Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Virginia Propaganda and a Sonnets link

As described in a previous post, there was a profusion of propaganda publications in the spring of 1609, encouraging English persons of all walks of life to emigrate to the New World. Robert Gray's A Good Speed to Virginia, featuring his introduction, dated April 28, 1609, is a remarkable example of this species of book. Not much is known about Preacher Gray, other than the little he reveals in his two known books, both from 1609. (The DNB has no entry on this Robert Gray.) He was a London preacher connected to the Virginia Company. He emerges for this purpose in 1609 and then disappears.
Gray's unique spin on the Company's public relations approach was to argue that emigration would solve England's overpopulation problem and provide new opportunities. He wrapped this is the standard Biblical overlay, but adds some piquant racism in dealing with the divine justification for killing natives and stealing their land -- Englishmen were descended from God's Israelites while the New World savages were the devil's spawn. He writes,

"The report goeth, that in Virginia the people are savage and incredibly rude, they worship the devill, offer their young children in sacrifice unto him, wander up and downe like beasts, and in manners and conditions, differ very litle from beasts, hauing no Art, nor science, nor trade, to imploy themselues, or give themselues unto, yet by nature loving and, gentle, and desirous to imbrace a better condition. Oh how happy were that man which could reduce this people from brutishnes, to civilitie, to religion, to Christianitie, to the saving of their soules: happy is that man and blest of God, whom God hath endued, either with meanes or will to attempt this busines, but farre be it from the nature of the English, to exercise any bloudie crueltie amongst these people: farre be it from the hearts of the English, to give them occasion, that the holy name of God, should be dishonoured among the Infidels, or that in the plantation of that continent, they should giue any cause to the world, to say that they sought the wealth of that countrie above or before the glorie of God, and the propagation of his kingdome." [Robert Gray A Good Speed to Virginia 1609]

What is particularly interesting for my study of publications of 1609 is the use of certain language in Gray's dedication to the Adventurers of the Virginia Company.

Note the words: Adventurers, all happie, eternitie, These appear just a few weeks later in Thomas Thorpe's dedication to the mysterious "Mr W. H." in Shake-Speare's Sonnets, published May 1609.

"To. The. Onlie. Begetter. Of. These. Insuing. Sonnets. Mr. W. H. All. Happinesse. And. That. Eternitie. Promised. By. Our. Ever-Living. Poet. Wisheth. The. Well-Wishing. Adventurer. In. Setting. Forth."

And see the image below, Gray's dated sign off, that ends with the words well wishing.

Note also in Gray: time the devourer, memorie, monuments. Strangely, Devouring Time is the theme of Sonnet 19. Memory and Monuments are thematic to Sonnets 55 and 81. Now, I'm not suggesting for a second that Gray's throwaway PR-piece influenced either the Sonnets or the Sonnets dedication. Rather, that a copy of the Sonnets was already making the rounds of the Virginia Company, and Gray (or the man behind that name) was influenced by the Sonnets in manuscript.

There is some scholarship on Gray's book.



Gray's dated sign-off with well wishing:

This posts and all these posts copyright 2009
Robert Sean Brazil

Monday, April 27, 2009

John Barclay gets paid by King James

Author John Barclay (1582–1621) was born in France to a Scots father, William Barclay, who was a law teacher resident in the Lorraine. John Barclay was pro-Scots and an ardent booster of James Stuart, though he, apparently, never set foot in Scotland. John Barclay had a Jesuit education, but did not go into the priesthood, and he became a noted critic (carefully, through his satire) of the Jesuit order. Barclay gained early notoriety with his 1605 book, Euphormionis lusinini satyricon. This was a clever jest, modeled on Petronius's Satyricon and written in perfect Renaissance Latin. The book became quite popular and a variety of "guides" were published, each attempting to identify Barclay's characters with real-world persons. Most scholars agree that James Stuart is "Neptune" and "Acignius" personifies the Jesuit mind-set. Euphormionis, published in Europe, carried a dedication to King James. Barclay's efforts to flatter and please King James were thorough and persistent. In 1603 Barclay had published Regi Jacobo Primo, carmen gratulatorium (printed in Paris) congratulating the Stuart King on his rise to the throne of England. In 1606, the Barclay family was physically in England. Barclay published Sylvae (1606), poems to James and his top courtiers. Barclay's "courtship" was facilitated in large part by Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury. Records show payments to Barclay for which Cecil was reimbursed by the treasury. In 1609 John Barclay edited and published a book written by his father, De potestate papae (1609). This tome argued strongly that the Pope should have no political or secular power whatsoever. Controversial, to say the least! Due to to Barclay's courage, availability, and gumption, King James hired him to work on his own 1609 publication, the Apologie... (see blog entry for April 8).

Four hundred years ago today, Barclay got paid. In the Calendar of State papers we find that on April 27, 1609, Barclay was rewarded for his translation work on the "king's book." [CSP dom., 1603–10, 506], which has been deduced to be An Apologie for the Oath of Allegiance, revised and put into English in 1609.

But all this past is merely prologue. Barclay is most famous for his fantasy novel, Argenis. Written while in Rome, Barclay's Argenis saw first publication in Paris in 1621 (just weeks after Barclay had died, perhaps of poisoning). The story focuses on princess Argenis and and her three suitors. This allegorical work has since been subsequently glossed to fit all manner of historical and mythic agendas. But it was a bestseller and is considered a classic. King James requested that Ben Jonson translate Argenis from the Latin into English. It is now debated whether Jonson ever completed this task, including the possibility that Jonson's translation was lost in his famous fire. In any case, an English language Argenis was published in 1625, in such strikingly beautiful prose, that some think that Barclay himself must have left an unpublished English version. --[RSB, April 27, 2009]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

God Wants YOU to Colonize Virginia!

