Elizabeth: December 1577, 11-15

Pages 376-386

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

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December 1577, 11-15

Nov. 25—Dec. 12.
K. d. L. various pages.
M. de la Motte passed the 'Maze' at Bouvines with 5,000 shot and 1,100 horse to surprise 18 ensigns of French that lay dispersed in the villages. The weather was very foul that night. If they had attempted them at once they would easily have overthrown them ; but the French gathered themselves together and seemed to offer to parley, and offer their services to the States, until they were safely intrenched, and then they cared no more for our men. Those that were there greatly blame M. de la Motte. They returned without doing anything but kill 4 or 5 soldiers and take 11 prisoners. They returned to camp the 1st of December.
Dec. 4. There came from Namur in the morning 10 ensigns of Frenchmen to a hill above Namur towards the camp, where they seemed as though they would intrench themselves. A sergeant-major who discovered them told M. de Lalaing that unless they were removed within 12 hours, it would be impossible for all the camp to remove them. Yet there was nothing done, but they of themselves returned to Namur ; not known to the camp for 5 days after. It was reported that 4,000 Spaniards and Italians were come to Don John.
Dec. 9. All the Spaniards, Italians, High Burgundians and French, to the number of 3 regiments of the best soldiers, marched towards the land of Lamborne [? Limburg], leaving only 50 Spaniards to guard the castle of Nemours. It is supposed that they go to victual Ruremonde.
Dec. 10. The Bishop of "Collaine" was married to the sister of the Count of "Erremberge" ; at which marriage it is said that Don John shall meet with 4,000 horsemen, and so meet the regiments above-named. The same day, M. de Lalaing, M. de la Motte, Count Egmondt and others, with 30 ensigns of foot and 4 pieces of ordnance, and victualled for 3 days, went to besiege a castle on the Maze called Ceille, which was yielded next day upon composition. They are fortifying it, and are now gone to besiege another castle on the same river called Samson.
Dec. 12. Count de la Marshe, being left as general in the camp, sounded the drum to take review, meaning to camp where the 10 ensigns of French mentioned above had been on the 4th, as soon as he heard from M. de Lalaing. Enclosure . 1 p . [Ibid. IV . 29.]
Dec. 12. 503. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
Since the receipt of yours of the 22nd ult. by John Furrier, I have heard nothing of you, nor have I written since his return. The mean time has afforded little of importance. Things remained in the doubtful state that he left them, till now, when the States, having resolved to receive the Archduke, have sent the Duke of Aerschot, M. de Frézin, and the Abbots of St. Gertrude and Marolles, to repair hither to him, with the conditions upon which they will receive him, being the same in effect as I have already sent your Lordship. If, as is not doubted, he accepts them, he is to go from hence with the commissioners to Brussels. They were dispatched yesterday, and should have been here to-night at latest ; but a new debate arose between the States and the people upon the addition of certain articles, as that he should swear to maintain the Roman Catholic religion ; that he would at all points entertain the first union of the States, a thing which was concluded between them about seven or eight weeks after the pacification of Ghent, having the maintenance of the Romish religion for 'his principal mark' ; that he should maintain the perpetual edict ; with two or three other like suspicious points, not mentioned in their former communication with the commons, who on understanding it, would not approve his being accepted unless on the conditions they had agreed to. So the States were driven to reform those articles, and this delayed the commissioners. They are expected to-morrow. The conduct of the States, before the conclusion of the new association, once agreed to and since suspended, makes its success doubtful, and fills the head of some good patriots with a suspicion of their pretence ; the more so that in composing Matthias's council and household they seem determined to admit only those sworn to maintain the Romish religion. As this excludes the Prince, it is the high way to confound the union of the country, a thing hoped for and set forward by ill ministers at home and abroad ; amongst whom the French have not the least interest. They think they have received great dishonour of the States who have 'so long dandled and in fine rejected' the Duke of Alençon. He has lately sent M. de Mondoucet, that was lately ambassador resident here for the King, to let the Prince and States understand their discourteous manner of dealing with him, and to make them good offers on his behalf. But as the government of the Archduke is like to make a metamorphosis of this his pretended affection, some suspect that Mondoucet, who arrived here yesternight, has some secret negotiation, being a man able to do much harm, with his experience here. The ill inclination of France towards these countries may appear by the letters of the King and Queen-Mother to the States, copies of which I send ; but is like before long to show itself