Elizabeth: September 1577, 6-10

Pages 141-151

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 12, 1577-78. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1901.

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September 1577, 6-10

Sept. 6. 194. The ESTATES to DON JOHN.
If your Highness has been pleased with the letter received from his Majesty, as showing that you have always claimed to maintain the pacification, we have received incomparably greater joy, desiring nothing more than peace and repose. We pray God that we may soon feel the effect. As, however, we cannot be ignorant, and as your Highness knows well things have gone so far that unless some effect ensues we canot be persuaded that it is really meant. And to prevent the unpleasantness, which any day may bring, we pray that it may please your Highness to quit Namur, Charlemont, and Marienbourg, to write to the Germans, bidding them quit the fortresses which they occupy, and carry out the pacification as requested in our last dispatch. We shall be very willing to hear the proposals of the ambassador, and shall not fail to accommodate ourselves to the foregoing, awaiting his Majesty's pleasure to send us the person who is to govern the country.—Brussels, 6 September 1577. Copy. Endd. in Fr. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. II. 77.]
Sept. 6. 195. Another copy of the same. Endd. by L. Tomson : . . . thanks for the desire of peace, promise of audience for the deputies of Liege, but no cessation of arms, unless Namur and the other towns be rendered into their hands. [Ibid. II. 78.]
Sept. 7.
K. d. L. ix. 505.
Certain burgesses of Ostend have set forth to us that on Aug. 17 last certain English pirates, to the number of 46, meeting the petitioners' ship coming from Königsberg with a cargo of corn and timber from Esthonia, near the place called le Sablon, in the district of Norden, captured and plundered the said ship, going so far as to take away the clothes of the petitioners, and putting them into a little boat to drift at the mercy of God. They ask us to assist them with a letter of recommendation to your Majesty, that wherever the said ship and pirates may be caught, they may be dealt with by your Majesty's officers.—Brussels, 7 September 1577. Copy. Endd. in Fr. Fr. ½ p. [Holl. and Fland. II. 79.]
On arriving here I found his Highness indisposed with his stomach ailment, yet he gave me audience immediately. I was as brief as possible on account of his illness, but still I made out so much that I have good hope of negotiating to your satisfaction, and of bringing back this time a decision guaranteeing you against all sudden or violent action contrary to the pacification. The Council of State assembled here, and the deputies from the Empire now arrived, are well disposed to render good offices in this matter. Meantime, I must beg your Lordships reciprocally to give his Highness some guarantee for his personal safety and the security of his government during the short period that will elapse before another governor comes, in order that he may have no just cause for resentment, and may depart from us with as little disgust as possible. It can cause you no danger nor prejudice, and if it pleases you to send in any overtures to this effect, it will be a great help to me in negotiating to your satisfaction. I hope you will take this in good part, as tending to enable me to do you better service in promoting what tends to the assured peace which you desire. I beseech you also, while I am negotiating here, to put a stop to all hostilities, and to prevent any ill-treatment of these prisoners, as his Highness desires.—Namur, 8 September 1577. (Signed), Caspar Schetz. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 80.]
We have regretted more than we can say the apprehension which has seized Don John of some plot against his person, of which no doubt your Majesty has been informed. We cannot believe that any member of the Estates could have thought of such a thing, and still less that any subject in this country would have undertaken to commit so execrable an act, well assured as he must have been that a memorable vengeance would follow. But in spite of all we could say he persisted in his fears, letting himself be persuaded to such a point, that for the safety of his person he withdrew to the castle of Namur in a fashion which has scandalized everybody ; all the more so, that when he was still at Mechlin, without our knowledge or that of the Council of State, he was in treaty with the German troops in order to retain them in his service, all the while that he was in treaty with us as to paying them and letting them go on the day fixed in accordance with the pacification, viz., July 24. This fraudulent conduct gave cause to suspect his intentions in other matters. He had already given us cause for keeping an eye on his correspondence, and some of his letters which were intercepted so increased the suspicion that we fell by degrees into the terms on which we are at present. His Highness, therefore, judging himself not to be a propitious governor for this country, has declared to us his willingness to demand permission from your Majesty to retire, informing us of it that we may at the same pray you to let us have another governor of the royal blood. This being so, although we dislike it, and although we had conceived great hopes from the prudence and many virtues personal to Don John, yet seeing his affection alienated from us, and that of the community from him, as though in prey to suspicion, we cannot but pray your Majesty, as you see our need requires, and as is desired by Don John himself, to provide us with another governor, and on this occasion with one who shall be clear of any suspicion as is mentioned above, and thus agreeable to the Estates of the country, that the commonwealth may continue in its duty without outbreaks, of which, owing to their new discontent, there is great danger. Yet we trust that in the hope of a new governor we shall be able to prevent the occurrence of disorder, and to preserve inviolable the Roman Catholic religion and the obedience due to your Majesty. Whereof we beseech you to have no doubt, whatever may be represented to you to the contrary, if your Majesty will assist us, either by promptly appointing a new governor, or by letters announcing your good will and intention, and meanwhile authorising a Council of State to govern ; as is necessary to keep the people in their obedience, and all the more if Don John leaves us. Beseeching your Majesty that this new discontent may not be imputed to us, who only desire to remain in our ancient religion and in obedience to you, as to the Emperor your father ; but rather attributed to some unlucky evil star come unexpectedly to our great regret ; and praying the Creator that he will of His clemency find a remedy for it, and inspire your Majesty with what is meet for the salvation and repose of your poor and almost ruined subjects in these parts.—Brussels, 8 September 1577. Copy in Davison's hand. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. II. 81.]
