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Whose letter is it anyway?: an assessment of secretarial involvement in Lady Elizabeth Hatton’s correspondence

Emily Ross

Résumé

Having secretarial help with correspondence was prevalent amongst both the illiterate and the aristocratic, and this practice has been discussed by researchers such as James Daybell. The letters of Lady Elizabeth Hatton are unusual because her secretary is identified as Sir John Holles, which enables the impact of his involvement to be analysed rather than just theorised. The first section of the article uses comparative texts by Holles to try and verify whether or not he was involved in writing those of Hatton’s letters for which he is not explicitly acknowledged. The second section attempts to quantify that involvement by determining whether Hatton would have garnered any benefit from Holles’ handwriting, knowledge of conventions, lexicon, or spelling. The final section traces the changing nature of their relationship to investigate what extra-textual benefits employing Holles may have provided for Hatton and, conversely, the effect of Holles’ own agenda on Hatton’s texts. Holles had earlier been prosecuted by Hatton’s husband, Sir Edward Coke, and openly expressed his hate for the man, both to Hatton and to others. Although it is not possible to retrospectively reconstruct the relative proportions of intellectual input of the two parties into any given text, this article takes a multi-faceted approach to try and unpick the complex issues around authorship and textual ownership.

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Texte intégral

1In 1617, the long-smoldering conflict between Lady Elizabeth Hatton and her husband Sir Edward Coke burst into flame over the proposed marriage of their daughter, Frances, to the mentally ill older brother of the Duke Buckingham, King James I’s favorite. Coke promoted the marriage while Hatton tried to prevent it. Hatton prevailed initially, but then James intervened to bring the marriage about and Hatton was imprisoned until it had taken place. It is a fascinating and complex story, all the more unusual because Hatton’s attempts to assert her own views have been preserved within her correspondence and it is that correspondence which is the focus of this article.

  • 1 James Daybell, "’Ples Acsep Thes My Skrybled Lynes’: The Construction and Conventions of Women’s Le (...)
  • 2 Hatton to Sir Francis Bacon (henceforth), “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 16 June 1617 in Peter R. Sed (...)
  • 3 Square brackets are used to signify instances where I have added information to the original text, (...)
  • 4 Hatton to Bacon, [17] June 1617, British Library Harley Manuscript 6055 (henceforth BL Harley MS 60 (...)

2The largest collection of the letters that Hatton sent in defense of her side of the story are preserved within Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, appended with the formulaic descriptor “My Lady Hatton to [recipient] pennd by my Lord Haughton,” implying that Holles (Lord Haughton) was acting as Hatton’s secretary. Hatton’s use of a secretary is not in itself remarkable. Daybell estimates that, out of 2300 women’s letters surveyed, secretaries had written approximately 20% of the texts.1 It is difficult to be more exact than this, because delivered letters are often the only version of a text which has been preserved and these rarely acknowledge secretarial input. For example, a letter from Hatton to Sir Francis Bacon appears in two copies: one printed with the Holles letters, dated 16 June 1617 and annotated “My Lady Hatton to my Lord Keeper, pennd by my Lord Haughton,”2 and one in BL Harley MS 6055, dated [17]3 June 1617 and annotated “To my Lo[rd] Keeper from my La[dy] Hatton,” making no mention of Holles’ involvement.4 Hatton’s letters are highly unusual in that the identity of her secretary is known, providing a unique opportunity for a case study of the sender-secretary relationship.

  • 5 See, for instance, Thomas Longueville, The Curious Case of Lady Purbeck: A Scandal of the Seventeen (...)

3Several historians have oversimplified the issue of the authorship of Hatton’s letters, stating without qualification that she wrote them.5 However, the extent of Hatton’s involvement in the composition of letters to be sent in her name is unclear—and the same can be said for Holles’ involvement. While copies of missives sent under Hatton’s name within Holles’ letterbook verify his input, they do not quantify his input. The verb “pennd” potentially denotes traditional, passive secretarial actions such as transcription or copying, but could also mean mutual collaboration between Hatton and Holles over contents, or more active compositorial decision-making by Holles. Although it is not possible to retrospectively reconstruct this collaboration and confidently assign proportional responsibility for the ideas in the letters, my aim in the second section of this paper is to use close analysis of these texts against rationales which have been proposed for women’s use of secretaries in order to address the question of what practical benefits Hatton may have derived from having her letters penned by Holles.

4In order to assess the impact of Holles’ input on Hatton’s correspondence, a corpus of comparative texts must be assembled: his, hers, and theirs. Although Holles’ letterbook contains most of his 1617 letters and many of those he penned for Hatton during that period, Hatton letters sourced elsewhere often do not specify whether or not Holles was involved with them. The preliminary section of this paper considers the clues supplied by various types of evidence in an attempt to clarify the authorial identity of these texts.

5Making a determination of authorship becomes even more complex when the secretary’s role goes beyond packaging their employer’s intent. Holles had earlier been prosecuted by Coke and openly expressed his hate for the man, both to Hatton and to others. During the events of 1617 and their consequences, Holles was not merely Hatton’s secretary but also her client, ally, possibly legal advisor, co-plaintiff, and, eventually, whipping boy. The final section of this paper will discuss the changing nature of Hatton’s and Holles’ relationship in regards to the events of 1617 and the consequences of those events, and speculate about the influence his differing level of involvement may have had on Hatton’s letters.

Section 1: his, hers, or theirs

6In total, there are 62 letters written by Holles, Hatton, or both in relation to the events of 1617. 38 of these texts are transcribed into Holles’ letterbook with clear authorial attributions; 24 are credited to Holles individually, and 14 are annotated as Hatton’s letters which have been “pennd by my Lord Haughton.” See Table 1 for details of these texts. These attributions are accepted as given, but the status of the texts (drafts or otherwise) will be discussed below and Section 2 will attempt to quantify the impact on Hatton’s letters of Holles’ secretarial intervention.

7The authorship of the remaining 24 letters is more ambiguous: 3 are anonymous letters written to Hatton that may have been authored by Holles, 17 are letters attributed to Hatton for which Holles may or may not have acted as a secretary, 1 is a petition from Hatton to James with the annotation “pennd by my Lord Haughton” which does not appear in Holles’ letterbook, and 3 are “pennd by my Lord Haughton” but written for people other than Hatton. See Table 2 for details of these texts.

8As none of the letters with an established authorial attribution are credited to Hatton individually, I have added to my corpus 3 letters written by Hatton after 1617 as potential examples of her holographic style in order to provide a comparison. See Table 3 for details of these texts.

Table 1. Texts with established authorial attributions

Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Source

Hatton/Holles

King James I (of England) and IV (of Scotland) (henceforth James)

1 Aug. 1617

4 Aug. 1617

5 Aug. 1617

10 Sept. 1617a

10 Sept 1617c

10 Sept 1617d

Seddon 2: 181-182

Seddon 2: 182-183

Seddon 2: 184-185

Seddon 2: 199

Seddon 2: 200-201

Seddon 2: 201-202

Sir Francis Bacon (henceforth Bacon)

1 June 1617

12 June 1617

14 June 1617

16 June 1617

18 June 1617

20 June 1617

Seddon 1: 162-163

Seddon 1: 165

Seddon 1: 166

Seddon 1: 166

Seddon 2: 168-169

Seddon 2: 170

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (henceforth Buckingham)

6 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 186-188

Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter (henceforth Exeter)

31 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 196-197

Holles

Bacon

4 March 1617

20 Aug. 1617

Seddon 1: 152-153

Seddon 2: 195

Buckingham

17 July 1617

6 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 172-174

Seddon 2: 188

Lady [Burghley]

29 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 195-196

Lord [Burghley]

28 Oct. 1616

Seddon 1: 145

Hatton

16 Feb. 1616

20 Feb. 1616

5 July 1616

2 April 1617

31 Aug. 1617

Oct. 1617

Seddon 1: 113

Seddon 1: 114

Seddon 1: 132

Seddon 1: 154

Seddon 2: 197-198

Seddon 2: 203-204

Sir Thomas Lake (henceforth Lake)

25 June 1617

25 July 1617

26 July 1617

6 Aug. 1617

15 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 170-171

Seddon 2: 177-178

Seddon 2: 179-181

Seddon 2: 188-189

Seddon 2: 193-194

Ludovick Stuart, Duke of Lennox (henceforth Lennox)

25 July 1617

1 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 178-179

Seddon 2: 181

Lord Norris (henceforth Norris)

17 June 1617

18 July 1617

Seddon 2: 167-168

Seddon 2: 175-176

Edward Somerset, Earl of Worcester (henceforth Somerset)

18 July 1617

Seddon 2: 174-175

Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk (henceforth Suffolk)

9 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 189-191

Theophilus Howard, Lord Walden (henceforth Walden)

6 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 185-186

Table 2. Texts with ambiguous authorial attributions

  • 6 This letter refers to events which did not happen until mid-August, so this date cannot be accurate (...)
  • 7 Curly brackets are used to indicate the presence of illegible words.
  • 8 There is another Hatton letter to James in between these two, which would be ‘King 2’, but content (...)
  • 9 Pierre Bayle, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, Eds. John P. Bernard, et al. 10 vols, (...)
  • 10 The three letters from Hatton to Buckingham are designated 1-3/A-C according to the order in which (...)

Given Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Source

Anon

Hatton

“10 July” 16176

9 {...}7 1617 (henceforth Hatton 1)

1617 (henceforth Hatton 2)

BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 22v-24

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31

BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 26r-v

Hatton

James

10 Sept. 1617b

Undated (henceforth King 1)

Undated (henceforth King 3)8

21 April 1618

Seddon 2: 199-200

Bayle 4: 387-889

Bayle 4: 388 (B)

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21v

Bacon

[17] June 1617

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26

Buckingham

Aug. 1617

Undated (henceforth Buckingham 1)

Undated (henceforth Buckingham 2)

Undated (henceforth Buckingham 3)

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31

Bayle 4: 387 (A)10

Bayle 4: 387 (B)

Bayle 4: 387 (C)

The Privy Council

14 June 1617

27 June 1617

July 1617

15 Aug. 1617

Aug. 1617

BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 25v-26

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25v

Seddon 2: 191-93

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25r-v

James Hamilton (henceforth Hamilton)

Aug. 1617

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31r-v

“The Duke”

Aug. 1617

21 April 1618

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31v

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21

Hatton/Holles

James

1617

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25

Holles/Exeter

James

16 April 1617

Seddon 1: 157

Holles/Privy Council

Lady Mary Compton (henceforth Compton)

July 1617

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 24v

Table 3. Texts believed to be authored by Hatton personally

  • 11 Norsworthy proposes the letter relates to arrangements between Elizabeth and Sir Maurice Berkeley ( (...)

Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Source

Hatton

Sir Dudley Carleton (henceforth Carleton)

20 March 1618

SPD 96 n.69

Daughter

[1628]

BL Add MS 2957 f. 60

Sir John Hobart (henceforth Hobart)

[c.1621-1622]11

Norsworthy 35-36

9In the remainder of this section I will discuss what clues different types of evidence provide about this corpus of letters, with the aim of making a more definitive determination of authorship of the texts which currently have an ambiguous attribution. The types of evidence which will be considered are Annotation, Drafts, Handwriting, Orthography, and Replication. The section will conclude by revisiting Table 2, adding any new evidence for attributions.

The Evidence from Annotation

  • 12 Hatton to Privy Council, 27 June 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26.

10The annotations letters are captioned with can provide valuable details about a text, such as recipient and date. However, they are less dependable as evidence for attribution. Because texts-as-sent omitted any acknowledgement of secretarial involvement, they can be a ‘false positive’ indicator of authorship. In other words, annotations such as “To [the] hon[ora]ble Lords of his Ma[jes]t[y]s most hon[ora]ble privy Councell. 27 of June 1617. The humble petition of [the] La[dy] Elizabeth Hatton”12 are reliable sources of information for who sent a letter, but not who wrote it. The annotations for 4 of the 24 ambiguous letters merit further exploration.

Table 4. Ambiguous annotations

Given Author(s)

Annotation

Source

Hatton/Holles

My La[dy] Hatton to [the] K[ing] by my Lo[rd] Haughton {...} 1617

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25

Holles/Exeter

16 April 1617. The Earl of Exeter to His Majesty pennd by my Lord Haughton

Seddon 1: 157

Holles/Privy Council

The Lords of [the] Councell to my Lady Cumpton July 1617 by my Lo[rd] Haughton

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 24v

Holles/James

16 April 1617. A letter pennd by my Lord Haughton for my Lady Hatton for the King to sett his hand to, to the Lords of the Councell

Seddon 1: 158

11While these annotations are informatively descriptive, they raise as many questions as they answer. The annotation for the Hatton/Holles letter is similar to those in the Holles letterbook, but the word “pennd” is omitted, as it is for the Holles/Council letter. While the most likely explanation is that this is an abbreviation of the standard “pennd by” phrase by the Harley transcriber, the variation might also signify that Holles took a different role in these instances; either major, as in “written by,” or minor, as in “delivered by.” It seems unlikely that the Privy Council would have collaborated with Holles on the composition of the letter for Compton, but he could plausibly have written it at their behest (with or without consultation with Hatton) which can be equally said for the Holles/Exeter letter which has the more standard “pennd by” annotation. The final letter specifies that it was written “for my Lady Hatton,” suggesting she commissioned Holles to undertake it, and the phrase “for the King to sett his hand to” confirms that the text was to be presented fait accompli. While the annotation clarifies the authorship of this particular text, the added qualifiers suggest that such completely independent composition was a variation from Holles’ usual role.

