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Charles I, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Berkshire, and George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham 'Letters to the Heads of Cambridge Colleges (June 1626)'

British Library, Harley MS 390, ff. 70r-72r


The Earle of Barkshires l[ett]re to Mr Chester of Trin[ity] Coll[ege] 2 June 1626

Mr Chester /

The infinte obligation which I owe to the Vniversity of Cambridge for the late most ample testimony of their great love & affection towards me, emboldens me to borrow your help, to make known vnto them my vnfained thankfullnes; wherein I confesse, that the love and favour which they have expressed vnto me, joined with the fashion of it, doth farre exceed the weak expressions of so feeble a style as mine is: For they have bin pleased out of their aboundant affection, to name me to one of the greatest Honours of this Kingdome, without any suit or meanes of mine, which was the Chancellourship of the Vniversity; the voting whereof in this noble fashion I account as much, as could befall me, & receiue it with as much thankfullnes, as if I were in full possession of the place. I must therefore intreat you to disperse this my thankfull acknowledgment to all my worthie freinds there, who have so freely bestowed their voices & unsought for favours upon me: and this labour I do the rather lay vpon you, because you know I put you to none in making meanes for me; which I should vndoubtedly have done, if I had preconceived any intention of standing for this Dignitie so often wedded by men of high places & noble families of this Realme, whereof my honoured Father deceased enjoyed the late testimonie, & my unkle before him, & not ceasing there, but expressed vnto me now by an haereditary affection. Thus much I pray you, to make knowne for me, with this farther assurance, that as I had my first breeding to my great honour in Cambridge, so I will live & die the

True Servant of the Vniversitie Barkshire St James 2. Junij 1626

70v 71r

The Duke of Buckinghams letter. June 1626

Mr Vicechancellor, & Gentlemen the Senate of the Vniviersity of Cambridge, There is no one thing, that concernes me in this life, I hold more deere, then the good opinion of Learned & Honest men; amongst which number, as you haue euer held first rank in the estimation of the Com[m]on Wealth, & fame of the Christian World: so in conferring this honour of your Chancellorship vpon me, I must confesse, you have satisfyed an ambition of mine owne (which I hope will never forsake me) and that is, to be well thought of by men that deserve well, & men of your profession: yet I cannot attribute this honour to any desert in me, but to a respect you beare the sacred memorie of my dead Master the King of Schollers, who loved you, & honoured you often with his presence; & to my Gracious Master now living, who inherits with his blessed Fathers vertues, the affetions he beare your Vniverstitie. I beseech you, as you have now made your choise with so many kind & noble circumstances, as the manner is to me as much as the matter: so to assure your selves, that you have cast your votes vpon your Servant, who is as apprehensive of the time you have shewed your affections in, as of the honour you have given him. And I earnestly request you all, that you would be pleased not to judge me comparatively, by the successe and happines you have had in your former choise of Chancellors, who as they knew better (perhaps by an advantage of education in your Vniversity) how to value the desert of men of your qualities & degrees: so could they not be more willing to cherish them then my selfe, who will make amends for my want of Schollership, in my love vnto the Professors of it, & to the [ * more cheerfully to imploy my vttermost endeavours ] source from whence it comes; having now just cause* (with that favour I enjoy from a Royall Master) to the maintaining of the Charters, priviledges & Immunities of your Universitie in generall, & to the advancing of the particular meritts of the Students therein. And since I am so farre engaged vnto you, I will presume vpon a further courtesie; which is, that you would be pleased to supplie me with your advise, & suggest a way vnto me (as my selfe shall not likewise faile to think vpon some meanes) how we may make Posteritie remember you71v June 1626 you had a thankfull Chancellor, & one that really both loved you & your Vniversitie: which is a resolution writt in an honest heart by him that wants much to expresse his affection vnto you, who will ever be

Your faithfull freind & humble servant Buckingham.


5 June 1626 The Kings Letter

Trustie & Welbelooved, We greet you well. Whereas vpon our pleasure intimated vnto you by the B[isho]p of Durham for the choise of your Chancellor; you have with such a dutie, as we expected, highly satisfyed vs in your election: We cannot in our owne Princely nature (who are much possessed with this testimonie of your loyall & ready affections) forbeare to let you know, how much you are made therein partakers of our Royall approbation; and we shall ever conceive, that an honour done to a person we favour is out of a loyall respect had vnto our selfe: And as we shall ever testifie Buckingham worthie of this your election, so shall you find the fruit of it. For we that have found him a faithfull servant to our deere Father of blessed memorie, and our selfe, can best vndertake, that he will prove such a one vnto you, and shall assist him with a gracious willingnes in any thing, that may concerne the good of your Vniversitie in generall, & the particular merits of any students therein.

Given under our signet at our Pallace at Westminster the 5th day of Iune in the second yeare of our Raigne/