Elizabeth: March 1578, 6-10

Pages 524-533

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, 6-10

March 8. 675. OCCURRENTS from ANTWERP.
Diest was surrendered to Don John by composition. He first entered in person, and is to have 100,000 guilders. Since then he minded to have bent his force towards 'Mastryte,' but hearing that the States had sent thither 12 ensigns of men, who had entered the town, he stayed his intended journey ; so that now there is no talk of what he minds to do, but it is thought he will 'prepare' his army towards Nivelles, and Hal, near Brussels. These places are garrisoned, though the 'state' is of small strength ; yet if the soldiers stand to their defence, as it is hoped they will, being old and 'beaten' soldiers, it may cost him the better part of his force ere he get either of them, unless by treason. There are few places except he venture very deep into Flanders, which it is thought he will not, for the horsemen of 'Cassemyers, County Swartzenborgh, Prince of Symay, and the Rutte Master Shyncke' are all being diligently hastened ; and the preparation of footmen is such as will countervail the enemy's strength, who seems already to have some doubt of it. The soldiers that were in Diest have since been paid by Don John, with promises of further 'marceda.' Certain of Don John's footmen venturing too near Brussels, being charged by the garrison of the town, were overthrown and put to flight ; and the 'Boores' took upon them to be their executioners and dispatched about 200, and brought 16 of them prisoners to Brussels. 'Such hot breakfasts cold countries doth yield.' At 'Mounts' has been some question between the Governor and the townsmen for the 'kayes' of the gates ; which now is ended, each gate being double-locked, and the keys committed to the keeping of either of them. Endd. by. D. Rogers : Occurrences [sic] sent out of the Low Countries ; from Antwerp the 8th of March, 1578. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. V. 66.]
March 8.
K. d. L. x.
The Duke of Alençon having, as I hear, been advised by some of his favourers here that her Majesty was either utterly altered, or so coldly affected to the cause of this country that there was great appearance she would break off with the Estates, under pretext of their refusing to deliver the Isle of Walcheren for security, has dispatched hither one 'la Fugiere,' a gentleman of his, to renew his old offer of assistance to the States, in the hope it will be now accepted, partly because of their necessity, and partly because to shew his sincerity towards them, he seems content to offer them la charte blanche, and to accept their conditions. The gentleman had his audience with the Prince on Thursday and Friday last, and was full of persuasion to induce the acceptance of his master's good will, but as yet has no comfort beyond general compliments ; nor do I think that the Prince, or any who can consider how much they ought to suspect the offers of such a Prince, will incline to his propositions, unless it be to use him as an instrument to divert the succours which the enemy may have from that side, till they are so provided as not to fear them. Yet I may assure you that the long suspense and uncertainty of her Majesty's resolution, considering the hope with which she had entertained them, making them reject the former offers of the Duke and neglect other means which they might have used for their relief, has begun such a jealousy and alteration in some of the greatest who were before enemies to the French side, that, fearing lest her Majesty's long delay will bring forth an absolute denial, they are now the first to persuade that course ; and, indeed, some of the wisest here expect such a desperate resolution, if her Majesty abandon them. For since the King of Spain has determined to prosecute the war with all extremity, since he has an army at their gates composed of the expertest captains and soldiers in Christendom, and has, for the better effecting his purpose, concluded a truce with the Turk, and solicited succour from the Pope, the French King, the Swiss, the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine, and other princes in Italy and Germany, against whose forces it shall be hard for them to subsist without the help of some of their neighbours, they must strengthen themselves with the alliance of some one able to protect them. Now among all their neighbours there is no one whose assistance will be as profitable and as little dangerous to them as that of the Queen ; France being justly suspected, the Emperor both unable and unassured, and the rest of the princes of Germany hireling and coldly affected. Therefore they have addressed themselves first to her Majesty, of whose favour the interest she has in their success, and the experience they have of her bounty, have not a little increased their hope. If she fail them, their hatred to the Spaniards is such, that rather than be forced under the yoke of their insupportable tyranny, they will run any fortune, be it never so desperate, especially that of France ; which though all deem full of peril, they will make it "a counsel without counsel" when they cannot otherwise choose. Now seeing that her Majesty cannot abandon them without peril to herself and to them, and that to suspend her deliberation any longer will be inconvenient for both—for as nothing is more dangerous in matters of State than to be uncertain and doubtful in deliberation, so nothing is more unfitting to the present condition of their affairs—it would, in my judgement (under correction), be the more profitable and honourable for her Majesty the sooner she gives her