by their means they might hold
an oar in their neighbor's boat, which princes that are nigh borderers do always
above all other things most covet and desire.
was that courtier's speech and reason, whereby I perceived that as well among
them in Court as among us in the realm and country abroad the present inconvenience
and dangerous sequel of this our home dissension is espied, and consequently most
English hearts inclined to wish the remedy or prevention thereof by some reasonable
moderation or reunion among ourselves. For that the prosecution of these differences
to extremity cannot but after many wounds and exulcerations bring matters finally
to rage, fury, and most deadly desperation.
on the other side, if any sweet qualification or small toleration among us were
admitted, there is no doubt but that affairs would pass in our realm with more
quietness, safety, and public weal of the same than it is like it will do long,
and men would easily be brought, that have English bowels, to join in the preservation
of their country from ruin, bloodshed, and foreign oppression which desperation
of factions is wont to procure.
I am of your opinion (quoth the gentleman) in that, for I have seen the experience
thereof, and all the world beholdeth the same at this day in all the countries
of Germany, Polonia, Boemland,277 and Hungary, where a little
bearing of th'one with th'other hath wrought them much ease and continued them
a peace whereof all Europe besides hath admiration and envy. The first dozen years
also of her Majesty's reign, whereof your lady of the Court discoursed before,
can well be a witness of the same, wherein the commiseration and lenity that was
used towards those of the weaker sort, with a certain sweet diligence for their
gaining, by good means, was the cause of much peace, contentation, and other benefit
to the whole body.
see in France that by overmuch pressing of one part only a fire was enkindled
not many years since, like to have consumed and destroyed the whole had not a
necessary mollification been thought upon by the wisest of that king's Council,
full contrary to the will and inclination of some great personages who meant perhaps
to have gained more by the other.278 And since that time we
see what peace, wealth, and reunion hath ensued in that country, that was so broken,
dissevered, and wasted before. And all this, by yielding a little in that thing
which no force can master, but exulcerate rather and make worse; I mean the conscience
and judgment of men in matters of religion.
like also I could name you in Flanders, where after all these broils and miseries
of so many years' wars (caused principally by too much straining in such affairs
at the beginning), albeit the king be never so strict-laced in yielding to public
liberty and free exercise on both parts, yet is he descended to this at length
(and that upon force of reason), to abstain from the pursuit and search of men's
consciences, not only in the towns which upon composition he receiveth, but also
where he hath recovered by force, as in Tournay and other places, where I am informed
that no man is searched, demanded, or molested for his opinion or conscience,
nor any act of Papistry or contrary religion required at their hands, but are
permitted to live quietly to God and themselves at home in their own houses, so
they perform otherwise their outward obedience and duties to their prince and
country.279 Which only qualification, tolerance, and moderation
in our realm (if I be not deceived, with many more that be of my opinion) would
content all divisions, factions, and parties among us for their continuance in
peace, be they Papists, Puritans, Familians,280 or of whatsoever
nice difference or section besides, and would be sufficient to retain all parties
within a temperate obedience to the magistrate and government for conservation
of their country, which were of no small importance to the contentation of her
Majesty and weal public of the whole kingdom.
what should I talk of this thing, which is so contrary to the desires and designments
of our puissant conspirators? What should Cicero the Senator use persuasions to
Captain Catiline and his crew that quietness and order were better than hurley-burlies?281
Is it possible that our aspirers will ever permit any such thing, cause, or matter
to be treated in our state as may tend to the stability of her Majesty's present
government? No, surely, it standeth nothing with their wisdom or policy, especially
at this instant, when they have such opportunity of following their own actions
in her Majesty's name under the vizard and pretext of her defense and safety;
having sowed in every man's head so many imaginations of the dangers present both
abroad and at home, from Scotland, Flanders, Spain, and Ireland, so many conspiracies,
so many intended murders, and others so many contrived or conceived mischiefs
as my Lord of Leicester assureth himself that the troubled water can not be cleared
again in short space, nor his baits and lines laid therein easily espied, but
rather that hereby ere long he will catch the fish he gapeth so greedily after,
and in the meantime, for the pursuit of these crimes and other that daily he will
find out, himself must remain perpetual dictator.
what meaneth this so much inculcating of troubles, treasons, murders, and invasions?
I like not surely these ominous speeches. And as I am out of doubt that Leicester,
the caster of these shadows, doth look to play his part first in these troublesome
affairs, so do I heartily fear that, unless the tyranny of this Leicestrian fury
be speedily stopped, that such misery to prince and people (which the Lord for
his mercy's sake turn from us) as never greater fell before to our miserable country
is far nearer hand than is expected or suspected.
therefore for prevention of these calamities, to tell you plainly mine opinion
(good Sirs) and therewith to draw to an end of this our conference (for it waxeth
late), I would think it the most necessary point of all for her Majesty to call
his Lordship to accompt among other and to see what other men could say against
him at length, after so many years of his sole accusing and pursuing of others.
I know and am very well assured that no one act which her Majesty hath done since
her coming to the crown (as she hath done right many most highly to be commended),
nor any that lightly her Majesty may do hereafter, can be of more utility to herself
and to the realm or more grateful unto her faithful and zealous subjects than
this noble act of justice would be, for trial of this man's deserts towards his
it would be profitable to her Majesty and to the realm, not only in respect of
the many dangers before mentioned hereby to be avoided, which are like to ensue
most certainly if his courses be still permitted, but also for that her Majesty
shall by this deliver herself from that general grudge and grief of mind, with
great mislike, which many subjects otherwise most faithful have conceived against
the excessive favor showed to this man so many years without desert or reason.
Which favor he having used to the hurt, annoyance, and oppression both of infinite
several persons and the whole commonwealth (as hath been said), the grief and
resentiment thereof doth redound commonly in such cases not only upon the person
delinquent alone, but also upon the sovereign by whose favor and authority he
offereth such injuries, though never so much against the other's intent, will,
desire, or meaning.
hereof we have examples of sundry princes in all ages and countries whose exorbitant
favor to some wicked subject that abused the same hath been the cause of great
danger and ruin, the sins of the favorite being returned and revenged upon the
favorer. As in the history of the Grecians is declared by occasion of the pitiful
murder of that wise and victorious prince Philip of Macedony, who albeit that
he were well assured to have given no offense of himself to any of his subjects
and consequently feared nothing, but conversed openly and confidently among them,
yet for that he had favored too much one Duke Attalus, a proud and insolent courtier,
and had borne him out in certain of his wickedness, or at least not punished the
same after it was detected and complained upon, the parties grieved, accompting
the crime more proper and heinous on the part of him who by office should do justice
and protect other than of the perpetrator, who followeth but his own passion and
sensuality, let pass Attalus and made their revenge upon the blood and life of
the king himself, by one Pausanias, suborned for that purpose, in the marriage
day of the king's own daughter.282
store of like examples might be repeated out of the stories of other countries,
nothing being more usual or frequent among all nations than the afflictions of
realms and kingdoms and the overthrow of princes and great potentates themselves
by their too much affection towards some unworthy particular persons, a thing
indeed so common and ordinary as it may well seem to be the specialest rock of
all other whereat kings and princes do make their shipwracks.
if we look into the states and monarchies of all Christendom and consider the
ruins that have been of any prince or ruler within the same, we shall find this
point to have been a great and principal part of the cause thereof, and in our
own state and country the matter is too too evident. For whereas since the Conquest
we number principally three just and lawful kings to have come to confusion by
alienation of their subjects, that is, Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI, this
only point of too much favor towards wicked persons was the chiefest cause of
destruction in all three. As in the first, the excessive favor towards Peter Gaveston
and two of the Spencers. In the second, the like extraordinary and indiscreet
affection towards Robert Vere, Earl of Oxford and Marquess of Dublin, and Thomas
Mowbray, two most turbulent and wicked men, that set the king against his own
uncles and the nobility.283
the third (being a simple and holy man), albeit no great exorbitant affection
was seen towards any, yet his wife Queen Margaret's too much favor and credit
(by him not controlled) towards the Marquess of Suffolk that after was made Duke,
by whose instinct284 and wicked counsel she made away first
the noble Duke of Gloucester and afterward committed other things in great prejudice
of the realm and suffered the said most impious and sinful Duke to range and make
havoc of all sort of subjects at his pleasure (much after the fashion of the Earl
of Leicester now, though yet not in so high and extreme a degree) - this I say
was the principal and original cause, both before God and man (as Polydore well
noteth),285 of all the calamity and extreme desolation which
after ensued both to the king, queen, and their only child, with the utter extirpation
of their family.
so likewise now to speak in our particular case, if there be any grudge or grief
at this day, any mislike, repining, complaint, or murmur against her Majesty's
government in the hearts of her true and faithful subjects, who wish amendment
of that which is amiss and not the overthrow of that which is well (as I trow
it were no wisdom to imagine there were none at all), I dare avouch upon conscience
that either all or the greatest part thereof proceedeth from this man, who by
the favor of her Majesty so afflicteth her people as never did before him either
Gaveston, or Spencer, or Vere, or Mowbray, or any other mischievous tyrant that
abused most his prince's favor within our realm of England. Whereby it is evident
how profitable a thing it should be to the whole realm, how honorable to her Majesty,
and how grateful to all her subjects, if this man at length might be called to
Sir (quoth the lawyer), you allege great reason, and verily I am of opinion that
if her Majesty knew but the tenth part of this which you have here spoken, as
also her good subjects' desires and complaint in this behalf, she would well show
that her Highness feareth not to permit justice to pass upon Leicester or any
other within her realm for satisfaction of her people, whatsoever some men may
think and report to the contrary or howsoever otherwise of her own mild disposition
or good affection towards the person she have borne with him hitherto. For so
we see that wise princes can do at times convenient for peace, tranquility, and
public weal, though contrary to their own particular and peculiar inclination.
to go no further than to the last example named and alleged by yourself before:
though Queen Margaret, the wife of King Henry VI, had favored most unfortunately
many years together William Duke of Suffolk (as hath been said), whereby he committed
manifold outrages and afflicted the realm by sundry means, yet she being a woman
of great prudence, when she saw the whole commonalty demand justice upon him for
his demerits, albeit she liked and loved the man still, yet for satisfaction of
the people upon so general a complaint she was content first to commit him to
prison and afterward to banish him the realm. But the providence of God would
not permit him so to escape, for that he being encountered and taken upon the
sea in his passage, he was beheaded in the ship and so received some part of condign
punishment for his most wicked, loose, and licentious life.286
to seek no more examples in this case, we know into what favor and special grace
Sir Edmund Dudley, my Lord of Leicester's good grandfather, was crept with King
Henry VII in the later end of his reign, and what intolerable wickedness and mischief
he wrought against the whole realm and against infinite particular persons of
the same by the poolings and oppressions which he practiced, whereby though the
king received great temporal commodity at that time (as her Majesty doth nothing
at all by the present extortions of his nephew), yet for justice sake and for
mere compassion towards his afflicted subjects that complained grievously of this
iniquity, that most virtuous and wise prince King Henry was content to put from
him this lewd instrument and devilish suggester of new exactions; whom his son
Henry, that ensued in the crown, caused presently before all other business to
be called publicly to accompt and for his deserts to leese his head. So as where
the interest of a whole realm or common cause of many taketh place, the private
favor of anyone cannot stay a wise and godly prince (such as all the world knoweth
her Majesty to be) from permitting justice to have her free passage.
Truly, it should not (quoth the gentleman), for to that end were princes first
elected, and upon that consideration do subjects pay them both tribute and obedience:
to be defended by them from injuries and oppressions, and to see laws executed
and justice exercised upon and towards all men with indifferency.287
And as for our particular case of my Lord of Leicester, I do not see in right
and equity how her Majesty may deny this lawful desire and petition of her people.
