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longing or depending on our highe Court of Chauncerie, as may be of habilitie to furnish us with severall sommes at this tyme, and thereof to returne unto our Privy Councill, at the least within twentie daies after the receipt of these our letters, both the names of the persons, their dwellinges, and what sommes you thinke they may spare, that wee may thereupon direct our Privy Seales unto them according to the forme of this inclosed. And because wee could be glad to make appeare (if any of those persons have formerly lent, thoughe repaide againe) howe well wee conceave of their former readines, yet can wee not resolve to spare them any further at this tyme, then by letting you knowe that wee meane not to require of any of those so much as they lent by one third part. By which course and consideration of ours, thoughe you may perceave howe much wee desire to procure this without inconvenience to any, which is intended onely for the service of the publique, yet must wee assure you that wee had no greater cause at any tyme then nowe wee have to make use of your integritie in respect of the just election, and of your cónstant demonstration both of diligence and affection to the service. Given under our Signett at our Pallace of Westm., the last day of October, in the nynth yeare of our raigne of Greate Brittaine, France, and Ireland.
EXECUTION OF LEGATE AND WIGHTMAN.
[The following letter will not much redound to the credit of Archbishop Abbott, who was desirous that the “two blasphemous heretics, Legate and Wightman,” should be burned, and that the authority of certain accommodating judges should be obtained for that species of execution. The passage regarding Lord Coke, and his “singularity in opinion” standing in the way of such a course, is remarkable. Bartholomew Legate was burned in Smithfield, but not until the 13th March, 1614, and Edward Wightman in the month following at Burton-upon-Trent. The two subsequent communications may partly account for the long delay between January 1611-12, and March and April 1614,]
Indorsed by Lord Ellesmere, “ArchP of Cant. Rec. 21 Januarij, 1611.”
To the right honorable my very good L., the L. Ellesmere,
MY very good Lord. His Majestie being carefull that justice should proceede against those two blasphemous heretikes, Legate and Wightman, gave me in charge that before the terme, when the judges drewe towards the towne, I should make his Majesties pleasure knowne unto your Lordship. And that is, that your Lordship should call unto you three or foure of the judges and take their resolution concerning the force of lawe in that behalfe, that so with expedition these evill persons may receive the recompence of their pride and impiety. His Majestie did thinke the Judges of the Kinges Benche to bee fittest to be dealt withall in this argument, as unto whom the knowledge of causes capital doth most ordinarily appertaine. And as I conceived his Highnesse did not muche desire that the Lord Coke should be called there unto, least by his singularitie in opinion he should give staye to the businesse. So, hoping shortly to see your Lordship abroade, with remembrance of my best love, I remaine, o
CHOICE OF THE JUDGES.
[We gather from what succeeds that Lord Ellesmere, having been referred to on the subject of the judges whose opinions were to be taken on the execution of Legate and Wightman, had pointed out such as he thought most proper to be consulted. Justice Williams and Baron Altham, with the Attorney and Solicitor General, seem to have been clearly in favour of burning the prisoners. Lord Coke's aversion to such a proceeding, and other points of his character, are also noticed.]
Indorsed by Lord Ellesmere, “The Archb" of Canterbury. Rec. 22 Januarij, 1611.”
To the right honorable my very good L., the L. Ellesmere, L.
My very good Lord. I cannot chuse but well approve your Lordships choise of the judges. And if any more should bee added, I distrust not but Justice Crooke would do well. Mr. Justice Williams was with mee the other day, who maketh no doubt but that the lawe is cleere to burne them. Hee told me also of his utter dislike of all the Lord Coke his courses, and that himselfe and Baron Altham did once very roundly let the Lord Coke knowe their minde, that he was not such a maister of the lawe as hee did take on him, to deliver what he list for lawe, and to dispise all other. I finde the Kinges Atturney and Soliciter to bee throughly resolved in this present businesse. My servant, Hart, is at this present out of the way, but as soone as he cometh in hee shall waite upon your Lordship. And so, wishing your Lordship ease and health, I remaine,
Your Lordships very ready to do you service,
Lambich, Januar 22, 1611.
CREATION OF BARONETS.
[The principal public topic in the ensuing original letter from Lord Ellesmere to his son is the creation of the new order of Baronets then under discussion. His Lordship states that the King had spent two afternoons in hearing counsel on each side, and had taken a third day to consider of his decision, which, however, was very well known even before the lawyers were called in. Blackstone informs us (i. 403, edit. 1829) that the order was “first instituted by King James in 1611,” and Wilson places it in 1614; but Lord Ellesmere's letter fixes the discussion of the subject in March 1612. Documents of this authentic kind are very useful in settling dates with precision. Wilson (Life of King James I. in Kennet, ii. 695) attributes the device to the favourite Somerset, and states that two hundred were to be made, each paying £1000 “for their honour.” The private matters introduced place the character of the Lord Chancellor, as usual, in the most amiable point of view.]
To my lovinge sonne Sir John Egerton, Knight, at Ashridge.
I THANKE God there is stylle better hope of your sister's good recoverye : omnia signa ad salutem, bothe for her and for the chylde she goeth with, as the physicions and mydwyffe conceyve. I praye God increase the hope, and gyve her healthe and strength, for she is yet very weake. For the Baronettes, fervet opus : the Kinge hath spent 2 afternoones in the hearinge of Counsell on both sydes, and reserveth a thyrde daye to resolve. His Mały is this afternoone goinge to Theobaldes, and hath cutte out worke for his Counsell untill his returne, which is loked for to be on Frydaye evenynge. So my commynge to Ashridge at this tyme is disapoynted, and I take some hope to be there the later ende of Easter weke, yf God wyll suffer me. I am gladde to heare of Georges amendment, and am sorry for Prossers sycknes. Let hym lack nothinge that maye doe hym good, and let hym be warned not to hurte hym selfe by yll dyett or desorder. Commende me to Mr.Chamberlayn and Mr. Pakington, yf they come to you before your returne. All your chylCAM D. soc. 12. 3 M
dren be well, God be praysed for it, and the poore nurses husband in good forwardnes of perfect recovery. So, praying God to blesse you and your wyffe and all yours, I rest,
Your moost lovinge and carefull father,
T. ELLESMERE, Canc. 31 Martij, 1612.
TREATY BETWEEN ENGLAND AND FRANCE.
[The following affords another striking proof of the weighty unprofessional matters in which James I. consulted and employed Lord Ellesmere. Of the public event to which the document relates, it is not necessary to say anything, but the clause respecting the maintenance of the Protestant faith in France is interesting and important.]
Indorsed by Lord Ellesmere, “19 Maij, 1612. A copye of the Kinges Declaration
delivered to the Duke of Bouillion, which I subscribed by his Matie" commaundement and in his presence.”
THE Kinges Matie of Great Britaine having understood by the Duke of Bouillon, aswell by speach as by writing delivered under his hand, what he hath in charge to say to his Matie in the behalf of the King of France and the Queene Regent, doth aunswere unto the severall partes of the said writing as followeth.
First, touching the mariages: seing that matter is now no more in question, his Highnes hath no further to say unto it.
Next, his Matie doth well approve the course offered in the said writing, which is to conserve inviolably all leagues, amities and correspondencyes which they have with their said neighbors, frendes and allies, and in those thinges which shall concerne them in common to governe and direct their actions by advice from their said frendes and allies, and to contribute their authoritie and countenance uppon all actions which may concerne ether their common or any of their perticuler good. Among which their