1574/5, Feb. 19.
Since his two last letters, the one sent to Sir Thomas Gresham, and the other by Mr. Digby, is forced to write this third one. “For as I have inwardly, in my soul, professed and sworn, to cast away the old man and detestable life of ill doings, and never to lie, dissemble, or use any kind of a cozening life, and in especial towards the service of the Queen's Majesty, my country, or your honour, in considering the short pilgrimage I have to 'wandell' in this miserable world, so I can not, but according to bounden duty, advertise your honour of the traitorous doings of Thomas Moffett.” Never had any good opinion of him, nor would meddle in any of his practices, only the ambassador persuaded him to confer with Moffett, which he did at his request. Since that time he has so put the writer to his shifts, that he was never in the like case. Hopes Lord Burghley will so use the matter that he may sustain no hurt, and the rather that his lordship may be the better advertised from time to time of all such ill instruments and false men. First, as Moffett brake with him about the Earl of Westmoreland, and so caused him to write to Lord Burghley, which matter the writer liked very well, so he has declared the whole case to the said Earl, Mr. Copley, and others his councillors, who did conclude either to have the writer cast into prison, or else to murder him secretly Moffett, hearing their determination, and finding himself greatly guilty in that case (because the ambassador knew very well he was the first to invent the matter, and desired him to speak to the writer first, because Moffett and he were not friends, and also because the writer had dealt in so friendly a manner with him, and had lent him money to carry him to Bridgis [Bruges] about his needful affairs,) persuaded the said Earl, Copley, and others that by letting him alone, he would make him
such a fit instrument that the Earl should triumph over his enemies, and “receive a thousand pounds which shall be sent to him for doing that feat.” The writer had Moffett at dinner with him on Shrove Tuesday, when the latter told him all the matter with a protestation, and presented him a book to swear upon that he would keep all things close and secret, and follow his mind in all, by doing which the writer would preserve his own life (otherwise he was in great danger), and would win again the goodwill of the Earl of Westmoreland, and help to get him 1,000l., whereof the writer should have 200l., Moffett 200l., and the Earl 600l. He was to write to the Earl that Moffett (of whom he was to speak all the ill he could), had broken to him to betray the Earl, and that his lordship was to be carried over into England, and to say that he would not do it for all the good in the world. Accordingly, the writer, not knowing what it was best to do, followed his counsel, and on Feb. 18 sent a letter to the Earl of Westmoreland, to which he was expecting an answer shortly. Would then write further all the truth to Burghley, and give from time to time privy advertisements of all his vile and traitorous dealings. Desires Burghley so to use the matter, that, if possible, through Leicester's letters, Moffett may be sent for, and kept so close prisoner, that he may never write over thither to any of them. Then the case shall be brought to such a pass as Burghley and Leicester would desire. But, if the matter were not very secretly handled, and Moffett still remained there, the writer was like to be in great danger. And whereas Moffett was thinking to deceive Leicester of 1,000l., if his lordship sent for him to come and receive it himself in secret wise, he thought he would gladly go. Moffett said Leicester gave him 5l., whereas he had spent 12l. in following his lordship, and had received 25 “dalders” of the ambassador and made a great mockery thereof, and therefore would give them a “lorche” of 1,000l., and would not betray a good Catholic lord, not for all the “erytyckes” in the world. Soothed him in all his sayings, for fear of afterclaps. Protests before God that he more esteems the safeguard of the Queen, his country, and her noble Councillors, than he does any rebel, or all the gold and silver in this world; and so Burghley shall find him in all his doings. Secondly, whereas, by Mr. Copley's help, George Martin was sent into Holland, with letters to Charles Bonsshott, Governor of Zealand, and also procured to kill the Prince, the said Copley, as he was informed by Moffett, had told the Governor there [Antwerp] that the writer was the cause of Martin's being taken, and what other fables he knew not. So he perceives that Copely alone prevents him from obtaining the money he had ordinance from the lords of the finances to receive. Protests that he never had any dealings or acquaintance with the Prince of Orange, or any of his captains; and so he trusts Martin will declare and verify if asked. Is informed that Signor Antonio de Guarras has been written to by Copley, to cause Martin to declare some matter against the writer. “I dare not trust George, if he may get any money, to make a lie, which if he do, I know the Spaniards' doings to be such that I shall be put to death secretly, and not answer for myself, and the rather because they owe me 2,400 guilders, as also this matter of my Lord of Westmoreland's, if I be complained upon.” Begs Burghley to call the said Martin before him, or to cause some other to speak to him, that in no case he consent to hurt the writer. If Martin had been ruled by the latter's counsel, he had not done what he did. The writer had always been his good friend, both to lend him money, and to give his word for him, as Martin knew very well; and how he had been used by him, was partly known to
