Cecil Papers: March 1597, 11-20

Pages 105-121

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 7, 1597. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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March 1597, 11–20

Jo[hn] Ferne to Lord Burghley.
1596-7, March 11. Whereas the last Lord President, amongst other his cares for the good government of these north parts, endeavoured to apprehend David Inglebye and Joseph Constable, the first a common runner beyond seas to conspire treasons (as is thought) and thought a notorious recusant, a common receiver of seminaries and other disloyal subjects; but committing trust for their apprehension to some justices of peace, that service, either through their careless or faithless dealing, did never take effect. Upon consideration whereof, I having long laid espialls for the said Constable, have now intelligence of his being in his house at Kirkby Knowle, and took such a course as that thereby he was apprehended on Sunday morning last (the 6th of this month). His house by reason of the vaults and secret passages, both above and beneath the ground, is so cunningly contrived that it is a hard matter by a search to find out all the receptacles, and therefore it is accounted as safe a place for any seminaries or other traitor to lurk in as if he were at Rheims or Rome. The said Joseph Constable was indicted of felony for receiving of seminaries at the assizes for Yorkshire in Lent 36th of her Majesty's reign and was outlawed upon the same indictment in the 37th year, which indictment, upon sight of the transcript here, I think is void and erroneous in the words drawn under with a line, for the reason subscribed in the copy thereof, which I send hereinclosed to your Lordship, for that I think he must be anew indicted at our next gaol delivery which is shortly after Easter; praying therefore your Lordship that the opinion of the Lord Keeper or Mr. Attorney might be had and sent hither.
He is committed to the Castle of York close prisoner. His standing out was a great emboldening of other subjects in the errors of popery and in their disloyalty to converse with seminaries, and, as I am persuaded, the exemplary punishment of him, so far as in justice the law may inflict, would be a means to restrain others within their dutiful obedience to her Majesty.
It is like his friends will bestir themselves what they can to obtain his life at her Majesty's hands, and perhaps by delay of his execution he may be drawn to a feigned submission, which may be used as a colour to procure her Majesty's favour to remit his offence, and then himself (as others in the like case) will return to their former disloyalty. There was apprehended with him Francis Wycliffe and Cuthbert Plusgrave, recusants and companions with seminaries, but as yet none of them will confess anything saving that Plusgrave saith he hath been in Flanders when he was a child. Constable's estate is very mean : he hath no goods left and for lands he hath none, for the living which he hath, being of 160l. per annum, was conveyed by Sir Henry Constable, his brother, from whom he had all or the most of it, by exchange to this Joseph's son, of the age of thirteen years, brought up in the company of seminaries and conveyed from place to place so that it is some difficulty to apprehend him, but we will do the best we can to take him. I am promised to have a plot laid for Inglebye who is now in Yorkshire, and haunteth four houses there, and sometimes at his nephew Mr. Wynter's, in Worcestershire.
I would have written sooner thereof but that I hoped ere this to have further matter from those prisoners by their examinations; which is the cause I think that a public letter from this place is not as yet written to your lordship concerning this matter.—At York, this 11th of March 1596.
Endorsed :—“Mr. Ferne, Secretary at York. The apprehension of Joseph Constable and his committing.”
Holograph. Seal. 1¼ pp. (39. 2.)
John Danyell to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 11. I have, in regard of your father-in-law's decease, forborne to trouble you with the contents of this letter, which I hope your honour will accept in good part. I send in several notes the sum of speeches betwixt me and George Freeman, a merchant of London, and of the state of the house of Ormound and Osserie in Ireland.
I send a warrant for the office of an attorney in the Court of Requests to be signed by her Majesty; the party nominated therein, after the same is passed, will immediately content the Masters of Requests, for he knoweth he can have small commodity by his office except he may have and continue their favour and good liking. I most humbly beseech your honour, as my only trust and confidence is in you, to be a mean to her Majesty for the signing thereof with as much speed as you may, whereby I may quit my patent, receive the next our Lady Eve 10l., and pay my creditors, and henceforth not be a trouble to your honour in seeking further security. If I be not holpen in time, I am well assured my creditors will exclaim at the Council table against me, to my utter undoing, and I shall lose my pension. In case the warrant be signed, I shall live out of danger.—This 11th of March 1596.
P.S. I most humbly beseech your honour to remember Thomas Geffrey the prisoner at Callice.
Signature and postscript by Danyell. Seal. 1 p. (39. 5.)
The enclosures :
(1.) Speeches between George Freeman and me.
Immediately after the return of the Earl of Essex and the Lord Admiral's return from Calais, George Freeman and I, meeting at the city storehouse for corn in Southwark, having had some speech touching that service, and rejoicing greatly at their good success, entered into some speech of Calais, wishing the recovery thereof for her Majesty. He said, “If it had pleased her Majesty to employ a good army for that purpose he doubted not divers citizens of London and others of this realm would willingly lay out freely great sums of money for that service.”
About a month ago, he and I meeting, I put him in remembrance of our former conference as above. He affirmed the same to be true, and assured himself it would have been performed. For his own part, he would maintain two soldiers at his own charges if need were for three years. I asked how the money might be gathered in secret to be at her Majesty's commandment when it should please her to employ an army that way. He answered that in appointing two sufficient discreet men to deal with such as they shall be instructed within the city, and swearing the parties with whom they shall deal to secrecy. He doubted not but great sums will be gathered presently. Touching the gentlemen and others of the realm, he referred to her Majesty's discretion.
