Back to search results

Sir Robert Cotton 'The Danger Wherein the Kingdom Now Standeth and the Remedy (1628)'

British Library, Additional MS 11600, ff. 102r-106r


The danger wherein [th]e Kingdome now standeth & the remedie

As soone as the howse of Austria had incorporated itselfe with Spayne and by theire newe discoveries gotten to them selues the wealthe of the Indies they began to affect and eu[er] since haue pursued a fift Monarchy. The Emperour Charles would first haue layed the foundac[i]on in Italy by surprisinge Rome. But from this he was thrust by force and respect of Religion: Henry the being made Caput federis. against him hee then attempted it in high Germany practizinge by faction and force to reduce them first to petty States and soe to his absolute powers. In this Henry the eight againe pr[e]vented him by tyenge the Lutherane Princes vnder his confederacy and assistance./. His sonne the second Phillipp pursued the same ambic[i]on in the Netherlands of Germany by reduc[i]on whereof hee intended his way to make his way further into the other. This the late Queene of England102v interrupted by sidinge w[i]th the afflicted people one the parte and makinge her selfe head of theire protestant league w[i]th the Princes of the other, drawing in as a secrete of state the Countenance of Fraunce to gyue the more reputac[i]on and assistance to them and securety to it selfe. Spayne seing his hopes thus fruitless by theis vnion and sleights began to breake yf he might the amity of France and England. but findinge the Comon danger to be as fast a tye. hee raiseth vp a partie in that kingdome of his owne. by w[hi]ch the French kinge was soe distressed. that had not the English Councell and assistance releeued him. Spayne had then removed that next and greatest obstacle of his ambition ./. His Counsell nowe tells him from these examples that the way to his greate worke is impassable soe longe as England laye a lett in his way (and aduiseth him that the remoue of that obstacle be the first of his intents this drewe on these often secrett practizes against the p[er]son of the Queene and his open fury against the body of the state in 88. w[hi]ch shee by followinge a free Counsell would neu[er] after admitt of peace wininge by theire by the hearts of a louinge people whoe eu[er] found hands and money for occasions at home and keepinge secretly her alliances abroad securinge to her Confederates all her tyme freedome for feare of spanish slauery and soe ended her old and happy dayes in glory: Spayne then by the wisdome and power of that greate Lady soe dispoyled of his meanes to hurt though not of his desires makes vp w[i]th her peacefull successor of happy memory, that golden league that disarminge vs at home by opinion of securety and gyvinge them a power in our Counsell by beleeuinge theire freindshipps and pretended marriage gaue them way to cherrish amongest vs a partie of theire owne. 103r and bereft of power abroad to lead in ielousie and sowe diuision betweene vs and our confederates. By w[hi]ch wee see they haue swalloed vpp the fortune of our M[aste]rs Brother w[i]th the rest of Imperiall states distressed the kinge of Denmarke by that quarrell, diverted Swedons assistance by the warres of the Pole and movinge them nowe w[i]th the offer of the danish Crowne. And now whether from the plott or o[u]r fattality it hath cast such a bone betweene France and vs, as hath gotten them selues by o[u]r quarrell of religion a fast Confederate, and vs a dangerous Enemie. Soe that now wee are left noe other assurance against theire malice and ambic[i]on. but the Netherlanders where the tye of mutuall safty is weakned by daylie discontents bred and fede betweene vs by some ill affected to both o[u]r secureties that from the dowbtfullnes of freindship as wee nowe stand wee may rather suspect from o[u]r owne domestique facc[i]on yf they grewe to furious they will rather followe the example of Rome in her growinge that held it equally safty honorable and more easy aswell dare regem as subiugare prouinciam consideringe the power the haue in theire handes then to giue any freindly assistance to serue the present condic[i]on of o[u]r state / You may therefore see in what tearme wee stand abroad, and I feare me at home for resistance in noe better state / There must be to w[i]thstand a forrain invasion a proportion both of sea and land forces for to gyue an enemy an easy passage and a port to releiue him in is noe lesse then to hazard all at one stake. And it is to be considered that noe march by land can be of that speed to make head against the landinge of an enemye. then it followeth that there is noe such pr[e]uention as to be master of the Sea. To this point of necessary defence there can be noe lesse then 240000l. For the and forces yf it were for an offensiue warre the men of lesse liuelihod were the best spared and were vsed vsed formerly to make such warr purgamento reipublica. yf wee made noe farther purchase by it. But for the safety of a Comon wealth the wesdome of all tymes did neu[er] interest the publique cause to any other then such as had a portion in the 103v publique adventure. And that wee sawe in 88. when the care of the Queene and of the Counsell did make the body of that large army noe other then of the trayned bandes w[hi]ch w[i]th the auxilliaries of the whole realme amounted to noe lesse then 2400 men. Neyther were any of theise drawen out from forth there Countreis and proper habitac[i]ons before the end of May. that there might be noe longe agreieuance to he publique such discontentments being even to vs a more fatall enemy then any forreine forece./. The carefull distribuc[i]on of these sea and land forces beinge more fittinge for a Counsell of warre then a pryvate man to aduise of. I pass ou[er]: yett shall eu[er] be willinge and readie when