Elizabeth: August 1577, 11-15

Pages 63-79

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

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August 1577, 11-15

Aug. 12. 92. Reply of the ESTATES to the Verbal Message from his HIGHNESS presented by M. DE GROBBENDONCK on Aug. 8.
1. The Estates are greatly displeased that his Highness has not thought fit to name the authors of the letters, that they might be examined, and that if any foundation might appear for their statements, rigorous proceedings might be taken against those guilty of aiming at so execrable an action. However, as his Highness savs that his withdrawal was not intended to cause annoyance to the Estates, and that he means to observe the pacification, they pray him to carry it out.
2. They beg him seriously to have regard to the mutual correspondence between them, and thank him for his offer of free passage.
3. As to this, the Estates hope that his Highness will consider the first article of their resolution sent by Count Bossu and Adolf de Meetkerke. It has never been seen that a Prince or Governor had an army to guard him against his subjects ; or to take one of foreigners as seems to be claimed would be directly contrary to the pacification.
4. The Estates are content to make no new levies of troops and disband those that they have, on condition of reciprocal action on the part of his Highness, and the countermanding of the commissions which it is understood are running in various countries.
5. As to those whom the Estates have in custody, they shall be let go as soon as the Germans are out of the country, on taking an oath to guard his Highness and the Estates, to suffer no attempts against them, and to maintain the pacification in good faith, without fraud or malengien.
6. They humbly entreat his Highness to dismiss from his household all foreigners and others notoriously suspected as having opposed the intention of the Estates, and to take natural subjects of the country ; so that both parties may negotiate in conjunction for the carrying out of the pacification.—Done this 12th Aug. 1577. Copy. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 17.]
Brought on behalf of his Highness to the States, and there read the 7th of August, 1577.
1. The promise of the States that there shall be no privately-appointed governors in Brussels or other towns where none have been, to be carried out. The States have no wish to contravene the 2nd article of the document of July 31.
2. All who wish to enter or leave the town of Brussels to be allowed to do so, taking with them what they will, without let, hindrance, or search. From the pacification nothing to the contrary was done until the occasion given by the intercepted letters and the withdrawal to Namur.
3. All soldiers in the country, of whatever nation, condition, or quality, to obey me absolutely as their Captain-General, and not on any account to stir from where they are without my orders. Will indubitably be carried out, all occasions of distrust being first removed.
4. The Count of Bossu or other whom I shall nominate to the government of Friesland to be admitted without opposition. The States understand that the Count has resigned the government of his own free will, and they pray his Highness to maintain the Baron de Ville therein as a person agreeable to the States General and those of Friesland in particular.
5. All governors of towns, etc., noblemen or persons of whatever quality whom I may summon, to come to me, with security for themselves and followers. No difficulty about this as soon as the distrust is removed.
6. Diligence to be used everywhere to catch and punish the persons who cause scandal to religion. This is and will be done.
7. Sainte-Aldegonde, Theron, and other persons who only do ill offices to the disservice of God and his Majesty to be incontinently caused to leave Brussels, and not to be allowed there any more, among the States or elsewhere. It is impossible without violating the pacification to prevent the agents of the Prince of Orange from treating with the Estates. However, if his Highness will specify the ill offices in question, enquiry shall be made and justice done.
8. Five deputies of the States assembled at Brussels to come to Louvain, as offered by their deputies ; where they will be in all security. Will be happy to do so, if his Highness will come there too, with his usual guard or that accorded by the States. There is no appearance of security while his Highness remains in the Castle of Namur.
9. The person who took a courier from Spain with letters from his Majesty to me, and those who have dared to open and decipher them, to come to me. So long as the occasions for distrust remain, his Highness ought not to find anything strange in this or similar acts. The Estates refer to what they have written.
10. The people of Brussels to return each to the exercise of his own business, as in the time of the Emperor my father, and to disarm as soon as the Germans are dismissed. The same in all towns not being frontier towns. They will do so when the Germans are withdrawn, and other causes of distrust removed.
