Elizabeth: October 1577, 26-31

Pages 286-300

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

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October 1577, 26-31

Oct. 26.
K. d. L. x. 98.
I wrote last on the 22nd, how there had arrived on the 21st, in this town, a Papal legate on his way to see Don John, the Bishop of Liège, and the Duke of "Ascot," to bring the affairs of the Low Countries to a good agreement ; or to say the truth, to delay matters till the King of Spain has made his preparations for war à toute outrance with the States, Don John the while entertaining them through his partisans with vain persuasions, as the effort up to now clearly shows. Any good that has so far come to the country has been due rather to constraint and the good fortune of certain good patriots than otherwise ; so that if they do not remedy the faults of the past and avail themselves of the present, for the sake of the future, everything will go to destruction, looking to the great preparations in Italy on which the Pope is employing all his means. The legate in question is a Jesuit, named Osmaro, a native of the Low Countries, and is accompanied by two Spanish Jesuits. His colleagues left this town on the 23rd, by stages, with four horses, in the direction of Cologne ; and from there to Liége ; and they are going very secretly. The 17th of this month Don John wrote to the Fuggers to get money ; it is said, however, that he will profit little. Meanwhile, things are in suspense on this side. Nothing but war can be expected. He who prepares stoutly for it, who is most prudent, and takes the best order at the beginning is like to have the advantage.—Augsburg, 16 Oct. 1577. (Signed) C. F. The report is that the Empress is going to Spain as governor, and that the King of Spain wishes to come in person to these countries with all the force he can assemble, to chastise vigorously the States who will not obey his commands, and who are governed by [Ends abruptly.] Add. in English. Seal. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. 69.]
Oct. 27.
K. d. L. x. 51.
379. Occurrents from Antwerp.
The States have assented to make the Prince Ruward or Governor of Brabant, to the great content of all good patriots. They have also chosen the Duke of Aerschot governor of Flanders. He is gone to his new charge, where he has not been received with as general affection as the Brabanters received the Prince. They have also made a new Council of the States, which, except one or two suspected, is composed of men very well affected to the common weal. The Count of Egmont and the Seneschal of Hainault are departed to-day towards Diest, there to meet the Archduke now at Maestricht. They are to conduct him to Lierre, to remain there till the States have taken further order. The Prince of Orange came to Antwerp last Wednesday. The Princess is come to him, and it is thought he will stay here, save for a few days which he purposes to spend at Breda. The Duke of Guise is said to have broken up his forces, but so that they are received by Don John. We hear both from France and Italy that the King of Spain is dangerously sick of a 'phrenesie' ; but this awaits further confirmation. The rumour in my last dispatch of an enterprise on Genoa by the Spaniards is now said to be on the Marquisate of Final, a town of importance upon the 'river' of Genoa, not far from Savona ; which is said to have been surprised in a meeting by the Spaniards lying thereabout, not without some slaughter, an accident whence no less danger may come to the King's states, than has grown of their like insolent demeanour here. [Overleaf, in Davison's hand, and in French] : The new Council of State :—The Abbot of St. Gertrude, the Abbot of Maroilles, (fn. 1) the Marquis of Havrech, M. de Willerval, (fn. 2) M. de Ste. Aldegonde, (fn. 1) M. de Champagny, (fn. 2) M. de Steenbeke, (fn. 1) M. de Swevingham, Dr. Leoninus, Echevin Meetkerke, (fn. 2) M. de Liesfelt. The Secretaries, (fn. 2) M. Jehan des Asseliers, Dr. Sille. Enclosure in the next. 1½ p. [Ibid. 70.]
Oct. 27.
