Cecil Papers: January 1590

Pages 1-10

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 4, 1590-1594. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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January 1590

Henry Delabere to the Clerk of the Council.
1589/90, Jan. 1. Forwards a letter from Lupercio la Tras and sends New Year's Greetings.—Plymouth, 1 Jan. 1589.
1 p.
Encloses :
Lupercio la Tras to the Clerk of the Council.—During the last ten days he has been at Plymouth the weather has been contrary for his voyage, but the Governor has now secured him a good passage. Is told here for certain that the Spanish Armada has departed for this kingdom, the Duke of Medina being General, as her Majesty will know more certainly; but cannot believe it because the King of Spain never appoints more than one General for one Armada; and, as he has already made the brother of the Marquis General, he will not deprive him of this charge.
It is true that before he left Spain the Duke of Medina prayed the King for leave to go in the Armada, if it went to England, without salary.
Believes the Armada is intended for France rather than for England.
His opinion is that the Queen should make it public that she is about to send a fleet (armada) to Portugal “with the King Don Antonio.” This would discourage the Spaniards from coming to England. Says this from an intimate knowledge of Spain and its people. He may assure the Queen and Sir F. Walsingham that he (the writer) will use all diligence.
Plymouth (Plomo), 4th Jan. 1589 (sic).
Spanish, 4 pp.
Sir Ralph Lane to Lord Burghley.
1589/90, January 2. Having lately waited on Mr. Secretary at his house in London and [been] certified by his honour as well of your lordship's mislike as of his own that offer should be made unto her Majesty of the project by me intended, as that which, being contrary to her Majesty's resolution for the satisfying of the country, would make her take offence against me, I am, with my most humble thanks to both your honours for this favourable caution, so to leave it, being only sorry that 540, all officers and leaders, remaining of our Portugal voyage, such as her Majesty must of necessity use again, will by this means be left utterly ill-contented, &c, with the byword that since they find they are valued but for a day, they will use that day by discretion, and make no more haste by shedding their own blood, for shortening the charges of the war and others' ease, than good speed for the saving of themselves. Thus will they impeach her Majesty's service and the safety of the State more than ten times the value of the contentment required.
In a second matter I offer my service for her Majesty, albeit I do know myself to have been argued to the same, as also to some other my most honourable friends, of great insufficiency, or at least of very small stuff, to perform anything of worth to advantage the same. Nevertheless in respect only of my duty to God his religion and the safety of my country, I will not be discouraged dutifully to offer my service in that wherein I know I can do that that, I may well say for the present, any other, howsoever better conceived of, cannot do, because hitherto notwithstanding any their employments they have not done it within England. In which bold commendation of myself I crave pardon till a disproval of me, enforced thereunto for want of right done unto me in the premises heretofore, as to some others in like sort at the present, as well in the printed reports of the late Portugal voyage, as in some other times by any occasion. But omitting such injurious touches, the device I mean is this :—That whereas it is said her Majesty sendeth 6000 foot and 500 horse into Ireland, with 2000 pioneers to be employed in matters of fortification by the direction of Mr. Edmond Yorcke, a gentleman of great worth and judgment in martial actions and of good sufficiency in fortification, I am nevertheless humbly to offer myself by action to make it good and probable by demonstrations, that what form soever of fortification shall be set down by any Englishman within her Majesty's dominions for the holding of any place against an enemy, I will in such price as I shall set down, with as small charge and as few men, with more means offend the enemy with less danger therein to all his means of offence than the other (so as he do it not in my form); to some part whereof I have made my very good friend Mr. Yorcke privy, though I am sure he doth not yet conceive of it aright.
Furthermore, for the impeachment of landing to any enemy, I am to deliver such a force of entrenchment as (if the enemy be 20,000) shall, with reasonable safety to the defendant, spoil as many as attempt assailing the same, and keep the rest from ever landing. Think not I offer this to go between Mr. Yorcke and his employment,—he is my particular friend and a most sufficient fortifier,—but as it is said that certain principal haven towns in Ireland are to be presently fortified by her Majesty, I will undertake longer to defend than the enemy can continue a siege.