11. Seeing that the pacification is daily contravened by the Prince of Orange and by the Estates of Holland and Zealand, his Highness wishes this to be remedied, and the Estates to aid to the best of their power. As to this Article and all others to the xxth inclusive the Estates refer to their reply of July 31. Those touching the Prince or the Estates of Holland and Zealand shall be sent to them for an answer.
12. And to that end to bid him publish at once the agreement between us and the said Estates, and his Majesty's ratification thereof.
13. And to put a stop to sermons, schools, and exercises of the new sects in Harlem, Schoenhoven, and other towns which have been restored to him by the pacification, and remove the garrison which he has placed contrary to the capitulation.
14. The Prince to stop fortifying, dismantle the forts he has made at Sevenbergen and elsewhere, and surrender the fort of Nieuwgastel.
15. To restore churches and cloisters to their state at the pacification with their alienated revenues, and place all other subjects in the enjoyment of their goods.
16. To withdraw from the Canal of Amsterdam the armed boats that he has there, without molestation to the inhabitants by land or sea ; and the Estates are required to see that they of Amsterdam are allowed to enjoy free traffic.
17. To restore at once the town of Nieuport in Flanders, agreeably to the capitulation.
18. The Prince's mandates against those of the King's central council in Holland resident at Utrecht, to be quashed, and similarly the declaration he has made against those who follow his Majesty's cause.
19. The King's receivers in Holland who up to the pacification rendered their accounts to his Majesty's Chamber of accounts at Utrecht, not to be compelled to render them to that set up by the Prince.
20. And if the Prince will not satisfy these and his other obligations, and thereby show his obstinate rebellion and ill intention, the Estates to join with his Majesty and us in compelling him to act as required by the pacification.
21. That in future I be obeyed as other governors of the Blood have been, without contravention of the pacification. The Estates have always had the will to obey, and they ought to be assured against all undertakings, whether by his Highness or others, contrary to the pacification and the rights and privileges of the country.
22. That the castle of Antwerp be replaced in its former condition for the King, and that the soldiers whom I may appoint shall enter into it ; and that M. de Treslong and others who are detained be sent to me. The Estates beg his Highness consider that to deprive the Duke of Aerschot and the Prince of Chimay of the command of the castle, and commit it to M. de Treslong who is not qualified by right, and what is more, by his secret proceedings to introduce the Germans, is to contravene the pacification and the privileges of Brabant and the union to which the said Treslong has sworn, and he deserves to be treated as in reason and justice may be fitting.
23. If all this is done without delay I too will comply with all the heads of the pacification. The Estates understand that they have satisfied the pacification, and shown due respect to their Governor ; and they beg him to govern with the advice of the Council of State.
Done at Brussels in the Assembly of the States General, this 12th day of August, 1577.
Copy. Endd. [as No. 85]. Fr. 3 pp. Enclosure in Davison's of 14th (No. 101). [Holl. and Fland. II. 23.]
I wish respectfully to inform you that this city is full of the reception given by that tyrant the Shereef to her Majesty's ambassador ; how he went to meet him, and honoured him with this name by word of mouth, as has been more fully related to me by a Portuguese who came in the ship which brought the news. Also the thousands of stores and arms which that Ughens [Qy. Hawkins] has taken in the galleon and in two other smaller vessels, which I am certain was little to the taste of the King, my master. As for the business of the ginger, I am sure that you will have it at heart, with due regard to the authority and reputation of my prince. There are several experienced doctors who go against the opinion of the Judge of the Admiralty, whom I hold in suspicion in all matters concerning my King ; and that you may see how much reason we have, kindly, as a pure matter of courtesy, look at the inclosed statement. For the rest, give credence to my secretary, that you may not have the annoyance of a long letter.—Charterhouse.—9 Aug. 1577. Add. Endd. : Touching the matter of ginger, his replication and dislike of the Judge of the Admiralty. Italian. 1 p. [Port. I. 3.]
Aug. 12.
