Elizabeth: December 1576, 1-15

Pages 435-444

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 11, 1575-1577. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1880.

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December 1576, 1-15

Dec. 2. 1049. The King of France to Elizabeth.
Begs her to command restitution to be made to Captain Nipiville, who was by the force of the wind and the sea obliged to take refuge in one of the ports of her dominions and there despoiled of ships and goods by her subjects, and himself made prisoner.—Blois, 2 December 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. Royal letter.
Dec. 3. 1050. Dr. Wilson to Walsingham.
1. Not knowing what has become of his servant John Watson whom he sent from Antwerp with despatches on 20th November, he sends Mr. Rogers with such advertisements as are here at present. After coming to Brussels on the 23rd he understood the States dealing with Don John of Austria unto whom M. de Ruissinghen was sent the 17th, who returned the 22nd, with declaration of the great supply that he would have, namely, of five bands of Almains of Charles Fugger's company, and five of horsemen of M. de Hierge's charge, and Namur given to him, and then he would enter into the matter of pacification, and show that he had authority to send away the Spaniards, affirming that he will maintain their ancient liberties and accord with the States in all things so that no alteration be made in religion nor the King's authority diminished. The States not liking such assurances have sent back that they cannot admit his authority or allow his demands till they see his commission, and would gladly see the Spaniards depart before the meeting together, and would have the accord made with the Prince ratified in all points. This Ruissinghen is a suspected man with the States for that he was secretly two days in the Spanish Ambassador's house in France before he came hither, and that he should have in pension 8,000 crowns of the King of Spain. The States have sent four other commissioners after him with authority to speak largely, and for resolute answer to all their demands have appointed the 12 Dec. for the furthest day. Sends herewith M. de Champagny's discourse lately made here, and three other advices for Don John sent out of Spain, and also the accord with the Prince and States, together with the commissions thereunto annexed. The Prince makes great means to have Ecluse from the States, and if he have the same it is thought that he will come here and strengthen their weakness, which is very great. Money is their chief want. Divers have prayed him to be a means for 200,000 angels with the Queen, to whom he has answered that he has no commission to deal in such a matter. Has just received a letter from him dated 19 Nov., and thanks him for his French news, whereby although he understands nothing of any intention from thence towards this country, yet speeches continue of a great good will of many great personages to come hither as Marshals Cosse and Bellegarde, M. Biron, and Philip Strozzi, declaring further that the Duke of Guise offers 4,000 harquebussiers and 2,000 horse towards this enterprise to divert the wars of France to the Low Countries, and do some good to himself that way. Does not believe all these things, yet there is something in practice. This country has no good liking generally of the French, whom of once they receive amongst them they shall hardly send home again. Will hereafter use the cipher if he is commanded to tarry any longer, or has further commission, for now that Don John has come Rodas' authority ceases, and if the Prince of Orange is called here he has no authority to deal with him as her Majesty's agent. Desires to know the Queen's pleasure herein, and for that this country is unmercifully clear, he spending daily treble his allowance begs that he may have 400li that he may not want, for there is no credit to be had here of any. Has forborn the delivery of the Queen's letter to the magistrates of Bruges as the English merchants are now very well used there. Will do for the merchants what he can as he has done already.
2. P.S.—Has got by good means a copy of D'Aubigny's instructions, which he sends, and also King Philip's ciphers.— Brussels, 3 Dec. 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. Pp. 3.
Dec. 4. 1051. The States of the Low Countries to Lord Burghley.
Desire his favour and assistance for M. de Swevenghem, whom they have sent on a mission to the Queen of England.— Brussels, 4 Dec. 1576. Signed: Cornelius Weellemans.
Add. Endd. Fr. P. 1.
Dec. 4. 1052. The States of the Low Countries to Walsingham.
Counterpart of the above.—Brussels, 4 Dec. 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. P. 1.
Dec. 4. 1053. M. de Swevenghem's Commission.
Authorising him to go into England and raise the sum of 200,000 angels for the service of the States of the Low Countries.—Brussels, 19 Jan. 1577.
Copy. Endd. Lat. Pp. 3.
1054. Similar instrument in French.—Brussels, 4 Dec. 1576.
Endd. Pp. 1⅓.
Dec. 6. 1055. The States of the Low Countries and Don John of Austria.