I shalbe called humbly to offer vp such observac[i]ons as I haue form[er]lie gathered by the former like occasions in this Realme to make vp this proportion. there are requisite twoe things money and affecc[i]ons for they cannot be properlie seu[er]ed. It was and wisely sayd of that great and graue Counsellor the lo[rd] Burghley in like case to the late Queene. winne harts and you haue theire hands and purses, And I thincke finde that of late diffidence having bene a defect in the one it hath vnhappely produced the others./. In gatheringe then of money for this present need there are requisite three things speed assurance and satisfacc[i]on And the way to gather as other in like cases haue done must be by that path w[hi]ch hath beene formerly called Via vegiæ, beinge more secure and speedy. For by vnknowen and vntrodden pathes it is bothe rougher and tedious and seldome succedeth. This last way althoughe it tooke place as it were by a supply at first and receyued noe gen[er]all deniall. yet since it hath drawen in any to consult w[i]th themselues and others in the Consequence, and is nowe conceyued a pr[e]ssure, on their liberties and against lawe 104r I much feare, yf that nowe againe either offered either in the same face or by pryuie Seale, it wilbe refused wholly neither finde I yett that the restraint of those recusants hath produced any other effect then a striffe resoluc[i]on in them and others to forbeare./. Besides although it went at first w[i]th some assurance yett when wee consider the Comissions and other formes incident to such like seria[n]tes as that how longe it hangs in hand and the many delaies that were, wee may easelyly see what such a som[m]e by parliament granted is farr soener and more easely gathered yf any will make the successions of tymes to produce an invetible necessitie to inforce it, yf denied, whether in gen[er]all by excise or imposic[i]on or particuler on some select p[er]sons w[hi]ch is the custome of some Countreis, and soe conclude it as there for the publique State Supre ma lege. hee must looke for this to be tould him that seinge necessitie must conclude alwaies to gather money as lesse speedy or assured, then that soe practized w[hi]ch cannot be fitter then by parliament the success attendeth the humor of the heedless multitude that are full of iealosie and distrust and soe vnlike to Comply to any vnusuall course of leuie but by force, w[hi]ch yf vsed the effect is fearefull and hath beene fatall to the State, whereas [tha]t by parliament resteth principally on the regall p[er]son whoe may w[i]th ease & safety mold them to his fitt desires by a gratious yealdinge to there iust petic[i]ons./. If a parliament, then booth speedy assurance and a safe way it is fitt to conceyue what is the fairest way to act and worke it to the present need./. First for the tyme of vusuall Summons reputed to be fortie dayes, to be to large for this present necessitie it may be by datinge the writt lessened, since it is noe possitive lawe, Soe that a care be had that there may be a County day after the Shereeffe hath receyued the writt before the tyme of sittinge. If then the som[m]e to be leuied be once agreed of, for the tyme there may be in the body of the gra[u]nt an assignem[en]t made to the knights of eu[er]y Countie respectiuely whoe vnder suche assurance may safely gyve securety proportinably to [th]e receipts 104v to such as shall aduance in present for the publique seruice any som[m]es of money. The last and waightest considerac[i]on (yf a parliament be thought fitt) is, howe to remove or Compli the differences betweene the kinge and Subiects and there mutuall demandes./. And what I haue learned amongest the better parte of the multitude I will freely declare that yo[e]r lo[rdshi]ps may be the more enabled to remove and answere these distrusts, that either conceyue Religion publique Safty of the kinge and state the iust libertye of the Comonwealth ./. For Religion a matter that they lay the nearest theire Consciences, and they are ledd by this ground of Ielously to doubt some practize against First for that the Spanish match w[hi]ch was broken by the gratefull industrie of my lo[rd] Buckingham out of his religious care (as he there declared) that the articles there demaunded might lead in some such sufferance (as might endanger the quiet yf not the State of the reformed religion heere. yett there haue, when he was an actor principle in the Condic[i]ons of Fraunce as hard if not worse to the preseruac[i]on of o[u]r Religion passed there those close keepinge of this agreem[en]t in that point there concluded. / It is noe lesse an argum[en]t of doubt to them of his affecc[i]ons in that his mother and others many his ministers of neere imploym[en]t about him are soe affected they talke much of his advancinge men popishly devoted some placed in the Campe of neerest seruice and cheife Commaunde. and that the recusants haue gott these last yeares by this power more of courage and assurance then before./. If to cleare these doubts w[hi]ch p[er]happes are worsse in feare then in trueth, hee took a course, it might muche advance the publique seruice against the squemish humors 105r that haue more of violent passion then setled iudgem[en]t, and are not the least of the opposite nomber in the Com[m]on wealth./. The next is the late misfortune and loss of men and munic[i]on and honor in o[u]r late wnderstandings abroade, w[hi]ch the more temporate spiritts impute to want of Consall and the more sublime wittes to practise./. They began[n]e w[i]th the Palatinate and lay the faulte of the loss there one the improued creditt of Gundemare distrustinge him for the stainge of supplies to S[i]r Horrace Vere when Collonell Cecill was cast on that imploym[en]t, by w[hi]ch the Kinge of Spayne became the master of the kings Childrens inheritance./.