Burghley, as Martin himself told the writer. Thirdly, and he beseeches Burghley so to use this matter that he be not utterly undone thereby, if it should be known that he has opened it, because it touches the King's service, and of this he has thought it necessary to advertise Burghley. Before Digby went from thence, he declared to the writer that Mr. Thickyns, who came over with him, and Captain Purvis and he himself were being entertained by the Governor there [Antwerp], and had, each of them, a captain's wages and three men servants, and they had opened to his Excellency matters which he liked very well. That they would besiege all Holland, by making two fortresses, and also prevent any ships from entering in at the Maze to help any town in Holland. This was true, and if the writer were with Burghley, he would tell him how. “I do not blame the men, for every man is bounden to help himself.” But if Burghley thinks good to stay them, they may be sent into Ireland or elsewhere, on the Queen's service. If his lordship will declare the matter to Purvis and Digby, he might tell them that Thickyns had “made his vaunt” there in Antwerp, in the house of Mrs. Marine, an English gentlewoman who told men's fortunes, that he and two other gentlemen and his sworn brothers were the King's servants, and were in wages, with three men servants each, and that they would get the King all his country again. If Burghley does not handle the matter very circumspectly, the writer is assured to be had in great examination for it, and perchance to be put to the rack “to make confess.” Signor Antonio Guarras had been the procurer of them over, and it was to be doubted that they would cause him to write over for it against the writer. Fourthly, he would have broken all these affairs to the Ambassador, but he brings matters in question, and tells the Catholics of the dealings of the rebels, whom the writer considers the worse of the two. One of the ambassador's men had declared to a “knave apothecary” in Brussels that the ambassador had given the writer a handful of “dalders.” The apothecary told this among the rebels in Brussels, which brought him into a great jealousy with them. The writer offered to fight Standen about it, because the ambassador said he was the author of the report. When the ambassador told him, he was greatly amazed; and, as his Excellency thought him very unwise to report it himself, which very naturally he would not do, he told him his own man was the author and reporter thereof; and then the ambassador said it was no matter. But in very deed it was. Hopes he has stopped all their mouths. Dares not go to the ambassador as he was wont, nor open to him these matters he has written. Has a better “affiance” in his lordship than in himself, because of Burghley's excellent and high wisdom. As concerning Mons. de la Motte, would to God Burghley would send over the worthy Sir William Drury, or the wise Mr. Pelbam, and no doubt all things would go well, and to Burghley's great contentation. If he does not hear from Burghley before the ambassador returns, he will not fail to ride to Gravelines, and bring Mons. de la Motte and the ambassador together, as he has promised the latter. Fifthly and last : puts Burghley in remembrance of his humble request, made in his last letter sent by Digby, for his voyage into Spain, which if Burghley likes, no doubt it will be the happiest ever made for the furtherance of his long pretended service. Shall have in his favour the Duke of Askott's [Arschot's] letters, the Count de Reulx, the Count de Barlemont, the Marquis Vitelli, the Treasurer-General, Mons. de Grobuduc, all the Lords of the Finances, with Councillor d'Assonville and Secretary Bartin, besides the aid he will find in Spain from the Duke of Alva, Don Frederigo Albernois,
Stephen de Vare, and Contador Mendivill, besides divers others of his acquaintance, who will further him all they can in any suit he has, with respect to the payment of his 2,400 guilders, [and] getting of a pension. Especially desires the Queen's letters to do service against the Turk. Is very well assured he will obtain commission to levy 300 men of Artois to mingle with their Englishmen, and, that being granted, there was never any of his nation who should have better credit in those parts than he; and the rather because he is “so well beloved and known” there. As he remembers that Henry VIII. promised to meet the Emperor at Paris, and so took Boulogne; so they will not do much less; such a covert was never known or to be invented for that purpose. What other service he may do by that voyage into Spain (for he has familiar acquaintance with the Irish Archbishop, Lord Morley, and others there), he cannot tell. Burghley shall see and prove that he will employ all his wits to the Queen's service, and in such sort as to get credit, worship, and honesty [honour] in all his doings. Begs for an answer from Burghley as speedily as possible. Since he can get no order for his money, he means to sell a piece of land that he has, in order to go that voyage into Spain at the latter end of March; but, if he obtains that credit by Burghley's help, to carry the Queen's letters thither, and to be furnished for the said voyage, he shall be bound for ever to pray for Burghley. “If I had of my self puissance, and a 100,000 pounds by me, I swear by the Almighty God, I would as gladly spend it and my life in that service, as I would eat and drink when I have hunger.”—19 Feb. 1574.