By RSB ---
During much of 1609, there was a "marketing" push -- by the government of England, and by the Virginia Company -- to get English persons to emigrate to the New World and help establish colonies. The Anglican Church also revved up the propaganda for colonization in 1609. Why? Because a "New World" order was on the verge of emerging. The game had previously been domination of Europe. Now there was geopolitical competition for the vast presumed wealth and potential of unknown and undiscovered countries. But would the New World be Catholic, dominated by Spain and Rome? Or Protestant, with profits returning to England and the Netherlands? In 1609 the mystique of the West Indies and America skyrocketed.

On April 25, 1609, Anglican preacher, William Symonds (1556-1616), gave a sermon of unrestrained colonialist propaganda. His message? God wants YOU to go to Virginia! The rationale? The Bible tells us so! The sermon was published shortly thereafter as:

Virginia. A sermon preached at VVhite-Chappel, in the presence of many, honourable and worshipfull, the aduenturers and planters for Virginia. 25. April. 1609 : Published for the benefit and vse of the colony, planted, and to bee planted there, and for the aduancement of their Christian purpose. By William Symonds, preahcer at Saint Sauiors in Southwarke. London : Printed by I. Windet, for Eleazar Edgar, and William Welby, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Windmill, 1609.

There are several interesting aspects to this book. One is the dedication to the Adventurers of the Virginia company. This language and these "adventurer" dedications became popular in 1609. The most famous is found in the dedication to Shake-Speares Sonnets, 1609. [...THE . WELL-WISHING. ADVENTVRER . IN . SETTING. FORTH .]

above, the dedication in Symonds Sermon.

Symonds also signs the dedication, "W. S." But those were his initials, so it's just a coincidence.
The argument of the sermon is that God told Abraham to go to another country to do God's work, where Abe would be richly rewarded for his service.

Later, Symonds analogizes the reward:

"the strong old bees do beat out the younger, to swarm and hive themselves elsewhere. Take the opportunity, good honest labourers, which indeed bring all the honey to the hive; God may so bless you that the proverb may be true of you, that a May swarm is worth a king's ransom."

One of Symonds' sponsors and patrons was Robert Bertie, Lord Willoughby, who also sponsored Captain John Smith. Symonds was instrumental in getting Smith's map published in 1612. Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey was the son of Peregrine Bertie (13th Willoughby de Eresby). His mother was Mary de Vere (daughter of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford). Thus, Robert Bertie, colonial sponsor, was nephew to the 17th Earl of Oxford.

Robert Bertie was, perhaps, the second most noted chrome-dome of his era.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Cookes Leave the Kitchen

Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell

In April and May of 1609, two sisters of Mildred Cooke (Lady Burghley) died. [Mildred had died in 1589.]

On April 23, 1609, Katherine Cooke died. On the very same day her sister, Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell, apparently alarmed at the news, wrote her will, and died a few weeks later.

These were just two of the many children of Sir Anthony Cooke (b. 1504, Gidea Hall, Essex; d. June 11, 1576) and his wife, Ann Fitzwilliam (d. 1588))

Children of Sir Anthony Cooke and Ann Fitzwilliam are:

1. Mildred Cooke (1524-1589), wife of Lord Burghley
2. Katherine Cooke (1526- April 23, 1609), wife of Henry Killigrew
3. Elizabeth Cooke (1528-May 1609) married first, Sir Thomas Hoby the translator (of The Courtier), then Baron John Russell. She was the mother of the famous Sir Edward Hoby, diplomat. (Her will is dated April 23, 1609.) Her ghost apparently still haunts Bisham Abbey (link below)
4. Richard Cooke (c1530-1579)
5. Anne Cooke (1533-1610) married Sir Nicholas Bacon.
Mother of Francis Bacon

6. Anthony Cooke (b. 1535 - ), b. 1531,
7. William Cooke (1537-1589)
8. Edward Cooke (1539-1557)
9. Margaret Cooke (b. 1541)

Read about the Ghost of Elizabeth (Cooke) Hoby

A Curious Coincidence

Mildred Cooke Cecil, Lady Burghley, was the mother of Anne Cecil and the mother-in-law of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Among the theories of the Shakespeare Authorship, De Vere is, hands down, the leading candidate, with volumes of documentary evidence pointing to his role in transforming drama in Elizabethan England.

Anne Cooke, Lady Bacon, was the mother of Francis Bacon, who was widely thought (in the 19th century) to be the man behind the Shakespeare name.

Katherine Cooke, wife of Henry Killigrew, was the mother-in-law of Henry Neville, an obscure government man who knew Southampton and is believed (by perhaps a dozen people) to have been the Shakespeare author.

What this suggests to me (on this, the ersatz 445th birthday of Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon) is that if "Shakespeare" was a pen-name, then the Cookes and Bughleys probably knew the man behind that name.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thomas Bodley Endows his Library

Thomas Bodley's gift to humanity is incalculable. His collection became the first private, perpertually-funded library open to the public and, in the process, he helped preserve a significant unique archive of English history and literature. Thomas Bodley (1545-1613) came from a Protestant merchant family and was born while Henry VIII was still alive (just barely). When Mary I ruled England, the Bodleys moved to Geneva, with Nicholas Hilliard, the artist, in their household. Bodley came to know Calvin, Knox and Beza, attending their lectures and services. He mastered Greek and Hebrew. The family returned to England; Thomas graduated Oxford in 1563, where he stayed as lecturer in languages. The University asked him to restore an old library in 1598. In 1600 he started acquiring books en masse, using his wife's ample fortune. His library opened on November 8, 1602, at that time having about 2,500+ books. James I visited the Bodleian in May 1605 and was astounded, proclaiming that if he wasn't burdened with being king, he would gladly live in the Bodleian and just read. At the core of the collection was the inherited libary of Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester (brother of Henry V), a unique, priceless archive of 281+ manuscripts.

