Sir Robert Cecil to —.
1602, Aug. 1.
Sir, The reason why I have not written to
you of late hath proceeded from lack of matter, and not of
goodwill; such being the uncertainty of the great actions in
these parts of the world, as until now I could only have advertised of their motion and not of their conclusion. What is
now happened you shall know. In France there was an
opinion that there would have been an open breach between
the King of Spain and the French King, but whatsoever is
believed by the French King he is contented to temporise, and
to accept the King of Spain's disavowing of any knowledge of
Byron's practices, which the Spanish Ambassador did at his
last audience. For Byron, he is now dead, and suffered in
the Bastille (where there was the Chancellor and the President,
with 60 persons only). His death was with no great mortification; for after he had taken it upon his death that he was
not guilty of any of those conspiracies whereof he was
accused, but only had offended the King in writing a discontented letter when the King was in Savoy, and had given
the charge of the army to De Deguerres (after which time the
King had reconciled himself unto him), when he should die
he was full of impatience. First he challenged the Chancellor
that if he had not come to the Court of Parliament they would
not have condemned him. Next he told him (when he called
for his order as the manner is) that it should never be worn by
an honester man than himself. After that, when the hangman
offered to cover his eyes he bade him not touch him, for if he
did he would strangle him. In conclusion, when the hangman
spoke unto him (after he had been confessed) to make his last
prayers, he answered "boute, boute, despeche," and so his
head was strucken off. This hath been written unto me, with
many other circumstances, which are tedious; only of this,
let me speak to you in private, that although Byron had offended
the law and died justly, yet considering the practices were old
and no overt act followed, nor any pregnant accuser of more
worth than De: la: fin, who had his pardon now for all the
sins that a man could reckon, yet if the life of the Earl of Essex
had been taken away upon no more demonstrative proofs, they
that would scandalise that justice (where the treasons were
seen and felt) would more uncharitably have censured the proceedings in things which are less visible. I will here conclude
the narration of this story that Qui stat, caveat ne cadat. In
Ireland all things go very well, for the Deputy (in the north)
hath driven Tyrone into the woods; and the President in
Munster hath taken the strong castle of Donboye by assault,
with 12 Spanish pieces of battery in it which were sent out of
Spain after Don Juan; though when the composition was
made at Kinsale there tarried only some few Spaniards with the
Irish, who now held out to the last man, for which they received
their reward, for he did hang them every mother's son. Notwithstanding which declination of this rebellion the King
having lately sent the sum of 7 or 8,000l. sterling to be distributed amongst the rebels, it keeps such a life of hope in them
to be assisted with an army (which he doth constantly promise)
that many hold out yet which will be glad to beg it upon their
knees if that hope fail. For my own part, howsoever in my
private opinion I may decline from belief that the King of
Spain will be able to send any great army this summer, yet
considering these times, wherein men's counsels are judged
by the success, I am as forward as any to set forth her Majesty's
ships to the sea to lie upon the coast of Spain, and to send from
hence 3 or 4,000 men to strengthen the army in Ireland. For
the Low Country action, Count Maurice found such difficulties
in his marches by lack of victuals (where he was to pass through
an enemy's countries who had an army continually to wait
upon him) as he found it best counsel to make a retreat, and
now is set down before Grave, which he will carry, or else the
Archduke must come to battle; whereof I think he will be
well advised, and rather seek to divert the Count by besieging
Berke. Thus have you, sir, as much of our occurrents as I
know at this time, rather sent you for continuation of our
correspondency than for any matter of moment which doth
concern our particular, wherewith I will end my letter, and wish
all health and happiness. And so for this time I commit you
to God. From the Court this 1st of August, 1602. Your very
loving friend, Ro. Cecyll.
In hand of Cecil's Secretary Levinus Munck, with corrections
by Cecil. Signed.
Sir, I am glad to find by your writing
that Sir George Hume, who holds so great a place in the King's
favour and so great an office, is so well affected to the common
amity which many malcontents and Espagnolised humour seek
to scandalise. My Lord Hume passed by to France but was
desirous to be pardoned his access to the Queen for this time.
