A Brief Treatise of Arithmeticke (1588)

In looking for something completely different, I browsed through bits of John Mellis’s 1588 manual on bookkeeping, A briefe instruction and maner hovv to keepe bookes of accompts after the order of debitor and creditor & as well for proper accompts partible, &c. […] (London. STC 18794. EEBO. Huntington Library). It contains A Short and Plaine Treatise […]

Deer heads for Mr Secretary

This inclosed to your lordship is from francis Seagar seruant to the lantgraue of Hess [.]  he hath sent also to your lordship 2 deeres heades the one of a Rayne deere, the other of an Ealand a kynd of deer soe caled ther [.] the heades are heer att my chamber att somersett howse vntill I vnderstand your lordhip‘s pleasure […]

The reliability of “Winwood’s Memorials”

The three-volume Memorials of affairs of state in the reigns of Q. Elizabeth and K. James I, collected (chiefly) from the original papers of … Sir Ralph Winwood, edited by Edmund Sawyer, published in 1725 (2nd ed. 1727), is a hugely convenient work for those working on late Elizabethan and early Stuart State Papers, since […]

on the wagon

charrette, n. a final, intensive effort to finish a project before a deadline Thus saith Futility Closet. And I thought, there’s a definition of my state if ever one was. But of course one has to check these things (words) in the OED, which says: charet | charette, n. Obs. A wheeled vehicle or conveyance. ..que? Only by […]

Sir Charles Cornwallis in his valley of misery

The first English Ambassador in Spain post-Elizabeth, Sir Charles Cornwallis, got bit of a rough deal. English trade with Spain had just been opened up again (in 1604), but relations were still somewhat strained, and many English merchants found themselves in trouble in Spain – some of it their own causing, but much of it not. These […]

What’s Early Modern English for “Tom, Dick & Harry”?

The other manner of my prosecution of my cuntrym{ens} causes they so farr myslyke, as one Don francisco (a Judg delegate for the assisting of the Councell of warr, in Causes ther depending in law) hauing lately receaued very sharpe letters from his majestie here, reprouing his slow proceeding in those of ye King my […]

“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 […]