K. d. L. x. 46.
You will learn how far the matter of the Archduke has gone, and the Prince's opinion of it, from the particulars enclosed, as well as from what I have sent to the Secretary. The Archduke's coming, as I understand, from the Prince, is utterly against the liking of his mother, but construed here to be with the privity of the Emperor his brother, though as you may see by the copy of his letter to Don John [No. 301], he would colour and disguise the same. He is come rawly and nakedly, utterly unaccompanied by men of counsel or of note. To whom he most leans in this country is as yet hard to judge, but it is thought he has special intelligence with the Duke of Aerschot and his partisans. Of the German princes it is thought that none are consenting to his journey. The States seem resolved to receive him into the government, whether the King assent or not. As to himself, he is not above 19 years old, and is thought of least corrupt nature of all the brothers ; of bringing-up mean for a person of his quality. In religion a Papist, but easy to be reformed with good handling. For his pretended wooing, there is no suspicion at all.—Antwerp, 27 Oct. 1577.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [Ibid. 71.]
381. Draft of above letter. 1 p. [Ibid. 72.]
382. Draft of "occurrents," No. 379. ½ p. [Ibid. 73.]
383. Another copy of "occurrents." ½ p. [Ibid. 74.]
Oct. 27 384. [DAVISON] to LEICESTER.
What opinion his Excellency has of the coming of the Archduke, and how far the matter has gone here, you may learn in detail by my letter to Mr. Secretary. The States are resolute to receive the Archduke ; to whom, being now at Maestricht, they have sent Count Egmont and the Seneschal of Hainault, to bring him to Lierre, where he is to remain till they have taken further order. What has made them so much hasten his entry is the envy and jealousy they have of the greatness of the Prince, which every day increases amongst the multitude. Howbeit his Excellency seems persuaded that the profit may be far greater than the peril of receiving him if the matter be well handled, as you may see by his advice to the Estates, a copy of which I have sent to the Secretary. Don John is already complaining of it to the Estates, to whom he has also sent the Emperor's excusatory letter to himself, copies of which you shall receive herewith. The States have since my last assented to make the Prince Ruward or Governor of Brabant, to the great contentment of the common of Brussels and Antwerp in particular, and of all good patriots in general. They have likewise chosen the Duke of Aerschot governor of Flanders, to which he has a good while aspired, "though not attained into the general good liking that the Prince hath Brabant" ; and have also made a new Council of the Estates, which, except one or two suspected, is composed of men very sound and well affected to the commonwealth. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. 75.]
Oct. 27.
K. d. L. x. 47.
Last Sunday I received yours of the 15th, and on Wednesday others of the 20th. That night late his Excellency came from Brussels. I repaired to him next morning to communicate the substance of your letters, but finding the time unfit by reason of his company and other occupations, I was driven to take a new occasion. This, for the feasting and banqueting there has been here since his coming, I could not conveniently obtain till yesterday ; when repairing to him somewhat early, I found him at such leisure as I wished. Having first spoken of the 'alteration' which this sudden journey of the Archduke had caused in our Court, I asked his advice upon the points mentioned in your letters. His answer you will find separately digested in the form of an apostille to every article. You will find the propounded difficulties sufficiently answered thereby, as well as by an ample discourse containing his Excellency's advice to the States touching the manner in which they should proceed with the Archduke, and by other particulars herewith, and I need not use any repetition ; but proceeding to consider the Archduke's coming in respect of ourselves, I will briefly touch the honour and surety which (in my poor judgement, but under your Honour's correction) may grow to her Majesty and her State by his receiving into the Government, according to his Excellency's advice. First, her Majesty, considering the danger of the time in general, and the hatred of some of her neighbours in particular, namely the Kings of France and Spain, conspired together as may appear by sundry demonstrations, to ruin her, is driven to seek by all means possible how she may prevent and divert their malice ; which no doubt she may do, if she take hold of the occasion offered by the present troubles of the Low Countries, especially in advancing the matter of the Archduke. For if she would either bridle and weaken the King of Spain on the one side, or hold the French and these countries disjoined on the other side, both which marks she must for her surety shoot at, she may in this action easily hit both one and the other. For the first, it would not be any way better affected than by the Archduke, whose admission into the government without the King's authority shall not only increase the King's offence conceived against the States, but also shall make their cause more "haynous" with his Majesty, and consequently augment their diffidence or rather despair of conciliation, and so put the King in utter hazard of either losing his countries and