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[Domestic Correspondence, State Paper Office, March 1, 1598–9]
Goode Mr. Carleton, I receved both your letters of the 12th and 20th of the last, full fraught both with theire owne store and much other goode matter that came in theire companie. We kepe stil at a stay and do neither movere nor promovere, but drive on with the weather to see what time will bringe foorth. The Erle of Essex is crased, but whether more in body or minde is doubtfull. Thinges do not succede as he wold wish them, but new difficulties arise daily about his commission, as touching the time of his abode, touching his intertainment, and touching the disposing of places and offices, upon which points and some others he is so litle satisfied that many times he makes it a question whether he go or not. Sir George Cariea of Cockington (by Plymouth) is named to be Treasurer of Ireland in Sir Henry Wallopsb place ;c but whether he be to my lords liking or no I know not. The rebells of Mounster and Connagh are not so united but that they have many jarres among themselves, and of late a bickering, wherin Patricke Condon (a cheife ringleader) is saide to be slaine or sore hurt. Here was newes that Capt. Simmes and his companie were cut a peeces by the ennemie, but, as far as I heare since, it was but a private quarrell, in which Simmes miscaried. On Satterday last Sir William Woodhouse, accompanied with fowre hacksters, understanding that Sir Robert Drury was to come from Totnam toward London, waited for him in the way, and set upon him as he was comming out of his coach, wounding him in three or fowre places, and, thincking they had dispatcht him, left him for dead, but it falles out better with him, for he is like to recover ; marry, his man that offred himself in his masters defence was slaine outright in the place. Upon the first alarme at the Court there was commaundment from the Counsaile for a privie search all over this towne to apprehend them, but within two howres after (upon what reason I know not) it was countermaunded. Some geve out that Sir William Woodhouse shold be likewise hurt in the face and in the hande, but I thincke it is rather geven out to move pitie than otherwise, for I cannot learne he was neere daunger, and the match was very uneven, of five to two, and they taken on the sodain. The Lady Drury (Sir Roberts mother) died some ten or twelve dayes since, and hath left Sir John Scot a fresh widower. I wrote you in one of my letters that Sir William Woodhouse had maried the Lady Southwell, but the matter was mistaken, though it were generally bruited. One Doctor Ledsam, sometimes the Quenes Chaplain, but allwayes a giddibraind fellow, hath lately stab’d and made away himself here in towne. The match is made up twixt younge Norrisa and the Lady Briget, second daughter to the Erle of Oxford. We are stil fed with fresh rumors of Don Sebastian, that he is ipsissimus, and that the Venetians have sent ambassadors to the King of Spaine to signifie so much unto him ; and that there have ben some great men executed of late in Portingale about this busines,and many others translated into Spaine ; but I will lay no wager of all this. For lacke of better matter, I send you three or foure toyes to passe away the time. The letter of Squires conspiracie is well written, but the other of Dr. Dee is a ridiculous bable of an old imposturing jugler. The Silkeworme is thought to be Dr. Muffetts,b and in mine opinion is no bad piece of poetrie. The treatise of Henry the Fourthc is reasonablie well written. The author is a younge man of Cambridge toward the civill lawe. Here hath ben much descanting about it, why such a storie shold come out at this time, and many exceptions taken, especially to the Epistle, which was a short thing in Latin dedicated to the Erleof Essex, and objected to him in goode earnest, wherupon there was commaundment it shold be cut out of the booke ; yet I have got you a a transcript of it that you may picke out the offence if you can ; for my part I can finde no such buggeswords, but that everything is as it is taken. I am going the next weeke (God willing) to Knebworth, in which consideration I am not greatly sory for your stayeng at Ostend, for I shold have injoyed but litle of your company, which perhaps will come better to passe at some other time. And so, wishing you all contentment both here and there, I commit you to God.
From London, this first of March, 1599.
Yours most assuredly,
[Addressed as before.]
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48. John Chamberlain to Dud. Carleton, attendant on the Governor of Ostend. We keep at a stay, waiting what time will bring forth. The Earl of Essex is crazed either in mind or body. New difficulties daily arise about his commission, about the time of his abode, his entertainment, and the disposing of offices, and he is so discontented as sometimes to question whether he will go. Sir Geo. Carey of Cockington, near Plymouth, is to be Treasurer of Ireland, in place of Sir Henry Wallop. The rebels of Munster and Connaught bicker among themselves, and Patrick Condon, a ringleader, is said to be killed or sore hurt. I heard that Capt. Simmes and his company were cut to pieces by the enemy, but it was only a private quarrel in which Simmes miscarried. On Saturday, Sir William Woodhouse, with four hucksters, laid wait for Sir Robt. Drury, coming from Tottenham to London, wounded him in three or four places, and left him for dead, but he is likely to recover ; his man defending him was slain. On the first alarm at Court, the Council commanded a private search all over the town to apprehend them, but two hours after it was countermanded ; some say (probably to move pity) that Sir Wm. Woodhouse was hurt in the face and hand ; the match was very uneven, five to two, and they taken on the sudden.
Lady Drury, Sir Robert’s mother, is dead, leaving Sir John Scott a fresh widower. Sir William Woodhouse has not married Lady Southwell, as was said. Doctor Ledsam, sometime the Queen’s chaplain, always a giddy-brained fellow, has committed suicide. Young Norris is to marry Lady Bridget, second daughter of the Earl of Oxford. We hear fresh reports of Don Sebastian ; that Venice has sent ambassadors to Spain about him, and that some great men have been executed in Portugal, and many others removed into Spain, about this business. I enclose three or four “ toyes.” The letter of Squier’s conspiracy is well written, but that of Dr. Dee is ridiculous. The Silkworm is thought to be Dr. Muffetts, and is no bad piece of poetry. The treatise of Henry IV. is well written ; the author is a young man of Cambridge, a lawyer. There is much talk about it, why such a story should come out now, and exception is taken to the Latin epistle, dedicated to the Earl of Essex. I can find no harm in it, but it was commanded to be cut out of the book. Private affairs. [1¾ pages. Printed in Chamberlain’s Letters, pp. 46–48.]