The principal points of offence and defence in fortification rest in certain forms and covered flancquers and in a manner of laying of them, neither usual nor easy to be perceived of every man.—This 2nd January 1589.
François de Civille to Sir Francis Walsingham.
1589/90, Jan. 10/20. In accordance with Walsingham's letter of the 3rd of this month he hastened to find and copy the articles at full length just as they came from Paris. Forwards some occurrences in this town.—“De Diepe ce 20 Janvier, 1590, qui est le 10 en Angleterre.”
French. 1 p.
The Earl of Bothwell to Archibald Douglas.
1589/90, Jan. 12. His lordship's nephew Richard Douglas can show at length the occasions which have moved him (Bothwell) to send him to her Majesty. Has chosen him as the meetest to deal with her Majesty, my Lord Treasurer, my Lord Chamberlain, Mr. Secretary Walsingham and hinself. Begs to be advised continually how matters fall out.—Edinburgh, 12 Jan. 1589.
½ p.
Jas. Digges, Muster-Master General.
1589/90, Jan. 15. Questions and instructions touching the audit of his accounts as Muster Master General in the Low Countries before Lord Buckhurst and the Council, with answers.
Endorsed :—“The Lo. Buckhurst's demaunds with ye Muster Mrs. answeres thereunto.”
2 pp.
Further answers on the same subject.
Endorsed :—“15 Januarii 1589. Appostilles to certen doubtes set downe by Mr. James Digges.”
2 pp.
Drew Payne.
1589/90, Jan. 16. Petition of Drew Payne, son of Elizabeth Bullen, daughter of Sir Edward Bullen, to the Queen.
For a lease in reversion of 20l. in reward for his military services in the Low Countries.—Endorsed :—7 Nov. 1589.
Note by T. Heneage :—“The Quesn grants the petition, with some overplus of value.”
Note by Burghley :—“The party to set down what parcells he will pass.”
Annexed :
Lord Burghley to “the Queen's Auditors of the said several counties,” informing them of the above grant and requiring particulars of the several parcels named.—16 January 1589.
2 pp.
Sir F. Walsingham to Archibald Douglas.
1589/90, Jan. 27. Has received his letter and understands of the arrival of his kinsman Mr. Richard Douglas. Being however requested to obtain for him an audience of her Majesty, begs to be excused and refers him to the Lord Chamberlain whose province it is, “and who otherwise will conceave, as he doth alreadie, that I seke to drawe those matters from him.”—The Court, 27 Jan. 1589.
¼ p.
Sir John Smythe to Lord Burghley.
1589/90, Jan. 28. I was sorry to hear that you were very dangerously sick, being next unto her Majesty, in my opinion, the pillar and upholder of this Commonwealth. Howbeit, I am now very glad to hear that you have recovered (fn. 1) your health, and also to hear that very certain advertisements (fn. 1) have come out of Spain that there is no preparation for any attempt against us. Howbeit, I know your wisdom to be such, that although there be in the havens of Spain but small show of assembly of ships this January, yet that, betwixt this and mid June, the King of Spain may assemble a puissant navy, and chiefly in case he has by his Commissioners taken into his pay any number of argosies. Venetian, Messinan, Florentine from Leghorn and Genoese; all which are tall ships and well furnished with mariners, artillery and other convenient furniture, besides some hulks that he may have out of the East countries. All which, incorporated with the remnant of his ships which escaped the dangers of the Scottish and Irish seas, with some galleons and galleasses, which, peradventure, he hath newly built, may upon a general assembly in some haven of Spain make a puissant navy.
