Among the manuscripts of the Winthrop family that were collected by Robert C. Winthrop in the late nineteenth century was what he described as "an old manuscript volume, which seemed to have been a kind of Commonplace-Book of Adam Winthrop". On three occasions he read papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society in which he presented excerpts from that volume, indicating that there were other materials also in the manuscript.
The manuscript volume was not among the papers which R. C. Winthrop conveyed to the Society, nor was it among the materials which his son, Robert Charles Winthrop Jr. left to the Society. Efforts to find the volume have failed. Indeed, the fact that one account likely to have been part of the volume – an account of the death of James VI's daughter Mary – is to be found in the Winthrop Papers as a loose manuscript leads us to believe that the volume may well have been unbound by Winthrop and portions given to friends.
The following passages are the three selections from Adam Winthrop's Commonplace Book which were published in the Society's Proceedings. They tell us something of Adam's interests and perspectives. A question that needs to be asked is where Winthrop received the material which he copied into his book. A plausible source for one of the documents is offered below, but additional suggestions would be welcome.
I. The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, XII (1871-73), 285-287
The manner & order of the execution of the late Queene of Scottes, with the wordes which she spake at her Deathe, truely sett downe by Doctor Fletcher Deane of Peterborowe
On Wednesday the viii of February in 1586 there assembled at the Castle of Fordringham the Earles of Shrewsbuty & Kent, with divers Knightes & gentlemen Justices of the peace of the yeare in those Countries. About viii of the clocke, the Earles & Sherifes of the Shire went upp to the Scottish Queene, whom they fownde prayinge on hir knees, with hir gentlewomen & men. And the Sherifes rememberinge hir that the time was at hand, she answered & sayde she was readie. Then she was ledde by the armes from hir chamber into the chamber of presence, where with many exhortacions to hir people to feare God, & to live in obedience, kissinge hir women, she gave hir hande to hir men to kisse: prayinge them all not to sorowe, but rejoice & pray for hir. She was brought downe the stayers by two Souldiers: Then beinge belowe she stayed, & lookinge backe she sayed she was evill attended, & desired the Lordes she might for woman hoodes sake, have two of hir women to wayte uppon hir. Then they sayde, they were onely withholden for that it was feared, by their passionate cryinge they would disquiet hir Spirit, & disturbe the execution. She sayde, I will promise for them that they shall not doe so. Then two of them whom she willed were brought unto hir. Then she spake muche unto Welbin hir man, & charged him as he woulde answere before God, to deliver hir Speache & message to hir Sonne in suche sorte as she did speake them, all which tended onely to will him to governe wisely, in the feare of God, & to take heede to whom he betooke his chiefest trust; & not to geve an occasion to be evill thought of by the Queene of Inglande, hir good sister, to certefie him she dyed a true Skotte, a true Frenche, & a true Catholique. About X of the clocke she was brought downe into the greate hall, where in the middest of the howse, & agaynste the chimnie (wherein was a greate fire) was a skaffolde sett upp of twoe foote height, & xii foote broade, havinge two steppes to come upp; about the scaffold went a rayle halfe a yarde highte rownde covered with black cotten: So was hir stoole, the Lordes forme, the blocke, & a pillowe for hir to kneele uppon. There did sitt uppon the skaffolde the two Earles, the Sheriff stoode there, & the two executioners. When they were sett, Mr. Beale, Clerke of the Councell did reade hir Majesties Commission for hir execution, under the broade Seale, after which the Deane of Peterborowe beinge directed by the Lordes to speake unto hir, for the better preparation to dye a penitent Christian, in the true faythe of Christ, began at the motion of the Earle of Shrewsbury his exhortation, which as sone as he had begonne, she sayde with a lowd voice, peace Mr Deane, I will not heare you. I say nothinge sayde he, but that I will justifie before the majestie of the most highest. So proceedinge, she cryed alowde agayne, peace Mr Deane, I will not heare you, you have nothinge to doe with me, nor I wyth you. Then was he willed to silence, for any further molestinge hir mynde. She sayed, so it is best, for I am fully setled & resolved to dye in the Catholique Romishe faythe. Which when the Lordes hearde; the Earle of Kent sayde, albeit Madam, you refuse the offered mercies of the most highest, yet we will offer our prayrs to God for you; hopinge he will heare us. And if it might stande with his good will, he would vouchsafe to open your eies, & to lighten your hearte, with the true knowldege of his will, & to dye therin. She sayd, doe, & I will pray. Then the Deane pronounced a prayer, which the standers by folowed; all which while she havinge a crucifixe betwene hir handes prayed much lowder in latin. The prayer being done, she kneeled