(39. 3.)
(2.) Touching the state of the house of Ormond and Ossory in Ireland.
Henry VIII., upon a surrender by Sir Piers Butler, knight, and James Butler, grandfather and father to the now Earl of Ormond, granted to them and their heirs male the earldoms of Ormond and Ossory, with such manors and parcels of land as they then did set down; and for want of such heirs that the same should revert to the Crown, as appears by the letters patent.
The like grant was passed by his Majesty unto James Butler aforesaid of the liberties and royalties of the county of Tipperary and of the prise wines of Ireland. The like was confirmed by letters patent of Philip and Mary to the now Earl.
The said James Butler, Earl of Ormond and Ossory had issue :
(1.) Sir Thomas Butler, now earl, who hath no issue male.
(2.) Sir Edmund Butler, knight, hath three sons, Piers, and James, now in action, and Richard, prisoner in Dublin Castle; the said Sir Edmund is not yet restored to his blood.
(3.) John Butler, deceased, was never in action : he hath Walter Butler to his son who hath also sons.
(4.) James Butler, deceased without issue.
(5.) Walter Butler, deceased, was never in action; he hath issue Piers Butler, who hath sons.
(6.) Edward Butler who was in action and attainted : hath issue James Butler.
(7.) Piers Butler, who was in action and attainted, hath a great number of sons.
(39. 2.)
Arth. Atye to William Downall.
1596-7, March 11. I am glad of your news touching my L. I pray God hold it. I am not well in tune and have brought home Grifters with me, from whom I would not willingly be absent this day nor to-morrow; and, therefore, I am loth to come to lie at London this night except the cause do so specially require. I pray you write me in a word or two somewhat of it and return me this bearer with speed. If it be that I should now take the opportunity to meet your L. in my matter, I am well of opinion it were fit so soon upon those new terms to be done by myself, but rather that Mr. Wyseman or you, if you see good cause, do it till I come, and then on Tuesday or Wednesday will I, God willing, be there and follow it all the week. If there be any other cause why you would have me come now, if your writing may excuse my coming, I pray you write it me at large. Your letter, I assure you, shall be burnt as soon as it is read. This notwithstanding if you think it still requisite to come, write so and I come.—Kylborne, 11o Mart. 1596.
Holograph. 1 p. (173. 71.)
Sir R. Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 12. Yesterday, I received your two letters by Captain Masterton and Captain Berry; be assured that your recommendation in no place of the world shall have more force than where I have to do. I know your occasions are such as you cannot intend the writing of long letters unto me. Indeed I would fain know what courses you intend that accordingly I might provide how to be able to do you service. My coming over I perceive is crossed, by what means I know not; but seeing there is no reason for my stay here and I so earnest a suitor for leave, I must needs think that there are which willingly hinder it. I have also very small hope of your doing me any great good in the matter of the Cinque Ports, but all the hope I have is only in you. For I doubt not (excepting you) but that my Lord Cobham did, before he died, get the promise of most of the Council for his son. Notwithstanding, I beseech you not to give it over since he who stands for it is so unworthy of it and hath deserved so ill of your lordship, and that I know to me there can be no exception taken why I should not have it. When my brother and my uncles died, all their offices great and small were given away from me. Since that time I have not left to continue the doing her Majesty service, and if nothing will light upon me, I must think either I deserve very ill or have very ill luck. Once I was promised the Butlership and was after put from it, as you know. At the last I hope the Queen will think that I have reason to expeet somewhat. I understand also that her Majesty hath been offended with me for the not arresting the ships which were to go westward, as also I found by a letter from the Lords in that behalf unto me that there have been exceptions taken unto it. I hear also that your lordship in answering for me hath abidden a chiding, for which I acknowledge myself very much bound unto you. But truly you did not therein more defend your poor friend and servant than you did speak according to the justness of the cause and the good of her Majesty's service. And indeed I did hope that my letter should have been delivered at the Council board when your lordship had been by, and so much did I will Rol[and] Whyte to deliver unto you, for my haste was such I could not cause a copy to be written out for you, which now I do send unto you though I confess very late. Notwithstanding it will not perhaps be altogether unnecessary for you to read it because somewhat you may find thereby of the nature of this place; and besides may judge of the lameness of the directions which are oftentimes sent to them which be abroad, by which also men are charged to execute things which afterwards they are to answer with their heads. But here was Fenner and King at the same time with two of the Queen's ships, who parted from here with a resolution to cause the ships to be stayed in the Narrow Seas, which might most easily have been done. But for the most part they are the scrapingest fellows that be in the world, and discharge the Queen's service the most disgracefully, for they will take anything that is given them and care not how they come by it, and the hope to get something by the convoying over of three or four small boats made one of them lose his wind, whereas otherwise Sir Henry Palmer had been advertised in time that I could not stay them here. But I trouble your lordship too long. I beseech God to bless all your honourable courses.—At Flushing, the 12th of March 1596.
Holograph. 3 pp. (39. 6.)