K. d. L. ix. 453. (From an imperfect copy in B. M.)
95. A REPORT of the State of Matters fallen out in ANTWERP since DON JOHN's Withdrawal to NAMUR.
The withdrawal of Don John to Namur under cloak of going to greet the Princess of Vendôme (who had aforetime served as cover to the unhappy day of St. Bartholomew), and the fact that under the pretext of desiring to be honourably accompanied [Marginal note : The Q. of Navarre made a state to entrap all the nobility of the Low Countries] when receiving a lady of such quality he thought to take with him all the chief persons of the country, made the Estates suspect some secret understanding, since they thought the reason inadequate enough, and heard too that she was accompanied by people who had done ill-service in France. [Marginal note : The said Q. was accompanied with the chiefest murderers.] The distrust increased when they heard from the Prince of Orange of the letters intercepted on the borders of Burgundy [Qy. Bordeaux], the originals of which they have since seen, in which it was said that nothing would bring the country back to its allegiance save fire and blood. Don John, knowing the dismay likely to follow the publication of these letters, and seeing his design discovered, resolved to seize most of the frontier towns, that he might make more use of France, and actually took possession of Namur. His success has not been so good elsewhere. And to give some colour to his sudden withdrawal (involving as it did a rupture with the Estates), he attributed it to some information given him by two letters, stating that there was a plan to seize his person ; copies of which he sent to the Estates. They contained however no details ; nor have the Estates succeeded in getting any notice taken of their urgent requests to know the name of the senders or the writers, though when Don John left Mechlin it was agreed between them that he was to give no credit to any anonymous or vague denunciations. Finally he openly declared that he would come to no terms unless the Estates would take up arms against the Prince of Orange and the Estates of Holland and Zealand, a thing directly contrary to the pacification, Holland and Zealand having submitted themselves to the decision of the States-General, who ought to be assembled before everything. This point gave the members of the Estates cause to look more closely to themselves, especially when they heard that Don John, contrary to his promise, instead of treating with the German colonels as to their retirement from the country, had formed a new league with them ; that the command of the citadel of Antwerp, which with the assent of the Estates was given to the Duke of Aerschot, had been secretly taken from him and given to M. de Tourlon, who was at Brabant, while similar practices had been adopted with regard to other fortresses ; and that he had sent in pursuit of the Duke and the Marquis of Havrech (who seeing his goings-on had handsomely withdrawn from him) with forty horses, in such haste that the best of them were foundered. Informed of this, and also that Tourlon had orders to keep up correspondence with the German colonels Fronsberg and Fugger, and to introduce the four murderous companies of Captain Cornelius van Eynde into the city (as he openly declared to the legal gentlemen of Antwerp) the Estates directed M. de Champagny with his people to hinder the entry of the Germans. At the same time they treated secretly, through their agents, with the three captains in the citadel who remained loyal to the Estates, and wished to adhere to the general union, especially with M. de Bours, with a view to turning out the fourth company, that of Captain Merueille, which was in communication with Tourlon ; and in order that the whole might be better ordered, certain persons deputed thereto made good cheer with the elder soldiers, representing to them at the same time the wrong that Don John did to the Estates ; and made such an impression on sundry corporals and old soldiers that when Tourlon would pay them a month's wages on the part of Don John, they would only take it as an instalment of the ancient debt. The enterprise had been put off till the morning of August 2, because Champagny's companies had gone a long way in search of Van Eynde's Germans, who had been supposed to be nearer at hand ; but M. de Bours was compelled to undertake it a day sooner, having heard from Tourlon—whom he managed so cleverly that he even got sight of more than a score of the letters which he was hourly receiving from Don John, with promises to make his house the first in the country—that he was that night going to let in some German companies to secure the citadel, and turn out the discontented soldiers. Accordingly on Aug. 1, at 7 in the evening, Merueille's company being on guard at the gate, he got up a quarrel between his own men and them, and under colour of separating them went in among them with a few who were in his confidence. Then pretending that Merueille's company were in the wrong, he ordered his own men to charge them, and turn them out of the citadel. So said, so done, the bridges were straightway drawn up, and M. de Tourlon was put under arrest. All night long M. de Bours was occupied in strengthening his position, and making his people sign a paper of fealty to the Estates, which the agents had brought, together with promises of pay. At three o'clock on the morrow he fired three guns in sign of joy, whereby the Germans garrisoning the city were put in such a fright, colonels, captains, officers, and soldiers alike, that leaving their kits behind they went at full gallop, as one may say, into the new town, where they made some show of entrenching