make them more resolute to shake off the Spanish subjection. Secondly, it cannot but offer matter of jealousy between the King and the Archduke, who, called in and advanced to this honour by the States, will, in the King's opinion, endeavour by all means to acquire the absolute possession of the countries and dispossess the King thereof. Which impression (besides regarding the natural desire of sovereignty which often carries men headlong beyond all due respect) will be not a little confirmed by considering the interest which the Emperor his father and his succession pretend to the Low Countries. Thirdly, if he comes with the consent of the Emperor (a thing believed, though he makes semblance of the contrary) it cannot but breed some heartburning between the King and his imperial Majesty, who can have no cause in hatred or policy to oppose his brother's advancement. Fourthly, the princes of the Empire that are naturally jealous of the greatness of Spain will have no cause to mislike the change of government as respects the Archduke, which cannot be so dangerous to them as the greatness of Spain. Fifthly, for the French ; though in common policy they would have no reason to mislike the weakness of the King of Spain, whose greatness has been ever suspected to them, yet partly the close amity and league now between those two Kings, the great partizans and pensioners the King of Spain has in that Court, and the particular 'offence' of the Duke of Alençon, whose aspiring to these Low Countries will be utterly overthrown by the Archduke's coming, cannot but draw them into some resolute partaking with the King ; besides that the jealousy which they have of England will make them combine more closely. To come to the profit that might redound to us, what greater policy can there be for her Majesty than to have a neighbour possessed of these countries who must of necessity depend upon her, which this prince, for the jealousy of Spain and the hatred of France, will be driven to do? By whose receiving, the peril which threatens both this country and her Majesty, if the French were masters thereof, is prevented. And we shall have no cause to fear this ill neighbourhood of Spain when both these countries and their friends are resolutely bent against the King, whom we have to fear only by way of this country. Don John's faction in this country, which principally consists of such as in respect of either ambition, malice, or religion are jealous of the increasing greatness of the Prince of Orange, cannot but abandon him on the receiving of the Archduke, who may be a stop to the greatness which they fear in the Prince. The practice and intelligence of his Highness and the King of Spain in England will turn to smoke, when they are bereaved of their means to affect their purpose upon the States. [6½ lines are here elaborately erased.] By these and other circumstances it may sufficiently appear that with good handling the profit may be far greater than the peril, both in our and their respects, if the Archduke be received after the advice and counsel of his Excellency. And therefore in my rude opinion it will not be well for her Majesty, things standing as they do, either to insist too hard upon the Prince's credit and advancement, to mislike the receiving of the Archduke, or to withdraw her favour promised them ; for the first—I mean to stand so much upon the Prince as to do nothing for them without his special advancement—will breed an envy in some, and in others jealousy of some secret complot and intelligence between her Majesty and his Excellency and make them the more suspicious how to proceed with her Majesty, lest her strength once entered into these countries when the Prince is already so strong, they should concur in some great innovation here, chiefly in matter of religion ; where on the other side the not respecting of the Prince might have proved no less dangerous, for though that cannot be effected that were to be desired in this respect, yet that open declaration of her Majesty's good opinion of his Excellency has greatly advanced his credit among them, and has been an occasion to entertain them in union, fearing lest their disjunction should alien her. For approving the receiving of the Archduke, the above is sufficient ; and for the effecting of her Majesty's promise and returning the Marquis well contented, I cannot see how she can do otherwise unless she would alien not only some particular persons, but the country in general, and drive them to run some other course, as, namely, to practise with France. In sum, the matter which her Majesty shall have chiefly to respect is the assurance of the States, wherein, as it shall behove her to bind them fast, I doubt not they will be willing to give her all good contentment. The manner propounded in some of your former letters was well liked. Money is to be found, as Carrington tells me, whom I hear the States are minded to send back to England for the perfecting of the negotiation.—Antwerp, 27 October 1577. Add. Endd. 3½ pp. [Ibid. 76.] Appended to the above :
386. QUESTIONS propounded to his EXCELLENCY, and his answers.
1. Whether he was made privy to the Archduke's coming, and by whom? 1. He was not made privy thereto till such time as the Marquis of Havrech immediately before his going to England came to Gertruydenberg.
2. What peril or good he thinks his coming may bring? 2. Both are at length discoursed in the advice given by his Excellency to the States, touching how they should proceed.
