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Lady Elizabeth Russell's letters

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Lady Russell to Lord Burghley. [1593.]
Good Lord, the term draweth near, and nothing done touching my humble suit to Her Majesty in the right of my daughter's cause, for the judges' opinions to be delivered singulatim to Her Majesty's own self; which was all I craved at the first, for that I hear that among the judges when they be all assembled, some being inferior be loth to oppose their opinions against their superiors. But if Her Majesty shall be pleased to have their speeches singulatim, I hope Her Majesty shall receive their reports to better purpose. For howsoever the Lord Chief Justice Anderson, Pirriam, and Gawdey, that now be judges might seek to prevent the Lord Chief Justice Wray in opinion since my lord Russell's death, in that they three were my lord of Bedford's counsellors in law, sure I am that in my lord Russell's life, both Lord Chief Justice Wray, Dyer, Man wood, Sir Thomas Gawdy, Shute, and Windham, all judges then, were of opinion that it was flat a remainder in law, and that the inheritance should be in nubibus, meaning the feofees, till there were heirs, if my lord Russell should die before his father, and not a reversion in his father, the Earl of Bedford. Good my lord, since your lordship is sick and the term so near, that I and mine be undone by delays of so many years to my charge, no less than I think the land worth for these eight years past, for God's sake let me have sentence one way or other by Her Majesty's most gracious and grave wisdom. I dare in my very soul put it to her own censure for justice when Her Majesty shall have heard particularly to herself their reports, she shall be my Solomon to direct your sentence, my lord, by my desire. Good Lord, let Sir Robert Cecil move Her Majesty in your absence, that it being by end of law despatched, I might be gone and hide my head that owe more than I am worth. Good Lord, have compassion of me for further charge by law in this matter. None better than yourself knoweth how it hath irked my heart to have been delayed so many years by want of sentence from the judges. I have done fully the part of a wife and mother in bringing it thus far. Her Majesty is my last refuge for justice, if the throne of Justice give it from mine I am no more, but leave all the rest to God. Your loving sister-in-law, E. Russell.
Holograph. Endorsed :—1593. 1 p.[1]

Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. [1593.]
My cousin, Morrice, hath been with me this afternoon, poor man. I told him what course, by Her Majesty's commandment, was taken in letters to the judges for final end of my uncomfortable cause. He wished that with their opinions, their reasons which lead their opinions had also been added in setting down their opinions. He saith that Her Majesty for her own information may require this singulatim, though a thing not usual, in that it is in her own case; for that otherwise she cannot know what to grant livery of. Neither is this like Stafford's case in Henry VII's time, wherein the judges might deny to tell the King their judgments beforehand, for that was for treason and requisite to have been hanged in respect of the estate : though not by the Common Law, and therefore they refused to set down their opinions, but hanged him as soon as he came before them. Oh, good nephew ! the gravity, wisdom, care of maintaining law of the land, learning and piety of the man I find such as in my very heart I could be content to live with bread and water as long as I might with life, on condition, in publicum bonum in respect of God's church and maintenance of the State by the laws of the realm and not by rigour, as well as for private good of your good father, that lacketh such a one to back him, and in his absence to supply, this man were a Counsellor and Master of the Rolls. But I fear God, in his providence disposed to plague us for our unthankfulness and wickedness, will not have England so happy for such a public magistrate as Morrice, nor long to enjoy your worthy father's life, or make his credit with the highest so much to his own comfort as to have such and so wise a man and kinsman and friend of his own of the Council Table. Himself wished no better, he said, but that he might have been called to answer and to have been chidden of Her Majesty than of the Council, for he thinketh it hard measure to be committed two months only upon Her Majesty's displeasure and not to answer it to Her Majesty's self what he had done. He com plaineth greatly that the laws of the realm be not kept, by abuses as well temporal as ecclesiastical. I would it might be your cause of glory by soliciting, in my lord your father's absence, Her Majesty for recompense of this disgrace to make him Counsellor and Master of the Rolls, to your own comfort in absence of my lord your father to aid yourself. I heartily thank you, Sir, for your pains in my judges' letters. Your loving Aunt, Elizabeth Russell, Dowager.
Holograph. Endorsed :—1593. 1 p.[2]