determination. "For as the house is easily maintained and repaired that is yet strong and in good plight, but being ruined and fallen is of far greater charge and travail to be redressed and restored to his former estate ; and as the sickness is the less to be feared, the less that the body is feeble and weak, so shall it be an easier matter to support the state of these countries while they be strong and united, than being once weakened and dismembered, to restore them to their former condition." On the other side, if her Majesty has no will to embrace their cause, it were better they knew it betimes than too late, that they may be more diligent to take some other course for supply of their necessity. Now though I may seem to you to go too far in judging whether of these resolutions her Majesty were best to take, it will not be much amiss if I tell you what I observe as to the inclination of things here. To cast them off cannot but bring forth a general astonishment in the people, an alteration in the nobility, a confusion of the present union of the provinces, advantage to the enemy, hazard, or rather certainty, of losing the hearts of this people ; which be so much more perilous to her Majesty, in that she will continue notwithstanding in the hatred of Spain, and so gain the enmity of both and friendship of neither. Nor is it so likely that by not assisting them she will 'eschew' the war, as that she will defer it, to her greater disadvantage ; for the scope of the holy league of these Catholic princes, long since projected and now like to be put into execution, appears manifestly to reach not merely to the subverting of these countries, but to the ruin of all that profess the reformed religion ; among whom, as her Majesty occupies the chief place, so is she the mark they principally shoot at. Now if this be true, and it is too apparent to be doubted, I leave to the discourse of others whether her own security bids her look to the cause of these countries or not. There remains to be considered how she may best assist them. Some, perhaps, think it may better be done underhand, with the loan of money, than with men ; or if with men at all, with some force to be passed out by stealth, on the ground that if she send over any great force under a person of quality, it will draw her into an open war against both the Kings of Spain and France, one for the injury received, the other for jealousy of our neighbourhood. They conclude, therefore, that to avoid so dangerous a war, it were better her Majesty should assist them underhand. But against these reasons may be produced others of far more moment 'in my rude advice.' One is, that to give them any help underhand will not be so profitable for her Majesty as if she proceeded openly ; partly because by entering into action openly she will sooner obtain a peace, for the more difficult the King of Spain finds his enterprise the sooner he will be brought to peace ; partly because their obligation to her will be greater ; partly, which is not of least consideration, because she may, without cost to herself, have an army of her subjects trained in the wars of this country, by whom she may be better served on any occasions that may arise hereafter, whereas they are now of all nations most inexpert and ignorant in that behalf. Another reason is, it will be less honourable to her Majesty, having already passed her promise, in performing which she will show zeal in the cause of her poor neighbour ; resolution, steadfastness, and magnanimity ; the contrary of which may perhaps be 'noted and condemned' in her, if she should do otherwise. It is apparent, too, that she would not less offend the King of Spain by assisting them underhand. Lastly, as they are resolved to serve themselves with other nations, I think no one would advise her Majesty to lend them money to entertain the French, the Scots, or other foreign nations, and keep her own subjects unemployed. It appears then how much fitter it were for her to succour them openly with her own men, under a person of quality to keep them in good order, than either to send a few troops by stealth, which is ill, or to assist them with money without men, which is worse. As for some men's apprehension of an invasion in England or Ireland, making it necessary for her Majesty to keep her men at home, there is no doubt that the King of Spain, so long as he has his hands full in the Low Countries, will be an enemy more terrible in opinion than in effect ; and as for France, how safely she might have them occupied at home, every man acquainted with the state of that country can tell. Lastly, such is the strength of this country, so many and inexpugnable the towns and holds, so resolute the people, that the enterprise is of infinite difficulty, if they are assisted by her Majesty and remain united among themselves. Since the defeat of their camp, they have compounded all their private differences, and have shown an universal resolution to resist the common enemy, so that the King being deceived of his chief hope, which was to have sown a division and 'zizanie' among them, without which he would never have taken this war in hand, having no port in the whole country, no means to redress a second navy when the first is miscarried, there is no doubt that within the year he will be glad of a peace, though it cost him dear. Therefore I conclude that, if her Majesty's safety, honour, and profit may move her, she will go forward with her promise to assist these countries.—Antwerp, 8 March 1577. Add. Endd. by Walsingham and Tomson : (Mr. Davison, discourse. Open assistance). 4½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. V. 67.]