3. If his coming bring peril, how it may be prevented? 3. By giving him a good council, and otherwise proceeding according to the said advice.
4. What his Excellency himself means to do? 4. To attend his government, and be ready with his counsel, and otherwise to assist the States, from whom he would in no sort disjoin himself.
5. Whether, if the States may be brought to make him Matthias' lieutenant, he would accept the place? 5. There will be no need of this if the States provide him with a sound and wise Council, by whose advice only he should govern ; besides that his Excellency will have enough to do to attend to his particular government.
6. What he thinks Don John will do on the Archduke's coming? 6. Resolve the rather to prosecute his malice against the States, in that he takes both the King and himself to be highly injured by his coming.
7. Whether the States mean to accept him as Governor before the King's assent had? 7. They seem resolved to accept him first, and to ask the King's assent afterwards.
8. Whether his Excellency thinks the King will consent? 8. He thinks not, but by constraint.
9. If the King give not his assent, what the States will do, and what he would advise? 9. He is of opinion they will accept him whether the King assent or not ; which he himself mislikes not, so it be according to the advice mentioned above.
10. What advice he would give her Majesty touching the money demanded by the States? 10. He would with them be a humble suitor to her Majesty, to continue her favour towards them, and to effect the promise she has vouchsafed to make.
Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. 76A.]
387. Draft of No. 385. At the point where the passage is erased, follows :
Besides that this election of the Archduke by the general Estates without the authority and consent of the king shall be a sufficient precedent for those of Holland and Zealand, if they have a meaning to subject themselves to the absolute government of the Prince of Orange ; whose confederacy with her Majesty would be of such profit and surety to our state as (that combination holding) no outward enemy were to be doubted. The Archduke would have no cause to mislike such an election, since his interest to the rest of the provinces shall be elective and not hereditary. Besides that the importance and necessity of the union of the rest of the provinces with Holland and Zealand will not permit any disjunction between them, and their governors by marriage or otherwise may be so straitly allied that there shall be no cause to fear any peril of their division. 4 pp. [Ibid. 77.]
Oct. 29. 388. POULET to BURGHLEY.
There is little to say. I doubt lest a messenger to me have miscarried. Because the time being now in hand you may be absent from the Court, I trouble you with a copy of my letter to Mr. Walsingham. It is pitiful to see the number of young English gentlemen repaired hither for matter of religion, whereof some have been here of good continuance, others are come out of the Low Countries to avoid the troubles there. God grant them better knowledge of His truth, and dutiful mind towards her Majesty.—Paris, 29 October 1577. P.S.—Being upon the point to seal this, I received your Lordship's letter of the 23rd. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [France I. 46.]
Oct. 30.
K. d. L. x. 63.
The little time since my last has brought forth an accident of no less consequence than astonishment to a number here. The Duke of Aerschot, to welcome him to his new government, with the Bishop of Bruges, MM. de Ressinghem, Zwevingem, Mocqueron, and the rest whose names I send, being at Ghent, were yesterday morning apprehended and made prisoners by the people of that town. The cause growing generally from the suspicion (just as it should seem by a letter lately discovered, the copy of which I herewith send), of some practice in hand by them to the prejudice of the commonwealth ; but specially strengthened at this time by some fond speeches and demeanours of the Duke since his coming to Ghent, when the people having lately been suitors for the restoration of the privileges taken from them by the Emperor Charles, the Duke in open Council calling them rebels and mutineers, asked where those gallants were that would have everything after their humour ; he would see them come forth and show their faces if they durst ; with divers other words no less fond than of ill digestion to the people, who hereupon putting themselves in arms have proceeded thus far, and it is suspected will go yet so far further, that some, too well-known to be ill affected to their country, are not likely to escape so 'good cheap,' as did those apprehended in like sort last year at Brussels. In this meanwhile there has been some encounter between the States' men and the Spaniards about Namur, wherein the Spaniards have had the worse, and lost to the number of 50 or 60 foot and some horse. Our Archduke is come to-night to Lierre ; but how ill his arrival is digested of the Duke of Alençon, his competitor, you may see by the copy of his letter to the States ; and by other letters which accompany you may see the States' ultimum vale to Don John. For foreign matters, there is news from France of a revolt in Sicily, which, if it be true, falls out in good time for the affairs of this country. The King of Spain's sickness has been confirmed by letters from Rome, Naples, and Venice ; and as men are apt to believe pleasing things, is here easily credited. Here is a muttering of some enterprise that was to have been done by boats upon the town of Ghent ; but I hear no particulars yet.—Antwerp, 30 Oct. 1577. Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fland. III. 78.] Enclosed in above :