On April 20, 1609, Bodley granted to his trustees certain lands and income-producers in Berkshire and London to create a permanent endowment for the Bodleian Library. That endowment continues to the present day.
In 1610 an arrangement was made between the Bodleian and The Worshipful Company of Stationers -- whereby the Stationers would secure one copy of every book they printed to the Bodleian for safe keeping and reference, with the proviso that they could always borrow a copy back to serve as fair copy for a reprint. This set the model for copyright procedure in America and the use of the Library of Congress as repository for all domestically printed books.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Liber Famelicus of Sir James Whitelocke

Sir James Whitelocke
Judge of the Court of King's Bench

Justice James Whitelocke 1570-1632 (also spelled Whitelock and Whitlock) rose slowly through the ranks, becoming Justice of the Court of King's Bench in 1624. He was an antiquarian and scholar. On April 18, 1609, Whitelocke began writing his family history, Liber Famelicus, which records that start date (quote below). What interests me is James' testimony about his older brother, Captain Edmund Whitelocke, which has been re-used in subsequent histories of that era. Edmund was a traveler to the Contininent, a bon vivant and spendthrift, and a noted multi-linguist. He became bosom buddies with Roger Manners, the Earl of Rutland. Because of that association, Edmund Whitelocke was caught up in the Essex Rebellion events of 1601 and was jailed for a time. A few years later he got implicated in the Gunpowder Plot. He was released to his late-life patron, the Earl of Northumberland. Justice Whitelocke's Liber Famelicus relates also the obscure episode of a "great quarrel" between Northumberland and Sir Francis Vere (d. Aug. 28, 1609). One can read about this quarrel in great detail in The Fighting Veres by Clements Robert Markham (p. 333 and forward). What follows is Justice James' introduction, and his remembrance of his brother Edmund, also written on or about April 18, 1609 (the passage appears at the beginning of the dated manuscript). RSB

"THIS book I began to write in, the 18 April 1609, anno 7 Jacobi regni sui Angliae, et Scotiae. In it I entend to set downe memorialls for my posterity of thinges most properly concerning myself and my familye. Oculis in solem, alls in coelum. Motto de cognisance.
Vive diu Whitlocke, tuis sic utere fatis
Ut referent sensus alba nee atra tuos."

EDMUND, my eldest brother, was broughte up at school under Mr. Richard Mulcaster, in the famous school of the Marchantaylors in London, and from thence was sent to Cambridge to Ohristes colledge, whear having been well grownded in the liberall sciences, and mutche farthered in his knoledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues, in whiche he was well instructed in the grammer school, he left the universitye and came to Lincolnes In to study the common law, whear, having spent his time among to good cumpanions, he betoke himself to travail into foreyne kingdoms, by study and experience to redeem his mispent time ; and to that purpose toke shipping from London about Whitsuntide 1587, and having bestowed mutche time in forein universities of Rostock, "Witenberg, Prage, Rome, and other places in Italy, Paris, and other universities in Fraunce, and having traversed over almost all countries in Christendom, he fell into the good liking of mounsieur Desguieres, governor of Provance in Fraunce, and by him was put into the charge of a band of footmen, and in that service remayned captayne of that band at Massiles and Grenoble so long as those wars continued, and afterward came to visit his frends in England, after his absence out of the realm for the space of almost a dozen yeares, without heering of him whether he wear alive or not, and being out of hope ever to see him.

After his retorn into England, by reason of his experience in foreyne affayres, his knoledge in the tongs, and pleasant behaviour, and great liber tye of his wit in his conversation, according to the Frenche fashion, he grew into great goodliking of many Englishe noblemen and gentlemen, but especially of Roger erl of Rutland withe whome he lived and conversed a good while, and by his acquayntance withe him fell into an infortunate mischance, for, on the 8 of February 1601, Elizabeth, when the braine-sick meeting was of the noblemen withe the erl of Essex at Essex House, the earl of Rutland, that had maryed the daughter of the countesse of Essex by her first husband sir Philip Sydney, being sent for by the earl to cum to him, met capteyne Whitelock in the street, and toke him along withe him to Essex House, and so from thence into the towne in the foolislie mutiny e, and for his being in that companye, althoughe he retorned not back to Essex House, nor made resistance withe the rest, yet he was had in sutche suspition, by reason that he was knowen to be pragmaticall and martiall, as that he was clapt up in Newgate, then sent to the Marshalsea, and from thence broughte to the King's Benche bar, to have been arraigned of highe treason, of whiche he was endited, but being broughte in to the court of King's Benche was" sent back againe, and afterward by privie seal, directed to justice Gawdye, was among others committed to free custody, he to me, and others to thear frends, and so continued untill he was quite discharged, whiche was shortly after.

This miserye, thoughe it had been bothe dangerous to his life and verye damageable to himself, and to me above all his frends, yet was not it an expiation of all his calamities : for, after king James came to the crowne, in the Parliament time, when the powder treason sholde have been executed, it was his ill hap to dine togeather withe the erl of Northumberland and Persey, the principall agent in that treason, the day before it sholde have been executed, and by reason thearof grew into great suspition withe the counsell, and by them was first sent to the Tower, after to the Fleet, but, after long imprisonment, was delivered, nothing appeering by any examinations that he was acquaynted withe the businesse. After his deliverance out of prison he lived with most dependancye upon the earl of Northumberland,* and had licence to resort unto him in the Tower, after his imprisonment thear upon the censure in the Starchamber, and so passed his time in mirtheand good companye untill he dyed, whiche was of a surfeit, by distemper of the weather, about Bartholmew tide 1608. He was then at Newhall in Essex, withe the erl of Sussex, and fell into suche a distemper of body by the unseasonableness of the weather, being extream hot, and by his overcarelessnesse in the ordering of himself, that he was taken withe an extraordinarye loosenesse of bodye, whiche weakened him verye mutche, and upon it was let blud, and not long after went away quietly as in a slumber. He was honorably buryed by the earl of Sussex in the chappell of his ancetors, and was attended to the buryall by the earl himself. He was well grownded in lerning, bothe philosophye and all other humanitye, and well seen in the tounges, bothe lerned and ordinarie, as the Frenche, Italian, Dutche, Spanishe, but especially in the Frenche, whiche he acted so naturally as he was taken for a Frencheman whear he was not knowen. He was exceeding pleasant in his conceit, and so good a companion that he was mutche esteemed of for that by divers great men. He was extream prodigall and wastefull in his expence, verye valiant, as was reported by those that knew his demeanor in forein country es, and by that he did heer at home ; for, in the great quarrell between the earl of Northumberland and sir Frauncis Vere, he caryed the challenge from the erl to sir Frauncis into his owne lodging, and ther delivered it unto him, and having afterward herd of sum shamefull speeches given against him by the knight, meeting sir Frauncis in his coatche on morning, cumming from Wilton, whear the king lay, unto Salisbury, lie stayed his coatche, and came to the side of it, and provoked sir Frauncis to fighte withe him, but he answeared he was not provided for sutche a businesse. Thearupon the capteyne drew out his sword, and offered it to sir Frauncis, and tolde him he wolde furnishe him, and toke another from his boy, but the sage knight put him of, and was content to part rather withe a disgracefull word then a blow, but thes being herd of at the court, warrants wear sent out for him by the counsell, so that he was fayne for a good while to hide himself; and this was in Michaelmas term 1 Jacobi, when by reason of the siknesse the term was kept at Winchester. "