For if her Highness do permit and command the laws daily to pass upon thieves
and murderers without exception, and that for one fact only, as by experience
we see, how then can it be denied in this man who in both kinds hath committed
more enormous acts than may be well recompted.
in the first, of theft, not only by spoiling and oppressing almost infinite private
men, but also whole towns, villages, corporations, and countries, by robbing the
realm with inordinate licenses, by deceiving the crown with racking, changing,
and embezzling the lands, by abusing his prince and sovereign in selling his favor
both at home and abroad, with taking bribes for matter of justice, grace, request,
supplication, or whatsoever suit else may depend upon the court or of the prince's
authority; with setting at sale and making open market of whatsoever her Majesty
can give, do, or procure, be it spiritual or temporal. In which sort of traffic
he committeth more theft oftentimes in one day than all the waykeepers, cutpurses,
cozeners, pirates, burglars, or other of that art in a whole year within the realm.
as for the second, which is murder, you have heard before somewhat said and proved,
but yet nothing to that which is thought to have been in secret committed upon
divers occasions at divers times, in sundry persons of different calling in both
sexes, by most variable means of killing, poisoning, charming, enchanting, conjuring,
and the like, according to the diversity of men, places, opportunities, and instruments
for the same. By all which means, I think, he hath more blood lying upon his head
at this day, crying vengeance against him at God's hands and her Majesty's, than
ever had private man in our country before, were he never so wicked.
now if we add his other good behavior, as his intolerable licentiousness in all
filthy kind and manner of carnality, with all sort of wives, friends, and kinswomen;
if we add his injuries and dishonors done hereby to infinite; if we add his treasons,
treacheries, and conspiracies about the crown; his disloyal behavior and hatred
against her Majesty; his ordinary lying and common perjuring himself in all matters
for his gain both great and small; his rapes and most violent extortions upon
the poor; his abusing of the Parliament and other places of justice, with the
nobility and whole commonalty besides; if we add also his open injuries which
he offereth daily to religion and the ministers thereof, by tithing them and turning
all to his own gain; together with his manifest and known tyranny practiced towards
all estates abroad, throughout all shires of the kingdom; his despoiling of both
the Universities and discouraging of infinite notable wits there from seeking
perfection of knowledge and learning (which otherwise were like to become notable),
especially in God's word (which giveth life unto the soul), by defrauding them
of the price and reward proposed for their travail in that kind through his insatiable
simoniacal contracts; if, I say, we should lay together all these enormities before
her Majesty, and thousands more in particular which might and would be gathered
if his day of trial were but in hope to be granted, I do not see in equity and
reason how her Highness, sitting in throne and at the Royal Stern as she doth,
could deny her subjects this most lawful request, considering that everyone of
these crimes apart requireth justice of his own nature, and much more all together
ought to obtain the same at the hands of any good and godly magistrate in the
No doubt (quoth I) but that these considerations must needs weigh much with any
zealous prince, and much more with her most excellent Majesty, whose tender heart
towards her realm and subjects is very well known of all men. It is not to be
thought also but that her Highness hath intelligence of divers of these matters
alleged, though not perhaps of all. But what would you have her Majesty to do?
Perhaps the consultation of this affair is not what were convenient but what is
expedient; not what ought to be done in justice, but what may be done in safety.
You have described my Lord before to be a great man, strongly furnished and fortified
for all events. What if it be not secure to bark at the Bear that is so well britched?
I speak unto you but that which I hear in Cambridge and other places where I have
passed, where every man's opinion is that her Majesty standeth not in free choice
to do what herself best liketh in that case at this day.
I know (said the gentleman) that Leicester's friends give it out everywhere that
her Majesty now is their good Lord's prisoner, and that she either will or must
be directed by him for the time to come, except she will do worse; which thing
his Lordship is well contented should be spread abroad and believed, for two causes:
the one, to hold the people thereby more in awe of himself than of their sovereign,
and secondly, to draw her Majesty indeed by degrees to fear him. For considering
with himself what he hath done and that it is impossible in truth that ever her
Majesty should love him again or trust him after so many treacheries as he well
knoweth are come to her Highness' understanding, he thinketh that he hath no way
of sure standing but by terror and opinion of his puissant greatness, whereby
he would hold her Majesty and the realm in thraldom as his father did in his time
before him. And then for that he well remembereth the true saying, malus custos
diuturnitatis metus,288 he must provide shortly that those which
fear him be not able to hurt him; and consequently you know what must follow by
the example of King Edward, who feared Duke Dudley extremely for that he had cut
off his two uncles' heads, and the Duke took order that he should never live to
revenge the same. For it is a settled rule of Machivel which the Dudleys do observe,
that where you have once done a great injury, there must you never forgive.
I will tell you (my friends), and I will tell you no untruth, for that I know
what I speak herein and am privy to the state of my Lord in this behalf, and of
men's opinions and affections towards him within the realm. Most certain it is
that he is strong by the present favor of the prince (as hath been showed before),
in respect whereof he is admitted also as chief patron of the Huntingdon faction,
though neither loved nor greatly trusted of the same; but let her Majesty once
turn her countenance aside from him in good earnest and speak but the word only
that justice shall take place against him, and I will undertake with gaging of
both my life and little lands that God hath given me that without stir or trouble
or any danger in the world the Bear shalbe taken to her Majesty's hand and fast
chained to a stake, with muzzle-cord, collar, and ring, and all other things necessary,
so that her Majesty shall bait him at her pleasure without all danger of biting,
breaking loose, or any other inconvenience whatsoever.
(Sirs) you must not think that this man holdeth anything abroad in the realm but
by violence, and that only upon her Majesty's favor and countenance towards him.
He hath not anything of his own, either from his ancestors or of himself, to stay
upon in men's hearts or conceits; he hath not ancient nobility as other of our
realm have, whereby men's affections are greatly moved. His father John Dudley
was the first noble of his line, who raised and made himself big by supplanting
of other and by setting debate among the nobility, as also his grandfather Edmund,
a most wicked promoter and wretched pettifogger, enriched himself by other men's
ruins - both of them condemned traitors, though different in quality, the one
being a cozener and the other a tyrant, and both of their vices conjoined, collected,
and comprised (with many more additions) in this man (or beast rather) which is
Robert, the third of their kin and kind. So that from his ancestors this Lord
receiveth neither honor nor honesty, but only succession of treason and infamy.
yet in himself hath he much less of good wherewith to procure himself love or
credit among men than these ancestors of his had, he being a man wholly abandoned
of human virtue and devoted to wickedness, which maketh men odible both to God
and man. In his father (no doubt) there were to be seen many excellent good parts
if they had been joined with faith, honesty, moderation, and loyalty. For all
the world knoweth that he was very wise, valiant, magnanimous, liberal, and assured
friendly where he once promised; of all which virtues my Lord his son hath neither
show nor shadow, but only a certain false representation of the first, being crafty
and subtile to deceive and ingenious to wickedness. For as for valor, he hath
as much as hath a mouse; his magnanimity is base sordidity; his liberality, rapine;
his friendship, plain fraud, holding only for his gain and no otherwise though
it were bound with a thousand oaths, of which he maketh as great accompt as hens
do of cackling, but only for his commodity, using them specially and in greatest
number when most he meaneth to deceive. Namely, if he swear solemnly by his George289
or by the eternal God, then be sure it is a false lie; for these are observations
in the Court and sometimes in his own lodging, in like case his manner is to take
up and swear by the Bible, whereby a gentleman of good accompt and one that seemeth
to follow him (as many do that like him but a little) protested to me of his knowledge
that in a very short space he observed him wittingly and willingly to be forsworn
man, therefore, so contemptible by his ancestors, so odible of himself, so plunged,
overwhelmed, and defamed in all vice, so envied in the Court, so detested in the
country, and not trusted of his own and dearest friends; nay (which I am privy
to), so misliked and hated of his own servants about him for his beastly life,
niggardy, and atheism (being never seen yet to say one private prayer within his
chamber in his life) as they desire nothing in this world so much as his ruin
and that they may be the first to lay hands upon him for revenge.
man (I say) so broken both within and without, is it possible that her Majesty
and her wise Council should fear? I can never believe it; or if it be so, it is
God's permission without all cause for punishment of our sins, for that this man,
if he once perceive indeed that they fear him, will handle them accordingly and
play the Bear indeed, which inconvenience I hope they will have care to prevent,
and so I leave it to God and them, craving pardon of my Lord of Leicester for
my boldness in have been too plain with him. And so I pray you let us go to supper,
for I see my servant expecting yonder at the gallery door to call us down.
To that said the lawyer: I am content with all my heart, and I would it had been
sooner, for that I am afeard lest any by chance have overheard us here since night.
For my own part, I must say that I have not been at such a conference this seven
years, nor mean to be hereafter if I may escape well with this; whereof I am sure
I shall dream this fortnight and think oftener of my Lord of Leicester than ever
I had intended - God amend him and me both. But if ever I hear at other hands
of these matters hereafter, I shall surely be quakebritch and think every bush
a thief. And with that came up the mistress of the house to fetch us down to supper,
and so all was whusht, saving that at supper a gentleman or two began again to
speak of my Lord, and that so conformable to some of our former speech (as indeed
it is the common talk at tables everywhere) that the old
to shrink and be
gentleman our friend,
doubting lest something
had been discovered
of our conference. But indeed,
it was not so.
to Leicester's Commonwealth
Gracious Street, now Gracechurch Street, near London Bridge; Walpole and Parsons's
News from Spain and Holland (1593) is similarly addressed, as is the "Letter
"For that": because (commonly used in this sense).
Frequent allusion is made throughout to both elements of Leicester's crest, the
"bear" chained to a ragged post or "staff" (as in bearbaiting).
Lord Burghley's Execution of Justice in England (1583), stating the government's
position toward Catholic priests. Consistent with this "Christmas conference,"
Cecil's book bears the date 17 Dec. 1583 on its first edition.
"Disgiest": digest (O.E.D., a common form).
Sir Edward Stafford quotes C. Paget making a similar distinction between "Papists
of state" and those of religion only, in a letter to Walsingham, 27 Oct.
1583 (S.P. 78/10/66).
The so-called War of Liberation (1552), in which Charles's Lutheran and Catholic
allies joined with his enemies, the regional princes, to resist his Spanish-enforced
In 1562 the English under the Earl of Warwick occupied Newhaven (Le Havre) as
security for aid to the Huguenot rebels; shortly after, the rebel leader Condé
signed the Peace of Amboise, and the French combatants joined to dislodge the
garrison. Decimated by plague, besieged by a combined French army, Warwick surrendered
on 28 July 1563.
The Duke of Anjou ("Monsieur": heir to the French throne), whom the
Dutch Protestants named their sovereign in 1581, was expelled from the Low Countries
in Feb. 1583 after his attempt to arrogate several towns to himself. "Gaunt"
On the death of the childless Portuguese king (Jan. 1580), Philip II of Spain
("the Castilian") enforced his claim to the throne; having overcome
the opposition by August, he was proclaimed king by the Cortes in Apr. 1581.
Charles Neville (1543?-1601), sixth Earl of Westmoreland, and the "Old Rebel"
Richard Norton lived in exile after the Northern Rebellion of 1569; Norton is
not mentioned by name in Cecil's book. Dr. Nicholas Sander (or Sanders), a leading
Jesuit controversialist, joined the ill-fated Papal invasion of Ireland (1579)
and died of exposure in that country two years later.
That is, priests trained at the seminaries at Douai, Rheims, Rome, etc.
This may reflect growing lay Catholic distrust of the foreign-trained priests
who were, in this view, inciting the government to severity against all Papists.
The best short discussions of this and other distinctions among Catholic groups
are in Bossy's "Character of Elizabethan Catholicism" and his English
Catholic Community, pp. 11-74.
"Eversion": overthrowing (O.E.D.).
Roger, second Lord North (Privy Council, 1596; d. 1600), one of Leicester's chief
is, man of social standing.
"Obliged proditors": sworn traitors, betrayers (O.E.D.).
Margin: "Sir Francis Walsingham" (1532-1590). The syntax of this sentence
is a little odd.
"Belike": probably (O.E.D.).
On 21 May 1553 John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, married his son Guildford
to the chief Suffolk claimant, Jane Grey, and procured Edward VI's signature to
a "device" deflecting the succession from the Catholic Mary to his daughter-in-law.
The king died on 6 July (the Commonwealth authors believe the Duke had
contrived his death). Jane was proclaimed on 10 July, and Robert Dudley was dispatched
to arrest Mary, only to find her already fled to her Howard supporters. Northumberland
surrendered at Cambridge on 20 July. On the "letters to Mary," see Harbison,
Rival Ambassadors at the Court of Queen Mary, p. 34.
