Elizabeth: December 1577, 21-25

Pages 393-403

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, 21-25

Dec. 21. 529. ROGERS to POULET.
I found the bearer hereof with Duke Casimir, and the Duke desired me to give him a letter of credit that he might have access to you. The Duke would be very glad to have some correspondence with you, having understood of me your virtuous disposition. The bearer has made many discourses to him of matters of importance ; but for many causes I am not of the bearer's opinion. Yet it may do you good to learn his 'conceats,' and I think he may make you privy of many secrets hereafter. M. Bonnicourt was here last month, sent from the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé. Among other secrets he told me that M. Sandras, who holds Valéry for the Prince of Condé, has a copy of a league made lately between the French King and Don John ; if you have not yet got it, I think you will greatly please Mr. Secretary therewith. This Sandras is not the Secretary, but his brother, and halts a little ; whose acquaintance would please you greatly. I am now ready to depart towards England, which is the reason I write so confusedly.—Frankenthal, 21 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. by Poulet's secretary and by L. Tomson. ¾ p. [Germ. States I. 52.]
Dec. 21. 530. LEICESTER to DAVISON.
We have been surprised not to hear from you these 14 days. The Marquis is dispatched to his great content, and "we doubt not the rest of the Estates." I have been expecting an answer from you touching two or three letters I wrote you. I hope there is no alteration of their opinions. How I have dealt in their cause I refer to the effect and to the Marquis' report. Nothing remains to our preparations but the certain knowledge when and what number they will require. Her Majesty is content with the number they demand, 6,000 men. For my own part I wish they would ask for 2,000 more. And if you find upon the report of the Marquis that they persist in desiring our men, then I pray you haste their desire, specially the prince's, to her Majesty, to name both the number and the time they would have them. It has somewhat hindered the Marquis's dispatch that there has been no advice from the Prince, and that he did not more often visit her Majesty with his letters and advice, reposing in him great confidence as she hath done. Well, we look hourly to hear from [you], and it may be some satisfaction may come withal. "The Marquis hath very wisely, honourably, and modestly behaved himself here, and as trustily, I believe, as any other that could have been sent. And am fully persuaded there is not a more affectionate patriot than he is ; and he showed himself well qualified in matters of religion, and surely a good friend to the Prince, and I think assuredly loves him with all his heart. I pray you let the Prince so understand of him, for he will find him a plain gentleman and wise, and wholly given to follow the cause of his country. And seeing his mind is so good I would wish he were well used at the Prince's hands ; and I durst lay a great wager he will be soon brought to the Religion. Himself would go to our service, and M. Medekerke very often go to the sermons in London and here in Court ; so did divers of the Marquis' gentlemen, showing great liking of the form of our Church service. The Marquis had a priest with him, but I cannot learn that ever he did let him say mass, and I dare assure myself he did not." You shall hear from us when we hear again from you. In some haste this 21 of December. P.S.—I have willed Whitechurch to say something to you from me touching the Marquis. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 44.]