The above text was obtained (and I've cleaned up some of the transcription errors) from:

Read a little about Justice Whitelocke here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Queen Anne's Men

Queen Anne's Men re-licensed -- April 15, 1609

Queen Anne's Men -- or, simply, The Queen's Men, came into being when James I was crowned in 1603. Its patron was Anne of Denmark, queen consort to James. The company was formed out of the personnel of two previous companies, Oxford's Men and Worcester's Men. [see F. E. Halliday, A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964 pp. 535-6] Near the end of the reign of Elizabeth, the short-lived duopoly of the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the Admiral's Men was supplemented by a license (March 31, 1602) for Oxford's Men combined with Worcester's Men to play the Boars Head theater. Later that year they started playing at the Rose as well. The remnants of this combined troupe became the Jacobean-era Queen's Men. On April 15, 1609, the company was formally licensed. - RSB

1609, April 15.
Licence for Queen Anne's players (P. R. 7 Jac. 7, pt. 39).
also found in T. E. Tomlins, the Shakespeare Society's Papers, iv (1849)

D* con' licen lames by the grace of God &c' To all
Thome Greene lusticj Mayors Sheriff Baylieffy Constables et al headborrowes and other our Officers and lovinge Subiectj Greetinge knowe yee that wee of our especiall grace c'tayne knowledge and meere mocon have lycenced and aucthorised and by these p'senty doe lycence and aucthorize Thomas Greene Christofer Beeston Thomas haywood Richard Pirkyns Richard Pallant Thomas Swinn'ton lohn Duke Rofot lee lames haulte and Roftte Beeston Servant^ to our moste deerely beloved wiefe Queene Anne and the reste of theire Associatj to vse and ex'cise the arte and faculty of playinge Comedies Tragedies historyes Enterludj Morally Pastorally Stageplayes and suche other like as they have already studied or heareafter shall vse or studye aswell for the recreacon of our loving Subiectj as for our solace and pleasure when wee shall thinke good to see them during our pleasure. And the said Comedies Tragedies histories Ent'ludes Morallj Pastorallj Stageplayes and suche like to shewe and ex'cise publiquely and openly to theire beste comoditye aswell within theire nowe vsuall houses called the Redd Bull in Clarkenwell and the Curtayne in hallowell as alsoe within anye Towne hallj Mouthally and other convenient placy within the lifrtye and freedome of any other Citty vniu'sitye Towne or Boroughe whatsoever within our Realmes and Domynions willing and Comaundinge you and every of you as you tender our pleasure not only to pmitt and suffer them herein without any your letty hinderancy or molestacons during our said pleasure but alsoe to be aydinge assistinge vnto them yf anye wronge be to them offered and to allowe them suche former curtesies as hath byn given to men of theire place and qualitye and alsoe what favoure you shall shewe to them for our sake wee shall take kyndly at your hand$ Prouided alwaies and our will and pleasure is that all aucthoritye power priuiledgj and pfytty whatsoeu' belonginge and pply apptayninge to Master of Revelly in respecte of his Office and everye Cause Article or graunte contayned within the fres Patentj or Comission which have byn heretofore graunted or directed by the late Queene Elizabeth our deere Sister or by our selues to our welbeloued Servant Edmond Tylney Master of the Office of our said Revelly or to Sir George Bucke knighte or to eyther of them in possession or revercon shalbe remayne and abyde entyer and full in effecte force estate and v'tue as ample sorte as if this our Comission had never byn made In witnes wherof &c' witnes our selfe at westm the fifteenth daye of Aprill. p fore de priuato sigillo &c'/ ex

Pimlyco and the date of Pericles

On April 15, 1609, a small pamphlet was registered at the Stationers' Company called Pimlyco. Or, Runne Red-cap. Tis a mad world at Hogsdon. It was probably published before or near that date. "Pimlyco" or "Pimlico" is a nut-brown ale made and served in Hogsdon, also spelled Hogsden or Hoxden. In the curious pamphlet, the Anonymous writer states that the beer was so popular that several theaters found themselves empty in the afternoons, having lost their crowds to the Hogsdon public houses. The relevant quote that helps set the date of Pericles performances reads:

"(As at a New-play) all the Roomes
Did swarme with Gentiles mix'd with Groomes.
So that I truly thought, all these
Came to see Shore, or Pericles."