I thought good, also, to advertise you of some things that I heard at my last being at London. Being one day at dinner in a place where there were divers gentlemen, and some of good calling, two of them (fn. 2) happened to speak, in a kind of jollity, that this last summer's journey into Spain and Portugal would be worth unto one of them above a thousand marks and to the other above 400l., although none of them both had been in that journey. And they being demanded, how so great profit might redound unto them, they answered by the death of so many of their tenants that died in that journey; that the new fines for other lives would be worth that or more. Upon which speeches it was further said by a gentleman that came a little before out of the West parts, and confirmed by others there, that there is a knight in the West country, (fn. 3) who, with certain other gentlemen, are about to make a regiment of near 3000 men, with intent this next spring to go over to serve the French king. Whereunto being answered, that unless they and their soldiers went well furnished-with money, that very few would return alive, it was replied, that if all their soldiers died, so that the knight and the gentlemen their landlords lived, that the greater profit would grow to them by way of fines for new lives, which was the cause that moved them, being behindhand, to take that enterprise in hand. A matter that, if true, is very unseasonable, considering the thousands of the brave English people that have been consumed by sea and land within these few years, who have not been rogues, cutpurses, horse stealers, committers of burglary, nor other sorts of thieves (as some of our captains and men of war, to excuse themselves, do report). But, in troth, they were young gentlemen, yeomen, and yeomen's sons and artificers of the most brave sort; such as did disdain to pilfer and steal but went as voluntary to serve of a gaiety and “joyaltie” of mind, all which kind of people are the force and flower of a kingdom. For as for the rogues and other malefactors, let it be well looked into, and it shall be found that very few of them went either of voluntary or levied by commission, by reason that they, with intent to follow their base occupations, did exempt themselves by hiding out of the way at the times of levies. Which evil kinds of people have been greatly augmented of late years by two means : the one, by such as were levied by commission and employed beyond seas, where they through the covetousness of their captains lived upon very small or no pay by pilfering and stealing or going “a la picoria” (as they call it) without any military discipline, the remnant of which that have come home have learned so much idleness and lewdness in those disordered wars, being honest before going over, that they will not give themselves unto their occupations that before going over they were brought up into, but to roguing and stealing. And the other hath been by some of our judges, who, at the general gaol-deliveries, under pretence of pity and mercy or favouring of life (as they miscall it) have allowed all sorts of stealers of cattle and rogues, for petty larcenies in the third degree, that have been burnt twice or thrice in the hand, and therefore, by the the law should die, their clergy, and so to be clerks, when they could read no more than a post. By the saving of which and emboldening others to attempt the like, the numbers of malefactors are wonderfully increased. And this I have not only by hearsay of gentlemen of other shires of good credit, but of my own certain knowledge in this shire of Essex where I dwell. All which may turn this realm to great danger. I will only make mention of the bellum servile that gave the Romans so much to do in the time they flourished most, the Jacquerie of France, and the dangerous rebellion of the peasants of Hungary; and last of all the revolt of the disarmed Moors of Spain, very little more than twenty years past, that cost the lives of above 40,000 Spaniards and continued two years and more. Commonly, the beginnings are very small and therefore lightly regarded, but once begun, they suddenly grow great, and then they turn all to fire and blood.
And therefore, for the preventing of such accidents, 1 will, under your correction, set down my opinion, and that is : that there should be a very precise order taken in all the musterings and trainings that such knights and esquires as shall take charge of bands of horsemen and foot men, do enrol none but such as are gentlemen, yeomen, yeomen's sons, and artificers of some “haviour,” such, I mean, as the whole Essex regiment this time two years did consist of. All which sorts of men, expecting far greater happiness by the quietness and defence of their country than by any foreign change, may be trusted. Besides, being armed, it terrifies and pulls down the courages of the baser sort of people disarmed to attempt any evil matter of great moment.
And now seeing no occasion of employment in her Majesty's service, having been, in all the years since her Majesty called me from beyond the seas, never thought meet to serve her but once in Spain and a little, this time two years, in matters military here in Essex, I. revert to my suit that her Majesty may grant me her licence to go over the seas to the Spa, there to recover myself of my disease. And because the ears of all the richer sort of men have been so filled with the rumours of wars, that they are not willing to purchase lands or, at least, to give anything near for them that they are worth (as both I and divers others that would sell lands to pay debts have by experience) my suit is that my lands maybe apportioned to three purposes : (1) to her Majesty and a very few others that I am indebted unto; (2) for the maintenance of my wife and her poor family; and (3) for the maintenance of myself beyond the seas for two or three years.—Baddow, 28 January 1589. Endorsed by Burghley :—“Sir John Smyth.”
