ccd-logo1.jpg (12597 bytes)Dwight Peck's lengthy tales


faith and doubt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I

Part 2. THE CONTINENT (1583-1587)


Annex 1: The Death of Charles Arundell

Ambassador Edward Stafford to Principal Secretary Sir Francis Walsingham,
25 December 1587 (15 December English style)

Public Records Office, State Papers 15/30/53.

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Excerpts from the above:

Sir, I stayed this bearer [delayed the messenger]… hoping still to recover into my hand certain papers and ciphers [codes] that have been taken in Gilbert Gifford’s chamber, after he had been taken with an English queane . . . and with them also was taken one Cotton and that sayeth he belongeth to my Lord of Essex, and sayeth he came over with your passport...

This was done upon Friday last, and I had warning of it by Charles Arundell that day, and that there are letters that Phelippes writ to him and a notable cipher that Phelippes sent him, and certain letters which they have intercepted any time this month or six weeks which he writ to Mr Phelippes, which they have deciphered with the cipher. It is told me that things [have been] discovered of the death of the Q. of Scots and the apprehension of the gentlemen that were executed, and through which they think to make their profit greatly of, to her Majesty’s dishonour.

I have done what I can to have them into my hands and Arundell labored to get all, and assured [me] upon Friday I should have them the next day or it should cost him his life. Upon Saturday morning he fell suddenly sick with that extremity that I never saw, so that I think this knave Paget and his companions have poisoned him or given him some mischief, for you never saw man in that extremity, presently in a raving and a burning. . . .

I was with him even now, the physicians have given him over but only a very honest learned man, a physician that serveth my house, yet he hath no great hope of him neither.

Postscript to the same diplomatic letter:

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Arundell is even now dead. I would I had bought him again in this time for a good deal of money, for her Majesty’s service sake. He never saw me nor none of mine come in but had still in his mouth that the Q[ueen] should know he was an honest man; and [it] was the last word he spake as he was yielding the ghost, seeing one of mine. Though he raved, some think that raving words insisted upon express[ing] somewhat that one hath most in his mind. I will make you one day know perfectly that it was true, and that I have a great loss of him.

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bookpen.gif (2870 bytes)Please do not reproduce this text in any form for commercial purposes. Historical references for events recreated in this story can be found in D. C. Peck, Leicester's Commonwealth: The Copy of a Letter Written by a Master of Art of Cambridge (1584) and Related Documents (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1985). Feedback and suggestions are welcome, . Written 1973-1989, posted on this site 20 June 2001.


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