677. Draft of the above, with corrections in Davison's hand, in the form of a small book or pamphlet. Endd. 18 pp. [Ibid. V. 67a.]
678. Another draft, dated 5th March. Endd. 4 pp. [Ibid. V. 67b.]
[Mar. 8.]
K. d. L. x. 311. (From another copy.)
M. Beutrich having declared to her Majesty the good will you bear to her service, shown also in your own letters, together with your desire for the weal of the Low Countries, she has been pleased to testify by this present how much she feels herself bound to seek all the means which she can devise to requite the honour which you have done her and to assure you that she is of one mind with you as regards those countries. Now it is so, that at the instance of the Estates, lately made through the Marquis of Havrech, she granted them an aid of 6,000 soldiers, who were being got ready to start as soon as necessity should require. At this juncture her Majesty was informed from various quarters of certain practices which were in progress against her state, to obviate which betimes it was necessary for her to keep her forces in her own service, though with no idea of deserting her friends or neglecting any possible means for their succour ; a thing of which she would never dream. Thereupon she thought of your Excellency's resources ; and M. Beutrich informed her of the proposal made to you by the Estates, which he was persuaded could not be accepted, both in regard to your personal safety and to other considerations ; 6,000 men being so small a force. If therefore you are in the same mind as before, and still wish to make some demonstration in favour of those who are in extremity, she begs you to take charge of 6,000 Swiss and 5,000 reiters, a force which she deems suitable both to your dignity, which she holds no less important than her own honour, as also to obviate danger to yourself, which would be disastrous to the common cause. If you find this proposal agreeable, Mr. Rogers, the present bearer, has orders to hand you a letter, authorizing you to receive 20,000l. from the person to whom it is addressed, and she promises to furnish you through the Estates with a further 20,000l. on the date of muster. (Signed), Fra. Walsingham, Thomas Wilson. Signatures in hand of L. Tomson. Fr. 2 pp. [For. E.B, Misc. II.]
March 9.
K. d. L. x. 319. (From another source.)
You shall declare to the States how by Mr. Leighton's report we understood in what need they stand of aid against Don John, and therefore we could not but, as before, think upon the best means to relieve their danger and avoid other 'inconvenients' of greater peril. Which means, though they may seem different from our former resolution, yet if they consider they shall not find it so ; that being performed which they desire, and with greater advantage to all parties, if they will weigh the discommodities likely to ensue if our first resolution were put into execution. For if the truth of things come as well to their understanding as to ours they cannot be ignorant of the French King's intention to employ a great part of the force of his realm upon the Low Countries in case he understands that any force goes from hence, conceiving that what colour soever we make of aiding them in their necessity, our intention is no other but to impatronise ourselves of the country, which is a matter he can as little endure, as we are far from any such purpose. Yet from this he cannot be removed, and therefore inclines to that course which will turn out worse for them, if they cannot with us resolve on some better remedy. Hereof we have been and are not a little careful, being somewhat perplexed with this and other matters as important to ourself ; but we have got a good expedient, fit to meet all inconveniences and no less sufficient for their relief. By the coming of Dr. Beutterich from Duke Casimir to us, we understood of a request made to him by them, to bring to their aid a certain number of men, which we perceive he might be easily induced to do, if the number were competent with his honour, having been in times past employed with great credit, and the quality of his person being such as would not be put to the hazard of small and weak power. For which respect and because we find it the fittest means to do them that good we wish them, seeing they are in part entered into the same way already, we have thought to desire him, in lieu of our forces, to make a levy of 6,000 Swiss and 5,000 horse to be employed in their defence and led under his charge, for furnishing which we made an overture to his minister when with us of a present disbursement of 20,000l. sterling, and another 20,000l. to be received from them on the day of the muster of his forces out of the sum of 100,000l., for which we are content to let them have our bond. In case they shall be loth to disburse any part of the said 100,000l. for this purpose and cannot be induced thereto by any persuasion you may use, having otherwise occasion to employ the whole, you can let them understand that we can be content to disburse the same likewise for the furtherance of their service, rather than they should be unprovided of so necessary aid. If