Elizabeth: March 1578, 1-5

Pages 515-524

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

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March 1578, 1-5

March 1. 662. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
Thanks for sending Tupper. Please let the Lord Treasurer see my letter, as I have not written to him. Mr. Jacomo arrived yesterday afternoon. I date my letter March 1, but it was signed and sealed on the last of February.—Paris, 1 March 1577. Add. Endd. 10 lines. [France II. 18.]
March 1. 663. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
Villeroy returned from Monsieur on the 22nd inst. [sic ; see last letter], and gives out that he prays the King to account of him as his loving brother and faithful subject. He had retired from the Court only to avoid the troubles which were likely to grow of the mislike between the gentlemen of both their families, and he intends nothing less than any hostility against the King. Villeroy arriving before noon, spent the greater part of that day with the King in his cabinet, which gives cause to think that his message contained higher matter. There is no doubt that the King feared some dangerous innovation from his brother's departure, and considering the youth and venomous minds of such as possess these two young princes, it may be affirmed that only necessity can keep them quiet. The King is so bridled by those of the religion that he dare attempt nothing against his brother, and is forced 'to seek peace with cap and knee.' Monsieur will be constrained to moderate his passions for want of ability, those of the religion being grown wise by experience of their former harms, and as burnt children dreading the fire, will see great miracles before they offer their candles ; having resolved to urge the due observation of the edict, and so continue the King's faithful subjects, and yet stand on good terms with Monsieur. As this 'accident' may be profitable to the Churches of this realm, if French rashness and inconstancy do not cast them headlong into some dangerous confusion, so I am much deceived if their neighbours beyond the seas may not assure themselves of their part of the blessing, the French being constrained to seek peace abroad, to avoid the danger of troubles at home. But the alterations of this country are so childish, sudden, and uncertain that we must be prepared against all 'advents,' and we shall deceive ourselves much if we think to find any assurance against our mightiest neighbours but to be so provided that they cannot harm us if they would. The sudden change which Monsieur has made of his principal officers seems to threaten some further consequence. Count St. Aignan, La Bordesière, Arpentin, Sourdy, and others have been removed, and La Chastre, Bussy, Simier, Chevalier d'Oraison, Chavany, Chevalier Breton, and others put in their places. Yet some are of opinion that Monsieur will again be at Court within three months. Queen Mother has the skill not only to breed these quarrels, but also to appease them when it suits her purpose ; seeing very well that her credit stands much upon these divisions, her sons being so much possessed by others that she is not employed as she has been, or as she desires, except in time of necessity. The house of Guise joins her in blowing the fire of division, though, no doubt, to contrary ends ; of which I need say no more, as it is known to you. Shortly after Villeroy's arrival, the King sent for a gentleman belonging to the King of Navarre, and told him that he was on the point of giving out commissions for the due execution of the edict, and if he remembered any point worthy of consideration, order should be given to his satisfaction ; concluding that his brother had assured him by Villeroy that he would attempt nothing against his person or crown. Some think that if he had not feared the latter, he would not have granted the former so liberally. Those of the religion have thought themselves fortunate where they might have reason for the asking, and therefore this extraordinary proffer is thought to proceed from some extraordinary cause. The principal men of the Council have already spent several days since Monsieur's departure in perusing the 'cayers' of the late Assembly at Blois, which serves to 'bear men in hand' that some good effect may ensue, thereby to take away all occasion of new troubles under colour of protection of the commonwealth. It is well when God is honoured and His people well governed, whether with or without our goodwill. Fraynee and Fonteneau, the first of whom was Mayor of Rochelle during the siege, and was suspected of intelligence with the King, came to this Court on the 21st. They had audience next day, and were used with great favour. They have presented the King with a clock of great value and singular fashion. The substance of their negotiation was to crave pardon for faults past, to pray the effectuating of the edict throughout the realm, and particularly in Rochelle, to be confirmed in their ancient privileges and discharged of certain new impositions, to build a new church, to enlarge their college, and to procure an order for the razing of Marans. Besides a generally favourable and secure answer, they were asked to consider if they had any particular occasion to make proof of the King's favour towards them ; they would find it ready. This bait is usually practised towards all such of the religion as resort hither, and experience shows daily that our particular makes us forget the general. Some say that Monsieur aspires to the Duchy of Britanny ; one argument among others being alleged that some about him will never think themselves safe until they can command the sea coast. The Spaniards and Italians march daily towards Don John, and besides the 2,000 lately arrived or on the point of arriving at Luxembourg, another 2,000 are well advanced on their way from Genoa. It is said that the 'Cantons Papists' levy 30 companies of foot for Don John's service. We hear from Spain that Don Bernardin Mendoza comes shortly to England, and is on the point of