Margin: "Sir Francis W Walsingham."
Margin: "Edmund Dudley," who paid for his financial malfeasances by
standing trial for "constructive treason" on 16-18 July 1509 and by
his execution on 17 Aug. 1510, and "John Dudley," who was tried on 18
and executed on 22 Aug. 1553.
The "last Parliament" (1581) saw enactment of 23 Elizabeth, cap.
2, which only provided against speaking or writing slander of the Queen herself.
According to Neale, the Lords did pass and send down a bill against slandering
noblemen and lords of the clergy, but it was killed after its second reading by
the Puritans in the Commons. Apparently, then, the "proviso" never became
law. See Neale, Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments, 1559-1581, p. 398.
This and the following matters are dealt with in more detail below.
"Killingworth": Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire; Leicester's principal
seat. The events described, though exaggerated, refer to the situation in summer
1579, when the Earl was in disgrace over his revealed marriage and Anjou had just
arrived for his first visit. Michaelmas: 29 September.
Heneage (d. 1595), Vice Chamberlain of the Household. Warwick's lady was his third
wife, Anne Russell, daughter of the Earl of Bedford, whom he married in Nov. 1565.
John Casimir (d. 1592), younger son of Frederick III of the Palatinate, a Calvinist
condottiere often hired to fight Catholic enemies; in Jan. 1579 he was in England
and was entertained by Leicester. "Amplification": exaggeration (O.E.D.).
Margin: "To Sir Thomas Leighton"; see note 107 below.
Margin: "Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain, Master Comptroller;" i.e.,
Burghley, Sussex, and Sir James Croft (d. 1590), Comptroller of the Household
from 1570 until his death, all active in behalf of the Anjou marriage. Croft was
a Catholic with a Spanish pension; Mendoza regularly referred to him as his "first
confidant" and to Lord Harry Howard as his "second."
Margin: "Sir John Hibbott," alias Huband (d.1583), a member of the Council
of Wales (based at Ludlow) and steward of several of Leicester's lordships, including
Kenilworth; never "Vicepresident" of the Council, though nominated as
such in 1576.
This appears to have been the received Catholic view, e.g., in Parsons, A Temperate
Ward-word to . . . Sir Francis Hastings, p. 44, and Broughton, English
Protestants Plea, p. 16, and accepted by most modern writers; it has been
questioned by Beer, Northumberland, p. 162.
Margin: "Ethelbert, King of Kent, converted A.D. 603"; according to
Bede, softened by Bertha and converted by St. Augustine in about 597. The date
603 is found in Polydore Vergil's Anglica historia, 1846, p. 129, which
seems to have been the Commonwealth's chief source for English history.
That is, both in fact and in hope.
"Unition": union (O.E.D., citing this passage).
Prince Eric of Sweden (later Eric XIV), suitor in 1559-1560; Charles, younger
son of the Emperor Ferdinand I, whose suit reached a high point in 1565-1566;
Henri Duke of Anjou (later Henri III), a suitor in 1571; and Anjou, whose suit
extended from 1572 to 1582. Leicester at one time or another fought against each
of these matches.
Printed DAVVS, thus either "Daws," a fool or lazy person (O.E.D.)
or probably "Davus," a cunning slave, as in the proverb Davus sum,
non Oedipus, a quotation from Terence's Andria. "News from Heaven and
Hell" similarly describes Leicester as "being Davus non Edipus"
"Privado": confidant, favorite (O.E.D.). Prince Eric never visited
England but was represented there by his brother Duke John of Finland.
Margin: "Anno 1. R. Mary." Lord Robert was attainted of treason and
condemned to death on 22 Jan. 1554; he was pardoned on 18 Oct. 1554, and the removal
of attainder was ratified in Parliament on 7 March 1558. (D. Wilson argues that
Dudley's release from prison did not occur until Jan. 1555; Sweet Robin,
Valentine Dale (d. 1589), sometime ambassador to France (1573-1576), Master of
Requests at the beginning of the Julio affair, on which see Appendix
Robert, Lord Denbigh (born 1578 or 1579, d. 19 July 1584), Leicester's son by
Lady Essex. All of Dudley's brothers died childless, as did his sister the Countess
of Huntingdon, and the only heirs to the family estates were Denbigh and the children
of his other sister, the wife of Sir Henry Sidney, of which Philip was the eldest;
both Denbigh and Sir Philip having predeceased Leicester, Robert Sidney became
general heir to the Dudleys.
Margin: "The Lady Sheffield, now Ambassadess in France," discussed again
below; Dyer (knighted 1596, d. 1607), courtier and poet, a protégé
of Leicester's; Tilney (d. 1610), Lady Sheffield's kinsman, Master of the Revels
from July 1579 until his death.
Cf. The Yorkshire Tragedy (ca. 1606), scene 5, lines 13-14: "The surest
way to charm a woman's tongue/ Is break her neck; a politician did it" (Brooke,
Shakespeare Apocrypha, p. 257b). Also: "You that were held the famous
politician;/ Whose art was poison. . . . That would have broke your wife's neck
down the stairs/ Ere she was poisoned" (John Webster's White Devil,
ca. 1612; act 5, scene 3, lines 155-58); Webster alludes in the next line to Leicester's
alleged salad poisoning of Throgmorton.
Bald Buttler is unidentified. Leicester had distant kinship to the Butlers of
Ashton in the Walls, and two Butlers are mentioned in his will, but as it was
rather among his wife's kinsmen that suspicions ran high, the text' s "my
L." may be an error for "my La."; in which case the correction
has been made in the French translation ("parent de la dame,"
Discours de la vie, fo1.16).
On Amy Robsart's death, see Appendix D (1).
John, second Lord Sheffield of Butterwick, who died in 1568. There seems to have
been no public suspicion concerning his death, but among his own family it was
attributed to Leicester's poison; see Holles, Memorials of the Holles Family,
Dorothy Braye (d. 1605), widow of Edmund Brydges, Lord Chandos, and wife of William
Knollys (d. 1632), an ally of Leicester's who was Lady Essex's eldest brother
and, much later, the first Earl of Banbury. Concerning the putative child, see
Appendix D (2).
Essex's man Richard Lloyd was later employed as Leicester's secretary (Bruce,
Correspondence of Robert Dudley, p. 26; John Dee's diary, p. 21). On Rowland
Crompton, yeoman of Essex's cellar, see discussion of Essex's death in Appendix
On Dr. Julio, see Appendix D (6).
Margin: "Doctor Bayley the younger," i.e., Walter Bayley (d. 1593),
M.D., Regius Professor of Physic in 1561, later physician to the Queen.
Odet, Cardinal de Châtillon, brother of the Huguenot leader Coligny, lived
in refuge in England, 1568-1571, attempting to further the marriage to Henri of
Anjou. Returning to France, he was taken ill at Canterbury and died on 24 Mar.
1571; tradition ascribes his death both to Catherine de Medici and to the Guisan
Cardinal de Lorraine. Elizabeth's investigating team reported directly to Leicester
and was headed by his ally Leighton. See Atkinson, "Cardinal of Chatillon,"
which charges Lorraine with the crime (pp. 254-55).
Possibly Sir Henry Lee's kinsman Thomas (executed 1601), younger son of Benedict
Lee of Bigging and the Earl of Essex's second cousin, who although not an Irishman
was serving with Essex in Ireland at this time. See Chambers, Sir Henry Lee,
"Develing": Dublin. "Penteneis" is unidentified.
William Hunnis, Master of the Children from 1566 until his death in 1597.
On the death of the Earl of Essex, see Appendix
This joke originated with the Queen of Scots, then still in France, on the occasion
of Amy's death; Leicester was Elizabeth's Master of the Horse. Throgmorton sent
word of it from Paris to Cecil via his secretary, Robert Jones (26 Nov. 1560);
Cecil told the Queen, who in turn twitted Dudley with it, and he learned its provenance
by interrogation of Jones. See Jones to Throgmorton, 30 Nov. 1560, Hardwicke State
Papers, 1: 164. Anne de Montmorency (d. 1567), Constable of France, was then close
to Mary's kinsmen the Guises.
Sir Nicholas, uncle of Francis and Thomas Throgmorton, died on 25 Feb. 1571. Camden's
account follows the Commonwealth's: "In [Leicester's] house as he
fed hard at supper on salads, he was taken (as some report) with an impostume
of the lungs, as others say with a vehement catarrh, not without suspicion of
poison, and died in a good time for himself and his, being in great danger of
life and estate by reason of his restless spirit" (Elizabeth, 2: 14).
Margaret, daughter of Henry VIII's sister and wife of Matthew Stuart, Earl of
Lennox, died at sixty-two at Hackney in London on 9 May 1578, apparently with
no suspicions attending. Thomas Fowler, who administered her affairs (H.M.C. Salisbury
MSS., 3: 105), became Leicester's steward before 1580 (A. Kendall, Robert Dudley,
p. 186); his son William was one of Walsingham's agents but in Aug. 1584 was used
by Leicester in some dealing in Scotland that the Earl kept secret even from Walsingham
(C.S.P. Scots, 1584-85, pp. 258, 300).
Sardanapalus, legendary king of Assyria; Nero, Roman Emperor A.D. 54-68; Varius
Avitus Bassanius (called Heliogabalus), Emperor at fourteen, murdered at eighteen
by his Praetorian Guard in A.D. 222.
On the Earl's relationship with Lady Sheffield, see Appendix
Margin: "A.D. 959." Edwy, or Eadwig, was deprived of the northern half
of his kingdom in 957; when he died in 959 it was reunited in his brother Edgar.
The date 959 follows Polydore Vergil (1846), p. 241.
William Painter twice recounts the adventures of this fourth-century B.C. courtesan
who was accustomed to demand a sum "amounting very near to three hundred
pound of our money" (Palace of Pleasure , bk. 1, chap. 15; bk.
2, chap. 13).
Margin: "Anne Vavasour," on whom see Appendix D (4). "Another man"
is the Earl of Oxford.
Margin: "The children of adulterers shall be consumed, and the seed of a
wicked bed shall be rooted out, saith God. Sap. 3"; in the Douai-Rheims,
Wisdom 3:16. The Marsh annotator points out the unwisdom of this reference: The
"author of this discourse will needs forsooth have [his] gentleman to be
a protestant: But here you see he is bewrayed. . . . No protestant acc[epte]th
the book of Wisdom to be the book of God."
"Wife of the castle": Mary (d. 1600), Lady Sheffield's sister, wife
of Edward Sutton (d. 1586), Lord Dudley of Dudley Castle, Staffordshire. "Gossips":
female attendants at a birth (O.E.D.).
For comment on this daughter's existence, see Appendix
"Confortive": something of comfort (O.E.D.), with the ironic
sense of a medical prescription.
Margin: "Doctor Bayley the elder," i.e., Henry Bayley, Proctor of New
College (1547), M.D. (1563).
"Crowner": coroner (O.E.D.). The jury seems to have suspected
murder at first (Blount's report, Adlard, Amye Robsart, p. 40), but its
verdict was accidental death.
As far as is known, Amy was buried only once, at Our Lady of Oxford on 22 Sept.;
Dudley did not attend. Dr. Francis Babington was Leicester's chaplain and later
Vice Chancellor of Oxford; in 1565 he was reconciled to Rome and fled into exile,
where he died in 1569. Tradition had it that Edmund Campion delivered this sermon,
but a contemporary account of the funeral confirms the identification here (Adlard,
Amye Robsart, p. 55).
Of an attempt to poison Jean de Simier, Anjou's agent in the marriage talks, nothing
is known, though he was ill in summer 1579. After his revelation of Leicester's
marriage early in July, he was shot at in the grounds of Greenwich Palace by one
Tider or Teuder of the Queen's Guard (Camden, Elizabeth, 2: 95), and he
himself believed Leicester to have been behind the attack. At about this time
(on 17 July) a man fired upon the Queen's barge, in which Simier was sitting (see
below), and this too he considered an attempt on his life. Sometime in 1579 Simier
was informed that he was soon to be stabbed, and he sent to Charles Arundell to
borrow a "privy doublet," a coat of mail to be worn beneath his outer
clothing; Arundell did not know by whom Simier had been threatened (Arundell's
answers, S.P. 12/151/48, arts. 6 and 7).
