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Queen Elizabeth to Lady Norris upon the Death of her Son.
Although we have deferred long to represent unto you our grieved thoughts, because we liked full well to yield you the first Reflections of our Misfortunes, whom we have always sought to cherish and comfort; yet knowing now what necessity must bring it to your ears, and nature consequently must move many passionate affections in your Heart, we have resolved no longer to smother, either our care for your sorrow, or the sympathy of our grief for his Death; wherein if society in sorrowing work diminution, we do assure you by this true messenger of our Mind, that Nature can have stirred no more dolorous affections in you as a mother for a dear Son, than the gratefulness and memory of his Services past had wrought in us his Sovereign apprehension of the miss of so worthy a Servant. But now that Nature's common Work is done, and he that was born to die hath paid his Tribute, let that Christian Discretion stay the flux of your immoderate grieving which hath instructed you both by Example and Knowledge, that nothing of this kind hath happened but by God's Providence, and that these Lines from your loving and gracious Sovereign serve to assure you, that there shall ever appear the lively Characters of you and yours that are left, in our valuing rightly all their faithful and honest Endeavours. More we will not write of this subject, but have dispatched this Gentleman to visit both your Lord, and condole with you in the true sense of your Love; and to pray you, that the World may see, that what Time cureth in weak Minds, that Discretion and Moderation may help in you in this Accident, where there is so opportune occasion to demonstrate true Patience and true Moderation.
In warning James VI., of Scotland, against his doubledealing conduct, Queen Elizabeth, in her usual emphatic style, hints at her intention of ignoring the will of Henry VIII., and of respecting the rights of primogeniture by secretly nominating the descendant of her Aunt Margaret to the reversion of the English crown. Although naturally fond of secrecy and dissimulation the Queen could not publicly avow her determination in this matter without courting troublesome opposition from the partisans of the other claimants.
Queen Elizabeth to James VI. of Scotland.
Right deare Brother,-Your gladsome acceptance of my offred amitie, togither with the desiar you seem to have ingraven in your mynde to make merites correspondant, makes me in ful opinion that some ennemis to our good wyl shal loose muche travel, with making frustrat thar baiting stratagems, whiche I knowe to be many, and by sondry meanes to be explored. I cannot halt with you so muche as to denye that I have seen suche evident shewes of your contrarious dealings, that if I mad not my rekening the bettar of the moneths, I might condemne you as unworthy of such as I mynd to shewe myselfe toward you, and therefor I am wel pleased to take any coulor to defend your honor, and hope that you wyl remember that who seaketh two stringes to one bowe, he may shute strong, but never strait; and if you suppose that princes causes be vailed so couvertly that no intelligence may bewraye them, deceave not yourselfe; we old foxes can find shiftes to save ourselves by others malice, and come by knowledge of greattest secreat, spetiallye if it touche our freholde. It becometh, therefor, all our rencq to deale sincerely, lest, if we use it not, whan we do it, we be hardly beleaved. I write not this, my deare brother, for dout but for remembrances.
My ambassador writes so muche of your honorable traitment of him and of Alexandar, that I belive they be convertid Scotes. You oblige me for them; for wiche I rendar you a milion of most intire thankes, as she that meaneth to desarve many a good thoght in your brest throwe good desart. And for that your request is so honorable, retaining so muche reason, I wer out of [my] sences if I shuld not suspend of any hiresay til the answer of your owne action, wiche the actor ought best to knowe, and so assure yourselfe I meane and vowe to do; with this request, that you wyl affourd me the reciproque. And thus, with my many petitions to the Almighty for your long life and preservation, I ende these skribled lines.
Your verey assured lovinge sistar and cousin,
Queen Elizabeth here ridicules a proposal made to her on the part of the Scotch Commissioners that Mary, Queen of Scots, should be allowed to leave her captivity and be placed in the keeping of some neutral prince, subject to a guarantee from her relations that she should for ever abstain from all interference in the affairs of England. The letter indicates with tolerable clearness Elizabeth's intention to sacrifice the life of her dangerous rival.
Queen Elizabeth to James VI. of Scotland.
Be not caried away, my deare brother, with the lewd perswations of suche, as insteade of infowrming you of my to nideful and helpeless cause of defending the brethe that God hath given me, to be better spent than spilt by the bloudy invention of traitors hands, may perhaps make you belive, that ether the offense was not so great, or if that cannot serve them, for the over-manifest triall wiche in publick and by the greatest and most in this land hathe bine manifestly proved, yet they wyl make that her life may be saved and myne safe wiche wold God wer true; for whan you make view of my long danger indured thes four-wel ny fivemoneths time to make a tast of, the greatest witz amongs my owne, and than of French, and last of you, wyl graunt with me, that if nide wer not mor than my malice she shuld not have her merite.
