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MEMOIRS

OF

The Court of Queen Elizabeth.

CHAPTER XVII.

1571 to 1573.

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Notice of sir T. Gresham. - Building of his exchange. - The

queen's visit to it. Cecil created lord Burleigh and lordtreasurer. Justs at Westminster.— Notices of the earl of Oxford, Charles Howard, sir H. Lee, sir Chr. Hatton. Fresh negotiations for the marriage of Elizabeth with the duke of Anjou. Renewal of the intrigues of Norfolk. His re-committal, trial, and conviction:- Death of Throgmorton.--Sonnet by Elizabeth. - Norfolk beheaded. -His character and descendants. -Hostility of Spain. Wylson's translation of Demosthenes.- Walsingham ambassador to France. Treaty with that country.Mas

sacre of Paris.- Temporizing conduct of Elizabeth.Burleigh's calculation of the queen's nativity.--Notice of

Philip Sidney. From the intrigues and violences of crafty politicians and discontented nobles, we turn aside to trace the prosperous and honorable career of a private English merchant, whose abilities and integrity introduced him to the notice of his sovereign, and whose patriotic ' munificence still preserves to him the respectful remembrance of

VOL. II.

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posterity. This merchant was Thomas Gresham. Born of a family at once enlightened, wealthy, and commercial, he had shared the advantage of an education at the university of Cambridge previously to his entrance on the walk of life to which he was destined, and which, fortunately for himself, his superior acquirements did not tempt him to desert or despise.

His father, sir Richard Gresham, had been agent to Henry VIII. for the negotiation of loans with the merchants of Antwerp, and in 1552 he himself was nominated to act in a similar capacity to Edward VI., when he was eminently serviceable in redeeming the credit of the king, which had fallen to the lowest ebb through the mismanagement of a former agent. Under Elizabeth he enjoyed the same appointment, to which was added that of queen's merchant; and it appears by the official letters of the time, that political as well as pecuniary affairs were often intrusted to his discreet and able management. He was also a spirited promoter of the infant manufactures of his country, several of which owed to him their first establishment. His diligence and commercial talents at length rendered him the most opulent subject in the kingdom, and the queen showed her sense of his merit and consequence by bestowing on him the honor of knighthood.

Gresham had always made a liberal and patriotic use of his wealth; but after the death of his only son, in 1564, he formed the resolution of making his country his principal heir. The merchants of London had hitherto been unprovided with any

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building in the nature of a burse or exchange, such as Gresham had seen in the great commercial cities of Flanders; and he now munificently offered, if the city would give him a piece of ground, to build them one at his own expense. The edifice was begun accordingly in 1566, and finished within three years. It was a quadrangle of brick, with walks on the ground floor for the merchants (who now ceased to transact their business in the middle aisle of St. Paul's cathedral), with vaults for warehouses beneath, and a range of shops above, from the rent of which the proprietor sought some remuneration for his great charges. But the shops did not immediately find occupants; and it seems to have been partly with the view of bringing them into vogue that the queen promised her countenance to the undertaking. In January 1571, attended by a splendid train, she entered the city; and after dining with sir Thomas at his spacious mansion in Bishopsgáte-street (still remaining), she repaired to the bursé, visited every part of it, and caused proclamation to be made by sound of trumpet that henceforth it should bear the name of the Royal Exchange. Gresham offered the shops rent-free for a year to such as would furnish them with wares and wax-lights against the coming of the queen; and a most sumptuous display was made of the richest commodities and manufactures of every quarter of the globe.

Afterwards the shops of the exchange became the favorite resort of fashionable customers of both sexes; much money was squandered here, and, if we are to trust the representations of satirists and

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