[From Manx Soc vol 3 - part 1 Letter of James 7th Earl]


1–2–3.–Reasons for the Earl's not assuming the title of King of Man. 4.–The great commendation of Edward, Earl of Derby; 5,–his economy, carriage, clothes, &c. 6.–The author exhorts his son to be strictly loyal.

SOME think it a brave matter that the Lords hereof have been called Kings. I might be of that opinion, if I knew how this country could maintain itself in spite of other nations, and that I had no interest in another place. But hereof I am much unsatisfied. And I conceive that to be a great lord is a more honourable title than a petty king.

2. Besides: it is not for a king to be subject, but to the King of kings. Nor doth it please a king that any of his subjects should too much love that name, were it but to act it in a play, especially some families more than other.

3. There never was a wise subject who would willingly offend his king. If from the prince offence were given, he would rather humble himself before him, as the only means to recover favour; without which no subject can imagine to live safe or with honour.

4. I have read great commendation, in the Chronicle of Stow, of Edward Earl of Derby, who, in the most ticklish times, could keep favour with his prince ;*1 as in that of Henry VIII., Edw.VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. God be thanked, we have now a blessing of so gracious a king, that I doubt not but he and his will be good to me and mine, as our predecessors have been faithful unto his. There is no feat, I hope, of tyranny and cruelty under his government, as in the time of Richard III., when Thomas Earl of Derby, by his direction, leas near to be murdered; and his son, the Lord Strange, also was in danger of like death.*2 For which, and such like feats, Henry VII. (whose mother Thomas married) did get his crown so early.*3

5. But, for pattern, follow Edward, who left so excellent a name behind him, that no vice or fault is of him at all remembered. He was ever faithful to the crown, and took great glory in it (which I pray may be your pride). He was an excellent economist, to maintain which he looked carefully to his estate; for he never exceeded his comings-in, but died rich. He bred up many youths of noblemen, knights and esquires' sons (such reputation had he of good government in his house ! and the same obliged many families unto it) . The country was his home; but [he was] no stranger to the court. He was familiar, but not cheap. He was observed to wear the plainest clothes, but always in the fashion; not too much, or too little, or too soon, or too late. Enquire more of him, and you may learn more by him.

6. To conclude this latter counsel, take for sure, that it is your honour to give honour to your sovereign. It is safe; it is comfortable. Therefore, in all actions let the same appear. In this isle let him be prayed for duly. Let writings and oaths of officers, soldiers, and the like, have relation of allegiance unto him. I hope in all here already there is good provision; if not, God willing, there shall: I will have it done.

*1: The passage in Stow is this–" Nov. 24, 15 Eliz. [Dugd. says Oct. 24, 14 Eliz., 1572], Edward E. of Darby, Lord Stanley and Strange of Knocking, lord of the Isle of Man, knight of the most noble order of the garter, and one of the queen's majestic's privie counsel!, deceased at his house called Latham, in Lancashire. His life and death deserving commendation) and craving memorie to be imitated' was such as followeth.

" His fidelity unto two kings and two queens in dangerous times and great rebellions; in which time (and always as cause served) he was lieutenant of Lancashire and Cheshire; and lately offered 10,000 men to the queen's majestic, of his own charge, for the suppression of the last rebellion.

" His godly disposition to his tenants, never forceing anie service at their hands but due payment of their rent.

" His liberalitie to strangers, and such as shelved themselves grateful to him

" His famous housekeeping; 220 in check-roll; never discontiinuing the space of 42 years.

" His feeding especially of aged persons, twice a day, 60 and odd; besides all commers thrice a week, appointed for his dealing-dayes; and everie Good-Fridaie these 35 years, one with another, 2700 with meat, drink, mosey, and moneyworth.

" There was never gentleman or other who waited in his service, but had allowance from him to have as well wages as otherwise for horse.and man.

" His yearly portion for the dispence of his house, £4000.

" His cunning in setting bones disjoynted or broke.

"His delivery of his George and seal to the Lord Strange, with exhortation, that he might keep it so unspotted in fidelitie to his prince as he had, and his joy that he died in the queen's favor.

"His joyful [de]parting this world; his taking leave of all his servants by shaking of hands; and his remembrance to the last.

" He was buried at Ormeskirke on the 4 of December, in most honourable mannerist–Stow, fol. edit. p. 672 a.

*2: When Richard III. (then only Duke of Gloucester) arrested the Lord Hastmgs in the Tower, " a man in harnesse let fly at the Lord Stanley, who shrunke at the stroke, and fell under the table, or else his head had been cleft to the teeth for, as shortly as he shrank, yet came the blood about his eares."–Stow, fol. edit.

*3: When K. Richard was come to Bosworth [to fight Henry Earl of Richmund] he sent a pursivant to the Lord Stanley [who hovered, with his followers, near both armies] to come and joyne him, which if he refused, he sware by Christ's passion that he would strike on his sonne's head [whom he had then in his hand, as a hostage for his father's good behaviour]. The Lord Stanley answered, if he did so, he had more sonnes Whereat K. Richard commanded incontinent to be heade him. But his counsailors persuading that it was now time to fight, and not for excution, it was forborne."–Holling., vol. ii. p 1123.


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