themselves, and sent commissioners to open negotiations. This was granted by the magistrates, wishing to spare the burghers, who had been deprived of their arms by the Spaniards, and were otherwise disorganized ; and certain articles were drawn up to the effect that the Germans should go out, and be paid a sum of 20,000 florins in money and 10,000 in cloth, that their baggage should be sent after them, and that they should swear not to serve against the Estates again. There was a good deal of going to and fro over this, perhaps to gain time, both sides looking for help from without. Champagny's company was not far off, and a message had been sent to it as well as to the Prince of Orange's ship. The others could send no intelligence either to Bergen or to the troops of M. d'Hierges, since the Duke of Aerschot's carbineers, who were near the town, had had orders sent them in haste to stop anyone going to the open country—by which means two or three of the Germans' letters came into their hands. Other messengers were sent to Bergen and Breda to put about that the Germans had been driven out of Antwerp, and most of them killed, in order that the others might not come headlong to their aid. Meantime they made their adherents spread a rumour in the town that M. d'Hierges was coming with 30 ensigns, and that the Germans from Bergen and Breda were coming to their aid ; whereat the burgess was sufficiently astonished and perplexed. Thus the day passed, and the people, finding themselves more stalwart after dinner than before, got so excited that they could hardly be restrained from falling upon them ; seeing which the German commissioners, who were going to and from negotiating, were surprised enough, and their fear was increased by the commissioners for the town strongly advising them to withdraw : for the people being so angry and so numerous, if any attack were made it would be to their disadvantage. At this moment the Prince's ships came in sight in the river ; there were only 6 or 7 men-of-war, and these had only sailors on board, but the Vice Admiral fired 2 or 3 shots across the canal towards the House of Easterlings where the Germans were posted, aimed so well that four of them were knocked down by one shot. The populace being massed about the defences of the Germans, took heart, and began to storm them, whereby the Germans were so frightened that they suddenly quitted the town à val de route, leaving most of their arms behind. Since then a box of Carl Fugger's has been found, full of wicked plots made immediately after the pacification, "tending to the destruction of the nobility, and making a conquest of the country." [Tomson's summary.] However, the Estates have removed the castle of Ghent, and others of the strongest fortresses in the country ; and they of Kampen, Deventer, and Twoll, as reported here yesterday by Dr. Leoninus and M. Saventhen, declare their wish to hold to the union with the States, "and in case the States should fail them, to canton themselves with Holland and Zealand, Guelderland and Friesland." But, thank God, the resolution of the States-General is such that they will spare nothing to maintain the union, even as one can clearly see the fraud that is being used, and the intention that there is to ruin this country in general ; the Duke of Guise thinking to surprise St. Omer, Gravelines, and Douai, Mondragon Louvain, and Hierges Namur.—Aug. 12, 1577. This post comes a report from M. de Hèze of the surrender of Bergen-op-Zoom, and the imprisonment of Colonel Fugger, and similar news is hourly awaited from Tholen, Breda, and Bois-le-Duc. Endorsement and marginal summary in L. Tomson's hand. Fr. 8 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 18.]
Aug. 13. 96. DON JOHN to the ESTATES.
It is ten days since the Emperor's deputies went to you, followed by M. de Grobbendonck, all fully apprised in writing, the latter especially, of my intention to keep the country in tranquillity, and charged to lay before you sundry points tending to this end, entirely just, moderate, and reasonable. I am the more surprised to have had as yet no answer from you, and I ask you to consider them well, and especially how much meeter it is for the country and its subjects to form resolutions for their good and tranquillity than to undertake a fresh war, which God is my witness I abhor more than anything in the world ; all the more when I consider, as you must do, how cruel and bloody it will be. So that on my part for the affection I bear to the country nothing that is just and reasonable will be omitted wherein I think I can be of service to achieve [peace] ; not seeing what I can do more than, as I have told you by M. de Grobbendonck, agree, if I am not a governor to your taste, to your sending to entreat the King to send some other person here who shall content you better. Once more I pray to weigh matters and take them by the right end, and take such resolution as may tend to peace and quietness ; letting me hear as soon as possible, that I may know what line to take, which will be according as you dictate. Peace and war are in your hands. If you prefer the latter, there will be no one in the world, not even several among you, who will not judge that you are fighing against your King, and putting him under the necessity of taking up arms in defence of the service of God, and the obedience due, and solemnly promised, by you to himself. I again pray you to give orders that the letters recently come from Spain may be sent to me. I am quite content that they be sent open.—From the Castle of Namur, 13 Aug. 1577. (Signed) Jehan ; (countersigned) Berty. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 19.]
