A collection of letters illustrative of the progress of science in England, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to that of Charles the Second/Letter 5

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HUMPHREY COLE TO LORD BURGHLEY.

[MS. Lansd. No. 26, Art. 22. Orig.]

4th December, 1578.  

Righte Honourable,—Whereas Mr. Edwarde Dyer presented to your honour a peece of greene owre which he had of me, yt was your honour's pleasure that I should make serche for it at my goinge into the northe, which I accomplished according to your honnour's appointemente, and have brought some of it with me from the place where it was gotten; the whiche I woulde have presented to your honnour longe before this tyme, but for that I dwell in London, I durst not presume to come to the courte unto you. Wherefore I have nowe sente the same unto your honnours by Mr. Walter, one of your gentlemen, certefienge your honnour that it was founde in the digging of a quarry in the grounde of Mr. Robert Bowes of Aske in the Countie of Richemonde, soe neere unto his house there (upon the which he is nowe bestowinge greate coste in buildinges) that in the digging for the same owre his howse may be undermined. Howbeit there be other places thereaboute wherein the same owre, or the like, in good plentie might be serched and founde; for there was plentie of it in that place where I had this, but I perceave the said gentleman dare not digge for it, for that he feareth thereby to undermyne and hurte the foundacion of

his said house, and it appeareth that in old tyme there hathe bene within a quarter of a mile of the same place greate woorkinge, but noe man to this daye knoweth to what purpose. Onelie this I heare, that there was an olde recorde found mencioninge that those hilles thereaboutes were called riche mounts or divites montes, whereof the towne of Richmont took the name and was called Richmounts. And thus I am bolde to declare the reporte thereof to your honnour as yt was tolde unto me; and I doubte not to discover manie profitable thinges bothe there and in other places in that countrey, if I had occasion to remaine thereaboute. And if it please your honnour to use my service in this or anie other thinges according to my skill, I am at youre honnors comaundemente, havinge founde you my good lord at all times. For by your good meanes I was placed in the tower to serve the Quene in the mynte to doe the servyces perteyninge to the mill, that, when Eloy the ffrenchman shoulde be taken therefrom by death or otherwise, I should enjoye the same. And towarde my staie of livinge till that office shoulde fall, there was alowed unto me the ffee of the sincker of the stampes, being £20 by yere; and he that nowe exerciseth that place hath not other thing to live on but the half of my ffee. And nowe he refuseth to serve in it anie longer, wherefore I humblie besech your honour to continewe my good lorde, that I maye be established in that house, office and ffee, which the said Eloy had, which I have staied for theis xxtie. yeres, and thereby spente the best of my tyme to my greate hindraunce, lackinge sufficiente maintenaunce for me and my family. Albeit that I hoped, by the service whiche I have donne and can doe, both in this respecte and in manie other thinges, if I were called thereto, to have obteigned some suche prefermente before this time, as that I should not nowe have bene destitute of livinge in this my olde age. And thus remayninge alwaies readie to serve the Quenes Majesty, and to die in hir service, I praie God that hir noble highnes maie have a longe lief, that I and manie other maie serve hir manie yeres, and that your honnours health and prosperous estate maye longe contynewe.

 From London this iiij.th of December, 1578.

Your honor's moste humble suppliante, 
HUMFREY COLE[1].

To the right honourable and his singuler
good Lorde the L. Burghley, Lorde
Highe Treasorer of England.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 
  1. Humphrey Cole was the most distinguished mechanist in England at this period. Gabriel Harvey in a MS. note on the margin of a copy of Blagrave's Mathematical Jewel in the British Museum, mentions "old Humphrie Cole" as a "mathematical mechanician"; and he applies the same term to him in his work entitled Pierces Supererogation, 4to. Lond. 1593, p. 190. William Bourne also, in his Inventions or Devises, Lond. 1578, p. 17, makes honourable mention of him as an inventor. A mathematical-instrument-maker of the same name, living "neere unto the North dore" of St. Paul's, is mentioned by Worsop in his work entitled Discoverie of sundrie errors and faults daily committed by Lande-meater, 4to, Lond. 1582; but I am uncertain whether this latter notice refers to the same person.