Cecil Papers: March 1598, 26-31

Pages 102-117

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 8, 1598. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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March 1598, 26–31

Intelligence received by Colville at Vervins.
1598, March 26. The enemy's army, without counting the garrisons of towns, may amount to 26,000 foot and 6000 horse. The garrisons driven out last summer by Count Maurice from Rhenberg, Meures, Groil, Brefort, Odemer, and Linge, have reinforced the army with about 5000 men.
In addition 2000 men have been raised in Germany, so that :—
The enemy's army contains 4000 Spaniards.
His German regiments under the Count Herrmann Vanderberg, Count Frederick his brother, the baron de Welie, the Sieur de Barbanson, the Count de Bulie, the Count de Barlemen, Slegie, 2000 men per regiment, I reckon at 1500 each. Total 10,500 men
Also 4000 Spaniards arrived at Calais last February.
Captains Thomas and Roderick have each a company of nominally 600, which I reckon at 400 each. Total 800.
In addition there are 4000 Italians.
Six Walloon Regiments, to wit : Count Fraysin; La Burlotte, who is away disguising himself to go into France, where he may be caught; the Count of Buquoy, Monsieur de Grouson, Stanley an Englishman, the Sieur d'Arthecour. Each of these is supposed to have 2000 men. I reckon it at 1500 each or 9000 in all.
The cavalry is composed of 62 companies, both lancers and mounted harquebusiers, 100 men per company. I reckon 60.
There are also twelve companies of men-at-arms of the reported strength of 150 men. So that their army will be still greater than I have said.
To feed the army they have made a monthly provision of 250,000 crowns, to be furnished for eighteen months, beginning with January last past.
When the 4000 Spaniards arrived at Calais in the month of February last, they brought with them a million crowns to pay the army for the first four months, viz : January—April. From May to the end of the said eighteen months, i.e., to the 31st of May 1599, the decree regarding merchants and bankers is revoked, so that the said merchants are bound to pay in the city of Antwerp 250,000 crowns per month from May next until the eighteen months are complete.
Although he has thus received a million crowns to pay the soldiers for four months up to the end of April, he has not paid them, nor made any semblance of having received anything, but puts them off till he may know the issue of the treaty of peace. If the deputies separate without coming to an understanding he can, on paying his men, suddenly attack this kingdom, or, if an agreement be come to, pursue the common enemy.
They desire before all else to have a peace with “Arthurus.” They recognise the losses they have sustained in combating so puissant and magnanimous a prince. While their armies have been employed against him, their other enemies of England and Holland have had great advantage over them, the one seeking them out even in their own country, the other capturing some of their most important towns on both sides of the Rhine.
In the treaty they will endeavour by all means to retain Calais and Saluzzo, alledging that neither was originally French, the one belonging to the Spanish Netherlands, the other to the Duchy of Savoy. In the meantime they will try to have the places entrusted to the hands of a neutral, such as his Holiness, who will always be practically on their side.
In short, they expect to make with “Arthurus” such a peace as Polyphemus made with Ulysses. They will keep him to be last eaten. They think that when their other enemies are ruined, they will be more than strong enough for him, and the peace giving them free access into this kingdom, they can easily practice upon his people to revolt, and make attempts on his very person. They know that his personal virtues and prowess are their greatest obstacle to doing what they will with this country, and confess with sorrow that they have no captain to match him.
The intent of the enemy if peace is made.
The Duke of Cleves being in alliance with them, they will march through his territory to the Rhine, and there make a bridge of boats, in some convenient place, between the fortress of Shinkschans and the town of Wesel, by means of which bridge they will pass into the country of Venlo, and, wasting no time on the road in besieging towns, they will march straight to the Hague and ruin all the country of Holland, as they have done before in Picardy. They will have in their army 26,000 foot and 6000 horse.
To prevent England from further seeking them out in their isles and kingdom, they will give her enough to do in Scotland or Ireland. To this end they are going to send the Duke of Aumale to his cousin, the King, whose fondness for his foreign relatives was shown in his treatment of his late cousin d'Aubigné. They think that by the Duke's means they will win over the King, so that under pretence of avenging his mother's death, they can send some 6000 men into Scotland, to make a descent on Kirkcudbright (“Kirkowrit”), which is a port where the Spaniards can come without being espied by the English, and it is not far from Spain.
Endorsed :—“L'intelligence envoyé de Vervins vers sa Majesté de France, 26 Mars. 1598.”
pp. (60. 67.)
Sir Edward Stafford to Sir Robert Cecil.
