Elizabeth: December 1577, 16 -20

Pages 386-393

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, 16-20

Dec. 17
K. d. L. x. 165.
Since the coming of the Marquis of Havrech, I and my Council have had several opportunities of conferring with him on your proposals. Ultimately we have agreed to acquiesce in certain resolutions which you will hear more fully from him ; both for the sake of our ancient unity and the good understanding there has always been between our realm and the Low Countries, and because he has given us to understand that you do not seek to withdraw from your allegiance to the King your natural lord, but to enjoy your ancient liberties. These reasons having led us to take this resolution, we wish to assure you that the discreet behaviour and honourable deportment of the Marquis when here has greatly contented us, and much advanced the business ; so that you may truly say that in our judgement we have known no more dexterous and competent personage, as befits his rank. Nor would we omit to inform you of the honourable and discreet offices which M. Adolf de Meetkerke has rendered here, showing that he is worthy of the credit that he has with you. Copy. Fr. ¾ p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
Dec. 17. 519. The QUEEN to the DUKE OF AERSCHOT.
Your brother the Marquis of Havrech being about to return, we thought to send this word with him, and inform you that in all his negotiation here he has borne himself with so good a dexterity, and a bearing so honourable as befits his quality and extraction, that we have been greatly pleased with him. As for the resolution taken as the proposals of the Estates, as he will be able to tell you in full, we need say nothing ; but we trust it will result in the relief and repose of the Low Countries, and each of you in particular. Copy. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. II.]
Dec. 17. 520. The QUEEN to the PRINCE OF ORANGE.
The Marquis of Havrech having been here for some time to give us important information from the Estates, we write a word by him on his return, to tell you that he has demeaned himself as a true lover of his country, and has also by the honourable mention that he has on all occasions made of you shown the good affection he bears you ; so much so that in our opinion there is no man who more deserves the continuance and increase of your credit. We have been greatly satisfied with him, and would not omit to testify the same to you. The resolutions that we have taken he will declare to you. Copy. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. II.]
Dec. 17. 521. The ARCHDUKE MATTHIAS to the ESTATES.
As you have done us the honour to invite us to be governor of the Low Countries under his Majesty, subject to the terms of the articles presented by the prelates of St. Gertrude and Maroilles, the Duke of Aerschot, the Prince of Orange, the Seneschal of Hainault, and M. de Frezin, we hope that God will grant us means to show in effect our gratitude and reciprocal affection. Having fully examined the said articles, we cannot put any difficulties in the way of what has been so prudently considered by you meet for the public repose, and we hereby accept the articles and conditions aforesaid, promising to act on all occasions according to your advice, and to do all in our power to save this country from the miseries it has so long endured.—Antwerp, 17 Dec. 1577. Copy. Fr. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 40.]
Dec. 17. 522. Paper, apparently imperfect, containing a list of names (Marq. of Havrech, Abbot of St. Gertrude, Count Bossu, Fromont, Champagny, Frezin, Willerval, President Sasbout, Meetkercke, Councillor Bevere of Ghent, Leoninus, and the governors of the several provinces), probably the Archduke's Council : "the establishment of his Highness shall be 12,000 livres per annum ; his guard and his chapel to be at his own charge ;" and the form of oath taken by him on Dec. 17. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 41.]
Dec. 18. 523. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
I think it reasonable that the bearer, Mr. Jacomo, repairing into England, should be considered for his charges in this journey, and refer him to your good favour. I will dispatch Dannett in convenient time to be with you three or four days before New Year's Day. I am sorry to stay him, because it may seem by Mr. Wilson's letter that it behoves him to be supplied in the room promised to Dannett without delay. This bearer had put a piece of silk to working for you, as the only thing that seemed to your purpose, and was promised assuredly that it should be ready before the 18th ; whereof being disappointed, after the French manner, I was forced to seek another merchant.—Paris, 18 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France I. 57.]
Declaration by the Queen of England, sent to the King of Spain, containing a defence of her Majesty's dealings with the Estates of the Low Countries.