Dowager Lady Elizabeth Russell to the Council. [1594, bef. 16] Oct.
She has been offered great indignity by Mr. Lovelace, Lieutenant of the Forest and Castle of Windsor under the Lord Admiral. She came early this October to a certain copyhold, to view where certain trees had been cut down by Lawrence Manfield and Lovelace's man, and when she came to the house she called for the key, and was answered that Lovelace had it. She commanded the door to be broken open, and found two of Lovelace's men within to keep possession against her, whom she brought home to her house and set them by the heels in her porter's lodge: saying she would teach them to come within her liberties and keep possession against her: Lovelace knowing that no sheriff has authority to enter or execute any process but by her bailiff, by force of her charter. If she had offered him wrong, the law was open to him. Hereupon about two o'clock Lovelace came with 16 halberts and long staves within the gates of her house, which is her castle, broke open the door and locks of the lodge, and took out his men. She prays the Council to call Lovelace before them, that he may be committed to prison and fined: to the example of any other to offer the like to any noblewoman in her own house, contrary to law and privilege of her liberties held by charter.
—Undated. 1 p. (186. 135.)[3]

Elizabeth, dowager Lady Russell, to Lord Cobham.
You said a year ago that you would not be my daughter's tenant without my good will, but broke your promise. I did not think you would have set against Lady Warwick and my daughters, they being so near the Queen. You then promised to discharge yourself of the house, but I find you have put in two of your own men to keep possession; your father would not have thus acted against any of mine. Your motive cannot be affection to the Lord Treasurer or Lord Burghley; but something yet concealed, that must appear on the trial as to who is to bear the loss of 800l. arrears of rent for eight years; you offer rent, but it is refused, as to lease has been acknowledged. I think the Queen will not suffer the virgins that serve her to be wronged.[4]

Elizabeth dowager Lady Russell, to her nephew Sir R. Cecil.
I have been to see Her Majesty when going to God's house, not being able through malice to see her face else; there was no lady present more than ordinary, but Lady Buckhurst. I think Her Majesty would expect from me a New Year's gift, because of her favour in accepting my daughter's service. I propose to give 20l. in a purse. I have many enemies, and can only serve Her Majesty by prayers. I am malicined thus through your father's mutterings, which stick fast by me, and yet be considers it not, nor knows what I have endured for him, to my undeserved shame. "By your aunt that hath not above 600l. de claro in the world to live on left, Elizabeth Russell, that liveth in scorn of disdain, malice, and rancour, fearing, serving, and depending only upon God and my Sovereign, &c. Dowager."[5]

Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. [1595/6, Jan. 27.]
Yield your best favour to a godly, honest and honourable nobleman, the Earl of Kent, to be in the Earl of Huntingdon's place. It is thought there cannot be a fitter supply for the good of God's church and that country, to Her Majesty's service. I think my sister of Warwick will thank you heartily for your favour toward him. I would not have it known to proceed from me, because he is a widower and I a widow, but being entreated thereto, I could not do but thus much in respect of my duty to my dead. I beseech you quod facis fac cito, or else I fear one of the tribe will be before him Hercules Furens. Thus not well able to write more, I end with I pray take my thanks for the five pendants to Bess at Newyearstide, with the remembrance of the five “wonds” in Ireland. And so, I beseech you, let me end with I pray forget not Mr. Dale, whom your mother and my lord your father preferred to be Master of the Requests, when Roockeby was preferred thereto by Mr. Walsingham. So wishing yourself Chancellor of the Duchy or Secretary, or both, with this beginning of the new year, I take my leave with praying you to tell my daughters that I am so busy with lawyers, that I shall have no leisure to talk with them as I would, therefore I would not have them hazard to take cold in coming to me. God bless them with the best husbands of this land, I beseech Christ! Your aunt, that thought on Wednesday that you should never have heard her speak more in faith, Elizabeth Russell, Dowager.
Endorsed :—27 Jan., 1595. Holograph. 1 p. (30. 26.)[6]