A. H. Bullen, who may have been the first to notice the reference, thought that the "Shore" play was probably Heywood's Edward IV. Shakespeare's Pericles was registered in 1608 but early performance dates from other sources are somewhat vague. Yet, a showing of Pericles witnessed by the Venetian and French ambassadors has been dated to between April 1607 and November 1608. If Pericles was performed as early as 1607, the claim that it was influenced by Wilkins' Patterne of Paineful Adventures, 1608, falls apart. (Actually the claim falls apart for other reasons, too.) And even though the 1609 printing of Pericles is agreed to be a "corrupt" and incomplete copy, the testimony of Pimlyco is that Pericles was very popular -- prior to April 15, 1609. So, presumably, the players had a good copy. The 1609 first quarto advertises that Pericles had been ‘diuers and sundry times acted by his Maiesties seruants, at the Globe’. Also that it was a "much admired play."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jonson and Ostler get paid. Where’s Shakespeare?

Two Bills and Two Suits.
The William Ostler problem and the William Shakespeare problem

by Robert Sean Brazil
April 14, 2009

From Robert Cecil’s accounts.

April 14, 1609 — Bill of expenses for entertainment at Britain's
Burse when the King was present. Inter alia :

To John Taillor upon a bill for divers Indyan toyes bought of him. 15:13:6
To Henry Elmes for the like upon a bill. 9:13:0
To Inygoe Johnes upon a bill. 9:12:0
To Johnson the poyett. 13:6:8
To Ostler the player. 5:0:0
Tohisboye. 2:0:0
To Feild the key keeper. 4:0:0

Endorsed: "April 14, 1609. Chardges of preparations made at
the new buildings in Durhame Howse for the King."

Significance of the above
In the April 11 entry I discussed the entertainment held at the dedication of the New Exchange or “Britain’s Bourse.” Three days later payments were made, as recorded in Cecil’s account books.

Note that “Johnson the poyet” (Ben Jonson, poet) got paid 13 pounds, six shillings and eightpence for writing (and we assume) producing the entertainment. William Ostler was a boy player from the Children of the Chapel who, now of age, was being brought in to the King’s Men. He received a whopping five pounds! Ostler’s “boy” or assistant received two pounds. Inigo Jones got nine pounds and change. This cannot be for his architecture work on the New Exchange -- that fee would clearly be much more. Presumably he built or designed special sets for the entertainment. It is fascinating that Jonson got paid more than the famous architect. “Field the key keeper” is Nathan Field, another young actor in the King’s Men.

So where was Shakespeare in all of this? He was back home in Stratford-upon-Avon, biographers tell us, involved in a protracted lawsuit. Shakespeare vs. Addenbrooke (a tradesman) was a contract dispute in Stratford that dragged on from August 1608 to June 1609. At the end of the series of hearings, the court awarded Shakespeare 6 pounds & 24 shillings, simply because Addenbrooke missed the final hearing. It is not recorded if Shakespeare ever collected the 6 pounds/24. Shakespeare was apparently in Stratford the entire time, missing key performances by the King’s Men, the publication of the Sonnets, and opportunities like the state entertainment that netted Ben Jonson 10 pounds. Yet, we are assuredly told that Shakespeare was the preeminent Jacobean playwright and the leader of the King’s Men. Evidence suggests that such stories are fictions, not facts. Why fight in rural court for ten months for a mere six pounds when the newest actor in the King’s Men, Ostler, got paid five pounds for one night’s work?

Adding to the strangeness, after Ostler’s death his widow sued Heminges for Ostler’s theatrical shares (October 1615), and declared, under oath, that the Shakespeare of the Globe (and other actors) were dead -- "generosis defunctis" -- and could not appear as witnesses! (The standard story is the Stratford man lived "until his last birthday," April 23, 1616).

Let’s look deeper at Mr. Ostler:

William Ostler (d. 1614) was a boy actor who became a member of the King's Men around 1608.

Ostler began in the Children of the Chapel, in Jonson's Poetaster, 1601, with Nathan Field and John Underwood, two boys who would also be called up to the Kings Men. Ostler performed in Jonson's Alchemist 1610, and played Antonio in Webster's Duchess of Malfi.

He was noted contemporaneously as a fine actor; John Davies, in Scourge of Folly, 1610, called Ostler, "the Roscius of these times." At some point, Ostler became a shareholder, or "householder" in the Globe and Blackfriars (both used by the King's Men.) Of the Blackfriars shares, Ostler apparently held one of seven portions. Shakespeare is said to have held one of seven as well, but these shares do not appear in Shakespeare’s will and there is no record that he ever sold them. His daughters did not inherit them. Thus it is possible that Shakespeare’s shares in the Blackfriars, at least, were imaginary, or he was a placeholder or straw-man for someone else.

Ostler married Thomasina Heminges (1611), who was a daughter of John Heminges (King's Men). Ostler died (1614), without a will. While his property should have gone to wife, Thomasina, Heminges took control of Ostler’s Blackfriars and Globe shares. Thomasina sued her own dad (for 600 pounds) but Heminges retained control of the shares.

This suit (1614-1615) is fascinating because of the testimony regarding Shakespeare.

The Ostler case was discovered by Dr. C. W. Wallace, and described by him in The Times (London) for Oct. 2 and Oct. 4, 1909; the plaintiff's complete plea was printed by Dr. Wallace in the original Latin in a privately circulated pamphlet. This item is exceedingly rare. EK Chambers gives the Latin, but no translation and no comment about the statement that the following potential witnesses were all dead, as of October 9, 1615: Augustine Phillips, William Shakespeare, Thomas Pope, and William Kempe. [We know Phillips died 1605, Pope in 1603, and Kempe circa 1603. Why would Thomasina Heminges Ostler be right about those men and wrong about Shakespeare? Most Shakespeare biographers run away from this material, focusing instead on Thomasina’s testimony about the value of the Globe and Blackfriars shares. [You can see a portion of the Latin document transcription in Ruth Miller's excellent article on the subject in Oxfordian Vistas Vol II p. 280-3.

The following is an excerpt from the DNB on Ostler. They do NOT mention the Shakespeare problem.