Dec. 21. 531. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
I wrote to your Lordship the 12th and 15th of this month. Since then the Archduke has agreed to the articles propounded by the Commissioners, who returned last Thursday to Brussels to report to the Estates, by whose order he is now declared governor provisionally. As soon as they have appointed his Council of State he is to repair to Brussels to take the oath. Meanwhile [the Count Swartberg, misnamed Zwartzenberg in my last], the Emperor's ambassador, is come to Cullen, whither the Archduke has dispatched a courier to ascertain the object of his coming, which is given out to be for his revocation, though the wisest here believe nothing less. The practice [of M. Mondoucet and others] here for the Duke of Alençon 'grown desperate for the generality' is still entertained by some individuals, by whose means he hopes not to lose all his labour. The new association between the Prince and States is now finally passed in the form which I send herewith. The Spaniards and Italians arrived to Don John are now stated to be about 4,000 foot and 17 or 18 cornets of horse. The States' camp still remains about Templou where it was before ; not now determined to remove till they have some pay. From Ruremonde is shortly expected news of the Dutches yielding unless they are succoured by Don John, three regiments of whose folk are marching that way. To-morrow the magistrates of this town are to be renewed, and on Tuesday the Prince is minded to go towards Gaunt at the request of the States to set some order in affairs there. His Excellency has been solicited by the agent of Portugal to have passage by Zealand for 4,000 Dutches, whom the King would transport to Africa for his service there against the Turk who [the Moors, which the Prince hath in manner accorded. Out of Spain is advice that the Turk] has straitly besieged Oram, a town subject to the King of Spain, lying upon the coast of Barbary, which some affirms to be already yielded up. Out of Italy is news of the preparations against the spring to come down into these countries. [The preparations of the Pope, the Duke of Florence and other potentates of Italy to assist Don John for next spring is assured out of Italy, whence there is also advice of the death of the Duchess of Ravina.] Out of Germany not a man stirs to Don John's assistance, nor do the reiters entertained by the States yet march to their service for lack of money.—Antwerp, 21 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. by Burghley : Wm. Davison, with the articles of the Archduke Matthias' admission to be governor in the Low Country. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 45.]
Dec. 21.
K. d. L. x. 179.
Similar to above, where the principal variations are given in brackets. Add. Endd. by Tomson. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 46.]
Dec. 21. 533. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
Almost identical with No. 531. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 47.]
Dec. 21.
K. d. L. x. 180.
I have received your letters with the answer to the Marquis's negotiation, which according to your command I have not imparted to any, though the Prince has sent to me divers times to know how the matter speeds. They hoped here that her Majesty would have been content to disburse some present money, and so I think the long abode of the Marquis and his return without effect will little satisfy them. The journeys intended, as to which I have sounded the Prince, will in his opinion be labour lost, things being come to such an extremity that all hope of mediation is desperate. Now the Marquis is returned (for I hear he arrived three days since at Calais) the Prince will be more officious than he has been of late. By his excuses for his silence, in my letter of the 13th, you may see what reason he has for himself. I hear there is an intent to send over another from the States, to signify the election of the Archduke.—Antwerp, 21 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 48.]
Dec. 21.
174. K. d. L. x.
A draught of instructions for A. B. to be presently sent to the States of the Low Countries and to Don John to procure an abstinence of arms.
We being very desirous to compound these troubles in the Low Countries by way of mediation between our good brother the King of Spain and his subjects, and having to that end dispatched one to the same King have thought it very expedient to move both the States and Don John to a surseance of arms for some convenient time, or if it might be, until we receive the King's answer, and to that purpose have made choice of you to deal between the said States and Don John for the accomplishing thereof. You are to lay before the States our care for them, and how we have sought from time to time to do them the most good we were able, as befitted a prince of our quality, to avoid war and the effusion of Christian blood. When account is made of treasure spent, of the spoils of cities, of the intercourse of merchandise broken off, it will fall out in truth that he that wins loses, and the conqueror commonly has more cause to lament than rejoice. Wherefore, you shall declare to them we have thought good to persuade with Don John as well as with them for a surseance of arms for a season to try it by order from the King a better way may be taken for the avoidance of the aforesaid inconvenience. To which end you shall tell them we have dispatched a servant of ours to the King to lay before him the peril of this violent course, and the means which we think meetest to remedy the same ; which is to place such a governor over them as will rule them peaceably and suffer them to enjoy their ancient privileges, upon promise they have made to us to continue in the King's obedience, to make no innovation in religion other than is prescribed in the last pacification, and carefully to observe all the points concluded therein between them. If he refuses this, we have plainly signified to him that both in defence of the ancient government of this country and for the danger likely to fall out to ourself and our estate we mean to assist them with all the forces we shall be able to make. And therefore we look that they will the rather give care to our motion that the denial thereof might bring them into suspicion of undutifulness towards the King, and call in question their good meaning to continue in his obedience, if they refuse to yield to that which tends to a means of restoring quiet to the country. If they object that by former experiences of the small success that our mediations have hitherto had, they see no cause to hope that the King being possessed with a desire of revenge will now forbear the prosecution of the war against