The Evidence from Drafts

  • 13 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2 (...)
  • 14 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 4 August 1617 and 5 August 1617 in ibid, p. 2: 182-18 (...)

12Because acknowledgement of the use of a secretary was omitted from final texts-as-sent, and all but one of Hatton’s letters in Holles’ letterbook have the annotation “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” all of those letters must be either drafts or copies of the final version. Only one text, the third version of Hatton’s 10 September petition to James, explicitly states that it is a duplicate of the petition “as it was delivered.”13 Four versions of this text are printed in the collection, enumerated by me as a-d in the order they are printed, but the three non-final versions are not annotated in any way which would indicate their status as drafts. Likewise, the letterbook includes two very similar Holles/Hatton letters to James dated 4 and 5 August, with the former presumably being a draft of the latter but not being annotated as such.14 That some of the letters in the Holles volumes are unacknowledged drafts makes the status of the other texts (and their dates) uncertain: they may be Holles’ preliminary drafts, copies of proposed letters sent to Hatton for approval, or copies of letters actually sent in Hatton’s name, and which of these applies may differ from text to text.

  • 15 Those texts believed to be earlier versions are in italics

Table 5. Proposed earlier/later versions of texts15

Recipient

Date

Annotation

Source

James

4 August 1617

5 August 1617

My Lady Hatton to the King pennd by my Lord Haughton

Another from my Lady Hatton to the King pennd by Lord Haughton

Seddon 2: 182-183

Seddon 2: 184-85

10 Sept. 1617a

From my Lady Hatton to the King, pennd by my Lord Haughton

Seddon 2: 199

10 Sept. 1617b

The heads of my Lady Hattons letter to the King drawn article wise, the King loving it so

Seddon 2: 199-200

10 Sept 1617c

My Lady Hattons letter to the King article wise, as it was delivered by my Lord Keeper and pennd by my Lord Haughton

Seddon 2: 201-202

10 Sept 1617d

My Lady Hatton to the King pennd by my Lord Haughton

Seddon 2: 200-201

21 April 1618

King 1

My Lady Hatton to [the] K[ing]

To the King's most excellent Majestie [signed Eliz Hatton]

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21v

Bayle 4: 387-88

Bacon

16 June 1617

[17] June 1617

My Lady Hatton to my Lord Keeper, pennd by my Lord Haughton

To my Lo[rd] Keeper from my La[dy] Hatton

Seddon 1: 166

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26

Buckingham

Undated

21 April 1618

To [...] the Earle of Buckingham [signed Elizabeth Hatton]

My La[dy] Hatton to my Lo[rd] Duke

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26

Bayle 4: 387 (C)

  • 16 Anon to Hatton, 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26v.
  • 17 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2 (...)
  • 18 Ibid.
  • 19 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617a, in ibid, p. 2: 199.
  • 20 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in ibid, p. 2: 200-201, here p. 201.
  • 21 Ibid, p. 201.

13’One of the anonymous letters to Hatton in the Harley 6055 manuscript refers to the 10 September petition. If it was written by Holles, it gives a rare insight into how Hatton and Holles may have interpreted their letter-writing relationship. The author writes to Hatton that “yo[u]r [letter] to the King” was judged harshly by some observers, but that informing James of the “iniuries [that] yow had receaved” and adding a proviso to her submission “(yo[u]r honor [and] conscience saved) [...] held yow still good to all yo[u]r former proceedings.”16 The comment about the proviso identifies the text under discussion as the 10 September petition, which contains the clause “That if I may be satisfyed that my owne vows, and my daughters be not bynding to me, and her in conscience, and that my honor in the same may be preserved, I do heerby give my consent to be disposed on by your Majesty.”17 In the comments about the petition above, the anonymous author clearly assigns ownership of the text to Hatton in the phrase “yo[u]r [letter] to the King” and congratulates her on the text’s contents, which implies that Hatton decided what the text should say. While such praise might potentially be sycophantic rather than sincere, the anonymous author then goes on to criticize the “frivolous insertion of [those] names” in the petition and disavow responsibility for this inclusion as “none of myn.”18 Comparing the first version of the 10 September petition which was “pennd” by Holles against the third version which was delivered to James, the alteration which seems the most likely candidate for an ‘insertion of names’ is the shift from Hatton mentioning her “frends”19 in 10 September A to listing them in 10 September B as “my honorable frends the Lord Keeper, the Lord Haughton, and Majestys Atturney generall.”20 Of the three names listed here, Coke (who is referred to here formally as the King’s Attorney General rather than personally as Hatton’s husband) was the only party not to suffer the King’s disfavor as a result of supporting Hatton. As the earlier portion of the letter is a complaint about the author’s loss of favor with James and Buckingham through his services to Hatton—another factor identifying the text as probably having been written by Holles—reminding James of the names of her allies may not have had the effect Hatton intended. As far as authorship is concerned, the key point is that the author’s phrase “none of myn”21 implies a division of input in collaborative letters, with the secretary perhaps responsible for crafting the language while the sender might specify points to be included.

14In the case of the letters above, the presence of drafts raises questions about the status of the other texts and the relative input of Holles and Hatton, but actual authorial attribution is not affected: both the 10 September or 4/5 August annotations clearly identify these letters as “pennd by my Lord Haughton.” However, in other instances, recognizing that one text may be a draft of another may provide valuable clues as to authorship. There are three pairs of texts this scenario potentially applies to and these are listed in the table below along with the details for the letters discussed above. Those texts believed to be earlier versions are in italics.

15The two Bacon texts are word-for-word copies of each other, with slight variations in spelling. The Harley transcription is dated 27 June but this is assumed to be a mistranscription of ¤¤ June, making it the later version of the text, a supposition also supported by the absence of acknowledgement of Holles’ secretarial input. The relation between the two clearly identifies the [¤¤] June text, the authorship of which was previously ambiguous, as a Hatton/Holles letter.

16The Buckingham and James 1618 letters are actually a set, because in each case one version bears the date 21 April 1618, and the text addressed to Buckingham asks him to deliver the enclosed petition to James.

  • 22 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21.
  • 23 Hatton to Buckingham, Undated [Buckingham 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387(C).
  • 24 Ibid.
  • 25 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21.
  • 26 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], August 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31.

17The two versions of the letter to Buckingham are quite different from each other, except for a phrase which communicates the key objective of the text: to persuade him to give Hatton’s petition to James. The Harley version has a preliminary paragraph omitted from the Bayle version, in which Hatton thanks the recipient for a message communicating his favor towards her and calls on him to fulfill his offer to aid her before getting to the point of asking him to deliver her letter: “I hope yo[u]r Lo[rdshi]p in yo[u]r iudgment will less blame me heerin, if craving my happy return into his Ma[jes]tys good opinion, I take my nearest way, [and] interest yo[u]r Lo[rdshi]p in an office so much for yo[u]r honor, for her use doth acknowledg [the] same in full proportion as yo[u]r ....”22 The Bayle version omits the diplomatic lead-in and gets straight to the point, “I presume to present this inclosed to your Lordship, desiering you will please to deliver it to his Majestie, [...] and I hope your Lordship will lesse blame mee hearin, if craveinge my happie returne into his Majestie’s good opinion, I take this the nearest way, and interest your in an office of no dishonour to you, to her, who will acknowledge the returne from you.”23 Of the two texts, it is unclear which is the earlier and which the later draft. Either the extra paragraph in Harley has been added to the Bayle version in order to soften Hatton’s request, or been deleted in the Bayle version in order to increase coherence. The Harley version is dated 21 April 1618, whereas the Bayle version is undated; but on the other hand the Bayle version is headed with a formal address to Buckingham (“To the Right Honourable the Earle of Buckingham, Master of the Horse, and one of his Majesties most honourable Prevey Counsellors”),24 whereas the annotation of the Harley version names the recipient ambiguously as “my Lord Duke.”25 There is a second letter addressed to “[the] Duke” in the Harley manuscript, dated August 1617.26 Given that the Bayle/Harley Buckingham draft pairing identifies this recipient phrase as referring to Buckingham, Buckingham is presumably also the recipient of the August 1617 text. According to the orthographic analysis below (see Table 6), the writer of the Bayle text is inconclusive due to insufficient data but as the Harley text was probably written by Holles this would suggest that the Bayle text was also written by Holles, making them both Hatton/Holles letters.

  • 27 Hatton to James, 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21v.
  • 28 Hatton to James, Undated [King 1], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 387-388, here p. 387.

18The two copies of the petition to James which would have been enclosed in Buckingham’s letter resemble the Buckingham texts in that one version is shorter (in this case, the Harley version) and one version is longer with more courteous flourishes (in this case, the Bayle version) with the key message to be conveyed by the petition common to both versions—although it is more superlative in Bayle. The Harley letter asks James to “please w[i]th patience to hear of [the] grief w[hi]ch neerest overwhelms the mynd of yo[u]r honorable suject, w[hi]ch is, [that] I hear yo[u]r sacred Ma[jes]ty is offended w[i]th me for sum errors committed by me, a woman [and] a mo[ther] w[hi]ch sex too weak to wrestle w[i]th strong apprehensions,”27 while in Bayle he is requested “Please to cast downe your sacred eye uppon the greefe which neerest toucheth the afflicted minde of your humble subject, which is, that I hear your Majestie is offended with some errors committed by me, a woman, and a mother, whose sexe and qualities is too weake to wrastle with stronge apprehensions.”28 The Bayle version seems more coherent and polished and I would propose that it is the later text. The orthographic evidence for both the Harley and Bayle versions is inconclusive even if they are summed together with the assumption of having been written by the same author, so in this case identifying the texts as related does not further the aim of clarifying their attributions.

The Evidence from Handwriting

  • 29 See, for example, Thomas Cartelli, “What Wrote Woodstock”,in Janet Wright Starner and Barbara Howar (...)
  • 30 Hatton to Buckingham, Undated [Buckingham 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387(C). Introduction to Buc (...)
  • 31 Introduction to Buckingham 3 in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387.

19Handwriting experts can compare original documents by an unknown writer against those by an identified writer, using similarities and differences between how particular letters were formed on the page to draw conclusions about authorship.29 Unfortunately, as the Holles letter book and Bayle are printed and the Harley manuscript contains letter transcriptions, it is impossible to glean handwriting evidence directly from the available sources to clarify whether the letters included were autograph or holograph. However, Bayle would have had access to the originals and in his brief introduction to Buckingham 3, he comments that it was “sign’d, tho not written with [Hatton’s] own hand.”30 Buckingham 3 was therefore mediated through a third party, presumably Holles. The introductions to the other letters printed amongst Bayle’s collection of “Lady Hatton’s papers,”31 Buckingham 1 & 2 and King 1 & 3, do not comment on the hand the texts were written in. The comment on Buckingham 3 suggests that Bayle was familiar enough with Hatton’s handwriting to recognize when a text was not holographic, so the lack of such comment on the other texts in the collection implies that they were written by her personally, although this assumption is too weak a source of evidence on its own to make a confident attribution.

The Evidence from Orthography

20Trying to make a determination of textual authorship by studying orthographic evidence is not a new enterprise. Works such as Stanley Wells’ Shakespeare and Co. use a range of orthographic methods to assess where collaboration has taken place.32 However many of these methods require a significant comparative body of work from each of the authors being tested for. To give an example, Drexel University’s authorship detection software program JStylo requires a minimum of 6500 words from each candidate.33 While Holles’ private correspondence in his letterbook might run to such a total, the equivalent cannot be mustered for Hatton’s side of the comparison; especially as one of the implicit questions is whether any of the letters purporting to be Hatton’s were in fact holographic. So although authorship software would provide a more reliable determination of authorship along with a mathematical estimate of the certainty of that determination, it cannot be applied in this case and more pedestrian and speculative methods have had to be used instead.

  • 34 As verbs ending in –th have no modern equivalent, they were omitted from this exercise.
  • 35 Giles E. Dawson, Giles and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, Elizabethan Handwriting 1500-1650: A Manual, N (...)
  • 36 Hatton to Daughter, [1628], BL Add MS 2957 f. 60.
  • 37 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178 (...)

