Sir Walter Mildmay and Tudor Government

Sir Walter Mildmay and Tudor Government

Sir Walter Mildmay and Tudor Government

Sir Walter Mildmay and Tudor Government

Excerpt

Historians have long recognized Sir Walter Mildmay as one of the three or four great figures in Tudor financial administration. Rising by his diligence and ability from a clerkship in the Court of Augmentations, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign and continued to direct financial operations for thirty years. His other activities have been less well known, perhaps because of the inaccessibility of materials necessary for understanding them, but recent acquisitions of family papers by the Northamptonshire Record Office at last render assessment possible. Mildmay now appears as a towering parliamentary figure, leading the House of Commons from 1576 to 1589; as a skilled negotiator, involved particularly in attempts to reach an accommodation between Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots; as a shrewd analyst of foreign affairs, especially relations with Scotland and the Netherlands; and as a dutiful member of the Privy Council. He was deeply concerned for education and religion, as his work in the Exchequer and Parliament, together with his foundation of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, testifies. His contributions in all these areas of Tudor government form the subject of this study.

The reader may wonder at the scant attention to Mildmay's private life and at the extensive quotations from his letters and papers. The first is inevitable; little information about personal affairs survives. The loss may not, however, be great, for like Lord Burghley Mildmay devoted nearly all his time and energy to his public duties. The quotations are a result of my conviction that Mildmay's biographer has an obligation to make available a good selection of his writings, virtually none of which have been printed. No paraphrase can convey his thoughts and manner of expressing them so well as his own words. In quoted matter I have preserved the original spelling, except for the . . .

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