On New Years' Day, 1592, "at the sunrising exactly," Dee's third daughter was born. She was christened Frances on the afternoon of the 9th, and sent off with her nurse to Barn Elms the same day. In August her father notes, "Remember that all things is payd to our nurse at Barnes for the girle Francys Dee from hir birth untyll the ende of her eighth month, lacking 12s., and on Sunday the 27th of this August we gave the nurse ten shillings. The eighth month ended the twelfth of this month." The child stayed on with her nurse till February 14 of the next year, when she was fetched home, "the woman very unquiett and unthankfull."
Two entries, "March 9, the Pryvy Seale at night," and March 16, "the great Seale," refer to a promise given by the Queen to Dee's cousin, Dr. William Aubrey, of Kew, now Vicar General and one of the Masters of Requests, about five rectories inthe Welsh diocese of St. Davids, which Dee was to have when they fell vacant. They were only worth £74 11s. 2d. in all, and Dee says he never received a penny from them.
Things were so desperate that at last, on November 9, 1592, he drew up a supplicattion which his friend, Lady Warwick presented the same day to the Queen at Hampton Court. This document, which Dee says Elizabeth took in her own hand to read herself, instead of handing it to a secretary, begged for a personal audit of, and investigation into, the state of his affairs. It is probably a unique petition, and in reading it we are scarcely astonished at the confidence with which the old astrologer, now grown old in the Queen's service, claims her consideration and provision. He appears to regard it as little less than a national reproach that a man of science like himself should be left in beggary. And so indeed it was. For thirty-four years had the Queen, true to the Tudor motto - to use everyone as a servant, to owe no gratitude, only acceptance or approval - spent promises upon him, but she had never given him a chance of providing for himself.
"Forasmuch as the intolerable extremitie of the injuries and indignities which your most excellent Majestie's faithfull and dutifull servant, John Dee, hath for some years last past endured, and still endureth, is so great and manifold as cannot in friefe be unto your Majestie expressed, neither without good proofe and testimonie have credit with your Majesties, and because also without speedy and good redress therein performed, it is to be doubted that great and incredible inconveniences and griefs may ensue thereof in sundry sortes, (which yet may easily be prevented) your Majestie's foresaid most humble and most zealously faithfull servant beseecheth your Majestie to assign twoe or more meet and worthy persons, nobly and vertuously minded, who may and will charitably, indifferently, advisedly, and exactly, see, hear and perceive at the house of your Majestie's said servant in Mortlake, what just and needful occasion he hath thus to make most humble supplication unto your Majestie; and so of things there seen, heard, and perceived, to make true and full report and description unto your Majesty. And thus your Majestie's foresaid most dutiful servant beseecheth the Almight God most mercifully, prosperously and alwayes to bless and preserve your most excellent Majesty royal. Amen.
"A. 1592. Nov. 9."
The result of this unusual request was that two commissioners
were at once appointed by the Queen. Within a fortnight Sir John
Wolley, Secretary for the Latin Tongue to Queen Elizabeth, and
one of her Privy Council, and Sir Thomas Gorges, Knight, of the
Queen's Wardrobe, were seated in Dee's "late library room"
at Mortlake, prepared to listen to his manifesto.
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