they reply that they have already given order for the levy of as many as they think they will need and are loth to overcharge themselves beyond what they of necessity must, you may tell them that in cases of necessity we think it is better to have store than want, that in such numbers all persons are not of like value, that a multitude often encourages when small numbers would dismay, especially in mercenary men, that if they will deduct any they would do best to entertain those that are likely to be most assured to them, that we understand that many of those that they mean to call to their service are 'such as to whom' the King of Spain is greatly indebted, and if so, such inconvenience may be caused through those men as may put their whole force to great hazard, that we nor they can have a captain of more value and upon whose honour and credit they can more rely than Duke Casimir, that no general will make better choice of people to serve him, and that his counsel will serve them to great purpose. If they resolve on this, require from them an assurance in writing that as soon as they receive word from Duke Casimir of the receipt of the 20,000l. they shall deliver into the hands of our agent there such sufficient bond for the repayment thereof as they have done for the 20,000l. we lent them before, and the like for the other 20,000l. which is to be employed about the same levy in case we are driven by sparing of them in their necessity to disburse it ourself for the said service. This you shall signify to them is the best means we can devise for their relief and the avoiding of other inconveniences ; only on condition they will put us in sufficient bond for the payment of the 40,000l. at the year's end. [Substituted for par. 7 ; in L. Tomson's writing : In case they shall not be able before the time of the muster to take up either the whole or part of the 100,000l., and so shall be unable to furnish the pay required, whereby the whole service will be endangered or hindered, you shall let them know we will be content to disburse the same likewise, etc.] If they accept the service of Duke Casimir, you shall repair to him, with Beutterich his minister, and learn his resolution, and deliver to him a letter directed to our subject Christopher Hoddesdon for the receipt of the 20,000l. ; and also find out when he thinks to be ready to march, what chief men he has, where he intends to make his general muster, and other particulars, and return to us with a full report. Draft, annotated and partly written by L. Tomson. Endd. in his and another hand : A draught of instructions for one to be sent into the Low Countries and so to D. Casimir. Dispatched the 9 March, being Sunday ; etc. Walsingham's mark, and a monogram that may be R.L. 6½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. V. 68.]
March 9.
K. d. L. x. 318.
I know you 'think much in me' that I have written so seldom to you of late, but I have been so troubled by the alterations of resolutions that I had no mind to write or do anything that could give no more certainty of what I wished for the better service of her Majesty and this realm. Therefore excuse me for my silence, being 'scant' yet in good tune. For my own part it cannot but grieve me, putting myself so far forward as I did, and the matter in so great show of my own going as it was, to imagine what may be thought in me if so great a change has happened, especially as I have been a minister in their cause and holding the place I do. But I have done my 'best and bettermost' to get it forward as I thought safest for her Majesty, and God knows how little I sought any jot of my own 'particular.' I pray no 'dangerous luck' may come of this alteration. Mr. Rogers can tell you the rest more plainly ; my chief desire is to be thought an honest man, both in word and meaning, and I pray you to satisfy such as I honour and love there. I had rather a thousand times hazard my life in preventing such dangers as are likely to happen to us and our friends than live in the greatest severity for my own person. But I fear God has found us unworthy of a longer continuance of his former blessing. It is He alone that can now help us, I mean miraculously ; the apparent ordinary courses being so greatly 'overslipt.' I have hardly face to write to the Prince, his expectation being so greatly deceived ; but I hope you will let him know how it grieves me, and that he will think I am a subject, but that loves him and wishes his prosperity as much as any man soever ; and so he would have found if God had pleased I had made this voyage, or if it shall so fall out hereafter.—9 March 1577. P.S.—Pray do my humble commendations to the Princess, with my blessing to my little daughter. Commend me also very heartily to M. 'Saint Allagonda,' and excuse me if I do not write to him, for I am 'mallincolly,' and I often wish he were here. If there are any further dealings with her Majesty, I wish he may come before all others, as I think if he had been here the matter had gone better. Add.: To my cousin Davison, etc., with speed. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. V. 69.]
