To our most noble and virtuous queen Katherine, Elizabeth her humble daughter wisheth perpetual felicity and everlasting joy.

Not only knowing the affectuous will and fervent zeal, the which your highness hath towards all godly learning, as also my duty towards you (most gracious and sovereign princess) but knowing also that pusillanimity1 and idleness2 are most repugnant unto a reasonable creature and that (as the philosopher sayeth) even as an instrument of iron or of other metal waxeth soon rusty unless it be continually occupied. Even so shall the wit of a man, or woman, wax dull and unapt to do or understand anything perfectly, unless it be always occupied upon some manner of study, which things considered hath moved so small a portion as God hath lent me to prove what I could do.

And therefore have I (as for essay beginning, following the right notable saying of the proverb aforesaid) translated this little book out of French rhyme into English prose, joining the sentences together as well as the capacity of my simple wit and small learning could extend themselves. The which book is entitled, or named, The Mirror or Glass, of the Sinful Soul, wherein is contained how she3 (beholding and contemplating what she is) doth perceive how, of herself, and of her own strength, she can do nothing that good is, or prevaileth for her salvation unless it be through the grace of God, whose mother, daughter, sister, and wife, by the scriptures she proveth herself to be.

Trusting also that through his incomprehensible love, grace and mercy she (being called from sin to repentance) doth faithfully hope to be saved. And although I know that, as for my part, which I have wrought in it (as well spiritual as manual) there is nothing done as it should be, nor else worthy to come in Your Grace's hands, but rather all unperfect and uncorrect: yet do I trust also that albeit it is like a work which is but new begun and shapen, that the style of your excellent wit and godly learning in the reading of it (if so it vouchsafe Your Highness to do) shall rub out, polish, and mend (or else cause to mend) the words (or rather the order of my writing) the which I know in many places to be rude, and nothing done as it should be. But I hope, that after to have been in Your Grace's hands there shall be nothing in it worthy of reprehension and that in the meanwhile no other (but Your Highness only) shall read it or see it, lest my faults be known of many. Then shall they be better excused (as my confidence is in Your Grace's accustomed benevolence) that if I should bestow a whole year in writing, or inventing ways for to excuse them.

Praying God Almighty, the maker and creator of all things, to guarantee unto Your Highness the same New Year's Day, a lucky and a prosperous year with prosperous issue and continuance of many years in good health and continual joy and all to His honour, praise, and glory.

From Ashridge4,
the last day of the year of our Lord God, 1544.

1. pusillanimity, cowardliness, timidity.
2. idleness, laziness; time not spent doing something worthwhile.
3. she, the soul. In the Renaissance, the soul was often referred to with the feminine personal pronoun, instead of "it"; likewise, the sun was often "he", the moon "she".
4. True to the Renaissance fashion of widely variant spellings, in the manuscript letter, Elizabeth writes it Assherige. Ashridge was one of the manors where Elizabeth lived as princess. It was bequeathed to her at the death of her father, Henry VIII, in 1547. It is in Hertfordshire, northwest of London.


This was written after Princess Elizabeth had been established in her own household, and as the time of Queen Catherine's confinement drew near. The Queen died a few weeks later, on July 31, 1548

Although your Higness's letters be most joyful to me in absence, yet, considering what pain it is for you to write, your Grace being so sickly, your commendations were enough in my Lord's letter. I much rejoice at your health, with the well liking of the country, with my humble thanks that your Grace wished me with you till you were weary of that country. Your Highness were like to be cumbered, if I should not depart till I were weary of being with you; although it were the worst soil in the world, your presence would make it pleasant.

I cannot reprove my Lord for not doing your commendations in his letter, for he did it; and although he had not, yet I will not complain on him; for he shall be diligent to give me knowledge from time to time how his busy child doth; and if I were at his birth, no doubt I would see him beaten, for the trouble he hath put you to. Master Denny and my lady, with humble thanks, prayeth most entirely for your Grace, praying the Almighty God to send you a most lucky deliverance, and my mistress wisheth no less, giving your Highness most humble thanks for her commendations.

Written with very little leisure this last day of July
Your humble daughter, Elizabeth


Katherine Ashley, in favor of whom it is written, was the governess to the Princess. At the beginning of Edward VI's reign, the Princess had resided at Chelsey under the care of the Queen dowager; and even at that time, the Lord Admiral's behaviour to her was most unusually familiar

My Lorde, I have a requeste to make unto your grace wiche I feare has made me omitte til this time for two causes, the one bicause I saw that my request for the rumors wiche were sprede abrode of me toke so litel place, wiche thinge whan I considered I thogth I shulde litel profit in any other sute, howbeit now I understande that ther is a Proclamacion for them (for the wiche I give your Grace and the rest of the counsel most humble thankes) I am the bolder to speake for a nother thinge; and the other was bicause paraventure your Lordeship and the rest of the Counsel wil thinke that I favor her ivel doinge for whome I shal speake for, wiche is for Kateryn Aschiley, that it wolde please your grace and the rest of the Counsel to be good unto her.

Wiche thinge I do not to favor her in any ivel, (for that I wolde be sorye to do), but for thes consideracions wiche folowe, the wiche hope dothe teache me in sainge that I ougth not to doute but that your Grace and the rest of the Counsel wil thinke that I do it for thre other consideracions. First, bicause that she hathe bene with me a longe time, and manye years, and hathe taken great labor, and paine in brinkinge of me up in lerninge and honestie, and therfore I ougth of very dewtye speke for her, for Saint Gregorie sayeth that we ar more bounde to them that bringeth us up wel than to our parents, for our parents do that wiche is natural for them, that is bringeth us into this Worlde; but our brinkers up ar a cause to make us live wel in it.

The seconde is bicause I think that whatsoever she hathe done in my Lord Admirals matter as concerninge the marijnge of me, she dide it bicause knowinge him to be one of the Counsel, she thogth he wolde not go about any suche thinge without he had the Counsels consent therunto; for I have ahrde her manye times say that she wolde never have me mary in any place without your Graces and the Counsels consente.  The thirde cause is bicause that it shal and doth make men thinke that I am not clere of the dide myselfe, but that it is pardoned in me bicause of my youthe, bicause that she I loved so wel is in suche a place. Thus hope prevailinge more with me than feare, hath wone the battel; and I have at this time gone furth with it.  Wiche I pray God be taken no other wais that it is mente. Writen in hast.  From Hatfilde this 7 day of Marche. Also if I may be so bolde not offendinge I beseche your Grace and the rest of the Counsel to be good to master Aschiley her husbonde, wiche bicause he is my kindesman I wold be glad he shulde do well.

Your assured frende to my litel power,


The following Letter was probably written at the beginning of 1549, upon the substitution of the Lady Tyrwhit as governess to the Princess Elizabeth, in the room of Katherine Ashley

My Lorde, havinge reseuede your Lordeships letters, I parceve in them your goodwil towarde me bicause you declare to me plainlie your mynde in this thinge; and againe for that you wolde not wische that I shulde do any thinge that shulde not seme good unto the Counsel, for the wiche thinge I give you most hartie thankes.  And whereas I do understande that you do take in ivel parte the letters that I did write unto your Lordeshipe, I am verye sorie that you shulde take them so for my mynde was to declare unto you plainlie as I thogth in that thinge, wiche I did also the more willingelye bicause (as I write to you) you desired me to be plaine with you in al thinges.  And as concerninge that pointe that you write that I seme to stande in my none witte in beinge so wel assured of my none selfe, I did assure me of my selfe nomore than I trust the trueth shal trie; and to say that wiche I knewe of my selfe I did not thinke shulde have displeased the Counsel or your Grace.