1598, March 27. Since your departure, the receivership at Kidwelly in South Wales, which was held by one Vaughan of that place, is void. May I ask you to bestow it upon Francis Sadler of Nettlested in Kent.—From my house in Channel Row this present Monday, March 27, 1598.
½ p. (60. 69.)
Sir Robert Cecil and Mr. Herbert to the Privy Council.
1598, March 27. Having had this day and yesterday our conferences in the Castle of Angiers with the King's Council, and to-day morning with the States' Deputies, we send you this account by this bearer. We have also received her Majesty's letter by Mr. Mole : and your Lordships' that night at 11 o'clock : with answer whereunto he shall return, having sent this day to have audience to-morrow, but cannot have it, because the King is in physic. We are promised it the next day, and then will we both together deliver the substance of her Majesty's instructions to himself in private. He received the States' Commissioners in the Castle yesterday, where he kept his court, his own town lodging being straight. They that treated with us were the Chancellor, Duke Espernon, Duke Bouillon, Monsieurs Sency, Villeroy, Maisse, Plessis, and Schombergh. When we assembled I the Secretary was placed at the board's end, and the Duke Espernon of my right hand, the Chancellor of my left, I John Herbert next Espernon on that side, and the Duke of Bouillon over against me, and so the others in their places. I the Secretary delivered to them the like language which I held with the King, first to show the substance of our legation was only to satisfy the King, that he might thereby see her Majesty would neither discredit anything which he should believe, nor sever her from him at any time, either in council or action of importance, according to the obligation of faith and honour between them : for otherwise we both had charge to protest in her name that she doth nothing with any belief in anything which should proceed from so corrupt an enemy, in whom she had discovered so notorious practice and collusion : and so it was declared to them how the treaty in the Duke of Parma's time was carried, and how Richardot did then use himself. In which respect her Majesty, when Monsieur de Maisse had shewed the inclination of the common enemy, in respect of his great necessities, and when he seemed so much to assure her Majesty of a power already given to comprehend her and the States in the treaty; her Majesty notwithstanding, when she heard from what a broken trumpet that was sounded, did so little expect to find anything of substance to follow on in conclusion, as he could not forget with how great earnestness she did contest it with him, that even in that original circumstance wherein Richardot was used, it would be found, if it were tried, that they were not so provided, but that they would be found abusers. Nevertheless, things being otherwise conceived, and her Majesty being loth to be scandalised to have interrupted such a good intention for the public good of Christendom, she hath thought it fit, by this public sending, to make trial of the probabilities to come, to that whereof there was conceived so general an expectation : desiring to be cleared by them in particular how all things stood in that first point, and in all other : and what answer was returned by the courier, which I perceived by the King's own speech was returned to Brussels. The Chancellor made a studied speech of formality, amplifying in general the King's sincerity and his necessities, and how acceptable a thing it was to save Christian blood, and therefore wishing that we would deliver the particularities of that we had to say or to require in this great question. We answered again that as the question did now consist whether it might be likely by treaty of peace to work conclusion of good conditions to all parties interested, such as in honour and safety might be accepted of by all, so till this first point was cleared, it was hard to condescend into other particulars, because her Majesty's honour was too much engaged already by this which she hath done. Hereupon Espernon, who is a reserved spirit, looking upon Monsieur de Bouillon, and he looking down to Villeroy, as though the Chancellor had said what he was capable of, Villeroy took the tale, and deduced from the beginning how the matter had been carried : that the enemy had long researched the King, that the King was offered all his places which the enemy held, according to that which Maisse had told the Queen, and that the King still persisted that it was in vain to think of any composition except his allies were included, whereby the matter was trained on in length until the loss of Amiens, and then it was renewed, and so since that time, Richardot had assured it that there was power very authentical to treat in general, if it were so intended on all sides : whereupon, he said, Monsieur de Maisse was despatched and detained there 6 weeks about it, and another sent to the States to advertise them accordingly : and since, upon her Majesty's making question of that power which the Deputies had, the King had given charge to examine the power, and to the intent that they of the Spaniard's part should show that which they had, the King's Deputies were commanded to show their commission from the French King : whereupon they showed theirs, without the which there was no reason to desire to see theirs. In conclusion it appeared only a commission for France authentical : but for the Queen and the States there was only a power from the Cardinal, which being refused, it was said that her Majesty's sending to his islands made them in Spain desperate that she intended to treat : which was the change of it : but that should not be the let of it, and therefore moved the French King's ministers for leave to send into Spain for a new commission : the answer whereof was now returned, though not certified hither, but every hour attended. It was answered by us that for her Majesty's arming to sea, it might have been well replied that in that point she would have done no otherwise though she had been engaged in a treaty : for