Instigating Treason: the Life and Death of Henry Cuffe, Secretary

  • Alan Stewart
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


High treason was the most serious crime in early modern England, and in its most heinous form threatened the life of the monarch. Yet treason did not consist in the actual assassination of a monarch, nor the attempt of assassination, nor even the discussion of such an attempt, but in the circumstances ‘when a man doth compasse or imagine the death of our Lord the King’.1 In this chapter, I analyse one of the most notorious treason trials of the Elizabethan period, that of Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex and his followers, for treason against the queen following Essex’s abortive rebellion in 1601. I suggest that in exploring the ways in which a death might be compassed or imagined, the trial throws light on the underbelly of service relations in the period, and points in particular to the fatal vulnerability of a man who makes his living through scholarship: the secretary.


Complete Collection Combine Authority Syllogistic Reasoning British Library Mans Life 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Alan Stewart

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