Cecil Papers: February 1602

Pages 203-210

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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February 1602

Thomas, Lord Burghley to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601–2. Feb. 7. I am bold to make you acquainted with certain articles enclosed herein, which I mean to present at the Council table to-morrow. I desire you to have due consideration as a councillor and a feeling towards me as a brother, and to censure it with justice considering the place I hold as chief magistrate to her Majesty there, that cannot endure to receive a disgrace to the place by so proud and arrogant a person. Acquaint my Lord Admiral, my Lord of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Worcester with that cause that I may receive an honourable satisfaction. I mean afterwards to acquaint her Majesty herewith myself.—This present Saturday.
Endorsed.—"7 Feb., 1601."
Holograph. Seal. ½ p. (85. 16.)
[Sir Robert Cecil] to Mr. Nicholson.
[1602] [Jan.] Because her Majesty hath been informed many ways of the King's noble and advised proceeding concerning the employment of some of his subjects into Ireland, moved thereunto as well out of his desire to declare himself an enemy to the enemies of God, (for this was proclaimed upon the arrival [of] the Catholic army), as also in regard of his private affection to the Queen's person and the interest of this kingdom: her Majesty is very careful to prevent all inconveniences, how little soever, which might grow to him by the alteration of the proposition: for which purpose it pleased her Majesty this day to command Mr. Secretary Herbert and myself to acquaint Mr. Fowles with that which followeth, to the end that the King might be timely informed before he had further troubled himself with the matter.
First, her Majesty required us to tell that she knows the King is not ignorant that in all councils of State (especially concerning projects for auxiliaries) many things are held fit at one time to be propounded which a little while after may appear inconvenient: and therefore in this case her Majesty knows that the King will leave to herself the choice at all times in using his people in other form than shall seem best in her own judgment, and for the good of her service. This being therefore her Majesty's conceit of the King's mind, she is pleased now that he shall be acquainted with the reasons of her forbearing to employ the Scots.
First, the inconveniences which may arise to the service by the condition of those islanders.
Next the charge which is required for maintaining them.
Of the first, it appeareth by all here that know their disposition that such is the nature of those islanders as they cannot be contained from disorder, being never possible to be made compatible with English discipline: wherein her Majesty hath read that even some of those in Scotland that should have been the head in setting forth the levy, have advised themselves that of necessity some Lowland men must be levied with them for prevention of notorious confusion.
Secondly, in the north all her Majesty's governors there do contest against having them now, and in respect that the Queen's forces are so divided into garrisons in Ulster, and are daily undertaking so many journeys to and fro in the heart of the country, they cannot think how it is possible almost that these Scots should be employed; but either it must be dangerous to her Majesty's people, or dangerous for themselves, for ours will not be mixed with them where they may be noxious to their inconstancy (who are a people apt to alteration, even where duty and allegiance binds them). On the other side her Majesty considereth that if those Scottish regiments should be quartered apart, and lack strong numbers of English to back them, they may easily be cut in pieces by the traitors when they shall fall with their gross upon them, for which disaster her Majesty should be no less sensible than if it lighted on her own.
The second point is the charge, which is so great by those articles propounded by Mr. Fowles as the Queen were better to wage 6,000 English than 2,000 Scots, because the Queen's pay there, by a good and orderly institution, is more easy by three parts than if it were all sterling.
Next they propounded one month's pay beforehand towards their lifting, in which sort the Queen never did proceed with her own subjects. Neither is there any reason, seeing their manner of arming and furnishing is not answerable to the charges which southern men do use, it being only expected that they shall be lightly armed to match the Irish in footmanship and ability to pass bogs and "paces" where the Creaghts are kept in fastness; for it must be conceived that if her Majesty had not expected to be cased of the trouble to victual such numbers, to arm them, or furnish them, or that she should not have entertained them at such easy rates as the Irish themselves take, her Majesty would rather have used the King's southern people, who are men of order, compatible with civil discipline, and able indeed to back her Majesty's garrisons at all times. But thereof she hath no necessity at this time, her Deputy having already diminished 2,000 that were there, and for ease of her people here stayed 3,000 more that were ready to be transported.