arriving here. I am told that on the 22nd a packet addressed to M. Pinart was found between the Louvre and the church of St. Thomas adjoining, by one Jean Rybault, who has had charge in a ship of Rochelle, called La Florissante, and is the son of Rybault, the great rover on the seas, being at the time with companions. This Rybault, after the French manner, without consideration, opens the packet, and there finds one letter addressed to the King and another to Queen Mother, a third to Pinart, and, besides some other letters, a list unsealed, with these words at the head, Ceulx qui pour nous favorisent le party Catholicque. Rybault 'takes upon him' to know the hand of the Scottish Queen, and affirms that the superscription of the letter to the King, and the whole of the list, was in her writing. Finding the letters to be important, the men thought good to deliver them to M. Pinart. Within an hour after the finding of the packet, one ran to me and told me that one of the King's porters had told him that a packet addressed to me was found in the Court, and was carried to M. Pinart. I have done all I can to get speech of Rybault, but cannot attain to it ; though he professes to be of the religion. The particulars abovementioned I had from a friend of his. It is strange that a packet of this importance should be lost through negligence, and more strange that this roll of English names should be left at large in the packet and not enclosed. I trust no packet addressed to me is fallen into their hands and cloaked by this device. The place where this is said to have been lost is of great resort from morning to night, and it may be that some English messenger could not devise a surer way to get rid of the packet without danger than to let it fall in a place where he was sure it would come safe to the King's hand. I can do no good for Mr. Warcupp, all their former promises being clearly forgotten, or at least shamefully denied. I have now received answer that the copies which I have to show are insufficient to move the King to make restitution, which they say must be grounded on the originals, and they know the originals are in their own hands. I have told M. Pinart that, as I see he hinders in this suit all that was furthered by the Chancellor and others, I will not importune him any further. It is thought that negotiations continue between Monsieur and some of the Estates, and that Bussy will further it by all means possible, and the rather as the world goes with him at this time. The King may be persuaded to yield, in respect of the late jar, and then Monsieur will want no followers. What will happen will not easily be discovered till Queen Mother returns. If I should be driven to say somewhat, I should be of opinion that Monsieur will do nothing in the Low Countries this year. I hear he makes no account of the daughter of Spain, and knows well that the King means nothing less than to give her to him. The bruit continues that the Turk arms by sea, and I am credibly informed that the King of Spain has not yet made peace with him, and has no hope of doing so. When I had written thus far, and was nearing the end of my letter, at nine a.m. yesterday, M. Gondy came from the King to ask me to go to the Court immediately after dinner, where I should find the Chancellor and others ready to confer with me in some things touching the Queen. I went at the appointed time, and the Chancellor, assisted by the Marshal de Cossé, de Foix, and seven or eight others of the Council, spent little less than three hours in debating of many things, of which the substance is as follows : First, this bill enclosed was proposed, containing, as de Foix affirmed, the very words advertised by the French Ambassador ; which, being examined, could not be denied to be a very bare and naked advertisement, both because the matters mentioned of so great importance did not contain the answers of her Majesty and the Lords of the Council, and also because the principal grounds of his complaint were omitted, as the names of the offenders, the value of the wrong done, and other circumstances, while some things were set down in such monstrous manner that it was easy to see it could not be true. I said that I doubted much that the party that complained on Sir John Perrott would be found a pirate in the end, and to have been imprisoned for his piracy. The last article, touching Mr. Sackford, is excused as a thing of which the Ambassador had been lately informed, and therefore could not affirm how the ship was sunk, or what had become of the goods. Upon the second and third articles the Chancellor and M. de Foix urged the Treaty of Troyes, confirmed by the Treaty of Blois, and after rehearsing the branches of the treaty bearing on the point, concluded that while letters of mark orderly granted and duly executed are, nevertheless, next neighbours to open hostility, this letter of mark against the inhabitants of St. Malo was disorderly granted and duly executed. It was to be considered that the treaties between England and France not only confirmed a peace between the two realms, but also a league defensive ; and therefore their King had never granted any letters of mark, and had now denied Le Fer of St. Malo, mentioned in the first article of the Bill. On this grew long speech of the wrongs done at sea on both sides, of the late accident at Brouage, of the want of justice on either part ; and I concluded that the injustice of past time compared with the wrongs of the present, had forced her Majesty to seek remedies contrary to her own disposition, and therefore if this letter of mark were granted against this man of St. Malo (of which I knew nothing), I doubted not but it would appear to have been done upon reasonable cause. Here I told M. 