downe, & prayed to this effect: for Christ his afflicted Churche, & for an ende of their troubles, for hir Sonne that he might rule uprightly, & be converted to the Catholique Romishe Churche. She prayed that the Queenes Majestie might longe reigne peaceably, might prosper, & serve God. She confessed she hoped to be saved onely by the bloude of Christe, at the foote of whose picture presented on the crucifixe she would willingly shedd hir bloude. She prayed to all the Sayntes of heaven to pray for hir, & that the God of heaven woulde of his goodnes averte his plagues from this silly Ilande, & that God would geve hir life, & forgeve hir sinnes, & that he woulde receave hir Soule into his heavenly handes. And then she rose upp, & was by two of hir women, & the two executioners disrobed into hir peticoote. Then she sayed, she was not wont to be undressed before such a number, nor by such gromes. Then she kissed hir women, & one of them began to crye, to whom she sayd, peace, cry not, I have promised the contrarie: Crye not for me, but rejoice, & lifted upp hir handes & blessed them, & likewise hir men not farre of. Then sodenly she kneeled downe most resolutly, & with the least token of any feare of deathe that might be. And after that one of hir women had knitte a kertcher about hir eyes, she spake alowde this psalme in latin – In te Domine confido, ne confundar in aetrnum. Then lay she downe very quietly stretchinge out hir body, & layinge hir necke over the blocke, cryed, in manus tuas Domine, &c. One of the executioners helde downe hir two handes: & the other did at two strokes with an axe cutt of hir head, which fallinge out of hir atyre appeared very graye, & neare powlde. So houlding it upp, the people sayed, God save the Queene, & so perishe all hir enemies, & the enemies of the gospell. All thinges about hir, & belonginge to hir, were taken from the executioners, & they were not sufferd so much as to have their aprons before them till they were washed. The bloudy clothes, the blocke, & whatsoever els bloudy, was brent in the chymny fire. The body was caryed up into the chamber, hir boweles taken out, embawmed, seared, & resteth to the buriall.
Then follows in a different style of chirography, though by the same hand:
She was first roiallie buried in the Cathedrall Churche of Peterborroughe. But afterwardes shee was brought from thence to Westminster, & buried in Kinge Henry the Seventhes chapple, where a princely tombe was made over her, by the Kinges majestie her Sonne in the blank yere of his reigne of Great Britayne, &c.
The saide Queene of Scotts was the daughter & sole heire of James the 5. Kinge of Scotts, & was borne the 8 daye of December, 1542, beinge but 5 daies olde when her father died. She was first maried to Francys the eldest sonne of Henry the Seconde, Kinge of France, who reigned 2 yeres after his father, by whom shee had no issue. Then shee retourned into Scotlande, & maried Henry the lorde Darly, the eldest sonne unto Mathewe, Erle of Lenox, by whom shee had issue the Kinges majestie James the 6 who was but a yere olde when his father was slayne, & his mother fled into Englande, where shee remained prisoner till she died, which was the 8 daie of February, 1586, in the 44 yere of her age, & in the 29 yere of the reigne of Queene Elizabethe.
Also in the Commonplace Book, according to Robert C. Winthrop, was a copy of a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Sir Amias Paulet, one of those who transported Mary from Chartley Manor to Fotheringay Castle. R. C. Winthrop points out that along with Paulet one of the other keepers was Sir Drue Drury. Drury was well known to Adam Wintrhop and he could have provided the letter which Adam Winthrop copied.
A copie of the Q. Majesties Letter to Sir Amias Pawlett
Amias, my most faythfull & carefull servaunt, God rewarde thee treble folde for thy most troublesome charge so well discharged, if you knewe, my Amias, howe kindely my gratefull harte accepteth your speedie endevours, faythfull actions, your wise orders, & safe regarde, performed in so dangerous & craftie a charge, it would ease your travailes, & rejoice your harte: In which I charge you to carry this most just thought, that I cannot ballance in any waight of my judgment the value I prise you att. And suppose that no treasure can countervayle so greate a fayth. And I shall condemne myselfe in that faulte which I never committed, if I rewarde not such desertes, yea, lett me lacke when I most neede, if I acknowledge not suche a meritt, with a reward non omnibus datum. But lett your wicked murtheresse knowe, howe with hartie sorowe hir vile desertes compell these orders, & bidde hir from me aske God forgevenes, for hir treacherous dealinge towardes the saver of hir life many yeres: to the intollerable perill of hir owne: and yet not content with so many forgevenesses, must fall agayne so horrebly, farre passinge a womans thought, much more a princes. In steade of excusinges whereof not one can serve, it beinge so playnely confessed by the actours of my guiltlesse deathe, lett repentance take place, & lett not the fiende possesse hir so as hir better parte be loste, which I pray with handes lifted upp to him that may both save & spill, which my most lovinge adieu, & prayer for thy longe life.
