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ceiving satisfaction, be compounded into one entire licence without stint; and then, that they amongst themselves take order for that profit which hath been offered to your majesty. This is a plain and known way wherein your majesty is not an actor; only it hath this, that the work of dying and dressing cloths, which hath been so much glorified, seemeth to be wholly relinquished, if you leave there. The second is, that there be a free trade of cloth, with this difference, that the dyed and dressed pay no custom, and the whites double custom, it being a merchandise prohibited and only licentiate. This continueth in life and fame the work desired, and will have a popular applause: but, I do confess, I did ever think that trading in companies is most agreeable to the English nature, which wanteth that same general vein of a republic which runneth into the Dutch, and serveth to them instead of a company; and therefore I dare not advise to adventure this great trade of the kingdom, which hath been so long under goverment, in a free or loose trade. The third is a compound way of both, which is, to go on with the trade of whites by the old company restored; and that your majesty's profit be raised by order amongst themselves, rather than by double custom, wherein you must be the actor; and that nevertheless there be added a privilege to the same company to carry out cloths dyed, and dressed, custom-free; which will still continue as a glorious beam of your majesty's royal design. I hope and wish at least, that this which I have written may be of some use to your majesty, to settle, by the advice of the lords about you, this great business: at the least it is the effect of my care and poor ability, which, if in me be any, it is given me to no other end but faithfully to serve your majesty. God ever preserve you. humble subject and bounden servant,

Your majesty's most


Feb. 25, 1615.



I HUMBLY pray you not to think me over-hasty or much in appetite, if I put you in remembrance of my motion of strengthening me with the oath and trust of a privy counsellor; not for mine own strength, for as to that, I thank God, I am armed within, but for the strength of my service. The times I submit to you, who knoweth them best. But sure I am, there were never times which did more require a king's attorney to be well armed, and, as I said once to you, to wear a gauntlet and not a glove: the arraignments, when they proceed; the contention between the chancery and king's bench; the great cause of the rege inconsulto, which is so precious to the king's prerogative; divers other services that concern the king's revenue and the repair of his estate. Besides, it pleaseth his majesty to accept well of my relations touching his business, which may seem a kind of interloping, as the merchants call it, for one that is no counsellor. But I leave all unto you, thinking myself infinitely bounden unto you for your great favours, the beams whereof I see plainly reflect upon me even from others; so that now I have no greater ambition than this, that as the king sheweth himself to you the best master, so I might be found your best servant. In which wish and vow I shall ever rest,

Feb. 27, 1615.

Most devoted and affectionate
to obey your commands.




CXXXIV. To his MAJESTY, about the Earl of Stephens's


It may please your most excellent Majesty, Ar my last access to your majesty, it was fit for me to consider the time and your journey, which maketh me now trouble your majesty with a remnant of that I thought then to have said: besides your old warrant and commission to me, to advertise your majesty when

first collection, p.105.

you are aur champs, of any thing that concerned your service and my place. I know your majesty is nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus; and I confess, in regard of your great judgment, under which nothing ought to be presented but well weighed, I could almost wish that the manner of Tiberius were in use again, of whom Tacitus saith, Mos erat quamvis præsentem scripto adire; much more in absence. I said to your majesty that which I do now repeat, that the evidence upon which my lord of Somerset standeth indicted is of a good strong thread, considering impoisoning is the darkest of offences; but that the thread must be well spun and woven together; for, your majesty knoweth, it is one thing to deal with a jury of Middlesex and Londoners, and another to deal with the peers; whose objects perhaps will not be so much what is before them in the present case, which I think is as odious to them as to the vulgar, but what may be hereafter. Besides, there be two disadvantages, we that shall give in evidence shall meet with, somewhat considerable; the one, that the same things often opened lose their freshness, except there be an aspersion of somewhat that is new; the other is the expectation raised, which makes things seem less than they are, because they are less than opinion. Therefore I were not your attorney, nor myself, if I should not be very careful, that in this last part, which is the pinnacle of your former justice, all things may pass sine offendiculo, sine scrupulo. Hereupon I did move two things, which, having now more fully explained myself, I do in all humbleness renew. First, that your majesty will be careful to choose a steward of judgment, that may be able to moderate the evidence and cut off digressions; for I may interrupt, but I cannot silence: the other, that there may be special care taken for the ordering the evidence, not only for the knitting, but for the list, and to use your majesty's own words, the confining of it. This to do, if your majesty vouchsafe to direct it yourself, that is the best; if not, I humbly pray you to require my lord chancellor, that he, together with my lord chief justice, will confer with myself

and my fellows, that shall be used for the marshalling and bounding of the evidence, that we may have the help of his opinion, as well as that of my lord chief justice; whose great travels as I much commend, yet that same plerophoria, or over-confidence, doth always subject things to a great deal of chance.

There is another business proper for me to crave of your majesty at this time, as one that have in my eye a great deal of service to be done concerning your casual revenue; but considering times and persons, I desire to be strengthened by some such form of commandment under your royal hand, as I send you here enclosed. I most humbly pray your majesty to think, I understand myself right well in this which I desire, and that it tendeth greatly to the good of your service. The warrant I mean not to impart, but upon just occasion; thus thirsty to hear of your majesty's good health, I rest

22 Jan. 1615.

CXXXV. To his MAJESTY, about the Chan- Rawley's cellor's place.

It may please your most excellent Majesty, THE last day when it pleased your majesty to express yourself towards me far above that I can deserve or could expect, I was surprised by the prince's coming in: I most humbly pray your majesty, therefore, to accept these few lines of acknowledgment. I never had greater thoughts for myself, farther than to maintain those great thoughts, which, I confess, I have for your service. I know what honour is, and I know what the times are; but, I thank God, with me my service is the principal; and it is far from me, under honourable pretences to cover base desires; which I account them to be, when men refer too much to themselves, especially serving such a king. I am afraid of nothing but that the master of the horse, your excellent servant, and I shall fall out, who shall hold your stirrup best. But were your majesty mounted and seated without difficulties and distastes in your busi


ness, as I desire and hope to see you; I should ex animo desire to spend the decline of my years in my studies: wherein also I should not forget to do him honour, who, besides his active and politic virtues, is the best pen of kings, much more the best subject of a pen. God ever preserve your majesty.

Your majesty's most humble subject,

April 1, 1616.

and more and more obliged servant,


Stephens's CXXXVI. To Sir GEORGE VILLIERS, about the Earl of Somerset.

first collec

tion, p. 108.


I THOUGHT it convenient to give his majesty an account of that which his majesty gave me in charge in general, reserving the particulars for his coming; and I find it necessary to know his pleasure in some things ere I could farther proceed.

My lord chancellor and myself spent Thursday and yesterday, the whole forenoons of both days, in the examination of Sir Robert Cotton; whom we find hitherto but empty, save only in the great point of the treaty with Spain.

This examination was taken before his majesty's warrant came to Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, for communicating unto us the secrets of the pensions; which warrant I received yesterday morning being Friday, and a meeting was appointed at my lord chancellor's in the evening after council; upon which conference we find matter of farther examination for Sir Robert Cotton, of some new articles whereupon to examine Somerset, and of entering into examination of Sir William Mounson.

Wherefore, first for Somerset, being now ready to proceed to examine him, we stay only upon the duke of Lenox, who it seemeth is fallen sick and keepeth in; without whom, we neither think it warranted by his majesty's direction, nor agreeable to his intention, that we seould proceed; for that will want, which should sweeten the cup of medicine, he being his

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