Aug. 13. 97. Another copy of the same. "Received the 18th August towards evening." Fr. 2½ pp. [Ibid. II. 20.]
Aug. 13. 98. A third copy of the same. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Ibid. II. 21.]
Aug. 13. 99. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
Enclose copy showing expedition that has been made in the case of English merchants, who desire the restitution of the money consigned, to be restored to the liberty of the free fairs, and to have information touching the weight of their "Ballotts." I exhibited their complaints to the King, and perchance some good may follow. At the end of my last audience with the King and Queen Mother I was a suitor for four English prisoners condemned to the galleys, whose offence was only that they had boarded a French bark by command of their captain, who was immediately separated from them by foul weather, so that the Frenchmen carried them prisoners into France. They were simple men and only common mariners, and had not robbed any French goods. The King answered that upon information of the circumstances he would give me his reasonable answer. The 6th of this month M. Lansac and M. Pinart were sent to me from the King and Queen Mother to inform me that the prisoners were given to me. They were also to inform me of the expedition given in the causes of the English merchants, saying that they did not doubt I would report it so that French merchants might find the same justice in England. Hereupon we grew into long talk of the present state of our countries, wherein I concluded with them that for one pirate in England they had ten in France, and that at this present all their havens were full of rovers and thieves, which was faintly denied. The Duke of Nevers is come hither, and his army marches toward Brouage. The King is very resolute in this matter of Brouage, wherein he spares neither men nor money. The King of Navarre is repaired to Bergerac, where the Deputies for the religion are assembled, and began on the 5th of this month to discuss conditions of peace with the King's deputies. The King offers the edict of 1570 ; the King of Navarre requires the last edict with some qualifications. There is great bruit here of new trouble in Flanders. Arnold, secretary to M. 'Malvasière,' arrived here on the 11th. He gives out secretly that her Majesty is arming all her ships. It is said that La Noue, Laverdin, and Turenne are coming to help Brouage ; and even now it is given out that Monsieur and the Duke of Nevers will go to Angoulême or Cognac on the 16th of this month.—Poitiers, Aug. 13. P.S.—Marans is said to be taken by those of Rochelle. Mr. Bickner hath promised to convey this from Rouen. Add. Endd. pp. 2½. [France I. 15.] Enclosing :
Aug. 7. The complaints of the English merchants, with replies (No. 84). [Ibid. I. 15a.]