The seamen of Flushing and all the Dutch coast thereabouts were known chiefly
for their privateering activities.
Simier returned into France in late Nov. 1579, but there is no evidence of any
untoward incident. Walter Raleigh was amongst Arundell's circle until at least
1580 (see Peck, "Raleigh, Sidney, Oxford, and the Catholics, 1579");
Edward Stafford was also one of the gentlemen accompanying Simier. Clark and Harris
have common names, but the former is probably Capt. Augustine Clerk who in spring
1580 brought his "well-armed" ship over to the Spanish service. Checking
on him, Mendoza learned that he had earlier arrived in England from Gravelines
(cf. "certain Flushingers"), and he concluded that the man was a spy
from Walsingham; accordingly, on 15 Aug. King Philip reported Clerk's arrest (C.S.P.
Spanish, 1580-86, pp. 29, 36, 49).
William Killigrew (d. 1622), a courtier attached to Leicester's party; it was
to Burghley, however, that his brother Sir Henry applied to win him a place among
the Grooms of the Privy Chamber in Mar. 1573 (C.S.P. Scots, 1571-74, p.
519). "Caliver": a light musket. The Queen's kinsman Thomas Butler (1532-1614),
tenth Earl of Ormonde, was a major force in Irish affairs, and he was generally
aligned with Cecil and Sussex, while Leicester and Lord Deputy Sidney backed his
rival the Earl of Desmond. The enmity between Leicester and Ormonde was notorious,
whereas the latter "always had good liking to the house of Howard" (H.M.C.
Rutland MSS., 1: 144) and was a friend of Charles Arundell's in particular (Ormonde
to Hertford, 26 Mar. 1574, H.M.C. Bath MSS., 4: 140), with whom he corresponded
regularly in "causes of friendship" (S.P. 12/151/48, art. 4). In 1565
both Ormonde and Desmond were in England, their differences to be heard by the
Council, and several instances of violence are recorded from that summer (e.g.,
A.P.C., 1558-70, pp. 215, 219, 235).
"Facinorous": vile, extremely wicked (O.E.D.).
"Rampires": ramparts (O.E.D.).
Vortigern (fifth century) controlled, then murdered Constans, and crowned himself;
Harold ruled Edward the Confessor, then succeeded him in 1066 (well disputed by
William the Conqueror); Henry IV deposed Richard II in 1399; Warwick deposed Edward
IV in 1470; Richard III became king in 1483.
Margin: "Leicester married at Wanstead when her Majesty was at Mr. Stonor's
house, Doctor Culpepper, physician, minister." The Kenilworth ceremony is
unconfirmed, but a letter from Philip Sidney of Dec. 1577, if indeed addressed
to Leicester, seems to indicate that he knew of such a marriage (Prose Works
of Sidney, 3: 119). The other, at Leicester's Wanstead House in Essex, a few
miles from London, occurred on 20 Sept. 1578, while the Queen was stopped on progress
at Loughton, the home of Francis Stonor, whence she proceeded to Wanstead. In
addition to these named, the Earl of Pembroke was present; the minister cited
here would be Dr. Martin Colepeper, but it was actually Humfrey Tindall, Master
of Queen's College, Oxford (later Dean of Ely, d. 1614). See the depositions of
all those present, dated 13 Mar. 1581 (S.P.12/148/24; printed in Hawarde, Reportes
del cases in Camera Stellata, appendix 13).
Margin: "Read Polydore in the 7. year of King Richard II and you shall find
this proceeding of certain about that king to be put as a great cause of his overthrow.
The Elizabethan "system" of patronage is only coming to be understood
in detail, but good discussions can be found in MacCaffrey, "Place and Patronage
in Elizabethan Politics" and Queen Elizabeth, chap. 16; P. Williams,
Tudor Regime, chap. 3 and pp. 371-74; Neale, "Elizabethan Political
Scene"; A. Smith, Government of Elizabethan England, pp. 57-69. In
general, Leicester seems to have "had a lesser say in the distribution of
patronage than Burghley" did (A. Smith, Servant of the Cecils, p.
53), and in the tentative opinion of Peter Roberts, now studying royal household
reforms, Leicester's "power was not as all-pervasive or as malignant as alleged.
What evidence there is reveals a positive, constructive interest in clearing things
up as Lord Steward in the last years" (letter, 1 July 1977). Dudley's assistance
to literary men has been well studied by Rosenberg, Leicester.
"Impotent of his ire ": incapable of restraining his anger (following
Edward Cheke to William Davison, Court, 8 Aug. 1577: "Sir Jerome Bowes and
my cousin George Scott are banished the Court for a slanderous speech they should
speak of my Lord of Leicester" (S.P. 15/25/30).
This book is unidentified; "stranger" means foreigner. "Leicestrensem
rempublicam" may have been its title, as normally assumed, but the syntax
may as easily indicate that it is rather what the stranger "calleth our state"
in a book here untitled. Either way, the conclusion is unwarranted that the book
is an earlier original of which our text is an English translation (as in Chamberlin,
Elizabeth and Leycester, p. 417).
Margin: "Anno Regni 31" (1453); perhaps an error for "A. R. 34,"
as in Sept. 1456 York was trapped into submitting himself at Coventry but was
Margin: "Lord Keeper, Lord Chamberlain," i.e., Sir Nicholas Bacon (d.
1579) and the Earl of Sussex (d. 1583). According to Conyers Read, Lord Hunsdon
was the only man added to the Council between 1573 and 1586 who was not more or
less of Leicester's camp ("Walsingham and Burghley in Queen Elizabeth's Privy
Council," p. 41).
All of these cases but one are discussed in greater detail below. Southam is in
Warwickshire, some ten miles from Kenilworth; despite the fact that Leicester
acquired a great deal of land in the area, this reference is unidentified.
On 16 June 1566, Sussex was called by the Queen to explain his remark that Lord
Deputy Sidney was in league with Shan O'Neill, the rebel chief; he demanded to
know who accused him of having made it, and Leicester stepped forward to repeat
the allegation. Sussex seems then to have accused Leicester of having written
encouragements to O'Neill (S.P. 63/18/19; Read, Mr. Secretary Cecil, pp.
332-33; D. Wilson, Sweet Robin, p. 184; on Dudley's earlier support of
O'Neill against Sussex, see Canny, Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland, pp.
42-43). Cyril Falls prints a letter, 4 May 1570, from the Irish rebels to their
agent in Spain, which includes mention of communications received from "certain
Englishmen of the Council in England who have favored us, albeit clandestinely"
(Elizabeth's Irish Wars, p. 140).
Acteon was transformed into a stag and torn apart by his own hounds; see Ovid,
Metamorphoses, bk. 3 (lines 205-304 in Golding's translation, 1567).
The reference may be to Bartholomew Salvariccia, a Genoese in London who in June
1583 sought Mendoza's protection from harassment by the Leicester-Walsingham group
(C.S.P. Spanish, 1580-86, p. 478).
One MS. copy of the Commonwealth adds to Doughty's name "of the Inner
Temple," and has a marginal comment: "Doughty, this man I knew and was
acquainted with; he was with the Earl of Essex at his death and afterwards entertained
by my Lord of Leicester" (British Library, Harleian MS. 4020, fo1. 43). Thomas
Doughty, said to have been dismissed from Essex's service (1574) for creating
dissension between his commander and Leicester, sailed with his friend Francis
Drake on the circumnavigation (Nov. 1577), probably as a spy for Burghley. After
stirring up trouble among the crew, he was tried and executed on shipboard off
the Patagonian coast in Aug. 1578 (see Corbett, Drake and the Tudor Navy,
1: 201-13, 221-47). When news reached home, it was rumored that he had been killed
on Leicester's orders, "for that he had reported abroad that the Earl of
Essex was made away by the cunning practices of Leicester" (Camden, Elizabeth,
"Carriers": bearers of letters, transporters of goods.
Gates is unidentified; various MSS. of the Commonwealth specify him as
John or Henry Gates but on doubtful authority. Perhaps he was a kinsman of Sir
John Gates, who was executed with Leicester's father in 1553. That this man was
hanged at Tyburn "this last summer past" accords with a lost ballad
concerning a robbing of "curriers" near London which was entered for
publication in Aug. 1583 (Arber, Transcript of the Registers, 2: 427),
and which may refer to the same man. This passage served Thomas Kyd as a source
for his Spanish Tragedy; see Bowers's "Kyd' s Pedringano," Baldwin's
On the Literary Genetics of Shakspere's Plays, pp. 185-98, and Freeman's
Thomas Kyd, p. 58. Cf. the analogous tale of the Yorkshire gentleman in
Peck, "Letter of Estate," pp. 33-34.
Margin: "This relation of Gates' may serve hereafter for an addition in the
second edition of this book."
Margin: "The Earl of Sussex his speech of the Earl of Leicester." Sussex
died at Bermondsey in London on 9 June 1583.
Mendoza reported in Jan.1582 that the Queen had told Simier that she could do
nothing to diminish Leicester's power, "as he had taken advantage of the
authority she had given him to place kinsmen and friends of his in almost every
post and principal place in the kingdom" (C.S.P. Spanish, 1580-86,
pp. 266-67); Arundell and Howard constituted the only known link between Simier
and the Spaniard.
Margin: "York, the Earl of Huntingdon" (Henry Hastings), Leicester's
brother-in-law, based in York as President of the Council of the North from 1572
until his death in 1595.
Margin: "Berwick, the Lord Hunsdon" (Henry Carey), warden of the East
March (based at Berwick) from 1568 until his death in 1596. His sister was the
mother of Leicester's wife Lettice. He was more often counted among Burghley's
adherents than among Leicester's.
Margin: "Wales, Sir Henry Sidney" (d. 1586), President of the Council
in the Marches of Wales from 1560 until his death, who had married Leicester's
sister Mary in 1551.
Henry Herbert (d.1601), second Earl of Pembroke, one of Leicester's closest friends,
had married Sidney's daughter Mary in Apr. 1577; she it was to whom her brother
dedicated his Arcadia.
Francis Russell (d. 1585), second Earl of Bedford, an active Puritan, was Warwick's
father-in-law as well.
Margin: "The Lord Grey," i.e., Arthur (d. 1593), Lord Grey of Wilton,
whose ferocity as Lord Deputy of Ireland, especially in the massacre of the Spanish
garrison at Smerwick (Nov. 1580), was notorious. He returned to England in Nov.
1582, where his severities earned him a "great displeasure with the Queen,"
which "was kindled against him by Sussex, his heavy adversary" (Camden,
Elizabeth, 2: 119).
Margin: "Her Majesty (as he saith), for striking of Mr. Fortescue, called
him lame wretch; that grieved him so (for that he was hurt in her service at Lieth)
as he said he would live to be revenged." Grey was wounded while serving
under his father at the siege of Lieth in Scotland in May 1560. The incident with
Mr. (later Sir) John Fortescue of Salden occurred in Oct. 1573, when Grey used
"uncivil language" to him in the Presence Chamber; in Dec. Fortescue
complained that Grey had had him beaten up in Chancery Lane, all apparently resulting
from a dispute over hunting rights (C.S.P. Domestic, 1547-80, pp. 467,
Margin: "In Scotland or elsewhere against the next inheritors or present
Margin: "Sir John Perrot" (d. 1592), who departed for Ireland as the
new Lord Deputy on 12 May 1584 (H.M.C. Rutland MSS., 1: 165); possibly this marginalium
was added upon arrival of that news. As early as Nov. 1582 it was thought that
he would be Grey's successor (ibid., p. 144), but the post remained vacant for
a year and a half.
Margin: "Sir Edward Horsey" (kt. 1577, d. 1583); after entering exile
upon the failure of the "Dudley Plot" of 1556, he progressed from agent
for Ambassador Throgmorton to Leicester's service, thence to Captain of the Isle
of Wight (ca. 1566-1583). Like another former rebel, Leighton, he was a follower
of Leicester and was often used on diplomatic assignments (e.g., to France, 1573),
but he was never, as in D.N.B., a member of the Privy Council.