more clearly by some effect of their league with Spain, which as I hear is newly confirmed, with intent to employ their utmost forces against these countries. And some say (which the Archduke affirms he has had information of from the Emperor's Court) that the King of Spain has practised with the Turk to divert the mischief which threatened himself, upon the Hungarians, though it specially touch the Emperor his nephew. To advance the matter here he has sent out of Italy about 2,000 Spanish foot and 800 or 900 horse. With these and the French Don John grows so strong that he has now ventured to cross the Mase near Namur, where he has encamped— some think to provoke the States' men (who are not a league off) to fight, others, in order to surprise Tillemont or some other town in Brabant. Others think it is to secure Namur and Ruremonde and to keep the passage open till he is strong enough to advance. But everybody thinks that the States have committed a great error in rejecting the counsel of the Prince and allowing the enemy to gather his forces, when if they had listed, they might by this have been out of fear of anything he could attempt. Yesterday they concluded to proclaim him for their public enemy, which is this day effected ; denouncing all that are with him for rebels, and their lands and goods confiscable if they do not abandon him within 15 days. I understand this day from the Prince of the election of a new bishop of Collen, wherein the Chapter has much deceived the expectation of the pope, the emperor, the King of Spain, the electors and divers other great personages of Germany, who had earnestly commended one of the princes of Bavaria, who in hope of his good success 'had sent down his music and made other solemn though impertinent provision ;' because the Chapter in utter mislike of his election have conferred the dignity upon Baron 'Truxis,' a nobleman very well qualified, and one of whom the Prince has great hope and opinion [taking him to be rather a friend than an enemy to our religion ; erased ] in many respects. Her Majesty's name has been used by insinuation in this matter by some of her friends, and therefore the Prince wishes that she would vouchsafe to congratulate him with a friendly and ceremonious letter. —Antwerp, 12 Dec. 1577. Draft. Endd . 2 pp . [Holl. and Fland. IV . 30.]
Dec. 12. 504. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
As No . 503. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson . 2 pp . [Ibid. IV . 31.]
Dec. 12. 505. Draft of the last. Endd . 2 pp . [Ibid. IV . 31a .]
Dec. 12.
K. d. L. x. 157.
As the three preceding .
P.S .—I have just heard that the new association is signed by the States ; though I have been used to so many of these false alarms that I dare not assure it till I see it. Add. Endd . 2 pp . [Ibid. IV . 32.]
Dec. 12. 507. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
It is given out at this Court that her Majesty is sending the Estates 800,000 florins ; that four companies sent by the Prince of Orange to Amsterdam are defeated by those of the town ; that six companies of Spaniards have been overthrown of late beside Namur ; that 3,000 Spaniards are coming shortly out of Italy, besides those which passed lately ; that the Duke of Savoy permits them to pass through Piedmont, notwithstanding his restraint of all other by reason of the plague in Milan and Lombardy ; that notwithstanding all fair promises, the French are gone to Don John in great numbers. The French have a great opinion 'in' the Count Lalaing. Mr. Wade writes to me from Geneva that it is reported there by certain Italians that the King of Spain comes shortly to Milan, where he will assemble a great Council to deliberate of great things. Another from the same place writes that La Fin has been of late at Rome and is returned to Genoa, and from thence comes shortly to this Court, where he is likely to be well received. The jealousy and distrust of this Court are nothing diminished. Rochelle has bad neighbours on every side ; Marans is not rased, as was promised ; the Admiral is not yet come to the Court, and some doubt if he will come. I leave the consideration of Damville to your better judgements. So all men think that our resolutions here depend upon the good or bad success of the Spaniard in the Low Countries. It pleased you in the beginning of this summer to signify that her Majesty was content to bestow 100 crowns a year upon the Party mentioned in the copy enclosed. I find that his letters come so slowly and so seldom, for want of convenient messengers, that I doubt if his service deserves her Majesty's liberality, and therefore please to give me directions herein. No other than myself is acquainted with the matter advertised by George Poulet, and therefore please to give order that the same may not be imparted to any that shall come from me.—Paris, 12 Dec. 1577. P.S. [Autograph ]—Please consider these letters enclosed. My countrymen in England should do God and their country good service, if either they would provide schoolmasters for their children at home, or else would take better order for their education here, where they are infested by all sorts of pollution, and find many willing schoolmasters to teach them to be bad subjects. M. Méru is come this day to this Court. Add. Endd. (twice) . 2 pp . [France I . 56.]