she should then have differed from the King of Spain himself, and from the French King, and all others. But for the state of the affair now in present, we were sorry that by miscarriage or mal entendu the Queen hath been no sooner admonished, that she might have stayed our journey, and that it happened ill for her Majesty that de Maisse did not better believe the Queen's doubts : whereupon, because that speech was directed to Monsieur de Maisse, and that both Espernon and all the Religion side looked on him, as who should say, it belongth to him to speak, he took upon him then to answer. First, he confessed that the Queen did show her wisdom in the doubt concerning the peace : but that she needed not have embraced peace except she pleased : for his commission tended as much to persuade her to make war or peace, and that his Master's causes and fortune stood at that time upon more than a formality of sending to this end only : neither needed it be made such a matter, as who should say, that never King had sent to another. For truth of princes' actions stood not upon rumours, which followed passions : neither was the treaty at that time otherwise to have been carried : and if her Majesty would have resolved particularly of a war, and would not have followed so precisely the overture of peace : but her Majesty was absolute, and might draw on her causes at her pleasure, and her resolutions. The King was pressed to take opportunities when they were offered : and the Queen hath done herself honour not to refuse to send : she meddled not with the Spaniard, but took off the public scandal : and therefore it was too much urged that the Queen's honour was damnified by anything she did. To this point most of them agreed, with one voice, that her sending was most necessary and most honourable. Hereto we answered that we would not dispute that circumstance further, whether her Majesty had good or harm by sending : neither was it urged, as if her Majesty would have thought too much to send to the furthest part of his kingdom to do him honour, but this I must say under his favour, that I the Secretary never understood it, having had the honour to wait upon her Majesty's Council when he was with them, but that his whole scope was to show the great offers of Spain, and how fit it was now to end war, and that the King presumed he did a great work in it, and that it was now to be taken wh[ile] the King of Spain's necessities were so important : so as when her Majesty found this discourse, and that notwithstanding the Spanish King was in great want, yet a peace was so necessary, her Majesty th[ought] of no other subject to be handled than to inform herself what appearance there was of coming safely and honourably to that pacification. The point of inciting the Queen to a war was of all points most unnecessary, for though the Queen was then in a war, more than ever beforetimes, she had an army newly returned from sea, she had her troops in France maintained nine months beyond promise, her forces in the Low Countries, 8,000 or 10,000 men in Ireland, and new preparations to sea : so as for any such matter, if that had been the purpose only, her Majesty might have resolved without sending us hither. We told them also that it seemed strange to us that the King (who we knew could not have the thought to conclude singly) would so far show himself in this, before he had sounded the conditions for the Queen in some particulars : for this was enough to make the matter suspect that there was no sincerity, and that the enemy would raise himself reputation by it. Then Villeroy answered that without a beginning things could not be sounded; some one must speak, or else nothing could be known; and this he would protest, and knew that the King had also protested it to us, that the King was still la charte blanche in this matter, and had ever resolutely told them that they did speak to a dead wall as long as they went about to sever him from the Queen, and therefore that there was nothing but just proceeding, and such as no way ought to displease the Queen; so as in the meantime, if we would either stay two or three days, or enter now into particulars what the Queen's conditions were, either to demand in the peace, or else what the Queen would do to help the King by war, they would hear it, and it would win time against that answer arrived. We then that saw to what this tended, and saw what we should get at his Council, by reason or disputation, having nothing to offer for the war, but only the laying before them her Majesty's former great charges with France, and his great debts to her (which we are sure Espernon nor divers there never heard of before), we did for the rest and for the present think fit to have the aid of the States, who, we knew, had both arguments to dissuade peace, and had good offers to present the King, which weigheth down all benefits in this corrupted time and counsel. We replied that as we were particularly charged, first to make special inquisition of the peace, in which the Queen had been so oft dealt with, and that we understood the States were arrived, with whom in counsel and action we were to hold correspondency : seeing that first matter would so shortly be cleared, we did think it an orderly way to confer with them, and that they might also be heard, all parties present, by which means things might be expedited, and the answer of that power attended for : especially considering the respect which ought to be carried towards them, as having so freshly called them into a league offensive or defensive, whereof none could better tell than Monsieurs Bouillon and Sency, whose instance in the King's behalf made that to be done which the Queen did. For what was there need for her to tie herself with new formalities, when already her Majesty only under God, and without any manner of utility by any contract, had so royally and fortunately assisted them, so as if this should now be violated, they that were least touched whomsoever, could not but run the hazard of scorn and infamy. They all allowed of the course propounded, and so we parted. Afterwards, it