Margin: "Sir George Carew" (Carey), who succeeded his father Henry in
the barony of Hunsdon in 1596. He was Captain of the Isle of Wight from Horsey's
death until his own in 1603; his aunt was the mother of Leicester's wife. In 1587
he was granted the wardship of Lord Paget's son and heir (A.P.C. 1586-87,
Margin: "Sir Amias Paulet," Captain of the Isle of Jersey from 1571
until his death in
Sept. 1588, having served as ambassador to France (1577-1579) as well; he was
chosen in April 1585 to provide stricter confinement for Mary, Queen of Scots.
Margin: "Sir Thomas Leighton" (d. 1611), Leicester's follower and Captain
of the Isle of Guernsey, married to "Bess," Elizabeth (not Cecilia,
as in D.N.B.), daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, in May 1578.
Master of the Ordnance from Apr. 1560 until his death in 1590.
The predecessor is Sir Edward Warner, who as Lieutenant held the Tower for Northumberland,
was deprived of the office under Mary, and was restored on Elizabeth's accession.
Owen Hopton, in a letter of 1588, fixed his appointment to the post at about 1570
(Ellis, Original Letters, 4: 67-71).
Margin: "Sir Rowland Heiward" (1520?-1593), clothworker, Mayor of London
1570-1571 and 1591, "probably the most impressive of the elite aldermen during
the Elizabethan period" (Foster, Politics of Stability, p. 73).
Margin: "Mad Fleetwood." William Fleetwood (d. 1594) was noted chiefly
as a loud Parliamentarian until, by Leicester's influence (D.N.B.), he
became Recorder of London, 1571-1592. He was jailed in 1576 for breaking into
a foreign embassy's chapel in search of recusants and was considered by Parsons
to have been one of the "chiefest persecutors" of Catholics (C.R.S.
2, p. 191). See also Harris, "William Fleetwood."
Margin: "My Lord of Huntingdon's preparation at Ashby," i.e. Ashby de
la Zouch, Leicestershire, the Earl's principal seat.
The Queen visited Kenilworth in 1565, 1572, and 1575; the last of these is probably
the visit intended here. In 1570 it was reported that Leicester "hath many
workmen at Killingworth to make his house strong, and doth furnish it with armor,
munition, and all necessaries for defense" (Lodge, Illustrations,
1: 516); in 1581 Charles Arundell mentioned this fortification, "with brass,
pieces, munition, powder, etc., proportionable as strong as the town against a
day, under color of making the Queen sport with fireworks shooting, etc."
(S.P. 12/151/50). See Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, pp. 220-21.
Margin: "Ralph Lane," presumably Sir Ralph Lane (kt. 1593, d. 1603),
courtier, financial speculator, seaman, first "governor" of Virginia
(1585); he was both opportunistic and often in trouble, but neither this incident
nor his "harassment" is identified. The Queen's most serious illness,
a near-fatal case of smallpox, came in fall 1562; at that time she had the Council
swear to recognize Dudley as Protector of the realm in the event of her death.
The text does not suggest that Kenilworth was yet in Dudley's possession; he received
it in the following year.
"Lightly": likely (O.E.D.).
"Sinours": sinews (O.E.D.).
"One for her Majesty": Sir Walter Mildmay, on 25 Jan. 1581 (discussed
in Neale, Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments, 1559-1581, pp. 382-85).
"Enhanced before": having had their rents increased (O.E.D.).
See, e.g., letters patent to Leicester, dated 5 Apr. 1579, gifts of land, some
of them exchanges, in London and twenty counties in England and Wales (Folger
"License of alienation": exclusive right to collect a duty on the sale
of crown lands.
The loss of Calais was a blow to English pride; in England's hands since 1347,
it was taken by the French in Jan.1558. During ensuing peace talks Philip of Spain
stood by his English allies in demanding its return, but after Elizabeth's accession
it was clear that, without assurances that England would remain Catholic and pro-Spanish,
he would conclude a peace of his own. In Apr. 1559 the Queen's agents settled
upon the Treaty of Câteau-Cambrésis, which affected to leave Calais
with the French for only eight years but which was really a face-saving acknowledgement
of its loss. It seems, however, to have been Cecil who was responsible for the
decision to compromise, a decision that Dudley opposed (Wernham, Before the
Armada, p. 244; D. Wilson, Sweet Robin, pp. 104-7).
War with France was concluded by a treaty negotiated under Northumberland's direction
and signed on 29 March 1550, under which Boulogne was surrendered in return for
four hundred thousand crowns (i.e., "upon composition"). Protector Somerset
had been sent to the Tower in Oct. 1549 but was released in Feb. 1550, free but
powerless until his rearrest in Oct. 1551. Early in 1550 Southampton and Arundel
were superseded on the Council by Dudley's own men; the former was confined to
his house (where he died in July), the latter was imprisoned.
"Copesman": chapman, merchant (O.E.D.).
Two MS. copyists here interpolate the phrase "as Gabriel Bleke of Gloucestershire
did" (St. John's, Cambridge, MS. L.11; Folger Library MS. G.a.9), a statement
supported by this from Leicester's will, July 1587: "In the meantime, after
the decease of Gabriel Bleke and his wife, I do give and grant to the said Robert
[his son by Lady Sheffield] all such lands and leases as I have conveyed unto
me from the said Gabriel forever, and the same lands, houses, and leases to enjoy
presently after the decease of the said Gabriel Bleke and his wife, now living"
(Sidney Papers, 1: 72).
Three licenses to export eighty thousand woolen cloths, summer 1562, "an
enormously lucrative concession" (D. Wilson, Sweet Robin, p.132),
assigned to the Merchant Adventurers company (for 6,266 pounds) on 27 Mar. 1563
(A. Kendall, Robert Dudley, p. 44).
For example, for the farm of sweet wines he received twenty-five hundred pounds
per year from Thomas Smith, Customer of London (D. Wilson, Sweet Robin,
Grant to Edward Horsey of all forfeitures due for keeping taverns or selling wine
contrary to statute, with power to compound with offenders for reasonable sums,
2 Apr. 1571 (Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1569-72, p. 165, no. 1342). "Ordinary":
tavern, inn (O.E.D.).
"Poolings," pollings: plunderings, extortions (O.E.D.).
The extent of Edmund Dudley's personal malfeasance has been a vexed question,
but this passage seems a fair assessment. See Brodie, "Edmund Dudley, Minister
of Henry VII"; Elton, "Henry VII: Rapacity and Remorse" and "Henry
VII: a Restatement"; Cooper, "Henry VII's Last Years Reconsidered."
Stow, Chronicles of England (1580), p. 895.
The gentleman, as he implies, has not read Dudley's book, an interesting allegory
of the ideal state but no "book of secrets." The tree's roots are love
of God, justice, truth, concord, and peace; the fruits of each are honor of God,
honorable dignity, worldly prosperity, tranquility, and good example. Each fruit
has its "paring" (e.g., increase of virtue) and its "perilous core"
(e.g., lewd enterprise), which core, with its "poignant sauce" (dread
of God), becomes a corresponding virtue (e.g., noble enterprise). See Tree
of Commonwealth, ed. Brodie.
"Nephew": grandson ( O.E.D.), used often but not exclusively
in this sense.
This pun on cancel-cancellarius (Chancellor) is repeated by Richard Verstegan
in Advertisement Written to a Secretary, pp. 45-46.
Margin: "The Lord Treasurer," Cecil, became Chancellor of Cambridge
in 1559; Leicester, of Oxford in Dec. 1564.
This distinction is largely true: Oxford was often considered a center of papistry,
and Cambridge came to be associated with Puritanism. See Knappen, Tudor Puritanism,
pp. 218-19; Porter, Reformation and Reaction, passim.
Leicester did use his influence at Oxford for rewarding his followers - e.g.,
removal of the Vice Chancellor in 1576 for refusing to admit the Earl's nomination
to a doctorate - but he also attempted extensive reforms; many of his letters
insist upon correction of abuses in students' apparel, deportment, and so forth.
See Rosenberg, Leicester, pp. 132-38.
Dr. Walter Bayley is noted above; Martin Colepeper (or Culpepper) was Doctor of
Physic at New College and Vice Chancellor of the University in 1578.
Dr. John Dee (d. 1608), the most famous English astrologer, alchemist, and mathematician
of his day, was patronized not only by Leicester but by many others as well, including
the Queen; he was out of England from Sept. 1583 until 1589. Dr. Thomas Allen
(d.1632), mathematician and antiquary, and widely reputed a magician, left Oxford
in 1570; Leicester "offered him a bishopric, but he preferred a life of retirement"
Dr. Julio is noticed in Appendix D (6).
Dr. Roderigo Lopez, a Portuguese Jew, chief physician to Leicester (ca. 1576)
and, by 1586, to the Queen, was later prosecuted on treason charges by the second
Earl of Essex and executed in June 1594.
Margin: "At Digby's house in Warwickshire Dame Lettice lay, and some other
such pieces of pleasure." This is Sir George of Coleshill, Warwick, father
of the future Earl of Bristol, and known as a friend of Leicester's.
Phalaris, tyrant of Agrigentum in Sicily (ca. 560 B.C.), was remembered for his
custom of roasting his enemies in a brazen bull.
Margin: "Poor men resisting Warwick's enclosure at North Hall were hanged
for his pleasure by Leicester's authority." North Hall (or Northall, or Northaw)
was one of Warwick's manors in Hertfordshire. His tenants tore down his pales
in Apr.1579; Hatton was sent to quell the disturbance, and two men were hanged
as a consequence (see Victoria History, Hertfordshire, 4: 216).
The barony of Denbigh was bestowed upon Dudley on the day prior to his creation
as Earl (28 Sept. 1564, Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1563-66, p. 178), though
grants of land had been made in June 1563 (ibid., 1560-63, pp. 534-40).
Following the grant, "Leicester at once began to exploit his strength by
demanding £1,000 down and increases in rent of £333 6s. 8d. per annum
from his tenants in return for renewable forty-year leases" (P. Williams,
Council in the Marches, pp. 237-38).
Leicester received the grant of Kenilworth on 9 June 1563 (Calendar of Patent
Rolls, 1560-63, p. 540); Stow cites the twenty-four-pound yearly value (Chronicles,
1580, p. 1123). The Earl is said to have invested sixty thousand pounds in improvements
and to have extended its parks and chases to nearly twenty miles around (Waldman,
Elizabeth and Leicester, p. 131).
This grant, which Leicester received in 1574, allowed him to take over all lands
that had been encroached upon by the freeholders, which were considerable, as
a tenant of the crown. Normally his profit lay in compounding for them with the
Suetonius, Nero, sec. 32.
"Papers of perjury": public display, wearing a placard identifying their
crimes. The gentlemen of the Lleyn peninsula were cited before a Council in the
Marches that was packed with Leicestrians and were imprisoned at Ludlow Castle
shortly after the 1577 verdict against their case (P. Williams, Council in
the Marches, p. 246).
Leicester, to increase his revenues as Ranger of Snowden Forest from searching
out concealed lands within its borders, extended its limits to extraordinary lengths,
even (as above) into the Isle of Anglesey. His chief opposition was a local magnate,
Sir Richard Bulkeley, who had influence with the Queen; he checked the Earl's
1576 attempts and finally won a royal proclamation, 15 Dec. 1579 (Tudor Proclamations,
no. 644), which suspended further inquiry into titles. Leicester and the Council
in the Marches harassed Bulkeley for years after, and the citizens of Beaumaris,
in Anglesey, were interrogated in Feb. 1580 over "scandalous and lewd rumors"
and "Welsh rhymes or libels" that "somewhat touched the Earl of
Leicester in honor and credit" in the Snowden matter (Hatfield, Cecil Papers,
203/81). "The business reveals a sinister side of the Council's activities
- the judging of a great lord's suit by persons who were all friendly to him";
see P. Williams, Council in the Marches, p. 248, also pp. 237-39, 246-47.
A sympathetic overview of Dudley's dealings in North Wales appears in D. Wilson,
Sweet Robin, pp. 170-73.