Sept. 8.
K. d. L. ix. 506.
As the Marquis of Havrech is at present with the Prince at Gertruydenberg and I do not know what haste he will make, I thought well to advertise you by this post how things proceed. On Friday last the States sent their final resolution to Don John by M. de Grobbendonck, which was in sum that he should deliver Namur and the other places into their hands, and go to Luxembourg ; otherwise they will denounce open war. They have also written privately to such of these parts as are with him that they should abandon him upon pain of the confiscation of lands and goods. So I see not what is to be looked for but war. On Friday night he sent the Duke of Cleves' commissioners to propound some new articles, whose way he had prepared with a letter which he said he had received from Spain, but indeed came out of his closet, where he lacks not "blanks," and can make the King write what he list. But they were sent back without audience. This he did to hinder the coming of the Prince, as the thing he most fears ; which the States have now concluded on, and sent the Count of Egmont, M. de Hèze, M. de Hautkerke, M. de Champagny, the Abbot of St. Gertrude, Longolius, and M. de Liesfelt, to entreat him to come, intending to make him President of their Council of State ; a resolution not more necessary than comfortable to a number of good patriots. The camp still lies about Gemblours, three miles this side Namur, where certain regiments under Mario Corduña and others that sometime served under Mondragon, and lately revolted from Don John to the States, began a little mutiny, which has put them to some trouble, and they are trying to appease it. There is a report here that the "Scuriale," a monastery near Madrid, which the King of Spain hath bestowed so much time and treasure in building, has been burnt to the ground in a tempest of thunder and lightning ; whereof I have seen advices, together with some stir that is to be begun there for religion. Yesterday I heard from Antwerp that there is talk among the foreign merchants that the "Mores" are revolted, and have taken a town upon the Mediterranean Sea called Porto ; and there is some appearance that they will call in the Turk to their aid. But that which is of most importance if true is the news of the King of Spain's death, which was reported by a person of note in the French Court to M. de Mondoucet, the late ambassador here. The letter intercepted among others came to the hands of M. de Liesfelt, who told me of it. The talk of peace in France and the coming down of the Duke of Guise is constant here ; whereof you will hear more from Whitechurch, who attends on the marquis.—Brussels, 8 September 1577. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. II. 82.]
Sept. 8. 200. INSTRUCTIONS to ROBERT BOWES, Treasurer of Barwick.