And surelye the cause whie that I was sorye that ther shulde be anye suche aboute me, was bicause that I thogth the people wil say that I deserved throwgth my lewde demenure to have such a one, and not that I mislike any thinge that your Lordeshipe or the Counsel shal thinke good, for I knowe that you and the Counsel ar charged with me; or that I tak upon me to rule my selfe, for I knowe the ar most disceved that trusteth most in themselves, wherfore I trust you shal never finde that faute in me, to the wiche thinge I do not se that your Grace has made anye directe answere at this time, and seinge the make so ivel reportes alreadie, shalbe but a increasinge of ther ivel tonges. Howbeit you did write that if I wolde bringe forthe anye that had reported it, You and the Counsel wolde se it redreste, wiche thinge thogth I can easelye do it, I wolde be lothe to do it for bicause it is my none cause; and, againe, that shulde be but a bridinge of a ivel name of me that am glade to ponesse them, and so get the ivel wil of the people, wiche thinge I wolde be lothe to have.

But if it mougth so seme good unto your Lordeshipe and the reste of the Counsel to sende forthe a proclamation in to the countries that the* refraine ther tonges, declaringe hot the tales be but lies, it shulde make bothe the people thinke that You and the Counsel have great regarde that no suche rumor shulde be spreade of anye of the Kinges Maiesties Sisters, as I am, thougth vnwordieb, and also I shulde thinke myselfe to receve suche frendeshipe at your handes as you have promised me, althogth your Lordeshipe hathe shewed me greate alreadie. Howbeit I am aschamed to asked it anye more, bicause I se you ar not so wel minded therunto.  And as concerninge that you saye that I give folkes occasion to thinke in refusinge the tood to vpholde the ivel, I am not of so simple understandinge, nor I wolde that your Grace shulde have so ivel a opinion of me that I have so litel respecte to myn one honestie that I wolde mainteine it if I had souficiente promis of the same, and so so your Grace shal prove me whan it comes to the pointe.  And thus I bid you farewel, desiringe God alwais to assiste you in al your affaires.

Writen in hast, frome Hatfelde this 21 of Februarye
Your assured frende to my litel power,


Like as the rich man daily gathereth riches to riches, and one bag of money layeth a great sort till it come to infinite, so methinks your Majesty, not being sufficed with many benefits and gentleness showed to me afore this time, doth now increase them in asking and desiring where you may bid and command, requiring a thing not worthy the desiring for itself, but made worthy for your Highness's request. My picture, I mean, in which if the inward good mind toward your Grace might as well be declared as the outward face and countenance shall be seen, I would not have tarried the commandment but prevent it, nor have been the last to grant but the first to offer it. For the face, I grant, I might well blush to offer, but the mind I shall never be ashamed to present.

For though from the grace of the picture the colours may fade by time, may give you weather, may be spotted by chance; yet the other nor time with her swift wings shall overtake, nor the misty clouds with their lowerings may darken, nor chance with her slippery foot may overthrow. Of this although yet the proof could not be great because the occasion hath been but small, notwithstanding as a dog hath a day, so may I perchance have time to declare it in deeds where now I do write them in words. And further I shall most humbly beseech your Majesty that when you shall look on my picture, you will vouchsafe to think that as you have but the outward shadow of the body before you, so my inward mind wisheth that the body itself were oftener in your presence; howbeit because both my so being I think could do your Majesty little pleasure, though myself great good; and again because I see as yet not the time agreeing thereunto, I shall learn to follow this saying of Horace, ' Feras non culpes quod vitari non potest.' And thus I will (troubling your Majesty I fear) end with my most humble thanks. Beseeching God long to preserve you to His Honour, to your comfort, to the Realm's profit, and to my joy. From Hatfield this I5 day of May.

Your Majesty's most humbly sister and servant,


Like as a shipman in stormy wether plukes downe the sailes tarijnge for bettar winde, so did I, most noble Kinge, in my vnfortunate chanche a thurday pluk downe the hie sailes of my ioy and comfort and do trust one day that as troblesome waues have repulsed me bakwarde, so a gentil winde wil bringe me forwarde to my hauen.  Two chief occasions moued me muche and griued me gretly, the one for that I doubted your Maiesties helthe, the other bicause for al my longe tarijnge I wente without that I came for.

Of the first I am releued in a parte, bothe that I vnderstode of your helthe, and also that your Maiesties loginge is far from my Lorde Marques chamber. Of my other grief I am not eased, but the best is that whatsoever other folkes wil suspect, I intende not to feare your graces goodwil, wiche as I know that I never disarued to faint, so I trust wil stil stike by me. For if your Graces aduis that I shulde retourne (whos wil is a commandemente) had not bine, I wold not haue made the halfe of my way, the ende of my iourney. And thus as one desirous to hire of your Maiesties helth, thogth vnfortunat to se it, I shal pray God for euer to preserue you.  From Hatfilde this present Saterday.

Your Maiesties humble sistar to commandemente,


Good sister,

As to hear of your sickness is unpleasant to me, so is it nothing fearful; for that I understand it is your old guest that is wont oft to visit you, whose coming though it be oft, yet is it never welcome, but notwithstanding it is comfortable for that iacula prĉuisa minus feriunt. And as I do understand your need of Jane Russel's service, so am I sorry that it is by my man's occasion letted, which if I had known afore, I would have caused his will give place to need of her service. For as it is her duty to obey his commandment, so is it his part to attend your pleasure; and, as I confess, it were meeter for him to go to her, since she attends upon you, so indeed he required the same, but for that divers of his fellows had business abroad that made his tarrying at home.

Good Sister, though I have good cause to thank you for your oft sending to me, yet I have more occasion to render hearty thanks for your gentle writing, which how painful it is to you, I may well guess by myself; and you may well see by my writing so oft, how pleasant it is to me. And thus I end to trouble you, desiring God to send you as well to do, as you can think and wish, or I desire or pray.

From Ashridge, scribbled this 27th of October
Your loving sister, Elizabeth


Written when the order came that she was to be sent to the Tower, on suspicion that she was implicated by Wyatt's rebellion. Wyatt's correspondence with Elizabeth was seized, and amongst the evidence produced was an alleged copy of a letter written by Elizabeth to Henri II; this was apparently a forgery

If any ever did try this old saying, 'that a king's word was more than another man's oath,' I most humbly beseech your Majesty to verify it to me, and to remember your last promise and my last demand, that I be not not condemned without answer and due proof, which it seems that I now am; for without cause proved, I am by your council from you commanded to go to the Tower, a place more wanted for a false traitor than a true subject, which though I know I desire it not, yet in the face of all this realm it appears proved. I pray to God I may die the shamefullest death that any ever died, if I may mean any such thing; and to this present hour I protest before God (Who shall judge my truth, whatsoever malice shall devise), that I never practised, counselled, nor consented to anything that might be prejudicial to your person anyway, or dangerous to the state by any means.