Leicester's building projects, including restoration of the castle and a new cathedral
(begun in 1578), were indeed left unfinished (D. Wilson, Sweet Robin, p.
sentence was pronounced upon Nero by the Senate, but he anticipated its execution
by committing suicide in A.D. 68 (Suetonius, Nero, sec. 49).
Suetonius, Vitellius, sec. 17.
Leandro Alberti, Descrittione di tutta Italia (1550), fols. 85v-86.
Humphrey Ferrers (later knighted, d. 1608), of Tamworth, sheriff of Warwickshire
in 1577 and 1588; a client of Leicester's (see, e.g., the Earl preferring Mr.
Savage to the benefice of Walton in Ferrers's gift, Huntington Library MS. H.A.2376).
On the riot at Drayton Basset, see Appendix D (5).
On the death in 1577 of Sir Gerald Croker, his leases of two manors in Hook Norton,
Oxfordshire (one of which had escheated to the crown with the attainder of Leicester's
father), passed to Richard Lee, illegitimate brother of Sir Henry. Litigation
ensued between Richard and Croker's son. The above passage "suggests that
the lordship of John Dudley had been regranted to his son and that he may have
wished to secure a surrender of the lease through Lee" (Chambers, Sir
Henry Lee, p. 176).
Greville, of Milcote, Warwickshire, cousin of Fulke the poet, was a man of Catholic
connections who was in trouble all his life; in Nov. 1589 he was pressed to death
for refusing to enter a plea in a murder charge. The reference here is probably
to his imprisonment in early 1579 for a murderous attack upon Sir John Conway,
a follower of Leicester (see Stopes, Shakespeare's Warwickshire Contemporaries,
Leicester's ally Lee became Lieutenant of the Royal Manor of Woodstock in about
1571, where his subordinate George Whitton, Controller and Surveyor
of the Manor (a post his family had held since 1496), had become accustomed to
running things after years of nonresident lieutenants. Squabbling ensued, until
in late 1580 Whitton entered complaints against Lee before the Council. His expressed
fears of Lee's friends at Court (C.S.P. Domestic, Addenda, 1580-1625, pp.
26-27) were justified, for he soon found himself in the Marshalsea prison; having
made submission, however, he did not lose his post, which was still in his family
in 1650. See Chambers, Sir Henry Lee, pp. 91-104.
Litigation over the Berkeley lands had been going on for two centuries; at this
time it was pursued by the Dudleys against Henry (d. 1613), seventh Lord Berkeley,
Lord Harry Howard's brother-in-law, from whom they were able to recover several
manors. In Aug. 1574 Leicester persuaded the Queen to leave her itinerary and
be his guest at Berkeley Castle in its lord's absence, as if it were his own (Nichols,
Progresses, 2: 392n; Jenkins, Elizabeth and Leicester, p. 193).
See Appendix D (6).
Sir John of Feckenham, Justice of Chester, brother of Sir Nicholas the diplomat,
was fined in 1579 and deprived of office because, it was said, of "Leicester's
cunning dealing" (Camden, Elizabeth, 3: 33); he had tangled with the
Earl in 1568-1569 over jurisdictional rights in the city of Chester, but that
seems to have ended amicably. More likely he was vulnerable because of his family's
recusancy and was deprived for a number of abuses of his office, one of which
was resolved in Star Chamber (three cases against him, 1579, described in P. Williams,
Council in the Marches, pp. 266-67; a fourth, C.S.P. Domestic, 1547-80,
pp. 604ff). He died soon after, on 22 May 1580, leaving his sons Francis, Thomas,
and George; Thomas seems to have had a hand in production of the Commonwealth.
See also Rowse, Sir Walter Ralegh, pp. 73-74.
The Giffords were near relations of Throgmorton's. John, of Chillington, Staffordshire,
was one of the most heavily persecuted recusants of the time (Trimble, Catholic
Laity in Elizabethan England, passim); one of his sons, Thomas, has
been advanced as author of the Treatise of Treasons of 1572 (Clancy, "A
Political Pamphlet," pp. 23-25); another son, Gilbert, was a priest in exile,
though perhaps as early as 1584 he was an undercover agent for Walsingham; his
nephew Dr. William also fled the realm and from July 1582 on was a professor at
the seminary in Rheims.
Drury (d. 1617) and his brother Sir William were under arrest from Dec. 1559 to
Oct. 1560 for an obscure plot against Dudley (C.S.P. Spanish, 1558-67,
p. 118; C.S.P. Foreign, 1560-61, p. 350); he was still in trouble in 1561
(C.S.P. Domestic, 1547-80, p. 110). Thereafter he enjoyed a long career
at Court; though many of his family were Catholics, he was known as a Puritan
and was sent to aid Amias Paulet in the custody of the Queen of Scots. Sir William
was married to Sir Edward Stafford's sister.
"Statists": statesmen, those skilled in affairs of state (all early
O.E.D. entries, dating from Sidney's borrowing of the word in 1584-1585,
employ it pejoratively).
"Protend": portend (O.E.D.).
"Fautors": adherents, followers, partisans (O.E.D.).
13 Elizabeth, cap. 1 (1571), in Prothero, Select Statutes.
Margin: "Pooley told this to Sir Robert Jermine." Robert Poley was an
agent who was later involved in provoking the Babington Plot and in the death
of Christopher Marlowe; in early 1585 he was in trouble for possession of a copy
of the Commonwealth and was suspected by Leicester of having had a hand
in it (S.P. 78/17/26). This incident, if it occurred, should be placed in summer
1579 (when the marriage was first revealed), four years prior to the earliest
information known about the man; see Boas, Christopher Marlowe, chap. 8
et passim. Jermine was associated with Leicester and married his son to
a daughter of the Earl's follower William Killigrew.
Leicester was made Constable of Windsor Castle on 23 Feb. 1562 (Calendar of
Patent Rolls, 1560-63, p. 310). Neville (d. 1593) had been one of the cosigners
of King Henry's will, was knighted under Northumberland (1551), and served in
Court government until his death. The Marsh annotator apparently tried to verify
this charge: "Sir Henry Neville himself sayeth and confesseth [in]deed that
th[is is] a most impu[dent] and shameless lie."
Anne Knollys married Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, in 1571; her brothers, including
Robert (d. 1625), usher of the Tower Mint, were wholly of Leicester's party (Naunton,
Fragmenta regalia, pp. 80-82). Anne Askew was just another lady at Court
(see Hatton Memoirs, p. 223). The event, if it happened, is another echo
of the tense summer of 1579.
Margin: "I mean the noble old Earl of Pembroke," William Herbert (d.
1570), first earl of the new creation. During the most furious phase of Dudley's
wooing, autumn 1560, Pembroke was almost the only Councillor to back him, and
that cautiously (MacCaffrey, Shaping of the Elizabethan Regime, p. 104).
See 13 Elizabeth, cap. 2, V (1571). "But incredible it is what jests
lewd catchers of words made amongst themselves by occasion of that clause. . .
. Insomuch as I myself, being then a young man, have heard them oftentimes say
that that word was inserted into the Act of purpose by Leicester, that he might
one day obtrude upon the English some bastard of his, for the Queen's natural
issue" (Camden, Elizabeth, 2: 29).
That is, Mary, Queen of Scots, "now in prison"; despite the sequence
above, no such suit took place after the 1571 statute. Elizabeth suggested a Mary-Leicester
match in Mar. 1563; Dudley, appearing to acquiesce in the idea, did not care for
it at all (Read, Cecil, pp. 303-25).
Arabella (or Arbella) Stuart (1575-1615), daughter of Charles, Earl of Lennox,
and Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the Countess of Shrewsbury. She had a claim
to the crown through Lennox's mother, the child of Margaret Tudor's second marriage.
Mendoza reported this intrigue in Dec. 1582 (C.S.P. Spanish, 1580-86, p.
426), and in Mar. 1583 he, the Queen of Scots, and Lord Paget all showed renewed
interest in it (ibid., p. 451; C.S.P. Domestic, 1581-90, pp. 99-100);
King James was still angry about it in Sept. 1584 (C.S.P. Scots, 1584-85,
Northumberland and Edward Seymour, the Protector, were "reconciled"
in spring 1550, but Seymour was executed at the former's instance in Jan.1552.
The period of coexistence between York and Edmund Beaufort, beginning in spring
1452, degenerated into the struggles that, for Somerset, ended at St. Albans in
Thomas Lord Stanley and his brother aided in Henry's victory in 1485; Thomas,
created Earl of Derby, was then eased out of his position of power, but perhaps
the reference should be to Sir William, executed on flimsy treason charges in
Feb. 1495. Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, aided Richard in June 1483 but
broke into rebellion and was executed on 2 Nov. Richard Neville set Edward up
in 1461, plucked him down in 1470, and lost his life to him at Barnet in 1471.
Henry Percy (killed 1408), Earl of Northumberland; his brother Thomas (executed
1403), Earl of Worcester; and his son Henry Hotspur (killed 1403) helped to depose
Richard II but rebelled and were killed by Henry's forces.
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, chap. 3.
Suffolk was executed on 23 Feb. 1554 after an abortive rising meant to have been
coordinated with Wyatt's Rebellion.
Margin: "Southhowse," Christopher Southouse, a lifetime servant of Huntingdon's;
"ledger," or lieger: a resident ambassador or agent. "Hasty king":
after Huntingdon's family name, Hastings.
To Jane, née Guildford, who died in Jan. 1555.
His niece, Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth, who married Henry VII on 18 Jan. 1486;
his wife, Warwick's daughter Anne Neville, who died on 16 Mar. 1485.
Margin: "A new triumvirate between Leicester, Talbot, and the Countess of
Shrewsbury"; Arabella Stuart resided with the Countess her grandmother, Bess
of Hardwick, who against her husband's will conspired with her stepson Gilbert
Talbot and with Leicester to effect this match.
Margin: "Richard of Gloucester, Anno 1 Edward V," i.e., Richard III,
called the Boar from his crest.
William Lord Hastings helped Richard overcome his opposition in spring 1483, but
on 13 June he was himself denounced before the Council, hauled from the room,
and executed the same day. "The other" were executed at Pontefract (Pomfret)
Castle in Yorkshire twelve days later; the notion of simultaneous executions comes
from More's History of King Richard III, 2: 48a.
Margin: "Esther 5" (verses 10-13). "Duke Aman" is the biblical
Haman, his rank a characteristic embellishment.
Ahasuerus, the biblical Persian king, is often identified as Xerxes I (reigned
486-465 B.C.); "Mardocheus" is Mordecai the Jew, Esther's cousin.
Actually, Warwick's father, Richard of Salisbury, was killed at Wakefield (1461),
nine years before his son "put down" Edward IV.
"Vilipend": treat contemptuously, vilify (O.E.D.); as the Marsh
annotator writes, "This smelleth a little of the inkhorn."
The enmity between Lady Essex and the Queen was notorious; Elizabeth commonly
referred to her as "that She-wolf." Amadis of Gaul was the hero of a
popular chivalric-romance tradition.
The ambitions of Lord Thomas Seymour, the Protector's brother, led to his execution
without trial on 20 Mar. 1549; the common view was that the breach between him
and his brother had been caused by the" devilish woman" Ann Stanhope,
the Protector's wife (Camden, Elizabeth, p. 6; Read, Cecil, p. 54).
Again, 13 Elizabeth, cap. 1 (1571).
"And be it further enacted, that if any person shall during the Queen's Majesty's
life in any wise affirm or maintain any right," etc. (Prothero, Select
Statutes, p. 59).
Margin: "Papistical blessing."
Margin: "Richard going towards Jerusalem began the custom by Parliament,
as Polydore noteth Anno 10 of Richard II, to declare the next heir"; Richard
I named his nephew Arthur in 1190.
Resistance to discussion of the succession came ultimately from Elizabeth herself;
presumably the Commonwealth's authors knew that. The frequency with which
the statute is mentioned here indicates the importance that was attached to the
problem of uncertain succession at the time.