390. Another copy of J. de Hessele's letter, No. 343. [Ibid. 78A.] Also :
391. Another copy of the letter of Oct. 24, from the Estates to Don John, No. 371. [Ibid. 78B.]
Oct. 31. 392. WALSINGHAM to ROGERS.
Her Majesty understands both by Casimir's letters and your report, how little success is to be looked for in the matters committed to your charge ; seeing that the overhastiness of some, 'unwitting' to them, to whom they were most bound, has altered the course of things on the one hand, while, on the other hand, the little care that others have of their own and others' preservation given small encouragement to persist in the labour begun, or to renew it hereafter. As her Majesty cannot "without dislike conceive somewhat hardly" of this, she wishes you to impart her mind in this and in all points wherein you desire an answer, to Casimir, that he may understand how she is affected, and be directed how to carry himself for the state of the time and such services as may fall out. Touching the nature of support to France, this forgetfulness to acquaint her Majesty with their proceeding in making a treaty of peace, and hasty conclusion of it without her privity, makes her think that she has not been dealt with therein as she ought ; unless they persuade themselves that only the relieving of their present necessity was to be regarded, and honour not considered at all, though they made it themselves a condition of such support as was demanded. Notwithstanding this light dealing, which tends to their harm, her Majesty is still ready to have a care of them, that they may be preserved if God so will, and they shall with better judgement hereafter 'list' themselves. Therefore, as she commends Casimir's care to do them good, so she is not minded to forsake them if they will not forsake themselves, but take such order as is advised them, and as they can see from their former extremity to be necessary. They have been advised to have sums of money ready where it is to be employed, that no hindrance grow to the service when it is needed. If they do so, and 'fault' not therein as before, they will understand that there shall be no default from hence. Hereof you may assure Casimir, and request him to be as careful in this matter as he has been in former times, and so arrange matters with those who are to be employed that all things may concur accordingly. As for the league, for which her Majesty cared rather for the safety of those princes than her own (God having so well provided for the safety of her person and estate that she does not greatly need to fear the wicked purposes of her enemies), not wishing to see her friends ruined through their own default—for as they cannot be ignorant of the enemy's purpose to destroy all that profess any faith but the Romish, so they must see that there is no better way for him to attain his purpose than by separating us one from another—and seeing that this permission is but hearkened to and that they mean to await the extremity unprovided, she must be satisfied with this testimony that she is guiltless of the inconveniences likely to grow to the whole estate of Christendom. In this behalf she has laboured with the King of Denmark, using your brother's service therein in the time of this late colloquy, which has so cold an answer. It is not to be wondered at if this kind of dealing cause likewise a coldness in her Majesty, seeing so little fruit come of her labour and trouble, sparing therein neither her honour nor her coffers ; whereas, being a monarch, she ought rather to have been moved therein than to move it herself. It is not unlikely that this division among themselves, sought to be furthered by the subscription of the book presented by Andreas and his 'complices' is the hindrance to a straiter intelligence between themselves. The enemy is well persuaded that the dissolution of his kingdom is grounded upon our unity. Our 'perceverance' [sic] is but small if we cannot see that this is his intention, for when they have shut out their fellow-princes and friends from the peace of the Empire, what have they prevailed more than the weakening of the Empire, and giving the upper hand to that part which was before much inferior? Her Majesty can do no more but wish them well, but is doing her good offices with the King of Denmark to use his credit with the Duke of Saxony and other princes to dissuade them from proceeding in their determination. As for employment in Flanders, you may tell them that as yet she can get from them no resolution what they mean to do, so great factions there are between themselves, as men ruled entirely by the clergy. They have called down Archduke Matthias to come among them, it is doubtful whether of a 'headiness' against the King or of a counterfeit combination with his ministers the more easily