21Since Holles’ letters are the known variable in this scenario, I used his corpus to compile a bank of words with spelling that differs from modern usage and then compared the ambiguous texts against it to identify shared and distinctive spellings.34 While variations such as adding or omitting a terminal ‘e,’ doubling consonants or vowels, or interchanging ‘i’ and ‘j’ were typical features of early modern writing rather than errors,35 words with these features can still be useful identity markers because the variations that individual writers customarily enlist when spelling particular words may differ from one another. For example, in Hatton’s letter to her daughter she spells ‘desire’ as “desir” omitting the terminal ‘e,’36 whereas in Holles’ letter to Lennox he spells ‘desires’ as “desyres” substituting ‘y’ for ‘i.’37

22Analysing the ambiguous texts against the Holles corpus produced the results shown in Table on the following page. Because the letters are different lengths and may contain a greater or lesser density of vocabulary in common with the Holles corpus, it is the balance between similarities and differences rather than the number of instances that is important. Orthographic similarities are more likely than differences to occur by coincidence, so provide a weaker form of evidence. For this reason, I have set a ratio of twice as many similarities as differences as the threshold for a significant result. Single instances of similarity or difference may be due to coincidence, errors, or mistranscription, so multiple instances are needed before any conclusion can be drawn. If the total number of similarities and differences is less than 10, I have considered the result inconclusive. If the total is between 10 and 20, I have considered the result probable. If the total is greater than 20, I have considered the result significant. However, if the number of data points opposing a conclusion total more than 20, the result drops back to probable.

  • 38 Giles E. Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, op. cit., p. 16.

23As a further measure, I searched the index for instances of erratic spelling: cases where the same word has been spelled more than one way within the same letter. People who had received more education were more likely to be influenced by the standardization of spelling in printed texts and spell words more consistently. In contrast, those who had received less education were more likely to be erratic in their spelling, as their point of reference was the sound of the word (phonetics) rather than its appearance in a printed text.38 Therefore, the presence of a significant amount of erratic spelling decreases the chance that a letter has been written by Holles. One instance could be due to error, so I have set my threshold of significance at two instances of words spelled erratically within the same text.

24Comparing texts against the nonstandard spellings from the Holles letterbook only provides evidence of whether or not Holles was probably involved, rather than positive evidence for Hatton’s authorship. I attempted to perform a corresponding analysis comparing letters not penned by Holles against the nonstandard spellings in the letters in Table 3, but the numbers were too small to be conclusive. That said, there is no evidence that anyone other than Holles was involved with Hatton’s letters in 1617, so a letter which has not been written by Holles has probably been written by Hatton.

Table 6. Ortographic analysis and conclusions

Given Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Differences

Similarities

Erratic Spelling

Penned by Holles or Not?

Anon

Hatton

“10 July” 1617

Hatton 1

Hatton 2

33

2

0

74

6

51

0

0

3

Probably Holles (>20 adverse results)

Insignificant (<10 total)

Holles

Hatton

James

10 Sept. 1617b

King 1

King 3

21 April 1618

3

4

35

1

20

2

12

2

0

0

14

0

Holles

Insignificant (<10 results)

Not Holles, therefore probably Hatton

Insignificant (<10 results)

Bacon

[17] June 1617

3

7

0

Probably Holles (10-20 results)

Buckingham

Aug. 1617

Buckingham 1

Buckingham 2

Buckingham 3

4

27

19

6

13

5

9

1

0

6

10

2

Probably Holles (10-20 results)

Not Holles, therefore probably Hatton

Not Holles, therefore probably Hatton

Insignificant (<10 results)

The Privy Council

14 June 1617

27 June 1617

July 1617

15 Aug. 1617

Aug. 1617

8

3

8

8

8

11

3

15

33

14

1

1

4

0

3

Inconclusive (ratio is not 2:1)

Insignificant (<10 results)

Inconclusive (ratio is not 2:1)

Holles

Inconclusive (ratio is not 2:1)

Hamilton

Aug. 1617

1

8

0

Insignificant (<10 results)

[Buckingham]

Aug. 1617

21 April 1618

1

2

10

9

0

1

Probably Holles (10-20 results)

Probably Holles (10-20 results)

Hatton/Holles

James

1617

4

6

0

Inconclusive (ratio is not 2:1)

Holles/Exeter

James

16 April 1617

2

33

2

Holles

Holles/Privy Council

Compton

July 1617

8

22

1

Holles

Holles/James

The Privy Council

16 April 1617

1

33

3

Holles

The Evidence from Replication

  • 39 Paradigms, Turnitin: Leading Plagiarism Checker, Online Grading, and Peer Review, 2012, http://turn (...)

25The author of a set of letters might potentially re-use the same expressions or phrases, particularly when the content of those texts overlaps. To test for such duplication, I uploaded the corpus of letters to Turnitin.com, which is a plagiarism detection site.39 I asked the software to check for similarities within the set of uploaded files, but no explicit instances of copying were found—although this test served to confirm my findings about the overlaps between texts which I have proposed are drafts/final copies of the same letter (see above). In case slight variations in spelling affected the results, I translated all the texts into modern spelling and found one interesting instance.

  • 40 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: (...)
  • 41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their (...)
  • 42 James Daybell, "Female Literacy and the Social Conventions of Women’s Letter-Writing in England, 15 (...)
  • 43 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 1 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John (...)
  • 44 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 20 June 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 170.

26In one of the letters Holles wrote to Hatton from Fleet prison prior to becoming her secretary, he asked her to accept the “widdows myte” of his “thankfull hart,” having nothing else to give.40 This is a reference to the Bible story of the widow’s offering.41 Holles is clearly not a widow, but he is using this biblical allusion to position himself as deserving of Hatton’s charity. In regards to women’s letters of petition, Daybell noted that invoking the widow role serves to class the petitioner within a specific category of persons that good Christians should make an effort to help.42 This rhetorical trick reappears in two letters from Hatton to Bacon which Holles “pennd.” Despite Hatton being married to Coke, one letter beseeches Bacon to “voutsafe the widdow” rationalising that “so may this wife [...] be termed, whom the husband [...] endevors to ruin,”43 and another asks him to accept her “widdows myt.”44 Although this is very interesting, it does not provide any new evidence for authorial attribution as the letters to Bacon in which this motif is re-used are already clearly identified as “pennd” by Holles.

  • 45 See ‘Section 3: Confederate’ for details of these events.
  • 46 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2 (...)
  • 47 Hatton to Buckingham, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 186-188, here p. (...)

27While this was the only clear incident of word-for-word duplication, as I became very familiar with the texts I identified another instance where the same rhetorical strategy appears in a Holles letter and a Hatton/Holles letter: in this case, predicting negative outcomes for opponents. In a letter from Holles to Buckingham in which Holles complains of having been summoned to Lambeth to answer to allegations about his involvement in Hatton sending Frances to Withipoles’,45 Holles warns that “posterity may peradventure censure yow, even those of your lyne, seeing the same measure in as sleight an occasion may be offered to sum of them.”46 A letter with the same date, from Hatton to Buckingham “pennd” by Holles predicts that, if Buckingham persists in bringing about the wedding between Frances and John, he will encounter “difficulties” which might “presently and futurely darken your faire name.”47 The words are different but the tactic of vague threat is the same. However, this instance again occurs in a letter where the attribution is already clear.

Conclusion of Section 1: Authorship Attributions from Evidence

28Table 7 summarizes the findings made in this Section about the probable authorship of the letters which previously had an ambiguous attribution. In Table 8, likely attributions in Table 7 are combined with the known attributions from Tables 1 & 3 to form the corpus which will be used in Section 2.

Table 7. Authorial evidence from Section 1

Given Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Evidence from Annotation

Evidence from

Drafts

Evidence from Handwriting

Orthography:

Penned by Holles?

Determinations

Anon

Hatton

“10 July” 1617

Hatton 1

Hatton 2

Probably Holles

Holles

Probably Holles

Holles

Hatton

James

10 Sept. 1617b

King 1

King 3

21 April 1618

Holles

Probably Hatton

Hatton/Holles

Probably Hatton

Bacon

[17] June 1617

Hatton/Holles

Probably Holles

Hatton/Holles

Buckingham

Aug. 1617

Buckingham 1

Buckingham 2

Buckingham 3

Hatton/Probably Holles

Probably Holles

Probably Hatton

Probably Hatton

Hatton/Probably Holles

Probably Hatton

Probably Hatton

Hatton/Probably Holles

The Privy Council

14 June 1617

27 June 1617

July 1617

15 Aug. 1617

Aug. 1617

Holles

Hatton/Holles

Hamilton

Aug. 1617

“The Duke”

[Buckingham]

Aug. 1617

21 April 1618

Hatton/Holles

Hatton/Holles

Probably Holles

Probably Holles

Hatton/Holles

Hatton/Holles

Hatton/Holles

James

1617

Hatton/Holles

Hatton/Holles

Holles/Exeter

James

16 April 1617

Holles/?

Holles

Holles/?

Holles/Privy Council

Compton

July 1617

Holles/?

Holles

Holles/?

Holles/James

The Privy Council

16 April 1617

Holles

Holles

Holles

Table 8. Corpus of attributions used in Section 2

Given Author(s)

Attributed Author(s)

Recipient

Date

Source

Hatton

Carleton

20 March 1618

SPD 96 n.69

Daughter

[1628]

BL Add MS 2957 f. 60

Hobart

[c.1621-22]

Norsworthy 35-36

Probably Hatton

James

Undated [King 3]

Bayle 4: 388 (B)

Buckingham

Undated [Buckingham 1]

Undated [Buckingham 2]

Bayle 4: 387 (A)

Bayle 4: 387 (B)

Hatton/Holles

James

1 August 1617

4 August 1617

5 August 1617

10 September 1617a

10 September 1617b

10 September 1617c

10 September 1617d

1617

Seddon 2: 181-182

Seddon 2: 182-183

Seddon 2: 184-185

Seddon 2: 199

Seddon 2: 199-200

Seddon 2: 200-201

Seddon 2: 201-202

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25

Bacon

1 June 1617

12 June 1617

14 June 1617

16 June 1617

[17] June 1617

18 June 1617

20 June 1617

Seddon 1: 162-163

Seddon 1: 165

Seddon 1: 166

Seddon 1: 166

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26

Seddon 2: 168-169

Seddon 2: 170

Buckingham

“Duke”

“Duke”

6 August 1617

August 1617

21 April 1618

Seddon 2: 186-188

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21

BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31v

Exeter

31 August 1617

Seddon 2: 196-197

The Privy Council

15 August 1617

Seddon 2: 191-193

Holles

James to the Privy Council

16 April 1617

Seddon 1: 158

Bacon

4 March 1617

20 Aug. 1617

Seddon 1: 152-153

Seddon 2: 195

Buckingham

17 July 1617

6 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 172-174

Seddon 2: 188

Lady [Burghley]

29 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 195-196

Lord [Burghley]

28 Oct. 1616

Seddon 1: 145

Hatton

16 Feb. 1616

20 Feb. 1616

5 July 1616

2 April 1617

31 Aug. 1617

Oct. 1617

1617 [Hatton 2]

Seddon 1: 113

Seddon 1: 114

Seddon 1: 132

Seddon 1: 154

Seddon 2: 197-198

Seddon 2: 203-204

BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 26r-v

Lake

25 June 1617

25 July 1617

26 July 1617

6 Aug. 1617

15 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 170-171

Seddon 2: 177-178

Seddon 2: 179-181

Seddon 2: 188-189

Seddon 2: 193-194

Lennox

25 July 1617

1 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 178-179

Seddon 2: 181

Norris

17 June 1617

18 July 1617

Seddon 2: 167-168

Seddon 2: 175-176

Somerset

18 July 1617

Seddon 2: 174-175

Suffolk

9 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 189-191

Walden

6 Aug. 1617

Seddon 2: 185-186

Section 2: What benefits did Hatton derive from having Holles as a secretary?

29While some women would have used secretaries or scribes because they were themselves illiterate, Hatton and others like her were members of privileged classes who had probably received some schooling, so their reasons need further exploration. This section considers a series of rationales commonly given for why aristocratic women might have used secretaries for their correspondence: better handwriting, better knowledge of conventions, better lexicon, and better spelling. In each case, the issue is discussed in regard to women’s letter writing in general and then tested against the letters of Hatton in particular to see whether it applies in her case.

Better Handwriting?

  • 48 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2006, p. 105-106.
  • 49 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, Letterwriting in Renaissance England, Seattle, WA, Washington UP, 2 (...)
  • 50 James Daybell, "’I Wold Wyshe My Doings Myght Be ... Secret’: Privacy and the Social Practices of R (...)

30Being able to write was not merely a question of literacy, but of mastering penmanship: the skills required to wield quills and ink.48 Formal schooling gave men a significant advantage as they were routinely trained in secretary hand, although some professions had their own styles, such as “chancery hand.”49 Given that scribes had to be specially trained to write in these styles, and that this training took place in institutions closed to women, font itself can be seen as a form of gendered cipher. While a few women could read and write in secretary hand, the “most popular” font amongst female letter-writers was italic.50

31While the absence of first hand access to the original documents means that it is not possible to assess the relative penmanship of Hatton and Holles, given that Holles would have had more training in handwriting than Hatton it seems plausible to assume that he would have been more proficient in secretary hand. As most men wrote in secretary hand and all of James’ Privy Council were male, having her letters scribed into clear secretary hand may have smoothed the reception of her texts.