On 17 July 1579, as Elizabeth was rowing on the Thames with Simier, a young man
named Thomas Appletree, in a nearby boat with a group of children, discharged
a harquebus at random and the ball hit one of the Queen's rowers. Although clearly
an accident and although Elizabeth refused to "believe that which some buzzed
in her ears, that he was purposely suborned against her or Simier" (Camden,
Elizabeth, 2: 96), the fellow was condemned to death. As he stood "very
penitent" upon the gallows, Hatton arrived to read a long pardon and take
the opportunity to make some pointed remarks to the crowd on its narrow escape
from chaos; these were "put in print" in Stow's Chronicles, pp.
Toward the end of his conspiracy trial, 25 Feb. 1585, Dr. William Parry said that
he had no hope of acquittal "because he was not settled." When asked
by Hatton what he had meant, he answered: "Look into your study and into
your new books, and you shall find what I mean" (Holinshed, Chronicles
of England, 4: 578), intending thereby (following the Commonwealth)
to show that he was being convicted for his party affiliation rather than for
any crime he had committed (which was most likely true). See Brooks, Sir Christopher
Hatton, p. 242, and his letter, Times Literary Supplement, 26 Dec.
1942. Most writers have followed Camden's translators' garbled accounts, to the
effect that Parry meant that he had not been "constant in my resolution"
(Elizabeth, 3: 47).
"Puny": a novice or tyro (O.E.D.).
Complaints of the presence of foreign artisans were a familiar feature of Elizabethan
life; here the common xenophobia and economic grievance is combined with implication
of a deliberate political plot, as it had been in the Treatise of Treasons
(1572), fol. 104, where there are "forty or fifty thousand strangers . .
. in readiness always to be employed [by Cecil] to any sudden exploit." Significant
also is the attempt here to link the Puritan communions or "prophesyings"
to political subversion (see Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement, pp.
Commynes, Memoirs, bk. 1, chap. 7.
Commynes, Memoirs, bk. 3, chap. 4.
Executed 24 Nov. 1499.
Margin: "The battle by Tadcaster on Palm Sunday Anno 1460," otherwise
called the battle of Towton, 29 Mar. 1460/61.
Barnet in Hertfordshire, a Yorkist victory, 14 Apr. 1471; Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire,
a Yorkist victory, 4 May of the same year.
Margin: "The most of Huntingdon's ancestors by whom he maketh title attainted
of treason." Attainder was admitted as a bar to inheritance of lands, but
whether or not it could prevent succession to the crown was a point of controversy;
see Mortimer Levine, Early Elizabethan Succession Question, pp. 108-9,112-13.
Friar Ralph Sha (Shaa, Shaw) made official statement of Richard's title at St.
Paul's in London on 22 June 1483; his sermon's text was "bastard slips shall
not take root," but the idea was that Edward's children were illegitimate,
not Edward himself. This version follows Polydore Vergil's (1844), pp. 183-85.
Edwin Sands (Sandys, d. 1588), Archbishop of York (1576), was at Cambridge when
Northumberland arrived in pursuit of Mary, and he wisely preached a sermon enforcing
Jane Grey's title (Holinshed, 4: 110-11); Nicholas Ridley did the same in London.
Margin: "The line of Portugal," discussed again below.
Henry Tudor's claim derived from Gaunt's eldest son by his third wife,
but the last son who left surviving issue.
That is, grandson of Edward III, by the Black Prince Edward.
An error; the prince's name was Edward.
Katherine, widow of Sir Hugh Swynford. John of Somerset's line took the surname
These titles, vigorously advanced by more pro-Spanish exiles later in the reign,
may be outlined here. The Portuguese: from John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche,
to their daughter Philippe, to her son Manuel Fortunatus, king of Portugal; from
him the male line ended in 1578, but through his daughter Isabella, wife of the
Emperor Charles V, it continued to her son Philip II of Spain (though it also
included Don Antonio, Prior of Crato; and Catherine, Duchess of Braganza). The
Spanish: from Gaunt and his wife Constance (daughter of Peter I of Castile), to
their daughter Catherine (who married Henry III in 1397), to her daughter Isabella
of Castile, to her daughter Joanna the Mad, to her son Charles V, and thence again
to his son Philip II ( though it also included the Duke of Parma).
An error. Anne was the granddaughter of the third Earl of March; she became
his heir (1425) only after the deaths of her father and brother, the fourth and
Another error. Anne's husband Richard (ex. 1415) was Langley's second son
and was styled Earl of Cambridge; when his elder brother Edward, the second Duke
of York, died childless at Agincourt, Anne's and Richard's son, another Richard,
became heir to the dukedom. John Leslie, whom the Commonwealth is following
here, did not make these errors.
Cecily (d. 1507) married John Viscount Welles, who died in 1499 without issue;
Anne (d. 1511) married Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, but died without
surviving issue; Katherine (d. 1527) married William Courtenay (d. 1551), whose
son, the Marquess of Exeter, was executed in 1539 and whose only grandchild, Edward
Earl of Devon, died unmarried in 1556.
Sir Richard Pole (d. 1504) and the Countess of Salisbury (executed 1541) left,
among others, Henry Lord Montagu (ex. 1538), Reginald Cardinal Pole (d. 1558),
and Ursula (d. 1570), who married the son of the executed Duke of Buckingham and
was Sir Edward Stafford's grandmother.
Lord Montagu's daughter Catherine Pole (d. 1576) married Francis Hastings (d.
1561), second Earl of Huntingdon, in 1532 and was the mother of the third Earl.
The best arguments against and for Richard's responsibility for these murders
are P. Kendall's Richard the Third, appendix 1, and Charles Ross, Richard
Margaret, in 1507, married James IV (d. 1513); in 1514 she married the sixth Earl
of Angus, who divorced her in 1527 on the grounds of a precontract.
This Margaret married Matthew Stuart in 1544. Their eldest son Henry Lord Darnley
married the Queen of Scots in July 1565 and was murdered in Feb. 1567; he was
the father of James VI. The second son Charles married Elizabeth Cavendish in
1574 (without the Queen's permission) and died in 1576.
Mary married Louis XII in Oct. 1514; although he died three months later and although
she had married Brandon by the following May, she was referred to as "the
Actually Henry Clifford (d. 1570), second Earl of Cumberland, who married
Eleanor in 1537; George was his son by a later marriage and his successor in the
An annulment was granted in 1527 on grounds of a prior contract by Angus. In 1561
the canny Cecil had Thomas Randolph in Scotland lay hands upon the annulment records,
which proved Lady Lennox technically a bastard and the claim of Lord Darnley her
son invalid (Read, Cecil, p. 234); assuming that the papers were genuine,
Lady Arabella's title would likewise be invalid.
It appears that Brandon had obtained a valid divorce from Lady Mortimer before
his marriage to Anne Browne, who died before his 1515 marriage to Mary Tudor;
a papal bull of 1528 declaring the legitimacy of his children had cited a decree
by the proper authorities. See Levine, Succession Question, pp. 126-36.
That only the Commonwealth, with its Howard-Fitzalan ties, raises this issue suggests
that it is rather a family grudge than a legal objection. Henry Grey's father
had contracted his children to those of the eleventh Earl of Arundel (the twelfth
Earl did marry Grey's sister), but when Brandon married Grey (then his ward) to
his own daughter Frances in 1533, Catherine Fitzalan's interest must surely have
been resolved. See Levine, Succession Question, pp. 137-38.
Catherine was married, or more likely betrothed, to Henry Herbert in May 1553;
the evidence seems to indicate that they were later divorced, probably in early
1554. See Levine, Succession Question, pp. 138-46.
In Aug. 1561 Catherine was discovered to be pregnant by Edward Seymour, Earl of
Hertford; both were imprisoned, and the Queen ordered Archbishop Parker to head
a commission investigating their claim to have been married in the previous autumn.
His verdict was against them, but this was probably an opinion commissioned in
advance by Elizabeth. Edward Lord Beauchamp was born to Catherine in the Tower
on 21 Sept. 1561; his brother Thomas, likewise in the Tower, on 10 Feb. 1563.
See Levine, Succession Question, pp. 15-29.
Here begins the first passage quoted by Sir John Harington.
The validity of this and the following arguments (rule of thirds, tenant by courtesy,
division among daughters, and executors) is discussed in Levine, Succession
Question, pp. 99-125.
Virtually all of the arguments on the preceding and following pages are paraphrased
from the Bishop of Ross John Leslie's much fuller Defense of the Honor of .
. . Mary (or from the 1584 reprint of its succession section, A Treatise
Touching the Right). This whole passage concerning the crown as a corporation,
however, is taken ad verbum (Defense, fols. 68v-69; Treatise, fols.
29v-30). The standard work on this idea is Kantorowicz, King's Two Bodies
Margin: "Flores Hist. An. 1066," an error for Matthew of Westminster's
Flores historiarum, 1057 (1: 543); this must be a reference to Matthew's
book, of which there were several editions in the sixteenth century, rather than
to Roger of Wendover's, of which there were none. The error derives from a misleading
arrangement of correct references in Leslie (Defense, fol. 76; Treatise,
fol. 33v); the inference is that the Commonwealth's references are taken,
not from the works cited, but from Leslie. All of Leslie's complicated legal citations,
however, have been omitted.
Margin: "Polydore, lib. 15. Flores historiarum, 1208." In Matthew's
Flores the 1208 entry records only the barons' accusation concerning Arthur's
death (2: 108), and the murder, reported as current rumor, is under A.D. 1202
Polydore Vergil, Anglica historia (1950), 113-14 notes, sub 1498. The annotator
of the Marsh copy speaks tellingly to this point: ". . . and if the king
should say so it were strange that a word of the king should bind the crown which
a maxima of the law (as he sayeth) cannot do."
Mary's minister Maitland of Lethington wrote to Cecil on 4 Jan. 1566, urging this
argument squeamishly: "To that you know for answer what may be said by any
English patron of my mistress' cause, although I being a Scot will not affirm
the same, that there ariseth a question amongst you whether the realm of Scotland
be forth of the homage and 'legiance of England. And heretofore you have in sundry
proclamations . . . and in sundry books at several times labored much to prove
the homage and fealty of Scotland to England. . . . The argument [is] fitter for
your assertion than mine" (Collier, Egerton Papers, p. 43).
On several occasions King James sued to be admitted to his Lennox patrimony in
England, presumably in an attempt to establish a precedent for foreign inheritance.
In 1578 his agents claimed that "in ancient time" Scottish kings had
"succeeded without question by right of inheritance to lands in England"
(Camden, Elizabeth, 2: 91).
Here ends the first passage quoted by Harington, Tract on the Succession,
For discussion of the vexing problems presented by this will, see Levine, Succession
Question, chap. 9.
Leslie, whom the Commonwealth is following, had seriously advanced this
argument that the gentleman mentions (Defense, fols. 96-96v; Treatise,
fols. 46v-47); he tried to prove that no such will could have been extant in 1553
or Dudley would not have needed Edward VI's letters patent, whereas of course
the Duke was concerned with bypassing not only the prior line of Scotland but
also Mary Tudor herself. Thus the Commonwealth corrects this flaw in the
Marian case without mentioning Leslie's error.
See the acts 28 Henry VIII, cap. 7 (1536) and 35 Henry VIII, cap. 1
Lady Frances (d. 1559), after the death of the Duke of Suffolk in 1554, married
her servant Stokes (d. 1585), by whom she had no further children.
The will's enrollment in Chancery was defaced in about 1553 (see below). The will
itself was widely thought to have disappeared; even John Hales ("Declaration
of the Succession," 1563), to whose purpose its existence was essential,
lamented its loss and built his case without it. The original does exist and was
examined in 1566 by members of the Privy Council (Axton, "Influence of Edmund
Plowden's Succession Treatise," pp. 223-24). Although controversy has continued
for some time (see A. F. Pollard, England under the Protector Somerset,
pp. 3-7; and L. Smith, "Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII"), it
now seems likely that both will and signature are valid (Levine, "Last Will
and Testament of Henry VIII," and Succession Question, pp. 156-57;
Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, pp. 491-94).
Gates, Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was a creature
of Northumberland's who perished with the Duke in 1553. His name heads the list
of signatures to the will.
William Lord Paget (d. 1563), father of Arundell's friend, was Secretary of State
under Henry and Privy Councillor under Mary. This incident, although it passed
current among the controversialists, seems otherwise unconfirmed; the great lawyer
Plowden, however, claimed to have been present and said that Sir Henry Neville
could prove that it had occurred (Jordan, Edward VI: the Young King, p.