to suppress their fellow-patriots and oppress their own liberty. Meanwhile Don John reinforces himself, and has continual supplies of men coming to him. He has lately written them a very round letter, whereby they may understand his mind. If they resolve to ask assistance, her meaning is not to leave them destitute, seeing the planting of so perilous an enemy there, whose meaning it is to make it a storehouse of soldiers, is neither for the safety of her Majesty nor of the Empire ; and, therefore, if he should be moved to descend to their relief, her Majesty would very well like him to hearken to it, and prepare himself to that service, tending to the advancement of the same cause as the other, being against a worse neighbour than the other. Last of all, do not forget to remind him of her Majesty's former loan of 50,000 crowns, for the repayment of which she marvels she hears nothing by this last payment made by the Duke of Lorraine, seeing she was promised that in the next she should not be forgotten. If promise were kept, she would be more willing to help them in their necessity ; but reaping nothing but delays they cannot wonder if she forbear to do them all the good which might be deserved with better offices. And seeing the jewels remain in his hands you may signify to him that her Majesty reposes that confidence in him, that unless she be otherwise satisfied, she shall be satisfied out of them. When you have imparted this, her Majesty's pleasure is you may take your leave and provide yourself for your return. [The rest in Walsingham's own hand.]
If you can so work that her Majesty may be paid the 50,000l. you will do a very acceptable service, and encourage her to be the more willing to lend hereafter. The money you wrote of is already at Hamburgh, and is to remain there in deposito to be employed as occasion shall serve. I have nothing else to write, but for your comfort to inform you that her Majesty very well 'allows' of your service.—Windsor, the last of October 1577. P.S.—In the letter to Duke Casimir there is nothing but thanks, and a request to give credit to you. Pray salute in my name Languet, Junius, and Dathenus. I shall be glad to hear from you at your return of what force every one of the great princes in Germany are, both for treasure and soldiers ; what inferior noblemen depend on each of them ; how they are linked in friendship ; what party Casimir can make ; and what opinion is had of the Duke of Lorraine. Address and endorsement lost. 4 pp. [Germ. States I. 38.]
[Oct.] 393. COMPLAINTS by the GOVERNOR and MERCHANT ADVENTURERS of the English nationality resident in ANTWERP laid before the QUEEN'S AMBASSADOR.
1. They complain of a new imposition called Moyens generaulx, exacted on all goods exported by them from this country.
2. That for certain merchandise which they import from England, to wit baize, 'northern dozens,' &c., and also when taking away their own goods, cloth, or whatever it may be, they have to pay this impost ; a thing which has never been usual in their case ; the exaction being so great that it cannot be endured without extreme damage, indeed ruin to many of them.
3. Further the receivers of these dues raise the rate on various kinds of goods at their pleasure, according as they think the article is more in demand, so that the merchant cannot tell what to deal in, to keep up his trade.
4. They are compelled to specify to the collectors of the new imposts the contents of their goods by kind, their sorts and quantities ; whence their business-connexions get discovered, and they can do no trade without its being known. All which is quite contrary to the ordinary custom among the merchants, who by their privileges are only bound to declare by the sample. They only desire to hold their course in keeping trade secret and commerce free, as in all reason it should be.
5. New inspectors have been appointed, who want to go further, and under pretext of some suspicion to examine goods when the duty has been paid. It is intolerable to be subject to such extreme measures.
6. The collectors claim to confiscate all goods on which the duty has not been paid ; whereas the merchants have always been exempted, not only from the impost above-named, but from confiscation, even when the proper duty had not been paid, or payment of the double of it four times over.
7. On drinks, such as wine and beer, imported from England, as well on those brewed in this country, a high duty has been levied. From this the merchants ought to be exempt as heretofore ; such exemption being of no hurt to anyone.
8. The collector of duties for Zealand exacts duty on the merchants' goods coming from or intended for countries other than England ; although this right of neutral commerce is given in general terms, without exception of individuals.