1589/90, Jan. 29. A certificate, under the hand of the Under Treasurer of Ireland, of the issuing of certain sums appointed by a Privy Seal dated 30 Nov. 1589 for the victualling, &c. of her Majesty's forces in Ireland.—29 January, 1589.
6 pp.
The Laird of Restalrig to [Archibald Douglas?].
[1589/90,] Jan. My lord, after my hearty commendations, the Master has shewn me that Mr. Secretary Walsingham has sent two packets to him which he has not received, which I marvel at much, but blame them that received them, and say that, for I shall answer for them that I received at any time as yet. But I fear the Master of Glamis to have gotten them, for there is a great misliking betwixt the Master of Gray and him. For the Secretary and the Master of Glamis have reported much evil to the King's grace of the Master of Gray, and have shewn all his proceedings to the King betwixt them and him ere they came into Scotland; but the Master yet is great enough with the King's grace. The Earl of Arran has written to the King that the Master of Gray has some of the jewels, at which news the Secretary and Master of Glamis were very glad. These two have both great misliking of you, as you shall know at more length afterwards. I would be glad to see you at home, but I think the Master does little to it, but to serve his turn with you, where you are, and if this journey of his hold forwards, it will be harder for you than now. The ministers are like to make a great trouble here, for they are very busy. The King has been angry with Mr. Walter Balcanquhal. They wrote the Master of Glamis that they obtained not their petitions at this Parliament. He and the Secretary are all “gydars” now in heart. My Lord Home is very angry with the Master of Glamis, because he would not subscribe his contract of marriage, he being one of his “beleves,” and has left him and his mother both at defiance. He is to be married to the Mistress of Oliphant the 9th of this month, January. The King is very sad; “all the haill” noblemen and gentlemen of Scotland, but only Argyle, Hamilton, Mar, and Maxwell, are mal contents. John of Cranstoun is the “man of ane” now, that I know bears you best goodwill. I leave to trouble you with longer letter, because of the bearer's haste, but I commit your Lordship to the protection of Christ. I pray you to send me word in writing if you receive my letters, and the date of them, and if there be any opened. Your Lordship's to power. Restalrige.
Without date or address.
1 p.
Abstract of Intercepted Letters.
[1589/90, Jan.] (i.) R, Yardley to Captain Braundeford, at the Bull Head without Temple Bar, by Barnes. Tho. Morgan's hand.
He stayed 3 days for him at the place appointed. Sorry he lost his company; he shall notwithstanding find him his honest faithful friend. Hath already dealt in his cause; attendeth answer, which he hopes shall be to his comfort. Wherefore he wisheth him to keep in the mind he left him, and saith in short time he shall either hear more of him or see him. If he happen to come of that side in his absence, he wills him to address himself to Thomas Morgan that was so good a servant of the Queen of Scots, upon whose friendly direction he may boldly rely, and one to whom he would commit whatsoever is to be handled.—9 January, 1590, stilo novo.
(ii.) John Jackson to Humfrey Wheler, by the name of Humfrey Milles, at the Ape near the Savoy. Thomas Morgan's hand and inditing.
Prays him to be assured he employs his labours and friends to answer his expectation as he shall find in the end. But his own honest endeavours whereof he hath seen good proof may bring to good perfection all that they desire. He would have his cousin Francis B. advised of his arrival, and that he attends to hear from him with speed by his means. Prays him by all means to procure the gentlewoman's business he wrote of speedily despatched that she may go over according to her desire and that he come himself with her.
