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CXC. To the Lord Keeper.

Newmarket, 19 Nov. 1617.

My honourable Lord,

His majesty commandeth me to write to your lordship, that he wonders your hand being at that letter of the lords of the council, which he saith is a very blunt one; you have not besides sent him some advice of your own, his majesty having only intrusted you to speak with Sir Lionel Cranfield about his estate.

Your lordship's faithful friend and servant,


CXCI. To the Earl of BUCKINGHAM.
My very good Lord,

YESTERDAY at afternoon were read at the table his
majesty's (a) two letters, written with his own hand,
the matter worthy the hand. For they were written
ex arte imperandi, if I can judge; and I hope they and

Stephens's second col


p. 64.

(a) One of these letters of K. James, as it contains a specimen of the frugality and good economy of his court, and relates to the subject we are upon, I have borrowed from the Cabala, p. 258, in terms following.

A letter read at the council-board 21 Nov. 1617, touching the
abatement of his majesty's household charge.
My Lords:

No worldly thing is so precious as time; ye know what task I gave you to work upon, during my absence; and what time was limited unto you, for the performance thereof. This same chancellor of Scotland was wont to tell me twenty-four years ago, that my house could not be kept upon epigrams: long discourses and fair tales will never repair my estate. Omnis virtus in actione consistit. Remember, that I told you, the shoe must be made for the foot, and let that be the square of all your proceeding in this business. Abate superfluities of all things; and multitudes of unnecessary officers, wherever they be placed. But for the household, wardrobe, and pensions, cut and carve as many as may agree with the possibility of my means. Exceed not your own rule of 50,000l. for the household. If you can make it less I will account it for good service. And that you may see I will not spare mine own person, I have sent, with this bearer, a note of the superfluous charges concerning my mouth, having had the happy opportunities of this messenger, in an errand so nearly concerning his place. In this I expect no answer in word or writing, but

Ibid. p. 65.

the like will disinchant us of the opinion, which ye sticks with us, that to-day will be as yesterday, and to-morrow as to-day; so as there will be, as he saith. Acribus initiis, fine incurioso.

I hold my opinion given in my former letter, that the uniting of some tables is the most passable way. But that is not all: for when that is done, the king may save greatly in that which remaineth. For if it be set down, what tables shall be fixed, and what diet allowed to them, my steward, as ill a mesnager as I am, or my lord mayor's steward, can go near to tell, what charge will go near to maintain the proportion. Then add to that some large allowance for waste, because the king shall not lose his prerogative to be deceived more than other men, and yet, no question, there will be a great retrenchment. But against this last abatement will be fronted the payment of arrears. But I confess I would be glad that I might see, or rather, that a parliament may see, and chiefly that the king, for his own quiet, may see that upon such a sum paid, such an annual retrenchment will follow: for things will never be done in act, except they be first done in conceit.

I know these things do not pertain to me; for my part is to acquit the king's office towards God by administration of justice, and to oblige the hearts of his people to him by the same, and to maintain his prerogative. But yet because it is in hoc that the king's case laboureth, I cannot but yield my care, and my strength too, in council, such as it is; which cannot be so much as it was between our Lady-day and Michaelmas last. But whatsoever it is, it is wholly his majesty's, without any deflexion.

only the real performance, for a beginning to relieve me out of my miseries. For now the ball is at your feet, and the world shall bear me witness, that I have put you fairly to it; and so praying God to bless your labours, I bid you heartily farewell. Your own,


Mr. Stephens says, In the other I suppose his majesty apprehends that the vigour the council at first shewed in reducing the charge of his household, would not be of long continuance: it being observed by Tacitus, in the words here cited, to be a thing not unusual in public affairs, that violent beginnings had negligent conclusions.

As soon as I find any possibility of health in Sir Lionel Cranfield, to execute a sub-commission, I will by conference with him frame a draught of a letter from his majesty, for which there is the fairest occasion in the world. And the king hath prepared it as well as possible. God ever preserve and prosper you.

Your lordship's true friend and devoted servant,

York-house, Nov. 22, 1617.