Lady Elizabeth Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. [1596,] Aug. 1.
Mr. Secretary, My son, God willing, is to be married on Monday being the 9th of August, here at my house in the Blackfriars. My meaning is not to make any solemnity but only a private meeting of good and honourable friends, a few whereof (if it please you and my Lady, your wife, to be the chief) as friends to my son and fairest flower of his garland for friendship when I am gone, is all my desire at this time. I mean to send my coach for my two daughters, and appoint them whom they shall bring with them, whereof Sir Robert Sidney and Sir William Brooke to be two against that time. So loth to trouble you longer from your affairs at this time I take my leave. From my house at the Blackfriars, this First of August, your unfortunate Aunt, Elizabeth Russell, Dowager.
Endorsed :—“1596.” Holograph. ½ p. (43. 34.)[7]

Elizabeth Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1597, June 24.
Mr. Secretary, because I never hearing from you since my answer of your own letter to me the morrow after I received yours, I now this way desire to know whether you received any from me delivered to your men at your own house, who promised presently to send it to yourself, wherein I took a great deal of pain to mitigate your melancholy. This is all I have to trouble you with, but desire you in this being of the Earl of Worcester's daily in Court, it will please you in your best opportunity to persuade the Earl so as my daughter Bess may be wife to Lord Harbart his eldest son. Her virtue, birth, and place, joined to the hundred pounds of inheritance presently enjoyed and the part in reversion of my Lady Gray, joined with two hundred pounds yearly after my death till two thousand pounds be come out in ten years to her own good whether she be sole or married, will be a sufficient portion for an Earl of so small revenue and so many children as the Earl of Worcester. It is the virtue and honour of the parents joined with the young lord's best affections that maketh me thus desirous. Else I seek it not. 24 June. Your loving Aunt, Elizabeth Russel, Dowager.
Holograph. 1 p. (52. 52.)[8]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell, to her nephew, Sir Robert Cecil. 1597, June.
If you be so without comfort of worldly delight as you seem, it is most ill to the health of your both body and soul; I speak by experience, and know too well that to be true which I say; and, therefore, both am sorry to hear it and beseech the God of all consolation and comfort to remedy it, with giving you a contrary mind. Else will you find this Daemonius meridianus to creep so far into your heart, with his variety of virtues seeming good to be yielded to, (melancholy I mean,) as in end will shorten life by cumbrous conceits and sickness : and when it is rooted so as with peevish persuasions of good thereby and solitary ejaculations, it will bring forth the fruit of stupidity, forgetfulness of your natural disposition of sweet and apt speeches, fit for your place : and, instead thereof, breed and make you a surly, sharp, sour plum, and no better than in truth a very melancholy mole and a misanthropos hateful to God and man : and only with persuasions seeming holy, wise and good. But assure yourself you will find it such a dissembling devil as will no way out but by fasting from sin, and prayer most devout and earnest to God, that, according to Solomon, you may study nothing more than laetari et bene facere; and to think nothing better than to walk in your vocation in your place a wise eloquent orator, though parum vehemens, dulcis tamen ut patris discipulum possis agnosci, though now by infirmity honey is grown to gall. Whereof, tu, Romane, caveto. But of this too much frivolous and needless to a wise councillor and coming courtier, but occasioned by yourself in your own letter. Det dam meliora Deus from your own wisdom, take this in good part, as a taste of what other your friends have been acquainted with and felt. If the old verse be verified in yourself, Solatium est miseris socios habere poenarum, it may do good; if not, burn it for telling you so foolish a tale as ex abundantia cordis os loquitur, from as proud a heart as yours at first, for your life to carry temperately such crosses as flesh and blood can in no way digest, neither their force to be known but by those that feel them, not cured by other care than Humiliamini vos sub potente manu Dei. Let patience have her perfect work, which is antidotum vitae. P.S.—I in no wise like of the enterprise toward. It may have good beginning, but I fear ill success in end, by lives and loss of more than the King of Spain and all his is worth.
Holograph. 1 p. (175. 92.)[9]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1597, [Before July 11].
I am going, God willing, into the country to see if there I may recover my health and strength, and must intreat you as a councillor in my absence to acquaint the Council table how unhonestly, despitefully and unlawfully for one of my calling one May, a draper, hath dealt with me. There is a debt, but of 16l., claimed to be due to May dead, for things fetched many years since. I left him and have not dealt for any groat there the space of 12 years. I never deal with any such, but either will them to receive ready money, or else to trust none without warrant of mine own hand for the delivery of anything demanded in my name. This was not so. But I denying any such to be taken to my use to my knowledge, they commenced their suit in ordinary manner and not by notice due to my calling. Yet was I willing to pay as much thereof as any could prove to have been received by any to my use; whereupon one Barodell, an upholsterer, confessed to have received part. So much was I content to pay, though Barrodel had received 700l. from me, for which I have his release to shew of all debts; so that it came to within 4l. of the sum demanded. And because I refused to pay all, unwittingly to me or mine he hath sued me to an exigent, being not lawful to outlaw any baron, my husband being known to be more than a baron. This indignity in this sort offered me I desire may be made known to the Council table, that I find my honour so much touched therewith, in respect of the danger that might have ensued by an outlawry to my estate by forfeiture, that I have no other refuge to fly to for redress : the rather if merchant books, perhaps paid and not crossed out in some cases, or not delivered perhaps but falsely required, shall have such privileges to claim from any what they command not, and be held for such a law as may force payment of what they list. I trust it may be your case and every one's of the nobility as it is mine now. I therefore appeal to their directions what I shall do or what order shall be taken; to whom I hope myself sufficiently known not to regard 3l. or 4l. so much as the manner of dealing; wherein my honour is so touched as if I thought it were offered to me because I am a widow, were it to shun an inconvenience with a greater mischief purchased to myself and a newer cumber like intestinum vulnus abditum in visceribus meis, I tell you, Sir—but not the Council table—as lately as I have been at death's door, I would rather marry some one that lacketh one of his five senses rather than carry so great an indignity presumed by so base a fellow for want of a husband honourable. Thus, nephew, may you see, how weak soever my body is made by sickness, my mind is the same it was. I pray commend me humbly and heartily to my lady of Warwick and wish her to look to the like, for it may to her what doth to me. This should be 'fett' 12 years since. “Your desolate Aunt, E. Russell, Dowager.”
Endorsed :—“July 1597.” Holograph. Two seals over green silk. 1 p. (53. 89.)[10]