Ostler, William (d. 1614), actor, had a brief but notable career among the King's Men early in the seventeenth century. He first appears as a boy actor among the children of the Chapel Royal who performed Jonson's Poetaster at the Blackfriars playhouse in 1601. He was probably also a chorister, since he is not one of the seven chapel boys mentioned in December 1601 as actors not musicians. He next appears on 11 April 1609 as the first of three players, all recently or still belonging to the Chapel Royal, who performed a hastily arranged entertainment (published by J. Knowles in Butler, 1999), written by Jonson, mounted by Inigo Jones, and played before the king and the royal family at the opening of the New Exchange in the Strand. He played a shopkeeper and was by this time an adult, for he had a servant, Giles Gary, who played the boy in the shop (the other actor was Nathan Field, who played the key keeper). Probably later in that year Ostler was one of the players from the Chapel Royal whom the King's Men took on as adults ‘to strengthen the Kings service’ when the King's Men began to use the Blackfriars playhouse as well as the Globe.

Ostler soon became a principal member of the King's Men. He appears in the cast lists of six of the company's plays: Jonson's Alchemist (1610) and Catiline (1611); Beaumont and Fletcher's Captain (c.1609–12), Boudica (c.1609–14), and Valentinian (c.1610–14); and Webster's Duchess of Malfi (c.1612–14). In this last play he played Antonio, a virtuous hero surrounded by corruption, the only part he is known to have played in a regular play. In celebrating a brawl in which Ostler came off badly, John Davies called him in 1611, perhaps ironically, ‘the Roscius of these times’ and ‘Sole King of Actors’ (Davies, epigram 205). Ostler acquired the lease of a share in the Blackfriars playhouse on 20 May 1611, and he bought one in the Globe on 20 February 1612, so that he held a seventh of one playhouse and a fourteenth of the other, both leases to expire in 1629.

Ostler married Thomasin, daughter of the actor John Heminges, who was the company's treasurer, about 1611, when she would have been sixteen. The Ostlers' child, Beaumont (named presumably for the playwright), was baptized on 18 May 1612 at St Mary Aldermanbury, London, where Heminges lived and Thomasin had been baptized on 15 January 1595. Ostler died intestate, apparently in his twenties, on 16 December 1614, leaving to his widow (who became his administratrix six days later) only his two shares ‘for her relief and maintenance’ along with debts of ‘a very great value’ . She gave the shares to her father in trust and in 1615 brought a famous lawsuit against him when he would not return them or give her the income from them.

In summary: The first mystery is why Shakespeare-of-Stratford preferred pointless, profitless lawsuits in the country to earning fast cash entertaining King James. Then, how did Ostler, a talented actor, go from obscurity to a five-pound payday overnight? The next mystery is why did Ostler die so young, to have his father-in-law grab all his properties and shares, denying all to his (Heminges') daughter, the widow Ostler? Further, why does her sworn testimony of October 1615 include the seemingly uncontested fact that all parties believed Shakespeare, whomever he had been, was dead and gone? Did the man from Stratford die earlier than we know, necessitating various posthumous legal frauds? Or was he simply so long gone from the London scene that no one even knew where he was anymore? Did Thomasina Ostler perhaps remember stories that "Shakespeare" was a name on a contract and referred to another man, also dead?

UPDATE #1 - Here's an interesting presentation of Shakespeare vs. Addenbrooke 1608-09. Click the sequential stories one at a time starting with "August," then use the provided yellow triangle to go back to the Addenbrooke portal each time:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Letters from the Robert Cecil collection

The Earl of Northumberland to the Earl of Salisbury [1609] April 13. —
There are some things in question which come under your direction, too long to particularise by writing; therefore I pray you give this officer of mine hearing for me. 13 April. Holograph Endorsed: '1609.'

Sir Edward Wyntour to the Earl of Salisbury
1609, April 13. — You will be well pleased to understand what has been done in this country about the appeasing of such great disorders and dangerous tumults as have happened here of late. As it cannot be done by letters, I will come up myself. All matters here remain now very quiet, the people much ashamed and, as it should seem, very sorry of the vanity and rashness that without any just cause sent them into so high a contempt of his Majesty's authority. They promise all future obedience. My poor house of Lydney, 13 April, 1609.

RSB: I'm not exactly sure which great disorders Wyntour is talking about, or why the people are "ashamed.," or in what way they showed contempt for King James. I'm endeavoring to find out.

Sir Thomas Edmondes to the Earl of Salisbury (Summary)
1609, April 13. — Treaty with the Infanta, the Archduke and the President concerning Hoens. The truce published. Discourses upon the truce, as if the conditions were all to the Archduke's advantage. Desire to have the unnatural subjects, which remain on that side and are as firebrands to his Majesty's estate, removed. Touching the presents of the Commissioners.

RSB: the above entry shows that the political ramifications of the Truce (between Spain and the Netherlands) , published in England around April 13, 1609, were being widely discussed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

John Lumley, First Baron Lumley, dies

John Lumley, First Baron Lumley, dies April 11, 1609

Sometimes cited as the "seventh Lord Lumley," there were several creations of that title; the John Lumley of the 16th century is properly remembered as First Baron Lumley.

(1534-April 11,1609) was a fascinating man. He was caught intriguing to help Mary Queen of Scots gain the throne, and found himself jailed in 1570 along with his father-in-law, the Earl of Arundel. He apparently "came around" as he gradually regained favor at Court. He sat as one of the jurors (alongside the Earl of Oxford), in October 1586, at the trial of Mary Queen of Scots. He also sat in judgment of the Earl of Essex in 1602.

Known as a scholar, art- and book-collector, Lumley has even been proposed as the author of The Arte of English Poesy, 1589, more often credited to Puttenham.
The catalog of Lumley's library was published as: THE LUMLEY LIBRARY THE CATALOGUE OF 1609, edited by S. Jayne and F. Johnson., London : Trustees of the British Museum 1956. A description follows:

"The library of John, Baron Lumley (1534?-1609), consisted in part of works from the Cranmer library, obtained by way of Lord Arundel, and was in turn acquired, after Lumley had tripled its size, by Prince Henry, later incorporated into the royal library and eventually into the British Museum. An introduction discussing Lumley, the collection and the catalogue is followed by a typographic transcript of the 1609 library catalogue (about 3,000 items) made after Lumley's death for Prince Henry."