Whereas the Queen has heard that many false rumours have been spread, putting a wrong meaning on the steps taken by her to compose the troubles in the Low Countries, some of which calumnies she fears may gain credit with the King, the only object of their invention being to put an end to the ancient friendship between them, her Majesty has thought it good, for the King's satisfaction, to set down in writing this present declaration, which will testify on how upright a footing she has proceeded with the Belgian Estates, in the desire that all suspicion may be removed from the King's mind. This declaration will not merely contain her defence, but will in friendly wise set forth to the King the course that she thinks should be followed, and also what she proposes to do in the matter of the Low Countries if the King should not think her advice desirable to follow. First ; if the King will please to recall to his mind how many embassies have been sent by her to himself in Spain and to his governors in the Low Countries since the beginning of the troubles, foretelling the evils that would grow from them, and advising him to take steps betimes, he cannot be ignorant that she has played the part of a well-wisher and a good ally. If he had listened to her faithful warnings, the affairs of the Low Countries, now threatened with imminent ruin, would have been set straight, the people would have been spared an internecine war, opulent cities would not have been sacked, the country itself would now be free from the desire of a new ruler to which it inclines. If the Queen feels that her honour is not sufficiently vindicated by these good offices, backed by the word of a prince, at least it ought to be of avail as evidence to all of her good disposition towards the King that by her good dealing the whole of the Low Countries still recognise the King as their prince. She has not drawn any part of them to herself, when she easily could ; if other princes could have done it with as little trouble, it may be that the King would by this time have been turned out of a great part of the country, and the people would not be labouring so hard for their own safety. If the King does not repay these good deeds with more gratitude, every one knows that the Queen will have a fair cause of complaint. Did she not use her offices with the Prince of Orange and the Estates not only by advising them to lay down their arms, but exhorting them with all the strength of her authority to keep like good subjects in their duty to their King ; having learnt on good authority that some people were urging them to shake off the King's yoke, and set up for themselves? When things looked like peace, and the treaty was to be concluded under which, if had held, Belgium would have flourished, as by its collapse it has been ruined, did she not allow them a sum of money, both to serve them for the 'speedy execution of the pacification and to keep them from putting themselves into the hands of other princes? If she had not, it would not have been concluded, nor would the country have been saved for the King. She records this the more gladly, because she understands that some interpret her most sincere offices in a bad sense. It has been the same in nearly all the offices done by her to the King. This appears clearly enough from a certain letter fathered on Don John, to be found in a book called the States' justification, in which it is plainly stated that her Majesty had dealt with the Prince of Orange not to acquiesce in the pacification, and promised him all the help he might ask for the breaking of it. If she did not answer this shameless calumny, at any rate her dealing with the Prince when the Viscount of Ghent accused him, by Don John's instructions, of violating the edict, might be evidence of her abundant good faith. For immediately upon hearing the charge, before the viscount left England, she urged the Prince, through her ambassador, by the good faith which he publicly professed, to stand forth as a guardian of the edict. The same she ceased not to do with the Estates, being no less refreshed by the conclusion of peace among them than she expected to gain by it even more advantage than the King and the Low Countries. Such being the state of affairs, she leaves it to the King, of whose honour she has no doubt, and to all whose minds are not so turned from the truth as to suffer them easily to be deceived, to judge what could have been accomplished more to his honour and profit. Nor can she easily persuade herself that any other Prince whose benefits had been so ungratefully received would have been willing to be so constant in doing good offices to the King. Nevertheless, though benefits which bring hatred instead of thanks and convert ancient friendship into suspicion may seem badly placed, she will not refuse, for her own and the King's honour, as well as for the sake of the treaties of old between the Kings of England and the Dukes of Burgundy, to follow the same course, advising the King what method she finds convenient for abating these civil strifes, and making the subjects willingly keep within what befits themselves and is in agreement with an earnest desire of loyal obedience. First, it is certain, and the Queen is grieved to see it, that the pacification has been infringed with great bitterness on either side, and expectation of a more disastrous war than the former one. Nor can anyone doubt what will be the end of this civil war ; either the ruin of the Low Countries or the abolition of the old rule. Either will be to be regretted ; one or the other is unavoidable. To prevent these evils, let them be received back into favour, let their ancient privileges be restored, let their public buildings be preserved, let terms of peace be made and strictly adhered to, let a governor be given them of the Royal house, agreeable to all classes. If these favours be granted, they will honourably comply, they will make no change in religion but what is allowed by the pacification, and will loyally keep all its provisions, which, owing to the ill-feeling between Don John and the Estates, it is hopeless to expect will now be attended to. For they seem resolved to try all extremities before submitting to him, expecting from him every sort of ill-treatment ; and not wishing to perish, they will throw themselves for protection into the arms of any new Prince. They say that Don John has violated the edict ; he brings the same charge against them. The Queen has heard envoys from both sides ; not with any wish to set herself up as a judge, or to throw blame on either side, but solely to see if by any means she could restore them to favour and mutual confidence, which is more than necessary in every well-constituted government. She sees no hope of this ; and therefore thinks the only way will be to appoint another governor acceptable to the people. If these measures, agreeable to humanity, be taken, there