Cecil Papers: September 1591

Pages 135-141

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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September 1591

Henry IV., King of France, to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 4/14. The fête at Pierrefonds, where in his opinion he ought not to have stopped, has caused the loss of munitions and of several days, which he regrets, yet he thought it was for the best. He must now regain the time lost.
[The letter is continued in cipher.]
Chaulny, 14 September, 1591.
French. ½ p.
Henry IV., King of France, to the Earl of Essex.
[1591,] Sept. 7/17. Trusts one or other of his dispatches from Chauny as he was leaving has reached Essex. Is sending one to England to advertise the Queen of the continuation of his journey. Has sent a copy to Marshal de Biron asking him to communicate its contents to Essex, &c.—La Capelle, 17 Sept.
French. ½ p. Addressed and endorsed.
O. Downhale to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 10. Knows that Essex has small leisure for the reading of ordinary letters but would not be so precise in shunning occasion to trouble him as thereby to neglect a duty. Has no other matter presently to deliver than a simple testimony of humble, constant, and faithful affection'. For his own unfortunate cause now dead and ever desperate without the relief of him that first gave it life, he defers it unto his lordship's happy return, if it shall then please him to revive it, otherwise void of all, both means and hope of recovery, and wishing no more but to be honorably buried. Remains still as before evermore discontented not to be with Essex, but, howsoever the baser part subject to fortune is constrained to be absent, yet the better part free from all restraint hath been and shall be ever day and night present in heart and heartiest prayers unto God for his lordship's welfare, good success and happy return.—London, 10 Sept. 1591.
Holograph. 1 p.
Sir Henry Killigrew to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 16. I received this packet last night after I was abed and was brought by the Tremorton which I have stayed here till your honour's pleasure be known. L have sent with the packet Paynter, one of Her Majesty's posts, and Symondes hath letters also for the Marshal Biron from Monsieur de Beauvays. It may peradventure provoke him to help you to some good answer to these letters. I was so bold to open the packet because I found my name there, in hope to have found some private letter to myself, which I did from my lord Treasurer, and another for Mr. Conisby which I have sent him. Now hearing that Paynter can get no horse, I will him to hasten afoot with the letter I wrote by him to your lordship yesterday, and for more speed and better security do send these by some of your horse band. I am, I perceive by my lord Treasurer's letters, to receive blame for my poor service, but I am acquainted with those matters and so I trust your lordship is. Murus ruens sana conscientia. The God that ruleth all govern the hearts of them whom this matter more concerneth than it seemeth to touch.—Dieppe, 16 Sept. 1591.
Holograph. 1 p.
Marshal de Biron to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 17/27. J'ay receu la lettre qu'il vous a pleu m'escrire et veu par icelle le retardement de vos trouppes et le temps que vous vous rendrez au lieu arresté. Cependant je m'en iray investir Gournay et la i'attendray de vos nouvelles et commandement.—Au campe à Quaillefontaine, 27 Sept. 1591.
P.S.—Avant la reception de votre lettre j'avois donne le rendezvous de toute l'armee.
Signed ½ p.
Sir Henry Lee to Sir Thomas Heneage.
1591, Sept. 18. The pain and flux in my eye doth rather increase than diminish, I find myself evil provided for, of all things necessary for me as I am. I am old, and come now evil away with the inconveniences of progress. I followed Her Majesty until my man returned and told me he could get neither fit lodging for me nor room for my horse. Ali these things considered hath made me return, with my more ease, to my poor home, where I am much more fit to pray for Her Majesty than now to wrestle with the humours of Court, which I find to be cross, or fortunes of the world which are most uncertain. Wherefore I beseech you if it so stand with your liking declare to Her Majesty the true and necessary cause of my departure . . .—From the Vine, 18 September, 1591.
Holograph. ¾ p.
— to [the Earl of Essex].
1591, Sept. 19. Ayant communiqué ensemble Monsieur le Mareschal de Biron et moi à Neufchatel, il est resolu pour raison d'importance d'attaquer Gourney. Nos troupes s'avancent et seront la aujouvdhui. De la venue du Roy nous avons receu des lettres, et sommes tous d' opinion qu'il a maintenant joinet son armée d'Allemaigne, qu'ils sont à Chalons et que nous le verrons dans 14 jours devant Eouen. Il-y-a une lettre interceptée venante de la part de Bassompie dans laquelle il se plaint que les reiters lesquels il emmenoit au secours de la Ligue redoutent tellement les Allemans du Roy qu'ils sont resolus de ne ..marcher point plus oultre. II se plaint aussi que le due de Parma ne s'achemine en plus grande diligence, et que s'il n'entre avee expedition plusieurs villes vers Lorraine, Champaigne et Bourgoigne se revolteront. Ceux aussi de Haynault et Artoys craignent fort les forces du Roy.—A Cai'fontaine, 19 September, 1591, Veteri stilo.
