1602
Lady Shrewsbury Master Vicechamberlain and my lettre to ye Lady Shrewsbury
Madame. It hath pleased her Majesty; vppon the receipt of your lettres by Sir Henry Bronekard (with which and with all other perticulers he acquaynted her) to command vs two, to Lett you know, how much she remayneth satisfyed with your proceedinges ; nothinge appearinge in them, but fullnes of care to prevent inconvenionces and desyre to accomplish (in all thinges) her Majestes pleasure, But (Least you by mistakinge her meaninge, or apprehendinge more then is needfull, should peradventure take some course, that is not covenient) we are commanded to Lett you know; first what her Majesty conceaues of the younge Ladyes action, and how (from hence forth) she would haue it ordered, to avoyd idle talkes and rumours, whereof there is aptnes in most men, to take libertye in this tyme. In the observation of the roote (from whence this motive spronge in the Lady) she doth perceaue, that some base companions (thinkinge it pleasinge to her youth and sex) to be sought in marriage, weare content to abuse her, with a device; That the Erle of Hartford, had a purpose, to match his Gran=chyld with her A matter wherein they knew (in their owne consciences) how Leawdly they dealt, but that they hoped, soe to haue practised vppon the Nobleman, as to haue proffitt if they could once haue been admitted; only to haue entered into such communication with him: for of this your Ladyship may be assured, That if his owne precise carriage in the matter and cleare and inocent dealinge with the queen (as he hath done) weare not sufficient to cleare the Erle; yet the incongruitye of his Gran=chylds yeares (beinge between 17 and 18) besydes the absurd Election of the Ministers, and course of proceedinges) is suffcient to satisfye all the world, that this matter had a corrupt beginninge, as it hath a fond end, and hereof is her Majesty pleased, that you should make the yonge Lady, partaker; to this intent; both that she may see her follye, and withall to receaue this admonition hereby; That howsoever her Majesty may be contented (in respect of her penitence for her fault) to pass ouer the presumption in her, to hearken to a match in that place, whereby it mought be collected, that she had some other idle conceipt, then the marriage, Yet that if she shall not take this for a warninge, and content her selfe to Liue in good sort, (with soe deare a parent and soe worthy a matrone) without dealinge in such thinges, or any matter of importance, wherevnto she shall not ether, first make you privy (if she be the first Authour) or immediately after she is acquaynted by any others, shall not resort to you and playnly and dutifully declare all circumstances even at the first instant, she shall be made knone, that therein she abuseth that libertye, which otherwise her Majesty is pleased, she should hould, as heretofore she hath done, for all correspondencyes and exchanges of Courtesyes, and acquayntance with her freindes or yours, in matters that tend not to such like plottes or practises, wherein she must know, that beeinge of that blood she is, her Majesty will looke for an extraordinary accompt of her proceedinges. Next Madame to concurr with this purpose, of her Majesty, in the manner of her traictment we are commanded to tell you, that she would haue you (by all meanes) avoyde any such manner of Guardinge; your howse, or excludinge resort as may contynew the fond bruietes. that are raysed, and that you therein retourne to your accustomed manner, without any other overcuriositye. Your Ladyship may notwithstandinge sufficiently observe, how she carryes her selfe, And because your age and sicknes cannot permitt you to be allwayes in her company, you may impose some care vppon some discreet gentlewoman to be in her company and some honest gentleman to attend her amongest the rest, whoe without vsinge any extraordinarye restraynt, may haue eyes sufficiently vnto her, if she doe any thinge vnfitt for her ether in dutye to the queen, or in preiudice of her owne honour or welldoinge. To conclude Madame we must agayne reiterate vnto you her Majestes gracious acceptation of your dutifull care and affection to please her. Only you must receaue this answeare for your suite to be freed of her, That her Majesty cannot thinke of any other place, soe fitt for her as this is, and therefore desyreth you to remayne contented and to looke to your health, that God may giue you a comfortable life, which her Majesty wisheth you as much as any freind you haue. And soe for this tyme we &c.


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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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