Dec. 13.
K. d. L. x. 160.
Just when I had closed my letter of last night, I received yours of the 7th inst., by which I perceive how much the Prince's silence is noted by her Majesty ; and how apt some of his 'hard affected' friends are to make their profit thereof, censuring his actions after their own humours. And though I have already touched some cause of his silence, and assured you of his devotion toward her Majesty, yet because it seems that does not satisfy, I will acquaint you with the particular reasons which he has alleged in excuse of his forbearing to communicate by letter with her Majesty, as occasion might have required, and as she perhaps expected. This was in substance, that he knew the States to be so jealous of his intelligence with her Majesty, that special charge was given to the Marquis to observe what he should from time to time treat by letter or otherwise with her Highness or others at Court ; that considering the cause is common between them, he is constrained to avoid the jealousy of proceeding with counsels or intelligence apart, lest they should be yet more jealous that he should 'affect his own particular' ; that he is driven for common quiet's sake to accommodate himself to them in the meanest things, much more in matters of importance ; that he was sure, if he were to deal as openly as he would like to do with her Majesty in the occasions in hand, it would rather overthrow than advance them, that if her Majesty should in any way be moved—as their dealings here had given cause enough—to withdraw her favour from them, it would be wholly imputed to him ; that the proceeding here was so strange and uncertain that he would not tell what to think or what to assure her Majesty ; that he had nevertheless dealt openly, faithfully, and honourably with me on all occasions, and as her Majesty's ministers, I could with less suspicion advertise the truth of things ; and finally that his care to shun that monster of civil division, which of all others he most feared, and not any decrease in his devotion to her Majesty, on whom of all the princes in the world he most depends, has been the chief reason why he omitted to do that office. Herein he referred to my testimony and report, assured that her Majesty, being duly informed of his affection, would find no cause to doubt that he was and would remain at her devotion. As for the doubt of his inclination to France, he thinks she is so well informed of the little cause he has to lean that way, that of all other things it is least suspicious. And I can assure you that in all these practices with the Duke of Alençon (though he could have wished things had been on better terms for their profit's sake before the States had utterly shaken him off), no man has been further than he from approving the accepting of him. On the contrary, he has earnestly persuaded them to depend upon her, and if his advice had been followed things would not now be as they are. And although he do not, for the reasons aforesaid, in his private letters solicit her Majesty for succour of men and money, he has several times asked me to commend it to her in his name ; and therefore I hope it will speed better than by your last letter it seems inclined to. Once I assure myself that as the coming over of our forces would specially secure his estate, so I know no man here that so much affects it. If, after so long time consumed there by the Marquis, it does not answer their hope, it may be the cause of such effects as we would be loth to see. The States assure the Prince that they have given full authority to their ambassadors to conclude the negotiation, so that he cannot guess where the difficulty rests, if not in the securities. He is himself persuaded, as you might see by the copy which I sent you of his advice upon the points referred to him by the States, that the matter should go forward at what price soever. But he is still of opinion that for the money her Majesty should govern herself somewhat according to the advice he has given, and see to what point the doubtful proceeding here would grow before she waded too far. Touching myself, in your last you note me to have erred in not answering divers points contained in your former letters, which I take to be 13 or 14 articles sent apart for information immediately after the accident of Ghent. Both in my letters of the 15th and 18th of last month, and in former