them, and having at present good store both of men and money, that the yielding to such a surseance of arms as is by us 'motioned,' might fall out very prejudicial to them, to whom nothing is more hurtful than long delays ; you shall let them understand that we conceive that when the King shall consider our full determination to assist them in case he does not come to terms with them, with which he has never before been acquainted so plainly, and shall perceive that they are resolved to run any fortune before they will accept Don John for their governor, be cannot, in our opinion, but follow our friendly advice, by giving them some more acceptable governor. For the desire of revenge cannot have so much force in him, as the fear of losing his possession of those countries will be effectual to make him consider the danger he casts it into by prosecuting the way of force and violence. But admitting the King do not agree to our motion, you may show there that by consenting to this abstinence, they will greatly justify their cause, when the world perceives their good inclination to do good to any reasonable composition. Yet our meaning is not so to press them as to cause them to lose any present advantage by relinquishing the siege of such towns as they may have in hand, but only to forbear any new act of hostility till the King's decision is known. If the Estates will not be induced to yield to a surseance, you shall at least move them to agree to treat of a surseance, which can no way prejudice them, for they may take occasion at all times upon some article or other to break off ; and, therefore, cannot refuse this 'without note of wilfulness.' In case they are drawn to agree to it, you shall repair with all speed to Don John, and in like sort make known to him our great desire to see that government established rather by some mild course, most honourable for princes of his quality, and of less expense than by the sword ; which carries with it so many dangers as by his own experience he can best witness. "For to shed blood if it can be saved, is greatly repugnant to the nature of a prince, and to consume his own subjects which are the crown and glory of his head is a matter sounding so hard to the honour of a potentate, as a greater cannot be sustained." Clemency in a governor always carries with it singular commendation, whereof he himself has felt some taste to his great reputation, even in his late wars with the Turks and Infidels. It is expected he will have as great compassion of Christian blood as he has had of the 'Mahumets,' for to destroy the King, his brother's, towns will in the end, when the King has looked well into the matter, be cause of great discontent, though now, upon similar information, given perhaps by those that have been chief authors of these broils, he be altogether hardly bent against them. We have, too, lately sent an express messenger to the King with earnest request to move him to seek to remedy these inconveniences, and have laid before him the ways whereby we think best for him to compass it. If our counsel be hearkened to, he shall not want our best assistance to further it ; if otherwise we have plainly let him understand that we are resolved to make ourself a party, being assured that if the course which is now entered into be followed, and the other forsaken, there can be no good meaning intended towards us, as we have cause to conjecture already by such matters as are come to our knowledge. Therefore, as he will testify to the world how much he abhors bloodshed, how loath he is that the King's countries should fall away from his obedience, how much against his will it is to bring the King's towns to the sack, we cannot but move him to a surseance of arms for a season. We have already travailed with the States to good effect, if he for his part would yield to the same, not for any long season, but till an answer is returned from the King. If he yields, you shall advertise the States thereof and often to do all good offices between them ; wherein you shall show them that we look to have you better used than our servant Horsey was at the meeting at Hoye, where he was excluded contrary to Don John's own promise, greatly to our dishonour, upon pretext that the Emperor's ambassador had no commission to admit him to the conference, and yet no difficulty was made in the admission of the Duke of Cleves's ministers, a prince in degree and quality our inferior. If notwithstanding your persuasion he will not yield to a treaty, and you shall perceive in him a full determination in him to prosecute the war, you shall return without any further stay. And whereas we find ourselves charged by certain letters, published in a book which the States have caused to be printed touching their justification, fathered upon Don John, with having persuaded the Prince of Orange not to stand to the pacification, you shall declare to him that finding ourselves greatly touched in honour thereby, we look for some satisfaction at his hands touching the same ; and we cannot be content unless he shall in writing under his own hand either avow those letters to be none of his, or else confess that he has done us great wrong in making so untrue a report of us. But as to this point we do not think it meet for you to deal with him, in case you find him inclinable to our request for a surseance, until you are upon your departure. And as we learn by common report the choice made by the States of the Archduke to be their governor, whereby, perhaps, it is expected that we should signify how we are effected in that behalf, we think it meet that upon any occasion offered you, you declare both to the Archduke and to the States, that as we have sent to the King touching the affairs of those countries, among other things to mediate on their behalf to give them some governor whom they might like better than Don John, we think it better till the return of that legation to forbear to show how we incline to their lase choice, lest the King might think we did not proceed so sincerely with him as we protest to do. Yet for our own part you may tell the Archduke that in the respect of the amity that was between the late Emperor, his father, and us, we cannot but be very glad of any honour and preferment that may be conferred on him either there or elsewhere, hoping that the King his uncle will allow of the choice. "To this purpose you shall deal with the Marquis to be means both to the Archduke and to the States, that our determination herein may not otherwise be construed of than they see we have reason in honour, and this course we are entered into will look to be dispensed withal at our hands." Walsingham's copy. Endd. 9 pp. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 49.]
