Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/197

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business of Secretary for several years, he was not actually appointed to the office until 1596, during the absence of Essex on the Cadiz expedition. In the following year he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a position which he resigned when he succeeded to the Mastership of the Court of Wards after his father's death. In February, 1598, he was sent on an embassy to France, the object of which was to prevent Henry IV. from contracting an alliance with Spain. He was loth to go, and extracted a promise from Essex that he would do nothing to his prejudice during his absence. Among the many letters of congratulation he received on this occasion one, from Dr. Mount, must have given him great satisfaction, for he announced that he was sending him " two glasses of compound distilled water, the one of cinnamon, the other of sage, both comfortable if at any time in your travel you shall find yourself in health not well affected, one spoonful or two at one time, with half so much sugar." ]

His mission was successful, but while he was in France he received news of his father's illness and hurried home, though Lord Burghley lived till the following August. During this time, and still more after his death, Sir Robert must have been overwhelmed with work. " In your industry," writes Sir Charles Danvers, " you seem to have drawn the offices of all other men into your own

Hatfield MSS., VIII. 38.

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