And when Count Mansfeild had a royall supplie of forces to assist the princes of p[ar]tie for the recou[er]y thereof either plott or error defeated the {recourie}enterprize thereof, from vs to Spaynes advantage./.

That S[i]r Robert Manesfeilds{gap: illegible} expedic[i]on to Argeirs should purchase only the securitie and guard of the Spanish Coasts./.

To spend 100000l in the Cales voyage against the aduice of parliam[en]t only to warrant the kinge of Spayne to be in a readines and soe weaken o[u]r selues is taken for a signe of ill affecc[i]on to him amongest the multitude./

The spendinge of soe much munition victuall and money in my lorde Willougbies iourney is conceyued an vnthriftie error in the {derector} of it to disarme o[u]r selues in fruitless voyages may to som[m]e ou[er] curious seemes a plott of danger to turne the quarrell of Spayne o[u]r antient enemye (that the parliam[en]t petic[i]oned and gaue supplies to support) vpon o[u]r allye of Fraunce and soone after a newe and happie tye gaue much talke that wee were not soe doubtfull of Spayne as many wish since ./.

It was held not longe agoo a fundamentall rule of theire and our secureties by the old lo[rd] Burgleigh that nothinge can preuent the Spanish Monarchie but a fastnes of the twoe Princes whose amity gaue Counten[a]nce and courage to the Netherlands and Germane Princes to make head against his ambic[i]on./


And wee see by this disvnion a fearefull defeat hath happened to Denmarke and that partie to the advantage of the Austrian family./ And this waste of publique treasure in fruitless expedic[i]ons wilbe an important cause to hinder any newe supplie in parliament./.

Another feare that may disturbe the smoeth and speedy passage of the kings desires in parliam[en]t is the vast wast of the kings liuelihood, whereby is like as in form[er] tymes to arise this ielousie and feare, that when hee hath not of his owne to support his ordinary charge (for w[hi]ch the lands of the Crowne were setled vnalterable and called Sacru[m] Patrimonium Principis that then hee must of necessitie rest one those assistants of the people w[hi]cheu[er] were only collected and consigned for the Comon wealth from whence it is like there wilbe noe greate labor and Stiffnes to induce his Ma[jes]tie to an act of resumption since such desires of the State haue found an easy way in the will of all the Princes, from the third Henry to the last./.

