2

Source: p 101, Lives and letters of the Devereux, earls of Essex, by Walter Bourchier Devereux

[p 100 states that this letter was undated, but the penultimate sentence on p99 (ie the last sentence of the previous letter) contains 1575, so I think that this was the year.] No XVIII.’ The Queen to Essex.

Right trusty and well beloved Cousin, greeting. Having seen certain offers and requests made by you unto our Deputy in your letter of the 15th of this present directed to our Council, by the which you do not only shew yourself providently careful to avoid the inconvenience that might have ensued by the sudden giving over or the enterprize for the reformation of Ulster, but also, for the preventing of such mischiefs as were likely to ensue thereby, was content to spoil yourself of that reputation that birth and desert hath cast upon you, offering to serve under our Deputy there in place not answerable to your state and calling; [1.] for which most dutiful kind of dealing towards us, the same appearing most evidently to proceed of a singular and an extraordinary zeal and devotion you bear towards us, [2.] we could not in honor but by our letters make known unto you in what great good part we accept the same, and how sorry we were to see your honourable mind wounded with so just cause of grief as seemeth to have grown of our Deputy’s over-strait dealing towards you, to whom we have by our letters presently sent unto him signified how greatly we do mislike the same

1. Please help me to understand the sentence starting at [1.]? This relative clause 'for which ...' seems disarranged; with which main clause should it be connected?

2. I guess that here, 'but' functions as a preposition meaning 'except'. Yet how does this make sense? If the Queen truly wanted to honour the Earl, why only send a letter? At least delegate someone to visit?

Excursus: For those wondering, I was seeking examples of 'ensued by' on Google Books when I lighted upon this letter.

  • 1
    +1, I just got a headache after reading your letter. :) Normal for learners, right?! – M.A.R. Jan 10 '15 at 19:10
1

for which most dutiful kind of dealing towards us, the same appearing most evidently to proceed of a singular and an extraordinary zeal and devotion you bear towards us, [2.] we could not in honor but by our letters make known unto you in what great good part we accept the same,

It is not a relative clause, it's a new sentence divided from the preceding sentence by a semicolon. We can roughly remodel it this way in the Modern English:

For this most dutiful attitude shown towards us, which evidently stems from your zeal and the devotion you feel towards us, we are compelled by the notions of honor to send you letters informing you how highly we value this,

The phrase in honor does not reflect Her Majesty's desire to honor him. It is a phrase meaning "in agreement with the standards of honor" or "due to the considerations of honor".

Compare:

Oh what an interesting question you've posed at ELL! I could not in honor but by my upvote make known unto you in what great good part I esteem such questions.
(Considerations of honor leave me nothing but to upvote your post and thus make you feel my positive feelings towards your post.)

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