[Address Leaf]
The Lady
Arbellas first


This ye old
Lady sent vp
[Overleaf: Notes]

My Lady Arbells Declaration
to my Lady hir Graudmother
[Letter Text: Notes]
I aknowledge my selfe most bound to hir Maty for hir ^...^ grati...s pardon of
my offence, which appeareth more disgracefull in hir Maties eyes your Laps and
those .2. graue and honorable counsellors by whose letter it pleaseth hir Maty
to reprooue my offence then it ^pardoninge it yet^ doth in the opinion of the world many others
upon whose opinion I haue laid the foundation of all the rest of my life.
Pardon me thearfore I beseech your yo La if wt out those ceremonies which either thr
through ignorance, or anxiety of ^a^ minde yet distracted between feare and hope, I
sett downe the true reasons of this my proceeding. To imploy any, much more such
base and unworthy persons in such a matter, had binne a blott to my reputatio
neuer to be washed away wt floods of repentant teares, if my intent had not binne
to haue it knowne ^to hir Maty^ that such a matter was propounded seriously, and by som
desired, by others not misliked. but utterly neglected, or reiected by my selfe
from the first howre I heard of it, till the last and not ^more then at the firs...^ now more for all my
Lo of Hartfords discourteous dealing wt me who have deserued better at his
hands. and thearfore restraining my frends I respected, I sent such as I
thought fittest likeliest to displease his Lo though I instructed them not to giue
his Lo iust cause of offence, and aduentured no more, then I was desirous they should
diuulge so it weare wt out my consent, for in truth I cannot finde in my hart to disclos...
the counsell of any stranger or enimy that either by theyr consent or chanceably
cometh to my knowledge if it may be ^or I do but doubt it may be^ preiudiciall to them. And I thanck God it
fell out better then I and my dearest and besttrusted whatsoeuer he be could hau...
deuised or imagined though we haue bett our braines about it these .3. yeares..
The [deletion] ridiculous and contemptuous stile I beseech you excuse wt the
reasons which this gentleman who taught it me alledged before he could pswade
me to play the foole in good earnest. It was conuenient hir Maty should see and
beleeue, what busy bodies, untrue rumor..., uniust practises, coulorable [deletion] and
cunning deuises, are in remote partes amonge ^against^ those whom the world understad
to be in a sort exiled hir Maties presence undeseruedly, though them selues be neue...
so wary or unwilling any should so much as speake of them. and as hearin...
your Laps wisdom is ^and fidelity hath binne at least^ comparable wt my Lo of Hartfords, so I haue many ...
wittnesses and more then for theyr owne sakes I would I had had that I
haue binne as precise and circumspect in auoiding all occasions either
of alluring, or encouraging any to reueile theyr affection how [deletion] ^great^ so euer
how respectiuely so ever, how well so euer loued or like...
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by my selfe, and whosoeuer hath made triall what [deletion] would either
perswade the most vertuous Lady, or the greatest Lady for ... by the...
comaundment I must needes tell your Lap they will needes say and
sweare I am the one of theyr knowledge and they could wish me in
the highest degree of hir Maities fauour, and put me in hope if euer I may
attaine hir Maties presence I shall receuie the like gratious countenance for
all this that I haue euer donne. They I say who haue made most
triall what promises, othes, vowes, threatnings, unkindnesse kindnesse faire
meanes and fowle, neglect of others, wt drawing of comfort, counsell, hope
of redresse or any other thing in the world could constraine or entice one of my
sex, yeares, and ^hitherto^ unhappy fortune Can beare me witnesse that I am too
stout to request fauour till I be sure I may comand it and they ...
take it as a fauour donne to them and not to me of whom they craue not
so much as thanckes I assure your Lap nor any thing in the world but loue
in such honorable and Christian sort, as I weare to be condemned by yr
Lap especially, if for your Laps comfort and my owne aduancement, I should
still haue reiected or like a deafe Aspe stopped my eares against his
voice, who neuer requested any thing but was more for my good and
honour then his owne. All the iniuries he could he hath donne me, and
h... creditt being as he right well deserues great wt hir Maty and his frends
... I impute euen all my wrongs to him and freely forgiue them and all
who haue binne his (unwitting I am sure) pchance unwilling instruments
and if they had knowne by whom, to what end they weare imploied as I
thinck uery few if any, for secrecy is one of his uertues and he hath
as many as I beleeue any subiect or forrein Prince in all Europe or more.