Sir R. Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 12. These northerly winds do keep hence all shipping out of Spain so as here are not any advertisements of the preparations there. The news from Genoa are that there is come thither a million and a half of crowns for the service of the Cardinal, although part of it be to come into the hands of the Fouchers for the payment of the soldiers which are to be levied in Germany to come into the Low Countries, so as it is to be thought that the enemy will be able to hold the field this year. Whereto also helpeth that the town of Amiens hath ransomed itself at three hundred thousand crowns, and in it were found eight hundred barrels of gunpowder and forty pieces of cannon. It is an extreme great loss for France and a great ease to Hainault and Artoys; and indeed it is thought that if that enterprise had failed, the Cardinal's men of war upon the frontiers would all have mutinied. The Italian news do report, and the like hath also been written from Brussels, that the Count of Fuentes shall go General into Brittany in the name of the Infante with very great forces. And this being all I have to advertise you of I humbly take my leave.—At Flushing, the 12 of March 1596.
Holograph. 1½ pp. (39. 8.)
J. G[uicciardini] to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 12/22. I am very earnestly requested to write in the behalf of one Captain Ragnina of Ragusa, who, being to perform some voyages between these parts and Siviglia and Lisbon in a ship called the St. John Baptist, desireth to be favoured with her Majesty's passport for the Narrow Seas or any of her Majesty's ports. This day I do write unto your Lordship at large.—The xxii of March 1596.
Signed :—“J. G.”
Endorsed :—“Mr. Guicciardini. Recommending C. Ragnina of Ragusa.”
Holographp. (39. 45.)
J. Guicciardini to [the Earl of Essex.]
1596-7, March 12/22. The Spaniards having fresh in memory the great blow received at Cadiz which doth yet represent a fearful object to their eyes; and would have been the utter ruin of his greatness if the English had held it; or if they had stayed but some few days [to] have intercepted the Indian fleet, they had at least clipt his feathers, as manifestly appeareth by this that, howbeit his fleet came safely into Spain, yet he was forced by his loss at Cadiz and other expenses above his revenues to retain particular men's monies, which hath caused these disorders amongst the merchants throughout Italy and diminished his own credit, as neither in Naples, Genoa or Milan he cannot find any that for his service will disburse a penny, nor yet in Italy that will give accomplishment to the Cardinal's bills of exchange; the Spaniards, I say, having still before their eyes the brave enterprise performed by the Englishmen at Cadiz and the dangers which themselves so lately escaped, do fear nothing so much as the power of the Queen's navy, as they evidently shewed by sending out in so unseasonable a time and with so great charge the late fleet of the Adelantado of Castile, besides the expense of keeping their soldiers in pay this winter without employing them to any use. He hath created General of the infantry in Spain the Count Fuentes (a degree and title out of use in Spain these many years) and hath sent him in all speed to visit the country of Andaluzia and to make ready those lances that were promised by the people of that province, not-withstanding they are for the most part young soldiers, ill-experimented and worse mounted. Their fear is likewise greatly increased by the near neighbourhood and evil satisfaction of the King of Fetz and the Moors, insomuch not trusting to the means of Spain alone, although be already joined with them twelve gallies of Naples under Don Pedro de Toledo, they have sent for the whole squadron of Sicilia, which are in number twelve, and besides demanded those of Genoa, which are eighteen, and the rest of Naples. Howbeit it is thought that by reason they are so weak and ill provided they will not be able to conduct thither above seven of them. Of the 10,000 foot which are levying at Naples and Milan, the greatest part are to be sent to Spain, the rest into the Low Countries, where they intend also to send a million of gold which is already arrived at Genoa in silver bullion, first to be coined there and afterwards sent overland : which before it be performed, will happily come too late to supply the Cardinal's wants, being so greatly behind hand with his soldiers for their pay as he is. The King is likewise behind with the merchants of Genoa 600,000 crowns; and, if their gallies which they keep at the King's stipend be not paid, they will hardly be able to serve him this spring. In sum, all these great preparations and stirring which they would have the world believe to be intended for an invasion, is thought to be only to defend themselves from the Queen's power; and to intend that the better hath so disarmed and weakened his coasts in Italy that if the Turk do assail any of them with a convenient navy, he is like to put them to some very hard plunge, the estate of their affairs being, both for scarcity of money and for many other respects, in worse terms than ever they were. They find their affairs in the Low Countries, somewhat by their late overthrow but especially by the firm league and unity between England and France, to be greatly declination. I find that In all encounters with English or French they have always gone by the worst, but in all treaties have for the most part still gone beyond them, and therefore do now run for their last refuge to those weapons which they can best handle, hoping that in respect of the misery of France, the King being weary of the wars will gladly give ear to some treaty of peace. Which if they intended sincerely, and that there might grow a general and sure peace through Christendom, it were a thing much to be desired and by all means to be procured; but is there that can judge of any thing that cannot easily discern that they are only artifices to win time and to endeavour by letting their enemies asleep to make them let slip the occasions of their victory and in the end to dissolve their unity and alliance, and to that purpose have omitted no opportunity of corruption and sowing suspicion among them, which is the chief point of their cunning. Yet hitherto, though they have attempted many ways, they could never draw the King to hearken to any conclusion of peace. But, as is said before, the Spaniards' intentions are far from any true meaning of peace otherwise than to get advantage of time thereby to interrupt the designs of their enemies, and to unwind them out of the present danger and difficulties wherein they find themselves entangled, that after they have taken breath awhile, and by new supplies of treasure from the Indies gathered new forces, they may be able to assail them by whom they now fear to be assailed. They seek in Scotland to get themselves favour and authority with that people, and by means of religion to declare the King excommunicate and uncapable of Government; and in conclusion, all their ends and endeavours do only tend to oppress her Majesty and to bridle the States of the Low Countries, and therefore it behoveth them to be vigilant and to seek in time to prevent those practices, and especially all negotiations of peace or truce in France, which cannot be but perfidious and to them especially most prejudicial and dangerous, and above all not to disarm themselves, but to seek by transporting their armies into the enemies' home to drive him that way to seek peace, which they shall never otherwise obtain secure.
