Cecil Papers: August 1602

Page 232

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 14, Addenda. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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August 1602

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.
[P.S. Holograph.] 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 important.
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.)