'Milleray,' governor of the sea-coast in Normandy, that at our last meeting he had undertaken to prove that for every crown which those under his government had taken from the English the English had spoiled them of 500 ; that he had promised to come to any lodging and inform me of the particulars. That I had looked long for him, and seeing he came not, had sent my son to M. Pinart to remind him of his promise. I should have been glad to do my best to procure restitution to the parties wronged, and I prayed him to do the like toward those of my country. To that end I had made a collection of the robberies done upon the English by those of Normandy, and then delivered him the bill, amounting to 33,000 crowns of the sun or thereabouts, which had been robbed from the merchants of England since April, 1576. 'He makes great shift if he can double this sum five hundred times.' Surely words are cheap in this country, and there is no means to answer them but with deeds. I found him afterwards very temperate both before the Lords of the Council, and in private conference with me ; and he promises undelayed justice to all whom I may recommend to him. Then we considered some means for the restitution of the spoils done already ; and the Chancellor said that new ordinances should be set forth containing sharp punishments, and that persons should be deputed both here and in London to see how complaints on either side were satisfied, and report to the Council as occasion served. I told them there was no need to make new laws if the old ones were duly executed, and that persons were already deputed to further justice in these cases. "It is true,' said the Chancellor, "that such men are appointed here ; but not in England." I answered that if no better effect followed in England than had been found here, it made no great matter if they never were appointed. I said it was necessary for a piracy to be proved by examination before restitution could ensue ; that to this purpose the deputies would grant their officer, who was so slenderly obeyed that no good followed. When they offered to go in person, the charges were so excessive, and the result so uncertain, that merchants could not bear the burden of it. It was concluded that the only remedy lay in the several governors, who lacked no means to hinder justice that was sought otherwise than from themselves. They had full powers to restrain suspected persons from going to sea, to take sureties for the due performance of their professed voyages, and to do justice to all. In the end it was thought good that the governors should be exhorted to do the duty of their office ; that they should know this trust was committed to them ; and as they might be sometimes at Court or elsewhere distant from the sea, that one should be deputed in every port, for whom the governor should be answerable, to do justice expeditiously for all and preserve them from outrage in body and goods. "It is not enough," said the Chancellor, "that satisfaction be made for wrongs done already, unless order be taken that the like shall not happen again" ; and therefore he thought that ships should be sent by the King and by her Majesty, which should join together to scour the seas of all rovers. He urged this opinion earnestly, and Milleray agreed with him ; but I am much deceived if I did not perceive that some great personages there were of a contrary mind. Many words passed on the point, and I concluded that I doubted so much of the due execution of this good meaning that I durst not say I had any liking of the course, the liberty of the seas being very dangerous in this wicked time ; but I would advertise her Majesty of their opinion. Then I renewed my suit for Mr. Warcupp, and told M. Pinart that, having found the Chancellor very reasonable, I was hindered only by him. "It is true," said he to the Chancellor, "that the Ambassador does so think, and signified no less to me by his son." The matter was debated, and my papers were shown ; and finally it was promised that payment should be made of so much as might be coming to Mr. Warcupp of the 2,000 francs promised by the Mayor of Angiers ; and this morning I have received the King's letters patent for the payment of 4,500 crowns. This is better than nothing, and, indeed, Mr. Warcupp's matter has been so ill-guided that he had nothing to show for it, and it could only be recovered by importunate asking ; and now M. Pinart and I are great friends again. I must trouble you with the letters and bill enclosed, which have been sent me from Britanny [cipher] ; whence I am also advertised from M. de Laval [cipher] that, in his opinion, La Roche's preparations were intended for Ireland. He has lately left this Court, and we shall see what will come of his voyage ; some affirming that it is utterly broken, others that it holds. A messenger is sent to Britanny to ascertain. Maintenon arrived to-day from Queen Mother, and Rochepot comes from Monsieur to-morrow, and we shall hear shortly what effects will follow these wonders. Some say the King recalls the French who are in the Low Countries, to serve his turn here. It is certain that they return daily in great troops, with great discontent, as is reported. I forgot to say that the French Ambassador confesses, as the Chancellor says, he has received from her Majesty and the Council all the expedition he could ask touching Le Fer ; but when he comes to execution he prevails nothing.—Paris, 1 March 1577. P.S.—'Malleray,' brother to 'Clerevan,' has also informed of this packet supposed to be lost. I have received these two bills from M. Pinart ; one of the conference between the Council and me, the other of depredations done by the English. These things argue that the French are content to make fair weather. Mr. Whythypole is just arrived from Italy, having returned solely to spend his life in the service of her Majesty and his country. He heard in Italy that Sir Thomas Stukeley has four galleys and two great ships, with men and munitions, and expected further aid from the Portugal, and that his enterprise was for Ireland. Also he was told that the Royal Merchant of London and another ship were arrested at Naples. My new friend assures me that James Fitzmorris is already in Ireland, and has written to Villeroy of his arrival. He has heard this from two several men who are likely to know. Add. Endd. 9 pp. [Ibid. II. 19.]