Out of Germany we have that the Prince of Transylvania doth of himself confess to be impotent for matrimony and therefore requesteth to be divorced from his wife. And doth likewise confess himself unable without help to defend his country, and therefore offered it to the Emperor upon some convenient recompense, or else to be helped with sufficient forces to keep it. Otherwise that he shall be driven to make agreement with the Turk, the Polonians having utterly refused to enter into league with the Emperor, so that the Turk shall have little to fear in those parts.
Cipher. 3 pp.
Decipher of the above.
Endorsed by Essex :—“Mr. Guicciardini at Florence, 22 March 1596. Written in cypher.”
(39. 43, 44.)
J. Guicciardini to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 12/22. Besides some few letters which I wrote to your lordship immediately upon my arrival in these parts (whereof one was of the 21 of December sent by Mr. Hickes his factor, another of the second and two of the 7th of January which I delivered to his Highness's Secretary) I have not had means to send any. The causes I recounted to your lordship particularly by my first. This present I send by the way of France inclosed in the same friend's packet by whom I sent my three last; I would be glad to hear it came safely to your hands. I send here inclosed a little discourse made by a friend of yours in these parts; but being delivered unto me but this day of the post's despatch I was not in time to send it so perfect as I would, but what wanteth shall be supplied, God willing, by my next.—22 of March 1596.
Endorsed :—“Mr. Guicciardini, 22 March '96: received 13 April 1597.”
Holograph, unsigned. The words in italics in cipher. 1 p. (49. 65.)
Sir Horatio Palavicino to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 13. We must suspend our judgment of Verdiani, for I have received his letters dated Antwerp, 27 February, with which he sends three letters to justify his delay in the journey; he having been detained at Sainct Desir on the French frontier and his money taken from him because it was more that 60 crs., which is the largest sum that the laws of that kingdom allow to be carried out. He recovered the money after delay and expense. Now he is arrived where he promised to go. Think whether you will entertain him and risk the second arrow after the first. The 90 crs. he hath are done, and he presses for more. I will write as you shall direct, both in this and in any particular there may be not contained in his instruction. His first news is but that of a man newly arrived : time will show what he can do for his pay. Let me have your letter by Thursday at latest so that I may send the letters to London for the post on Saturday evening. My friend at Middelburg had sent a man into Flanders to spy the enemy and he was longer than usual; with the first we shall know what he brought.—Baburham, 13 March 1596.
Italian. Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (49. 60.)
Sir Thomas Egerton to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 14. The state of the case touching the rectory of St. Andrew's Undershaft, wherein I have entreated your favour, is thus :—
The parsonage of St. Andrew's being but 20l. in the Queen's books, the disposing of it doth belong to the place I hold. I mistrusting no quarrel nor question presented Mr. D. Fielde and the presentation passed the Seal the 12th day of this month.
After this I understood a question was made that this appertained not to my place by reason of an union made of another little parsonage called St. May at Axe to the rectory of St. Andrew; the same being 5l. in the Queen's books and so both together 25l. This union (if made) was made lately about the fifteenth year of her Majesty.
Hereupon groweth the doubt whether, by this union of 5l., that of 20l. be taken from me or not. To clear this I have caused the bill to be drawn which you have.
How Mr. Harmar holdeth Droukesfourd and the B. of Chichester holdeth Chyame your honour best knows. This much for answering objections if any be made.—14 Martii 1596.
Endorsed :—“Lord Keeper to my Master.”
1 p. (39. 11.)
The Spanish Hostages from Cadiz to the Earl of Essex and Lord Admiral Howard.
1596-7, March 12–44. Their benevolence is made more evident by their last letter, want of due return for which on the writers' part is due not to their fault but their inability. Have commended their liberty to their friends in Spain, to procure which every thing that is possible ought to be done. Have written very frequently to their families in Spain, and to King Philip, and others, and at their direction have sent letters into Spain to which they expect an answer next month. As they expect an answer so soon they pray that this brief delay may not be imputed to their fault, nor be the cause of harsher treatment of their persons, which might open the door to diseases dangerous, and here incurable; since many of them labour under great age and weakness. Will never allow the two causes contained in the said letter to enter their mind so as to make them strive less to satisfy the promised debt and to provide for their most desired liberty. If any such cause, as is suspected, is delaying the intentions of their friends in Spain, will now write to them that they are greatly deceived and that they ought to be most careful to satisfy their debt. To move their friends in Spain the more, by their leave will inform them of their own new and harsher treatment. To obtain liberty will do anything their lordships wish most willingly.—Ware, 24 March, 1597.
Endorsed :—“From the Spanish pledges, March, 1596.”
Four signatures. Latin. Seal. 2 pp. (47. 113, 114.)
William Becher to Lord Burghley.
1596-7, March 15. I am sorry to find your Lordship is so misinformed of my lascivious life and being of no value when I began he Majesty's service. The one may sufficiently appear to be untrue in that I have this eighteen years been cessed at 100l. subsidy, and until I began those subsidies I paid yearly four or five hundred pounds customs, which, under correction, could not have been done out of no value. The other I could wish might be examined by commission unto honest and discreet persons in London, when I doubt not it would appear as untrue.