[Dec. 21.] 536. Another copy of the above, with an additional paragraph as follows :
Last of all, our pleasure is that whereas divers of our merchants and subjects have been some spoiled at sea by pirates of the Low Countries, and others had their goods stayed by order of Don John and the States, you shall earnestly recommend their causes to the States, Don John, and the Prince of Orange as you shall have occasion to move any of them for satisfaction to be done to our subjects. And we would also have you, as soon as you are come to Antwerp, communicate with our agent, William Davison, the whole contents of these instructions, and whatever else you have in charge, that he and you may concur in doing the better for our service. 7 pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
[Dec. 22.] 537. The QUEEN to the KING OF SPAIN.
Copy of letter which is calendared in "Spanish Papers," 1577, no. 470. Latin. 1½ pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
A short memorial for Mr. Wilkes, presently to be sent into Spain. After delivery of your letters to the King, you shall signify to him that as since the beginning of the troubles in the Low Countries we have often been a mediator to him to have them compounded in some peaceable wise rather than to stand to trial by the sword, which could not but cause such inconveniences as he has now seen, and is likely to have greater experience of hereafter ; the Edict of pacification, confirmed by himself, being broken and not having taken that settled root which we hoped it would have done. So seeing this late accident, we could not but deal with him once more to the same effect, if by any means he may be induced to have compassion on those poor countries, and take such a course as shall best preserve them under his obedience, for the saving of the lives of his subjects, and the sparing of a great mass of treasure which were more profitably employed upon the common enemy than upon the destruction of his own people. That he may the better consider of our advice we thought good to set it down in a declaration apart, which our pleasure is you shall deliver to him, asking for a speedy answer ; having charged you to await an answer only for the space of days. If he shall find in it anything on which he requires more ample instructions, you shall tell him that we have given you special charge to satisfy him therein, and that you are to resolve him at length of all such doubts as may arise out of the declaration. The first part whereof as it concerns our justification against slanderous reports given out against us, as though we had not walked sincerely with the King in our actions with the States of the Low Countries. So to show the truth of our defence, you shall make him acquainted with the notes of such instructions as we have given to our ministers employed from time to time in those services, which can witness the contrary. And since our benevolence to the States in giving them the loan of a sum of money about the time of the making of the pacification is contrary to our sincere meaning sinistrously interpreted by some ; for the avoiding of such scruple as might arise to the King therein, you shall lay before him the articles agreed upon between us and the States for the same. And since we conceive that by these proceedings the Low Countries may be in danger of being alienated from him, though we would be loath to discover to many what by secret intelligence has come to our knowledge, yet we cannot but acquaint him with it, doubting not that he will use it with such secrecy, and as the matter itself imparts to him, and that he may plainly see we have not without pregnant cause been carried to such surmises. Touching which you shall communicate to him Monsieur's letter, which may witness whether in that behalf we have dealt sincerely with him or no And for the great cause we have to dislike Don John's residing so near us, you shall show him from the book of the States' justification what evil offices we have discovered of his and his counsellors', set down so resolutely in certain letters contained in the same book that we may well conceive they are no sudden blasts of a 'passioned' mind, but settled determination of evil-determined hearts, resolved upon no good towards us ; as may be perceived by the letters in which Don John charges us with persuading the Prince of Orange not to stand to the pacification, and by Escovedo's, testifying that the subduing of the Isles is a matter of greater difficulty than the conquest of England. You shall desire him to judge if we have not reason to have him removed further off, of whose evil neighbourhood we have no cause to doubt. His practices with the Scottish Queen have been no less, as we have discovered both by intercepted letters of our rebels, and by the confession of some that have been in chief place about him, and moreover by his 'provoking' of her picture to be sent him. Copy. 3 pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