So as all these things considered, as it is indeed very true that her Majesty cannot yet resolve to make use of this offer, so may the King resolve plainly that his readiness to second her Majesty at this time, hath gained in her mind an excellent impression of thankfulness towards him; and if he will observe it, no man can deny but that the very offer hath won him general reputation abroad, most part of all Christendom (even as well Catholics as others, except haply some petty states in vassalage to Rome) utterly condemning the vanity and iniquity of this attempt. And which is more, it is very acceptable to the people of England, who have long observed such open traffic between the rebels and his subjects, besides personal kindness and correspondency between some of his greatest favourites and archtraitors, as they did fully conclude in their hearts that if the King were not a favourer, yet he was not enemy to the rebellion [so as by anything that hath yet passed]. (fn. 1) Yet she hopeth that the King will not think this change to be any effect of inconstancy.
Lastly the deputy himself finding the largeness of expense in such an army as he had, did not only discharge presently 2,000 soldiers, but sent to make stay of 4,000 more ready to be embarked at the seaside.—Undated.
Endorsed: "Concerning levy of Scots."
Draft, with corrections by Cecil. 4 pp. (180. 10.)
1602. Feb. 12/22. The Estates of Hainault have replied to the proposition made to them by the Duke of Aerschot on behalf of their Highnesses that they should assist the men of Flanders in their zeal for the commonwealth, that they can contribute nothing more; nor raise what was granted by their assembly half a year ago, seeing that not a crown of that taxation has been got in without legal proceedings. The other Provinces will give the same answer; so that if the Archduke persists in the siege of Ostend he will be in a bad case. By all the embassies sent into Spain the Infanta urges her desire to leave this country. Her resolution is not changed but the execution deferred owing to the Duke of Lerma, who has no wish to see two suns in one world.
The preparations for bringing the Italian soldiers continue and stages have been fixed in Burgundy and Lorraine. The arrival of these troops is their only refuge. Don Roderigo Lasso is expected from Spain, by whose coming all the soldiers, especially the Spaniards, are kept in hope of money; but if there is none there will be a great mutiny. There is come an ambassador extraordinary from France among other matters concerning a libel published at Antwerp, without the name of the author or printer, though both are well known. He demands their surrender on pain of the King's displeasure, which has put the Court into great perplexity; he has spoken roughly to President Richardot. The Colonels of the Walloons are discontented at the appointment of 'Maitres du Camp' and because they are not to have the power to appoint captains in their regiments, who will be sent to them by the Court, so that they may be devoted to Spain. Only one regiment of Germans is to be levied, that is the regiment of the Count of Emden; the German captains who have companies without regiments, up to ten or eleven, are to reinforce them up to 500 men. A Walloon regiment is to be raised under the command of M. de Tolly. Grobbendonck is here raising some companies to be placed in Bois le Duc, where he wishes to build two forts for his Walloons opposite the gates of Hentemeer and Tuchter, so as to keep the disaffected townsmen quiet. The folk of Flanders have agreed to more than they can provide, so much that there has been a small riot at Bruges. In the field everything goes on as usual. Men are working at making 'flots de fer' invented by the Turk. The Count of 'Solre' who was grand ecuyer has left the Court. The Estates of Brabant are much importuned by their Highnesses to undertake the cost of the defence of Bois-le-Duc; but like those of Hainault they seem likely to reply 'We cannot give any more.' The example of those of Brabant who are finding money for the siege of Ostend is put before them, sed surdiscantatur. Great levies are being made in Italy, and the King of Spain has sent three patents into Germany for 11,000 lansquenets, that is to the Sieurs de Bessel, Ladron, and Madruts, although they are still in the service of the Archduke Ferdinand. They are also trying to raise five thousand men in the Swiss Catholic Cantons by means of the Count de St. Amour, a Burgundian, son-in-law to the Sieur de Champigny. It is supposed the King means to use his money there, since he sends none here, but tries to raise it in these parts. They continue to make boats at Ghent, Antwerp, Malines, and elsewhere, with many oars; they have no sailors for them, but will try to get men from Emden and Hamburgh.
French, Endorsed: "From Brussels." 3½ pp. (91. 118.)
Sir Robert Cecil to [the Master of Gray.]