And therefore I humbly beseech your Majesty to let me answer afore yourself, and not suffer me to trust to your Councillors, yea, and that afore I go to the Tower, if it be possible; if not, before I be further condemned. Howbeit, I trust assuredly your Highness will give me leave to do it afore I go, that thus shamefully I may not be cried out on, as I now shall be; yea, and that without cause. Let conscience move your Highness to pardon this my boldness, which innocency procures me to do, together with hope of your natural kindness, which I trust will not see me cast away without desert, which what it is I would desire no more of God but that you truly knew, but which thing I think and believe you shall never by report know, unless by yourself you hear.

I have heard of many in my time cast away for want of coming to the presence of their Prince; and in late days I heard my Lord of Somerset say that if his brother had been suffered to speak with him he had never suffered; but persuasions were made to him so great that he was brought in belief that he could not live safely if the Admiral lived, and that made him give consent to his death. Though these persons are not to be compared to your Majesty, yet I pray to God the like evil persuasions persuade not one sister against the other, and all for that they have heard false report, and the truth not known. Therefore, once again, kneeling with humbleness of heart, because I am not suffered to bow the knees of my body, I humbly crave to speak with your Highness, which I would not be so bold as to desire if I knew not myself most clear, as I know myself most true. And as for the traitor Wyatt, he might peradventure write me a letter, but on my faith I never received any from him. And as for the copy of the letter sent to the French King, I pray God confound me eternally if ever I sent him word, message, token, or letter, by any means, and to this truth I will stand in till my death.

Your Highness's most faithful subject, that hath been from the beginning, and will be to my end,

I humbly crave but only one word of answer from yourself,


Most serene Prince, our very dear cousin,

A letter truly yours both in the writing and sentiment was given us on 30 December by your very dear brother, the Duke of Finland. And while we perceive there from that the zeal and love of your mind towards us is not diminished, yet in part we are grieved that we cannot gratify your serene Highness with the same kind of affection. And that indeed does not happen because we doubt in any way of your love and honour, but, as often we have testified both in words and writing, that we have never yet conceived a feeling of that kind of affection towards anyone. We therefore beg your serene Highness again and again that you be pleased to set a limit to your love, that it advance not beyond the laws of friendship for the present nor disregard them in the future. And we in our turn shall take care that whatever can be required for the holy preservation of friendship between Princes we will always perform towards your Serene Highness. It seems strange for your Serene Highness to write that you understand from your brother and your ambassadors that we have entirely determined not to marry an absent husband; and that we shall give you no certain reply until we shall have seen your person.

We certainly think that if God ever direct our hearts to consideration of marriage we shall never accept or choose any absent husband how powerful and wealthy a Prince soever. But that we are not to give you an answer until we have seen your person is so far from the thing itself that we never even considered such a thing. But I have always given both to your brother, who is certainly a most excellent prince and deservedly very dear to us, and also to your ambassador likewise the same answer with scarcely any variation of the words, that we do not conceive in our heart to take a husband, but highly commend this single life, and hope that your Serene Highness will no longer spend time in waiting for us.

God keep your Serene Highness for many years in good health and safety.

From our Palace at Westminster, 25 February
Your Serene Highness' sister and cousin,


Right excellent, right high,

Where by your lettres brought to us the last moneth by our syruant syr Peter Mewtas, it appeereth that yow did very hartely accept our good wille in sending our said seruant to visite yow on our parte, and further did referre to his raport thanswer made by yow to the message proponid by him on our behalf: we be gladde to see our good will so well enterpreted and allowed. By which meanes amytie principally encreasseth betwixt freends. And to the answer (as he reporteth it) we see no cause to be therein so well satisfied as we looked for. And yet considering (we trust) that your meaning is as our is, sincere, iust, and direct towards the reparacion of all former strange accidents, and to make a perpetuall amytie betwixt us, we have thought meete, not to permit so good a mater for our amytie, to remayne unperfected.

And therfore, where we onely require the ratificacion of a tratye passed by your commissioners, authorized thero with your hand and seale, and your staye therin for that manye things be conteyned in the same aperteyning to your late husbande the french king, and therfore wish it wer revisited by some, on both parts; we thinke your counsellours that be of experience in such cases, can enfourme yow that although ye ratifye the same Treatye as it is; yet shall the same tend but so farre as shall concerne your self, and not anye others.

Neverthelesse for that we meane not in anye wise to omitte such meanes as maye best reduce our amytie to certeinty and contynuance, and for that we see when princes treate by open assemblie of ambassadors, the world, specially the subiects on both partes, iudge that the amytie is not sownde, but in some points shaken or crased, which opinion we wold in no wise shulde be conceyved of our amytie; therfore both to maintaine the good opinion, alredy conceyved of the naturall good loue ment betqixt us two, and also to bringe this mater (wherin yow make staye) to some resolucion, we think it better that ye shuld communicate either pryvately to our trusty servant there Thomas Randolph, or rather by yor awne lettres to us, what be the very iust cawses that mooue yow thus to stay in the ratificacion.

And if the same be to be allowed unto yow in reason, yow shall well perceyue we will require nothing but that which honnour, iustice, and reason shall allow us to aske and that which lyke honnour, iustice, and reason yow ought to grawnt. And thus shall our affaires be more secretly, more directly, and as speedely resolved, as by ambassades.

And thus, 23 Nouembris 1561,


A war of religion had broken out in France, and Elizabeth had allied herself with the Huguenots, giving them men and money, and receiving Havre and Dieppe in pledge, until her loans were returned and Calais resotre. The bloody outrages, of which Elizabeth here complains in powerful, though sometimes obscure classical similes, certainly took place. But it was a mere affectation to pretend that such crimes were perpetrated by one side only

Very dear sister,

If it were not a thing impossible that one should forget her own heart, I should fear you suspected that I had drunk of the waters of Lethe. But I assure you that besides there being no such river in England, so of this fault you are the principal cause. For if the waiting for your messenger, who, as you wrote to me, ought long since to have come hither, had not so much delayed [me], I would have visited your by my letters according to our previous custom. But when I heard that you were going on such a long pilgrimage to so great a distance from hence, I thought that would hinder you [from receiving my note]. On my part there was another occasion which hindered me greatly, the fear of tiring you with hearing the tragedies, with which every week my ears have been all too much wearied. Would to God they were as hidden to others as they have been concealed by me. And I assure you on my honour that right up till when the ravens croaked of them, I kept my ears sealed up like those of Ulysses. But when I saw that all my councillors and subjects thought me of sight too dim, of hearing too deaf, of spirit too improvident, I roused myself from such slumber, and deemed myself unworthy to govern a kingdom, such as I possess, if I were not also skilled in my own affairs: a Prometheus, as well as acquainted with Epimetheus.

And when it came to my mind how it touch your [kinsfolk], Mon Dieu, how I gnawed my heart! Not for them (you know it well), but for her on whose behalf I long for all the good that can be desired, having a great fear lest you should think that the old sparks would be fanned by this new fire. Notwithstanding, when I saw that necessity had no law, and that it behoves us carefully to guard our houses from spoil, when those of our neighbours are ablaze so close at hand, I have not even so much as a suspicion that you would refuse to draw away nature's veil and gaze on the naked cause of reason.