Better Knowledge of Conventions?

  • 51 James Daybell, "Ples Acsep”, op. cit. p. 216.

32One argument for why women used secretaries was that men had greater knowledge of epistolary conventions. Composing and penning successful business letters involved more than literacy; it required specialist technical knowledge of conventions, formats, and fonts. It might therefore have been advantageous for individuals who did not possess that knowledge to avail themselves of the services of a secretary in order that their letters achieve a better result.51

  • 52 Frank Whigham, “The Rhetoric of Elizabethan Suitors’ Letters”, PMLA, 96.5, 1981, p. 864-882, here p (...)
  • 53 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, op. cit., p. 23.
  • 54 Erin A. Sadlack,”’In Writing it May Be Spoke’: The Politics of Women’s Letterwriting 1377-1603”, Ph (...)
  • 55 James Daybell, “Ples Acsep”, op. cit.; James Daybell, “Female Literacy”, op.cit.; James Daybell, “S (...)
  • 56 Lynne Magnusson,”A Rhetoric of Requests: Genre and Linguistics Scripts in Elizabethan Women’s Suito (...)
  • 57 Linda Peck, “For a King Not to Be Bountiful Were a Fault: Perspectives on Court Patronage in Early (...)
  • 58 Alison Thorne,”Women’s Petitionary Letters and Early Seventeenth Century Treason Trials”, Women’s W (...)

33Guides to petition writing date back to the twelfth century ars dictaminis, but most sixteenth and seventeenth century letter-writing manuals were based on Erasmus’s Libellus de conscribendis epistolis (1521).52 The first manual in English was William Fulwood’s The Enimie of Idlenesse (1568), and the most influential text was Angel Day’s The English Secretarie (1586).53 Although letter-writing manuals were associated with the grammar school education available to men, women’s usage of conventional letter formats and formulae demonstrates their knowledge of the “culture of epistolarity,” knowledge presumably gleaned from reading the letters of others.54 The presence of conventional tropes therefore does not provide evidence for the gender of the author, however, researchers who have studied women’s letters have proposed a collection of tropes which are more associated with women’s writing. I have synthesized taxonomies of tropes proposed by James Daybell,55 Lynne Magnusson,56 Linda Peck,57 and Alison Thorne58 into two categories: deprecatory self-characterization and elevatory self-characterization (see Table 9 and Table 11).

34Individuals were most liable to deploy epistolary tropes in formal petitions and could tailor the formality of a text to communicate the degree of status differential between sender and recipient, so it is important to compare like with like. The texts in Table 3 known to have been written by Hatton are all personal letters and so unsuitable for this purpose. However, the analysis of erratic spelling in the orthographic section above provided evidence that Buckingham 1, Buckingham 2, and King 3 were probably written by Hatton and these texts do belong in the petition genre as they are written for the purpose of making a request or pleading a case. I will compare the presence and density of tropes in these three petitions against those in petitions written to Buckingham and James which were from Hatton but “pennd by Lord Haughton.”

Table 9. Composite list of deprecatory self-characterization tropes

Researcher/Theory

Researcher’s conceptual trope

My interpretation of how tropes manifest lexically

Apologizing for writing:

Magnusson

Trouble-making

Boldness & Presumption

Apologies for causing trouble to recipients

Admission that the letter writer is being bold

Use of the verb “presume”

Denigration of the self:

Magnusson

Rhetoric of deference

Low estimation of one’s writing

Self-humbling verbs

Self-characterizing as humble

Self-characterizing as lowly/unworthy

Low estimation of one’s writing

Self-humbling verbs

Daybell

Writer depicts themselves as a victim

Descriptions of emotional suffering

Descriptions of physical suffering

Descriptions of financial suffering

Hyperbolic descriptions of suffering

Thorne

Evoking stereotypes of female intellectual inferiority

Self-characterizing as unintelligent

Elevation of the other:

Magnusson

Praises the addressee

Reiterates their status

Flattering adjectives

Attribution of virtues

Daybell, Peck

Recipient as savior

Claims of dependency/faith in recipient to save them

Table 10. Lexical evidence for deprecatory self-characterization tropes in letters to James and Buckingham

My interpretation of how tropes manifest lexically

Hatton/Holles to James

Hatton to James

Hatton/Holles to Buckingham

Hatton to Buckingham

Texts

1 Aug, 5 Aug, 10 Sept. C

King 3

6 Aug 1617

Buckingham 1 & 3

Apologizing for writing

Apologies for causing trouble to recipients

Admission that the letter writer is being bold

Buckingham 1

Use of the verb “presume”

King 3

Deprecatory descriptions of the self

Self-characterizing as humble

5 August, 10 Sept. C

Self-characterizing as lowly/unworthy

1 August

King 3

Low estimation of one’s writing

10 Sept. C

King 3

Self-humbling verbs

10 Sept. C

6 August

Emotional suffering

Physical suffering

Financial suffering

King 3

Hyperbolic descriptions of suffering

King 3

Self-characterizing as unintelligent

King 3

Elevatory descriptions of the recipient

Reiterates their status

1 Aug., 5 Aug, 10 Sept. C

King 3

6 August

Buckingham 1 and 3

Flattering adjectives

1 August, 5 August

Attribution of virtues

1 Aug., 5 Aug, 10 Sept. C

King 3

6 August

Buckingham 1 and 3

Claims of dependency/ability of recipient to save them

1 August

35Table 10 shows that Hatton’s texts exhibit about the same number of deprecatory tropes as Hatton/Holles letters to the same recipients. The spread of strategies chosen is different, however, particularly in regard to deprecatory descriptions of the self. Hatton/Holles letters use humility tropes more heavily, while Hatton’s letter to James puts more emphasis on her suffering.

Table 11. Composite list of elevatory self-characterization tropes

Researcher/Theory

Researcher’s conceptual trope

My interpretation of how that trope manifests lexically

Honesty tropes

Magnusson

Truth claims

Expectations that claims will be believed

Vs. Protestations of truthfulness

Me

Recipient positioned as misinformed

Persuasive tropes

Magnusson

Assumptions about the actions of the other

Using future tense auxiliary verbs to forecast that the recipient will or shall do something

Whigham

Combinations of courtesy and imperative

Saying the recipient will be pleased to do something

Me

Basis for confidence comes from writer’s own state of mind

Anticipating positive outcomes if recipient acts as writer wants

Prophesying negative outcomes for opponents

Piety tropes

Thorne

Presenting the self as pious

Use of Biblical allusions

Promises to pray for the recipient

Me

Presenting the self as virtuous

Thorne

Obliging the recipient to fulfil Christianity’s “ethical directives”

Reminding the recipient of Biblical teachings which obligate them to behave in a particular manner

Table 12. Lexical evidence for elevatory self-characterization tropes in letters to James and Buckingham

My interpretation of how tropes manifest lexically

Hatton/Holles to James

Hatton to James

Hatton/Holles to Buckingham

Hatton to Buckingham

Texts

1 Aug, 5 Aug, 10 Sept. C

King 3

6 Aug 1617

Buckingham 1 & 3

Honesty tropes

Expectations that claims will be believed

1 Aug, 5 Aug, 10 Sept. C

6 August

Protestations of truthfulness

King 3

Recipient positioned as misinformed

5 August

6 August

Persuasive tropes

Using future tense auxiliary verbs to forecast that the recipient will or shall do something

10 Sept. C

King 3

6 August

Courtesy plus imperative

Basis for confidence comes from writer’s own state of mind

King 3

6 August

Anticipating positive outcomes

5 August, 10 Sept. C

King 3

Prophesying negative outcomes for opponents

6 August

Piety tropes

Use of Biblical allusions

6 August

Presenting the self as virtuous

5 August, 10 Sept. C

King 3

Buckingham 1

Promises to pray for the recipient

Reminding the recipient of Biblical teachings which obligate them to behave in a particular manner

5 August

36In Table 12, what is most immediately apparent is Hatton’s minimal use of elevatory tropes in her letters to Buckingham: she uses one trope whereas the Hatton/Holles letter to Buckingham uses six. Had this been the case for deprecatory tropes, the explanation might have been that more tropes were required in order to emphasize the status differential between Hatton and the King, but here the opposite is the case: although James is of higher status than Buckingham, both the Hatton/Holles and Hatton letters use more elevatory tropes towards him. The spread of tropes across the different categories in the letters to James seems roughly comparable.

37What Tables 10 and 12 show is that the assumption that Holles was more familiar with petitionary tropes than Hatton is not borne out by a dramatic difference in number of tropes being used by each; except in the case of elevatory tropes in letters to Buckingham which may have more to do with the circumstances under which the letters where written than the letter-writers themselves. The tables do show, however, that the choices of tropes in the Hatton/Holles letters may have been more conciliatory: more humble and more flattering than Hatton’s texts which tend to assert her complaints and requests in a more direct manner. So although Hatton may not have needed Holles’ knowledge of conventions to be able to write a petition, his diplomatic choice of expressions may have helped to further her cause.

Better Lexicon?

38Better spelling is not the only advantage of more years of schooling. A more highly educated person will have access to a larger vocabulary and be able to deploy more complex words in their writing. Counting syllables is a blunt instrument to measure verbal complexity, but it sidesteps complicated and subjective judgments about the difficulty level of individual words and so is the approach that I have chosen to use here. I used 100 word extracts from the letters (corrected for spelling), and tallied the number of words with 1-5 syllables in each sample and then averaged these results across those texts known to be by Hatton individually, Hatton/Holles collaboratively, and Holles individually.

Table 13. Results of syllable test

Known Hatton letters

Known Holles letters

Known Holles/Hatton letters

Average # of 1 syllable words

74.83

69.76

66.89

Average # of 2 syllable words

17.8

19.76

21.37

Average # of 3 syllable words

5.5

7.48

8.79

Average # of 4 syllable words

1.67

2.68

2.37

Average # of 5 syllable words

0

0.4

0.53

39This table shows that Holles tends to choose slightly more complex vocabulary than Hatton, but the difference is fairly negligible. Although Hatton’s average use of single syllable words is a few points higher than the other categories and her averages for three to four syllable words are lower and she used no five syllable words, there were only six letters in the sample which means these differences are not significant. Given that half the known Hatton texts are personal letters (see Table 8), these results may be a consequence of a lower level of formality rather than of educational deficiency. That formality was a factor in vocabulary choice can be seen from the discrepancy between the results for the Holles and Hatton/Holles letters. Although Holles penned both categories, he uses a lower level of vocabulary in his own letters to his associates and a higher level in the Hatton/Holles letters which tend to be formal texts addressed to persons of equal or superior status to Hatton.

Better Spelling?

  • 59 Adam Fox, “Aspects of Oral Culture and Its Development in Early Modern England”, PhD diss., Cambrid (...)
  • 60 James Daybell,”Interpreting Letters and Reading Script: Evidence for Female Education and Literacy (...)
  • 61 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers, op. cit., p. 97; James Daybell, "Interpreting Letters”, op. ci (...)

40The increasing influence of print culture in the sixteenth century meant that spelling and punctuation were becoming more uniform.59 Irregularities such as “colloquialisms, non-standard forms and erratic or phonetic spellings” were more common in women’s letters than men’s.60 However, these traits need to be read as factors of education rather than gender, with the writing of men whose access to schooling had been similarly limited (men in rural areas, for example) showing the same irregularities.61 One possible benefit for women who used secretaries was vicariously gaining the advantage of better male education by having their letters spelled correctly, which might make a better impression in business and patronage enterprises and so lead to a more favorable outcome.

41To determine whether Hatton was potentially gaining the advantage of Holles’ better spelling by using him as a secretary, I ran two tests. In the first instance I took the initial 100 words of each letter (excluding the superscription and address to the recipient) and unabbreviated them (as presumably Holles’ publisher may have done for Holles’ letters) and then counted the number of words with spelling which differs from modern English, omitting proper nouns/titles and verbs ending in –th as they have no modern equivalent. Should a letter consist of less than 100 words, then the count would be looped until 100 words was reached. I then averaged the results for the letters known to be written by Hatton individually, by Holles individually, and by Holles/Hatton.

  • 62 Giles E. Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, op. cit., p. 14-15, 17.

42In the second test I omitted from my count all those nonmodern spellings which exhibited one early modern variation: a terminal ‘e’s added or omitted; a consonant or vowel doubled or singled; i/y/ie, i/j, u/w and u/v substitution; or a vowel sound spelling substitution62 The remaining nonmodern spellings either exhibited multiple early modern features or fit into the category of irregular/phonetic spelling described above. Again, I averaged the results for the letters known to be written by Hatton individually, by Holles individually, and by Holles/Hatton.