Finding it very necessary to have you near the fire which we perceive by your late advertisement is now on kindling in Scotland, that you may be the better able to suppress the flame that is like to break forth to the peril of both nations, we have thought it meet that you repair into Scotland to the Regent ; having a very apt occasion ministered to us for the avoiding of suspicion by a letter we not long since received from Duke Casimir, of which we have bidden our secretaries send you a copy, that you may shew it to the Regent. And as we learn that this should be laid before him as the principal cause of our sending you thither, you shall tell him that having received notice from the said Duke of an assembly intended at Magdeburg by the deputies of the princes of the Augustan confession with intention to condemn all that have not subscribed that confession, and being advised by him to send some persons to the assembly to dissuade that intention, we thought it most necessary by all means to hinder the said assembly, and thereupon dispatched a servant of ours to the chief princes of that confession in Germany to dissuade the said meeting, advising them rather to think of some good way of associating for the withstanding of mischievous plots by the common enemies of the Gospel. If our purpose does not take place, we mean by the advice of the said Duke to send over certain persons to impeach the intended condemnation, wherein if he shall like to join us (a matter greatly desired by Casimir) we shall be right glad. Further, you shall tell him that wherein we perceive by his letters that the subjects of that realm complain of the spoils they have sustained at the hands of our subjects, we greatly grieved thereat. Yet if he shall consider what they be that commit the said outrages, being pirates or such as spare not their own countrymen, and the case we have taken for the apprehension of them, as also the appointment of Commissioners for the searching out of their abettors and comforters, we trust that both he and the grieved subjects of that realm shall find no lack of disposition in us to do anything that may be to their contentment. As to his request, made not long since upon occasion of laying certain horsemen and footmen in the West Marches for the suppression of the outlaws, for some support towards the bearing of the charges likely to grow thereby, you shall tell him that in case we should upon any occasion grant such support, it might be drawn to a precedent to demand the same another time. Yet finding him so constantly affected towards us, and so apt an instrument to maintain the amity between the two crowns, we have willed you to assure him in token of gratuities that he shall receive from us yearly a pension of We think you should deal with the Regent in these points, as most fit to colour your repair thither but touching the principal causes we send you for, our meaning is, considering the fast friendship we have found in the Regent toward us, and the lack we see in that realm of any other to supply his place, that you shall endeavour yourself to break the purpose of such as seek the overthrow of his government. Yet if you see the parties who oppose him drawn to a mislike by any just cause of grief, and if you perceive that their knowledge of our resolution to maintain his authority may force them to some desperate determination by giving ear to France, you shall offer on our behalf that we will take upon us by way of mediation to remove their griefs and to bring about good agreement, wherein if we find the Regent intractable, he shall thereby give us cause to be inclined to favour him. But if you see them carried away with a disposition to have recourse to violent remedies to the peril of the religion and the hope of that country, you shall let them plainly understand that we mean to take part in assistance of the Regent and to employ all our forces against such as oppose him. But this intention we would not have you signify so long as you see any hope of accord by mediation. And as we perceive by you that Argyle among others is greatly grieved, we would have you let him know by such means as you think fit, how glad we should be to work some reconciliation between him and the Regent, and make the like offer to others in the same predicament, and we think it well that either in our name or your own as may seem best, you would move the Regent to remove such causes of grief as he may. As to the parties who are to be rewarded, according to your promise made in our name, we would have you take especial care that they do not abuse us. It would be a great scorn, and touch us in honour, if by our pay they should be the better enabled to serve France's turn. You should also feel them whether they may be won to join the Regent, and bring others of the better sort who are now alienated, to some good reconciliation. For unless they can be drawn to like the Regent's government, we can have no great hope of assurance of their sound devotion to us. Yet if you shall see fit cause to think that by the benefit they shall receive at our hands they may be stayed from France, however they are affected to the Regent, we cannot but think it well employed ; and therefore refer it to your good discretion. on which we have good cause to rely. Therefore finding it hard for us here to resolve what is fit to be done, especially if things break out to violence, our meaning is not so to tie you by these instructions, but that according to your own discretion you may take the course that shall seem to you best. If by the mediation of the parties you are to employ in the way of the intended attempt against the Regent you see no likelihood of stopping it, we think you should both advertise the Regent of it, and do what you may to breed some division among the confederates. Lastly we would have you inform us what persons you think deserving of pensions, and with what sums they may fittingly be satisfied. Copy. 2¾ pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
Having heard from Duke Casimir that it is intended next month to hold a meeting at Magdeburg of Deputies from the princes of the Augustan confession, to condemn those who have not signed that confession, a matter dangerous at the present time, we purpose not only to send some fit persons to dissuade this intention, but also to persuade you to do the like. We have sent the Treasurer of Berwick to let you know how we have proceeded for the stay of the determination, and what we think further to be done ; also divers other things we think meet to be communicated to you. Copy. ⅓ p. [Ibid. II.]
