Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/114

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92 THE CECILS

This spirited outburst, so unlike the conventional addresses which the Queen was accustomed to receive from her courtiers, displays the character of the writer a brave and unaffected man of action, out of place in Courts, but with all the finest instincts of a soldier. That he was highly thought of is shown by the fact that in 1585, when Leicester was about to be employed in the Nether- lands, he wrote to Burghley asking that " if her Majesty command my service, I may have your good will for my cousin, Sir Thomas Cecil, to have his company." 1 This request was granted and on the conclusion of the treaty with the States of Holland in August, 1585, Sir Thomas was appointed Governor of the Brill, one of the cautionary towns placed as pledges in English hands, an office which he resigned in 1587. Both he and his brother Robert are said to have served as volunteers on board the fleet which defeated the Armada in the following year, but no direct evidence of this statement has been found.

Meanwhile, at home, he had been High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, in 1578, when Fuller tells us that his father " would not have him excused from serving his country " ; and in the Parliament of 1585 he was returned as Knight of the Shire for the county of Lincoln. Twelve years later (1597), he represented the same county, but in the Parliament of 1593 he was elected member for Northamptonshire.

His family now consisted of five sons and six

1 Hatfield MSS., III. 108.

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