being very late, we were brought to the King in the garden. When we came to him, and that he had done with the States' Commissioners, the King told me the Secretary that he had caused this number to assemble with us, because this was an affair that touched his whole kingdom, and that he had made a mixture of all such as were of several dispositions, to the intent that every one of them, on whom depended so many several parties, might know his manner of proceeding, and so give satisfaction in gross to the multitude, each of them having a quantity of people who move no further than as their heads sway them. The Chancellor, that bon homme, and Maisse (he said) were ministers of his justice, and associates with his Courts of Parliament : Espernon no leaguer, but affecting the reputation now of a devout Romanist, and very froward to them of the Religion : Sency and Villeroy, with Schombergh, affecting the peace, as knowing his extreme necessities : the Duke of Bouillon and Plessis, he said, I need not describe, for we knew them. This censure he gave me in his garden of them, when we returned from our conference with them. The first question which he asked me when I saw him was whether I had not told his Council that the Queen was no way against any peace, of purpose to keep him in war or misery, neither did dissuade it, so it might be general and good for all parties : pretending to have a desire to put that out of his people's head : and thereupon recounted to me many very bad offices and conceits which had been wrought into his head, which I did satisfy I hope, and found necessary, the account whereof may be fit for another time. I told him I should much have injured her Majesty if I should have said otherwise : and so gave him an account of all that had passed, of which he seemed to allow. And when this was done he retired, and sent us into a banqueting house, where music was, and there we spent the time sometime conferring with the States' Deputies : and I the Secretary with 49, with whom by Mr. Edmunds I hold private correspondency (being one whom he trusts, and so may we,) besides private speeches when he is appointed to walk with me and accompany me.
This day the States' Commissioners had conference with us for two or three hours, wherein we acquainted them what course we had held with the King and his Council : how much we had been in pain for lack of their company, and with what straight commandment her Majesty had enjoined us to publish to the world in what estimation she held that State : a matter whereof we needed not to use large protestations, seeing they did daily feed upon the fruits of her extraordinary protection. Only lest some such as desired to sever them artificially might have set on foot some bruits that she meant to seek her own quiet without respect of them, I thought it fit to assure them to the contrary, and for proof of it to appeal to the Duke of Bouillon, who could well tell what course we held in our conference yesterday with the Council, desiring them to bethink them how to dissuade the King from treaty with Spain, if they could not be reconciled from their doubtfulness to be thereby precipitated. Monsieur Barnevelt hereupon very formally yielded us thanks in her Majesty's behalf, protesting assured confidence in the Queen with acknowledgment of all her former benefits, and also for that which they had understood now, since they came to this place, how her Majesty had demonstrated her favour towards them, thanking us very much of the particular correspondency which we held now in communicating with them, what had passed of late, as also in having certified them before they came to this town of such things as were convenient, by those confident persons that were used between us, whereof one is Mr. Edmunds, who is very trusty and sufficient : the other is one Aerssens, whom they do trust, and resolve to leave as their agent. After this they went plainly to work, that their State might not hearken to peace or treaty of peace, and that their commission was absolutely to protest against it : that they found all the King's Council with whom they have had any speech passionate for it : and that the King himself plainly told them that though in his nature he did not desire it, yet by the importunity of his people, and necessity of his affairs, he should be forced to accept it for some time, unless he were better assisted. And therefore they concluded to us that all their trust was in the Queen of England, who only had power to alter it. We told them that we had laid before the King the strictness of the tripartite league, and the danger for him to trust to Spain, who would serve himself of him against others, thereby only to ruin both. They answered that those things were in vain, they had said them often, leagues between princes had civil constructions, and benefits that were passed helped not future things : nor neither are present necessities (wherein it is in vain to contest with them that must be judges of their own lacks) remedied with enumeration of good turns past. They therefore came fully resolved to obstinate any treaty, and doubted not but by this time their fellows had been in England, and had procured us authority to do as they would do, namely to divert the King, by representing to him the present extremities of the Spaniards, which made them so willing to treat : and by presentation of some other manner of project to help him to beat the Spanish army out of the Low Countries. To this we answered them that we had no such despatch, but only were to follow our former instructions, as we had already informed them. Further we held some discourse with them, why they should not hearken to a treaty, if those conditions with banishing of strangers might be made by a treaty, that were to be desired rather than by a war, which was subject to adverse success. Whereunto they answered that it was the way to their perdition ever to acknowledge any person whosoever for their own Sovereign, either as King of Spain or Duke of Burgundy : that monarchs might bind and loose as they saw cause : but the composition of their