I received your packet yesterday in my 'coch,' departing from the French ambassador at Newington. He sent very earnestly to speak with me yesterday, and as I was loth to come to any part of London because of the plague, and my brother going from Wanstead, I would fain have excused myself. But he was so earnest to speak with me, and passing through Newington, his 'mastership' was at Acerbo's house. He kept me 2 long hours, as Drake could tell you. He read me 3 or 4 letters, very long, some from the King and some from Queen Mother, stating what had passed between Mr. Paulett and themselves, his assurances to the King of her Majesty's sincere intentions towards him, and her promise in keeping and observing all points of their last treaty, at Blois as I remember. For his part he promises in all kingly vows the like performance towards her Majesty. To the charge in regard to Fitzmorris and La Roche the King seems to answer very earnestly that he will not aid Fitzmorris, and that La Roche dare not attempt anything against her Majesty, being assured, if he does, that he will not return to France again. He charges the ambassador to let her Majesty understand that he has intercepted letters of the Prince of Condé and others, telling their friends in France that her Majesty had promised them succour, and that 'Cassamyer' should have relief of money, and that certainly he would come in with his reiters. He bids him press the Queen to know what he shall trust unto, for he knows that Casimir can do nothing without her money. If her Majesty assure him that she will not aid them, he will so trust upon it. This last I know is a hard point, not here to be dealt withal, with her Majesty, and needs great advice and consideration how to answer the ambassador, who means to come on Thursday if he can. Her Majesty you know stands much upon her word, and when he shall press her thereto, as I know he will, I fear it will trouble her. He and I did much debate touching his master's amity, and of her Majesty's great causes given her both by his master and others to look to some assured and certain amity in deed, so that I did nothing doubt but God had offered her very good means, and such that if it please her she need care neither for French king nor King of Spain ; but yet left him in hope that her Majesty was so good a princess as if she be not driven for lack of their amity in deed she would be loth to seek or receive others. It would I thought have been better thought on and believed if at other times, when upon more indifferent terms, his master would have considered this much, that her Majesty might have seen it had only proceeded of a good desire of his friendship. I told him I would leave it to her Majesty's own consideration, whose disposition I knew to be such in desire to observe all true friendship with the princes she was in league withal. And if anything have cast her behindhand, having so many advantages offered her, it was this gracious and princely respect of hers to hold her friendship and promises too much with some of her neighbours. We remembered the holy league made among other princes which must else tend to her prejudice, and yet I trusted there was a more holy league indeed left in store for her, which, if she would hearken unto, she need not care for any other combination of men against her ; for God be thanked there was as good a party in Christendom left as the Papists were, and if there be no remedy they must be as fast knit together as the rest are. This troubled him much, and I see that one of his chief matters is to clear his master of the league. As for his great desire to deal with me, the cause was this. In his letters both from the King and Queen Mother he is specially desired to commend this amity first to me, hoping I will be a good means and instrument therein in respect of the goodwill they have to me, and for the honour they have done me in wishing me next their own house that I should have matched here with her Majesty. These fair remembrances they put me in, and this latter he showed me in a private ticket of Queen Mother's own hand. Tuesday morning, 13 Aug. 1577. Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France I. 16.]
Aug. 14. K. d. L. ix. 462. 101. DAVISON to WALSINGHAM.
Arriving at Antwerp on the 10th, I was compelled, for want of a house, to remain there the next day. Yesterday being the 12th [sic] I came hither ; and having informed M. de Hèze, the Governor, of my coming, he signified the same to the Estates, who this day gave me audience, where I accomplished the particulars of my charge as well as I could, and was by their President heartily welcomed in a solemn speech, acknowledging their great obligation to her Majesty. Therewith I told them how her Majesty, presuming that I should have found things in another state among them than I do, had specially commanded me to recommend to his Highness the observation of their treaties, and particularly that of Ghent ; but finding that charge frustrated by this new division, I could say nothing but what they already understood, which was that, as she hath ever had their cause in special recommendation, and ready to do any good office that might advance the quiet and liberty of their country, and if his Highness contrary to the often and great protestation he hath made both to her Majesty and to them, should go about to supplant and overthrow the one and the other, her Highness would not abandon them ; though, as I told them, she had had great cause to think badly of them, as well for the breach of their day for repayment of the men she lent them, as for the raising of new impositions upon her merchants trading hither, a matter whereof I wished they should consider, whereto replying nothing but that in general they have before alleged, we rose from the board ; and having saluted the Duke of Aerschot and such others as I know, took my leave, being conducted home by Count Egmont, whose young courage I did not forget to prick forward, as I have done