Oxfordians make much of the fact that there are no letters written by Shakespeare as if the fact that the 70 letters of Oxford's which survive give him precedence, Yet in 70 letters, there is not a single mention of poetry, plays, players, theatres, absolutely nothing. No evidence of any connection with Shakespeare' world whatsoever.
If this sounds like an Oxfordian argument disqualifying Shakespeare, it's because they make the same argument about unequivocal references to Will of Stratford, which are mostly non-literary.
Here's an example of De Vere on his favourite topic, free money for me, from a letter written in 1599, when he should have been preoccupied by getting his new theatre, thanks to him now the most famous theatre in the world, ready for its grand opening.
Instead of poring over the Prologue to Henry V, a fabulous and unique manifesto of what theatre might achieve, Oxford was writing begging letters again.
This letter is to Robert Cecil, son of his mentor and protector William Cecil, a man who he had plagued with debts, criminality and whose daughter he had treated abominably and abandoned. You might think signing himself off as Robert's 'loving brother' was a bit impudent. You might also think he would have mentioned the resounding success he was having in the theatre, about which all Europe was talking. If you were looking for hints that he had established himself as the world's greatest dramatist, wouldn't a long letter written in 1599 be that best place to start??
However, it's all about tin and how people keep letting him down and how he desperately needs an income. A very poor fit with the activities of the man who was the talk of the town.I am not att thys present to vse any superfluous circumstances wherfore I hope yow will conceyve never the worse, and beare with the hast of my matter.Her Magestye hathe of latte by Sir Ihone Foscue and my lord chiefe Iustice imployed my service for the gettinge her of monye wherwythe to supplye a stoke [=stock] to bwye the Tyne yerelye in Cornwaale and Devonshyre.I found owt sufficient and of the most able Marchantes, willinge and redie with ther monye to lend yt to supplye her Magestye without any pennye of Interreste, to pay her thys present yeare ten thowsande pound, every halfe yere to witt fyve thowsand pounde.I aduertised the lord chiefe Iustice.Synthence I have hard [=heard] nothinge tyll Thursday laste, when overnyght I receyved from Sir Ihone Foscue, a letter that at thre of the cloke in the afternone next day they were appoynted by her Magestye to bee wythe me about this matter of the Tyne; at nonetyme [=noon-time] I hadd a messenger from Sir Ihone Foscue, that he hadd not found himselfe yat mornynge well, and therfore he wowld next day be at the same howre with me, whiche was [saterday] \\frydaye//, yat ys yesterday. I attended tyll syx aspectinge [=expecting] ther comminge. I save [=saw] they came not, I mervelled, and sent a man boothe [=both] to Sir Ihon Foscue to know how he dyd, and to my Lord chiefe Iustice, yat yf yt were any matter concerninge her Magestyes seruice yf there were any lett [=let, hindrance], [he wowld] that they cowld not come that they wowld signefie the matter by letter. Sir Ihone wass syke and this day sent me word he takes physike.My lord chiefe Iustice, for that he was Ioignd [=enjoined] to come with Sir Ihon Foscue, will know her Magestyes plesure further, to morow at the Courte.In the mean seasone I fynde they have reported nothinge of the matter as they resolued to doo when they were with me, they have not aduertised her Magestie that the monye wass to be hadd, but contrarye [=contrariwise] rather yf yt ^\\be// trwe that I doo here [=hear], that her Magestye hathe no monye in her cofers for this purpose. to what end ys that when she hathe yt redie prepared by her Marchantes. why showld yt be towld her whatt she wanted in her cooffers, and nott whatt her Magestye myght have without any interrest, and the gayne of seven thowsand pounde frome her Marchantes, and herafter a matter of fyften thowsand pound a yeare proved as clere as the sune dothe shyne. for the Quantetie of Tyne beinge supposed Ten hundred thowsand pounde, and that her Maiestie shall bwye yt for fowre markes the hundred, that ys 26l and [th] a Marke the thowsande, whoo dothe not see, that sellinge the same for [-4l] [a hundred] 4s a hundrede yat ys twoo and fortye pounde a thowsand weyght of Tyne, yat her Maiestye gaynes fyftene thowsand pound a yeare, | and