The good burgesses of Brussels have heard that certain malicious persons accuse them of meddling too much in the public affairs which you gentlemen handle here. They are much annoyed at this, for they have never had any such intention except when the matter in hand has been of a popular character in which every citizen is competent to act. They do not believe that there is among your lordships a brain so devoid of common sense as not to understand that. Wherefore be pleased to hear and take in good part what follows. First, they cannot understand why no one of Brabant is employed in any of the great offices, though Brabant possesses as many noblemen, soldiers, and men of learning as any other province. Secondly, it seems to them a great breach of order, considering that matters of such importance are decided by plurality of voices, to give a pensionary of Mechlin, Tournay, Valenciennes, and such little places, as much weight as is given to a whole important state like Brabant, Guelders, Flanders, Artois, Hainault, Holland, Zealand. So please take some other order herein. The burgesses hear too that there are some among you who have hitherto dangerously hindered the common cause, by always introducing the two points of the King's authority and the Roman Catholic religion. Now as our common cause consists principally in making head against our enemies, if we would preserve our lives, our goods and our children, we beg that it may be your pleasure, without regard to the King's authority, in the name of which Don John after swearing a peace has made war on us,—or the Roman Catholic religion, of which there is no question, the point having notoriously been reserved in the Ghent pacification, that each of us jointly and severally should set all our powers and counsels to work to overthrow our enemy and save our lives and goods, which he will take— those of the Church as much as others—if he gets the upper hand of us. And whereas Don John has recently been declared an enemy of the country and Archduke Matthias has agreed to be governor of these countries on certain conditions, who though a great prince is young for the place, so that for our security it will be proper to give him a Council of good patriots, the burgesses are come to pray that it may please your lordships to deliberate carefully and see that this Council be composed of fit and experienced persons. They also pray you to consider that the Duchy of Brabant is the first among all the provinces, and Brussels the chief city, being established in the hatred of the enemy, the which to put to sack, pillage, and slaughter he thinks to employ all his forces, feeling assured, as it is at present a bulwark, that if he once gets it, he will get all the other towns ; and how it was the first that dared to oppose the horrible designs of the Duke of Alva in such wise that our enemies calumniously say it was the cause of all the revolt, both over the matter of the 10th and 20th penny and by compelling the Spaniards to leave the town ; and how afterwards the Spaniards coming from Zierickzee were summoned by letters to come and sack Brussels, and having repulsed them in despair, by means of other letters they were found at Alost and afterwards at Antwerp, whence ensued the execrable disaster which everyone talks about, and which those may remember who were the cause of it. Wherefore my Lords the burgesses humbly pray you to give the above your mature consideration, especially that the Archduke's Council may consist of persons agreeable to the Estates of Brabant and the people of Brussels, who are chiefly interested, and that some persons already nominated to it, if they will not retire voluntarily, may be struck off it—they shall be named if necessary —and others without reproach be deputed in their stead. So shall you do well. Copy. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. IV. 50.]
Dec. 25. 540. POULET to BURGHLEY.