Copy. ½ p.
M. de la Chatte, Governor of Dieppe, to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 20/30. I would rather fall on the point of my sword, than tell you a lie, but if it please you to send one of your captains, I will shew him in this castle horses more than you require. Those which I have delivered to you belong to gentlemen and others, poor subjects of the King, who do not merit, for their fidelity and good service, to be thus treated, and I should be sorry to fail of my promise to return their horses, some given up willingly and others taken by force.—Cuy, 30 September, 1591.
Signed. French. ½ p.
Sir Henry Killigrew to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 22. This afternoon Captain Luke Ward arrived here with the ordnance from Guernsey, whereof Sir Thomas Leyton will furnish the particulars. It may please Essex to send the Master of the Ordnance or some officer of his to take charge of the same, and to deal with the governor of the town for mounting it, otherwise some of them, wanting carriages and other necessaries as they do, will be of no use when the service requires. The disorders of sick men and others remaining at Dieppe are very great, in stealing over by all means possible, notwithstanding that for the relief of the sick there is such order taken as they need not find themselves aggrieved. For stay of such as intend to pass out, has done what he could by charging the masters of ships to take no passengers without his lordship's passport, by writing to the lord Treasurer that such as come out otherwise may find some punishment on their arrival, both passenger and master of the ship, and by dealing with the governor and his officers in that behalf; bat sees small redress The matter is of much consequence as, if it be not remedied, he fears the greatest part of the army will follow. Suggests that a provost be sent to Dieppe to do justice upon some for stay of the rest. If any come, it must be a man of quality and credit and “armed with sufficient authority from Essex, for in the under officers is nothing but lewd dealing. For his own part, does what he can but is as yet unable to stir abroad. Intends to deal with the officers of the town to make a general search of the English remaining in it and will send a catalogue thereof.—Dieppe, 22 September, 1591.
Sir Thomas Sherley to Sir Robert Cecil.
1591, Sept. 22. Your letters of the 21st of this month came to my hands even at this very hour of nine o'clock at night the 22nd of the same. It is true I moved you directly to break to her Majesty my dislike of the match of my unfortunate son, and did beseech you in my name that her Highness might be moved to have regard unto the wrong done unto me in having my son inveigled (for so I do conceive it) and in a sort stolen from me. I remain as much unsatisfied therein as ever and do desire, as I did, to be regarded by her Majesty in the abuse offered unto me. I am most willing to obey her Majesty's pleasure by public act to declare my dislike of the great offence done to her Highness, and so I have continually done, but I know not by what other open act I can shew my dislike, having forbidden him my house and abandoned him from me and out of my sight : and so I mean to continue him. I deal plainly and honestly with you and so will do ever, and never did nor had mind to do otherwise. I send you herein the letter I had from the lady Pagett, according to your request, and will never halt with you; but, touching persuasion of issue, .I never had any such, neither do I know her to be with child nor do care whether she be or not. Once again, I beseech you to think that I am a plain honest man, and have ever been, towards you and all others. I am also more than sorry that your Honour has been troubled with this cause; and would I had given more than I can ever be able to spare that I were not so nearly touched in this matter as I am. I have proof enough by the mayne, God doth know it and my heart doth feel it. God send me other comfort !—At London within one hour after the receipt of yours, this 22 September, 1591.
Holograph. Seed. 2 p.
William Wylie to William Aschebye.
1591, Sept. 24. Begging his aid in procuring from the Lord Treasurer for John Kelsterne, the offices like to be vacant through the deadly sickness of one William Walker, pensioner at Berwick and Controller of the Port and Haven thereof.—Edinburgh, 24 Sept. 1591.
Addressed : “To Mr. William Aschebye, late Resident Ambassador for Her Highness in Scotland.”
¾ p.
Sir A. Sherley to [the Earl of Essex].
1591, 26 Sept. Although it pleased not his lordship to think him worthy to do him any service, he follows him nevertheless with all the best and honourable wishes he can devise.—From “Sainct Aulbine” this 26 September.
Signed. Endorsed :—“1591.”
On the back are various memoranda relating to money, concluding : “There appeareth to remain in the bag the 9th of Novemb. 63l. 3s. 3d.
½ p.