Howsoever these informations have been brought unto your Lordship, they have originally proceeded from Mr. Hickes, your secretary, whose revile and threatenings of me is beyond the bounds of religion or ordinary civility, and his unjust informations are of purpose to prevent me and to bring your Lordship into such mislike of me as that you may not vouchsafe to hear me in my just and lawful demands against him for 5,000l. which I have disbursed and stand in danger of for his predecessor, Henry Parvishe; the truth whereof I pray may be examined by commission or otherwise, when I doubt not it shall appear manifest that, though I bear the name of “banckroute, lewed and dishoneste,” Sir Thomas Sherley principally, and secondly Mr. Hickes, do unjustly detain the matter and substance that should take this disgrace from me.
I have also another suit in these enclosed papers, wherein I beseech your favourable consideration and furtherance as the pitiful estate of me, my wife and six children doth now require.—This xvth day of March 1596.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (39. 14.)
The enclosures :
1. Letter from the same to Burghley stating that by the Queen's command he has set down his losses in her service, amounting to 10,000l. as the particulars will declare, and praying allowance for the same, or continuance in her service, upon sufficient security, that hereby he may recover some debts of good value owing to him by some of the captains.
If it be thought unfit to have his own name appear therein (in regard of his present estate) some other sufficient man could be nominated thereto by Becher who should give good security.
(39. 13.)
2. Statement of losses by William Becher and George Leicester in her Majesty's service.
1592. In corn bought in Ireland of the Earl of Ormond for the forces in Brittany 1100l.
1593. Apparel and arms spoiled by lying at the islands of Jersey and Guernsey in cellars of water 600l.
Apparel and arms taken by them of St. Malo which was sent in small boats from Jersey to Pimpole 800l.
1594. Waste of victuals sent to Jersey and Guernsey when the forces were to have come out of Brittany thither 1600l.
Loss in apparel, arms and other wares with the camp from place to place in Brittany 1200l.
Lost by two servants that died in Brittany, their money and some goods being ransack by the soldiers after their death 800l.
Two ships laden with corn from Lyme to Flushing taken by the Dunkerkers 700l.
Waste and spoil of beer and other victuals at Flushing, Bergame and Ostend 2000l.
Lost by one Daniell and Cartwright employed for victualling at Bergame and Flushing, being of so much short in their accounts 1200l.
Sum is 10,000l.
(39. 12.)
Dr. Ch. Parkins to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 15. I conceive it is fit her Majesty be speedily made acquainted with these things following.
The merchants of the East country had yesterday intelligence from Denmark that there is a constant purpose to arrest their ships that shall pass by the Sound. This purpose (as I take it) cannot proceed from intention of reprisals by reason of the controversies now handled by the Danish ambassador, for the ambassage is not yet returned and the ambassador is like to be satisfied : The said ambassador signifieth that he hath intelligence of troubles toward in Sweden. Duke Charles maketh an host. A captain in Sweden for the King hath put to the sword some five hundred countrymen that shewed some inclination to Duke Charles. Since the death of King John of Sweden the Pope's ministers have entered into a set purpose to get Sweden into their subjection by the means of the King of Poland, now King of Sweden also, dandling him of purpose for that their intention. Duke Charles, by marriage of the daughter of Adolphus, Duke of Holse, is allied to the King of Denmark and like to be favoured especially, the controversy being for religion. It is not unlikely that if any stay be intended of our ships it may be to prevent that the King of Poland get them not into his power to use them for conveying men, etc. against Duke Charles. Our ships may follow their trade and not come into the danger of the King of Poland, for such as are bound to Dantsic may rest in a road thereabouts situated to load and unload by lighters, as the greater ships ever use there, whereby if our men be vigilant they need not to be subject to any force of Poland : and it is likely that those of Dantsic will not be pliant to their popish design. Such ships as are bound for Elbing may lie in the Pillow under the Duke of Prussia, likewise to load and unload by lighters as greater ships ever do, and it may be thought assured that the Duke of Prussia will not join against Duke Charles and Denmark, especially in matters of religion. If your honour require more information herein, I will be at hand as soon as I have made an end of sitting in commission in the Danish causes whereunto this morning is appointed.—The 15 of March 1596.
Signed. 1 p. (39. 15.)
Sir John Fortescue to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 15. It hath pleased Almighty God to call to his mercy Thomas Collingwood, late son of Sir Cuthbert Collingwood, likewise deceased. Wherefore I must be an humble suitor for the wardship and marriage of the son of the said Thomas Collingwood, for that both Sir Cuthbert and he owe suit to the castle of Baumburgh. If it may stand with your good liking to help me to the same wardship, I will bestow 200l. upon my good lord, your father, and you, and rest at all times what in me or any of mine resteth to do you any service or pleasure in what I or they can pleasure your honour.—Newcastle, this xvth of March 1596.
Holograph. Sealp. (39. 16.)