advertisements, those points, save one or two where I found it hard to give full satisfaction, have been so fully answered that I thought the repetition needless. Howbeit I have herewith sent as much as I had observed upon each of the points ; beseeching you to hold my fault excused that I did not do it in this form. I have little or nothing since yesterday, save that I hear the new association is signed, though for the uncertainty of their dealing I dare not believe it till I see it, since I am out of doubt that what the States do in this behalf is rather of constraint than will. On the coming of the commissioners we shall see how things incline. I hear they were last night at Mechlin, and are expected here to-day.—Antwerp, 13 Dec. 1577. P.S .—This day sevennight the Archduke, the Prince, the Princess and others dined with me at my lodging here. Having been particularly feasted among them, and they letting me covertly understand that they meant to come and visit me, I thought good both for her Majesty's honour and my own credit to give them the best intreaty I could, which I hope will not be misliked. [Draft adds: I think, of one and other, there were not fewer than 20 or 30 drunken heads at it, though I speak it for no commendation.] My necessary expense rising far above my allowance, constrains me to beseech you to further my suit, "that I do not here, hopeless of any help, consume myself." Add. Endd.: Reasons why the Prince writeth not. 2½ pp . [Holl. and Fland. IV . 33.]
Dec. 13. 509. Draft of the above. Endd . 2½ pp . [Ibid. IV . 33a .]
Dec. 14.
K. d. L. x. 163 (from another copy).
510. REPLY of the QUEEN to the Requests made by the ENVOYS from the STATES.
Her Majesty having made many attempts, for the benefit of her good brother the King of Spain and of his subjects, to bring about a restoration of tranquillity in the Low Countries, wishes to persevere in those good offices, and has decided to send a gentleman into Spain, requesting the King to remove the causes which make war imminent ; which she thinks can only be done by permitting them to enjoy their ancient privileges, and giving them a governor acceptable to them. This she hopes for many reasons that the King will grant ; but if he will not lend his ear to her proposals, seeing that she seeks no innovation in government or religion, nor anything contrary to the Pacification of Ghent, subscribed by himself, while the Estates protest that they have no wish to withdraw from their allegiance, she has decided to inform him, that as she has ere now aided them to resist foreign force, so she is now resolved to continue aiding them with such means as God has given her, both to defend them against the foreign forces that are preparing to invade them, and for the safeguard of her own realm, which is thereby endangered. Her Majesty has also decided to send another gentleman to the Estates and Don John, to obtain an armistice until a reply can be received from the Catholic King. Meanwhile (seeing that if Don John does not agree, but continues preparing for war and bringing strangers into the country, the Estates may be driven in despair to do something prejudicial alike to the King as possessor, and to her Majesty as neighbour), she is content to send them at once the aid in men and money which they ask ; as follows:—
First, as to the aid of men, order shall be at once taken to put them in readiness to be transported upon any apparent necessity, without awaiting an answer from the King, on condition that the States ratify the articles to be agreed on between her Majesty and the Envoys ; As for the money, her Majesty is content to maintain her former promise in giving credit and bonds for the sum demanded, on condition that before the delivery of the bonds, the Envoys shall promise ratification of the articles agreed on for the repayment ; In order better to effectuate the raising of the sum, her Majesty will issue commissions under the Great Seal to some who will be deputed to treat with those who will be willing to find the money. —Hampton Court, 14 Dec. 1577. Countersigned by Fra : Walsingham and Tho : Wilson. Copy. Fr . 3 pp . [Ibid. IV . 34.]
511. Copy of the above, with marginal headings in the writing of L. Tomson . 2½ pp . [For. E.B. Misc. II .]
512. Minute for the above, in English, with the alterations and modifications in Walsingham's hand . Endd . 3 pp . [Holl. and Fland. IV . 35.]