Your assured & lovinge Soveraigne as therto by good desert enduced, Eliza: Regina To my faythfull Amias
II. The Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh
Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, XIII (1873-75), 94-98
The Confession and Execution of Sir Walter Raleighe
Uppon Wedensdaie beinge the 28th of October, 1618, the Lieutenant of the Tower, accordinge to a warrant to him directed, brought Sir Walter Raleigh from the tower to the Kinges benche barre at Westminster, where the records of his arraignment at Winchester were opened, and he was demanded why execution shyoulde not be done uppon him; accordinge to Judgement therein pronounced against him; To which he began by waie of answere to justifie himselfe in his proceedinges in the last voiage. But the L chiefe justice silenced him, sainge there was no other matter in question, but concerninge the Judgement of Death which had formallye beene given against him. And it was the Kinges pleasure (uppon some occasion beste knowen to himselfe) nowe to have the same executed, unles he coulde shewe good cause to the contrary. Unto which Sir Walter R. saide, that he was tolde by his Counsell, that in regarde his Majestie, since the saide Judgement, had bin pleased to imploie him in his service (as by Commission he had done) it made voide the saide Judgement, and was vivification unto him. But the Lorde chiefe Justice toulde him, he was therin deceived; and that the opinion of the Courte was to the contrary. Wherewith he rested satisfied, and desired that some reasonable time might be allowed him, to prepare himselfe for deathe. But it was answered him, that the time of deathe appointed to him was to-morrowe: and that it was not to be doubted, but that he had prepared himselfe for deathe longe since. And I am glad, saide the L. Chiefe Justice, that you have given the worlde so good satisfaction of your Religion: as by some bookes published by you, you have done. And so Mr. Attorneye generall required in the Kinges behalfe, that execution might be done uppon the prisoner, accordinge to the saide Judgement. Then the Shrifes of Middlesex were comanded to take him into their custodie, who presently caried him to the gate house in Westminster, from whence the next morninge he shoulde goe betwene the saide Shrives to the olde palace of Westminster; where a large scaffolde was erected for his execution. Whereuppon when he came with a cheerefull countenance he saluted the Lordes, knightes and gentlemen there present. After which a proclamation beinge made for silence, he addressed himsmelfe to speake in this manner: I desire to be borne with all, for this is the thirde daye of my fevere, and if I shall shewe my weakenes, I beseeche you to attribute it to my maladie, for this is the houre it was wonte to come. Then pausing awhile, he sett and directed himselfe to a windowe, where satt the Earles of Arundel, Northampton and Doncaster, with some other Lordes and knightes, and spake as followeth: I thanke God of his infinite goodnes that he hathe sent mee to die in the light, and not in the darkenes; but because the place where the Lordes satt was farre distant from the scaffolde, that he perceived they coulde not heare him well, therefore he saide, I will straine my voice, for I woulde willinglie have your honors heare mee. But the L. Of Arundel said nay, but wee will rather come downe to the scaffolde to heare thee, which he and some others did. Whither beinge come, he saluted theme generallie, and so began to speake as followeth: As I said before, so nowe I saie againe, I thancke God &c., but not in the darke prison of the Tower, where I have sufered a great deale of adversitie and cruell sickenes. And I thancke God that the fevere hath not taken me at this time, and I pray God I may not. There are so many pointes of supition that his Majestie hath conceived against mee, and wherein he canot be satisfied, which I desire to cleere and to resolve your Lords of. One is that his Majestie hath bin informed that I have ofte had plotts with France, and his Majestie had good reason to induce him thereunto: The first was, that when I came back from Guyana, beinge come to Plymouth, I indevored to have gone in a Barke to Rochel, which was because I woulde have made my peace before I came to Englande. The 2 was that uppon my flight, I did intende to flye into France for the savinge of my life, that had some terror from above.
A thirde was that the French agent came to mee; besides it was reported, that I had a Commission from the Fenche Kinge at my goinge forthe. These are the reasons that caused the Kinge to suspecte mee. Now for man to call God to witnesse a falsehoode, were a grevous synne: for what comfort can we then hope for at the daie of Judgement, before God's tribunal seate: But to call Godde to witnesse a false thinge at the houre of deathe, is a facte more grevous and fearefull, seeing suche a one havinge no tyme of repentance, cannot hope to be saved at all. Then what can I expecte, that at this instant am goinge to render my accompte. I doe therefore call the Lorde to witnes (as I hope to bee saved, and to see him in his kingdome, which I trust I shall, within this quarter of an houre) that I never had any Commission from the Frenche Kinge: neither did I ever see the Frenche Kinges handwritinge, nor his seale, in all my life. Nor yet did I knowe that there was an Agent heere, nor what he was, till I mette him in the galery of my lodginge, unlooked for. If I speake not true, then O Lorde let me not come into thy kingedome. The 2 suspicion was that his Majestie had bin informed, that I shoulde speake