Burghley pp 175-188 | Cite as

Old Leviathan and his Cub

  • B. W. Beckingsale


In 1590 Burghley was seventy years of age. Leicester and Mildmay had gone, Walsingham and Hatton were about to follow them to the grave. Old William had outlived his contemporaries and early friends in the government. The loss of his intimates and the death of mother, wife and daughter had not, however, destroyed the emotional basis of his life. His emotions found their greatest relaxation in the company of his grandchildren and their strongest purpose in forwarding the career of his son, Robert. The desire to pass to Robert his political power became one of the sustaining hopes of his life. The long-conditioned reflexes to the demands of his sovereign and the stimulus of national danger still responded. Yet it needed all Burghley’s stamina and spirit to ‘jog his body now being in that case he is’.1 For many months each year he was in bad health. He was growing deaf and becoming irritable. Yet his mind remained clear. In 1595 he wrote of himself, ‘in body not half a man, but in mind passable’.2 It was a fair judgement.


Emotional Basis United Province Fair Judgement Great Relaxation Bureaucratic Corruption 
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© B. W. Beckingsale 1967

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  • B. W. Beckingsale

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