Dec. 15. 513. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
Two days since I signified the dispatch hither of the Duke of Aerschot and other commissioners to the Archduke. They have since arrived, and have presented the articles to which he is to be sworn, of which I have sent a copy to the secretaries. The Abbot of Marolles made the speech in their name, to which little or no reply was made by the Archduke at the time, but a few general thanks uttered with a smiling and childish grace. To-day he is expected to take the oath. I hear now credibly that the new association is signed by the States and Prince and sent to the camp to be signed by the nobility there. Don John's forces that crossed the Mase, intending, it was thought, to intrench themselves on a hill this side Namur, have since voluntarily retired ; and now the States' men are said to have moved thither, being within a caliver shot of Namur. Those companies of Don John's, that were not above 14 or 15 ensigns discovered, are thought to be gone towards Ruremond, with others, Spanish and French, to do some exploit in succouring the town. But as many occasions are lost in war, and many inconveniences occur for lack of good intelligence, the States' side is thought to be so ill-advertised of the proceedings of the enemy that some fear it will not be long before they experience the one and the other. They have this week taken by composition the little castle of Seille, on this side the river, midway between Namur and 'Heoy.' It is thought by some of experience that if Don John had attempted the States' camp where it lay intrenched, he might have put it in a hazardous position, both from the disadvantage of the place and from the irresolution among them. There is not yet a horse marching to the States out of Germany, because they have not yet taken order to send them the army promised, though it is now more than high time they were sure of them. Whatever reckoning the States make of their strength, such as have looked carefully into them estimate them at the most to be about 12 or 14 thousand footmen and as many hundred horse, a number suspected scarce equal to the enemy's. There is news that Captain Edmiston, with his company of Scottish horsemen coming hither, was in the late foul weather cast away. The like is reported of Captain Chester, who was at sea in that flaw, and is not since heard of. The States of Holland are resolved to besiege Amsterdam, and have to that end sent to the Prince for his direction. The Prince has of late been occupied in renewing the magistrates of this town, which done, that he may better trust them here, he is to go immediately to Ghent, at the request of the States and the men of that town, to set some order in things there. A boy has been taken in this town two or three days since with certain letters sent from Bruges to Don John, who it is thought has great intelligence there ; but what is discovered I cannot yet learn.—Antwerp, 15 Dec. P.S .—The Archduke expects a Count of 'Swartszenburgh' [in draft , Zwartzenberg], a kinsman of the count that is here, with some commission from the Emperor his brother respecting him. He is, as I hear, already come to Cullen. Add. Endd. by Burghley . 1½ pp . [Holl. and Fland. IV . 36.]
Dec. 15.
K. d. L. x. 160.
Identical with No . 513.
Add. Endd. by L. Tomson . 1½ pp . [Ibid. IV . 37.]
Dec. 15. 515. Draft of the above. Endd . ¾ p . [Ibid. IV . 37a .]
John Furrier at his return from you requested me to provide some honest, godly, and learned man to be minister to our family and company there ; that while you are there they may not remain untaught and instructed [sic ] in the ways of our God, considering the nature of our rebellious hearts, which is to be given to evil even from our youth, and become as a field uncultived [sic ], yielding nothing but weeds and brambles. Even when we have greatest plenty of preaching present with us, we are evil enough, or rather too evil ; the want thereof cannot but bring forth every unsavoury and sour fruit. If you be careful of the Lord and His ways, to have them taught whom God hath committed to your charge, He will no doubt have great care over you, and by His fatherly protection, you shall see peace upon your little commonwealth of Israel. I thought the matter had already been in a good forwardness. Mr. Charke once 'broke with me in it,' upon a motion made to him by the merchants, but I have since heard there is some stay in it. If you will please to write a word or two to him, I will second your letter and add the best persuasion I can. If he does not like your conditions, I know of an honest Scotchman of your own name who I think will be very fit for you. There is another matter I am to request your favour in: in the behalf of Southacke, who has been a long suitor to the Prince of Orange for a certain debt of his ; and though he once committed a folly, yet considering his great extremity, the remembrance thereof would be forgotten, and his poverty holpen. Your word to the Prince may do him great pleasure ; I beseech you let him taste of your courtesy therein, and I shall esteem the pleasure done to myself.—Hampton Court, 15 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd . 1 p . [Ibid. IV . 38.]
Dec. 15.