Sir R. Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 15. This day I received your letter by Captain Morison. I most humbly thank you for your promise in it concerning the Cinque Ports and beseech you to take a little pains in it. For indeed it is the place in England that almost I have the greatest desire unto; and having it I shall be able to do serve your Lordship at any of your occasions. Besides the reasons you allege in respect of yourself for me, do not forget to lay before the consideration of the Queen the nearness of Calais and Dunkerck, and the easiness to do a 'skorne' or a spoil if he that hath the charge of those places be not a man of war. I doubt not your Lordship remembers how slenderly you were assisted by the late warden in the service of Calais. The like occasions or worse may come, and your Lordship like much worse to be seconded by the son than you were by the father, who, you may boldly say, is beloved of never a man in Kent. Truly I pity my poor countrymen who are ready to leave their houses upon the sight of every small fleet for want of some-body among them to tell them what they have to do. I do write to the Queen myself and have commanded Rol. White to shew your Lordship the copy of my letter, as also that to my Lord Treasurer. But my hope is in you only and the success shall shew it, for I will be nobody's but yours in that commandment or any other. If the Queen object that I cannot keep both places, truly I will rather leave this, so I may keep it for some few months till I be settled in the other, but this only to your Lordship.—Flushing, the 15 of March 1596.
Holograph. Seal. 2 pp. (39. 17.)
[The Earl of Essex] to [Signor Jeronimo Condy.]
[1596-7, March 16]. Sur la reception de vos lettres et les aultres qui vous out esté addressées de la part du Grand Duc, je me suis diligemment informé de l'affaire recommandé par icelles; et ay entendu que les navires estoyent desja passez—ensemble l'occasion de luy faire le service que j'eusse aultrement faict en toute devocion a moy possible. Car, comme je recognois avoir une obligacion infinie a son Altezza pour ses grandes faveurs et pour l'honneur qu'il me faict en me voulant employer en son service par deca, ainsi mettray-je toute peine de m'en acquitter de cest obligacion, et me rendre digne d'une si grand honneur par toutes occasions qui se presenteront. Pour vostre particulier, Monsieur, j'en suis tres ayse, et l'estime un grand [bon]heur par ce moyen d'avoir acquis ceste cognoissance d'un gentilhomme de vostre merit, et ne laisseray couler aucune occasion qui puisse donner accroissement a icelle par toute correspondence d'affection et bons offices en ma puissance comme celuy qui est et sera tousjours, Monsieur—.
Draft corrected by Essex and with these words at the commencement struck out, “Je respondray en francoys, aux lettres qu'il vous a pleu m'escrire, scachant tresbien que ceste langue ne vous est moins familiere que l'Italienne.”
Underwritten, “I like the letter, but would have the three first lines clean left out.”
Endorsed by Reynolds :—“My l. to Sigor Jeronimo Condy. 16 March '96.” And in another hand, “Letters of advertisement from foreign parts.” 1 p. (39. 20.)
Sir R. Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 16. This day being the 16 of March came this bearer unto me, and being here no passage at this time I have taken order for a ship of war of purpose to carry him over unto you. The cause of his coming is to reveal a practice against the person of the Queen by a friar capuchin, as he saith, who hath undertaken to kill her. The man he knoweth well, as he saith, and therefore taketh this journey upon him to discover him if he do see him in England. The means whereby he knoweth it, as he tells me, is by the acquaintance he had with another young man, a loose fellow, to whom the capuchin, fearing the danger, had broken the matter, to see if he could induce him to undertake it. But the said fellow, after he had thought upon it a little, refused it, and as this man saith, is gone into Hungary. The friar, he saith further, hath disguised himself into ordinary apparel, and whether he be an Englishman or not he knows not, but he saith that he is resolved he cannot escape if he attempt what he hath undertaken, and therefore he hath capitulated for reward to be given to the convent of which he is, but what nor how much this party doeth not know. This much he hath delivered unto me, which I thought good to set down to the end your Lordship may see whether he agree in one tale still. He is of Antwerp, but speaketh some little French; and how true his information is I cannot say, but I know in a matter whereupon depends the good of the whole state, not only of England but of all Christendom, there cannot be too much carefulness. God also oftentimes reveals great matters by very mean instruments, and therefore it may be that this poor man may do a notable service in discovering this horrible and villainous practice, if indeed there be any such; and our enemies being manifest to be authors of many the like it may be also that this work also comes out of the same shop. God, I beseech Him, defend her Majesty from all her enemies, to His own glory and the comfort of His people. For me I will think it exceeding great what doth never so little touch her Majesty, and therefore could not fail with all care and speed to send this man over unto you. Of another man I sent unto your Lordship, who came unto me from Brussels to discover other practices, I do not hear whether he hath been with you or not.—Flushing, the 16 of March 1596.
Holograph. 2 pp. (39. 21.)
The States General to the Earl of Essex.
1597, March 16/26. Our Agent the Sieur de Caron at his last coming hither spoke of your good will towards this country and people, for which we have bidden him thank you on his return. We would especially recommend to you the case of the merchants interested in the money taken out of three ships met by the Queen's fleet off Finisterre on their way to Calais. These merchants are more than 150 in number, all inhabitants of this country, and continually beg us to use our influence with the Queen in their behalf, as Sieur Caron will more clearly explain to you.—The Hague, 26 Marc. 1597. Countersigned :— Jo. Reugeis. Signed :—“Aersen.” 1½ pp. (175. 6.)
