Whereupon the Secretary falling down upon his knees, said, I thank God for this day, and upon his knee desired the Lord High Steward that a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber (or one that might have access to the Queen) might go, and humbly entreat Her Highness to command Mr. Comptroller to come before your Grace [the justice].

Here the Lord High Steward calling Mr. Knyvett (a gentleman of Her Majesty’s Privy Chamber) said unto him: Go, Mr. Knyvett, unto her Majesty and let her understand Mr. Secretary’s demand.

Cecil: Mr. Knyvett, you shall have free access unto Her Majesty. Tell her that I vow before the God of Heaven that if she refuse to send Mr. Comptroller, whereby I may clear myself of these open scandals, I will rather die at her foot as her subject and vassal than live to do her any more service in the honourable degree wherein her Highness employs me. And withal, let me adjure you Mr. Knyvett that you do not acquaint Mr. Comptroller with the cause why you come for him.

Mr. Knyvett went, and not long afterward returned with Mr. Comptroller, to whom the Lord High Steward [Lord Buckhurst] repeated the cause why he was sent for, and desired him to satisfy the Lords whether Mr. Secretary did use any such speech in his hearing, or to his knowledge.

Mr. Comptroller: I remember that once in Mr. Secretary’s company there was a book read that treated of such matters. But I never did hear Mr. Secretary use any such words, or to that effect.

Whereupon Mr. Secretary thanked God, that though the Earl stood there as a traitor, yet he [Cecil himself] was found an honest man and a faithful subject, withal saying: I beseech God to forgive you for this open wrong done unto me, as I do openly pronounce, I forgive you from the bottom of my heart.

Essex: And I, Mr. Secretary, do clearly and freely forgive you with all my soul, because I mean to die in charity.

Bacon: My lord, you may now perceive that my lord of Essex went about to procure the matter, and to give over on the instant.

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1 May 1999 pkm