After Lumley's death, on April 11, 1609 the book collection was purchased by King James and became the basis for the "Royal Library." A musical tribute to Lumley, by John Bull, is found in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

LUMLEY and the 17th Earl of Oxford

In June 1583, Oxford wrote to Burghley on Lumley's behalf:

"I have bene an ernest suitor unto your Lordship, for my Lord Lumley, that it would please you for my sake to stand his good lord and friend whiche as I perceive your Lordship hathe alreadie very honorable ... for the which I am in a number of thinges more then I can reckon bound unto your lordship so am I in this likewise especially. for he hath matched with a near kinswoman of mine, to whose father I alwayes was behoulding unto, for his assured and kind disposition unto me. Further among all the rest of my blood, this only remaynes in account ether of me or else of them, as youre lordship dothe knowe very well, the rest havinge imbraced further alliances, to leave their nearer consanguinite...." Edward Oxenford
To the ryght honorable and his very good lord my lord Thresorer of England giue thes. [seal]

Erl of oxford for ye Lord Lumly

We can detect a close relationship between Baron Lumley and the 17th Earl of Oxford. First of all, they were related by marriage, as in the letter excerpted above. In 1582, Lumley married his second wife, Elizabeth Darcy, whose grandmother, Elizabeth de Vere, was Edward de Vere's aunt. [see also Nelson, Monstrous Adversary, p. 292; Miller, Oxfordian Vistas, p. 562. ). Lumley is listed as one of the mourners at Anne Ceil Oxford's funeral in 1588. (Nelson, p. 309] An early Oxford biographer, BM Ward, believed that Lumley wrote Arte of English Poesy (which has a praise of Oxford's literary skill). This was noted again, briefly, by the senior Ogburns (This Star of England, p. 777) and in Miller, op. cit.


Festivities at the opening of the New Exchange

Festivities at the opening of the New Exchange, April 11, 1609


The first Royal Exchange was built in 1567, located in the center of the City of London. It was designed by Thomas Gresham, who modeled the retail/wholesale center or shopping mall after the famous Bourse in Antwerp.

The New Exchange was constructed under the patronage of Robert
Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, in the west of London. Designed by Inigo Jones, it was completed in 1609.

On April 11, 1609, a grand dedication ceremony was held at the New Exchange, often referred to as “Britain’s Bourse” or Burse. Ben Jonson wrote and produced a special entertainment for the event. The text of this was lost for centuries until it was discovered by James Knowles in the State Pap
ers in 1996. Jonson’s “Entertainment at Britain's Burse” was published in Re-Presenting Ben Jonson - Text, History, Performance, edited by Martin Butler, 1999.

The New Exchange

The following linked page describes the old and new London Exchanges and has a nice map showing the locations.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Treaty of Antwerp

Peace between Spain and The Netherlands (and Spain expels the Moriscos)

by RSB:
The Treaty of Antwerp, signed in Antwerp on April 9, 1609, between Spain and the Netherlands, was a peace agreement that brought about a 12-year truce. The war between Spain and the breakaway Netherlands (the Eighty Years War, 1568–1648), had brought unbelievable carnage and loss of life in the Low Countries. Many heroes of England fought there and many died there. Philip Sidney was killed there in a skirmish in 1586.

The Dutch Republic (1581-1795), often called the United States, was an inspiration for the formation of the United States of America, whose revolution came approximately two centuries after the Dutch broke with Spain.

Spain also ordered the expulsion of all Muslims on April 9, 1609.

I must point out that England and Europe used different calendars after 1582, with Catholic Europe going with the Gregorian reform and England refusing until 1752. During that time there was a ten-day discrepancy between the two systems. Thus, these April 9 dates involving Spain are probably on the Gregorian calendar and would correspond to March 30, 1609, in England.

Here’s an explanation about the calendar problem I wrote in another context:

A curious aspect of all late 16th Century dates is tied to the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582. Because of a technical error in the Julian calendar, the seasons were gradually slipping away from calendric expectations. This was putting Easter out of synch with the actual occurrence of spring, and forced the church to issue a correction. Ten days were added in the Catholic countries, in October 1582, to re-synchronize the church calendar and restore Easter to its rightful time. The Julian problem and its solution involved the question of how many leap years should be counted in a century. From the adoption of the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. to the 16th Century, the slippage and error had added up to ten days.

 By official decree of Pope Gregory XIII, October 4, 1582 was followed immediately by Oct. 15, 1582. Was that adding 10 days or stealing 10 days? England noted the change with skepticism and laughter.
All of the Protestant countries, including England and Germany, and Russia (which kept the old Orthodox calendar), ignored, mistrusted, and refused to enact the 1582 correction and only came to their senses one by one, centuries later. 

When "correcting" dates from the past there is a sliding scale, not a static formula. English dates from 1582-1700 require a ten day correction. Dates from 1700-1752 require an eleven day correction; 1752 is the year Great Britain and her colonies fixed their system. Russia however, didn't correct its calendar until the Bolshevik revolution. So for Russian dates between 1700-1800 there's an 11 day correction, for 1800-1900 a 12 day correction, and from 1900-1920 a 13 day correction.

Other web locations:

Treaty of Antwerp

Expulsion of the Moriscos

Eighty Years' War

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

King James' Oath of Allegiance

King James' Oath of Allegiance Published in English


Shortly after the 1605 Gunpowder Plot imploded, Parliament passed a new law that required Catholics in England to take an Oath
of Allegiance to King James and, simultaneously, to publicly deny the Pope's international political power--specifically the pontiff's "right" to depose Kings. Pope Paul V immediately condemned the English law, and sent letters to James demanding satisfaction. Instead of giving the task to a cleric or functionary, James decided to write a reply--an "apology" (an explanation) himself. This tract was printed in February 1608 as Triplici Nodo Triplex Cuneus, anonymously, and in Latin.