1. The deputies sent by the States General to Luxembourg, 3 Dec., desire him to cause all the Spaniards to withdraw from the Low Countries and release their prisoners without ransom, observe the league made by them with the Prince of Orange, and grant an amnesty for all past matters, and suffer the States to assemble and maintain their privileges. If he will agree to the above they promise to accept him as their ruler, to maintain the Roman Catholic religion, renounce all leagues and alliances with foreign potentates, dismiss all foreigners who are in their service, and prevent the entry of the French during the existence of the fortnight's truce. They further beg that Don John will content himself with such a guard as the King had on the occasion of the Joyous Entry. Luxemburg, 3 Dec.
2. Answer of Don John agreeing to all these conditions.— Luxembourg, 6 Dec. 1576.
Copy. Endd. Fr. Pp. 4½.
[Dec. 6.] 1056. Philip II. to the States of the Low Countries.
Professes his desire for the prosperity of the Low Countries, and his wish to receive those of Holland and Zealand back to his obedience and to pardon what is passed. M. de Ruissinghen has informed him of the seizure of certain of his Council of State, and what has happened since. In order to show the confidence that he has in them, and his intention to govern them as a patrimonial country and not as a province, he has appointed his brother, Don John of Austria, as Governor and Captain General of the Low Countries and Burgundy. Understanding their wishes he has given Don John charge to cause all the foreign and Spanish soldiers to be withdrawn, and in the meanwhile has sent orders to all the governors of garrisons and others to keep quiet. In accordance with their request he is willing to receive and pardon those of Holland and Zealand, provided that for the future they live according to the Roman Catholic religion.
Endd. 1576, "Minute of letter from the King which Don John of Austria shall send to the States." Fr. Pp. 2.
Dec. 7. 1057. The Deputies to the States General.
Send them copies of Don John's answers to their requests, with their reply to his answer. Have had audience with Don John, who declared amongst other things that he would send some persons of authority to treat with the Spaniards for their speedy departure. He has further asked for safe conducts for the said persons.—Luxembourg, 7 Dec. 1576. Signed: Adolf de Mettenlo.
Copy. Endd. Fr. Pp. 1¼.
[Dec. 7.] 1058. The Effect of Don John's Letter to Rodas.
The letters written by Don John unto Rodas for the English merchants of Antwerp were to this effect, that the ambassador of England had made to him earnest request in the Queen's behalf for restitution of such goods as in the late spoil of Antwerp by the Spaniards had been taken from the English merchants, and their ships, persons, and families released, also that their bonds entered into with divers soldiers might be discharged. Whereupon Don John having special commendment from the King to satisfy her Majesty to his best, requires the said Rodas to cause diligent search to be made for their goods, and the same recovered to their behoof, and without any further empeachment to suffer them to depart or stay at their own choice and pleasure. Likewise by another special letter he ordered that the bonds should be discharged, but if they were already paid, then any such convenient satisfaction should be made as the said Rodas could best devise. The like order he gave for the restoration of their writings and books of accounts. Also for the goods of Lord Windsor, &c. He wrote also very effectuously for the speedy restitution of the goods of Mr. Hatton, Captain of her Majesty's guard.
Endd. Pp. 1¼.
Dec. 8. 1059. Don John of Austria to the Queen.
Informs her of his appointment as Governor and Captain General of the Low Countries, and sends M. de Castel with a letter from the King to her.—Luxembourg, 8 Dec. 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. P. ½.
Dec. 8. 1060. Dr. Wilson to Walsingham.
Understands that Don John cannot satisfy the States in their demands by the 12th inst., and therefore desires a longer time, and it should seem then will be a fortnight longer granted. The taking of Groningen castle has much encouraged the hearts of the governors here. It is said that plenty of treasure is found in the castle, which M. de Byllie, the captain, had gathered together. It is reported that M. Bresit, a gentleman of Brussels and captain under Byllie, was wrought by the States to do this feat. The Spanish governor of Zutphen was taken with Byllie. Of the 17 provinces the States have now all save Luxemburg and the Marchasate of the Empire, which is Antwerp. Of places of strength the Spaniards have only Antwerp, Lierre, and Maestricht. Great means are made for the taking of Maestricht, and it is said that some of the Spaniards there have been slain by the boors of the country. The States are both to grant any further time to Don John, hearing that the Pope and the Emperor have lately sent to him. The Duke and Champagny are still in hand with Wilson for the borrowing of money, for which purpose M. de Swevenghem is sent. They fear they will have to call in the French, being warned by the Prince of Orange to take heed how they trust Don John.—Brussels, 8 Dec. 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. P. 1.