dishonorably, and disloiallie of him my sovereigne: But my accuser was a base frenchman, a runnagate, and one that had no dwellinge, and a kinde of chimicall fellowe. One that I knewe to bee perfidious. For being drawne in the accion of scarringe myself at Winchester, (into which I confesse my shame that my hande was at all) beinge sworne to secrecie one night, he revealed it the next morninge. But (let me speake) what have I nowe to doe with rogues? I have nothinge to doe with them, neither doe I feare them; for I have onlie to doe with my God, in whose presence I stand: therfore for me to tell a lie, therby to gaine the Kinges favoure, were in vaine. But as I hope in the Lorde to be saved at the last daie, I denye that I ever spake dishonourably, disloiallie or dishonestlie of the Kinge, neither to that frencheman, nor to any other. No I protest I never had a thought of ill, of his Majestie, in all my life. And therfore I cannot but thincke it strange, that the slaunderer beinge so base and meane a fellowe, should bee so farre credited as he hateh beene. And so muche of my double resolution to the Kinges double suspicion. I confesse I did attempte to escape; yea I cannot excuse that, but it was onlie to save my life. And I likewise confesse, I did faine myselfe to bee ill disposed at Salisbury; but I hope it was no syn; for the prophet David did make himselfe a foole, and suffer spittle to fall on his bearde, to escape the hands of his enemies, and it was not imputed to him. So in what I did I intended no ill, but to gaine and prolonge time till his Majestie came, hopinge of some commiseration from him. But I forgive this frencheman and Sir Lewes Stukeley also with all my harte. I have received the Sacrament this morninge of Mr. Deane, and I have forgiven all the worlde. But that they are perfidious, I am bounde in charitie to speake, that all men may take heede of them. Sir Lewes Stuckeley my keeper and kinsman hath affirmed, that I shoulde tell him, that my L. Carewe and my lorde of Doncaster there, did advize me to escape; but I protest before God I never tolde him any suche thinge, neither is it likely I should tell him any suche matter of the two privie counsellors. Neither had I any reason to tell him; for tis well knowne, that hee lefte me IX or X times alone to goe whether I woulde, whilst he ridde aboute the country. He farther accuseth mee, that I shoulde tell him that these two lordes would meete me in France, which I never spake nor thought. Thirdlie, that I shoulde proferre him a letter, wherby I did signifie unto him, that I woulde give him a thousand pound for my escape. But Lord cast my soule into everlastinge fire, if I ever made any suche proferre of a 1000 li or a 100 li. But indeed I shewed him a letter, that if he woulde goe with me, there should bee order taken for a payment of his detts, when he was gone: neither had I 1000 li, and if I had, I coulde have made my peace with it otherwise. Lastlie, when I came to Sir Edward Pelhhams, who had bin a follower of myne, and given me good intertainement, he gave out speaches that I had received some Drame of poison, when I asssured him that I feared no suche thinge, for I was well assured of them in the house; and therfore I wished him to have no suche thought. Nowe God forgive him, for I doe. And I desire God to forgive him, even as I desire to bee fforgiven. Then lookinge on his note of remembrance, well, saide hee, thus farre I am gone nowe; a little more, and I shall have done. It was toulde the Kinge, that I was brougth into Englande per force; and that I did not intendee to come againe; but Sir Charles Parks, Mr Tatsham, and Mr Leete knowe howe I was delte withall by the common soldiours, which were 150 in number; who sent for mee to come into the guard roome unto them, for they woulde not come to me; and there was I inforced to take an oathe, that I woulde not goe into Englande till they woulde have mee. I heare likewise that there was a reporte, that I went not purposelye to goe into Guiana at all, and that I knewe not of any myne, nor intended any suche matter; but only to gett my libertie (which I had not the witte to keepe), but I protest it was my full intent, to seeke the mine of gould for the benefite of myselfe and his Majestie and those that adventured with mee and the rest of my countrymen that went with mee. But he that knewe the head of the mine woulde not discover it, when he sawe my sonne was slaine, but made himselfe awaie. And then turninge to the Earl of Arundell, he saide as followeth: Being in the gallerie of my shippe at my departure, I remember your honor tooke me by the hande, and said you woulde request one thinge of mee, that whether I made a good voiage or a bad, I would not faile to returne againe into Englande: which I promised you, and gave you my faith that I woulde, and so I did. To which my Lorde then present answered, it is true, I well remember it, they were the last woordes I spake unto you. Another opinion was helde of mee, that I carried to sea 1600 peeces, and that I was desirous (for all the voiage that I intended) only to get mony into my handes, and that I had made my voiage before; whereas I protest at my goinge to sea, I had but a C peeces in all, whereof I gave 25 to my wife, and the rest I tooke with mee, and the remainder I brought backe with me into Englande. Another scandall was charged on me that I woulde have gone awaie from my companie, and left them at Guiana; but there are a great many woorthy men, which accompanied me alwaies and knowe my intent was nothinge so. All these are the material pointes whcih I thought good to speake of.