Table 14. Spelling test results

Known Hatton letters

Known Holles letters

Known Holles/Hatton letters

Test 1 average
(nonmodern spellings/100 words)

20
(range = 13-28)

11.77
(range = 4-18)

11.7
(range = 7-18)

Test 2 average
(irregular spellings/100 words)

6.17
(range = 3-13)

2.38
(range = 0-7)

2.75
(range = 0-10)

43The close correspondence between the spelling rates in the Holles and Hatton/Holles letters further confirms that Holles at least scribed the Hatton/Holles letters. The Hatton averages may be artificially high because of characteristics of the sample (see Table 8): only six letters, half of which were personal rather than business letters so may have been written with less care than when it was important to make a good impression. However, even taking that into account, the results clearly show that Holles was better at spelling than Hatton and so she would have accrued this benefit by using him as her secretary.

Conclusion of Section 2: Summary of Benefits

44This section has considered some of the types of advantages that women may have gained from using secretaries, and where possible has used tests to determine whether or not Hatton needed that type of help. The extant copies of Hatton’s and Holles’ letters are either in printed collections or transcribed into manuscript collections, so it was not possible to judge whether Holles’ handwriting was neater, but as Holles would have received more formal training in penmanship than Hatton and been more familiar with secretary font it is plausible that he may have had better handwriting for her purpose. The analysis of tropes used in petitions written by Hatton versus those by Hatton/Holles showed that both sets of letters used a similar number of tropes but the petitions that Holles was involved with used more humility and Hatton made more use of complaint, and so Holles’ choices may have been more diplomatic. Although the syllable analysis of the corpus showed that the Hatton/Holles letters use slightly more complex vocabulary than the Hatton letters, this difference may be due to sample size or discrepancies in the formality of the texts being compared rather than educational deficiency on Hatton’s part. While results in the other segments were ambivalent, the test of spelling clearly showed that Hatton’s letters have almost double the average rate of nonmodern spellings and irregular spellings than those penned by Holles. Therefore, Hatton definitely benefitted from Holles’ secretarial help in terms of spelling, with the lower level of errors in his texts perhaps making a better impression on recipients she wanted to impress.

Section 3: benefits beyond the text

45Previous discussions of women’s use of secretaries, including Sections 1 and 2 above, have related exclusively to the impacts of secretarial intervention on women’s letter-writing. However, because the identity of Hatton’s secretary is known, it is possible to trace the history of their relationship to see what other benefits Hatton may have gained from his involvement. This section will give an overview of the changing roles Holles played for Hatton and then discuss how this shifting dynamic may have affected the balance of involvement each had in the letters Holles “pennd” for Hatton.

Sympathizer

  • 63 Holles to Lennox, 12 November 1615, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: (...)
  • 64 Ibid, p. 1: 88.
  • 65 Holles to “Countess of Hartford” [Hertford], 30 December 1615, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of J (...)
  • 66 Holles to Lennox, 10 January 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 105.

46Holles was Coke’s adversary before he was Hatton’s ally. Holles had been a client of Robert Carr and, in 1615, following on from the Overbury murder investigations, Holles was imprisoned in the Fleet for one year and fined £1000.63 According to Holles, this was because he counselled Weston to “discharge his conscience, to dy like a Christian, and satisfy the world.”64 Holles blamed Coke for his imprisonment: he wrote letters from the Fleet complaining that “I am the subject of the chief Justice of the Kings benche malice and competency”65 and about “my Lord Cooks hard using me.”66

Client

  • 67 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 113.
  • 68 Holles to Hatton, 20 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 114.
  • 69 Peter R. Seddon, "Holles, John, First Earl of Clare (d. 1637)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biogr (...)
  • 70 Ibid.
  • 71 Holles to Hatton, 5 July 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 132.

47In February 1616, Holles wrote to Hatton from prison. The letter thanks Hatton for “having been pleased to voutsafe me the happines of your favours, and to select me, and this my particular misfortun, to be an appearing subject of the owroth of your mynd.”67 Hatton seems to have become a patron for Holles as, in another letter, he describes her as one of his “benefactrice[s],” along with another Cecil: Lady Burghley.68 Whether due to their efforts or to the completion of his sentence, by July 1616 he was out of prison and seeking a position in court to “recover his reputation.”69 He paid £10,000 to be made Treasurer of the King’s Household and 1st Baron of Haughton, but while he was awarded with the title on 9 July 1616, the appointment to office did not eventuate.70 Hatton’s role in helping Holles re-establish himself in society is unclear, but in July 1616 he wrote to her, thanking her profusely for her “favour,” comparing it to “divyn bounty” and rhetorically musing “what shall I, or can I say, or do in retribution.”71

  • 72 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.
  • 73 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.
  • 74 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: (...)
  • 75 Holles to Hatton, 20 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 114)..

48Whereas some patron-client pairings were essentially employee-employer relationships in which services were exchanged for payment, it seems unlikely that this was the primary driver underpinning the Holles-Hatton dynamic. Holles’ finances were sufficiently abundant for him to be able to spend “at least £22,362 on the purchase of land in Nottinghamshire and Middlesex and £15,000 on the acquisition of peerages” between 1591 and 1637.72 What he lacked was not income but status. His association with Robert Carr meant that he fell from grace alongside his patron, going from a position as Comptroller of the Prince’s household to Fleet prison.73 Holles’ ongoing enmity towards Coke may have also been a motivating factor in his decision to align himself with Lady Hatton. Holles’ letters to Hatton are openly hostile towards Coke. He expresses his wish that Coke “were as farr separated from yow as the East from the West, that I might with the like liberty hate him”74 and calls Coke “the unworthy companion of your fortun.”75 Siding with Hatton provided Holles with the dual opportunity to revenge himself on the man he held responsible for his downfall and to tap his patron’s influence to regain some of the social standing which he had lost, ideally being appointed to an office within the court.

Secretary

  • 76 Privy Council Minutes, 25 June 1617, in John R. Dasent (ed.), Acts of the Privy Council of England (...)
  • 77 Holles to Hatton, 2 April 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 154
  • 78 Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 16 April 1617, in ibid., p. (...)
  • 79 Privy Council Minutes, 23 May 1617, Northampton RO Finch-Hatton MS 2068 f. 1r-v.

49In early 1617, it was Hatton’s turn to become embroiled in legal difficulties. The Crown wanted Hatton to help repay the debt of a relative, Sir Christopher Hatton. Coke purportedly threatened Hatton that if she did so, he would “make himselfe whole out of her estate.”76 There is a letter from Holles to Hatton on 2 April 1617, in which he inquires how her affairs are going and “wish[es] my service as necessarie, as it is reddy.”77 Hatton must have accepted his offer of assistance soon after that, as the earliest letters in the Holles letterbook with the descriptor “pennd by my Lord Haughton” are two dated 16 April 1617.78 These letters argue that Hatton cannot cooperate with the Crown until she can be guaranteed protection against Coke. Unlike the later letters, the 16 April letters are not under Hatton’s name. While they were presumably written at her behest, these letters are written under the names of third parties: Hatton’s father the Earl of Essex (to the King), and King James himself (to the Privy Council). It is unclear whether Essex and James consented to sign the letters written for them, but on 28 April 1617 James commanded that the Council should examine “the p[ar]ticulars” of Hatton’s complaints against Coke and make provision for her “security” so that she would feel able to sign the documents.79 Although the wording of James’ command does not echo the letter written for him to sign, he gives Hatton the guarantee that the 16 April letters asked for, suggesting that he at least received either the letter Holles wrote, or a different version of the same text.

  • 80 Hatton to Bacon, 1 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 162-1 (...)
  • 81 Catherine D. Bowen, The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke, 1552-1634,. Lon (...)
  • 82 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 14 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John (...)

50Hatton’s victory over Coke seemed assured. However, Coke used delaying tactics and the matter was still not resolved at the end of May. Hatton’s response was to send a flurry of letters, penned by Holles, to Sir Francis Bacon (then Lord Keeper), to persuade him to conclude matters to her advantage.80 Like Holles, Bacon had his own reasons for opposing Coke: Bacon and Coke were rivals for the position of Attorney General in 1594 and Bacon lost, then Bacon and Coke were rivals for Hatton’s hand in 1598 and again Bacon was unsuccessful.81 Several of the Holles-Hatton letters thank Bacon for his assistance,82 so presumably he used his influence to steer the committee appointed to settle the matter towards finding in Hatton’s favor. However, Coke had other plans which derailed proceedings.

Confederate

  • 83 John Chamberlain (henceforth Chamberlain) to Carleton, 15 March 1617, in Norman E. McClure (ed.), T (...)
  • 84 Coke, “Brief Articles to be performed on my part” and “On my Wives part,” 15 June 1617, Bayle, op. (...)

51Back in November 1616, there had been rumours of a possible match between Hatton and Coke’s daughter Frances and the Duke of Buckingham’s elder brother John. At that time, Coke had purportedly rejected Buckingham’s dowry demands saying that he “would not buy the King’s favour too dear.”83 But events turning against him caused him to reconsider and in June 1617 he drew up a new proposal for Frances’ dowry and restarted negotiations with Buckingham.84

  • 85 Buckingham to Coke, 15 July 1617, in Bayle, op. cit., 4: 387.
  • 86 Anon to Anne Sadleir (henceforth Sadleir), 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 63.
  • 87 Privy Council to Lake, “11 July” 1617, in Samuel R. Gardiner (ed.), Camden Miscellany, London: Camd (...)
  • 88 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 64.
  • 89 Privy Council to Lake, “11 July” 1617, Camden Miscellany, op. cit. p. 5: 1-6, here p. 5: 4-5.
  • 90 According to the Council letter, the hearing took place the day after Frances was delivered to the (...)
  • 91 Chamberlain to Carleton, 19 July, in Norman E. McClure (ed.), The Letters, op. cit., p. 2: 89; Anon (...)

52Hatton learned of this scheme sometime in late June/early July and took steps to thwart Coke, by sending Frances to stay with Hatton’s cousins, the Withipoles, who had rented Lord Argyle’s house in the country for the summer.85 Coke broke into their house on 11 July and retrieved Frances, taking her to his son’s residence at Kingston.86 Hatton turned to Bacon for help and under his leadership the Privy Council condemned Coke’s actions and sent Sir Thomas Edmondes to Coke with an order that he deliver Frances to the Council by 14 July.87 When Coke did not appear, the Council sent Edmondes again with instructions to apprehend Frances. Edmondes and others then broke into Sir Robert Coke’s house looking for her, but Coke and his party had gone. Meanwhile, supporters of Hatton, “my lo[rd] Hollis [the] Riches Sir Edw[ard] Sackvill & others,” were reported to have lain in wait in “Putny way,” with “pistols by all likelyhood to surprise [Coke].”88 However, Coke had gone by another route so avoided the ambush. Coke belatedly delivered Frances to the Council and she was put in the custody of the Attorney General.89 Meanwhile Coke was called before the Council to answer to charges for his behavior at Lord Argyle’s house.90 Matters looked certain to be settled in Hatton’s favor when James intervened, assigning full custody of Frances to Coke and appointing his own Commission to investigate the matter by questioning Hatton’s “confederates,” one of which was Holles.91

  • 92 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178 (...)
  • 93 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 64.
  • 94 Ibid, R.v.5 f. 64.
  • 95 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178 (...)
  • 96 Ibid.

53During the dramatic events of July 1617, Holles’ involvement in Hatton’s affairs stepped up from being an assistant to being an accessory. The Commission questioned Holles about the “convaying away” of Frances to Lord Argyle’s house,92 Holles was reported to have accompanied Hatton when she went to see Bacon to ask to have Coke brought before the Council,93 and Holles was listed amongst the men supposedly involved in the attempt to ambush Coke.94 The Commission further questioned Holles whether he had “with the mother plotted another escape”—a charge which he vehemently denied.95 It does not seem that any charges were officially laid against Holles, but he felt that his reputation had been tarnished by having been “brought uppon the stage [and] convented as a criminell.”96

  • 97 Ibid.
  • 98 Holles to Lake, 26 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 180.
  • 99 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 188.
  • 100 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 190)..
  • 101 Holles to Lake, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 178.

54Holles was dismissive of the Privy Council’s investigation into Frances’s abduction, writing to several correspondents about his surprise that the Privy Council should spend so much time investigating what he variously belittled as Coke’s “freneticall humours”;97 the “antiks” of his “ill digestd iudgment, which was ever, and will be guyded by vanity, and passion, and not by reason”;98 the “fumes of Sir Edward Cooks brayn”;99 or his “frantike, and frivolous inventions.”100 Such aspersions of Coke’s mental stability seem intended to persuade Holles’ respondents not to take the investigation seriously but rather to dismiss it as ludicrous or, literally, crazy. While Holles uses his own letters sent during July-early August to disparage Coke, their second purpose is to circulate Holles’ denial of complicity in Hatton’s concealment of Frances. As he confided to Sir Thomas Lake, “I am curios to preserve my self.”101

Go-Between

  • 102 Hatton to James, 4 August 1617, in ibid., p. 183.
  • 103 Hatton to James, Undated [King 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 388.
  • 104 Holles to Buckingham, 17 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 17 (...)
  • 105 Ibid.
  • 106 Ibid.
  • 107 Ibid, p. 2: 173.

