Simon Adams writes:
William Cecil, First Baron Burghley, served Elizabeth I for nearly forty years, as principal secretary and lord treasurer, and left an enormous body of papers. His correspondence, now dispersed in four major and a number of minor collections, dominates the political history of Elizabeth’s reign. Even more important, in some respects, are the unique series of memoranda written in his distinctive, neat and spidery hand. They range from scribbled notes from Privy Council meetings to long, near-academic assessments of policy, usually listing pros and cons and all too frequently concluding with ‘a mean way’.