I am at this instant, (beinge the subjecte of deathe), to render accounte to God,and I proteste (as I shall appeare before him) this that I have here delivered and spoken is true: yet I will speake a woorde or two more, and but a word or two, because I will not bee over troublesome to Mr Sherif. There was a reporte spred, that I should rejoice at the death of my Lord of Essex: and that I shoulde, at that instant, take Tobacco in his presence; when (I proteste) I shed teares at his deathe, thoughe I was (I confesse) one of the faction. At the very time of his deathe, and all the while of his preparation, I was in the Armorie, and at the further ende, where I coulde but see him. He sent for me, but I did not goe to him: for I hearde he desired to see mee. Therefore I lamented his death, as I had good cause, for it was the woorse for mee, as it proved: for after he was gone, I was little beloved. Nowe I intreate you all to joigne with me in prayer, that the great God of heaven, whom I have grevously offended, woulde forgive mee. For I have been a man full of all vanities, and have lived a synfull and wicked life in a synfull callinge; havinge bin a Soldior, a Captaine both by lande and sea, and also a Courtier, which are only helpes and waies to make a man wicked in all these palces. Wherfore I desire you all to praye with mee that God woulde pardon and forgive me my synnes, and cast them all out of his sight and rememberance; and that for his Sonne, my only Saviour Jesus Christ his sake, he woulde r eceive me into his everlastinge kingdome, where is life eternal. And so I take my leave of you all, and will nowe make my peace with God.
And after a proclamation made, that all should departe from of the scaffolde, he prepared himselfe to die, givinge awaie his bever hatte, and wrought night cap, with some mony to see to some of his acquaintance that stoode neere him: and then tooke his leave of the Lordes, knightes, and gentlemen. Hee desired the Erle of Arundell, that he woulde informe his Majestie of that which he spoke; and to intreat him, that there might bee no scandalous pamphletts or wrightings published to defame him after his deathe. And so puttinge of his gowne and dublet, he made a longe prayer upon his knees, the Deane of Westminster kneelinge by him, and praying with him all the while; which being ended, he called to the Executioner to fetch the fatal instrument (as he called it) which being denied him, he saide, I pray you let mee see it; thincke you, I am afraide of it? Whereupon it was shewed him; and he felte the edge with his thumbe, and with a smilinge countenance he saide to the Sheriff – This is a sharpe medicine, but a phisitian that will cure all diseases. Then going to eche side of the scaffolde, he intreated the people to praye for him, that God would assist him, and give him strengthe. Then being asked which waie he would lie, towardes the windowe, where the Lordes stoode, or no, he went aboute the blocke, and laide his hed from the Lordes, and said, So bee it the harte bee stronge, it is no matter where the hed lieth; and then prayinge, havinge forgiven the Executioner, and givinge him a signe when he soulde doe his office (as he laye prayinge and callinge upon God) at twoe strookes he tooke of his head.
In the same mss volume was a copy of thre lines said to have been found in Ralegh's Bible after this death, with some variations from the commonly received version:
Even so dooth tyme take up withe truste, Our youthe, and joies and al wee have; And paies us but with age and duste, In darkenes, silence and the grave. So havinge wandred all our waies, Shuttes up the story of our daies. – From darknes, silence, age and duste, The Lorde shal raise me up I truste. Qth. Wa: Raleygh
Note: one possible source of the account of Realegh's execution coming to Adam Winthrop or John Winthrop could have been Sir Robert Naunton
III. Letters of Olympia Morata
Massachusetts Historical Soceity Proceedings, XV (1876-77), 245-249
Note: Olympia Morata was born in Ferrara in 1526. From her youth she displayed an aptitude for classical languages and in her teens composed poetry in Greek and Latin. She was chosen as a special companion for the eldest daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. She was attracted to the ideas of Luther and as a Protestant was forced to flee from Ferrara. She married Andre Grunthler, a physician, and went to Augsburg and then to Schweinfurt. They escaped from the siege of that town and settled in Heidleburg. She died a victim of the plague in 1555. The young and precocious female scholar received testimonials from Beza and other reformers and was something of a legend in her time. Her writings were bequeathed to Celio Secundo Curio, professor of Roman Eloquence at the University of Basle, who published them in Basle in 1558; a second edition, in 1562, was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Of her printed letters one was in Greek, two in Italian, and the remaining forty-five in Latin. Adam Winthrop copied English translations of some of the letters in his commonplace book. It is a possibility that he may have been drawn to her story by his brother William, who was an elder of the Italian congregation in London.
The arguments and contentes of the Epistle of Olimpia Morata, to her sister Victoria
After their deliverance out of the cittie of Swinforde, which was beseeged xiiii monethes, & afterwardes taken, spoiled, & sett on fire by the Emperors Soldiers, Olimpia & her husbande, who was twise taken by them, & yet again delivered, founde great frendship of certaine noble men & women, who intertained them, & relived their necessitie: whereof in this Epistle shee certifieth her sister, beinge then in service with a noble ladie at Ferrara, & relateth unto her bothe the violent maner of the siege, & the great distresse that the cittie was in, & also the perill & danger that they themselves had incurred, if they had not bin warned by a stranger to flie from thence after it was taken. Therefore shee exhorteth her sister to give God thanckes for their deliverance, & sheweth her howe well content shee is to suffer afflictions for Christ & his gospels sake; exhorting her also to have a special care of her owne salvation, & to leade a godly life, thoughe shee bee one of the electe that shal be saved, with many other godly instructions. Shee sendeth salutations to divers, & willeth her to certifie her at large of her affaires & other thinges.