K. d. L. x. 168. From another copy.
517. [ ] to [DAVISON].
According to promise I write to give you news of the camp. There is nothing in the story told at Antwerp about Frenchmen being killed and some captains taken ; but it is quite true that Don John's soldiers are every day coming into our camp to surrender ; and what is more, my Lord there crossed the Meuse with 8,000 foot and 600 horse, but came back without doing anything. Last Tuesday morning, Count Lalaing, the Viscount of Ghent, M. de Hèze, and M. le Motte left the camp with two bandes d'ordonnance , 200 reiters, 300 light horse, and 18 ensigns of infantry, and 4 guns to summon M. Warezon's house, called Selle, situated on the Meuse over against Sampson. The garrison of some 20 Walloon soldiers surrendered last Thursday, some being taken prisoners, others getting away. The place has been garrisoned with 50 of our men of M. de Champagny's company, and in this way it is hoped to stop Don John's supplies of food from Liège. The rest came back to-day. Our camp is well placed, the cavalry being billeted in the neighbourhood. There are about 50 ensigns of foot and 1,500 horse. At Bouvignes are 4 ensigns of M. de Capres'. The Meuse is being staked, to prevent provisions from being brought that way. Our people are at Fleurus, Floreff, Simay, Philippeville, and Mabuse. Don John is at Luxembourg, and has received money from Italy and France, quite 1,200,000 florins. The Count of Mansfelt is not taking much trouble, but his son, Count Charles, has 15 companies and some horse on the frontier near Estain. They are all mutinous, and unwilling to leave French ground. On the 6th of this month Count Charles sent for 6,000 muskets and 1,000 corselets from Paris, to arm Don John's people. It is said that Italians and Spaniards are coming, but the number is not known. Mondragon is at Marche with 2 bandes d'ordonnance , as are Mansfelt and Barlemont, who have fortified themselves there with 600 Spaniards. Most of the citizens have left Namur, and Count de Reulx is governor, with most of Baron Chevreau's regiment. Colonel Verdugo is in the castle with Walloons and Germans. At the monastery of Salsyn are Germans and Lorrainers ; and if you go near Namur there is no one coming out, and no one shows himself. M. d'Asenbourg has 100 horse from Luxembourg ; the Count of Manderscheid, Joachim, a regiment of Luxemburgers, Claude Bernard being his lieutenant ; M. de 'Samballemont' [Saint-Belmont] a regiment of French and Lorrainers, M. de Floyon another ; M. de Hierge, a regiment at his own cost. MM. de Barlemont and Megen are at Beauraing ; the Count of Aremberg is in Germany. There are some French about there. Marienbourg is well provided ; there is no one at Fumay ; at Charlemont are about 600 soldiers, who are without pay, almost starving, and half mutinous. This very day nine of them have come to surrender, since they have neither money nor food ; and this happens every day. M. de 'Samballemont' is going away with his regiment to Durbua and thereabouts, and just now we hear that there are 300 Spaniards about Marche. We have footmen as brave as ever I saw ; they do nothing but shout and want to have the camp pitched quite close to Namur. M. de Hèze has gone to Brussels to get leave to this effect, and also for money. All necessaries are very cheap, and nothing is lacking, except money in some cases. Bread, beer, wine, meat are cheaper here than at Antwerp. There is also good reason and justice ; only they ought to harass the enemy more than they do. To-morrow I am going to Bouvignes with 200 harquebusiers, to inspect the Meuse and take such order as is wanted. I will advertise you of anything I find there worth writing. I have made a detailed drawing of our camp, which I shall send to his Excellency. To-day we hear from our people at Sille that the enemy wants to make a fortress at Andenne, and that those at Sampson make daily sorties. We have sent soldiers there for security. A drummer from Count de Reulx at Namur has come in, to get an answer to a letter written to Count Lalaing on behalf of M. de Terlon, saying that if he was ill-treated, the like would be done to M. de Buren in Spain.—The camp at Gemblours, 15 Dec. 1577. Copy. Fr . Fr. 1½ [Ibid. IV . 39.]