On April 8, 1609 (date on the title page) the book was revised and re-issued in English giving King James credit for the book publicly.

"An Apologie for the Oath of Allegiance,
first set foorth without a name : And now acknowledged by the Author, the Right High and Mightie Prince James. Together with a Premonition of his Maiesties, to all most Mightie Monarches, Kings, free Princes and States of Christendome. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie April 8, ANNO 1609."

Also new in the 1609 edition was James' Premonition -- an appeal to other Protestant princes and kings. He refers to the Gunpowder Plot as the "Powder Treason."

It is odd that Shakespeare did not deal with Gunpowder Plot allusively -- unless he did. Garry Wills' 1995 Witches and Jesuits [Shakespeare's Macbeth] argues that Macbeth allegorizes the Gunpowder plot. This is still controversial. Many Shakespeare scholars do not accept Wills' thesis. I don't.

If you're curious, here's a review of Wills' book and theory:

And here's the wiki page on the Plot:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cecil's fees, Brits taste Coffee, Thomas Taylor

Robert Cecil has a fit about non-payment of import fees

"Whitehall, April 7, 1609: the Earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil, High Steward of Exeter) informs the Mayor that His Majesty's Grocer has complained that the merchants of Exeter bringing fruits and other grocery wares into the port and creeks therunto adjoining do refuse to pay for these commodities that composition which is due to His Majesty for the provision and service of his household. He therefore desires the Mayor to enquire into the matter and report to him the names of those who persist in refusing."

The city of Exeter Letters and other papers

Englishmen of the East India Company encounter Coffee

"On the evening of April 7, 1609 the first British ship ever to visit Yemen came to anchor outside the port of Aden. Of course the English had heard stories of this great port, thick with freighters and junks which tramped the coasts of India bringing exotic goods from the East to be exchanged for European commodities like woollens, leathers, tin and iron, brought down from Suez by ship or caravan. But, to the surprise of the men aboard the Ascension, the historic harbour of Aden was curiously deserted, except for a few Gujarati vessels; and the city, itself, what they could see of it, seemed run-down and seedy as if the businessmen had all gone elsewhere and the place had been left to rot.

The following day, the ship's cargo of cloth and metal was purchased for the Pasha and brought to shore accompanied by several of the ship's merchant representatives, two men named Jourdain and Revett, who were sent to settle the accounts.

Anxious to find out about the nature of this thriving commerce, Jourdain - adept in the art of commercial espionage - quickly located some likely informants and exchanged a few worthless goods for information. He was told that the mountain was named Nasmarde and that it was a very special place. For on this mountain grew most of the qahwa (which Jourdain heard as "cohoo") that was shipped throughout all the lands controlled by the Turks and to the far reaches of the Indies.

What Jourdain and Revett had stumbled upon that day was Yemen's coffee mountain - the produce of which, by then, had become more valuable than gold (at least for those who had been seduced by this exotic substance). Though coffee had yet to make its entry into Europe, by 1610, the year these stalwarts from the East India Company arrived, it had become one of the most important commodities in the Turkish Empire.


Thomas Taylor's Beauties of Bethel

Taylor, Thomas, 1576-1632.
"The beavvties of Beth-el. Containing: sundry reasons why euery Christian ought to account one day in the courtes of God, better then a thousand besides. Preached in Cambridge, and now published especially for the benefite of those that were the hearers."
At London : Printed by G. Eld, for Thomas Man, and are to be sold at his shop in Pater-noster-row, at the signe of the Talbot, 1609.
Stationer’s Register: Entered to T. Man, sen., and J. Man April 7, 1609"

George Eld would go on to print Shake-speare's Sonnets a month later.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Henry Hudson sets sail

April 6, 1609

"Henry Hudson sailed from Holland in the “Half Moon” on April 6, 1609. When head winds and storms forced him to abandon his northeast voyage, he ignored his agreement and proposed to the crew that they should instead seek the Northwest Passage. Given their choice between returning home or continuing, the crew elected to follow up Smith’s suggestion and seek the Northwest Passage around 40° N. While cruising along the Atlantic seaboard, Hudson put into the majestic river that was discovered by the Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 but that was thenceforth to be known as the Hudson. After ascending it for about 150 miles (240 kilometres) to the vicinity of what is now Albany, N.Y., Hudson concluded that the river did not lead to the Pacific."


William Shakespeare
assessed for poor rate (likely a modern forgery)
April 6, 1609
List of persons assessed for poor rate in Southwark, April 6, 1609, in which Shakespeare's name appears.
First printed in Collier's 'Memoirs of Edward Alleyn,' 1841, p. 91. The forged paper is at Dulwich. {369b}


Heminges takes payment (as usual)

April 5, 1609 -- Heminges takes payment (as usual) for King's Men

"Other narratives would have the King's Servants acting in Blackfriars during these plague periods because of recorded payments by the royal court to them for "private practice" (not in a particular location) during plague. John Heminges, who had annually collected the court moneys due the company from holiday performances since the beginning of James's reign, picked up payment at Whitehall on April 5, 1609, in Lent, for twelve plays presented at court during the preceding winter holidays. Then, twenty days later, Heminges was allotted an extra 40 [pounds sterling], a gratuity described as "his Majesty's reward for their private practice in the time of infection that thereby they might be enabled to perform their service before his Majesty in Christmas holidays [1608-] 1609." The reference here to "private" play would resurface a year later in a similar warrant for a royal gratuity to the King's Servants. This time Heminges picked up 30 [pounds sterling] for the King's Servants "being restrained from public playing within the City of London in the time of infection during the space of six weeks in which time they practiced privately for his Majesty's service."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PIRATES! - April 1609

Ward and Danseker tvvo notorious pyrates, Ward an Englishman, and Danseker a Dutchman. VVith a true relation of all or the mo[st] piraces by them committed vnto the first of Aprill. 1609. , Printed at London : [By E. Allde] for N. Butter and a[re] to be sold at his shop, at the signe of the Pide Bull, 1609.