You will have heard how my affairs go on, as declared by my envoy, M. de la Fougère, to the Prince of Orange, as well as my desire for the prosperity of yours, especially at a time when you may feel the need of it, which is a time when one values one's friends. I am, however, in trouble, because I told him to make haste and report to me a prompt decision ; and besides this delay suspends other designs and enterprises which present themselves every day. This is why I write this to you, and why I expressly order M. de Mondoucet to deliver it to you and continue to explain my intentions with regard to you, which indeed you might have learnt from M. de la Fougère. Please put all confidence in him and consider how I have for some years had your succour and friendship singularly at heart, and have not lost my will to serve you for any misfortune that has befallen you. But as I desire to be clear about your wishes, you shall have this for a last time.— 9 March 1578. Copy. Fr. 1 p. 'Received March 20.' [Ibid. V. 70.]
683. Another copy. Endd by L. Tomson. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 7.]
You have received two letters from me, one by la Fougère and one by Harange, from which you will have learnt in detail my intention with regard to the Estates and my continued wish to aid them in their affairs. This was the first dispatch that I sent after leaving the Court ; and I am sure they will have well considered it. I departed more on their account than on that of any other. I am sure you will have given la Fougère all the aid he requires for my service, in order to express to the Prince of Orange and Count Lalaing the foundation of my purpose and my wish to learn theirs and that of the Estates, for reasons which he will have explained to you, and by which I find myself every day more constrained to come to a decision. I am not at all satisfied with the delay in sending off la Fougère, who is expecting to go at any moment. Since he left me I have thought that the delay may be due to my not having written by him to the Estates, and to his having for that reason not presented himself to them to assure them of my friendship. I have thought good to send you a letter which you will see that I beg you to present to them, showing how I have long desired to make demonstration of my intentions, for which they ought to show more warmth towards me than they have hitherto done, and which while greatly serving them have been of little profit to me. I think as they go on they will take more heed of them. You must also know once for all that I will no longer be treated with the accustomed putting off, while I represent that what I offer is to their no small profit and honour. So settle something and act upon it, either to accomplish what remains to be done to serve me or else to withdraw from the whole thing and come here to me, ordering d'Alféran and my other servants when they have heard their answer to do the like, according to what I have written to them, and not to talk about it any more, and for a good reason.—Angers, 9 March 1578. Copy (made in Flanders). Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 1½ pp. [France II. 21.]
685. Another copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holl and Fl. V. 72.]
March 10. 686. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
I have become acquainted with a gentleman, neighbour to the Breton that robbed the merchant of Exeter ; and being informed by him of the state of the matter I presented the same to M. Pinart, and by the same gentleman's advice procured a letter to the chief president of the Parliament in Britanny, which I have sent to him by one of the English merchants. I perceive there is no good will between the pirate and this gentleman, who is returned home and will further the merchants all that he can. He advises me to make no mention of Châteauneuf because he is so mighty, and tells me that the other is sufficient to answer the spoil. I will not trouble you with many words touching this bearer [viz. 'Charles Nicasius'], who is going to England by command of his father, and upon so reasonable occasion that I could not stay him. I know you love him well, yet if my recommendation could interest you to add something to your goodwill, I should be much bounden to you. Surely I love him heartily, and he has deserved at my hands not only that, but also to do him as long as I live all the pleasure that I can. He is honest, diligent, loving, trusty, and faithful ; I thank you most heartily for him, and though he has left me I will not cease to love him.—Paris, 10 March 1577. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France II. 22.]
I have received yours of this morning and regret that you have not from the first obeyed the commands of his Highness conveyed in the letter I sent you from Genappe ; but as things are in the state that I see and his Highness has arrived at the camp, I will endeavour to act so for you that he may show you such grace as I can obtain. I warn you that you will do well to ask it of him before he resolves on any measure for inflicting the punishment you well deserve.—Camp before Nivelles, 10 March 1578. P.S.—If you wish to reply do so by the gate at which you will receive this. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holl, and Fl. V. 73.]
March 10. 688. INSTRUCTIONS given to DANIEL ROGERS, sent into the LOW COUNTRIES to the STATES 10 March 1577, the 20th year of our reign.
Another copy, with slight variations, of the instructions given under March 9 (No. 680). 4½ pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]