As I advertised you from Bruges, I sent Hieremias and Brown to Flushing in the company of M. St Aldegonde to hearken after the companions that spoiled me ; who happening upon the boy of the ship, have caused the captain and some others to be apprehended. The captain is a Frenchman sailing under the commission of the Prince of Condé, which he says he had from one M. Bordelle, remaining in the Isle of Wight. Some of the apparel has been recovered, but some part thereof mangled and altered that it could not be well known. Of all our money there is not above 18 angels found, some excusing it to be lost in play and others that the rest which are not yet caught are possessed of the greatest part. Besides, the officers' fears for the pursuit and apprehension of them are so great that nothing as yet is come to my hands. The governor has taken great pains, as I am informed, to find them out, having, it is said, some private quarrel with the French, and hath promised all that may be. I have written a letter of thanks to him, and also to the Prince himself for justice and restitution if it may be, and have appointed one Thomas Cartwright, a factor for the Merchant Adventurers, to follow the cause ; who dwells in Middelburg. Howbeit I look for little good, no more than was in the matter of my Lord of Oxford ; for the three ships and parties being known that misused him, during Sir William Winter's and my abode there, one Cantillon was imprisoned, and after without any other form released, so as he is now far, is reported again upon the seas to do the like. By this enclosed letter from the said Cartwright, you shall understand their preparation, and what account such disordered persons make of her Majesty's subjects, especially now in the absence of the Prince, who is at St. Gertrudensberg, I shall beseech you to deal earnestly with M. Famar, that upon receipt of his letters they may have more care to proceed therein as appertaineth. The Governor offers the barque, which is not counted worth more than £20. And if more cannot be had, I may say with Captain Cocberne that I have burnt one candle to seek another. Howbeit if they be well examined I doubt not but that a good quantity will be had. And besides some of them are thought to be of wealth to restore it, if they were found ; but by help and collusion they are hid and escaped to avoid the first bruit, and think to do well afterwards. To-morrow I depart toward Colen. I hear the way is sure, and besides I have received a passport of the Estates from Mr. Davison, to whom I wrote from Bruges. The Burgomaster has been here and presented me with wine, protesting very humbly their great goodwill towards her Majesty, to whom the Estates were so much beholding. He told me also that the Marquis de Havrech was by them dispatched to the Prince at St. Gertrudensberg, and so appointed to repair unto her Majesty in England. Yesternight also arrived here the Count of Egmont, M. de Hèze and others, who as it is said go also to the Prince ; but I cannot hear for what cause. The people are very much affected towards him ; but the heads of the States, partly for religion, and partly of jealousy that he would be too great, mean but to use him to serve their present turn. There has been a foolish bruit here that the King has written to Don John to make peace as the States will ; but however it be, they keep great watch and ward, and with all the earnestness they can pluck down the fortifications of the castle towards the town, as you shall perceive by the papers sent herewith. They are doing the same by command of the Estates at Brussels, Ghent, Utrecht and other places. They have found here a great store of ammunition and cattle ; 1,800 or 2,000 barrels of powder, and other furniture, which is thought should have served for a staple to Don John, if he had not been disappointed of his purpose here.—Antwerp, 8 Sept. 1577. P.S. This morning the news is come to the Burgomaster that Don John has again signified to the Estates the King's pleasure to have peace, and the government established according to their desire. It is also said that Count Lalaing came to Brussels on Friday night from the camp near Namur, and reports that there is great presumption upon these offers of Don John that the King of Spain should be dead. I pray God it be not a device to make them careless, to forslowe their necessary preparations against him. Add. Endd. : From my brother Beale at Antwerp. 4 pp. [Germ. States I. 17.]
Sept. 9.
K. d. L. IX. 509.
What is expected of the proceedings here you may guess by what is past. The sickness of this State is such as in the opinion of the wisest cannot be cured by more gentle medicine than a war. If Don John had not wanted money, he had ere this been furnished with 7 or 8,000 horse out of Germany, provided by the Duke of Brunswick and others. The preparation of the Duke of Guise to assist him is constantly affirmed. The States on Friday last sent M. de Grobbenduc with their final resolution to his Highness, upon whose return we shall see what train these matters will take. In the meanwhile their camp was marched toward Namur, partly with the intent to have surprised him there, and partly to prevent the joining of his forces. But a mutiny happened among them at Gemblours, the mutineers being such as lately revolted from Don John to the States under 'Maria Corduinna' and other companies that served under M. de Meghem and Mondragon. However, Count Lalaing is come hither to make means to content them. These beginnings are ill-favoured presages of unhappy proceedings. The States, some of zeal, some of policy, and others of necessity, have sent to call the Prince ; and now they have dispatched the Marquis of Havrech to her Majesty. This truce will force us to have an eye to the field and a foot in the air, as the proverb says. I wish things in that state, both abroad and at home, as we might be free from the perils thereof, which I despair of as long as the tree on which our perils grow is standing. Here is my Lord Seton at Liége, accompanied by one David Clark, an advocate and pensioner of the S[cots] Q[ueen]. You are acquainted with these humours, and can see presumption enough to suspect some pad in the straw. They may from Liége go to Huy, and so to Namur, and treat what they list without any great note—Brussels, 9 Sept. 1577. Draft. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. II. 83]
Sept. 9.
