Tuesday, June 01, 2010


The shadowy fellow above is one Robert Cecil a.k.a. the 1st Earl of Salisbury, born this day (they think) 1563 in Salisbury, England. He was the son of William Cecil, who was the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I, and probably the source for the younger Cecil's political education. After graduating from Cambridge, he became Secretary of State in 1590, and upon the death of his father in 1598, the Queen's leading minister. However, most of his life was spent serving as spymaster for James I. He helped to smooth the way for James' succession, and the King rewarded him with a peerage. First making him a baron, then a viscount, and finally an Earl (that of Salisbury). He had been born with a pronounced hump in his back, and his political enemies (he had them in spades) made political hay with that. Stating that "a crooked back, makes a crooked man." He was critical in uncovering the Gunpowder Plot (though his detractors have made it a popular theory that he had something to do with plotting it as well). That is the beauty/problem with being a spymaster, you work in the shadows, and you don't made friends easily. Much of his later work remains veiled in mystery, which is how he would probably like it, but for being a skilled manipulator that allowed a couple of monarchs to rest more easily on the throne of England, Robert Cecil (June 1st, 1563-May 24th, 1612, at the age of 48), you are my (280th) hero of the day.

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