For what hope is left for strangers when cruelty so much abounds among those of the family. I would sooner pass over in silence the murders on land than tell in writing of the burials in water, and would say nothing of men cut in pieces, if the cries of pregnant women strangled with the wails of infants at their mothers' breasts did not stir me. What rhubarb drug will purge away the choler which these tyrannies engender? Amid these broils my own subjects in divers places have lost their goods, their ships, nay, their very lives, being baptized with nicknames which their godfathers never gave them a name to me heretofore quite unknown, though staled by custom, now too well-known, that is 'huguenots'. Which injuries being excessive, the blame was places on the poor soldiers; but the fault rested with the wicked movers of these quarrels, who, although admonished of them every day, in place of correcting them, for one evil do twenty. Likewise, having received letters from the king and the queen-mother that they could do nothing, I well perceived that though king by title, in fact he was ruled by others.

Seeing this I devoe myself entirely to prevent those evils which would come to pass, if that realm became a prey within their talons. Rather [will I] so shape my actions that the king will think me a good neighbour, one who keeps safe rather than destroys. Your kinsfolk will not have cause to think me vindictive as I will not injure them, if they do not begin. You will have no occasion to accuse me of fraud, I having never promised so much as I do not more than fulfil, if it can be done. And I assure you in good faith, that it will not be due to me, if there is not soon a firm peace for all those who will be guided by the rule of reason.

Although I am sending a naval force to Havre, I have in that no other thought, except that there they should do every good office to the king and to all others, provided that [those others] do not come into a place whence they may do me injury. And in order that the whole world may understand the good intention that I have with regard to peace, and [also] to remove any other suspicion that thence might arise, I had to make this declaration, which will make everything clear to you without any deceit.

Hoping that you will think of me as honourably as my good will to you merits, and although I am by no means ignorant of what craft will be, or has been, employed in your regard in this matter [by those] who think to draw you from that affection which I am assured you bear me. Nevertheless, I confide so much in this heart, which I keep inviolate, that sooner shall rivers flow up their natural [courses], than it shall change its intention. The burning fever, which now holds me entirely in its grasp, prevents me from writing more.



Right trusty and well-beloved, we grete you well. There are two things come to our memory sithens the writing and closing up of our other letter, whereof we think meet to remember you.

The first is, that we think it not for our honour, but rather to th'increase of th'obstinate audacite of Shane O'Neyle, to have you renew any treatie with him. And therfor we wish rather all other good meane wer thought uppon to stay him or rather diminish his wicked rebelliouse attempts.

The second is, we find it straunge that Thomas Stukley should be used there in any service in such credit as we perceve he is, considering the generall discredit wherin he remayneth not only in our own realm, but also in other countrees for such matters as he hath ben chardged withall: wherunto also he yet remayneth by bond with sureties aunswerable in our Court of the Admiralti, according as of late upon supplication of his sureties, we wrote to you that he should return home to answer in our said Court. Of these things being newly come to our mynd sithens the depech of our former letter, we thought briefly to make this short letter.

Given under our signet, at our Manour of Grenewich
the last day of March, 1567, the eight yere of our reign
by the Queen Elizabeth



Whilst your cause hath bene here treated upon, we thought it not nedefull to write any thing thereof unto you, supposing alwayes that your commissioners wold thereof advertise as they saw cause; and sithen they have broken this conference, by refusing to make answer, as they say, by your commandement, and for that purpose they returne to you, although we thinke you shall by them perceive the whole proceeding, yet we cannot but let you understand by these our letters, that as we have bene very sory of long tyme, for your mishappes and great troubles, so find we our sorrowes now doubled in beholding such thinges as are produced to prove yourself the cause of all the same.

And our grief herein is increased, in that we did not thinke at any tyme, to have seen or heard such matter of so greate apparaunces and moment to charge and condempne you.  Nevertheles, both in friendship, nature, and justice, we are moved to cover these maters, and stay our judgement, and not to gather any sense thereof to your prejudice, before we may heare of your direct answer therunto, according as your commissioners understand our meaning to be, which at their request is delivered to them in writing.

And as we trust they will advise you for your honor to agree to make answer, as we have mentioned them, so surely we cannot but as one prynce and near cousine regarding another, most earnestly as we may in termes of friendship require and charge you not to forbeare from answering.  And for our part we are heartely sory and dismayed to finde suche matter of your charge, so shall we be as heartely gladde and well content to here of sufficient matter for your discharge; and although we doubt not, you are well certified of the diligence and care of your ministers having your commission, yet can we, not besides and allowance generallie of them, specially note to you your good choice of the bearer the Bishoppe of Rosse, who hathe not onely faithfully and wisely, but also so carefully and dutifully, for your honor and weale, behaved himself, and that both privately and publikely, as we cannot but in this sorte commende him unto you as we wishe you had suche devoted discrete servants; for in our judgement, we thinke, ye have not any in loyalty and faithfulness overmatche him: and thus we are the bolder to write, considering we take it the beste triall of a good servaunte, to be in adversitie, out of which we wish you to be delivered, by the justification of your innocency.  And so trusting to heare shortly from you, we make an ende.

Given at Hampton Court, under our signet, the 21st of December, 1568,
in the eleventh yeare of our reigne. Your good Sistar and Cousin,
Elizabeth R.


Respecting the return and maintenance of the Queen of Scots and her household. This letter, February 21, 1569, is a reply to Mary's letter to Cecil of the 11th of February

We perceive by our vice-chamberlain how careful and circumspect you are in the charge which we have committed to you, wherein we find out expectation thoroughly satisfied; and, being informed by him of sundry matters, wherein you require further instructions, we have commanded our secretary to advise you thereof.

First, when the Queen of Scots desires to have liberty for sending as well into Scotland as to and fro, you shall let her understand that we mean she should have the like liberty there as at Bolton, giving you knowledge at any time when she will send any other to Scotland or hither to us. And so, having your warrant signed and sealed by you, the same shall be sufficient for that time. And if any shall come out of Scotland unto her, upon knowledge given to any of our wardens, orders shall be given to suffer them to pass.

When it is required to know what number should be allowed for diet, we, having seen a schedule subscirbed by you, perceive that the ordinary number heretofore was about thirty; and that it is proposed to increase the number for the private accommodation of particular persons, we have thought it good to advise you that there be no more allowed besides her women which she hath already, but thirty persons only, which number was agreed to by Lord Herries, and by him, in the queen's name, thought sufficient.  If any shall want to increase that number you shall affirm that you have no authority to do so. Neither will you trouble us or any of our council, knowing it hath been so determined.

And if the Queen of Scots will have the Bishop of Ross, the Lord Boyd, or any other not included in the aforesaid number of thirty, you may, as of yourself, deal with the said parties, and declare unto them that, so as they be of the number of thirty, and as many of the others be discharged for them, you will be willing that they be received into the charge of the household.  Otherwise, you may with good and gentle speech require them to be content that the first order may stand.  And let them plainly understand that it was the motion first from the queen by Lord Herries that we would be content to omit two to have only the number of thirty persons in all, and not more.

And as for the Bishop of Ross and Lord Boyd having them about that queen, we can be content therewith, so as they do not go or send into the country to confer or practise with any persons, as, if it be not looked into, it is most likely they will. And therefore, as of yourself, you may privately require them that they will forbear to do so with any persons in any causes that may offend us.

We think it good that you do retain the same clerk which served under our vice-chamberlain, and so to direct hin that the charge weekly exceed not forty-five pounds, which we are contented to allow.

By the Queen, Elizabeth R.


