Ianuary 1602 The Countess of Shrewsbury to Master ViceChamberlain and me/
I vnderstand hir Majesties gratious pleasure by your letters, and rest infinitely bounde to hir Highnes for hir Majesties gratious favor to me./ I will followe your directions so nere as I can./ To my great greif I see with what vanytie, base and lewde instrumentes this inconsiderat yong woman hath ben abused, as by danbridge and others not vnknowne to you, whoe bare hir in hande for my Lord of Hartfords grandchilde./ I protest before the lyving god, I think his Lordship as cleyr from this practize, as they that never harde of hir./ some of the plotters hereof by vndoing hir, thought to bring me to my end with greif, yf not by violence, as (vppon good groundes) I think, and not vaynly./ lately I suspected she had some other like matter in hand, whereof I advertized hir Majestie./ since then, I have still perswaded hir to manyfest all to hir Highnes, and to crave pardon. but I coulde not prevayle, neyther learne more, then I formerly advertized vntill the receit of your letter, which according to hir Highnes pleasure I shoed hir to make hir looke into hir great follies, and to se that hir Majesties pleasure was she shoulde impart to me any matter of practize what soever./ Your letter togather with my earnest perswasions prevayled so farr, as that she hath sett downe with hir owne hand this declaration fraught with vanytie./ such as it is I have sent it hereinclosed, but I coulde not by any possible meanes prevayle with hir to sett downe the matter playnly, as I desired she woulde in fewe lynes./ Theise straunge courses ar wonderfull to me & can not but greatly greive me to se howe wickedly she hath ben abused./ yf I can learne more I shall advertize, but I thinke it must be some streyt Commaundement to hir from hir Majestie to declare the truthe & all circumstaunces otherwise I doubt she will not, she protestes nothing shall force hir to yt, but I think she wilbe better advised vppon newe Commaundment, seing she hath ben brought to sett downe somuch alreddie which is more then I loked for./ vppon theise circumstaunces, you in your wisdomes maye have some Coniecture whoe the partie ys. by what meanes she hath ben wrought./ theyr malice to me was so great, that they respected not hir vndoing, but what should I complayne of theyr malice when they forgett theyr dutie so greatly to hir Majestie. What truth there is in this newe matter I knowe not./ I have fownde hir to swarve somuch from truth, and so vaynly led in the first practize that I can not give any creditt to hir./ yt maye be the matter is not so farr proceeded as she makes showe, and that it is but a practize as the former was, but I can not but doubt the worst./ I have often heretofore in tyme of infection restrayned resort from my house (as at this present the Cuntrie hereaboutes is infected with agues, smale poxe & mesells and the plauge not farr ofe, which pretence of restaynt I tooke.) but I see yt is increased by some lewde and idle persons, or rather by this vnadvised yong womans letters./ I have not had in my howse above too persons more then my ordinary howsholde, and those but for three or foure dayes./ I was more carefull and somewhat more precise in looking to the safetie of my house for that I was tolde in playne termes she coulde goe awaye at hir pleasure and agaynst my will, which I made sure she shoulde not./ Theise newe matters faling out, maye make some alteration of hir Highnes pleasure for hir staye here./ in a straunge place she can not have those meanes of the sudden to send & here, but what it shall please hir Majestie to Commaunde me, to the vttermost of my power, I will doe my best service, though it be to the shortning of my dayes./ I have auncient gentlewomen in my house which ar much with hir, and gentlemen and others of good suffytientie./ by hir owne servantes she hath Conveyed & received letters & hath corrupted some of myne./ I presently mean to part with myne to give example to the rest./ Even to the last hower of my lyfe, I shall think my self happie to doe any acceptable service to hir Majestie whose happie and blessed Raigne, the Almightie, long Continewe and ever prosper./ And so wishing to you, all honor and happines, I will take my leave./ ffrom my poore house Hardwick this second of ffebruarie 1602./

your euer assured louing frend

EShrouesbury


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'Bess of Hardwick's Letters' was developed by The University of Glasgow with technical development provided by The Humanities Research Institute at The University of Sheffield
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