He would have him demand for Rouland Morgan, next brother to Thomas Morgan, and to convey him over as the gentlewoman's man or his own. He may send Mr. Morris to Mr. Griffin of the Whitefriars, and at his hands be instructed how to find Rouland Morgan, and to resolve with him in this point. Albeit he come away he advises him, for sundry causes that shall import him both at home and abroad, to leave such order as he may have his confident friends in London to give him correspondence by writing wheresoever he be on that side the seas. To leave an alphabet with them, and choose amongst his friends such as be best able by reason of their places, ability and credit to give him the best advertisement of the state of the realm from time to time. When this is done at meeting he will give him light how to continue this intelligence with their and his own security. Prays his help for safety of Rouland Morgan's person if he come to him to London, and good conveyance of his furniture, for that the world now goeth hard on that side. If he come over in his absence he may safely rely upon the faith and sound advices of Thomas Morgan, as one having had long experience and intelligence with the Queen of Scots' friends and kindred and the best of all the English Catholics at home and abroad and in Scotland, and with all strangers that concurred with them.
Tho. Morgan hath a brother called Mr. Harry Morgan, the Queen's customer in South Wales : if he be in London he wisheth him to speak with him and know him and make him known to his friends there, for the amity he desires settled between him and these Morgans, being a right worshipful family in Monmouthshire, and well allied and friended in those parts. He hath already debated at good length with Thomas Morgan of him, and he hath assured to further all his godly endeavours. He may send for the said Griffin by Mr. Morris Williams, or by Mr. Biseley, or call upon him as he passes to the Whitefriars. He is an aged man and hath a long grey beard. He prays to be recommended to Mr. Lewis.—9 January, 1590, stilo novo.
(iii.) Thomas Morgan to his brother Rouland Morgan. He cannot write unto him as he desires and as the condition of the time requires, and therefore tells him he must either come over himself, or by the ad vice of Mr. Gwinne and such as he is that concur for the common good, send unto him some personage spiritual or temporal well instructed in the state of the realm and otherwise furnished to pass the world abroad for a competent time, upon whose faith and honesty he may boldly rely. For it is impossible to serve his country without a good intelligence with his friends, which he can make if they will put to their helping hand. And full oft little account make they of their own estate having regard to that is prepared, in that they be so careless to hearken to their friends abroad, who shall stand them in more stead than all their money, &c.
The bearer is recommended as his approved honest friend and able to convey letters or himself or any good friend nnto him. He shall leave order with him that conveys this letter unto him how he may speak with him at large, and consider of the means to come or send unto him, for he may commit what he will unto him. He hopeth shortly he that lav with him in the Faubourg St. Michel at Paris once will be in Lon don and will return from thence to the Low Countries, when as he may speak with him and resolve to come with him or write by him at large.
After he hath spoken with him it may be they shall agree, he saith, that he do return again for some cause.
He requires to be commended to Mr. Gwynne, whom he desires to command his labours where the same may pleasure him. He would have him communicate his departure unto him and such other reverend priests and others as deserve well, and take order in particular to whose hands he may commit letters to be distributed in the realm when he shall be on that side. If he come not he desires to know by letters what assured friends of theirs there be in London to whose hands he may address his letters unto him. Hereof he would have him advise with Mr. Gwinne.
Lewis Hughes a household chaplain of my lord of Cassano. He would have this means of conveyance common to Mr. Gwinne and his friends. His nephew Mr. Hugh Griffith is Provost of Cambray.
He thought by this time he and some others that travel here in England would have sent over some toward youths of that country of Wales for learning and for wars on that side; whereof he wills him to confer yet with Mr. Gwinne.
He wills him upon his coming over on that side to stay in some town of those parts where there be none of the English nation, because he knoweth not whether they shall agree or no touching his stay or return, and he will come to him with speed. If any of their cousins and friends' children be apt for learning he would have him bring some of them over, where they should edify themselves to their comfort and service of their country hereafter. He thinks there should be some toward youths in Tredeger, the Vanne, Lanternam and Bedvelly, the lords of which places he honours and remembers them all to God, tho' they do him some injury, their natural kinsman and honest for ever, in that he could not recover at their hands the conversation of some of theirs on that side the seas whereof themselves should have reaped good, considering he hath by many means demanded the same, as he doth still.
He understands Sir Robert Sydney shall be Governor of Flushing who married Mr. Gamage's daughter and heir, which falling out he would have him procure as many as may be out of that country of the bonester sort to assist him and to make a good intelligence between him and some of them. And they to be such as may pass and repass oft with credit and authority, to the end they may convey to and fro honest Catholic friends.
