Lot 125
  • 125

William Cecil, Baron Burghley

5,000 - 7,000 USD
10,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • William Cecil, Baron Burghley
  • Autograph letter signed ("W Burghley"), to Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex
  • paper
Writing when "lame in my bed and yet occupyed with many other matters and specially with the sondry gredy offers of sondry Merchants to be dealers for apparrellyng of the soldiers in the low Countries," informing Devereux that "sir walter ralegh had my bill for 3000 l." and detailing further payments to be made to Raleigh, 1 page, folio, "at Court," 21 May 1597, integral address leaf, contemporary docketing ("L Tre[asurer] 21 May 97"); seal tears and splitting at folds professionally conserved. Green slipcase and morocco-backed folding-box.


Sotheby's, 28 March 1983, lot 35 — Sotheby's, 13 December 1990, lot 346. acquisition: Purchased at the foregoing sale through Bernard Quaritch

Catalogue Note

A letter bringing together Burghley, Essex, and Raleigh, three of the greatest figures of the Elizabethan age. Burghley was by this time an old and sick man but remained Lord Treasurer and was still a crucial presence in an increasing febrile court, which was dangerously split into volatile factions. Essex and Raleigh were enemies and rivals who had been temporarily united by leadership of a naval fleet that aimed to seize a Spanish port and capture the silver fleet. The funds for Raleigh referred to in this letter were almost certainly for this expedition, which was then in preparation. The "Islands Voyage" — which included John Donne amongst its participants — sailed in July and ended in disaster.