1601–2. Feb. 20. Sir, I have now received (after long intermission) both your letters of the 8th of February and the precedent; both which contain matter to me of good contentment; first because they brought me the news of your well doing and likelihood to be restored fully to his Majesty's favour; next because they revived the memory of your affection, which I much esteem, and make me certain where my letters shall find you (the doubt whereof hath caused my long silence), there being nothing here more common than that you were either warded or fled for your safety. You shall therefore now understand that our affairs, which do for the most part depend upon the success of Ireland, are in some probability of a temporary quiet and repose, because Almighty God hath both lately blessed the labours of her Majesty's worthy Deputy whom she enabled with all things necessary for the resistance of the Spanish invasion, the particulars whereof will well appear by this printed journal, although as yet the northerly winds had been so scant as it hath stayed the Spaniards from being shipped for Spain. In this matter it is true that many wise men are now divided what may be the future event, and therefore it were a vanity for me to make my conclusions peremptory; and yet because you are contented to discourse with me of such like accidents, I will as freely send you my private conceit, and so much the rather because your own relation of some loose news from Bodwell gives me the present occasion. First, Sir, where he doth date his letters from an army, he doth as many a lover doth that writes from his mistress' chamber, when he is lodged ten miles without the suburbs of the city where she abideth; for I do assure you (howsoever the King made his project for an army of many thousands) those troops which should make up that great body are yet five hundred miles asunder; for most of his levies in Italy are destined for the Low Countries, save some to assist the Emperor [side note in Cecil's hand: and 4,000 to come also into Spain for fomentation of the Irish enterprise], and those will not arrive till the summer be well onward. For those that are at Lisbon their number is but 6,000, and those were destined to second his first troops, after whose descent it was resolved that these should follow much about this time or a month over. For those that should be brought into Scotland, as Bodwell wrote to the B. of Bollen, it was but his dream, and for those which should come into the west of England multa cadunt inter calicem suprœmaque labra, for he will not be so vain to attempt England (east or west) till Ireland were fitted to his appetite, and the army of the Low Country (without which England shall never be invaded) freed from the siege of Ostend. In which consideration seeing that place comes in question, I think it not amiss to let you know that next the preserving of Ireland (as one of the hereditary crowns of this imperial Monarchy) all things considered it importeth infinitely her Majesty: for although it is true that in the defence thereof the Estates' means are much consumed, yet if the Duke's obstinate siege long continue, and conclude without success, the apprehension thereof in all the Provinces will work an infinite alienation. Besides that, whiles the army is so engaged, we are sure it hath his hands full. What hath been the success of the parley and assault this pamphlet, written by a private soldier (and therefore full of error) will shew you. For the rest there is neither sally of ours, nor assault since, but many supplies entered both of men, victual, and munition. The only doubt I have is of some disaster to the Governor, in whose person I assure you the life of that town consisteth, as the case standeth. But to return to my conceit. I cannot fashion my mind to believe that the King of Spain will this [sic: thus?] sit down with Ireland for I do not perceive why he that had a second army ready, of a greater number than those that were sent first (and are now returning), should not resolve to join them both together back again, and so amend his former faults of reposing more in a party than was fit in so great an action, where all auxiliaries, how much soever they trust to such a correspondency, should come provided in such an equipage as might enable them for a good while to subsist in some good form, howsoever by accidents unlooked for they may fail of their expectation. And this I do confess, that I cannot be beaten from it until I see more reason to trust to that King's courtesy, or see foundation for him to infest us so much in any other place. In which consideration because upon the return of these it will appear what shall become of them, and of his seconds, I have been moved to persuade her Majesty to send a good fleet to lie upon his coast, as well to trouble his trade as to hinder him from uniting his naval forces to one head; for which design the Lord Admiral's son-in-law Sir Richard Leveson is ready to set sail from Plymouth with twelve of her Majesty's ships, and as many of the Low Countries', which will overlook him a little and all his purposes. And thus have you now my present conceptions because I know that this is his first action, and that it cannot but serve the private turns of his ministers to engage him in such enterprises, whereof they in that kingdom above all other states in the world make most easily their own advantage.