And now for a good conclusion of my long-taried-for answer. Your commissionars telz me, that I may trust her in the hand of some indifferent prince, and have all her cousins and allies promis she wil no more seake my ruine. Deare brother and cousin, way in true and equal balance wither they lak not muche good ground whan suche stuf serves for ther bilding. Suppose you I am so mad to truste my life in anothers hand and send hit out of my owne ? If the young master of Gray, for curring faueur with you, might fortune say hit, yet old master Mylvin hath yeres ynough to teache him more wis-dome than tel a prince of any jugement suche a contrarious frivolous maimed reason. Let your councelors, for your honor, discharge ther duty so muche to you as to declaire the absurditie of such an offer; and, for my part, I do
assure myselfe to muche of your wisdome, as, thogh like a most naturall good son you charged them to seake all meanes they could devis with wit or jugement to save her life, yet I can not, nor do not, allege any fault to you of thes persuations, for I take hit that you wil remember, that advis or desiars aught ever agree with the surtye of the party sent to and honor of the sendar, wiche whan bothe you weigh, I doute not but your wisdome wil excuse my nide, and waite my necessitie, and not accuse me ether of malice or of hate.
And now to conclude. Make account, I pray you, of my firme frindeship love and care, of which you may make sure accownt, as one that never mindz to faile from my worde, nor swarve from our league, but wyl increase, by all good meanes, any action that may make true shewe of my stable amitie; from wiche, my deare brother, let no sinistar whisperars, nor busy troblars of princis states, persuade to leave your surest, and stike to unstable staies. Suppose them to be but the ecchos to suche whos stipendaries the be, and wyl do more for ther gaine than your good. And so, God hold you ever in his blessed kiping, and make you see your tru friends. Excuse my not writing sonar, for paine in one of my yees was only the cause.
Your most assured lovinge sistar and cousin,
It was thought in Spain, at least by the priests and courtiers who surrounded Philip II., that one battle at sea and one battle on land would bring England to her senses, and compel Queen Elizabeth to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope; and not a little of the literature of Spain in the years 1587 and 1588 pointed to the importance of capturing our Queen and killing Drake. The English Admiral was the chief offender. By his successful expedition in 1587, he had retarded the invasion by a whole year, having tamed the Spanish, and, as he said, 'singed the King's beard.' He is writing to that most successful diplomat, Walsingham, at the time we were hotly pursuing the retreating Armada.
Sir Francis Drake to Lord Walsingham.
July 31, 1588.
Most Honorable,-I am comaunded to send these prisoners ashore by my Lord Admerall, which had, ere this, byne long done,
but that I thought ther being here myght have done something which is not thought meet now.
Lett me beseche your Honor that they may be presented unto her Majestie, either by your honor, or my honorable good Lord, my Lord Chancellor, or both of you. The one, Don Pedro, is a man of great estymacyon with the King of Spayne, and thowght next in this armye to the Duke of Sedonya. If they shoulde be geven from me unto any other, it would be som gref to my friends. Yf her Majestie will have them, God defend but I shoulde thinck it happye.
We have the armey of Spayne before us, and mynd with the Grace of God, to wressell a poull with him.
Ther was never any thing pleased me better than the seeing the enemey flying with a Sotherly wynd to the Northwards. God grant you have a good eye to the Duke of Parma, for with the Grace of God, yf we live, I doubt it not, but ere it be long so to handell the matter with the Duke of Sedonya, as he shall wish hymselff at Saint Marie Port among his orynge trees. God gyve us grace to depend upon him, so shall we not doubt victory; for our cawse is good.
Humbly taking my leave, this last of July, 1588.
Your Honor's faythfully to be commanded ever,
Some 150 letters relative to the suppression of the monasteries were edited in 1843 by Mr. Thomas Wright for the Camden Society, from the originals in the British Museum. They illustrate in very plain language the depravity that was rampant in the lesser monasteries, and the corruption that had wormed itself into many of the larger establishments; and even if it be allowed that Henry VIII.'s policy of confiscation was based on selfish motives, and that his plea of religious reform was subordinate to his secular aims, the suppression of fourfifths of the monasteries was justified by the voluminous report of the Visitor-General, Thomas Cromwell, in what is deservedly called the 'Black Book.' Although the Act of 1539 did not actually dissolve the greater houses, their occupants were either persuaded or terrified into a voluntary surrender. The cases of stubborn and recalcitrant abbots were deat with by indictments for high treason,