Dec. 8. 1061. [M. de Ruissingen] to the Duke of Arschot.
Informs him of the satisfactory progress of the negotiations for pacification with Don John of Austria. It will be necessary that the Duke and others should come nearer to Namur for the purpose of facilitating conferences. Don John has determined to send to the Spaniards to inform them of the King's intention that they should withdraw and to make the requisite preparations, and also to treat for the release of their prisoners, for which purpose it will be necessary to draw up a list of those who are detained on either side.—Luxembourg, 8 Dec. 1576. Signed: Maximilian Vilani.
Endd.: "Copy of a letter from M. de Rassenghen to the Duke of Arschot." Fr. P. 1.
Dec. 8. 1062. The Duke of Arschot to Don John.
Informs him that there have been intercepted and brought to him 26 letters from the King to Rodas, the Spanish and German officers, and divers other persons, which letters have as yet been kept from the States, but as they are advertised of them he does not know how they can be much longer considering the suspicion in which they hold his Highness. He must not be surprised if they open all the packets, for they do not know what to think, seeing the delays that have ensued after so many good offers made on the part of his Highness and the King. Mr. Ruissinghen reported that Don John was sent with so few people to show the trust that the King had in the people of the Low Countries, and further that it was intended that the Spaniards should withdraw and that justice should be executed on the culpable before the States should lay down their arms. He has nevertheless taken into his company Don Alonzo and Felices as is thought through the advice of the Spanish Ambassador in France, who is entirely embued with the opinions of the late Commendator and Rodas. Reminds him that long ago his father, Charles V., said that the pride of the Spaniards would be the cause of his losing his estates. Warns him that the people of the Low Countries are not to be led by the nose like oxen, and complains of his corresponding and taking council with the Spaniards and requiring a cipher from Roda. All his intercepted letters show that he is making common cause with the Spaniards. Complains also of his sending letters of commendation to the Almain colonels, who, with Sancho D'Avila, were the authors of all these commotions, notwithstanding the complaints that the States had made about them. If he relies on the Spaniards and follows their advice he will lose the country and possibly the religion, and cause foreigners to be called in to overthrow their tyranny. In this case they will be obliged to warn the King of what has happened, that he may know their dutifulness, and that they may be exculpated from that which will happen.—Brussels, 8 Dec. 1576.
Endd. Copy. Fr. Pp. 3.
Dec. 8. 1066. Paulet to Burghley.
1. The Estates began their first sitting the 6th. They will breed rest or no rest to this realm, but there is no good to be expected where no good is intended. The Estates will dispense with the King for his promises past, and the King promises to observe inviolably all that shall be resolved. They have sworn together against God and his church, and have agreed not to endure any other religion than the Romish. Cannot learn that the officers of the King's finances have raised the values of their moneys of late.—St. Die, 8 December 1576. Signed.
2. P.S.—Prays him for cyphers of the Duke of Guise and others. Recommends M. Cavalcanti to his good favour, whom he found always ready to pleasure him to his power.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. P. 1.
Dec. 8. 1067. Occurrents.