55Despite Hatton’s vehement opposition to the match, it seems that she may also have considered the possibility of marrying Frances to John in order to strengthen her alliances. In contradiction to Hatton’s insistence elsewhere that she had never “intertained” the prospect of a match between Frances and John,102 an undated letter from Hatton to James states that Hatton had made three attempts to negotiate with Compton—firstly by sending Holles to her on two occasions, then via “my brother and sister of Burley,” and then in person when she shared a coach with Compton returning from Kingston—with her primary condition being that Compton “leave Sir Edward Cooke” and deal only with her.103 A letter from Holles to Buckingham provides more detail about his role as go-between, describing how Holles had visited Buckingham’s mother, Lady Mary Compton, with the intention of mediating an “understanding” between Compton and Hatton, “glyding uppon the proposition of marriage, heertofore begunn and aborted by Sir Edward Cooks defective handling.”104 Holles told Compton that she should have “quitt” her dealings with Coke and “treated” with Hatton instead, as Frances stood to receive her dowry from her mother.105 Compton purportedly assured him that if she “ever layd hand again of that busines” she would do as he advised.106 However, Holles was on his way out of Compton’s house after one such meeting when he met Coke’s ally Sir Ralph Winwood on his way in. When Holles returned the following day he saw Coke’s carriage outside Compton’s house and realized that “the former traffike with Sir Edward Cook was renued.”107

Lobbyist

  • 108 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 65.
  • 109 Coke, “Mistress Frances her Confession”, 14 August 1617, Norfolk RO COL MS 8/15.
  • 110 Holles to Lake, 15 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 193 (...)
  • 111 Ibid, p. 193.
  • 112 Ibid.
  • 113 John Villiers to Coke, 24 August 1617, Norfolk RO MS COL 8/15; Holles to Lady [Burghley], 29 August (...)

56On 24 July, the day after James’ Commission assigned full custody of Frances to Coke, Coke installed Frances in the house of his son, Sir Robert Coke, in Kingston.108 Hatton was initially permitted to visit Frances, but on 14 August Frances confessed to Coke that Hatton had persuaded her to precontract herself to the Earl of Oxford.109 Coke was dismissive of the precontract, but eager to finalize the match between Frances and John before any more complications arose. The following day he went to Hatton House and officially asked for Hatton’s consent to the marriage in front of witnesses, claiming that Frances and John “loved one the other.”110 Hatton was sceptical and refused her consent on the basis that Frances’s consent was forced.111 Coke’s response to Hatton’s refusal was to threaten to ban her from seeing her daughter.112 Ten days later on 24 August, Hatton was turned away when she came to visit Frances in Kingston.113

  • 114 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 1 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of Joh (...)
  • 115 Hatton to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 186-188; Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], August (...)
  • 116 Hatton to the Privy Council, 15 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. ci (...)
  • 117 Holles to Bacon, 20 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 195)..
  • 118 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 188.
  • 119 Holles to Lake: 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 177-178; 26 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 179-181; 6 Aug (...)
  • 120 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 178-179; Holles to Lennox, 1 August 1617, in ibid., (...)
  • 121 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 189-191.
  • 122 Holles to Walden, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 185-186.

57During this period, Holles wrote many letters, both in his role as Hatton’s secretary and also under his own name to raise sympathy and support for her from amongst her allies. There are six Holles-Hatton letters in the corpus between 25 July and 24 August: two to James (one of which has two versions),114 two to Buckingham,115 and one to the Privy Council.116 Meanwhile Holles wrote ten letters under his own name during this period: one to Bacon,117 one to Buckingham,118 four to Lake,119 two to Lennox,120 one to Suffolk,121 and one to Walden.122

Advisor

  • 123 See, for example, Tobie Matthew to George Gage, 21 August 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et al. (eds.), (...)
  • 124 James to George Abbott (Archbishop of Canterbury), Sir Ralph Winwood, Bacon & Sir Fulke Greville, 1 (...)
  • 125 Privy Council to Sir Thomas Bennet, 1 September 1617, in John R. Dasent (ed.), op. cit., p. 35 (161 (...)
  • 126 John Castle to Sir William Trumbull, 18 September 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et al. (eds.), op. cit (...)

58By 24 August when Hatton was banned from visiting her daughter, it was apparent to observers that she was not going to be able to stop the marriage.123 Back in July, James had asked his commission to investigate the role of Hatton and her supporters in the Withipole’s house incident, ruling that all persons found to be involved be committed to “some Alderman’s or Citizen’s house.”124 On 1 September, the Privy Council ordered that Hatton be “restrayne[d]” into the custody of an alderman.125 When Hatton continued to refuse to cooperate, James allowed abduction charges against her to proceed.126

  • 127 Anon to Hatton, “10 July” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 22v-24.
  • 128 The Privy Council to Compton “by my Lord Haughton,” July 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 24v; Hatton to (...)
  • 129 Two of the 10 September letters repeat Winwood’s threat, quoted in the Harley 6055 text, that Franc (...)
  • 130 To give one example: the writer suggests that Hatton reply to the charge that she counterfeited a l (...)
  • 131 He was appointed Solicitor General in 1607 (Charles N. Burch, op. cit., p. 512-513), and Attorney G (...)
  • 132 Multiple letters from Hatton to Bacon ask him for his help and thank him for his support. Hatton to (...)
  • 133 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in ibid., p. 2: 200-201.

59There are two letters addressed to Hatton offering her advice at this juncture. The first is an anonymous letter in Harley 6055 which suggests how she should respond to the various charges against her.127 When I performed orthographic analysis on this letter I found many spellings in common with other Holles texts, but there were too many differences to make a confident assertion that he authored it (see Table 6). There are other letters by Holles in the Harley 6055 manuscript in which the advice letter appears,128 and some of the comments made in the letter may have influenced Hatton’s 10 September letters which Holles penned.129 However, several of the arguments in the letter seem likely to have been made by an author with legal training,130 which Holles did not have. I would propose that a more likely author of the Harley 6055 letter would be Sir Francis Bacon, who had an extensive legal background.131 Bacon had previously been an ally for Hatton and a sympathizer to her cause.132 Bacon was also involved with the 10 September letter, as he bore the final version to the King.133

  • 134 Holles to Hatton, 31 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 198.
  • 135 Such as “I beeseech yow advisedly of this” and “when yow have well sifted, and wayed this little I (...)
  • 136 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.
  • 137 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

60Although Holles may not have been the author of the Harley 6055 advice letter, his letter book includes a recommendation from himself to Hatton that she “hurt not [her] self to no purpose” by continuing to refuse her consent when James had declared his intent to bring the match about.134 Holles couches his advice in subservient terms,135 but nonetheless the existence of this letter suggests that he may have had input into the decisions that the letters represent. That Holles advised Hatton on other occasions is implied by Chamberlain terming him Hatton’s “prime privy councilor.”136 Seddon also describes Holles’ relationship to Hatton as being “an adviser.”137

  • 138 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617a, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2 (...)
  • 139 Viscount L’isle to Lady L’isle, 15 September 1617, in William A. Shaw, G.Dyfnallt Owen, and C.L. Ki (...)
  • 140 William Camden, 29 September 1617, in “The Annals of Mr William Camden, in the Reign of King James (...)
  • 141 Lord George Carew to Sir Thomas Roe, 18 January 1618, State Papers Domestic 14/95/22; Paulyn to Bea (...)

61Under unrelenting pressure, and perhaps persuaded by Holles’ recommendation that she surrender her position, on 10 September Hatton finally wrote to the King giving her conditional consent to the match. There are four versions of this letter (three of which are explicitly “pennd by my Lord Haughton”), showing that it was carefully drafted and revised.138 Once Hatton gave her consent, matters proceeded quickly. A letter from Viscount L’Isle on 15 September reports that Frances and John have been betrothed,139 and the wedding took place on 29 September.140 Despite Hatton giving her consent, she was not released from restraint and did not attend the wedding.141

Protégé

  • 142 Chamberlain to Carleton, 8 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 114.
  • 143 John Castle to Sir William Trumbull, 13 November 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et. al (eds.), op. cit. (...)
  • 144 Sir Nathaniel Brent to Carleton, 14 November 1617, State Papers Domestic 14/94/29.
  • 145 John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First [...] (...)
  • 146 Ibid.
  • 147 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure, op. cit., p. 2: 117.
  • 148 Spelt “Burghley” in Chamberlain to Carleton, 24 May 1617, ibid., p. 2: 220.
  • 149 Rev. Thomas Lorkin to Sir Thomas Puckering, 16 February 16[19], in Thomas Birch, The Court and Time (...)

62Once Coke had paid his agreed share of Frances’s dowry, the Villiers family turned their attention to Hatton to persuade her to endow her daughter. Hatton seems to have used her return to favour to consolidate her faction by hosting parties for her current and potential allies. On the night she was released from custody, 1 November 1617, she went to her father’s where a “great feast” was held for “most of the Lords about court,”142 and the whole Villiers family.143 During the next ten days, Buckingham “made 8 meals” with Hatton,144 including a royal feast on 8 November at Hatton House in Holborn.145 Hatton used her parties not only to gather her allies around her and to enhance relationships with the royal and Villiers’ families, but as opportunities to advance and reward her supporters. At the 8 November feast, the King made “4 knightes,”146 who Chamberlain identifies as four of Hatton’s “creatures.”147 Another of her allies, Lord “Burleigh” (presumably “Burghley”),148 was supposedly going to be made a Privy Councillor at her behest.149

  • 150 See note #3 on Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: (...)
  • 151 Carleton to Chamberlain, 8 November 1617, in Maurice Lee (ed.), Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain (...)
  • 152 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.
  • 153 Chamberlain to Carleton, 29 November 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 119.

63Observers anticipated that Holles’s service to Hatton would be similarly repaid with her assistance in advancing his career, and she may well have tried. In November 1617, John Chamberlain and Carleton were corresponding about Carleton’s ambition to replace the recently deceased Winwood as James’ Secretary of State.150 Carleton included Hatton amongst a list of nobles who he believed would support his candidacy,151 but Chamberlain replied that “some whisper that [the Lady Hatton] is already engaged and means to employ her full force, strength and virtue for the Lord Haughton.”152 This view is reiterated in a further letter from Chamberlain to Carleton later that month, in which Chamberlain states that Hatton was “all for that mignon of hers” (i.e. Holles) but that his bid had proved unsuccessful.153

Whipping Boy

  • 154 Chamberlain to Carleton, 31 January [1618], in ibid., p. 2: 133. According to the OEDO, one of the (...)
  • 155 [Holles] to Hatton, 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26v.
  • 156 Ibid.
  • 157 Peter Seddon, "Introduction”, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, op. cit.,(...)

64Although Hatton was restored to favor in late 1617, as a means to induce her to bestow property on John and Frances, Holles had no such leverage. Holles’ opposition to Frances and John’s marriage had alienated him from the King and the favorite, to the extent that James was reputed to have said that he would not have Holles either “sod nor rosted.”154 A comment referring to this quote, that “the King no ways doth tast me” identifies Holles as the most likely author of an anonymous letter to Hatton in Harley 6055.155 In this plaintive missive, Holles forecasts that Hatton will “struggle a shoare, w[i]th good conditions to yo[u]r self, [and] frends” but that her friends “would have yow leave me still in [the] storm, as a desperat piece not to be recovered out of [the] waters.”156 While this language is melodramatic, Holles’ prediction proved accurate: Hatton was restored to her previous status while Holles’ attempts to regain a foothold in the court were rebuffed. Having been passed over for Secretary of State, Holles subsequently made bids for the positions of Comptroller of the Household and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster but was likewise unsuccessful.157

  • 158 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.
  • 159 Chamberlain to Carleton, 5 June 1619, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 243.
  • 160 Chamberlain to Carleton, 14 July 1621, in ibid., p. 2: 387.
  • 161 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

65Meanwhile, the enmity between Coke and Holles had been further aggravated by Holles’ alliance with Hatton and led to a series of legal disputes which lasted for several years afterwards. In 1618, Coke claimed that Holles was responsible for inciting Margaret Langford to accuse Coke of trying to force her to sell her land. This charge was finally withdrawn in 1623, but not before Holles had been twice imprisoned over the matter.158 Meanwhile, in June 1619, Chamberlain wrote to Carleton that Holles had “preferred a bill” against Coke in the Star Chamber for “extortion and other pretended misdemeanures,” but that it had backfired and Holles had been sent to the Fleet.159 In 1621, Holles was again in danger, with Coke putting forward a suit to Star Chamber to have him fined.160 Holles’ involvement with Hatton’s case cost him dearly and Seddon (who edited Holles’ letter-book) observed that Holles’ career.”161

Conclusion of Section 3: Epistolary Impacts of Shifts in Circumstances and Supports

66The narrative above is obviously specific to Hatton and Holles, and the particular circumstances of their relationship are assumed to be extraordinary rather than normative, but nonetheless a number of relevant points from this story can be generalized to the secretarial scenario more generally.

