“I like not these gold-makers”

I haue had ferther conferrence with the Scotsman / which came from madrid 15 dais past, he sayeth he hath Letters from my lord Ambassador and that his lordshipp gaue hym fyve hvndred Crowns per order from his majestie of England /. and that an vnckell he hath in madrid gaue hym fyve hvndred Crowns more. and as he passed per the monts of ronsevall per a place called Santa Crus. an abbat or Churchman Cozoned hym of all his money he hauinge delyverd it vnto hym to keepe it, & the other denyed the recept theirof /. soe he came to my lodginge & offered me ringes & Jewls in pawne to lend hym money vpon them for that he would dispach his man back into Spaine / I promis yow I was loth to enter in with hym because as he said he hath the vse of the philosofers ston to make gould and siluer / & that he had Spent more gould then would fill my Countinghouse in seekinge for it / […]

in fine. I lyck not these gould makers. that want gould at the first accointance a man hath with them, & the rather because the[y] Aske to borrow money of them the[y] never say in ther life before / he is called sr. Cornelius / he is determened to stay heare for 20 dayes or a moneth & hath taken a Chamber / & sent to a glashouse to haue Cyrten glasses made accordinge to the mark in the margent. soe it seemeth he meneth to trye his art heare /.

Sounds like a great character! Cocks goes on to say,

he speketh latten, English, french Spanish and Italian. hie duch & nedarlandish. & as he sayeth the Arabian tonge / & as he sayeth he hath byn at Constantianople. Jerusalem / & other places ferther then those. soe I think he will proue a second Sir John mandeuill / out of dowbt the man hath som extraordenary qualletys in hym / once it is Cyrten he wanteth noe tonge –

I like the tone of Cocks’s description – bemused, slightly exasperated, relishing the irony, subtly sarcastic. Cocks was a man who appreciated a good story, whatever the truth value of the account. Of Sir Cornelius we hear no more..

(From TNA SP 94/13 f. 138, Richard Cocks to Thomas Wilson, prob. 12 January 1607)

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