State being once altered, it would dissolve of itself, saying it was not only the condition of removing Spanish forces and strangers, but all such natives of the Provinces as were now Spagnolised, which was greater in number than the strangers were. We told them they best knew their State, but many wise men were of another opinion : yet seeing they did so resolve, it was not we that could alter it, but rather yield to everyone the power to know themselves best : only this, we thought they should not find it an easy work to do it in haste, though for our parts we wished it were so, and therefore if they could divert the King from the course his Council had trained him in, by argument or offer, we should be very glad, and did indeed conceive that if they would join with the French King in making the war, who now had need to make war but in one place, and not embrace these enterprises in places more remote, there might come good of this interruption. They told us that it were reasonable that her Majesty for one year should send over an army of 12,000 or 13,000 men, which would make way into the very heart of all he possesses. We, finding in them this speech, did plainly let them know that her Majesty's fleets at sea and armies which had been sent out to make a diversion of the enemy's forces, besides many other great charges in Ireland and elsewhere, have so much increased on her, as she would be well advised how to engage herself suddenly for others, especially seeing in lieu of all that she had purchased for them, she never was yet remboursed of one halfpenny. They shifted of [off] that with their ordinary excuses, and still insisted whether we had heard out of England since the arrival of their Deputies or no, for they hoped by that time her Majesty had heard them she would take some such resolution : and if an army were once kept together in Picardie or Arthois, England need not to be in doubt, no, if France should leave the Queen and them, it was only they that need to fear and not the Queen : for she might ever be master of the sea. We told them that it was true that, if there were nothing to be expected but such a main invasion as was in '88, her Majesty might prepare well to defend by strength at sea; but whether that were a charge supportable or no, we left them to judge : besides, we saw that the enemy took unseasonable times in winters, when a navy could not ever be maintained at sea, and that by the means that their shipping was never from Spain, by which he might transport a convenient navy on a sudden. We told them also that experience last year showed us that they durst come in the winter, and that they meant to make war of another fashion, and further, that even from Calais with galleys an army might be suddenly in calms transported, if they had nothing to fear of France, which might land an army in spite of all the ships that should be kept at sea. And therefore, as we meant not to persuade them more than we would ourselves to any perilous resolution, so we must then require them to bethink them how to ease the Queen's charge, if the Queen must be kept in a war for them. Monsieur Barnevelt seemed a little awakened with this, and then fell into protestations of their necessities, and withal misliking the great diminution of her Majesty's forces that ought to be in the Low Countries. But we told them that her Majesty had done that but for these late enterprises, but her Majesty must be forced to summon them to some better reckoning by remboursement of those great sums which they owed the Queen : whereupon, when they insisted on the contract and other arguments, we told them plainly that that must be no answer, and that they must no more stand upon their contract without civil interpretation, than by their former speeches it appears that other princes meant to do in the like occasions. Much more there passed, both with them, and on Sunday with the French, which we cannot advertise all at once, but leave thus much humbly to your judgment, and hope to give her Majesty account of the rest of this our hard negotiation.
For the despatch which is come by Mr. Mole we thank God, both for the public and our particular, that God hath given her Majesty the fortunate discovery whereby she may now, by dealing plainly with him, make judgment what to trust to, wherein we will not vary from that prudent and princely direction which we have received, but each be witness of other's words to the King.
Thus have we yielded you an account truly of all that hath passed, and hope, if our instructions be examined, which we trust shall be our trial and not our success, we shall not receive her Majesty's disfavour. The King goes to Nantes, and from thence towards Blauet the 8th of April, to leave it blocked, so as we shall have our despatch before he parts, one way or other. If he do satisfy under his hand these last matters, we will proceed further : if he do not, we will come away : so as we beseech you that our ships may be at Caen, and to think that we are not so rash as to do anything without reason. If the King part from Nantes, he will not be back in 6 weeks. Whatsoever we find, we will keep all things still in esse till we may wait on her Majesty. If the power come, we will then inform the Queen whether we and the States' Deputies find it fit here in our opinions that a treaty be prepared : for if not, but that a war must be, we will also, without giving final answer, take our leaves, and promise them her Majesty's resolution. This is all we can do with our limitations, which we may not exceed. Though we have made great difficulty to follow the King to Nantes, yet it is not prejudicial for us to go, though necessity of her Majesty's service did not require it, for though it be somewhat further from Caen as it lies than Angiers, yet is it safer way to Caen than this from Angiers : and Rennes with many other good towns are by that way to be had to lodge in. Besides, we shall have a convoy of Montgomerie's horse, which we may trust that will not cut our throats, or betray us when we come near the scattered troops that must march towards Blauet.
