Burghley pp 218-244 | Cite as

Politician and Administrator

  • B. W. Beckingsale


As a politician William Cecil was concerned with the struggle for power. He practised what Francis Bacon preached, ‘All rising to great place is by a winding stair, and, if there be faction, it is good to side a man’s self whilst he is rising and to balance himself when he is placed.’1 Cecil had sided himself in Edward Vi’s reign but even then he had worked to reconcile Somerset and Northumber land. In 1566, deploring the quarrel between Leicester and Sussex, he wrote, ‘I wish God would direct the hearts of these two Earls to behold the harm that ensueth of small sparks of dissension betwixt noble houses, especially such as have alliances and followers.’ That he regarded faction strife as dangerous to the safety of the State can be seen from the way in which he tried to encourage it in foreign countries.2 Cecil was by training and temperament a conciliator and he sought to ‘balance himself’ as a long line of Tudor administrators had done.


Nominal Yield Private Gain Political Tolerance Crown Land Religious Sympathy 
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© B. W. Beckingsale 1967

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