Your Lordship may find it strange that this bearer, Mr. Dannett, having served so long under me as secretary, is now departed from me ; and, therefore, for both our credits I have thought good to signify unto you that his service hath been so agreeable to me, as I have been heartily sorry to spare him. But being advertised that his friends in England have procured a plan of preferment for him under Mr. Wilson I have been content to forget my private commodity for his advancement. Hearing of your sickness and being uncertain of your return to the Court, I send this copy enclosed of my letter to the Secretaries. This bad time hath great need of your Lordship's travail in body and mind.—Paris, 25 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. : "Sir Amice Powlet to my L. ; D. du Mayne Admirall ; Mr. Coppley." [This relates to the contents of a letter to the Secretaries of even date, preserved in the Letter-book now in the Bodleian Library.] 1 p. [France I. 58.]
Dec. 25. 541. [DAVISON] to POULET.
I have not written since my coming into these parts, partly because of the multitude of business which this state full of alterations have cast upon me, but chiefly by reason of the want of convenient messengers, supplied now by the repair of this bearer, M. de Malleroye, to Paris. Of the present state of things here I would at some length advertise your Lordship, if this bearer was not so well able to satisfy you. The long debate here about the election of the Archduke is now at length determined, and he provisionally accepted governor having accorded the articles which herewith I send. And now the States are occupied about his Council, in composing whereof there is no little difficulty. With the Prince they have all made a new compromise, whereof I send you the copy. His Excellency sets forward to-morrow to 'Gaunt,' whither both the States and the Gauntoys have intreated him to repair to set some order in the affairs of that town, where it is thought he will not abide above ten or twelve days. The States' provision for war goes coldly forward, being handled with such confusion as is both strange and dangerous. Their forces are camped about Templou, a village distant about a Dutch league from Namur, where they have about 12,000 foot and 1,400 horse, a force inferior to that of Don John, who with his last supplies of French and Spaniards is said to have 14,000 men. He holds Charlemont, Marienbourg, and Namur, with the castles of Honhoye and Sanson on the Maes, besides Ruremonde upon the same river, and Twol, Campen, and Deventer upon the Yssel, wherein are old garrisons of Dutches at his devotion. In Luxembourg his victuals are so scarce as to cause 300 French in one troop lately to abandon his service. It is thought it will not be long ere he desperately attempt the remedy.—Antwerp, 25 Dec. 1577. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [France I. 59.]
Dec. 25. 542. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
As you referred to my consideration to pay A. B. 300 crowns or so much of them as I thought good, I have defrayed the whole sum. I have received this as well as other 40 crowns mentioned as paid to C. D. upon the bill which I received from Benedict Spinola by your procurement.—Paris, 25 Dec. 1577. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. I. 60.]
Dec. 25. 543. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
Please receive by this bearer, Mr. Dannett, a piece of silk containing 20 yards, being sorry I can provide no better stuff. The plague in Italy and the disorder of the money here are thought to be the true causes that nothing comes out of those parts. The Queen and ladies here, for want of better stuff, make all their new garments of coloured satin garnished with gold and silver. If by ignorance I shall send anything to her Majesty that seems unfit for her, please to take order that it may not be delivered ; and I shall pray you to extend their favour towards a trifle which I send by this bearer, referring the delivery of the same to your friendly consideration. I wish to send something to her Majesty ; and, therefore, have resolved upon this because I can find no silk of any new fashion. The device of this toy seems to be pretty, which this bearer will expound unto you. If the advertisement sent by George Poulet deserveth any thanks, let them be given to this bearer, by whose faithfulness and diligence the same came into my hands. I shall not be quiet until I learn the name of my successor. My two years begin to expire, and this term may seem to be sufficient for my poor estate.—Paris, 25 Dec. 1577. P.S.—I received at eight a.m. to-day your letters sent by Mr. Duncombe. I am heartily glad and much quieted in mind to hear that her Majesty has considered so well of Mr. Jacomo, who has repented of his folly. It remains to consider how to employ him in some service fit for him. Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. I. 61.]