Henry, Lord Cobham to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 17. I could have wished your father would have allowed my lord my father's funeral to have been performed at London. The reason why I did desire it I acquainted you when I last spake with you, as yourself shall bear me witness, when you come hither, whether I had not cause to desire it, for neither house nor the church is fit for the performing of it here. Your father's will amongst us must stand for a law without any further dispute, otherwise this place is so unmeet for it, as whereas I had hoped to have had honour in burying of my father, I shall now receive shame. I thank you greatly for assuring me that you will be here. One kindness more I must entreat of you, that you will be pleased to mourn in the place of a baron. My house is so mean and lodging so scarce as in yielding unto it you shall do me a very great favour. I humbly thank you for that the tender of my livery is received. I meant in good manner to entreat my lord, your father, to be here, though I think he cannot. Whether it be best for me to do so, I pray you let me hear from you, for so I will direct myself. Thus to God's protection I leave you.—From my house at Cobham Hall, the 17 March 1596, your loving brother in law to command, Henry Cobham.
P.S.—Do but imagine what trouble I am put unto, for of necessity I must bring all the staff from Blackfriars and from Canterbury hither; which I should not need of if the funeral might be at London. The charge which is appointed for his burial exceeds his meaning that himself has appointed his burial here. I am heartily sorry my lord will not allow the burial to be at London.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (39. 22.)
Lady Huntingdon to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 17. The extremity of my state made me presume to move her Majesty this afternoon, that she would be pleased to sign the lease which is granted to me of the lands I hold by jointure during the time the same are in extent to her Majesty for my portion of my dear lord's debts. It pleased her Majesty to say she understood not the cause but wished to be informed thereof from my lord, your father; by your relation, I beseech you favour me with your travail to your father herein; you both shall bind me while I live with all thankfulness to acknowledge it, for such is my pitiful case that without her Majesty's speedy grace (which without your help I shall hardly find) I am utterly undone. Therefore I again desire your help, and God, I trust, will hear the widow's prayer for your requital.—At the Court, this 17th of March 1596.
Holographp. (39. 23.)
Arthur Gregory to Sir Robert Cecil.
[1596-7, March 17]. I understand by your servant Percivall that Mr. Attorney refuseth to proceed with my book without warrant from her Majesty. I humbly beseech your honour not to give me over till you have obtained her Majesty's confirmation of your good meaning towards me, that being enabled, both her Majesty and your honour may find the effect of that which now I dare scarce speak of, being things above all her Majesty's pensioned engineers and greatly importing her Majesty both in offending her enemies and defending herself at home and abroad. And for my particular services vowed to your honour, the same shall be made manifest by such testimony as every man that hath a grateful meaning cannot accomplish. For Walpoole's land, I protest I knew it not until that Ballard told me that he had acquainted your honour therewith. But seeing it is as it is, I desire your honour to let me know how far I may deal therein with your good allowance. If you intend to suffer the passage, I desire no more thereof than you will appoint me, and for whatsoever is or may be greater than I expect, I will put it to your honour's pleasure. For as I am I cannot long live in London with so great charge, being already far indebted and my estate engaged.—This Thursday morning from my poor house.
Endorsed :—“17 March 1596.”
Signed. Seal broken. 1 p. (39. 24.)
Edw. Maxey to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 18. Excusing the delay in his errand to Portsmouth on account of an attack of ague.—From my lodging at the Mayden Hedd at Yeeld Hall gate in London, this 18 of March 1596.
Signed. (39. 25.)
Sir Francis Godolphin to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 18. Suggesting that an earnest letter should be directed to the justices of the peace signifying that the poor's so great increase in numbers and wandering idleness proceedeth through neglect of their duties, who are bound by penalty at every general Sessions next after Easter to make choice of surveyors and collectors for the poor and to impose rates for their maintenance, as well to execute all other necessary points of the Statutes. If this be done, there may be good hope their travails will sort to good effect to the relief of many that otherwise must starve, to restrain them from their delightful idleness and wandering, and to cause profitable increase to be brought forth by their continuance in labour. It would also be necessary to move them to persuade an abstinence from certain meals every week, the value of which should be used for the relief of the poor.
Further, the garrison in the isles of Scilly might, with small increase, be profitably used for intelligence. One third part of the company might be always in readiness to be employed with a small pinnace for discovery and report; and it may chance them to meet at sea with such booty or prize as may free her Majesty's charges with advantage. Seeing that in the days of King Edward 100 soldiers were found necessary for guard of these Islands, 60 ought not now to be thought too many, the times being more dangerous.
For the better defence of the Western parts, especially Cornwall, from the enemy's incursions, which are like to be often from Blewett, there is great need of powder and pikes, for the country's provisions will not suffice two days' encounter with the enemy, and supply is not to be had other than from London.—Hanworth, 18 March 1596.
Signed. Part of Seal. 2 pp. (39. 27.)
Sir John Fortescue to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 19. We have conferred divers times with Sir Thomas Sherley, and have at last brought him to yield to assure all his lands to my Lord Keeper, my Lord Treasurer, my Lord of Buckhurst and myself to the use of satisfaction of her Majesty's debt; which being paid they remain to himself and his heirs. Mr. Attorney hath received his evidence and draweth the assurance with all speed possible. This afternoon we have examined one of his accounts and have drawn the same to a conclusion : whereupon we have gotten good cause of seizure of his lands and goods; which shall be done with all speed. To-morrow my Lord Keeper, my Lord of Buckhurst and myself will attend and relate our doings wherein nothing is omitted that can be done. I send you herewith the instructions for the Office of the Ordnance which may be amended in anything you find defective.—This xix of March 1596.
Signed. Sealp. (39. 31.)