Postscript. Because we have so urged to hear whether the power were come or no, the King hath sent a courier express to Vervyne, and by the 30th he shall be here with particular certainty.
Contemporary Copy.
Endorsed : “Copy of the Commissioners' letter to the Lords. From Angers. 27th March 1598.”
12 pp. (176. 126.)
Printed in full, with slight differences, in Birch's “View of the Negotiations between England, France and Brussels,” pp. 125–139.
George Gilpin to the Earl of Essex.
1598, March 28. I crave pardon if by silence any fault is committed, which proceedeth only for want of such matter as might be worth the troubling of your lordship amidst your weightier affairs. By the deputies that lately arrived there I know you have understood at length the state of these countries and what course they wish to be taken against the common enemy. Sir Peter Regemorter will also have opened his Excellency's purposes and desires, so as all resteth on a good resolution and execution, this people longing greatly to hear thereof, trusting firmly to her Majesty's most gracious favour though the French should give over; which is the more doubted because the enemy persevereth in his hopes as certain of an agreement with France, having omitted no means to effect the same. The deputies gone to the King have not yet written since their arrival at Dieppe, only is advertised from particular men that they took their journey from Rouen directly to his Majesty because they understood Mr. Secretary to be gone from Paris. After their audience and conference will be written of the likelihood, and then will also look to hear what her Majesty will do, whose gracious receiving and hearing of their deputies doth exceedingly please and content them, reposing a great trust on your lordship's favour and furtherance. The Cardinal, we hear, speaks now but little of th' Infanta, more of the peace, and prepares for wars, expecting above those already come to Calais 4000 Spaniards and Italians to arrive with the first opportunity, and will not be amiss that her Majesty's captains at sea look well to their business, as the Prince Maurice will take order that all his shall do, the last having escaped (as the reports go) and got into the port by mere oversight and negligence of those should have looked better unto it. For lying about the Blackness hardly can any bear for Calais, much less get in, without discovery, and easy to be hindered; which course was kept in the beginning of these wars by the Prince of Orange, whose “freebutters” lying ever at the Blackness and in the Downs, suffered not a ship to pass the straits but they hailed them in. The said Cardinal gathereth certain forces about Carpen between Cologne and Aquisgrane, intending, as it should seem, to attempt somewhat on these parts with force and fury, in hope that by getting some principal place so the weaker will never abide him nor yet serve for frontiers to the other. To provide and oppose there against the Prince Maurice doth what he can by giving warning and providing of frontiers, but the worst is that the Provinces are so slow in the grant of their contributions and they furnish the same with such difficulty that it breedeth contestations and jealousies, and so overslip the opportunities which might be taken, to the grief of those who wish all were otherwise : which I thought good to touch to the end your lordship as occasion may serve inquiring of the deputies by circumstance how matters go, and why the English regiment and other have no certain and better pay, may please to admonish them to better correspondence, removing all jealousies, and so to bring in and pay their contribution that the occasions be not neglected and the enemy (who cannot but understand of their questions) make a profit thereof; which he might do effectually (and will undoubtedly do) if the agreement with France be made. If (as you shall see cause) it may be your pleasure to use some good words of me to those deputies there, and especially th' Admiral, as also, upon any occasion you may have to write or deal with the Prince Maurice or any other, to employ me therein, it would not only very much grace me but also be a special furdering of any her Majesty's services in these parts; and I would accept thereof and think myself more and more bound unto you with readiness by all humble service to merit the same. Here was one Mollenax [Molyneux] a while agone, who offered his Excellency to make certain ordnance of an extraordinary lightness and to exceeding great use, especially for ships, the trial whereof he would make and shew on his own charge; and so got a privilege for ten years, none to make or imitate them. Since he hath been about the work, and what done you shall see by copy of a letter written me from Utrecht, to which I answered requiring the party (being Lieutenant Tewkesbury) to enter and observe as much as he could of the proceeding and write me what he found, using means to delay Molyneux coming hither to make proof of the pieces so long as he could (which he can do the better in that he was requested by Molyneux to come hither with him as an interpreter), and that the whilst [I] would write unto your lordship of all and request your present answer and pleasure, which shall be a law and direction for us.—From the Hague, this 28th of March, 1598.