(d. 1556), ancestor of the Dukes of Manchester, was a Councillor and Chief Justice
of King's Bench (1539-1545) and Common Pleas (1545-1554), whose mother was a Dudley
and who was deprived of office after Northumberland's fall.
William Clerc (Clerk, Clark) was one of three men (Gates was another) who had
custody of the king's dry-stamp.
This book is unidentified; as the major Suffolk claimant had died in Jan. 1568,
one would not expect to find a Suffolk tract in 1569 or 1570. It may be the "poisoned
pestiferous pamphlet" against Mary's "claim and interest" mentioned
by Leslie in 1569 as cast abroad the previous July (Defense, sig. *ii v),
which in turn may refer to George Buchanan's anti-Marian "Book of Articles,"
Although Thomas Wilson, in his State of England A.D. 1600, shows that he
was aware of other books on the succession, his discussion is drawn directly from
the Commonwealth. From it he lifts ad verbum this entire passage
(beginning "And sithence that time. . . "), though he adds the phrase
"by the means of some in ye company ('tis thought the Earl of Leicester),
it took not effect" (pp. 8-9). That this meeting occurred is not improbable;
given the participants, it sounds very like the Feb. 1569 attempt to unseat Cecil
(see Read, Cecil, pp. 442-43).
Here begins the second passage quoted by Harington.
Margin: "The Dudleys."
Here ends the second passage quoted by Harington, Tract on the Succession,
pp. 61-62. Ironically, when Navarre did succeed as Henri IV (1589), he was forced
to convert to Catholicism (1594) before he could receive his kingdom in some quiet.
James (now aged eighteen) was being carefully watched for his religious inclinations
from all over Europe; he seems to have shown himself Protestant to the English
government and Catholic to the Catholic powers.
For similar remarks see Camden, Elizabeth, 3: 21; on the tenor of these
pulpit attacks see Willson, King James VI and I, pp. 36-50. The contemporary
annotator of the Marsh' s copy says of this: "We know all this [to] be a
suborned disco[urse] devised [by] the young [king] his licentious minions . .
. of purp[ose] to shadow their bloody and pestilent proceedings against the soundest
and best affected ministers of the realm, that they might the more easily draw
their neck from the yoke of that Christian [religion] which hath been [now] established
Patrick Adamson (1537-1592), Archbishop of St. Andrews, was a vigorous enemy of
the Presbyterian Kirk; says the Marsh annotator, "Tis a merry world when
you fall a-praising him. . . . It behooved this good Sir Patrick to take this
course, to [tr]y his time, [and] to make his most advantage of the young king's
unbridled licentiousness, for otherwise he might happen to have [los]t his Arch[episcop]acy
and have proved but a [poo]r and beggarly [mas]ter." Adamson arrived in London
on 30 Nov. 1583 (a few days after Arundell had fled the realm), ostensibly on
his way into France but actually to seek further aid for James from the Queen;
he returned to Scotland in May.
Theodore Beza (d. 1605), Calvin's successor as head of the church of Geneva.
Henry Fitzalan (d. Feb. 1580), twelfth (and last) Earl of Arundel of his line;
his second wife was Charles Arundell' s aunt and his daughter and heir in her
issue, Mary (d. 1557), was the Duke of Norfolk's first wife; their son Philip
succeeded in the title.
The seat of the Marquess of Winchester, where the royal progress was stopped in
August 1569 (Nichols, Progresses, 1: 254).
Similarly, in 1569 Leicester wrote (and Pembroke also signed) a letter to the
Queen of Scots as part of the negotiation for Norfolk's marriage to her. When
the plot had fallen apart and Norfolk was under arrest, Leicester sent to him
secretly and begged him to contrive to get the letter back; Norfolk, however,
merely requested that Mary "would not let it come to light to my Lord of
Leicester's hurt, because the whole letter was his own handwriting, marry, yet
I wished her to keep it still for all chances" (Norfolk's confession, C.S.P.
Scots, 1571-74, p. 40). It appears from her secretary's notes of Nov. 1584
that fifteen years later she kept it still, for all chances (ibid., 1584-85,
Norfolk was finally executed on 2 June 1572, but the events described here occurred
in Sept. and Oct. 1569. That this account of Norfolk's fall is not so tendentious
as it sounds is borne out by the conclusions of modern historians, at least insofar
as Leicester moved nimbly enough at the last to save his own skin; see, e.g.,
Williams, Thomas Howard, chaps. 9-13; Read, Cecil, pp. 440-52; also
Camden, Elizabeth, 1: 127-32, and Norfolk's confession, C.S.P. Scots,
1571-74, pp. 32-40. A partisan account of his execution is contained in the
"Letter of Estate," pp. 25-26.
When the unbalanced John Somerville was taken in Oct. 1583 for planning to kill
the Queen, his father-in-law Edward Arden of Park Hall, Arden's wife and daughter,
and Father Hugh Hall were also arrested. The women were pardoned, and Hall became
a government spy, but on 16 Dec. Somerville hanged himself in Newgate prison,
and the following day Arden was executed, the victim, it was said, of Leicester's
malice (because he had slandered Lady Essex and refused the Earl's livery, says
Camden, Elizabeth, 3: 28; because he had given refuge to Fr. Campion, according
to Parsons, C.R.S. 4, p. 115, and C.R.S. 39, pp. 188-89). Hall was an expert gardener
and had worked in that and in a spiritual capacity for the Catholics Lord Windsor
and Sir John Throgmorton; in the early 1580s he was landscaping Hatton's new house
at Holdenby. Hatton was widely considered a secret Catholic and probably knew
that Hall was a priest, but there is no sign that Leicester devised to entrap
him. See Brooks, Hatton, pp. 61, 216, 257-58; Read, Walsingham,
2: 381n. Sir Charles Cavendish was one of the Countess of Shrewsbury's sons and
was attached to Leicester, but his role in this affair is unknown.
Henry Unton (or Umpton, knighted 1586, d. 1596), later ambassador to France, was
a follower of Hatton (Brooks, Hatton, p. 259). When in early 1583 his brother
Edward was imprisoned by the Inquisition at Milan, he rushed to Lyons to negotiate
his ransom while Leicester and Hatton threatened to have Mendoza imprisoned in
reprisal (C.S.P. Spanish, 1580-86, p. 443). Solomon Aldred (d. 1592), an
English tailor living in Lyons and soon to become an agent for Walsingham (Hicks,
"Elizabethan Propagandist"), came forward to act as go-between; Parsons
claims that Aldred dealt directly with Hatton (C.R.S. 2, p. 206). Edward Unton
was released in the following year and died in 1589 (D.N.B.). No trace
has been found of the letters cited here.
From 1575, when Cockyn's confession revealed the complicity of his servants in
furthering Mary's correspondence, the Earl was considered too lenient in his commission
(Read, Walsingham, 2: 354-55). When in late 1583 his marital troubles erupted,
his wife ("his nearest in bed"; his nearest "in blood" is
his son Gilbert) spread scandals concerning his behavior with Mary (Mary believed
the Walsingham faction had put the Countess up to it; C.S.P. Scots, 1584-85,
p. 5), and those who had wished for greater severity seized upon these rumors
in order to straiten her captivity. In Aug. 1584 Shrewsbury was permitted to come
up to London to clear himself, and although Elizabeth expressed her confidence
in him, Mary was removed to stricter keepers, first Sir Ralph Sadler, then in
Apr. 1585 the stern Amias Paulet.
That is, the first nobleman of his line, an upstart.
Still another allusion reflecting a deep second-generation grievance over the
failure of the Protector's party. Arundel was arrested upon Somerset's fall (Oct.
1551), along with Charles Arundell' s father; he was transferred to the Tower
in Nov. and not released until Dee. 1552.
This anecdote has been borrowed but applied to Leicester and Philip Howard, the
next Earl of Arundel, by the author of the "Letter of Estate" (p. 31).
Confirming this account, see Stow, Chronicles of England, p. 1065. "Palfrey"
was usually employed of a small, gentle horse used by ladies, hence doubly contemptuous
was appointed Chamberlain of the County Palatine of Chester in 1565.
Compare "Le fleuve passé le sainct oublié: Prov. The
danger past our vows are soon forgotten" (Cotgrave's Dictionarie,
Frances (d. 1598) was Lady Sheffield's sister; in 1573 she was "very far
in love" with Leicester (Hatton Memoirs, p. 23), though a few years later
she married the Earl of Hertford.
The Countess died 23 Sept. 1576.
Mary's supporters liked Shrewsbury because he was a lenient man and because as
long as she was in his custody they were able to find means of communicating with
her. When the opposition had sufficiently disgraced him, Mary was indeed placed
in stricter confinement (Jan. 1585) and her correspondence was cut off for a year.
It was allowed to resume, in Jan. 1586, only when Walsingham was ready to have
it done his own way, the results of which appeared when she was executed in Feb.
intrigues, plots (O.E.D.).
"Admiration": wonder, astonishment (O.E.D.); not "approval."
"Bruitling," from "bruit": noise, clamor (O.E.D.).
"Foruscites": from the Italian fuoruscito: outlaw, exile.
That is, Poland (under the tolerant Stephen Bathory) and Bohemia. Later events
proved these examples to have been based on very insecure ground.
The most recent attempt at peace between the Huguenots and the militant Catholics
of the "Holy League" in France had been the Treaty of Fleix, Nov. 1580;
it, like its predecessors, was doomed, chiefly through the "will and inclination"
of the Guise faction.
The Spanish, like the English, had their propaganda aimed at convincing the world
of their lenity toward dissenters; whether this passage is a part of that propaganda
or its victim would be difficult to determine.
"Familians," i.e., the Family of Love , a quasi-Anabaptist sect founded
in the Low Countries by Hendrik Niklas, prosecution of which in England reached
something of a peak in 1579-1580.
Cicero, as consul, suppressed the revolt of Lucius Sergius Catilina in 63 B.C.
Siculus, 16.93-94; Plutarch, Alexander, l0.4.
Gaveston (executed 1312), Earl of Cornwall; and later Hugh Despenser (ex. 1326),
Earl of Winchester; and his son Sir Hugh (ex. 1326) were favorites of Edward II.
De Vere (d. 1392), Earl of Oxford, Marquess then Duke of Ireland; and Mowbray
(d. 1400), Duke of Norfolk, favorites of Richard II.
"Instinct": instigation, prompting (O.E.D.).
Margin: "Polydore, lib. 23, Historia Anglica." Humphrey of Gloucester
died in Feb. 1447, probably of a stroke, ten days after he was arrested at the
instance of William de la Pole, then Marquess of Suffolk. Most of Polydore Vergil's
twenty-third book exhibits the general sense of Suffolk as the cause of calamity,
but the point is not explicitly made.
Margin: "Anno 30 of King Henry VI," an error (which follows Polydore
Vergil's implied sequence of events [1844, pp. 82-83]) for Anno 27. Suffolk was
Margaret's chief ally, but when he was finally brought up on all manner of charges,
she had her husband banish him for five years by royal prerogative (thereby forestalling
a verdict). He departed on 30 Apr. 1450 but was intercepted in Dover Strait and
beheaded by angry subjects on 3 May.
Despite this rather threatening reference to the social contract, the Commonwealth
is based upon thoroughly legitimist assumptions. Leslie mentions the same idea
but discusses at great length why "the world was for the most part constrained
to repudiate election" (Defense, fol. 51 v); Mary is the most qualified
candidate for the succession, he says, "but now I claim nothing for the worthiness
of the person, which God forbid should be anything prejudicial to the just title
of others; if most open and manifest right, justice, and title do not concur with
the worthiness of the person, then let the praise and worthiness remain where
it is, and the right where God and the law hath placed it" (fol. 54v).
Margin: "Cicero, in Officio" (De Officiis, 2: 23); in W. Miller's
translation, "Fear is but a poor safeguard of lasting power" (Loeb Classical
Library, p. 191).
The figure of St. George, suspended from the collar of the Order of the Garter
(which Dudley received in 1559).
Appended to the 1584 edition to make up the pages is a Latin quotation, omitted
here, followed by this English translation.