Elizabeth Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1597.
Sir Henry Lee asks me to make his excuses for leaving Windsor without seeing your father and yourself. His pain alone prevented him [margin]. He takes most kindly my Lord's favour in sending a George from his own neck. P.S.—I pray you command my daughters not to come to me, till I send for them. My business in law is such that I cannot entertain any, nor would I hazard all my Lord Russell's riches in a boat, the weather being so unconstant and cold, with roughness of tide and wind. Undated. Holograph. Signed. “Your poor Aunt, Elizabeth Russell, dowager.”
1 p. (58. 53.)[11]

Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1599, Sept.
Since your present turn cannot be served by reason of my Lady of Derby's lease good in law, and because you did require answer of my full resolution within three days, therefore, this Sunday morning, striking 9 of the clock, this I write. My Lady of Derby challenges my promise to her to be preferred, which is true, but with a meaning that none should have my consent to buy it while I breathe, whereby my dead husband's name should be rooted out of Russell House while any perpetuity may prevail, but meant, when my Lady of Derby's lease expired, to buy it, and come and lie in it myself if my maidens' necessity so required as that they must be forced to sell it. But I that had ever told Bess and her sister long since and often, whensoever they weeded out their father's name out of Russell House they should root out my heart from them, did not think that they durst at any time have presumed to have consented to have sold it to any without my pleasure first known, before I should have heard motion from any that would buy it. But since they have done their worst in bringing the sale thereof in talk, so as that I must either consent or bring the burden of a mighty counsellor my nephew upon me, God reward Mrs. Elizabeth. Much good shall she get by her presumptuous disobedience herein. For her sister with tears avowed that she never was willing any way to deal in this matter but as it pleased me to sell or not to any creature. Mr. Secretary, I pray you pardon me I cannot with my life frame my heart to be content to part with Russell House out of the name, whereby my dead husband's name shall be wronged and weeded up by the roots, but mean to sell all I am worth to give them what of you they should have. I know, perfeeto odio odieris me; but I must bear the bitterest brunt thereof, as all the comfortable fruits that ever I received from my children. Yet as long as I offer no wrong nor do you no hurt therein, being so well provided of your father's house, and thinking this not worth more than you offer to me, not to be offended to go without, I must put my trust only in God to protect me and bear what your coming malice may work me, since I cannot bring my heart to be content to dishonour the dead, or not to give all due to my dead darling while I breathe; and therefore, desire you not to go about to take the remainder of the House out of the Crown. Your honest, plain dealing Aunt. [P.S.]—Wherein I may else pleasure you, I shall be most willing to do what I may, but I think that I go upon my last year. Some will kill me, and therefore my kingdom is not of this world. Elizabeth Russell, Douager.
—Undated. Holograph. Endorsed :—“1599, September.” 1 p. (74. 1.)[12]

Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1599, Sept.
I had just cause to be offended with dealing to sell that which so many years before so bitterly forbidden was by me in respect of wrong to their dead father, by weeding out his name out of the house wherein only his honour liveth by whom they enjoy the inheritance; and whereby I shall have your inward malice to me for not agreeing to it (whatsoever in your wisdom you will outwardly pretend, as I find by your letter). I confess I was willing to say that, after my Lady of Derby's lease, I would be content with a lease of her rent as she enjoyeth it now for many years, but neither a hundred, nor to be altered out of the name of Russell House, which my heart will not afford to any living out of their inheritance. For the other house, Sir, I am. as willing to part with the fee farm from this time forward from my daughters for £2,000 in money to be paid to their use, and 20 nobles in money yearly rent to them for ever, as yourself can desire. But for arrearages of £800 for time past to be paid by myself to my daughters since their minority, after the rate of £100 yearly rent for 8 years past, I require from them that hath done them that wrong as with danger of champerty have entered into the penalty of the statute for meddling with titles in controversy. Your brother's purse it is that I covet to pay poenam of stulticiam by trial, or else to keep possession of Dacre's house, whereof I have a lease of this price as I tell you. If I may be discharged of £800 to be paid presently into my La. of Warwick's hands for the rent of the time past, I will be bound to repay it again if the lease be not by law and trial found on my daughters' side frustrate, for that no act of Parliament can warrant that good which was not good from the beginning. I know nor acknowledge any house to be of my daughters' inheritance the Lord Treasurer's, whom I have not to deal withal more than to affirm that he dealt most unkindly with me to deal any way in that house against me and my daughters. I have deserved better of him, as his own conscience can witness and himself did acknowledge to the full in your father's days. But touching it for yourself, which is called Dacre's house, yourself, Sir, made first motion thereof, saying that the mansion old house was too great for you, and that you chose this rather, as you have reason, as more comfortable and less charge in respect of building; the other old and not to serve your present necessity in respect of the Countess' lease. This Dacre's house new built, and fair to the street, well watered with conduit' water, no small commodity, a garden the length of the house, a private water gate, of small cost for maintenance, of more receipt by the lodgings in the garden than the other is of, a stable which the other wanteth. It appeared that I made choice of Dacre's house more than of the other, that bound myself to give £100 yearly rent for it and to try the title. And in a letter to my Lord Cobham, about this time twelvemonth, appeareth that I account not of Dacre's house for a petty lodging, but will give unto my daughters £2,000 and 20 nobles a year rent from this time forward for their interest of inheritance, by sale of as good land as any is in Gloucestershire, and therefore, Mr. Secretary, no petty lodging, nor to be departed with for £1,300 or less than £2,000. But this is all the comfort that ever I yet received of Bess since her breath, to be detriment to me by all means lie in her. Neither can she ever acquit in her life the wrong done to her dead father and hurt to myself for the hazard of your displeasure for denying your desire in this; for which I know you will hate me, and will not believe the contrary, as I feared at the first; the grief whereof, by sobbing, was the only cause of my sickness, which hath been more sorrow to me than ever in all her life she was comfort. But I must bear your wrath rather than suffer my dead husband to be wronged by suffering his name to be weeded out of Russell House while I breathe. For Dacre's house, I am willing to yield my interest with all my heart from this day forward for £2,000 in money and 20 nobles yearly rent for ever, which myself will give them if I recover their right by trial of law in Dacre's lease. Thus neither thinking their house “disperged” by your dealing in it, nor unwilling to yield to your good in anything that I may without wronging other, I end this toil, Your loving aunt that pitieth not your poverty but wish you most well.—
Undated. Holograph. Signed :—“E. R., Dow.” Endorsed :—“Sept., 1599.” 2 pp. (73. 115.)[13]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1599, Oct.
