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HIST0RICAL MANUSCRIPTS C0MMISSI0N.
Most Hon. THE MARQUIS OF SALISBURY,
HATFIELD HOUSE, HERTFORDSHIRE.
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Part X. of the Calendar of Cecil Manuscripts is concerned with letters and papers of the closing year of the sixteenth century. It was, as regards England, a time of comparative quiet. Across the narrow stretches of sea, east and west, in the Low Countries and in Ireland, there was, indeed, fighting to be had by such Englishmen as loved the life of arms, and in Ireland there was some fighting which must be done by them whether they loved it or not. But it was not a year during which the heart of the nation was deeply moved by the excitement of current events as it had been in years that were past, and would again be in years that were to come.
At home the fortunes of the Earl of Essex were still a subject The Earl of prime and general interest. He, it is true, was now fallen from Essex his high estate and entirely changed in demeanour, presenting an aspect of deep humility. Perhaps, then, it was out of the stores of wisdom gathered from solitary reflection upon his own misfortunes, that he drew the salutary advice which, in plain speech, he pressed upon his sister, Dorothy Countess of Northumberland, on the occasion of "her passionate departure from her husband" (p. 56). For her benefit he lays down some canons of wifely duty—despairing, however, of any effect, for he adds—
But I see it is in vain to dispute: I will pray to God that hath the guiding of all hearts, to direct you to like that which shall best please Him, and give you honour and true comfort. And till you have answered the reasons which I have seconded my counsel withal, I shall complain of the power and tyranny of passion which doth thus govern many times excellent hearts against their judgments, their friends, advice and their own good. And so I rest your faithful and most affectionate brother.
He himself, for several months of the year, was a prisoner in the custody of Sir Richard Berkeley, at Essex House, whither he had been removed from York House. Here he was allowed only a limited number of attendants. The picture which these papers now give of him is that of a man broken in health, subject to recurring fits of ague (p. 81), and deeply depressed in mind. In March, his mother was allowed to pay him a visit which, however, was not prolonged beyond two hours (p. 81). Efforts