thus the Marchantes to bwye yt of the Quiene have agreed with me.Now yt moves me not a lyttell, that I showldbe thus sett a worke for her Magestyes seruice, and when with my great labor I have effected yt, to be thus mocked; yf they ment yt att the fyrst to overthwart yt why showld they abuse me in her Magestyes name to deale with the Marchantes, and when I have done yt, neyther to lett her Magestye vnderstand yt puttinge them in truste, and sendinge them of porpose to assist me? but contrarie [=contrariwise] by there sylence to neglect the tyme, and with impertinent matters of her Magestye wante of monye in her cofers, to hyd from her the redines of the Marchantes to furnishe this seruice?I have wrott [=written] to her Magestye, hopinge she will not suffer me imployinge my selfe in her seruice to be rewarded for my labor with a moke [=mock], nor her selfe to be thus abused to have [A] A matter of seven thowsand pound thys yeare with a more assured profitte in the yeares followinge, (by negligence, dulnes, or abuse (for one of thes yt must be) to be oversene and lost, espetiallye puttinge her Magestye to no further cost or travell [=travail] then to the tellinge [=counting] yt into her exchecker.My desyre therfore vnto yow ys thys, that yow wilbe acknowne [=acknowledged] to [yowre] \\her// Maiestie that I have made yow pryvie that I have written vnto her, and for that I feare in tyme Inowghe [=enough] my letter showld not be redd, & that my hande ys to [=too] troblesume for her Magestye, that I had desyred yow, to move her Magestye for answer therofe, wherby yt may be she will make yow reed the letter and then she shall not be ignorant how her seruice ys conveyed.And for so muche as I fynde so many yat her Magestye hathe put in truste in thys cause yet when yt comes to the poynt they giue her the slypte [=slip], I wowld most ernestly desyre yow for owre owld aquaintance friendship and affinite sake to ioyne with me in thys seruice, and to offer yowre help to [.e] me in thys matter to her Magestye for I doo assure yow that yt will have an acceptable end to her Magestye and yat counceler shall have no small advantage over the [otth] other which have I cannot tell whatt to terme yt so slowly and dullye or corrputlye [that have] abused frome tyme to tyme [hi] her Magestyes Intentiones towchinge this matter.And thus muche I assure yow, to incorage yow the more, that lett her Maiestie call bake [=back] this countermande, which stoppethe the Preemptione, and lett yt be declared as ytt wass of her Magestyes Resolutione, to take yt into her handes. And the monye shalbe presentlye supplyed by the Marchantes. And her Magestye shall have cause to giue yow thankes, and I shalbe gladd my travell [=travail] shall nott be so loste. Thus with my ernest desyre to yow to consider the cause accordinge to the hast [=haste], and not [..] accordinge to the disordered dispositione of my letter, I will end and take my leave. for yf her Magestye dothe not presently countermand thys last resolutione, procured from her by concealinge the marchantes redines to furnishe her with monye, she ys leke [=like] to lease [=lose] the benifite of thys yeare, and herafter the whole cause. ||On [=One] thinge I allso am to remember that ys where I have Named [the] Alderman Banninge to her Magestye whoo hathe bene very prompt and forward to bringe one [=on] the reste [to] of hys Compagnions to this service, for sume cause to desyre her Magestye not to lett his name to be sene or knowne for sum respects in her Magestyes seruice. I wrott of him only that her Magesty myght bothe know his diligence and [fo] yat for my dealinge with the Marchantes he myght wyttnes herafter, how far everythinge was proceded in before thys vnloked for [=unlooked-for] countermande.Yowre assured friende and lovinge brother.(signed) Edward Oxenford (sec. f; 4+7)
Modern rendering courtesy of fylmphony
I am not at this present to use any superfluous circumstances wherefore I hope you will conceive never the worse and bear with the haste of my matter.
Her Majesty has of late by Sir John Foscue and my lord chief Justice employed my service for the getting her of money wherewith to supply a stock to buy the tin yearly in Cornwall and Devonshire.
I found out sufficient and of the most able merchants, willing and ready with their money to lend it to supply her Majesty without any penny of interest, to pay her this present year ten thousand pound, every half year to wit five thousand pound.