is hope that these dissensions will be allayed, the effusion of blood stopped, and the countries retained at the King's obedience ; for at present there is great danger of their slipping from his hands. If he approves this advice, there can be no doubt that the Estates will remain at his devotion and faithfully maintain the edict. Not only, however, is the recall of Don John asked for with a view to the benefit of the Estates ; for her own convenience also, and for the conservation of the ancient amity her Majesty must entreat the King to remove so bitter an enemy of herself and her realm to some place where he will not find it so easy to injure her. Not that she is afraid of him ; but she does not wish knowingly to foster a serpent in her bosom. If the King asks for proof, let him read Escovedo's letters set down in the book above-mentioned, and consider his practices through his agents with her enemy the Queen of Scots, whereof this bearer will tell him, as of all else contained herein. [This paragraph is somewhat different in the English version.] For this cause she earnestly beseeches the King to recall Don John as the only way of maintaining the amity between them, and as a prop and support to the ancient treaties, which must break down if a neighbour of so doubtful faith is settled near her. What ought to be done and what she earnestly hopes will be done is to appoint officers on either side whose efforts will be devoted to increasing not diminishing the friendship between the realms. In the case of distant possessions, it is most important to employ good ministers. It is one of the misfortunes of sovereigns that, being unable to see what goes on in every corner, they do and allow to be done many things that their own sense of justice or mercy would not have allowed them to do. Lest however the States should be compelled by the great forces which Don John is collecting, and summoning from France, either to leave their homes to new lords, or lose their old liberties, or fearing these misfortunes, ask the aid of another prince, any of which courses may be inconvenient now to the King, and dangerous in future to her Majesty, and wholly ruinous to the countries, she has, on their promise to maintain their obedience to the King, to make no alterations in religion, and to observe the Pacification of Ghent, thought good to promise them aid in men and money. If the King does not approve this, thereby testifying that he has it in mind after subduing the Low Countries, to put an end to their ancient privileges and make the country a military station, with the same intention it may be conjectured, as is expressed in Escovedo's letters, in which it is asserted that the business of subduing England would be far easier than that of taking the islands, whence it may be seen what a benevolent and propitious neighbour she will have—her Majesty is determined to try all ways and means to provide for the safety of her neighbours, and for driving so great a disaster away from herself and her realm. But if he will lend an ear to the just request of the States, and appoint a more acceptable governor, and they still continue obstinate and refuse the King's rule, she will turn her sword against them, and aid the King with her forces ; nor will it be any fault of hers if they are not obsequious to his rule. In the meantime, while awaiting the King's reply, she has thought it not impertinent to call upon Don John and the Estates to make a truce for a few days. If they consent and he refuses, she will continue in the way of sending aids and supplies, with a view solely to the King's honour and the good of the country ; testifying how she abhors the striving of her neighbours and allies, and how unwilling she is to see the King turned out of his ancestral possessions, through the passion of one princelet (unius reguli) for reigning against all law and right, and how she will not endure to be thought negligent of her own safety and that of her realm. [Last clause not in English version.] Endd. by L. Tomson : Declaratio Regi : Hispaniam missa per D. Thomam Wilkes, 19 Dec. 1577. Latin. 9½ pp. [Holl.and Fland. IV. 42.]
525. English version of the above. 7½ pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
Many thanks for the good affection you bear me, as I learn from your letters and from Mr. Rogers's report. I note it as a singular favour of God that He has raised up so many good, honourable and virtuous gentlemen in England to be my friends. I desire nothing more than to repay this affection by good effects agreeable to the Queen and profitable to the public. Other matters I have more particularly communicated to Mr. Rogers, whom it has been agreeable to me to keep here. I have also thought good to send my councillor Benttrich, on whom I rely to make my intentions clear, and to hear her Majesty's pleasure. Keep a good hand on these matters based on religion and on the public safety.—Frankenthal, 20 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. : From D. Casimir at Frankenthal by Mr. Rogers. Fr. 2/3 p. [Germ. States I. 51.]
527. Copy of above letter. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
Dec. 20. 528. The KING OF SPAIN to the ESTATES.
We have received your letters of Aug. 24 and Sept. 8 last, and seen by them the determination of you all to maintain the Roman Catholic Religion and obedience to us as in the time of the late Emperor my father. In reply thereto, it is true that we never have claimed and do not claim aught else of you save the fulfilment of the two points above-named, and the restoration of things to their then state, as you might have perceived by the sufficient evidence of our actions. For this reason we have greatly felt the late troubles and discontents, and that in our desire for the repose of the said countries we have been forced to recur to arms. And that you may understand the end and intention for which we have caused arms to be taken up, and our will with regard to the affairs of those countries, we have charged the Baron de Selles, lieutenant of our guard of archers, the bearer of these, to declare to you that it is for nothing else save by means of them and with the assistance of our good Estates and vassals to bring back the rest to the obedience due to God and us. If you will fulfil the promises of your letters and maintain the two matters mentioned as they were under the late Emperor, we shall be content to let everything else return to the same state, and to have a cessation of arms, and let everything come back to its ancient peace and quietness, with oblivion of the whole past ; as we have declared to Baron de Selles, in whom we pray you to have all confidence as in ourselves. Madrid, the 20 [?] Dec. 1577. (Signed) Phillippe. (Counter-signed) Dennetieres. (Received the last of January 1578.) Copy. Endd. : The French [sic] King to his clergy and estates. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 43.]