Olimpia Morata, the wife of Andrew Gunthrer, unto her sister Victoria Morata, sendethe greetinge
Deare Sister, – Wee are yet (throughe the love of God towards us) safelie escaped out of the great shipwracke of our wedded cuntrie: for which you also, sister, are bounde to render thanckes to the almightie & good God, who hathe preserved us beinge plucked from the fire & sworde, & even out of the jawes of utter distruction. If I shoulde declare to you the dangers & miseries of warre which wee have suffered, I shoulde rather compile a greate volume than an epistle: For wee were xiiii monethes full, whilst the citie was beeseeged, in great distresse, & night & daie amonge the shotte of gunnes: so as if I shoulde tell you the number of shotte that battered the walles in one daie, perchance it woulde seeme incredible. But God woulde have the citie holde out so longe that he might reduce the people to goodnes, for whilst wee were beeseeged fewe of ours were slaine; & the citie was impregnable, though it was not very greate, nor sufficientlie defended against so great force & munitions of the enymie. But at lengthe, when we thought they had bin gone (as the Emperor himselfe & other princes of the Empire had comanded), & that all thinges now had bin quiet, see, upon the suddaine, & not without treacherie, they rushe into the citie, & when they had rifeled it, they set it on fire. This sore wounde did Germanie (otherwise happie) receive in her bowelles throughe civil dissention of the princes. In this so grete feare & astonishment, when, as my husbande & I were even thinckinge to get us into the Churche as into a sanctuary, a souldior, whome we knewe not, came runninge, & advized us forthwith to flie out of the cittie, or otherwise wee shoulde be burned with it. And trulie, if we had bin in the Churche, the very smoke had stifeled us, as it did others, who fled thether. Therefore we obeied his warninge, whosoever he was; which whilest wee doe, we fall amongst the soldiours, who spoile us; and my husbande also is twice taken of them, which I tooke most heavilie of all: who, if hee had bin any longer detained, & God had deferred his helpe (for God did give him to mee at my petition), I had surelie died throughe the bitternesse of my greefe. The losse of all other thinges I easily endured (for I had only my smocke lefte to cover my bodie), but the losse of my most deare husbande I coulde no waie have borne. But God our father hearde my sobbes, not onlie at that present time, but after also. For he beinge our guide, wee came to divers Counts (as nowe a daies they call them), being lordes of townes & castelles, of whom we were honorable received, & had bestowed uppon us clothes & other necessaries: amonge whom there is one whose wife is the daughter of one of the most noble Dukes of the Germans, who are called Palsgraves. This Ladie entertained mee with suche love & godlie affection, beinge brought verie lowe, that when I was sicke shee ministred to me with her owne handes; & besides that shee gave me a faire gowne, worthe above five powndes. An other noble man, whom we had not so muche as hearde of before, sent us, whilst wee were in our journie, a good supplie of monye. By their liberalitie we were sustained in so great straightes untill my husband was called to Heidelberge (where wee nowe bee) by the most illustrious prince Pallatine, one of the seven Electors of the Empire, to be the publicke reader of Phisicke there, for it is one of the Universities of Germanie, & not the meanest of them. Althoughe in this calamitous & turbulent time, there is more preparinge for armes then for artes. The Bishops have a greate armye, & the others have the like, so as they spoile, rifle, & burne all thinges. Also in Englande the godlie are greevouslie afflicted. I heare that Bernardino Ocello, of Iene, a true Xtian man, is fled to Geneva. So that every where he that wilbe a Christian must beare his Crossse. And truelie for my part I had rather suffer, so it be with Christ, then to injoy the whole earthe without Christ. Neither do I desire any thinge more but him. Although I am not ignorant that our forepassed sufferinges shall not be the last, many other thinges abide us to be suffered hereafter if wee live; nay, not at this very time are wee free from troubles. One thinge I pray for, that God will give me faithe & constancie unto the ende, which I also trust that he will doe, for he hathe promised to heare my prayers, as often as I call uppon him. And I doe dailie powre out my soule before him. Neither is it in vaine, for I feele myselfe so strengthened & confirmed that I have not given place to his adversaries, who abounde in all places, no not a haires breadthe, in the cause of religion. Neither in any thinge doe I consent with those Epicures, who pretende the sacred name of the Gospel, to cover their filthie lustes. Thus thou seest (Deare Sister) that no place is cleare of enemies, the worlde, the Devil, & the fleshe. But it is farre better to suffer afflictions with the Churche of God, in this most short life, then to be condemned with the adversaries to everlasting sorrow, where the eyes are closed up to eternal night. Wherefore I earnestlie pray thee (good sister) to have respecte to thy salvation, & to feare him more, who with one worde created all thinges, who hathe made you, who hath saved you, & heaped so many benefites uppon you, then a fewe unprofitable burthens of the earthe, then the shadowe of the worlde althoughe it threaten, or ells smile & fawne uppon you. For all thinges that you looke uppon, what are they but a thynne vapour, or vanishinge smoke, or as stubble & haie, suddenlie to be consumed by fire. If so be that you feele yourselfe weake in this waie that leadeth to heaven, take heede that you excuse not your weakenes; for the concealinge of a disease makes it the greater, & it is displeasinge unto God: for this cause the prophet David (Psa. Cxli. 4) praiethe that God woulde not suffer his heart to incline so muche, as that he shoulde