And now, Sir, to come to Scotland. It is true that we have heard of some emulation ["as you write" crossed out] between the Duke and the Earl Mar since both their returns, whereof we are not very curious here, because it is not rare to hear of division out of emulation, nor to hear of conjunctions again as soon as it may serve both parties to be united; only this I will say, that I am sorry it should be so in any extremity, because I think they both concur as much as ever did any (whose persons were so worthy the observing) in wishing sincerely the mutual amity of both Princes. For the Earl of Mar, I have advertised you by my former letters within what limits I kept myself, beyond which compass, seeing you best know how constantly I have resolved in no respect to march, I shall not need to touch my course with the Duke in more particular; for when I had no cause to negotiate with him I did not seek to grow into further conference than when I met him in the Privy Chamber, where, as I am not ashamed to do to all men, so to him I professed that reserving my undivided duty to my Sovereign, that I would be more ready to further all his just desires, which should concur with her Majesty's safety and contentment, than of any prince in Europe. As concerning your report of his particular acceptation of those personal courtesies which I observed towards him, it is true that when I observed how much the Queen was distasted with the bruits of his employment I did by the laird of Beltress, whom I saw he trusted, let him from time to time understand how fit it was for him (seeing he only pretended compliment) to abstain from all those courses here of labouring or entertaining overtures of men's addresses or insinuations in matters of other nature; for I assure you so contrary it is to her Majesty to hear of any such specious ambassador as except the King shall mean to put her Majesty to the trial of all the humours whereunto her sex and her condition have greater reason to be inclined than others, in my opinion he shall be ill advised to use the service of any persons of so eminent rank and quality. But, Sir, in this I mean to be no counsellor, but only thought it good, seeing the cause proceeded from you, to let you see how little I swerve from your opinion; desiring you in my particular to make it appear to the Duke that no man shall be more ready to give him his due at all times than I shall do, nor shall be more glad of his good opinion, because I note so many parts in him to make him worthy the service of a King.
It now remaineth that I acquaint you for myself thus far, that I do see by all my advertisements out of Scotland and other places, that it is in vain for me to please myself with any opinion (as long as I enjoy the place I do) to be free from those hard exceptions which I hear the King doth take against me, seeing former times have not alone wrought into him deep impressions of my particular indisposition heretofore towards him, but that I am still condemned for hearing and using such as he misliketh, from which neither I nor any man that holds the place that I do can escape, whose ears must be open to all men; a matter wherein you can best judge my destiny, when our correspondency was so interpreted as it was, notwithstanding both our innocencies; and therefore more than with yourself I do confess I am sorry to meddle or participate, being one that take no great pleasure in the present, wherein the best can be but pain and peril; nor do desire to live until the future, when I shall think I have made a great purchase if my innocency may be so happy as to escape an undeserved ruin and oppression. That I have used another man's hand I pray you let it not seem strange, for though he be one in whom I trust, and though I never trust any with anything unworthy of an honest man, yet I would not appear so "lourde" to you as not to requite your hand with mine if at this present I had not opened a vein in mine arm to prevent a fever, which a pain of my foot (run out of joint by a slip) hath brought me, though now I thank God it is well set again, and I begin to recover. And thus I end. Your affectionate friend, Ro. Cecyll. From Court this 20th of Feb., 1601.
Signed. In hand of Cecil's Secretary Simon Willis, with corrections by Cecil.
P.S. (holograph). The book of Ostend is written by a private captain, and only worth your reading for matter of fact. It came out sine privilegio.
Endorsed: Secretary Cecill his letters to the L. Gray.
pp. (213. 117.)
The Senate of Stade to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601–2, Feb. 24/Mar. 6. You will perceive from our letter to her Majesty, the course of our late negotiations with the Imperial Envoy, and that everything would now tend to a friendly settlement, were it not that her Majesty remained unfavourable to the scheme. We have promised the Imperial Envoy to leave no stone unturned to soften her Majesty's displeasure, and knowing how necessary your aid is to our purpose, we beg you to receive graciously and give credence in everything to our Secretary M. Reinerus Langius, in order to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.—6 March [1602].
Holograph. Latin. Endorsed:—"1602, st. no." 1 p. (92. 6.)


  • 1. Struck out in original.