I advertised the lord chief justice. Since then I have heard nothing til Thursday last, when overnight I received from Sir John Foscue, a letter that at three o’ clock in the afternoon next day they were appointed by her Majesty to be with me about this this matter of the Tin; at noon I had a messenger from Sir John Foscue, that he had not found himself at morning well, and therefore he would next day be at the same hour with me, which was saturday //friday\\, that is, yesterday. I attended til six expecting their coming. I saw they came not, I marveled, and sent a man both to Sir John Foscue to know how he did, and to my Lord Chief Justice, that if it were any matter by concerning her majesty’s service if there were any hindrance, that they could not come that they would signify by letter. Sir John was sick this day and sent me word that he takes physic.
My lord chief justice, for that he was enjoined to with Sir John Foscue, will know her Majesty's pleasure further, tomorrow at the Court.
In the mean season I find they have reported nothing of the matter as they resolved to do when they were with me, they have not advertised her Majesty that the money was to be had, but contrariwise, if it "be" true that I do hear , that her Majesty hath no money in her coffers for this purpose. To what end is that when she hath it ready prepared by her Merchants. Why should it be told her what she wanted in her coffers, and not what her Majesty might have without any interest, and gain of seven thousand pound from her Merchants, and hereafter a matter of fifteen thousand pound a year proved as clear as the sun doth shine. For the Quantity of Tin being supposed Ten Hundred thousand pound, and her Majesty shall buy it for four marks the hundred, that is 26l and a mark the thousand, who doth not see, that seeing the same for 4s a hundred that is two and forty pound a thousand weight of tin, that her Majesty gains fifteen thousand pound a year, and this the merchants to buy it of the queen have agreed with me. Now it moves me not a little, that I should this set a work for her Majesty's service, and when my great labor I have effected it, to be thus mocked; if they meant is at the first to overthwart(overthrow ?) it why should they abuse me in her majesty’s name to deal with the merchants and when I have done it, neither to let her Majesty understand it putting them in trust, and sending them of no purpose to assist me? But contrariwise by their silence to neglect the time, and with impertinent matters of her Majesty’s want of money in the coffers, to hide from her the readiness of the Merchants to furnish this service?
I have written to her Majesty, hoping she will not suffer me employing my self in her service to be rewarded for my labor with a mock, nor herself to be thus abused to have a matter of seven thousand pound this year with a more assured profit in the years following, by negligence, dullness, or abuse (For one of these it must be) to be overseen and lost, especially putting her Majesty to no further cost or travail then to telling it into her exchequer.
My desire therefore unto you is this, that you will acknowledge to her Majesty that I have made you privy that I have written unto her, and for that I fear in time enough my letter should not be read, and that my hand is too troublesome for her Majesty, that I had desired you, to move her Majesty for the answer thereof, whereby it may be she will make you read the letter and then she shall not be ignorant how her service is conveyed.
And for so much as I find so many that her Majesty has put in trust in this case yet when it comes to the point they give her the slip, I would most earnestly desire you for our old acquaintance friendship and affinity's sake, to join with me in this service, and to offer your help to me in this matter to her Majesty for I do assure you that it will have an acceptable end to her Majesty and that counselor shall have no small advantage over the other which have I cannot tell what to term it so slowly and dully or corruptly that have abused me from time to time her Majesty's intentions touching this matter.
And this much I assure you, to encourage you the more, that let her Majesty call back this countermand, which stops the Preemption, to take it unto her hands. And the money shall be presently supplied by the merchants. And her Majesty shall have cause to give you thanks, and I shall be glad my travail shall not be so lost. Thus with my earnest desire to you to consider the cause according to the haste, and not according to the disordered disposition of my letter, I will end and take my leave. For if her Majesty doth not presently countermand this last resolution, procured from her by concealing the merchant's readiness to furnish her with money, she is like to lose the benefit of this year, and hereafter the while cause.
One thing I also am to remember that is where I have named the Alderman Banning to her Majesty who has been very prompt and forward to bring on the rest of his companions to this service, for some cause to to desire her majesty not to let his name be seen of known for some respects in her Majesty's service. I wrote of him only that her Majesty might both know his diligence and that my dealing with the merchants he might witness hereafter, how far everything was proceeded in before this unlooked for countermand.
You're assured and loving brother.