  • 162 Exeter to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 16 April 1617, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of J (...)

67Fluctuations in the density of Hatton/Holles letters over time show that the sender-secretary relationship is subject to changes in circumstances and that secretarial support is a spectrum rather than an all-or-nothing binary. When Hatton first employed Holles’ services, he wrote letters for her but not under her name.162 Next she used him exclusively for her letters to Bacon, and then eventually for all of her correspondence. The letters she may have written independently from him to James and Buckingham presumably date from late 1617-early 1618, perhaps when Hatton was in custody and Holles had less access to her or later when their relationship was beginning to taper off. Their last collaboration seems to have been the letters to James and Buckingham in April 1618.

68Although a secretary might be a journeyman for hire, particularly in the case of illiterate members of the lower classes paying to have texts written for them or read to them, amongst the aristocracy such transactions may have been a form of client-patron interaction with advancement and favor rather than immediate income as the desired outcome. Because a secretary’s chances of increasing their fortune and status were dependent on their patron’s largesse or influence in getting their secretary the position they crave, secretaries effectively worked on commission: helping their patron succeed meant some of that success could trickle down to them. Literature on women’s use of secretaries, including most of this paper, tends to emphasize what secretaries could do for the women they worked for rather than acknowledging the extent to which it was a symbiotic relationship. Holles worked as Hatton’s secretary in the hopes that it would advance his career to do so. Unfortunately for him, the reverse was the case as discussed above.

  • 163 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, op. c (...)
  • 164 Holles to Lake, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 177.
  • 165 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.
  • 166 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.

69While a secretary’s motives in seeking to serve a particular patron might be purely mercenary or strategic, it should not be assumed that they were political tabula rasa. Individuals might be most successful in gaining positions within their own factions or be most interested in working with patrons whose agendas aligned with their own. Working as Hatton’s secretary provided Holles with a new arena to continue his vendetta against Coke. Holles’ ongoing personal contempt for Coke is apparent from the derogatory terms he uses in personal letters written during that time, in which he calls Coke “an incompatible vermin”163 and a “leper.”164 As Seddon puts it, during his alliance with Hatton, Holles “seized every opportunity to attack his enemy.”165 The dislike was mutual. Holles was said to be a man whom Coke could “no wayes indure.”166

Conclusion: Whose Letter is it anyway?

70In this paper I have used Lady Elizabeth Hatton’s letters as a focus for a multi-faceted investigation into the epistolary complexity of correspondence mediated through a secretary. The findings in Section 1 may serve to fill in some missing details about individual documents, the analysis in Section 2 considers which of the rationales for women’s use of secretaries seems to apply in Hatton’s case, and the narrative in Section 3 gives an example of the extra-textual benefits women may have garnered from enlisting the help of a secretary.

  • 167 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, op. cit., p. 55.
  • 168 Ibid.

71While women were on average less literate than men and did not receive the same training in rhetoric, and so were more likely to lack the specialist knowledge to write business letters, monarchs rarely wrote their own letters and nobles routinely used secretaries.167 It should not automatically be assumed that women used secretaries because they were incapable whereas men used secretaries because they were busy and important. Likewise, it should not be assumed that, whereas men’s secretaries were “self-effacing, their pens silently articulating the thoughts of their employers,”168 women’s secretaries dominated the process. The secretarial role, whether for a female or male employer, could range from an amanuensis, who transcribed letters from dictation or from drafts, through to a wordsmith who composed complete letters on the behalf of others. The level of involvement is not easily discerned and evidence, such as whether letters are autograph or holograph, can be deceptive. Employers might dictate to an amanuensis, author their own drafts which were then corrected and neatly copied out, or have letters authored for them by a wordsmith that they then transcribe in their own writing. Employers and secretaries might also work collaboratively, with either one amending the other’s draft. It is therefore no simple matter to know whom to credit with the authorship of any particular text.

72Despite having come at this issue from every angle, the types of evidence that can be gleaned from the texts lend themselves to a better understanding of the advantages of having a secretary on the form of a letter, but yield little new information about the impact of that secretary on the letter’s content. I am left with the feeling of having made minimal inroads on the key question of this article: ‘Whose letter is it anyway?’

  • 169 Malcolm Richardson, “’A Masterful Woman’: Elizabeth Stonor and English Women’s Letters, 1399-c.1530 (...)
  • 170 Lynne Magnusson, op. cit., p. 52.
  • 171 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers, op. cit. p. 90; James Daybell,”Ples Acsep”, op. cit., p. 213.

73Perhaps the answer lies not in a careful examination of the minutiae of evidence of authorship, but rather a less anachronistic conception of what authorship means. Whereas modern conceptions typically denote as an author a person who “writes her own words with her own pen,”169 in early modern times collaborative authorship was common, as can be seen with Renaissance dramas which are often credited to multiple playwrights.170 In terms of such understanding, the author of a letter was not necessarily the person who physically wrote it or even necessarily who composed the phrasing, but the person who determined the content in terms of “what she wished to have set down,” with secretaries “colluding” with their clients to help them achieve their purposes.171 Authorship is therefore closer to ownership: the sender is the person to whom a letter belongs and whose purpose the letter serves. The intention of this redefinition is not to push aside the complex ramifications of collaboration, but to determine a common denominator shared by all senders of letters in order not to question the auctorial autonomy of female writers while leaving that of male writers unexamined. This also avoids disallowing female authorship of texts on the basis that a man may have collaborated in some way in their composition, which would be a form of intellectual coverture, with the woman assumed to be eclipsed by the man. Whatever the precise circumstances of the authorship of Hatton’s letters, they were undoubtedly composed to promote her goals, and thus that makes them hers.

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Notes

1 James Daybell, "’Ples Acsep Thes My Skrybled Lynes’: The Construction and Conventions of Women’s Letters in England, 1540-1603”, Quidditas, 20, 1999, p. 207-223, here p. 208-209, 215.

2 Hatton to Sir Francis Bacon (henceforth), “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 16 June 1617 in Peter R. Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, Nottingham: Technical Print Services Ltd, 1986, p. 1: 166.

3 Square brackets are used to signify instances where I have added information to the original text, by un-abbreviating words or filling in details missing from the original text. Here the date in the Harley manuscript had been transcribed as 27 June, but I am positing a date of 17 June which is more consistent with the text’s content and relationship to the 16 June draft.

4 Hatton to Bacon, [17] June 1617, British Library Harley Manuscript 6055 (henceforth BL Harley MS 6055) f. 26.

5 See, for instance, Thomas Longueville, The Curious Case of Lady Purbeck: A Scandal of the Seventeenth Century, Rockville MD, Wildside Press, 2005, p. 34.

6 This letter refers to events which did not happen until mid-August, so this date cannot be accurate and will be put in speechmarks.

7 Curly brackets are used to indicate the presence of illegible words.

8 There is another Hatton letter to James in between these two, which would be ‘King 2’, but content dates it after 1617.

9 Pierre Bayle, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, Eds. John P. Bernard, et al. 10 vols, London, G. Strahan etc, 1734-1741.

10 The three letters from Hatton to Buckingham are designated 1-3/A-C according to the order in which they are printed in Bayle, ibid.

11 Norsworthy proposes the letter relates to arrangements between Elizabeth and Sir Maurice Berkeley (Laura Norsworthy, The Lady of Bleeding Heart Yard: Lady Elizabeth Hatton, 1578-1646, London, John Murray, 1938, p. 36). Elizabeth and Maurice married in 1622 (Elizabeth Coke, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hwbradley/aqwg3016.htm#74149), which would date this letter c.1621-1622.

12 Hatton to Privy Council, 27 June 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26.

13 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 200-201.

14 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 4 August 1617 and 5 August 1617 in ibid, p. 2: 182-183 and 184-185 respectively.

15 Those texts believed to be earlier versions are in italics

16 Anon to Hatton, 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26v.

17 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 200-201, here p. 201.

18 Ibid.

19 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617a, in ibid, p. 2: 199.

20 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in ibid, p. 2: 200-201, here p. 201.

21 Ibid, p. 201.

22 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21.

23 Hatton to Buckingham, Undated [Buckingham 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387(C).

24 Ibid.

25 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21.

26 Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], August 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 31.

27 Hatton to James, 21 April 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21v.

28 Hatton to James, Undated [King 1], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 387-388, here p. 387.

29 See, for example, Thomas Cartelli, “What Wrote Woodstock”,in Janet Wright Starner and Barbara Howard Traister (eds.), Anonymity in Early Modern England :”What’s in a Name?", Farnham, Surrey, Burlington, VT Ashgate, 2011, p. 83-97.

30 Hatton to Buckingham, Undated [Buckingham 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387(C). Introduction to Buckingham 3 in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387.

31 Introduction to Buckingham 3 in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 387.

32 Stanley Wells, Shakespeare and Co. : Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and the Other Players in His Story, New York, Pantheon Books, 2006.

33 Drexel University, JStylo-Anonymouth, 2012, https://psal.cs.drexel.edu/index.php/JStylo-Anonymouth, 11 March 2012.

34 As verbs ending in –th have no modern equivalent, they were omitted from this exercise.

35 Giles E. Dawson, Giles and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, Elizabethan Handwriting 1500-1650: A Manual, New York, W.W. Norton and Company, 1966, p. 14-15, 17.

36 Hatton to Daughter, [1628], BL Add MS 2957 f. 60.

37 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178-179, here p. 2: 179.

38 Giles E. Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, op. cit., p. 16.

39 Paradigms, Turnitin: Leading Plagiarism Checker, Online Grading, and Peer Review, 2012, http://turnitin.com/en_us/home, 13 March 2012.

40 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 113.

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” New International Version, 1984, Mark 12: 41-44.

42 James Daybell, "Female Literacy and the Social Conventions of Women’s Letter-Writing in England, 1540-1603”, in James Daybell (ed.), Early Modern Women’s Letter Writing, 1450-1700, Basingstoke Palgrave, 2001, p. 59-76, here p. 63.

43 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 1 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 162-163, here p. 163.

44 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 20 June 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 170.

45 See ‘Section 3: Confederate’ for details of these events.

46 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 188.

47 Hatton to Buckingham, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 186-188, here p. 187.

48 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2006, p. 105-106.

49 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, Letterwriting in Renaissance England, Seattle, WA, Washington UP, 2004, p. 14.

50 James Daybell, "’I Wold Wyshe My Doings Myght Be ... Secret’: Privacy and the Social Practices of Reading Women’s Letters in Sixteenth-Century England”, in Jane Couchman and Ann Crabb (eds.), Women’s Letters across Europe, 1400-1700: Form and Persuasion, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, p. 143-62, here p. 148.

51 James Daybell, "Ples Acsep”, op. cit. p. 216.

52 Frank Whigham, “The Rhetoric of Elizabethan Suitors’ Letters”, PMLA, 96.5, 1981, p. 864-882, here p. 865.

53 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, op. cit., p. 23.

54 Erin A. Sadlack,”’In Writing it May Be Spoke’: The Politics of Women’s Letterwriting 1377-1603”, PhD diss., University of Maryland, 2005, p. 11.

55 James Daybell, “Ples Acsep”, op. cit.; James Daybell, “Female Literacy”, op.cit.; James Daybell, “Scripting a Female Voice: Women’s Epistolary Rhetoric in Sixteenth Century Letters of Petition”, Women’s Writing, 13 (1), March 2006, p. 3-22.

56 Lynne Magnusson,”A Rhetoric of Requests: Genre and Linguistics Scripts in Elizabethan Women’s Suitors’ Letters”, in James Daybell (ed.), Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2004, p. 51-66.

57 Linda Peck, “For a King Not to Be Bountiful Were a Fault: Perspectives on Court Patronage in Early Stuart England”, Journal of British Studies 25, January 1986, p. 31-61.

58 Alison Thorne,”Women’s Petitionary Letters and Early Seventeenth Century Treason Trials”, Women’s Writing, 13 (1), March 2006, p. 23-43.

59 Adam Fox, “Aspects of Oral Culture and Its Development in Early Modern England”, PhD diss., Cambridge University, 1992, p. 97, 336.

60 James Daybell,”Interpreting Letters and Reading Script: Evidence for Female Education and Literacy in Tudor England”, History of Education, 34 (6), November 2005, p. 695-715, here p. 703.

61 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers, op. cit., p. 97; James Daybell, "Interpreting Letters”, op. cit., p. 704.

62 Giles E. Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, op. cit., p. 14-15, 17.

63 Holles to Lennox, 12 November 1615, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 88.

64 Ibid, p. 1: 88.

65 Holles to “Countess of Hartford” [Hertford], 30 December 1615, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 99.

