“Shakespeare Suppressed” by Katherine Chiljan — New Revelations about the Earl of Essex, King James and the Earl of Southampton

Katherine Chiljan in her new book Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth about Shakespeare and his Works (Faire Editions: San Francisco: 2011) puts forth striking evidence about the relationship of Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex and King James  – documents that may be new to most researchers until now.  “Evidence shows that Essex did not wish King James VI of Scotland to be the next English king,” Chiljan writes in Chapter 17, “nor did James sincerely regard Essex as his martyr.”

"Shakespeare Suppressed" by Katherine Chiljan

Thomas Wenman, learning of a conversation between the king and an agent named Ashfield, wrote to Essex in Ireland on August 18, 1599.  He warned that Ashfield told James he regarded Essex as “the only likely obstacle” on the Scottish king’s possible path to the English throne — and that King James, hearing this, resolved to work behind the scenes to effect Essex’s downfall.

Wenman wrote to Essex:  “[Ashfield] proposed your lordship as the only likely obstacle to withstand and resist the intended Scottish title: which suggestion has taken so deep root in the King’s heart that he is resolutely determined to work by all possible means your utter ruin and final overthrow, the which I think he will endeavor to effect rather by the fox’s craft than the lion’s strength … He [James] desires nothing more than the ill success of the Irish wars in general,” Wenman added to Essex, “or of your own person in particular.”

Chiljan reports another letter, shortly before the Essex Rebellion of February 8, 1601, reporting that James was “sorry for it” in one way but, in another way, “pleased” with the earl’s downfall.

Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex (1566-1601)

Essex was executed seventeen days after the aborted rising; but before the Queen’s death in 1603, Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, wrote a letter to James telling him that Essex had thought it would be “scandalous to our nation that a stranger should be our king.”  [The fact that James had not been born on English soil made him legally ineligible to succeed Elizabeth, but Essex may well have had other reasons to say this as well.]

Essex “wore the crown of England in his heart these many years,” Percy told James, adding that therefore the earl had been “far from setting it on your head if it had been in his power.”

Chiljan offers more evidence on this subject, providing solid proof that Essex and Southampton were NOT acting on behalf of James; in fact, Essex had “inveighed against” James in his conversations with friends.  Essex had indeed corresponded with James – for example, two years before the Rebellion — but, Chiljan writes, that correspondence was only to request that the king send an ambassador to England.  “It appears,” she adds, “that Essex wanted James’ diplomatic support only after he had enacted a change of regime.” [My emphasis]

There is much additional evidence in Shakespeare Suppressed, which I highly recommend not only for these revelations but for its discussion of many other issues.  Katherine Chiljan has written a new Oxfordian/authorship book that wipes out the Stratford man forever.   I suggest it represents a new landmark book that belongs on our shelves.

In my book The Monument (2005) I suggested that the Earl of Southampton was not only the young man addressed in the Sonnets but also “the onlie begetter” of the dedication or “Mr. W.H.,” who had inspired the writing of them and  later caused them to be published.  Now Chiljan independently supports that argument with largely unknown documentation that Southampton had been associated professionally with publisher Thomas Thorpe five years before the 1609 printing of the Sonnets, and then again seven years afterward:

In 1604 Thorpe published A Succinct Philosophical Declaration of the Nature of Climacterical Years Occasioned by the Death of Elizabeth, written by Thomas Wright and dedicated to Southampton, who evidently sponsored the publication.   In 1616 Thorpe published The Praise of King Richard the Third by Sir William Cornwallis, using a manuscript that Southampton himself had altered, prior to co-leading the failed Essex Rebellion of February 8, 1601; and in this case, too, the evidence points to Southampton as the one who got the revised manuscript to Thorpe in 1616.  The earl’s alterations had cast a negative light on the historical Richard III, with whom Secretary Robert Cecil had been compared.

Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton (1573/4-1624)

“Southampton’s open patronage of one work published by Thorpe, and his being the evident supplier of the manuscript of another work published by Thorpe, strengthens his case as the source, the begetter, of SHAKE-SPEARE’S SONNETS,” concludes Chiljan.

“And she provides additional evidence that Southampton’s action to get the Sonnets published “may have been specifically directed to King James and his son [Prince Henry, 14) to remind them of his royal blood” — that is, as the natural son of Queen Elizabeth I by Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, as depicted in the new movie Anonymous from Roland Emmerich.


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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [The fact that James had not been born on English soil made him legally ineligible to succeed Elizabeth, but Essex may well have had other reasons to say this as well.]

    Really? In the U.S. of course a president must be born on U.S. soil, but I am unaware of any such law ever applying to the English throne.

  2. Hi Hank

    Today the news (here in the UK) has 2 stories which touch on these matters. Firstly there is a proposal to change the law of succession so that girls become equal to boys in the right to succeed (and also allowing the monarch to be or be married to a Catholic). Secondly it has emerged that over the last 6 years Prince Charles has been consulted (and offered a veto) over 12 government bills, owing to a loophole in the constitution.

    What these news stories illustrate is that English law is built out of a mass of laws which were never repealed or superceded. So when the Sax Coburg Gotha’s (our current royal family, who adopted the name Windsor to avoid sounding too German during the first world war) and previously the Hanoverians (who succeeded the Stewarts in 1714) assumed the British crown, their succession either required an Act of Parliament, or was considered legitimate under existing laws. It is possible that James I’s succession provided the necessary precedent for later foreign monarchs, but (call me a republican) to my knowledge the Stuarts, Hanovers and Sax Coburg Gotha’s were all smoothly anointed, since the royalty of Europe have always owed more allegiance to each other than to any country or people over whom they reigned.

  3. This looks like a good book. Amazon.com says it takes 1-2 months to ship. Should I go ahead with this and hope for a faster shipment, or is there another way to order this book?

    • Hi John – I’m surprised. My guess is that you could order and probably they’ll have more copies much sooner. I looked around but can’t find any other way to purchase. Best wishes.

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