There has been of late sent from Paris to Luxemberg for Don John of Austria 1,700 crowns. One Escoubette, (Escovedo) Secretary to the King of Spain, is passed this last week towards Luxembourg, three of his company carrying little mails behind them full of money. So it may seem he has no great store of money when it is sent to him so far by so small portions. He was promised to receive out of Italy 1,000,000 crowns, as also 200,000 crowns from Antwerp. But some think that as the sickness in Italy has disappointed him of his purpose there, so the troubles of Antwerp have provided him of a better sum. The deputies of the Low Countries are yet at the Court attending the return of Fontpertuis, who indeed arrived at the Court the 5th and in secret manner and is departed from thence. It may seem strange that Fontpertuis sent hither expressly by the King may not be seen at his return, whereby it appears that this negotiation for Flanders is covered and disguised with some notable dissimulation. Is much deceived if the States of the Low Countries be not much abused, and if the French have any good meaning towards them. The Ambassador of Spain tells him there is great hope of the agreement of the Low Countries and the King of Spain; but he says to his better friends the King will never agree with them, and that the Inquisition shall never be taken out of that country. The reiters which departed from hence are at the devotion of Don John of Austria; Bassompierre, one of their generals, having been at Luxembourg to this purpose, and it is thought that the Duke of Guise has made this bargain. One of the principals of the league of Picardy is appointed to levy 2,000 harquebussiers and five companies of light horsemen in Picardy for the service of [the Prince of Condé]. Montmorency has sent Plessis to pray him to advertise the Queen he never advised the Queen Mother the taking in hand the enterprise of the Low Countries; that neither he or Danville did ever procure Monsieur's marriage with the House of Spain, and that a Christian cannot allow of this kind of marriage, which is more seemly for dogs, and that he is not ignorant he is charged with these things in England. Don John of Austria conferred with the Queen Mother at Chenonceau besides Tours as he passed towards Paris, where the Holy League of Trent has been newly ratified; and the Cardinal D'Este being lately departed towards Rome is to assure the Pope of the full resolution of both Kings to suffer no other religion than the Romish. The King of Navarre is at Agen, where Danville has been with him three days. The Prince of Condé is at St. Jean d'Angeli, La Noüe with the King of Navarre, and Beauvais la Nocle at La Charité, and Thierry, it is said, in Pont St. Esprit. Cannot learn that the King has any other forces near to Blois than 1,200 Swiss, 600 French, and the gentlemen of the household. The delaying of the Estates has served to good purpose as well to discover the affections of such as use the French liberty of speech, as also to confirm them little by little to the King's will, so as there may be no contradiction in the open Parliament. Some of the deputies of the religion are repaired to Blois to protest of the nullity of the Estates, which troubles the whole assembly. The clergy and Commons are resolved they are to be punished as perturbators of the common quiet, but the nobility affirm that this would be against the dignity of the King and assembly. The 6th arrived M. Rochepose, the Ambassador at Rome, from Blois, it is thought he brings some Catholic council worthy of that Catholic seat.
Partly in cipher. Endd. by Burghley. Pp. 2½. Enclosure.
Dec. 8. 1065. Paulet to Walsingham.
Received his letters at Orleans on the 1st, from whence he is repaired to this good village, where all the ambassadors are lodged poorly. Though [Du Pin] has declared to him the cold disposition of the Queen touching the recommendation of the Edict to the Estates by some man to be sent of purpose, yet he departed from her in great hope she would perform his desire, and prays him to recommend this matter again to her. [Du Pin's] precise dealing does rather hurt than good; he takes great pains to draw out from others, who beat him sometimes with his own weapon. Has had good sport to see his cunning dealing touching the Low Countries, wherein he has found he has smelt his niceness. He may perchange bow under the burden of his expenses, but it will not break him. This bad world and this grave assembly banish all new fashions, so his wife has provided a simple toy called a contenance, and prays him present it to the Queen if he shall think so good; sends also a toy to Lady Lincoln, which he prays him to deliver. Cavalcanti is desirous to be recommended to his good favour, and indeed he is willing to pleasure him to his power, and professes great fidelity in all honest and reasonable causes.—St. Die, 8 December 1576. Signed.
Add. Endd. Pp. 12/3.
Dec. 12. 1066. M. de Mauvissiere to Burghley and the Privy Council.
The Queen promised to him at her last audience that certain ships laden with wines for Picardy and Normandy, which had touched at Rye, should be released. Nevertheless the matters have turned out otherwise, and the merchants have had taken from them 80 tuns of wine. He had himself bought six or seven tuns of the merchants at 13 livres and given them money on account thereof. Prays them that that which is just and reasonable may be done herein.— London, 12 December 1576. Signed.
Add., with seal. Endd. Fr. Pp. 1½.
Dec. 14. 1077. Instructions for Edward Horsey sent to Don John.