Good nephew, I hear what I am not willing to commit to paper, yet as an aunt near in blood I cannot with conscience but let you know that it is brought to my ears here in my very cell that most vile words have been openly uttered of you at an ordinary. Thus I manifest it to be true, long since written, Naturam expellas furca tamen usque recurrit. Use it to your own good without my hurt for my good will, which, to no small detriment to myself in the like, I have received in your father's life for friending him in such cases by his own desire. This I mean to cause you, being warned and thereby half-armed, to take heed to yourself and life; lest, as the poet saith, Ille dies primus lethi primusque malorum, causa fuit, wherein the Earl of Essex was committed, to whom I never sent since his return, neither, God is witness, doth any know of this but God and my pen; but only fearing our Sovereign's disquiet and your own peril, I do but put you in mind of what may follow by former example. Ac veluti magno in populo cum saepe coorta est Seditio, saevit que animis ignobile vulgus Jamque faces et saxa volant; furor arma ministrat. The report of this was brought to me by one tied to me in duty and otherwise, that heard it and reproved it, saying withal that he was sorry that he was in their company to hear a councillor so spoken of. What the words were, I list not to write, but will tell yourself when I see you. In the meantime, I sorrow in my heart my sovereign's hurt, your peril, I fear, and danger to come, to her Majesty's disquiet and trouble. I can but pray, which, I am sure, is most devoutly done here day by [day] in the Friars in the most reverent manner, for her Majesty and her Counsel. Your loving aunt, Elizabeth Russell Dowager.
Holograph. Endorsed :—“1599, October.” Seal. 1 p. (179. 92.)[14]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell to Mr. Secretary [Cecil]. [1599/1600,] March 5.
I thank you for your friendly letter, which I received here in the church when meaning to go to God's table, which made that I could not then stay your man for answer. I beseech you to see that my Lord Admiral desist indeed from Dunnington, or else to certify her Majesty thereof, for that all her tenants that have been under my government these 20 years are all come up with intent by supplication to sue to her Majesty that they may continue still her tenants under my government. All which swarm I have hitherto stayed, and therefore, tell my Lord Admiral merely though truly, that therein he is beholden to Elizabeth Russell the dowager, for acquittal of his favourite Elizabeth Russell her daughter. I find them led to this purpose for fear of Sir Thomas Parry and Thomas Fotzkew [Fortescue], which Fortzkew having bought already the priory land, no part of the manor, and Sir Thomas Parry, having purchased already three parsonages of her Majesty, wherein he hath gained two thousand pounds de claro without laying out any groat, would also buy this, to the hurt of the tenants if my Lord Admiral should have the fee simple of the whole manor, which certainly is above 100l. in her Majesty's books by 7l. de claro, besides the Castle and park. In that I am collector and sued so long to have the whole manor in lease, I know. Good Mr. Secretary, move her Majesty to grant my lease, promised to your father in his days, to me now for Bess Russell's good. It cost me truly, twelve years since, a gown and petticoat of such tissue as should have been for the Queen of Scots' wedding garment; but I got them for my Queen, full dearly bought, I well wot. Beside, I gave her Majesty a canopy of tissue with curtains of crimson taffety, belited gold. I gave also two hats with two jewels, though I say it, fine hats; the one white beaver, the jewel of the one above a hundred pounds price, beside the pendent pearl, which cost me then 30l. more. And then it pleased her Majesty to acknowledge the jewel to be so fair as that she commanded it should be delivered to me again, but it was not; and after, by my Lady Cobham, your mother-in-law, when she presented my new year's gift of 30l. in fair gold, I received answer that her Majesty would grant my lease of Dunnington. Sir, I will be sworn that, in the space of 18 weeks, gifts to her Majesty cost me above 500l. in hope to have Dunnington lease; which if now you will get performed for Bess's almost six years' service, she, I am sure, will be most ready to acquit any service to yourself.
Holograph. Endorsed :—“1599, 5 March.” Two Seals. 1 p. (178. 132.)[15]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1600, April 21.
