Report on the Manuscripts of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley

Report on the Manuscripts of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley

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Report on the Manuscripts of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley

Report on the Manuscripts of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley

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Excerpt

The papers in this collection may be broadly divided into three groups: 1. The Russell and Frankland correspondence, belonging mostly to the years 1657-1697; 2. The Cutts and Revett papers, 1687-1708; and 3. Colonel Charles Russell's letters, 1742-1754. There are also some outlying documents, such as the note-book of Sir John Croke.

The Report might almost be termed a new series of "Memorials of the House of Cromwell," so numerous are the figures of his descendants to be found in its pages, and so great the amount of light thrown upon the history of the Russell branch of the family tree. Topographically, the interest centres in the estate of Chequers' Court. From the family of De Chequers this estate passed by marriage to the Hawtreys, and early in the 17th century Bridget Hawtrey carried it to her husband, Sir Henry Croke. His grand-daughter and heiress married Serjeant Thurbarne, and from them Chequers descended to their only child, the wife of Colonel Edmund Revett. Her two sons died without heirs, and the estate passed to their sister's son, John, afterwards Sir John, Russell, and thence, by way of his cousins, to the present representatives of this branch of the Russells, the Franklands, and the Cromwells. From the Crokes downward, each of these families has contributed to the collection.

The first document calendared is the note-book of John, afterwards Sir John, Croke, M.P., Recorder of London, Speaker of the House of Commons, and finally Justice of the Common Pleas. As there is little of his in print, beyond a collection of judgments which is still highly esteemed, his speeches have been abstracted at some length. The quaint law doggerel of the headings is given verbatim.

The first of his speeches to the Queen entered in the notebook was made in May, 1596, when the country was filled with alarm by the renewed activity of the Spanish King, and startled into wrath by his daring and successful attempt against Calais. Croke can hardly find words bitter enough for the great enemy . . .

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