Holograph. Seal.
3 pp. (176. 132.)
Thomas Ferrers to Sir Robert Cecil.
1598, March 29. I have been Her Majesty's Agent at Stod for 4 years. She did use me in a matter of Materiales or Alchemy, bought of one Roloffe Petersen of Lubeck, wherein I did follow, under order from my Lord Treasurer, the instructions of Sir Thomas Wilks. It cost me much trouble and £104⅓ out of purse. I have been employed unto the K. of Denmark, for which chargeable service I have never had any allowance. I have been Deputy Governor to the Merchants Adventurers at Midelburgh and Stod almost 8 years. To maintain the state of the same I had from the merchants but small allowance, which was shortened when they discovered that I was in H.M. Service. Yet did I last year get their privileges with the town of Stod renewed to their good liking. At Stod, after the publishing of the mandate, I was the only means that our merchants sold over 28,000 cloths and kerseys, and after the mandate was expired, I did so use the matter, that our merchants secretly bought, sold, and shipt unto the last hour of our coming from Stod. I crave that her Majesty would grant me the licence of 50,000 or 60,000 white cloths.—London, this 29 March, 1598.
1 p. (60. 72.)
Robert Vernon to the Earl of Essex.
1598, March 30/April 9. I received your letter upon the 25th of March and have delivered your other unto the Duke, by whose commandment I stay here 6 or 7 days, because, as he telleth me, he would gladly know the King's inclination concerning this peace which is now pretended; to the end he may resolve you by me what shall be the end of their pretensions. I have found means to procure Otwell Smith to furnish me with two hundred crowns, because the merchant unto whom your letter of exchange was directed is gone into England and his factors have made difficulty to pay me.—The 9th of April, “stile Frenche from Angires.”
1 p. (176. 139.)
Jacomo Marenco to the Earl of Essex.
1598, March 31/April 10. Wrote last December about an affair which was being here treated with a lady, but since his letter was not even acknowledged supposes the affair was of less importance than was here thought. Mr. Antonio will here forward any orders. Will himself depart for Italy on the 20th April. Reminds him of a licence he desired from the Queen for the export of 1500 dicker of leather.—Paris, 23rd March, 1598.
P.S. of 10 April.—Forwarded the substance of the above under cover of Hieronimo Lopez. Renews his request for the licence.
Italian 2 pp.
Encloses :—Petition of Jacomo Marenco to the Queen for licence to export 1500 dicker of leather.
Italian. 1 p. (174. 82.)
John Udale to the Earl of Essex.
1598, March 31. Although I am assured this occurrence may come tardy unto you, yet for that it importeth matter of great consequence I have thought good to advertise your lordship as followeth, while and that the Scotch ambassador is there with you.
The nomination of the bishop at Dundee and the matters there created touching the clergy is deferred until May, which is taken to be a temporising in the King for some greater purpose.
A proclamation that all men of ability should be furnished of horse and arms, the same publicly revoked and privately and underhand continued.
The Lord Dakers like to have been surprised by the ministers (?), but protected by the King; and George Carr, a notable papist and practiser to and with the Spanish, came in his company into Edinburgh and hath good aptness with the King.
Bodwell is arrived in Scotland in the King's good grace by the Duke of Holster means, as it is given out, which is taken for the colour. Great speech in Scotland for the Spanish preparation for England, where [it is], as they call it, whispered all over the borders.
For want of means I am forced to use the cover of the packet by the deputy warden of the West Marches, than whom I know not a more sufficient gentleman for the place he holdeth, being so meanly graced from above. I wish you had interest in him, the rather for that of necessity you must write unto him for the allowing of this pass lest there be exception taken to him for it. Thus humbly soliciting your lordship for answer of the last, together with the bearer's return, by whom I hope I shall be further directed from you or else revoked, I take my leave.—Carlisle, this last of March.
Endorsed :—“Last of March, '98.” Holograph.
pp. (176. 34.)
Thomas Harrison to Sir Robert Cecil.
1598, March. I was utterly amazed the other day, and neither could answer for myself nor signify the cause of my coming, which made me repair to Mr. Willis, to whom I recited the cause of my acquainting Parter, with whom I conferred for my help. Parter it was who caused me to make suit to be employed by your Honour, and I took him for a secure anchorhold for the secrecy of my cause, because he served your Honour's father, and now serveth your Honour. I thought also he could direct me to the prison where I could best become acquainted with the Scottish crew.