March 2.
K. d. L. x. 302.
After the winning of Sichenen (where the enemy is said to have lost at least 700 or 800 men, including divers captains and men of name, besides such as were hurt, among whom the Prince of Parma is reported to be shot in the arm, and Octavio Gonzaga in the body), he proceeded to the siege of Diest, which surrendered last Thursday. Now he is said to be before Leewe, a town on a branch of the Demer, two or three leagues from Diest. There are only two companies there, and these, it is thought, unable to hold the place, which is in itself weak, and terrified by the cruelties at Sichenen, where the enemy put all to the sword, have, as is thought, abandoned it ere this. It was thought here that, after taking Sichenen, he would have marched on Maestricht, where, by means of his intelligence with certain priests and burghers, he reckoned to be let in. But the conspiracy being discovered in good time, above 200 of the faction were apprehended, and the danger prevented. Two companies of French, of Count Charles Mansfield's regiment, were, in the meantime, defeated before Philipville by the garrison, and other troops of the same regiment have since been overthrown about Genappe, by some of the garrison of Brussels and Nivelles. Within 14 or 15 days they are determined here to assemble the forces lately levied in Flanders, with the rest that are dispersed, and begin to 'redress' their camp in some convenient place ; by which time they reckon that Schenk, who is said to be on the march with 1,200 horse, will be here. The money for the whole 9,000 reiters is made over into Germany by exchange, and there is no further difficulty if Casimir will accept the entertainment offered him for 3,000, with a regiment of foot. They have given him only three days to answer, in order that, if he refuses, they may provide otherwise in time ; once having made their state and computation upon that number, there is no appearance that they will alter their plot, or accord Casimir any greater proportion. Of our forces they wot not yet what to account, though they hope the best. This delay and suspense of her Majesty's resolution makes them more uncertain in their actions than the condition of their affairs requires. The Marquis is to start on Tuesday, as I understand from himself. Her Majesty will, no doubt, be satisfied by him in any difficulty that may arise about our capitulations. M. de Selles, who arrived at Brussels three or four days before the defeat, with commission from the King to treat of peace, or, rather, to impeach the credit of the Prince, and, if possible, confound the union between him and the States under pretext of religion, and went from them to Don John with like commission, has written them an answer, which you may find herewith. Together with it, he wrote to the Prince, advising him of Don John's good inclination to peace, on condition the Prince of Parma might be received to govern in his stead till the King otherwise provided, and the Prince of Orange go with him to Italy. This scoffing proposition may show what inclination to peace. The Emperor, by letters received this week, renews his promise of sending the commissioners named in his former letters to arrange a peace, and meantime commends to them the 'studious entertaining' of their Catholic religion ; but they are now resolved to terminate their civil differences before disputing of religion. The elder Hamilton, who was lately brought a prisoner to Brussels, has, at the 'earnest labour' of Balfour, been released, under pretext of redeeming certain of his soldiers taken at the defeat of the States. Some of these, on their first coming to Namur, were drowned ; the rest were released on taking oath not to serve against the King again in this war, and have gone home by way of France. Of the news of Naples there is no certainty, and it is esteemed too good to be true.—Antwerp, 2 March 1577. Draft. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. V. 62.]