pretende an excuse for his sinnes. What must you doe then? Confesse your disease unto the lorde, the true physition: beseche him that he would applie some medicine to you; that he woulde adde strengthe to your weakenes; & that he woulde cause you to love & feare him more then men, for therfore in the psalmes he is so often called the God of our strengthe, to the ende that he may fortifie us & make us stronge, so that wee will knowe ourselves, & aske it of him; for he wilbe prayed to continually that he may be intereated. And be assured that he heareth thy praiers, & will doe what thous desirest; yea, & above thy request, since he is liberall, & bountifull towardes all those that seeke him heartelye. But take heede (my sister) that you despise not the voice of the gospell & saie, if, indeed, if I bee one of those that bee chosen, & appointed to salvation, I cannot perishe, for this were to tempt God, who willeth us, by the obedience of the gospel, & praier, to obtaine salvation. For albeit election be certaine, & the salvation of those who be predestinate be sure, which such as are Christes doe feele in the inner man; yet is it not without Christ, & those thinges which doe adorne the Christian profession. Paul tells us, that faithe is by hearinge, & hearinge by the worde of God. The same he writes also in the epistle to the Galathians, & in the Actes of the Apostles it appeares by the very place, that those were endued with the holy Ghost which had harkened to the voice of the gospel. Let that also never be forgotten of you, which both Paul & James doe affirme, that the faith is approved of the lorde which is lovelie & workinge by love, & not that which is idle & unprofitable. If it be so that you want libertie to heare, yet let no daie passe without readinge the holy scripture & prayer; that God woulde inlighten your mynde, to understande & gather out the thinges which may further you to live well & happilie. But if also you have little spare time from your mistres buysines, arise somewhat the more earlie in the morninge, & goe a little the later to bed in the eveninge, & so in your private bedchamber performe those duties that serve for your salvation. For the lorde comandes us to seeke his kingedome & the righteousnes thereof, before all thinges. Those duties performed, intende your mistres service with that willingnes & faithefulnes, with that respecte & honor which may well beseeme a Christian maiden wel brought up. Speake to Lavinia your mistres that shee also may seeke ease of her griefes & vexations from Christian philosophie, together with rest from all cares. Wee shall shortlie arive in the wished haven. Time passeth swiftelie, as wel in adversitie, as in prosperitie. But if her sufferinges seeme longer & harder, let her consider that shee suffers with the citizens of heaven & of Christ, yea with Christ himselfe. For even that noble woman, whom I mentioned before, doth beare her Crosse, & that no light one neither. And thoughe she be borne of a roial race & stocke, of which there have also bin some Emperors, yet shee is as content with this meaner condition, which hathe befallen her. This ladie, in xix yeares space, had scarse one daie free from sicknes; yea, nowe also shee is & hathe bin many daies so dangerouslie sicke, that it is gretlie doubted of her life. Shee is a woman most religious & continuallie talketh of God, & of the life to come, with an earnest desire oftentimes brought into the hazarde of their lives & goodes for the gospels sake. O my deare sister, praye you with Moses in the 90 Psalme, Teache me, O Lorde, to number my dayes, & to have alwaies before myne eyes the fewnesse of them; that contemninge this vaine lyfe, I may wholy addicte myselfe to wisdome, & to the contemplation of eternitie. Seeke the lorde whilest he may be founde, pray to him continually, when you take your foode give him thanckes; resigne yourselfe wholly to his love. Walke not in the waie of the wicked. Keep your harte pure & chaste; that at lengthe overcoming you may receive your rewarde. Salute hartilie in my name those matrons & damselles that be with you. Write unto me a large letter of all your afaires. The letters of your deare Ladie Lavinia (whose name I honor) I do greatlie desire: hir sweete behaviour & godlines are never out of my mynde. I sent hir some little bokes, but chefelie of Celius Secundus makinge. I longe to knowe whether shee received them, & if they were welcome unto her. My husbande & brother Emilius doe kisse & most hartilie salute you. Farewell, my deere & sweete sister Victoria. From Hidelberghe, 6 Aug 1554
An Epistle of Olympia Morata, unto Celius Secundus Curio
I suppose, well-beloved Celius, I neede not nowe to use any excuse to you why I have not answered your letters, delivered unto me longe since, for that the warre itselfe doo the sufficiently cleere me, wherewith for the space of xiii monethes we were so vexed, that by it we received all maner of calamities. For so sone as Marquis Albert, by reason of the fitnesse of the place, had placed his hoste in Swnforde, then his enymies which were many, began to beseege the cittie, & to assaulte it, & daie & night with their gunnes to beate the walles on all sides, when neverthelesse wee were also afflicted within the walles by the Marquesses soldiers with many injuries, neither was any man safe ynoughe in his owne house. Beesides so often as their wages was not paide them, when it was due, they did threaten to take awaye all from the citizins, as thoughe they had been sent for, & hired by us. In so muche as the cittie, by maintaininge so many soldiours, was nowe utterlye consumed. By whose infection also so grevous a disease did welneere invade all the citizins that many, through greefe, & trouble of mynde being afflicted, died thereof, wherewith also my moste lovinge husbande was taken, so that there appeared no hope of his life, whom God having pitttie of mee most afflicted, without any medicine applied, did heale. For in the towne ther was not any salves.