Right trustie and right well beloved cousin, we grete you well. We have seen your several letters to our Secretary of the 4th and 6th of this moneth, and with them the copyes of sundry letters sent from Levinston, Lyddington, Randolph, and the Regent, and your answers to the same, and your furder directions that you have taken for the aide and relief of the party favorable to us, in all which we are right satisfied, as therin beholding the contynuance of your care and wisedom in our service.

And amongst other things we have taken great pleasure to reader your answers to Lyddington, wherin, besides your other good gifts proper to a nobleman, and mete for the place that ye hold under us, we do certainly see such a sufficiency of wisdom mixt with good learning, as we are glad to thynk that Lyddington, who is accompted the flower of the witts in Scotland, shall see himself overmatched, and we surely judge uppon the matter much confounded, not onely with the truth, but with the sharp and good order of the explaining of the same.

Truly, cousin, we have alwaies judged you wise, and we know you very sufficient for the place you hold, but we have not seen at any tyme a more absolute proof of your witt and learning, then in these your late answers to Lyddington, and we fynd all others that do reader the same to be of like opinion. For one matter, wherof you desire answer, which is, what assurance you shall require of the Duke and his partye for performance of the act wherof we accorded to the Bishop of Ross, upon consideration of your owne writing, doubting that they will not give hostage, we think it sufficient at this tyme to have their writings with their hands and seales, as Lyddington semeth to offer.

But if there shal followe hereafter any argument for the Quene of Scotts, we must of necessitie then have hostages of good persons and some castels, either in our own possession, or the possession of such as shall be thought will alwayes depend upon us, and upon the yong King. And so we see yourself doth alwayes by your writing to Lyddington press, that the suretyes to be made for us must be of that nature, that they may be in our possession to command, and not depend at the pleasure of them from whom they shall procede. We are sorry that you could not have attempted the enterprise upon the west borders without money, wherof some portion is already upon the waye, and we wishe you could devise how to borow any furder somme there, to be repayd here at London, because that the cariage is so tedious and dilatory. And upon your letters and the Treasorer's bills, the same shal be payd.

Given under our signet, at our manor of Cheneys
the 12th day of August, 1570, the 12th yere of our reigne
by the Queen, Elizabeth R.


We have by the last letters of the Duke1 understood in expresse words, that he himselfe is earnestly disposed to do anything that may mayntaine the amity that is betweene the King and us, and particularly that he hath attended to have restitution made, as our marshalls on both sides have thought meete, and meaneth to send over some speciall person of creditt, to explain some small difficulties rising thereof, and to put the whole in execution. These kinds of dealings and offers, you may say, are very agreeable to us, who by manie meanes made appear that the late differences have not growne of as, nor as we think of the King's owne disposition, but by untowardnes of ministers. And now whilst we are well content therewith, we are sorry to think that certain reports which we hear out of Spaine should be true, either in the whole or in part, and as we would be gladdest they are false, so are we desirous that we might know them certainly from the King to be false. And you shall say because we have seen some sure proof of that ambassador's good disposition to conserve the amity betwixt the King his master and us, wherein he is much to be commended, and that he may with more expedition and readiness by the way of Fraunce certify the King and procure some answer, than he may conveniently any other ways, you shall say that we thought meete to impart these speeches which we so mislike as being altogether so contrary to that which we do conceive of the King's good will, and of those late friendly offices of the Duke of Alva, praying him not only to shew you his opinion thereof, but also to advertise the King and procure us some answer.

We have heard and knowne it to be true, that certain savage rebells, being men of no valour, had fled out of our realme of Ireland into Spaine, and to cover their lewdness, and procure both reliefe for themselves and for such like as they are in Ireland, they do pretend their departure out of the land for matter of religion, where indeed they be neither of one nor other religion, but given to beastiality, and yet have they writt enough to shewe hypocrisy for their purpose. Since the first arrival of some of these, we knowe also that an Englishman, a subject of ours, named Stewckley, no unknowne (as we think) for his former prodigall life, both in Spaine, and other places, and notwithstanding great favour shewn unto him divers tymes upon hope of amendment, and some tokens of his repentance, he did this last summer, pretending to come ouf of Ireland hither, suddainly turn his course into Spaine, and as we heare hath lighted into the company of the foresaid fugitives and rebells, pretending by his superfluous expense, which is altogether of other men's goods, to be a person of some quality and estimation, and able to do some great thing in ireland, whereas he hathe not the value of a marmaduke in land, or livelihood, he hath so solicited the King, or some about him, with vayne motions, as it is by him bruited, and otherwise also with some creditt reported unto us, which yet we do not believe, that the King will send a Captaine of his, such a one as Julian Romero2, or such like, with a number of souldiers into Ireland to followe some vaine device of those rebells. Whereof we cannot but marvel that the King or any of his counsell, being of experience, can so lightly give creditt to such a companion as Stewkley is, who could never live long in any quiet condition at home, of whom we are not disposed to say much, because we cannot say any good of him, but may say, it shall be sufficient that his conditions may only be enquired of, then we doubt not whosoever shall know that will take heed how to adventure any thing with him. And yet whatsoever hath been conceived that any person of any degree, being the King of Spaine's subjects, coming into our realme of late years, as many have done for safetie of their lives for matters of their consciences, (as we have always understood,) yet we do assure this of our honour, that there was never person of any degree, that did motion unto us any matter offensive to the King or to his Low Countries, when opportunities served for such purposes, that was ever allowed by us, or any such motion, or that ever received reward, or comfort therein, but was rejected. Such hath been our sinceritie in these tymes, not to give any comfort to the hurt of the King or of his countries; and now, if these reports which we heare should be true, we might think ourselves evil recompensed, and should be provoked for our defence to use such meanes as otherwise of ourselves we did never allow or like.

1. The Duke of Alva.
2. Julian Romero was the captain appointed by the King of Spain to attend Stukeley into Ireland.



Of late time I have receaved divers letters from yow to the which you maie well gesse, by the accidentes of time, whie I have not made anie answer; but spciallie because I sawe no matter in them that required any such answer as could have contented yow, and to have discontented yow had bin but an increase of your impatience which I thought tyme would have mitigated as it doth comminlie where the cause thereof is not truelie grounded and that it be so understand; but now findinge by your last letter the 27th of the last, an increase of your impatience tending allsoe to manie uncomelie, passionate, and vindicative speeches, I thought to change my former opinion and by patient and advised wordes to move yow to staie, or ells to qualifie your passions, and to consider that it is not the manner to obtaine good thinges with evill speeches, nor benefitts with injurious chalenges, nor to gett good to yourself with doinge evill to another.

And yet to avoyd the fault which I note yow have comitted in filling a longe letter with multitude of sharpe and injurious wordes, I will not by way of letter write anie more of the matter, but have rather chosen to committ to my cosin the Erle of Shrewsbury the thinges which I have thought meete upon the readinge of your letters to be imparted unto you, as in a memorial in wrytinge he hath to shewe you: wherwith I thinke yf reason may be present with you, and passion absent at the reading, you will folowe hereafter rather the course of the last part of your letter then the first; the later being wrytten as in a calme and the former in a storme, wishing you the same grace of God that I wish to myself, and that he maie direct you to desire and attaine to that which is meete for his honnor and your quietnes, with contentacion both of bodie and minde.