As to my proceeding upon Mr. Willis' letter, I proceeded so far in the entertaining the schoolmaster for Douai as I brought him to the Court with me, and yet there attendeth, both to my discredit, great charge, and hindrance of his preferment, which had been such a plot, the party being very politic and learned, as better could not be framed.
I caused the Walloon post of Canterbury to come and assure your Honour to convey my letters from Antwerp and Brussels, and to direct sure persons for the conveying of them from time to time.
I send my wife with this letter. I beseech you to regard the hazard of my life more than the information of my enemies.
Holograph. Endorsed : “March, 1598.” Seal.
1 p. (60. 74.)
Sir Nicholas Throckmorten to the Earl of Essex.
1598, March. Requesting that he may not be hindered by the malice of Andrew and his son in prosecuting the sale of Cheese Coppice. The same hath been passed in the office of the Justices in eyre, by Sir John Spencer, the Justices' deputy. All duties to her Majesty and other fees appointed for the office have been paid.
Endorsed with date. Holograph. Seal.
1 p. (60. 79.)
Lord Cobham.
1598, March. G. Scudder's account for one year [? Lord Cobham's steward].
½ p. (145. 193.)
Lord Sheffield to Sir Robert Cecil.
1598, March. I crave pardon that I have been more slack than, it may be, others in writing to you. It hath not been forgetfulness, your many friendly kindnesses so deeply rooted in my mind not permitting it. But my business upon my departure being great, and knowing that you stand not upon compliments with your friends, did make me presume I might be the more bold, especially the thing being of no moment. I know all occurrences here are certified you by those that knows them a great deal better than myself, so that I could but have written that wherewithal I will conclude, that I shall ever be wholly to be disposed by you.
Addressed :—“To my loving friend, Mr. Secretary, Ambassador into France.”
Endorsed :—1598. Signed. Seal.
¾ p. (67. 79.)
Anthony Sherley.
[1598, March.] Il y est icy ung gentilhomme nomme Shurley, et y est avecques environ vint et cinq personnes de son train, et dit qu'il en a lasse encores autant ou plus en Allemaigne, et fait ungne belle et grande despense, et ceulx de la suite sont la plus grand part capitaines et gentilhommes. Quand il arriva le bruict currut qu'il estoit venu pour se trouver a la guerre de Ferare, laquelle il trouva fini; neanmoins il s'est entretenu par deca, et pense icy faire sejour. Il a seray en France, et y a este capitaine de la cavallirie legere d'Angleterre; neantmoins il parle fort mal franchois, et dit qu'en brief elle sera empire estat qu'elle n'a este pour ung noveau party qui se levera et dit le scavoir bien et aussy combien qu'il ait passe par Hollande, venant par deca, et y ait (a ce qu'il dit) este bien veu et receu. Neantmoins il ne parle guerres meulx de Messrs. les Estats, et, au contraire, il exalte infiniment la grandeur d'Espagne et encores plus celle du Pape, et dit que de l'ung et de le aultre lui sont faictes de grandes offres, et que (s'il ne trouve mieulx aultre part) qu'il verra ce qu'il devra faire. Il est bon que Messrs. les Estats soyent advertis de ses comportements, afin que s'il passe ou negocie en leur pais, ilz y facent prendre garde, car il dit, au vouloir de quelque part qu'il vienne, qu'il ayme mieulx que la vie luy faille que de moins despendre. S'il estoit bien sage et advise il parleroit moins, et seroit plus a craindre. Il a espouse ungne proche parente de Monsr. le Conte d'Essex et dit d'estre fort favoury de luy, et qu'il luy a donne huict mille livrues d'sterlinges pour faire son voiage par deca, Mais pour ce qu'il est ung dissipeur qui a consume tout son bien, et celuy de son pere qui est ruine par luy, et qu'il vit icy de ce qu'il a empronte, on ne peult croire qu'il soit envoye par ledict Conte. Comme que ce soit d'autant qu'il dit avoir de grands ennemis et intelligence par tout, sera bon avoir l'oil a ses actions. Car si on luy fait telles offres qu'il dit, ce n'est pas sans condicions aux quelles il ne peult satisfaire qu'au prejudice et dommage de bon party.
Endorsed :—“Advertisement touching Ant. Sherley written from Venice to a merchant of Frankfort.”
1 p. (174. 100.)
Army Transport.
1598, March. List of companies of Foot sent down from the city of Chester by the Mayor, to Liverpool and other places in Wirrall for their more nearness of shipping.
Undated. Endorsed :—“March, '98.”
1 p. (204. 105.)