Sir Edward Norreys to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 19. Recommending the bearer, his cousin, who hath long commanded his company, but is now fitter for a better place and very desirous to follow Essex.
Since the taking of Amyence this country is greatly relieved out of their distrust of their affairs, hoping that the wars shall be so far within the confines of France that the King shall not be able to pierce unto the bowels of these parts so much as was feared. All the force that can be made is sent thitherwards, so that Count Maurice is like to have a fair field to walk in this summer without controlment, yet is there speech of great levies of Almanes and Loveynoys, besides great forces expected out of Spain and Italy, and notwithstanding no appearance of very much to pay these few that are here, which are everywhere ready to mutiny.—Ostend, this xix March 1596.
Holograph. 2 pp. (173. 57.)
Sir Robert Sydney to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 20. Sir Nicholas Parker's going into England makes me write, otherwise I have no matter worthy the troubling you. Sir Nicholas will be a suitor unto your lordship for his horse company, according as you know that I have been long. I beseech you to favour him in it; and truly for myself, since I see I must resolve to remain in these countries, there are few things I more desire than to have my company full again. The States also will take it very acceptably of her Majesty, and by Sir Nicholas Parker have written unto her about it.—Flushing, 20 March 1596.
Holograph. Seal. 1 p. (39. 33.)
Sir Harry Cocke to Sir Robert Cecil.
1596-7, March 20. Since the death of the last cofferer, some good friends have made humble suit to the Queen to bestow the office upon him, whereunto it pleased her to make a comfortable answer. Is told to desire Cecil's favourable and good furtherance herein.—Broxbourne, the xxth of March 1596.
Holograph. Sealp. (39. 34.)
Jacomo Marenco to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 20/30. I found at Canterbury Mr. Unetone, your secretary, without whom I should have been in a difficulty. For he not only caused me to be given horses, which were at first refused, but in spite of a very cold and unseasonable day insisted on coming with me as far as this town, saying that he had this command from you, who have thereby added one more to the many favours I have received from you. For my gratitude I can give Signor Antonio Perez as surety.—Dover, 30th March 1597. Stilo novo.
Holograph. Italian. Seal. 1 p. (175. 23.)
George Gilpin to the Earl of Essex.
1596-7, March 20. By Monsieur Caron who was despatched and departed hence yesterday towards Zeland, where I think he will be some few days, your lordship shall understand so particularly what passed since his being here about her Majesty's demand for aid of shipping, and of the state of all things here, that I need the less trouble you with any long discourse. Yet, because I make account this bearer will be over afore him, I thought it good to let you understand that the States purpose to yield in all due respect and contentment unto her Majesty, although as yet the resolution be not so fully taken for that they still expect to hear from the respective Provinces; and yet matters are so the whilst directed that all shall be in a readiness to be set forward upon the least warning. And whereas there fell out at the deliberating upon the cause some difficulty touching the personage that might be appointed to command as chief in the expedition, no certainty being thereof known nor of the exploit, the same, as I hear, doth now cease, and will, as I think, rest contented with that which it shall [please] her Majesty to like best and appoint; wishing most earnestly, notwithstanding, that the charge of the intended service might be committed and would be accepted by your lordship. Whereof I am sure Mons. Caron will enlarge further, who for his particular business hath sped as he wished, having shewed such a desire to return towards you that he refused (as was told me) the place of their agent in France, which divers wished and others persuaded him unto.
They do still expect in great devotion the coming of Monsr. Buzenval, to understand how matters stand and frame with his King since the shameful loss of Amiens, which troubleth us still very much here, knowing what a hindrance it will be to that which might have been done and proceeded with this summer. And now to mend the matter another mischief is followed by the alteration or question at Metz, where the castle holds and opposeth against the town; insomuch as the Cardinal, making account to get by the bargain, hath sent divers of his forces thither with all expedition, and is feared that more villainy of treasons will follow ere long. Yesternight, by letters from Buzenval of the 5th present, he writes of these disasters, and what a loss the King hath in Amiens of all his provisions, whereof at his arrival here they should know more, looking every day to be dispatched. The Count Maurice is still at Arnhem furthering of the contributions, whereof they are very slow, and hath not hitherto done anything else, although his purposes were other. In the meantime the enemy in the Twenthe had an enterprise on Steenwick, and were so forward that they were come to the executing of it, but the watch discovering such a matter the alarm was given, all entered in arms, and opposed with such a resolution that they beat the enemy back from the walls twice or thrice, so as, the day appearing, did retire with the loss of some and hurt of sundry; the defendants having lost but one, and so made a fair escape, being also a good warning to look well to our frontiers. We hear that the Marquis Edward Fortunatus of Baden hath levied certain horse and foot for the Cardinal, and lieth betwixt Cullyn [Cologne] and Aquis, grave spoiling and undoing poor men, being thought that he will ere long be employed about some service in Cleveland; which the subjects there do very much fear and are suitors at their court that the inconveniences may be avoided and they to know whereunto to trust, or else shall be forced to take another course for the better government and their assurance. Thus you hear how troubles are like to increase, and these countries to be environed so therewith that at length some inward alteration may chance to fall out; whereof the question between Holland and Zeland is not unlike to be a beginning if in time the same be not taken up and ended the sooner; whereof Monsieur can declare more. And so referring myself to his report, do cease troubling you furder.—The Hague, this 20th of March 1596.
Holograph. Two seals. 2 pp. (176. 123.)