Given at my Pallace of Westminster the first daie of February 1571
Your Cosyn that wisheth you a better mynde,


Right trusty friends,

Being given to understand from our cousin of Leicester how honourably he was lately received and used by you and our cousin the countess at Chatsworth, and how his diet is by you both discouraged at Buxton, we should do him great wrong, holding him in that view as far above favour, in case we should not let you understand in how thankful sort we accept the same at both your hands.

Therefore we think, for the securing of our credit, to make you a proposition of diet, which we mean in no case shall you exceed.  And that is to allow him by the day, for his meat two ounces of flesh, referring the quality to yourselves, so you exceed not the quantity, and for his drink the twentieth part of a pint of wine to comfort his stomach, and as much of St. Anne's sacred water as he careth to drink.

On festival days, as is fit for a man of his quality, we can be content you enlarge his diet by allowing him for his dinner the shoulder of a wren, and for his supper a leg of the same, besides his ordinary crusts.  The like proportion we mean you shall allow unto our brother of Warwick, saving that we think in respect that his body is more replete than his brothers, that the wren's leg allowed at supper on festival days be abated, for that light suppers agree best without relief of physic. This order, our meaning is, you shall inviolably observe, and so may you right well assure yourselves of a most thankful debtor to so well deserving creditors.

Elizabeth R.


Elizabeth by the Grace of God of England, Fraunce and Ireland Queene, defender of the faith.

To all people to whome these presents shall come, greeting. Knowe yee that of our especial grace, certaine science, and meere motion, we haue given and graunted, and by these presents for us, our heires and successors, we giue and graunt to our trustie and welbeloued seruant Walter Ralegh, Esquire, and to his heires and assignes for euer, free libertie and licence from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, to discouer, search, finde out, and view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countreis, and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince, nor inhabited by Christian People, as to him, his heires and assignes, and to euery or any of them shall seeme good, and the same to haue, holde, occupie and enjoy to him, his heires and assignes for euer, with all prerogatiues, commodities, jurisdictions, royalties, priuileges, franchises, and preheminences, thereto or thereabouts both by sea and land, whatsoeuer we by our letters patents may graunt, and as we or any of our noble progenitors haue heretofore graunted to any person or persons, bodies politique or corporate: and the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and all such as from time to time, by licence of us, our heires and successors, shall goe or trauaile thither to inhabite or remaine, there to build and fortifie, at the discretion of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, the statutes or acte of Parliament made against fugitiues, or against such as shall depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of England without licence, or any other statute, acte, lawe, or any ordinance whatsoeuer to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

And we do likewise by these presents, of our especial grace, meere motion, and certain knowledge, for us, our heires and successors, giue and graunt full authoritie, libertie and power to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery of them, that he and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may at all and euery time, and times hereafter, haue, take, and leade in the saide voyage, and trauaile thitherward, or to inhabit there with him, or them, and euery or any of them, such and so many of our subjects as shall willingly accompanie him or them, and euery or any of them to whom also we doe by these presents, giue full libertie and authority in that behalfe, and also to haue, take, and employ, and vse sufficient shipping and furniture for the Transportations and Nauigations in that behalfe, so that none of the same persons or any of them, be such as hereafter shall be restrained by us, our heires, or successors.

And further that the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery of them, shall haue, holde, occupie, and enioye to him, his heires and assignes, and euery of them for euer, all the soile of all such landes, territories, and Countreis, so to bee discouered and possessed as aforesaide, and of all such Cities, castles, townes, villages, and places in the same, with the right, royalties, franchises, and iurisdictions, as well marine as other within the saide landes, or Countreis, or the seas thereunto adioyning, to be had, or used, with full power to dispose thereof, and of euery part in fee simple or otherwise, according to the order of the lawes of England, as neere as the same conueniently may bee, at his, and their will and pleasure, to any persons then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of us, our heires, and successors: reseruing always to us our heires, and successors, for all seruices, duties, and demaundes, the lift part of all the oare of golde and siluer, that from time to time, and at all times after such discouerie, subduing and possessing, shal be there gotten and obtained: All which landes, Countreis, and territories, shall for euer be holden of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, of us, our heirs and successors, by homage, and by the said paiment of the said fift part, reserued onely for all services.

And moreouer, we doe by these presents, for us, our heires and successors, giue and graunt licence to the said Walter Ralegh, his heirs, and assignes, and euery of them, that he, and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter and expulse, repell and resist as well by sea as by lande, and by all other wayes whatsoeuer, all, and every such person and persons whatsoeuer, as without the especiall liking and licence of the saide Walter Ralegh, and of his heires and assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within the said Countreis, or any of them, or within the space of two hundreth leagues neere to the place or places within such Countreis as aforesaide (if they shall not bee before planted or inhabited within the limits as aforesaide with the subjects of any Christian Prince being in amitie with us) where the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their or any of their associates or company, shall within sixe yeeres (next ensuing) make their dwellings or abidings, or that shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlawfully to annoy, either by sea or lande, the saide Walter Ralegh, his heirs or assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of his or their companies: giuing, and graunting by these presents further power and authoritie, to the said Walter Ralegh, his heirs and assignes, and euery of them from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, to take and surprise by all maner of meanes whatsoeuer, all and euery those person or persons, with their shippes, vessels, and other goods and furniture, which without the licence of the saide Walter Ralegh, or his heires, or assignes, as aforesaide, shalbe founde trafiquing into any harbour, or harbors, creeke, or creekes, within the limits aforesaide, (the subjects of our Realms and Dominions, and all other persons in amitie with us, trading to the Newfound lands for fishing as heretofore they haue commonly used, or being driuen by force of a tempest, or shipwracke onely excepted:) and those persons, and euery of them, with their shippes, vessels, goods and furniture to deteine and possesse as of good and lawfull prize, according to the discretion of him the saide Waiter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and euery, or any of them. And for vniting in more perfect league and amitie, of such Countreis, landes, and territories so to bee possessed and inhabited as aforesaide with our Realmes of Englande, and Ireland, and the better incouragement of men to these enterprises: we do by these presents, graunt and declare that all such Countreis, so hereafter to be possessed and inhabited as is aforesaide, from thencefoorth shall bee of the allegiance of vs, our heires and successours. And wee doe graunt to the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and to all, and euery of them, and to all and euery other person, and persons being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our Courtes of recorde within our Realme of Englande, that with the assent of the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, shall in his iourneis for discouerie, or in the iourneis for conquest, hereafter traueile to such lands, countreis and territories, as aforesaide, and to their, and to euery of their heires, that they, and every or any of them, being either borne within our saide Realmes of Englande, or Irelande, or in any other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter shall be inhabiting within any the lands, Countreis, and territories, with such licence (as aforesaide) shall and may haue all the priuiledges of free Denizens, and persons natiue of England, and within our allegiance in such like ample maner and fourme, as if they were borne and personally resident within our saide Realme of England, any lawe, custome, or vsage to the contrary notwithstanding.