9. The officers in Zealand make fresh demands on mariners for the passage of vessels, which are thus delayed, losing tide and fair winds. It would be better for all vessels to have free right of passage, and pay the dues on reaching this town.
10. In conclusion they pray for redress on these points. Otherwise they may have to go elsewhere. French. Appended are : Extracts from privileges granted by the city of Antwerp to English merchants in 1446 and 1516. Latin. Also : Copies of two Acts by my lords of the city of Antwerp, of July 20, 1562, and June 1, 1577, granting relief from wine and beer duties. And Copies of two similar Acts of Oct. 12 and 22, 1577 (presumably in reply to the petition). Flemish. Endd. in L. Tomson's hand : Complaints of the merchants exhibited to the States, 1577. 4 pp. [Holl. and Fland. III. 79.]
Oct. 394. POINTS and ARTICLES wherein the ENGLISH MERCHANTS trading in Flanders are oppressed, to the prejudice of their ancient privileges and liberties.
1. The treaties of 1495 and 1520 contain a provision that merchants trading in Antwerp are to pay no rate higher than that of Brabant anywhere in the Low Countries. Nevertheless since their recent return, they have been compelled to pay many other tolls for goods carried by land in their passage through various towns, as Gravelines, Dunkirk, and Bruges ; which is directly contrary to the treaties.
2. Although it is provided by the privileges granted by the Dukes of Burgundy, especially Philip named le Bel that the merchants shall be exempt from all duties, it is a fact that they have been called on to pay duties on beer, wine, and other provisions for their own use while residing here.
3. In another article of the privileges granted by Duke Philip leave is given, among other things, to import and sell alum where and how they please. Now they are forbidden to import it elsewhere than to Antwerp, and ordered to sell it only to certain individuals called contractors.
4. For 100 years and more the English company have had in their common house, called the English House, the exercise of their religion and the administration of the Sacrament according to the use of the Church of England. They now pray that they may freely continue this, having the Sacraments administered by such person of their own land and language as they may see think well, according to the custom of the realm of England. Endd. in French [? by Lisle Cave]. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. 80.]
Last wee of Oct. 395. [ ? ] to [DAVISON]. I hear from a good quarter that 10 or 11 days ago a meeting was held at Lhomme, near Lisle, where M. de Rassinghen has a house, at which appeared Dr. Vendeville, residing at Douay, with M. d'Assigny of the same place and others from various places. I do not know what passed, but evidently nothing for the good of the country ; inasmuch as next day, when Dr. Vendeville and M. d'Assigny got back to Douay, a meeting was called for the morrow of all the corporations of the town, namely, the ecclesiastics, the university, and the burgesses or crafts. And being come together, M. d'Assigny began to speak to them to this effect : "Great thanks are due to you for the readiness with which you have raised the moneys. But as certain fresh incidents have supervened, which I am about to relate to you, you are requested to postpone the handing over of them to the States-General at Brussels, and to keep them for a time in your own hands. The Archduke Matthias has arrived, having been invited by some of the chief men of the country to be the governor, and you had better make up your minds to receive him as such, for he is of all princes in the world the one that has been most exactly brought up in the Roman Catholic Religion, for which you have always shown a good zeal. And seeing that it is so, and that by him you may be well maintained, it is needful that he be promptly received, and that you do all that in you lies ; since for your maintenance, as I have just said, in your religion, it is necessary so to act, and by this means to employ yourselves in driving out that pernicious person, who is ruining and spoiling everything, winning and making profit now out of one of his Majesty's provinces, now out of another. I may say, too, with regard to the money in question that it is also necessary for the reason that, as I judge, it is a great mistake to make war on Don John ; because when he sees the Archduke installed in the government he will give way and depart, and also because by fighting him we shall earn the ill-will and anger of the King. Kindly say, each of you, how it strikes you." Thereupon the ecclesiastics, without many words, agreed to the proposal at all points. After them Vendeville, in the name of the university, having discoursed on both sides of the question, agreed with the ecclesiastics point by point. The burgesses, for the third estate, were then summoned to give their opinion. One of them, called I think Adrien de Villiers, answered that what had been proposed admitted of much deliberation, and that they could not then give their opinion. He asked