The onely request that euer I made to him (many other thinges I haue
in rude and unciuill manner bid him do, and he can take nothing ill at my
hand but one as he protesteth and I am ^as^ sure as one can be of any mortall
creature that he knoweth ^the valew of an oth^ and esteemeth it the pawne of his soule) that he
would procure my remoue from out of ^my^ your Laps custody, not that I would
not thinck my selfe most happy to spend all my life under your Laps
gouernement, but that I cannot rule loue and ambition in others as I thanck
God I can do both uery well in my selfe, and in truth am not
infected at all wt the latter, nor so apt to
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to [deletion] beleeue and soudainely to resolue in so important a matter as I
was content it should seeme to my Lo of Hartford. of purpose and not by error
I protest. As I may compare the loue of this worthy Gentleman (which I haue
already unreuocably accepted and confirmed, and will neuer deny nor can...
nor will repent whatsoeuer befall) to gold which hath binne so often
purified that I cannot finde one fault ^to ...^ Ielousy onely excepted, so I
haue dealt unkindely shrowdly proudely wt him, and if any liuing haue
cause to thinck me proud or shrowd it is he, whom I haue loued too
well (euen since I could loue) to hide any thought word or deede of
mine from him unlesse it weare, to aw him a little when I thought his
loue conuerted into hate for I did him the wrong to thinck so a great while, ...
to make him weary of his Ielousy by letting him see it was the onely way to
make me fall out wt him and anger him in the highest degree I could
imagine. wt my Lo of Hartford I haue dealt so precisely that it hath
neither binne ^in^ his powre to do me more hurt then reueale all he knew by me
nor ^should haue cause or coulour to^ take it any thing so kindely to keepe my counsell. When I writt
I wept and I maruell it was not perceiued, for I could neither forbeare
weeping at meale times nor in truth day and ^nor^ night till I had performed
my promise and sett downe in good and orderly sort ^som of^ the seuerall deuises
and shiftes which more then one had deuised and practised wt out either
my knowledge till it was past, or allowance either for what was past or to com
and this gentleman ^party^ who trusts me wt more then I would haue him euen the
secretest thoughts of his heart hath not ^nor neuer had^ so much as a promise that I would
keep his counsell. He taught me by the example of Samuell that one might
ptend on errand and deliuer an other wt a safe conscience. By the example
of Sampson that one might and (if they be not too foolish to liue in this world)
must speake riddles to theyr frends which and try the truth of offred
loue and unsuspected frends in som matter whearin if they deale
unfaithfully it shall but make theyr ridiculous mallice appeare to they...
owne discreditt and no manner of hurt to others. He assured me hir Maties
offense would be conuerted into laughter when hir Maty should see the
^honest^ cunning of the contriuer, to such an end as will be highly to hir Maties
likeing and my La my Grandmo your Laps and my.
good many waies. He told me he would
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haue me enter into som great action to winne my selfe reputation, try hir Maties loue to me though
neither of us doubted of it, try what my frends would do for me, and how I could imploy [deletion]
my frends and seruants, and make [deletion] strangers to me effect my desires wtout being
beholden to them. and building my hopes upon the rock lett the windes and billowes and
tempests show that though my building be low yet it is not building upon the sand for then
had I binn ruined. but like the wise Architect who first draweth his platt and after makes
an estimate of the charges giuing som allowance more then he thinckes will be needfull, and
then finding him selfe able to go through cheerfully setteth his workmen to theyr seuerall
workes. So we first did deliberately consult, and after speedely execute, that which we knew
for a short time would be offensiue to hir Maty your Lap the Earle of Hartford, and diu...
others, and worke an effect which I am most assured will be most acceptable to hir Maty
and it is euen the best seruice that euer Lady did hir Soueraigne and Mistresse. I
am more desirous hir Maty should understand euery part and parcell of the deuise, euery
Acctor, euery action, euery word and sillable of that hir Matie hath under [deletion] ^my^ hand
or Iohn Goods then your Lap is, because I know more then your Lap doth or shall (becaus...
it is most for your Laps honour and good it should be so) till hir Maty be aquainted and
fully satisfied that I haue donne nothing foolishly, rashly, or falsely, or unworthy
of my selfe. Thearfore I humbly thanck hir Maty for that liberty it pleaseth hir High...