My Lord,

How well I wish to Sir Gilbert Haughton, himself
I dare say doth not doubt, partly out of mine own
affection, and chiefly for your lordship's affection to-
wards him, which is to me more than mine own. That
the king should make bargains of hope, when his trea-
sure sufficeth not for his own charge, I may not advise
for my dearest friends; for I am nailed to the king's
estate. But two things I shall assent unto; the one,
that if the king can redeem his works without charge
of officers, I shall be glad of it, both for the gentle-
man's sake, and because I perceive the uniting of the
alum-works in the king's hand is best; the other, that
if his majesty be pleased to signify his pleasure to my
lord treasurer and me, that there be no forfeiture taken
by Banister till the king shall advise of this bargain,
we will hold him to it. God preserve and prosper your
lordship. Your lordship, I think, perceiveth both by
scribbling and cursory inditing, that I write in straits
of business.

Your lordship's true friend and devoted servant,

York-house, this 24th of Nov. 1617.

Stephens's second collection,

p. 6


CXCIII. To the Earl of BUCKINGHAM. Ibid.
My very good Lord,

I SEND your lordship a draught of a letter touching
the sub-commission, written in wide lines, because

it may be the better amended by his majesty. I thin it is so penned as none can except to it, no nor imagin any thing of it. For the household business there was given a fortnight's day for the pensions, the course which I first propounded, of abating a third throughout, and some wholly, seemeth well entered into. These be no ill beginnings. But this course of the sub-commission threads all the king's business. God ever preserve and prosper you,

Your lordship's true friend and devoted servant,

York-house, Nov. 27, 1617.
Sir Lionel Cranfield is now reasonably well recovered.

Draught of the Sub-Commission.

My Lords,

In this first and greatest branch of our charge concerning our house, we do find what difficulties are made, and what time is lost, in disputing of and devising upon the manner of doing it: whereof the matter must be, and is so fully resolved. Neither can we but see in this, as in a glass, the like event to follow in the rest upon like reason. For the inferior officers in every kind, who are best able for skill to propound the retrenchments, will out of interest or fearfulness make dainty to do service; and that which is done with an ill-will will never be well done. Again, to make it the act of the whole table, for the particular propositions and reckonings, will be too tedious for you, and will draw the business itself into length; and to make any particular committees of yourselves, were to impose that upon a few, which requireth to be carried indifferently as the act of you all. For since the great officers themselves think it too heavy for them, as our state now is, to deal in it, without bringing it to the table; with much more reason may any particular persons of you be loth to meddle in it, but at the board. In all which respects we have thought fit, neither do we see any other way, that you send unto us the names

of the officers of our exchequer, and our custom-house, and auditors, out of which we will make choice of some few, best qualified to be sub-committees, for the better case, and the speeding of the business by their continual travels and meetings; whose part and employment we incline to be to attend the principal officers in their several charges, and join themselves to some of the inferior officers, and so take upon them the mechanic and laborious part of every business, thereby to facilitate and prepare it for your consultations, according to the directions and instructions they shall receive from you from time to time.


Stephens's second collection,

p. 69.

May it please your Majesty,

BEING yesterday assembled in council to proceed in the course we had begun for retrenchment of your majesty's expenses; we received your princely letters, whereby we are directed to send to your majesty the names of the officers of the exchequer, custom-house, and auditors, out of which you purpose to make choice of some to be sub-committed to handle the mechanic and laborious part of that which your majesty had appointed to our care; we have, according to our duty, sent unto your majesty the names of the several officers of your majesty in those places, to be ordered as your wisdom shall think best to direct. But withal, we thought it appertenant to our duties to inform your majesty how far we have proceeded in the several heads of retrenchments by your majesty at your departure committed unto us, that when you know in what estate our labours are, your judgment may the better direct any further course as shall be meet.

The matter of the household was by us, some days since, committed peremptorily to the officers of the house, as matter of commandment from your majesty, and of duty in them, to reduce the expense of your house to a limited charge of fifty thousand pounds by the year, besides the benefit of the compositions: and they have ever since painfully, as we are informed, travailed in it,

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