that they might retire for a stated time, and confer together upon the whole. It was insisted, however, that promptly and without further conference the burgesses should agree with the resolutions of the two former estates ; Assigny, Vendeville, and others alleging that they were not to think to be wiser than many of the people of quality and learning there present. Indeed, the multitude of opinions found among the people would so distract them that it would be imposible at once to come to a resolution, and meantime everything would go on getting worse. The speaker for the burgesses hereupon answered decidedly that it must be as they said, and insisted upon having time and place allowed them to deliberate ; which at last was granted. The conference did not last long, and the speaker returning to the others, said, in effect, as follows :—
"We have deliberated on the proposal, and have resolved to say to you that as this town is a small Chastellenie, surrounded by three provinces as powerful as Artois, Flanders, and Hainault, we cannot make up our minds to receive the Archduke as governor till we see what those provinces do ; then we will use our best endeavours to satisfy people. Moreover, we cannot bring ourselves to do this, because there is no commission from his Majesty, and it would be a rash thing to proceed so lightly. "As for holding back the money, as we hear that those of Artois are sending their quota, we do not intend to contravene our promise ; and this in sum is the answer of the citizens." This was heard with great astonishment by the others, who tried by all means to draw the burgesses from their resolution. At this point people began to shout at the top of their voices ; among others, M. de Mauville and Mebbras spoke and, avec quelque serment, found fault with the magistracy for the slack way in which they had done their duty to the poor citizens, trying rather to suppress them than to defend them. They had had notice that the French had an invasion in hand (as M. de Steenkerke had written to M. de Mauville) ; yet they took no order for the guarding or fortifying of the town, even at the very point where ten or twelve years ago the French had thought to surprise it, and the citizens were not minded to endure this any longer. They wished the six men who had charge of such things to be summoned at once, and a beginning made with the necessary steps for the common protection ; adding that they did not wish the fortification to begin where M. de Rassinghen had planned. Here I must explain this proposal of Rassinghen's. Some time ago, being at Douay, some of the chief people pointed out that it was necessary to fortify the town ; to which he replied : "Gentlemen, my children, you are quite right in wishing to guard yourselves. I desire nothing so much ; and to-day or to-morrow I will visit all parts of the town where it may be most needful to begin the work." He went round the town accordingly, and was ultimately of opinion that a large quarter should be pulled down and the ramparts cleared for new fortifications. Now many of the chief people were alarmed by the expense, and also at the idea that the town would for a long time have an open breach. Several, too, thought that there were many parts of the town much weaker than that which it was proposed to fortify. So nothing was done. When then they had heard what Mauville and Mebbras had to say, answer was made that it was dinner-time, and that that was enough till the afternoon. The burgesses insisted, saying that it was no time for dining, but for defending themselves ; and besides that those who had charge of these matters were accustomed to be at table till nightfall, whereby time is wasted. Or else they care so little for their business that they will not be found at home ; wherefore they must be summoned at once, or others nominated. After other talk they withdrew, and the person from whom I heard all this says that since then the town has been in arms. He was present at all the above. Copy. Endd. by L. Tomson : Discourse of matters fallen out at Douay ; and by another hand : Upon the coming of Archduke Matthias to follow him and to oppose themselves to the Prince of Orange. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. III. 81.]
396.Another copy. Endd. : Relation des choses passées à Douay. Fr. 3 pp. [Ibid. 82.]
[Oct. ?] 397. "Antidotes" on certain points in the letters of Don John, by which he tries to cause those who do not know the pure truth to find evil in all the actions of the States-General.
[A paper, much obliterated by water, containing extracts from Don John's letter of Oct. 2 to the Estates, with replies to the charges made therein. "What he calls unreasonable is merely a request for the maintenance of the rights which all Dukes of Brabant, the King, and Don John himself have sworn to maintain," &c., &c. The reply begins with the words, Amy lecteur, and would seem to be either the draft of a pamphlet for publication, or a copy from some published work.] Endd. : Antidotes, M. No. 20. Fr. 2½ pp. [Ibid. 83.]


  • 1. Suspect.
  • 2. Protestant.