to allow me by the which I may conferre wt my frends wtout which I could not
discouer the trueth so soone and so well to hir Maty as I trust to do, if it please hir Maty
to allow me the space of one moneth to cleare my selfe in, and liberty to send to
any priuy couseller, I will be accountable to hir Maty but not to your Lap for
all that euer I did in my Life or euer will do. And I will reueile som secrettes
of loue concerning my selfe and som others which will be delightfull to hir Maty
to understand. I will send som to complaine of them selues, I will informe hir Maty
of som matters whearof hir Maty hath yet no manner of suspition. I will offend none
but my vncle of Shrouesbury, my Aunt and my vncle Charles, and them I
will anger as much as euer they angred me and make my selfe as merry at them
as the last lent they did at theyr owne pleasant deuice ^for so I take it^ of the gentleman wt ye
red eyes, and if they will as they ought in duty reconcile them selues to your Lap
your Lap shall comaund me to forgett all iniuries they haue donne me one onely
excepted and that is the wronges they haue donne this most worthy gentleman
for whom I haue already forsaken parents, kinne, and all the world hir
Maty onely excepted. For I vow as I shall be saued he telles me plainely
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he will not offend hir Maty for my sake, and will rather forsake me for euer
then incurre hir Maties displeasure though the time be neuer so short. and
thearfore though I haue kept his counsell these many yeares and will do
whilest I liue, if it may be the least hurtfull to him or any of his (for I neuer
acquainted any ^of mine^ one or other I take God to witnesse) so I thinck it long till I
may lett hir Maty know his name who so farre exceedeth ^all^ the examples of hir
Highnesse best fauored, that he dare not see nor but by stealth send to hir that
he loues as well as euer they did any. And if it please hir Maty so to accept of him
I shall thinck my selfe most happy if hir Maty will grace him wt hir fauor
and winne his heart form me if it be possible, and I will dayly pray for hir
Maty and him that he may dayly deserue hir Maties fauour more and more
as I do know he will indeauour, and if it please hir Maty to giue [deletion] me but liberty
to send to him, and heare from him (which in truth (I must do and he will do
[deletion] though it offend your Lap and can do whosoeuer ouersee us) I will
show your Lap euery letter [deletion] of his I shall hearafter receaue d and be content
... your Lap shall reueale it all that to your Ma Laps knowledge passeth
betwixt us not onely to hir Maty, but to all the world, for I am so farre from
being ashamed of my choise, that euen for my owne honour sake I could finde
in my heart to reueile him but that in truth I dare not wt out his consent
and he dare not till he haue his pardon for him selfe and his frends
signified unto me by hir Maties letter which after I am to send to him and
heare from him againe, and then he shall either him selfe by [deletion] what
meanes it pleaseth him aquaint hir Maty wt his fearfull presumption, or I
will [deletion] tell your Lap upon condition it may please your Lap to ioine wt
me in begging [deletion] hir Maties gratious pardon to certein offendours, whose penance
shall be to make confession first to your hir Maty and after to your Lap how
gladly they would haue offended your Lap and how farre they haue offended
hir Maty for my sake and if they receiue the sentence of death out of hir
Maties mouth I dare answer for them they shall dy content, but I trust hir//
Highnesse will wt a smile deride theyr follies, and at one of theyr handes
accept a poore present I am in hand wt for hir Maty at anot giue another
leaue to deliuer a message or letter to hir sacred Maty from me hir then fully
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absolued handmaide, and giue us all leaue to impart our ioy at hir Maties
pardon to us all one to another, and deuise the west best manner how to
represent to hir Maty the ioy we concceiue thearof and make our selues merry
wt makeing our selues perfect in our partes, which for want of conference we
haue partly forgotten, and partly understand not, and hir Maty more merry
if it please hir highnesse but to keepe our counsell, and I will instruct them and
send them to hir Maty one after another and none liuing shall understand [deletion]
^my^ drift but hir Maty the noble Gentleman whose name I conceale and whom it
pleaseth them two to aquaint wt out limitation. One onely suite will I make
to hir Maty whearin I most humbly craue your Lap to [deletion] assist and further
me that is that it may please hir Maty to suspend hir highnesse iudgement
of me till hir Maty see the end which cannot be so soone as I could wish for I
thinck euery minute long but shall be hastened as much as may be I assure
your La on my faith. and surcease hir displeasure to my selfe and all those
[deletion] wt whom for my sake I doubt hir Highnesse is offended. and suffer none of
them whose names hir Matie hath under my hand to com or send to me
unlesse I send for them [deletion] and whosoeuer com to me at my request or
unsent for either I will aquaint your La or send them up poste or cause them
to aduertise som priuy counseller what they do at my request to what ...
I trust I haue fully satisfied your Lap that I am neither so disobedient
nor inconsiderat as your Lap might thinck me, and because the I report
many thinges which to your Lap seeme imps impossible your La next under
hir Maty shall censure all my proceedings, when your Lap by hir Matyes
gratious letter or messenger unfoldeth these darke speeches which let
others do as please them I will neuer reueale but to hir Maty neither
will I presume to present my vnworthy seruice to hir Maty till it shall
please hir Highnesse to comaund it, for som reasons whearwt I will wt
all speed aduertise hir Maty Whom the Lord blesse and prosper
for euer euery way.

Arbella Stuart.

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