With humble and hearty thanks unfeignedly for your kindness shewed to me at Court, I think good to let you understand what my L. of Worcester and I both think fit to certify you of, to the end to entreat you very earnestly how to proceed with her Majesty in this matter of my daughter. My Lord of Worcester hath talked at the full with her Majesty, who now resteth satisfied, I thank God, in all scruples according to the truth. Now my humble and most hearty desire is that it will please you to deal most earnestly with her Majesty, and not to leave her till she have granted me leave to fetch away my daughter for altogether the Monday after St. George's day, that she may take some physic for her eyes, which in truth be very ill, before the time of marriage, which I mean shall be before the Pentecost. But desire you not to name the cause of my desire so soon to have her, but in respect that she is fain to keep her chamber and do her Majesty no service, her eyes being so bleared. Again, I beseech you to let her Majesty know that, as my conscience beareth me witness that I did agree to no conditions of marriage before, as become me, I had her Majesty's royal consent, so now that I must set my hand to certain articles agreed on in this term, my most humble suit to her Majesty is, that the first assurance may begin at the fountain head, by her leave to have the bonds of matrimony asked in her Majesty's chapel, that all things may proceed lawfully and orderly before I set my hand to any assurance. And, therefore, good Mr. Secretary, let her be asked by your commandment the next Sunday in anywise, and then (the will of God and her Majesty be done) I will seal assurances.
Holograph. Endorsed with date. Seal. 1 p. (180. 77.)[16]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell, to Sir Robert Cecil. [1600, c. June 9.]
I pray let me have your holy hand, your letter I mean, to the Fine Office for the most favour that possibly may be shown both for value and time of payment, in that it is but for the settling of a jointure, and no purchase to the loss of her Majesty. I hope in equity the poor widow that has never a penny in her purse shall find the best favour. I mean, God billing, on the 9th of June, being Monday next, to fetch home my bride. (fn. 1) I entreat none but such as be of the bride's and bridegroom's blood and alliance 'to supper that night. The Earl of Worcester with his Countess, the Earl of Cumberland with his Lady, the Lady of Warwick, the Earl of Bedford with his Lady will sup here. If it please you to do the like, and as my husband to command as the master of my house for that supper, and to bring my Lord Thomas and my Lord Cobham with you, being of our blood, and your servants [and] my Lord Thomas's men and my Lord Cobham's to be commanded to wait and bring up meat that supper, I will trouble you no longer than for a supper time that night till the same day sevennight, being the 16th of June, which, God willing, shall be the marriage day. If the poor widow can provide meat for a widow's marriage dinner, no feast comparable to the Earl of Shrewsbury's, or fit for a Prince, for then I would look that they should be beholding to me to be bidden; but now they shall take pains which come, and deserve my thanks. For 6 mess[es] of meat for the bride's table, and one in my withdrawing chamber for Mr. Secretary and myself, is all my proportion for that day's dinner. I and my Lord Barkley's wife, with other knights' ladies and gentlewomen, accompanied with the Earl of Cumberland, Sir Henry Lee, Sir Anthony Cope, and others, do mean to go on Monday morning to fetch away my virgins. You thought that I should never have bidden you to my marriage. But now you see it pleases God otherwise. Where I pray you dispose yourself to be very merry and to command as master of the house. For your welcome shall be in the superlative degree. “Your most loving Aunt.”
Holograph. Undated. Endorsed :—“Lady Russell.” 1 p. (186. 134.)[17]

Elizabeth, Dowager Lady Russell to Sir Robert Cecil. 1600, [Dec. 8.]
I sent my man of purpose only to tell you that because I hear her Majesty means to go hence on Thursday next, if it please you to send me word when I may find you at leisure in your own house private, I would come by boat and visit you only to see how you do, though my heart will not yet serve me to come to Court, to fill every place I there shall come in with tears by remembrance of her that is gone. This is all; I have no suit in the world to trouble you with. Thus much I have done because my man could not speak with you. Your loving aunt, Elizabeth Russell, desolate dowager. [P.S.]—I am such a beggar in debt since the marriage of my daughter your cousin, as that I am not able to keep coach horses in town nor to hire any, and therefore mean to come by water. You must not blase my beggary, for then you will mar my marriage for ever.
Holograph. Undated. Endorsed :—“Lady Russell, 8 Dec. 1600.” 1 p. (82. 50.)[18]

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