Mr. Thomas Kerme's son and heir married my lady Hungerford's daughter, which lady keeps at Lovayne. At St. Omers Richard Griffith his friend, brother to Dr. Griffith of the Arches, serves Mr. George Chamberlin.
He would have Powel the priest labour to send Mr. Lewis of St. Pore of that side the seas well appointed. If he would come and be content to be advised he might prove a good instrument for his friends; wherefore Mr. Powel being in vinculis Evangelii he would have the purpose continued by some other. If Mr. Lewis would come with him he would be glad so he would conform himself to the Catholic, &c.
He desireth to know if his cousin Mr. James Morgan be alive, whom he would have told that he hoped all this while he would have laboured to have stored those parts with a number of toward people for all good service hereafter, the reputation whereof will come at last whatever is done against it, &c.
His cousin Lewis Thomas, who was some time in France, if he be not settled as he cannot leave his country, is a man for the wars, or otherwise fit to assist some of the young gentlemen of that country that would travel abroad.
He is sorry that Mr. Watkins, Dean of Hereford, continues in errors and would be glad of his reconciliation to the church, to which end he would have some employed that he be not lost, body and soul.
He would know how his good cousin Morgan of Gray's Inn doth, whether he be dead or alive. He wishes he could speak with his brother Harry, so that it might be with his security without knowledge of his great mistress at home.
He would have him visit Mr. Dolman, a grave priest at London. He did recommend him unto him because he is a reverent man and of great labour in this realm. Would have him make him acquainted with his departure.
This gentleman bearer may be trusted in any matter.
He should be glad his brother Harry might speak with this gentle man, at whose hands he shall receive that he dare not put in writing lest it come to be surveyed of them that be so far out of peace with God and all good people.
Would know whether he shall pray for his brother as dead or living.
Mistress Giles, Sir Edward Stradling's sister, lives with commendation at Lovayne amongst the Bigers.
He would not have this gentleman bringer discovered to many for fear of inconvenience.
He would have him tell Mr. Thomas Powell, being a Raglan man, of the health of his brother Walter Powell, and to know whether Thos. Powell resideth in London and whether he may employ his labours there some time, though he hath others with whom he may be bold, but he lacketh some of their own country in London of whose friend ship and labours he may make account.
He would have him know of the friends of Lord Paget, Sir Ch. Paget and Tho. Throgmorton whether they will commit anything to his care, &c. Mr. Kerne hath a cousin german there, Mr. Rafe Ligon.—9 January, 1590, stilo novo.
(iv.) Thomas Morgan to Griffith Parry, tailor, in Whitefriars.
He shall understand by some of the reverend priests and Catholics of Monmouthshire, where his brother Rouland remaineth, and so to convey this letter, &c.
If any demand for the bearer, to take pains to bring them together.
To consider at his return with the better and wiser sort how best their labours may serve the afflicted for God's sake.
That they be of good comfort there for that God will make an end of their long injurious affliction, and to that end all care and labour is applied.
To use this endorsement because of the search at ports, [viz. :—]
Herr Nicholas de Whitteren, at Antwerp.—9 January, 1590, stilo novo.
Endorsed :—“1589. Intercepted. From Tho. Morgan and Roger Yardley by a meane.”
3 pp.
Defects in the Treaty with the States.
[1589/90, January.] No provision for more cautionary towns for her Majesty's indemnity in case she think requisite to demand the same : no provision for increase of the garrisons, for sustaining and defraying charges of fortifications, for furnishing sufficient munitions for guard of the said townes; no provision of certainty of numbers to be maintained by the States, nor of commissaries of musters English to take views of the same; no provision for the well-ordering and lodging of her Majesty's soldiers, for the pay of the principal officers, for the allowance of intelligence money to the Governor, for the half yearly perfecting of the accounts of disbursements, for reasonable prices of victual for the English soldier serving in camp.


  • 1. Burghley writes in the margin : “Relationes falsæ.”
  • 2. Burghley writes in the margin : “barbararon.”
  • 3. Burghley writes in the margin : “impia avaritia.”