But as Seneca saieth, the goinge out of one evil is the steppe to another that will come: for beinge delivered by God from that disease, wee were by & by beseeged with a greater bande of enymies, which daie & night did throwe fire into the cittie, that oftentimes in the night you woulde have thought the whole towne had bin on fire. And all that time wee were constrained to lie hidde in wine cellars. But at lengthe when wee looked for a happie ende of the warre, throughe the departure of the Marquis, who was about to leade awaie his hoaste by night to another place, wee fell into greater miserie. For he was scarcelie gone out of the cittie with his hoaste, when the next daye the soldiers of the Bisshops & of the Noringbers rushed into the cittie, & after they pilled it they sett it on fire. But God tooke us out of the middest of the flames, when one even of the enymies had admonished us to depart out of the cittie before it burnt in every parte; whose counsel obeyinge, wee went forthe, being spoiled & made naked of all thinges, so that wee might not be suffered to carry awaye a halfepeny. Nerelie in the middest of the market-place our garmentes were plucked from us, neither was there any thinge lefte mee, but my smocke to cover my bodie withall. And when wee were goune out of the cittie, my husband was taken by the enymies, whom I coulde not ransome with a smal thinge; but when I sawe him lead out of my sight, I prayed to almyghty God with teares & sighes, who presently sent him freed to me againe. But nowe beinge goune out of the cittie, wee knewe not whether to goe. At last wee tooke our journye towards Hamelburgh, unto which towne I was scarse able to creepe. For that towne was distant three Germaine miles from Swinforde. And the townsmen were unwillinge to receive us; for that they were forbidden to intertaine or harbour any of us. But I, amongst the poore women, seemed of all the beggers to bee a queene: I entered into that towne barefoote, my haire ruffeled, with a torne coate, which indeede was not myne owne, but was lent mee of another woman. And through the wearysomenes of that journie, at lengthe also I fell into an ague, which held me all the time of my travaillinge. For when the Hamelburghs feared that it was not safe for them to let us abide with them any longe time, wee were forced, though I was sicke, within fowre daies after to depart from thence. But there againe whilst wee were compelled to passe by the Bishops chefe officer, who saide that his most mercyfull lorde commanded him to kill all persons that fled thether out of Swinforde. Therefore we were holden captives there betwene hope & feare until wee were let goe by the Bishops letters. And then at length God began to look mercifully upon us; & brought us first to the noble Earle of Rinecks, & afterwardes to the most honorable Countes Erbacks, who for the Christian religion have often ventured their lives & the losse of their estates & goodes, of whom we were bountifully intertained, & with many giftes. Also we taried with them many daies, until I was wel amended, & my husband chosen to reade the phisicke lecture publickly in the Universitie of Heidelbergh.
IV. The death of the Lady Mary
Winthrop Papers mss, Massachusetts Historical Society
Of the manner of the death of the Lady Marye the Kinges Majeties youngest daughter
Such was the manner of her deathe, as bred a kinde of admiration in al that were present to beholde it. For wheras the mis tuned organs of her speeche by reason of her wearysome & teadious sicknes had bin soe greatly weakened, that for the space of 12 or 14 houres at the least ther was no sound of any worde hearde breaking from her lyps: yet when it sensibly appered that she should soone make a peaceable end of a troublesome lyfe, she fight out these wordes, I goe, I goe/ and when not long after ther was something ministred unto her by those that attended her in the tyme of her sicknes, fastning her eye uppon them with a constant looke, againe she repeatred, Awaye I goe. And yet a third tyme almost immediately before she offered up her selfe a sweete virgin sacrifice unto him that made her, faintly she cryed I goe, I goe. The more stronger did this appere to them that heard it, in that it was almost incredibly that so muche vigour should stil remayne in so weake a body and whereas she had used many other woordes in the tyme of her extremitye: yet that nowe at laste (as if directed by supernatural inspiration) shee did so aptly utter these and none but these.
This noble lady lyved 3 y & monehtes and died the blank Day of Septe 1607 and was buryed in King Henry the 7 chappel the 23 of the same monethe.