And for asmuch as upon the finding out, discouering, or inhabiting of such remote lands, countreis, and territories as aforesaid, it shal be necessary for the safetie of al men, that shal aduenture them selues in those iournies or voyages, to determine to liue together in Christian peace, and ciuil quietnes ech with other, whereby euery one may with more pleasure and profit enioy that whereunto they shall attaine with great paine and perill, we for vs, our heires and successors, are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents do giue and graunt to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes for ever, that hee and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time for euer hereafter, within the said mentioned remote landes and Countreis in the way by the seas thither, and from thence, haue full and meere power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, gouerne, and rule by their and euery or any of their good discretions and pollicies, as well in causes capital, or criminall, as ciuil, both marine and other, all such our subiects as shall from time to time aduenture themselves in the said iournies or voyages, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such landes, countreis, or territories as aforesaide, or that shall abide within 200 leagues of any of the saide place or places, where the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any of his or their associats or companies, shall inhabite within 6 yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall bee by him the saide Walter Ralegh his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them deuised, or established, for the better governement of the said people as aforesaid. So always as the said statutes, lawes, and ordinances may be as neere as conueniently may be, agreeable to the forme of the lawes, statutes, governement, or pollicie of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith, nowe professed in the Church of England, nor in any wise to withdrawe any of the subiects or people of those landes or places from the allegiance of vs, our heires and successours, as their immediate Soueraigne vnder God.

And further, wee doe by these presents for vs, our heires and successors, giue and graunt full power and authorise to our trustie and welbeloued counsailer sir William Cicill knight, Lorde Burghley, our high Treasourer of England, and to the Lorde Treasourer of England, for vs, our heires and successors for the time being, and to the priuie Counsell, of vs, our heirs and successours, or any foure or more of them for the time being, that hee, they, or any foure or more of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, vnder his or their handes or seales by vertue of these presents, authorise and licence the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them by him, and by themselues, or by their, or any of their sufficient Atturnies, deputies, officers, ministers, factors, and seruants, to imbarke and transport out of our Realme of England and Ireland, and the Dominions thereof all, or any of his, or their goods, and all or any the goods of his and their associats and companies, and euery or any of them, with such other necessaries and commodities of any our Realmes, as to the saide Lorde Treasourer, or foure or more of the priuie Counsaile, of vs, our heires and successors for the time being (as aforesaide) shalbe from time to time by his or their wisdomes, or discretions thought meete and conuenient, for the better reliefe and supportation of him the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and euery or any of them, and of his or their or any of their associats and companies, any acte, statute, lawe, or other thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided alwayes, and our will and pleasure is, and wee do hereby declare to all Christian kings, princes and states, that if the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter, robbe or spoile by sea or by lande, or do any acte of unjust or unlawful hostilitie, to any of the subjects of vs, our heires or successors, or to any of the subjects of any the kings, princes, rulers, governors, or estates, being then in perfect league and amitie with us, our heires and successors, and that upon such injury, or upon iust complaint of any such prince, ruler, governour, or estate, or their subiects, wee, our heires and successours, shall make open proclamation within any the portes of our Realme of England, that the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and adherents, or any to whome these our letters patents may extende, shall within the termes to be limitted, by such proclamation, make full restitution, and satisfaction of all such injuries done, so as both we and the said princes, or other so complayning, may holde vs and themselues fully contented. And that if the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, shall not make or cause to be made satisfaction accordingly, within such time so to bee limitted, that then it shall be lawfull to us our heires and successors, to put the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes and adherents, and all the inhabitants of the said places to be discouered (as is aforesaide) or any of them out of our allegiance and protection, and that from and after such time of putting out of protection the said Walter Ralegh, his heires, assignes and adherents, and others so to be put out, and the said places within their habitation, possession and rule, shal be out of our allegeance and protection, and free for all princes and others, to pursue with hostilitie, as being not our subiects, nor by vs any way to be auouched, maintained or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to our protection or dominion, or allegiance any way belonging, for that expresse mention of the cleer yeerely value of the certaintie of the premisses, or any part thereof, or of any other gift, or grant by vs, or any our progenitors, or predecessors to the said Walter Ralegh, before this time made in these presents be not expressed, or any other grant, ordinance, prouision, proclamation, or restraint to the contrarye thereof, before this time giuen, ordained, or prouided, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatsoeuer, in any wise notwithstanding. In witness whereof, we haue caused these our letters to be made patents.

Witnesse our selues, at Westminster
the 25 day of March, in the sixe and twentieth yeere of our Raigne,
by the Queen, Elizabeth R.


Offers of help on the recovery of power by the banished lords (Elizabeth's ignorance of their intended return to Scotland) every mother's son of them shall smart if they do any personal violence to James. By that time Arran's misconduct and the cabals of his enemies had filled the cup of Jame's unpopularity. The lords secretly gathered together their friends; crossed the border; made their appearance at Kelso; marshalled their host at Falkirk to the number of 8,000 men; and finally occupied Stirling, were admitted to the presence of the king, proclaimed Arran and his friends traitors, and took upon themselves the functions of the government

Right deare brother,

The strangenes of harde accidens that ar arrived here, of unloked for, or unsuspected, attemps in Skotland, euen by some suche as lately issued out of our lande, constraineth me, as wel for the care we have of your person as of the discharge of our owne honor and consciense, to send you immediatly this gentleman, one that appartaineth to us in bloud,* bothe to offer you all assistance of helpe as al good indeuor of counceil, and to make hit plaine that we delt plainly.

Thes lordes makeng great outcryes that I wold not or coulde helpe them to be restored; I, by ther great importunitie, yelded, that if I might be fried of my assurance given unto you for ther safe kiping, I wold consent unto ther departure, and so, after your answer, as my thoght most honorable, that the might take ther way to Germany with your gracious graunt of some livelode, after a weekes space I gaue them my pasport and so dismissed them, without, I swere unto you, ons the sight of any one of them.

Now, whan I way how suddenly, beyond my expectation, this suddan stur ariseth, and fering lest some ivel and wicked person might surmise that this was not without my forsight, I beseche you trust my actions accordinge the measure of my formar dealings for your safety, and ansuerable to the rule of reason, and you shal find, that few princes wyl agrye to constraint of ther equalz, muche les with compulsion of ther subiects.

Juge of me, therfor, as of a kinge that caries no abiect nature, and thinke this of me, that, rather than your daungier, I wyl ventur myne; and albeit I must confesse that it is daungerous for a prince to irritast to muche, through iuel aduise, the generalitie of great subjectz, so might you or now haue folowed my aduise, that wold neuer betray you with unsound counceil; and now to conclude, making hast, I pray you be plain with this bearar, that I may knowe what you wold that I should do, without excuse hireafter, that constrained you did hit, for I dare assure you of his secresye, and therof be you bold.

For the lord Russelz dethe, and other thinges, I referre me to this gentilman, who I dare promis is of no faction beside my wyl. God blesse you in al safety as I wysche myself.

Your tru assured cousing and sistar,
Elizabeth R.


At the opening of the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringhay on 12th October, 1586, the Commissioners delivered her this personal letter from Queen Elizabeth. Translated from the French

Dear sister,

You have in various ways and manners attempted to take my life and to bring my kingdom to destruction by bloodshed. I have never proceeded so harshly against you, but have, on the contrary, protected and maintained you like myself. These treasons will be proved to you and all made manifest. Yet it is my will, that you answer the nobles and peers of the kingdom as if I were myself present. I therefore require, charge, and command that you make answer for I have been well informed of your arrogance.