66 Holles to Lennox, 10 January 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 105.

67 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 113.

68 Holles to Hatton, 20 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 114.

69 Peter R. Seddon, "Holles, John, First Earl of Clare (d. 1637)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2008, 21 Feb 2012, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13554.

70 Ibid.

71 Holles to Hatton, 5 July 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 132.

72 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

73 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

74 Holles to Hatton, 16 February 1616, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 113.

75 Holles to Hatton, 20 February 1616, in ibid., p. 1: 114)..

76 Privy Council Minutes, 25 June 1617, in John R. Dasent (ed.), Acts of the Privy Council of England 1542-1631, London, HMSO, 1890-1964, p. 35 (1616-1617): 274.

77 Holles to Hatton, 2 April 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 154.

78 Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 16 April 1617, in ibid., p. 1:157; “A letter pennd by my Lord Haughton for my Lady Hatton for the King to sett his hand to, to the Lords of the Councell,” 16 April 1617, in ibid. p. 1:158.

79 Privy Council Minutes, 23 May 1617, Northampton RO Finch-Hatton MS 2068 f. 1r-v.

80 Hatton to Bacon, 1 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 162-163, here p. 163; Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 12 June 1617, in ibid. p. 1: 165; Hatton to Bacon, 16 June 1617, in ibid. p. 1: 166; Hatton to Bacon, 20 June 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 170.

81 Catherine D. Bowen, The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke, 1552-1634,. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1957, p. 103; Charles N. Burch, "The Rivals”, Virginia Law Review, 14 (7), May 1928, p. 507-525, here p. 514-515.

82 Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 14 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 1: 166; Hatton to Bacon, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 18 June 1617, (Seddon 2: 168).

83 John Chamberlain (henceforth Chamberlain) to Carleton, 15 March 1617, in Norman E. McClure (ed.), The Letters of John Chamberlain, 2 vols, Philadelphia, PA, The American Philosophical Society, 1939, p. 2: 64.

84 Coke, “Brief Articles to be performed on my part” and “On my Wives part,” 15 June 1617, Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 385. Coke to Buckingham, 16 June 1617, in Robert Stephens, "Introduction”, in Robert Stephens (ed.), Letters of Sir Francis Bacon [...],London, Benj[amin] Tooke, 1702, p. xlii.

85 Buckingham to Coke, 15 July 1617, in Bayle, op. cit., 4: 387.

86 Anon to Anne Sadleir (henceforth Sadleir), 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 63.

87 Privy Council to Lake, “11 July” 1617, in Samuel R. Gardiner (ed.), Camden Miscellany, London: Camden Society, 1864, p. 5: 1-6, here p. 3-5.

88 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 64.

89 Privy Council to Lake, “11 July” 1617, Camden Miscellany, op. cit. p. 5: 1-6, here p. 5: 4-5.

90 According to the Council letter, the hearing took place the day after Frances was delivered to the Board. Frances was delivered on 14 July, so the hearing took place on 15 July (Privy Council to Lake, “11 July” 1617, Camden Miscellany, op. cit. p. 5: 1-6, here p. 5: 4-5.

91 Chamberlain to Carleton, 19 July, in Norman E. McClure (ed.), The Letters, op. cit., p. 2: 89; Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 65.

92 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178-179, here p. 2: 178.

93 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 64.

94 Ibid, R.v.5 f. 64.

95 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 178-179, here p. 2: 178.

96 Ibid.

97 Ibid.

98 Holles to Lake, 26 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 180.

99 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 188.

100 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 190)..

101 Holles to Lake, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 178.

102 Hatton to James, 4 August 1617, in ibid., p. 183.

103 Hatton to James, Undated [King 3], in Bayle, op. cit., p. 4: 388.

104 Holles to Buckingham, 17 July 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 172-174, here p. 2: 172.

105 Ibid.

106 Ibid.

107 Ibid, p. 2: 173.

108 Anon to Sadleir, 26 July [1617], Trinity MS R.v.5 f. 65.

109 Coke, “Mistress Frances her Confession”, 14 August 1617, Norfolk RO COL MS 8/15.

110 Holles to Lake, 15 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 193-194.

111 Ibid, p. 193.

112 Ibid.

113 John Villiers to Coke, 24 August 1617, Norfolk RO MS COL 8/15; Holles to Lady [Burghley], 29 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 195.

114 Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 1 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 181-82; 4 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 182-183 and 5 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 184-185.

115 Hatton to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 186-188; Hatton to “Duke” [Buckingham], August 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 21.

116 Hatton to the Privy Council, 15 August 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 191-193. Note that this item does not have the descriptor “penned by my Lord Haughton. ”

117 Holles to Bacon, 20 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 195)..

118 Holles to Buckingham, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 188.

119 Holles to Lake: 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 177-178; 26 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 179-181; 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 188-189; 15 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 193-194.

120 Holles to Lennox, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 178-179; Holles to Lennox, 1 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 181.

121 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 189-191.

122 Holles to Walden, 6 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 185-186.

123 See, for example, Tobie Matthew to George Gage, 21 August 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et al. (eds.), Report on the Manuscripts of the Marquess of Downshire, London, HMSO, 1924-1995, p. 6: 261.

124 James to George Abbott (Archbishop of Canterbury), Sir Ralph Winwood, Bacon & Sir Fulke Greville, 16 July 1617, in Richard E.G. Kirk and Richard A. Roberts (eds.), Report on the Manuscripts of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, London, HMSO, 1899-1926, p. 1: 205.

125 Privy Council to Sir Thomas Bennet, 1 September 1617, in John R. Dasent (ed.), op. cit., p. 35 (1616-1617): 328.

126 John Castle to Sir William Trumbull, 18 September 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et al. (eds.), op. cit., p. 6: 290.

127 Anon to Hatton, “10 July” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 22v-24.

128 The Privy Council to Compton “by my Lord Haughton,” July 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 24v; Hatton to James “by my Lord Haughton,” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25; Holles to James, June 1618, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 25.

129 Two of the 10 September letters repeat Winwood’s threat, quoted in the Harley 6055 text, that Frances should be married away from Hatton “in spyt of [her] teeth’ (Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 200-201, here p.200; Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617d, in ibid., p. 2:201; Anon to Hatton, “10 July” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 22v-23). The Harley 6055 text makes the point that the Commission originally awarded joint custody of Frances to Coke and Hatton and that Coke violated the Commission’s terms by secluding Frances away from her mother and this point is reiterated in different words in the 10 September letters (Anon to Hatton, “10 July” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 ff. 23v; “The heads of my Lady Hattons letter to the King drawn article wise, the King loving it so,” 10 September 1617b, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 199-200; Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in ibid., p. 2: 200-201, here p. 200; Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617d, in ibid., p. 2:201-202.

130 To give one example: the writer suggests that Hatton reply to the charge that she counterfeited a letter from the Lord of Oxford with the argument that “[the] law shews what forgery is” and that the letter does not qualify (Anon to Hatton, “10 July” 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 23);

131 He was appointed Solicitor General in 1607 (Charles N. Burch, op. cit., p. 512-513), and Attorney General in 1613 (George P.V. Akrigg, Jacobean Pageant, or, the Court of King James I, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1962, p. 1: 289).

132 Multiple letters from Hatton to Bacon ask him for his help and thank him for his support. Hatton to Bacon, 1 June 1617, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 162-163, here p. 163; 12 June 1617, in ibid., p. 1: 165; 16 June 1617, in ibid. p. 1: 166; 20 June 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 170.

133 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617c, in ibid., p. 2: 200-201.

134 Holles to Hatton, 31 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 198.

135 Such as “I beeseech yow advisedly of this” and “when yow have well sifted, and wayed this little I have sayd, yow will approve the hart, howsoever the judgement” (Holles to Hatton, 31 August 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 198).

136 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.

137 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

138 Hatton to James, 10 September 1617a, in Peter Seddon (ed.) , Letters of John Holles, op. cit., p. 2: 199; “The heads of my Lady Hattons letter to the King drawn article wise, the King loving it so,” 10 September 1617b, in ibid., p. 2: 199-200; Hatton to James, “article wise, as it was delivered by my Lord Keeper and pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617c, in ibid., p. 2:200-201; Hatton to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton,” 10 September 1617d, in ibid., p. 2: 201-202.

139 Viscount L’isle to Lady L’isle, 15 September 1617, in William A. Shaw, G.Dyfnallt Owen, and C.L. Kingsford (eds.), Report on the Manuscripts of Lord De L’isle & Dudley, London, HMSO, 1925-1966, p. 5: 414.

140 William Camden, 29 September 1617, in “The Annals of Mr William Camden, in the Reign of King James I, Viz. From the Year 1603 to the Year 1623”, in John Hughes (ed.), A Complete History of England: With the Lives of All the Kings and Queens Thereof [...], London, R. Bonwicke et. al, 1719, p. 641-659, here p. 648.

141 Lord George Carew to Sir Thomas Roe, 18 January 1618, State Papers Domestic 14/95/22; Paulyn to Beaumont, 22 November 1617, in W. Dunn Macray (ed.), Beaumont Papers: Letters Relating to the Family of Beaumont, of Whitley, Yorkshire, London, Nichols and Sons, 1884, p. 34.

142 Chamberlain to Carleton, 8 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 114.

143 John Castle to Sir William Trumbull, 13 November 1617, in Edward K. Purnell et. al (eds.), op. cit., p. 6: 326.

144 Sir Nathaniel Brent to Carleton, 14 November 1617, State Papers Domestic 14/94/29.

145 John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First [...], New York, Burt Franklin, 1964, p. 3: 444. William Camden misreports this as taking place at Cecil House (Camden, 8 November 1617, in William Camden, op. cit., p. 648).

146 Ibid.

147 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure, op. cit., p. 2: 117.

148 Spelt “Burghley” in Chamberlain to Carleton, 24 May 1617, ibid., p. 2: 220.

149 Rev. Thomas Lorkin to Sir Thomas Puckering, 16 February 16[19], in Thomas Birch, The Court and Times of James the First, Ed. Robert F. Williams, London, Henry Colburn, 1848, p. 2: 140.

150 See note #3 on Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 117.

151 Carleton to Chamberlain, 8 November 1617, in Maurice Lee (ed.), Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain, 1603-1624: Jacobean Letters, New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers UP, 1972, p. 247.

152 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.

153 Chamberlain to Carleton, 29 November 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 119.

154 Chamberlain to Carleton, 31 January [1618], in ibid., p. 2: 133. According to the OEDO, one of the possible meanings for “sod” is “boiled,” so the King’s joke translates as that he would not have Holles either boiled or roasted (sod, pa. [...] 1a).

155 [Holles] to Hatton, 1617, BL Harley MS 6055 f. 26v.

156 Ibid.

157 Peter Seddon, "Introduction”, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, op. cit., p. i-lxxiv, here p. 1: li.

158 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

159 Chamberlain to Carleton, 5 June 1619, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 243.

160 Chamberlain to Carleton, 14 July 1621, in ibid., p. 2: 387.

161 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

162 Exeter to James, “pennd by my Lord Haughton”: 16 April 1617, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, op. cit., p. 1:157; “A letter pennd by my Lord Haughton for my Lady Hatton for the King to sett his hand to, to the Lords of the Councell,” 16 April 1617, in ibid., p. 1:158.

163 Holles to Suffolk, 9 August 1617, in Peter R. Seddon (ed.), Letters of John Holles 1587-1637, op. cit., p. 2: 191.

164 Holles to Lake, 25 July 1617, in ibid., p. 2: 177.

165 Peter Seddon, “Holles, John”, op. cit.

166 Chamberlain to Carleton, 15 November 1617, in Norman McClure (ed.), op. cit., p. 2: 116.

167 Alan Stewart and Heather Wolfe, op. cit., p. 55.

168 Ibid.

169 Malcolm Richardson, “’A Masterful Woman’: Elizabeth Stonor and English Women’s Letters, 1399-c.1530”, in Jane Couchman and Ann Crabb (eds.), Women’s Letters across Europe, 1400-1700: Form and Persuasion, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, p. 43-62, here p. 50.

170 Lynne Magnusson, op. cit., p. 52.

171 James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers, op. cit. p. 90; James Daybell,”Ples Acsep”, op. cit., p. 213.

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Emily Ross, « Whose letter is it anyway?: an assessment of secretarial involvement in Lady Elizabeth Hatton’s correspondence », Études Épistémè [En ligne], 21 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 avril 2012, consulté le 23 octobre 2017. URL : http://episteme.revues.org/398 ; DOI : 10.4000/episteme.398

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Emily Ross

Emily Ross completed her PhD, “The Current of Events: Gossip about the Controversial Marriages of Lady Arbella Stuart and Frances Coke in Jacobean England, 1610-1620”, at the University of Otago in 2009. Since then she has taught composition at Chuo University in Tokyo, and at the Lowell campus of the University of Massachusetts. She is currently taking a break from academia to parent.

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