K. d. L. IX. 511.
Yesternight I received yours of the 3rd by my man, and last Wednesday another of the 24th ult., sent by Mr. Beale. By the latter I perceive you had received but three packets from me, though this be the 7th I have dispatched since my coming. I learn from my man that the weather has stayed some of them at Dunkirk these seven or eight days. The mutiny I mentioned in my yesterday's letter half amazes them here. The accident is of no little prejudice to them, and advantage to the enemy. The news of the King of Spain's death is by some wise men here thought likely. The suspicion of it is increased by the coming of a couple disguised and unknown this last week into the castle of Namur, which some judge were the Spanish ambassador, upon whose coming there was observed some special alteration in Don John's countenance. The practice here for Fr[ance] is still brewing underhand, but the jealousies of this time are too great to do any great good, besides that I spare no endeavour to break the neck thereof. —Brussels, 9 Sept. 1577. P.S.—I find M. Fremin worthy of the commendation you give him. Swevingham is a man that hath deceived her Majesty,' for in the whole country there is not a man more suspected. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 84.]
Sept. 9. 205. Draft of the above letter. ½ p. [Ibid. II. 85.]
Sept. 9.
K. d. L. IX. 508.
The mutiny among the Estates' men is a matter much suspected. They require seven months' pay in hand before they proceed any further ; for the compassing of which Count Lalaing is come hither, and hopes to return in three or four days. Meanwhile their purpose is hindered, if not prevented. The news of the peace in France and bending of the Duke of Guise hither holds constant. The suspicion of the King of Spain's death is thought very likely. Lord Seton is at Liége with David Clark. We hope the Prince will be in Antwerp if not here within four or five days, without whom I see nothing but confusion. If your Lordship will now push at the wheel, you have the time and the means to do great good.—Brussels, 9 Sept. 1577. P.S.—I thank you for your letter and good news yesterday received. Draft. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 86.]
Sept. 9.
K. d. L. IX. 512.
Here is no hope to help this diseased body but with a war, a medicine as perilous as it is violent. We shall see upon the return of M. de Grobbendonck, sent to his Highness with the States' final resolution, what train matters will take. All depends upon his yielding or refusing promptly to deliver up such strongholds as he occupies into their hands.—Brussels, 9 Sept. 1577. Draft. ½ p. [Ibid. II. 87.]
Yours of the 8th received. We are glad to hear his Highness' good intentions, and on our side desire nothing more than the tranquillity of the country, of which we shall conceive a sure hope if conformable effects follow your letters. To tell you the truth, we do not find it advisable to enter into any further communications, unless his Highness will first put into our hands Namur and the other fortresses which he holds, and order the Germans to leave the towns occupied by them. For how could we communicate with any security, having, in a manner of speaking, irons on our feet? If his Highness, agreeably to the command which he says he has from the King, only asks for peace, why does he delay to restore what he has taken from us? You may be sure that if he does this, we shall give him such security as will content him. You know with what sincerity and good faith we proceed. We pray you therefore to do your best that you may be able to bring us a good and faithful decision, agreeably to your letters, assuring you again that we on our side will do everything in reason for the security of his person and in regard to his government in the interim, and hoping that you will speedily return. Pray do not fail to bring an authentic copy of the King's letter touching his Highness's departure from this country.—Brussels, 9 Sept. 1577. Copy. Endd : in Fr. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 88.]
All your friends are well. I hear nothing from the Court worth the writing. God bless you and your 'craventes.' If Captain Gainsworth be near you, pray let him know from me "this now" I desire to hear how he is employed.—11 Sept. 1577. Add. ½ p. [Ibid. II. 89.]
Sept. 10. 210. M. DE GROBBENDONCK to the ESTATES.
In answer to yours, I must tell you that his Highness still keeps his bed, having this day been let blood, and feeling very poorly, as he looks. Notwithstanding the negotiations go on, and this afternoon matters are so forward that I hope everything may be completed to-morrow, and that on the following day, the 12th, I may be at Brussels with such a dispatch as will satisfy you ; in firm confidence that you will also satisfy his Highness according to the content of your letter, and will fail in no point touching the Catholic Religion, as I have assured him in negotiating, perceiving that the contrary impression must have been given him. So, gentlemen, I hope that we shall this time avoid the calamity of war. Pray allow acts of hostility to stop while negotiations are on foot. We have such reports of them every day that I have been much hindered by having to make excuses here and excuses there ; and these reports have certainly not helped on my negotiation. A prince, too, and those about him might be so irritated that passion and desperation might throw us into a rupture and irreparable damage.—Namur, 10 Sept. 1577. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. II. 90.]