665. Another draft of the same, with some omissions. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 62A.]
666. Rough drafts of parts of the above. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. V. 62B.]
[About March 2.]
K. d. L. x. 305.
Points out that the delay in sending aid from England is doing much harm. "The Prince, the Marquis, and others daily send to me to understand how things succeed ; but it is so long since I had any letter from your honours, as I am fully as ignorant as they are doubtful. I cannot tell whence the cause proceedeth, neither dare I take upon me to give any opinion of my own, being a man in no way apt to give counsel." "Nothing more dangerous in matters of State than to float and waver in deliberation." Draft. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 63.]
March 3. 668. RANDOLPH to DAVISON.
Being in Scotland, and this bearer craving my letter to you, I could grant it with better will than he desired, praying you to show him what favour you can, with thanks for his readiness to serve you as he is able. I mind shortly to write to you of the state of this country.—Edinburgh, 3 March 1577. Add. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 64.]
March 3.
K. d. L. x. 305.
We have received two letters from you, one with the agreeable news of your arrival as Governor in the Low Countries, the other announcing the troubles in those parts, and their need of help from us. Your Excellency and all men in Lower Germany must be aware from our promises in reply to the Marquis of Havrech's negotiations, how we are affected towards the Low Countries. We have decided to proceed with that resolution ; but our anxiety as to what we should offer has been and is no less than the trouble we have taken as to the best method of doing it, and we have decided to take the course safest for them and most honourable for ourselves. What that is, our ambassador, Daniel Rogers, will declare to yourself and the Estates ; to whose fidelity we commit our opinion and will, begging that you will accept it favourably. —Greenwich, 3 March 1577. Copy. Endd. by Daniel Rogers. Latin. 2/3 p. [Ibid. V. 65.]
670. Another copy. [For. E.B. Misc. II.] : dated London, 7 March.
[Mar. 4.]
K. d. L. x. 306. (From another source.)
671. The QUEEN to the ESTATES.
Captain Leighton, on his return, informed us fully of the state of your affairs, and told us how you remain in full hope of the succour we have promised you. We shall, as a good neighbour, not fail you herein, as the bearer, Mr. Rogers, will declare to you more at large. We have been advised to send him, that he may explain to you the means by which we think to succour and assist you. Fr. ½ p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
[Mar. 4.]
K. d. L. x. 307. (From another source.)
Having heard from Mr. Leighton the state of affairs there, and that they are expecting help from us, we have sent Mr. Rogers to the Estates, to communicate the means by which we propose to assist them ; begging you to use your best offices to get them accepted. They are such as they can have no just cause to be dissatisfied with. We will further ask you to give full credit to what Mr. Rogers may say on our behalf, and believe that we shall always do our best for these countries, rather than allow them to be tyrannized over any longer. Fr. ½ p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
[Mar. 4?] 673. The QUEEN to the MARQUIS OF HAVRECH.
Since your departure we have received several letters from you, urging us to fulfil our promise of aiding the States. We think we shall acquit ourselves therein in such sort that they will be satisfied, and you will see such results to your negotiation as you can desire for your own honour and credit ; as the bearer, Mr. Rogers, will tell you more fully. Fr. ½ p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
March 5. 674. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
Please peruse this abstract of a letter which I have received from Italy, together with this other letter addressed to you, Mr. Wilson. They have been so long on the way that they have lost a good part of their welcome, and yet no fault in the sender. Monsieur in his letters assures the King that he means nothing less than to disturb the quiet of the realm, and prays that his letters may be reserved as pledges for the due performance of his promise. He has dispatched a messenger to the King of Navarre. The Pope has created nine cardinals of late, three being of this realm ; the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Reims, and the brother to the French Queen. You have been advertised in my letter sent by Mr. Wythepoll of the arrival here of Don Bernardin Mendoza, who has told me that he will depart to-day towards England ; and I perceive he does not intend to depart hastily from thence. He prays me to show favour to Guarras, and to be a means to his deliverance : asking if I knew him, which he spoke in such sort that I had some cause to think he imputed his imprisonment to me. I think too ill of Guarras to wish his deliverance, much less to procure it. Queen Mother is now on her way back, and it is thought the King will meet her at Dolenville. I send this by an English merchant, to be conveyed from Diepe.—Paris, 5 March 1577. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France II. 20.]