M. Moody to the Earl of Essex.
1591, Sept. 27./Oct 7. Of those hangings which you wished me to provide for you, having now seen sufficient choice, these are to let you understand that I have provided a suit or two, of the most fairest hangings that are in this country. The one suit is of the story of Cyrus, 8 pieces of six Flemish ells deep, the lowest price I can drive them unto is nine florins an ell, which is 18s. English. Another suit there is of the same deepness, very fair, of beasts, fowls, trees, and the price 10 florins an ell, which if it please you to have them, let me know by the next convenient messenger for that I have caused stay to be made of them for a month. These are here in Antwerp for I can find no such choice in Brussels.—“7 October, Anwarpe, 1591.” Signed, “M. M.”
P.S.—I came to Antwerp of purpose to send these letters and finding none of the posts of London, I came to Flushing under the habit and name of a Scottish merchant.
Add :—“To the most ho. Knighte [symbol] .”
Seal. 2/3 p.
The Earl of Essex to the Lords of the Council.
[1591, Sept.] Having received from your lordships a letter directed unto my Lord Ambassador, Sir Thomas Leighton, Mr. Killegrew and myself, and finding that the chiefest scope of the letter is to rip up all my actions and to reprove them, I thought good for your lordships' further satisfaction to give some account of mine own doings, leaving unto them to answer to such things as do not concern myself. And first whereas my going to the King is objected as a thing disallowed of the King and voluntary of myself, as not being sent for by him, I answer that at the time of my departure from Dieppe, when I sent Smith, my man, to satisfy your lordships of my going, I sent by him also the King's letter to myself and another to the Governor of Dieppe. In the first whereof he doth directly require my coming to him, and in the other he wills the Grovernor to convoy me with his company of horse, the which order he took with all his governors from place to place : these letters Smith told me at his return he showed unto Her Majesty. Further, the King's letter was sent by Sir Roger Williams, who, besides the letter, delivered me a message that it was necessary for the service of both their Majesties that I should come speak with him, and as of the one side I had this to draw me to go, so I had nothing to persuade me from it. First, because I was not restrained nor commanded to the contrary; next, because I had no way to employ these forces till I had either artillery out of England, which came not but at my return, or else that I had gotten some from the King; thirdly, because I left the footmen in no danger, but as safe as if they had lain in the town of Dieppe; and lastly, since I was sure they would want nothing, I having provided for them victual and all necessaries before my departure. These were the causes of my going.
Now, if your lordships will judge my doing by the effects, I shall deserve no blame. For both it was so safe, as I took never a man in coming or going home, and to so good purpose, as I had the King's word to send the Marshal Biron presently, and to hasten his own return. The Marshal is come, and whereas I wrote from Pont de l'Arch that he would be before Rouen the 15th of this month, he was within eight leagues of Rouen the 13th of this month, and had kept the day which he assigned to me, but that he saw the danger of leaving Gournay on his back, and with our help he thought it a place soon had, and being once won and kept with a strong garrison, a bulwark for our army against the Prince of Parma, or any enemy that shall come the way; of Picardy, which is the only way that succours can come to the town of Rouen, all the towns upon the Seine, even to Pontoise, holding for the King, and almost all the country beyond the Seine. But to justify the seige of Gournay, I leave it to my Lord Ambassador, and Sir Thomas Leighton, by whose advice I am drawn.
As for sending for the footmen to meet me, I answer that for myself it had been better to have gone without them, for as a private man I had rather fight upon some disadvantage than shun an enemy that see me. But the place I hold, considered Her Majesty's honour and the lives of so many principal gentlemen being interested in it, I could do no less, being advised so by French and English, than to assure our passage as much as I could. Whereas your lordships do object my bravado, as you term it, before Rouen and my loss, as the reward of my unadvisedness, I answer, first, the purpose was not amiss, I having great enterprise in hand, to cover it with amusing the enemy thereabouts, also to make our own men know that we durst look upon, the enemy at his own gates, as well as he came every day to our camp. If it were a folly, it is such a one as the greatest captains in Europe have committed, and as for my being the occasion of my brother's death, I appeal to Mr. Darcy and all that were present, whether I did not ride thrice down from the hill from which I viewed the town, to the church by which my brother was slain, to bring away all the principal gentlemen, which by name I sent up to the top of the hill, compelling of them Against their wills. This Mr. Darcy cannot forget for he was the first man I spake unto. And as for that unfortunate charge, the whole field heard me command but ten horse to charge, and none of the principal gentlemen to go with them. But my brother, being on the hill side, out my sight, saw them coming down and charged before them. I am sure that day there died of the enemy near twenty, and but two of ours. But it was the will of God that I should in that service, as in all things else, be unhappy. There are confessed of the enemy two captains slain and sixteen soldiers, so as but for this accident the day had been very happy for us.