Act plainly without reserve, and you will sooner be able to obtain favour of me,


About the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots

Although she signed the warrant for Mary's execution, Queen Elizabeth was unwilling to give orders for its dispatch. Hereupon Burghley invited those of the Council who were available to meet him, and together they resolved to send the warrant on their own responsibility. It was sent from London on 4th February, and reached Fotheringhay on the following evening. On the 7th, the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, who were charged with the duty of supervising the business, warned Mary to prepare for death on the following day. On the 9th the news of her execution reached London, and was received by the Queen with surprise and horror. Next day she expressed her detestation of the act to Hatton; and on the 10th she summoned the Council, rated them, and ordered them out of her sight. William Davison, her Secretary, she sent to the Tower. Four days later she wrote to James to declare her innocence of Mary's death

My dear brother,

I would you knew (though not felt) the extreme dolor that overwhelms my mind, for that miserable accident which (far contrary to my meaning) hath befallen. I have now sent this kinsman of mine, whom ere now it hath pleased you to favour, to instruct you truly of that which is too irksome for my pen to tell you. I beseech you that as God and many more know, how innocent I am in this case: so you will believe me, that if I had bid aught I would have bid by it.

I am not so base minded that fear of any living creature or Prince should make me so afraid to do that were just; or done, to deny the same. I am not of so base a lineage, nor carry so vile a mind. But, as not to disguise, fits not a King, so will I never dissemble my actions, but cause them show even as I meant them. Thus assuring yourself of me, that as I know this was deserved, yet if I had meant it I would never lay it on others' shoulders; no more will I not damnify myself that thought it not.

The circumstance it may please you to have of this bearer. And for your part, think you have not in the world a more loving kinswoman, nor a more dear friend than myself; nor any that will watch more carefully to preserve you and your estate. And who shall otherwise persuade you, judge them more partial to others than you. And thus in haste I leave to trouble you : beseeching God to send you a long reign.

The 14th of February, 1587
Your most assured loving sister and cousin,
Elizab. R.


When the threat of the Spanish Armada and invasion by Spanish forces was imminent

Right trustie, and righte welbelovid cousines wee greete you well. Whereas heertofore upon the the advertismentes, from time to time and from sondrie places, of the great preparations of foren forces, made with a full intention to invade this our Realme and other our dominions, wee gave our direccions unto you for the preparinge of our Subjects within your Lievetennauncies to be in readines for defence againste any attempte, that mighte be made againste us and our Realme, whiche our directions we finde so well performed, that we cannot but receave great contentemente therbie, bothe in respecte of your careful procedinges therein, and allso of the greate willingenes of our people in generall, to the accomplishement of that whereunto they were requiered.

Shewinge therbie their great love, and loyalltie towardes us, which as wee accept most thanckfullie at their handes, acknowledge ourselves infinitlie bounde to Almightie God, in that hit hathe pleased him to blesse us with so lovinge and dewtifull subjectes: so wolde wee have you make hit knowen unto them on our behalfe, forasmuche as we finde the same intention not onlie of invadinge, but of makinge a conquest allso of this our Realme, nowe constantlie more and more detected, and confirmide as a matter fullie resolved on (an Armie beinge alreadie put to the seas for that purposse which we doubte not but by godes goodnes, shall prove frustrate), wee have theerfore thoughte meete, to will, and requier you forthewith, with as muche convenient speede as you maie, to call togeather at some conveniente place or places the best sorte of gentelmen under your lievetennancie, and to declare unto them that consideringe these great preparacions and arrogante threatninges nowe burst owte in action upon the seas, tendinge to a conquest, whearin everie mans particular state is in the hiest degree to be towched, in respecte of countrie, libertie, wiffe, childeren, landes, life, and that which speciallie to be regarded, for the profession of the trewe and sincere religion, of Christe.

And layinge before them the infinite and unspeakeable miseries, that followe upon any suche accidente and change (which miseries ar evidentlie seene by the fruites of the harde and crewell governmente that is holden in countries not farre distante, wheare suche chaunge dothe happen, whatsoever pretence is otherwise geven forthe for the cause of religion) wee doe looke that the most parte of them shoulde have, upon this instante extraordinarie occasion a larger proportion of furniture, both for horsemen and footemen (but especiallie horsemen) then hathe bine certified, therbie to be in ther best strengthe against any attempte whate soever, and to be imployed bothe abowte our owne parson and otherwise, as they shall have knowledge geven unto them, the nomber of which larger proportion as sone as you shall knowe, wee requier you to signifie to our privie Counsell, heerunto as wee doubte not but by your good indevoures, they wilbe the rather conformable, So also wee assure ourselves, that Almightie God will so blesse their loyall hartes boren towardes us their lovinge Soveraigne and their naturall Countrie, that all the attemptes of any ennymies whatesoever shalbe made voied and frustrate, to their confusion, your comfortes, and to Godes highe glorie.

Given under our signet at our mannor of Greenewiche
18 June 1588, in the XXXIV yeare of our Raigne,
by the Queen, Elizabeth R.


My very good brother,

Hit pleaseth me not a litel that my true intents without gloses or giles ar by you so gratefully taken for I am nothing of that vile disposition of suche as while thir neighbors house is or likly to be a fire wyl not only not helpe but not afourd them water to quench the same.

If any suche you have hard of toward me God graunt he remembreth hit not to wel for them, for the Archeduke helas poore man he wischeth every body like himself except his bondes wiche without his brothers helpe he wil soon repent his Signory. I suppos that considering whos aperte enemy the King of Spaine is you wyl not neglect so muche your owne honor to the world (thogh you had no peculiar love to me) as to permit his Embassator in your Land, that so causelesly persecutes suche a Princes as never harmed him. Yea suche a one as if his deceased father had beene rightly informed, did bettar merite at his hand than any prince on erthe ever did to other for wher hathe ther bene an example that any one King hathe ever denied so faire a present as the hole seventene provinces of the Lowe Countries.

Yea who not only wold not have denied them but send a dousin Gentilmen to warne him of their sliding from him wt offer of keeping them from the nere neigbors hands and sent treasur to pay the shaking towns fro laps, disserved I suche a recompence as many a complot bothe for my life and kingdom? Aught I not to defend and bereave him of suche weapons as might invay myselfe? he wil say I helpe Zealand and Holand from his hands tho if ether his father or himselfe wold observe suche othe as the Emperour Charles obliged himselfe and so in sequele his son I wold not have delt with others territories: but the hold this by suche covenants as not observing by thir owne grants the ar no longar bound unto them: but thogh al this wer not unknowne to him. Yet I cast suche right raisons over my shuldar and regarded this good and have never defended them a wicked quarel and had he not mixt that gouvernment contrary to his owne lawes with the rule of Spainards al this had not neded.

Now for the warning the frenche sent you of Vesons imbassat to yow me thinkes the king your good brother hathe given you a good caveat that being a king he supposeth by that measure that you wold denye suche offers. And since nedes you wyl have my counseil I can hardly believe that being warned your own subject shall be suffred to come into your realme from suche a place to suche intent. Suche a prelate if he came shuld be taught a bettar leason than play so presumtius and bold a part afor he knewe your good liking therof which as I hope is far from your intent. So wyl his coming verefie good mastar [symples] asseverations at Rome of wiche you have or now bene warned ynough. Thus you se how to fulfil your trust reposed in me wiche to infringe I never mynde. I have sincerely made patente my sinceritie and thogh not fraught wt muche wisdome yet stuffed wt great good wyl I hope you wyl beare wt my molesting you to long wt my [skratching] hand, as proceding from a hart that shal ever be filled with the sure affection of your loving and frendely sistar,

Elizabeth R.