2 pp. (213. 118.)
1602, August 2.
From Vienna they write on the 24th of
last month, that so far they had no news of the death of Biron.
Don Sanchio Salines had arrived at Milan from Turin, who
related how the French had entirely broken down the bridge
leading from Savoy into Burgundy, so that none could pass
into Flanders. Marshal Lavardin is on those frontiers, with
4,000 foot and some horse, and it was said that the King
was drawing towards Picardy, intending to go to Artois;
wherefore there was fear of an outbreak of war between the
two crowns. The Duke of Savoy was applying to Fuentes
to let him have the Spanish and Neapolitan troops. A courier
had arrived from Spain with letters to the Duke of Savoy,
the Count of Fuentes and the Duke of Sessa at Rome, and
although their contents were not known, they were said to be
News from Vienna tells of a treacherous attack made upon
Bast and his men by one Zacchel Moises and his followers,
when Bast narrowly escaped being shot, but finally remained
the victor, cutting to pieces about 2,500 of the enemy. Sigismund Battori, who was at Deva, fearing Bast might suspect
him, hurriedly got into a coach and went to find him in the
field, declaring that the thing was done without his knowledge,
and showing great joy for Bast's victory. They then travelled
together to Mulpack, where they now are.
We hear from Gratz that the investiture of the Golden Fleece
had taken place amidst much festivity.
Letters from Paris of the 12th said Marshal Biron was not
yet put to death, nor any of the other prisoners. The King
was still in Paris, where there was no talk of war, and although
the Marshal de Laverdin was in arms in Burgundy, he had
found there no resistance to the orders of his Majesty. It is
believed that no foreign prince was mixed up with the conspiracy, but that it was entirely the work of Biron, on account
of certain affronts received from the King and from M. de
Roni, (i.e., Rosny] his enemy. The King had ordered that the
twelve peers of France, who are the grandees of the kingdom,
should take part in the sentence upon Biron, which it was
supposed would shortly be published. It is held for certain
that he will be put to death.
Letters from Prague confirm the defeat of Zarechel Moises
by Bast, the bearer bringing twenty four flags taken in the
battle, on nearly all of which are seen the arms of Battori.
Some will have this to be a sign that he was privy to the matter.
He is now in Bast's power, with a good guard.
The lords of Bohemia, at their assembly, agreed to give the
Emperor half a million dollars on account of next year, and also
to raise 10,000 soldiers to guard the frontiers of Moravia.
From Constantinople they write that the Venetian Bailo
there, because of the tumults, and fearing some new thing
happening, had brought into his house at Pera all the subjects
of Venice and the countries depending upon her, for its security.
From Milan they write that the Count de Fuentes had finally
resolved to give the Duke of Savoy the troops he asked for,
and had already put them on the march; although it was
commonly held that they would not be needed, it not being
thought that the French King would make such warlike
preparations as to raise suspicion of an outbreak in any part.
It is said that Fuentes has summoned Colonel Gaudentes
Madrucci, who was daily expected in Milan, where there had
arrived Don John de Medici on his way to Flanders to serve
the Spanish King in that war.
The levy of Swiss for the French King is suspended until
further orders, which gives rise to the belief that the peace
between the two crowns will not be broken. Cardinal Borromeo
has gone towards Switzerland.—Venice, 2 August, 1602.
Italian. 4 pp. (199. 97.)
Sir J. Herbert to Archibald Douglas.
[1602?] Aug. 28.
He has promised this party that, after
conference with Douglas, he will help to further him, when time
shall be more convenient for such suits. The Queen is charged
with multitudes of matters that import the whole estate, and
he judges it not fit as yet to divert her serious cogitations with
matters of little moment.—The Arches, August 28.
Memo. on reverse (?) in Douglas' hand: "I moved the two
objections, to wit, the debt, and his Majesty's proceedings.
The wiser sort concludeth notwithstanding that there remains
no help but in requesting and dealing with the Protestants
during the time of a Parliament."
1 p. (98. 119.)