But [tha]t w[hi]ch is like to pass the deeper into theire disputes and care is the late pr[e]ssures, they suppose to haue beene done vpon the like publique libertie and freedome of the subiect in com[m]andinge theire goods w[i]thout assent by parliam[en]t confininge theere p[er]sons w[i]thout especiall cause declared and that made good against them by the Iudges lately. And pretending a writt to Comaund theire attendance in a forraine warr all w[hi]ch they are like to inforce as repugnant to many possitiue lawes and custumary immunities of this Comon wealth. And these dangerous distastes to the people are not a litle improued by this {vnex[am]pled} cause (as they conceiue) of retaininge an inland army in winter season, when former tymes of greate feare (as 88) produced none such, and make them in theire distracted feares and to coniecture{gap: illegible} idely. it was 106r raised wholly to subuert to the will rather of power then of lawe and soe make good some farther breache vpon theire liberties and freedome at home rather than defend vs from any force abroade, Howe farr such iealousees yf they meete w[i]th any vnusuall disorder of lawles soildiers are an apte distemper of the loose and needie multitude w[hi]ch will eu[er] turne away vpon any occasion in the state that they can side w[i]thall to a glorious pretence of Religion and publique saftye when theere true end wilbe only rapine of the rich and ruine of all is worthy of a prouident and pr[e]ventinge care/.

I haue thus farre deliuered w[i]th that freedome you pleased to admitt suche difficulties as I haue taken vpp amongest the multitud as may arrest if not remoue impedim[en]ts to any speedy supplie in parliam[en]t at this tyme w[hi]ch how to faciletate may better become the care of yo[u]r lo[rdshi]ps iudgem[en]ts then my ignorance only I could wish that to remoue away a p[er]sonall distast of my lo[rd]of Buckingham amongest the people. hee might be pleased (yf there be a necessitie of parliament) to appeare first aduise therevnto/.

And what satesfacc[i]on it shall please his Ma[jes]tie of grace to giue at suche tyme to his people (w[hi]ch I would wish to be graunted by pr[e]sident of his best and fortunate progenitors) and w[hi]ch I conceyue will largely satisfie the desires and hopes of all if it may appeare in som[m]e sorte to be drawen doune from him to the people by the zealous care and industry that my lo[rd]Buckingham hath of the publique vnitie and content, by w[hi]ch there is noe dowbt but hee may remaine not only secure from any further quarrell w[i]th them but merrit a happie memory amongest them of a zealous Patriott./

For to expiat the passion of the people at such tymes w[i]th the Sacrifice of anie his Ma[jes]tes servants. I haue eu[er] found it (as in the E.2. R.2. and H.6.) noe lesse fatall to the Master then to the minister in the end./


No introduction.


British Library, Additional MS 11600, ff. 102r-106r,

Languages: English, Latin

Creation date: 1628


Other Witnesses

Seventeenth Century Print Exemplars

  • Robert Cotton, The Danger Wherein the Kingdome now standeth, & the remedie ([London], 1629) [STC 5863.2]
  • Robert Cotton, The Danger Wherein the Kingdom of England now Standeth; and the Remedy for the Present Safety thereof (London, 1643) [Wing C6487A]
  • Robert Cotton, Cottoni Posthuma (London, 1651) [Wing C6500], pp. 308–320
  • Robert Cotton, Cottoni Posthuma (London, 1672) [Wing C6486], pp. 308–320
  • Robert Cotton, Cottoni Posthuma (London, 1679) [Wing C6487aA], pp. 309–322

Modern Print Exemplars

  • Somers Tracts (2nd ed.), vol. 4, pp. 100–104

Selected Criticism

No bibliography

Keywords (Text Type)

  • commentary
  • treatise

Keywords (Text Topics)

  • war
  • diplomacy
  • Spanish Match

Transcribed by:

No transcription details