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My health, I thank God, is better than when you left me; and, to my thinking, better than before my last sickness. This is all I need to write of myself to such a friend.
We hope well, and it is generally rather spoken, than believed, that his highness will return very speedily. But they be not the best pieces in painting, that are dashed out in haste. I hope, if any thing want in the speed of time, it will be compensed in the fruit of time, that all may sort to the best.
I have written a few words of duty and respect only to my lord marquis, and Mr. Secretary. I pray you kiss the count of Gondomar's hand.
God keep you.
Your most affectionate and assured friend,
FR. ST. ALBAN.
May 2, 1623.
TO THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
I WRITE now only to congratulate with your grace your new honour; (a) which because I reckon to be. no great matter to your fortune, though you are the first English duke that hath been created since I was born, my compliment shall be the shorter. So having turned almost my hopes of your grace's return, by July, into wishes, and not to them neither, if it should be any hazard to your hazard to your health, I rest, &c.
Vouchsafe, of your nobleness, to present my most humble duty to his highness. Summer is a thirsty time; and sure I am, I shall infinitely thirst to see his highness's and your grace's return.
(a) The title of duke, conferred on him May 18, 1623.
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM TO THE LORD VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.
My good Lord,
I HAVE received your hearty congratulation for the great honour and gracious favour which his majesty hath done me and I do well believe, that no man is more glad of it than yourself.
Tobie Matthew is here; but what with the journey, and what with the affliction he endures, to find, as he says, that reason prevails nothing with these people, he is grown extreme lean, and looks as sharp as an eyas. (a) Only he comforts himself with a conceit, that he has now gotten on the other side of the water, where the same reason, that is valuable in other parts of the world, is of no validity here; but rather something else, which yet he hath not found out.
I have let his highness see the good expressions of your lordship's care and faithful affection to his person; and shall ever be ready to do you, in all things, the best service that I can.
So wishing your lordship much happiness, I rest Your Lordship's faithful friend and humble servant,
Madrid, this 29th of May, 1623, st. vet.
TO THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, IN SPAIN.
I HUMBLY thank your grace for your letter of the 29th of May; and that your grace doth believe, that no man is gladder of the increase of your honour and fortune, than I am; as, on the other part, no man
(a) A young hawk, just taken out of the nest.
should be more sorry, if it should in the least degree decline, nor more careful, if it should so much as labour. But of the first, I speak as a thing that is: but of the two latter, it is but a case put, which I hope I shall never see. And to be plain with your grace, I am not a little comforted to observe, that, although in common sense and experience, a man would have doubted, that some things might have sorted to your prejudice; yet in particulars we find nothing of it. For a man might reasonably have feared, that absence and discontinuance might have lessened his majesty's favour: no such thing has followed. So likewise, that any, that might not wish you well, should have been bolder with you. But all is continued in good compass. Again, who might not have feared, that your grace being there to manage, in great part, the most important business of Europe, so far from the king, and not strengthened with advice there, except that of the prince himself, and thus to deal with so politic a state as Spain, you should be able to go through as you do? and yet nothing, as we hear, but for your honour, and that you do your part. Surely, my lord, though your virtues be great, yet these things could not be, but that the blessing of God, which is over the king and the prince, doth likewise descend upon you as a faithful servant; and you are the more to be thankful to God for it.
I humbly thank your grace, that you make me live in his highness's remembrance, whom I shall ever bear a heart to honour and serve. And I much joy to hear of the great and fair reputation, which at all hands are given him.
For Mr. Matthew, I hope by this time he hath thered up his crumbs; which importeth much, I assure your grace, if his cure must be, either by finding better reason on that side the line, or by discovering, what is the motion, that moveth the wheels, that, if reason do not, we must all pray for his being in good point. But in truth, my lord, I am glad he is there; for I know his virtues, and particularly his devotion to your lordship.
God return his highness and your grace, unto us safe and sound, and according to your heart's desires.
TO MR. TOBIE MATTHEW.
Good Mr. Matthew.
I HAVE received your letter of the 10th of June, (a) and am exceeding glad to hear you are in so good health. For that, which may concern myself, I neither doubt of your judgment in choosing the fittest time, nor of your affection in taking the first time you shall find fit. For the public business, I will not turn my hopes into wishes yet, since you write as you do; and I am very glad you are there, and, as I guess, you went in good time to his lordship.
For your action of the case, it will fall to the ground; for I have not heard from the duke, neither by letter nor message, at this time.
God keep you. I rest always
Your most affectionate and faithful servant,
Grey's Inn, 17th of June, 1623.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
I do hear from Sir Robert Kerr, and others, how much beholden I am to you.
TO MR. TOBIE MATTHEW.
Good Mr. Matthew,
I THANK you for your letter of the 26th of June, and commend myself unto your friendship, knowing your word is good assurance, and thinking I cannot wish myself a better wish, than that your power may grow to your will.
Since you say the prince hath not forgot his commandment, touching my History of Henry VIII. I
(a) N. S.
may not forget my duty. But I find Sir Robert Cotton, who poured forth what he had, in my other work, somewhat dainty of his materials in this.
It is true, my labours are now most set to have those works, which I had formerly published, as that of Advancement of Learning, that of Henry VII. that of the Essays, being retractate, and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens, which forsake me not, for these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupts with books: and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity.
For the essay of friendship, while I took your speech of it for a cursory request, I took my promise for a compliment. But since you call for it, I shall perform it. (a)
I am much beholden to Mr. Gage for many expressions of his love to me and his company, in itself very acceptable, is the more pleasing to me, because it retaineth the memory of yourself.
This letter of yours, of the 26th, lay not so long by you, but it hath been as speedily answered by me, so as with Sir Francis Cottington I have had no speech since the receipt of it. Your former letters, which I received from Mr. Griesley, I had answered before, and put my letter into a good hand.
For the great business, God conduct it well. Mine own fortune hath taught me expectation.
God keep you.
To Mr. Matthew, into Spain.
(a) Among his Essays, published in quarto, and dedicated to the duke of Buckingham, is one upon Friendship.