As for my report of the King's and Marshal Biron's promises, I beseech your lordships remember I report their words, and not their actions, which if they do not perform, let them answer it themselves. Yet Marshal Biron is come down, and as we are certainly advertised is joined with his Almains by this, and marcheth. As for my saying Rouen might be carried within eight days after the cannon was placed, T hold it no absurdity to say I thought it likely. First, because the cannon will play the first day, and by the next day at noon there may be a sufficient breach made. Then I do think it to be doubted whether they within will bide an assault or no, and if they do, I doubt not but it shall be carried with the first or second assault. I say, under your lordships' correction, that if the King do not take it within eight days after his cannon plays, he shall lose 5,000 men in the ditches of Rouen, if his men assault it as they should do. As for my computation of eight days, when your lordships say I had but one day good to stay, I am sure that from the 2oth of September to the 3rd of October are eight days, and we arriving the 3rd, as I take it, of August, the two months expire the 3rd of October, which day in her Majesty's letters dated the 2nd of September is the day set down for our stay, as the end of the two months.
Whereas your lordships do write that Her Majesty's pleasure is to revoke both myself and the troops at the end of the two months, we must in all things submit ourselves to Her Majesty's pleasure. But I beseech your lordships give me leave for mine own discharge to say somewhat. If Her Majesty revoke her succours (though I confess the King hath deserved no other, sending for them so soon, before he was ready to use them) within twenty days after, the German army will vanish into smoke, and the King be driven to retire as far as Tours, and all Normandy and most of Picardy like to be lost. My reasons are, that if Dieppe and Caen be taken, the King will have no place in Normandy held for him. As for Dieppe I know it is not eight days' work for a great army, for neither it is nor can be made strong, and Caen as I hear is not to endure any great siege. As for the towns of Picardy, these is none of them, Calais excepted, that the Duke of Parma shall come before, but he will carry it away, there being no army to succour it, and Calais hath been lost, and may well be again, if by any means the haven may be cut off, as I learn it may. And all other towns that are not commanded by a great garrison will give themselves to the League, without asking. I will lay my life of it, that if Her Majesty do continue her purpose she shall see the greatest alteration in these parts of Christendom, that hath been seen these hundred years. I mean, her enemies will grow in power and in reputation, and her friends will hang down their heads. As for myself, if Her Majesty call home her troops, since I have made a chargeable provision for this journey, and have lost the greatest loss, but Her Majesty's favour, which in this world I can lose, I hope that Her Majesty will give me leave with twenty of mine own horses to see the catastrophe of this miserable tragedy, in which suit I humbly crave of your lordships that you will be mediators, else I will pray to God, if it be his will, that my death may prevent my disgrace.
Holograph. Draft. 4 pp.
[L—Sh—] to The Earl of Essex.
[1591, Sept. or Oct.] Neither am I worthy to persuade your lordship, nor your lordship fit to be persuaded by any but yourself; yet both my love and calling deserve that you should near me, unless you will have me to forsake my love and to neglect that charge that you have called me to. You think you have lost a noble brother. It is not so, right Christian lord ! You have not lost him, you have sent him before you. Yea, but he was dear unto you as yourself! Tell me then, to whose hands could you better commit so dear a thing than to the custody of Jesus Christ, who did but lend him unto you for a time and now hath taken him ? And. no doubt, he hath taken him, for how could he belong to any but his Creator being so excellent a creature, and dying in so excellent a cause ? But, I would to God that I might have excused him ! O the greatness of your love ! But I beseech you let it be so great that your love to men do not exceed your piety towards God. Shall God choose and will you change his choice. Your lordship, if you commanded any soldier of your army to come unto you, would you bear with him that would have stayed him from you ? The great commander of the world did send for your worthy brother, and you would go unto him in his stead! What you take unto yourself, give that to God. You would be gone to have redeemed him ! Say so no more, right noble lord; we cannot spare you. But you shall never enjoy it! What words of discomfort are these unto your army whose hearts are touched with your grief. O, my lord! I beseech you even by the religion which you profess, by the love you bear unto this righteous and honorable cause, with all mine heart, with my tears and with all my affections, to moderate your inward grief, which displeaseth God, hurteth your health, dismayeth your army and will hinder this righteous cause we have in hand. When your lordship came yesterday to Dieppe, though I was very ill, yet did I enforce myself to come unto you, but I find you always either in heaviness or in business. My mind is as strong as any man's to follow your lordship whithersoever, as you know I have done heretofore; but I protest my body is not so soon able. I see the miserable provision we have for carriage of necessaries for health, which so soon as ever I have recovered that I may be able to ride, I will come unto your lordship. In the mean time, I will pray to our good God to send you all his comforts from the heavens, to strengthen you that you may go through with this noble cause you have begun.
Undated. 1 p.