1. Is to declare to him how that as soon as the Queen heard of the late alteration of the whole of the Low Countries she sent over Dr. Wilson to the Duke of Arsçhot and the Privy Council there, who have taken upon them the present government, to discover whether there was any disposition in them to withdraw from the King's obedience, and to offer her good services with the King for the pacification of the troubles there; but in case he should find such a disposition then not only to dissuade them therefrom, but let them directly know that she would give the King all aid to compel them to return to their ancient obedience. He shall further declare that immediately upon the despatch of this message the Baron D'Aubigny arrived from the States to give her to understand that the cause of the said alteration proceeded from the great spoils and intolerable outrages committed against them by the Spaniards, desiring her in no sort to think anything sinister of their proceedings, but to be a means with the King that he would hearken to their humble supplications, and take some speedy way of redress otherwise than by arms for the appeasing of their present calamities, protesting most religiously that their intention was in no wise to withdraw from his obedience. Thereupon her Majesty sent Sir John Smith to the King to present unto him the said supplications of his distressed subjects, and also hearing of Don John's arrival in the Low Countries, has sent to him to seek by all means possible to bring them to pacification, wherein if he shall not take present order he will put in peril the loss of the whole country through a secret combination wrought by provocation of the French, whereby in case they shall not receive speedy satisfaction of their demands they are promised all succour and help from France to withstand his attempts. He may consider how much it imports the King to grow to some peaceable end with them rather than strive with a people resolutely bent to run any course rather than to endure the oppression which they have long time felt. The time was when they strove only with humble requests on scrolls of paper; now they demand the same with the sword in their hands. If upon laying before him the perils that may ensue upon the said combination, Horsey does not find in him some good disposition to grow to a good accord with the States, but rather incline to prosecute the matter by force, he shall declare to him that the case is so full of danger to the Queen, either if France should come to have an interest in those countries, or on the other side if their form of government should be altered by the overthrowing of their ancient liberties by maintaining foreign forces there, she is fully resolved, rather than suffer these great inconveniences, to aid them with all the might and power she can. On the other side, in case Don John shall make it appear that contrary to their protestations they have any meaning to withdraw themselves from the King's government by standing upon such hard points as were not honourable for the King to agree unto, she means (if he shall require it) to join her forces with his in opposing them and their fautors. In order that he may deal substantially with Don John in this behalf, Horsey is, as he passes by Brussels, by means of Dr. Wilson, to confer secretly with some of the principal of the States, whom he is to acquaint with the cause of her sending him over, being to procure their quietness and liberty, with due obedience to the King, and desire them to inform him upon what difficulties the matter chiefly rests between them and Don John. If he discovers a plain meaning in them by their hard demands to withdraw from the King's obedience, then he and Wilson are to use all good persuasions to reduce them to some conformity in that behalf. On the other side he shall let them understand that in case Don John shall not yield to their reasonable requests, whereby it may appear that he intends to prosecute the matter by force, he shall assure them that the Queen means not to see them oppressed, but will assist them by all good means she may.
2. If he learns that they proceed in their intelligence with France, he shall as well with persuasions and offering assistance as with threatening them that she will join with Don John in opposing them, do what he can to impeach the same, for he shall understand that of all the perils she can imagine this conjunction with France is the most dangerous for her. During his residence with Don John he is to observe both by his outward actions and by any secret intelligence which he may procure how he is persuaded of the Queen's sincere meaning towards the King of Spain, and whether he has any affection that she should interpose as a mediator between him and his subjects; also what forces he prepares and what he looks for either out of Germany, France, or Italy.
3. Appoints Richard Bingham to go over with him.— 14 Dec.
Rough draft corrected by Burghley. Endd.: 14 Dec. 1576. Pp. 6.
1068. Copy of the above, with additional instructions to prosecute the suit of the English merchants spoiled and put to ransom at the sack of Antwerp.
Pp. 32/3.
Dec. [14]. 1069. Certain considerations set down by Mr. Horsey concerning the Conferences to be had with Don John.
The former negotiations with the States and the King of Spain. The peril that is likely to grow from the French practises. The danger that must arise to her Majesty from a continuance of civil war. If Don John yields to reasonable demands, and they stand upon terms not fit for subjects to ask, then her Majesty will aid him with all her forces against the States. To inquire of Don John's forces. To demand restitution of the merchants' goods.
Endd. Pp. 2.
Dec. 15. 1070. Articles on which Don John of Austria is willing to Treat of Peace.
1. To withdraw all Spanish and other foreign soldiers from the country.
2. All offices to be filled by natives of the country.
3. Make restitution of their spoils.
4. To maintain the ancient privileges.
5. To assemble the States General.
6. An amnesty for the past.
7. The Prince to bear the blame of any contravention.
8. The towns and fortresses to be held till the completion of peace.
9. The Catholic religion to be the sole one tolerated.— —15 Dec. 1576.
Endd. Fr. P. 1.