else with as many as I know to affect the liberty of their country, nourishing by all the vehement persuasion I can the diffidence which they have of Son Altèze, and persuading by all the arguments I may that the greatest courtesy and humanity they can expect from him is that which fire and sword shall yield them. And I do not 'let to say' my opinion of the States' proceedings, who, knowing that Don John makes all the preparation he can, should show so great a slackness, as if they had to do with an enemy utterly contemptible. Wishing they would understand how invincible an enemy necessity is, and how that to prevent or divert wars was ever a special practice of the best 'politiques' ; thinking hardly of the resolution which they seem to have taken to make no offensive war, but only to keep their towns and give him scope to overcome the whole country with fire and sword. This course I take with such as I find for it, and as I may hear, and then insinuate the Prince of Orange into their good opinions. But herein, as I find men affected in religion or in fashion, I temper my persuasion, putting them in good comfort that if their State should need her Majesty's help, she would not be slack to do all that with her honour she might. For other particulars and first for the cause of this new and sudden alteration, I shall not need long discourse, as well because I think you have fully understood the same, what between M. de Famars and de Fremyn now in England, as for that in a little discourse in French which I herewith send you you may at large see the same. I cannot learn but that the Estates resolve on war, but they seem to propose only a defensive war, which in the opinion of the wisest will turn them to prejudice. The provision they make is only domestic, not extending as yet to use the help of any stranger, scarcely of the Prince of Orange, so strong a party does he find against him in their deliberations where often major pars vicit meliorem. The general state of the country is better than I looked for, since the recovering of the castle of Antwerp into the hands of the Estates. The town of "Barrow up Som," which was occupied by Almains and at Don John's devotion, is also yielded up with their Colonel 'Fowker,' who being with his company expelled the town of Antwerp by the burgesses retired thither, where he now remains their prisoner. The other towns where Almain garrisons lie, as Bois-le-duc, Tholen, and Breda, are also in a good way of composition ; which if the States cannot speedily bring them to, they provide to force them, for before Bois-le-Duc lie certain companies of the Prince's men, and towards Tholen and Breda is gone M. de Champagny with his regiment, followed by certain companies of M. de Hèze. In the west of the country there is general provision making but as if they held their enemy in contempt. Articles have been presented on the part of his Highness, of which I send a copy with the apostilles of the States on them. Count Lalaing has taken steps at Antwerp both for keeping guard by the burgesses, and for the fortifying that part of the town wall which is between St. George's gate and the castle. When it is finished, the burgesses hope to go roundly in hand with the rasing of that part of the castle which looks toward the town. Meanwhile the castle is held by the companies of M. de Bours. His Highness meanwhile is levying all the forces he can. In the judgement of some wise men he would hardly so far overshoot himself unless he had great hope of intelligence with foreign neighbours, especially the French, by whom he had intended an enterprise upon St. Omer, Gravelines, Douai, and other places on the frontier, which if the Estates had not prevented, would have been of dangerous consequence. I have this day despatched one Whitechurch, a gentleman that came over with me, to his Highness with her Majesty's letter and my excuse for staying here. Upon his return I shall be able to give better advertisement. I did not forget to dispatch one to the Prince, and look every day for some answer from his Excellency.—Brussels, 14 Aug. 1577. P.S.—I send some particulars which St. Aldegonde and Taffin negotiated with the States. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 22.]
Aug. 14. 102. Draft of the above, without the P.S. 3 pp. [Ibid. II. 24.]
Aug. 14.
K. d. L. ix. 459.
I find the difference between his Highness and the States so far advanced that I see not by what means the vehemence of this flame can be quenched. He continues about Namur, which he fortifies, and levies all the forces he can, leaving secret intelligence both in France and Germany. But his untimely discovery of himself ere his matters were ripe, with his loss of Antwerp and prevention in the exploit intended upon the towns of St. Omer, Gravelines, Douai, and other places by the French, is no little maim and stop to his purpose. The Estates seem to resolve upon a war only defensive, and so to give him leave to begin the game. They have now recovered the town of Bergen-op-Zoom, and now what between the Prince's force that lie before Bois-le-duc and the regiments of MM. de Champagny and de Hèze, lying about Breda and Tholen, they expect like good news of those towns. In Antwerp the burgesses are busily fortifying. Thence according to your instruction I wrote to the Prince by an express messenger, to whom, besides other particulars you gave me in charge, I have signified the great care you have of him in especial. I have sent a gentleman to his Highness with her Majesty's letters, and with a letter of my own, signifying to him the cause of my coming and the reasons of my stay here to remove the suspicion which he might conceive of my sending hither. You may imagine with what content I begin this troublesome service in respect of the difficulties of the affairs of his Highness, who is like, if he go through with this war, to find his hand no less full than such as have preceded him. His finances will not furnish for a long war. If the States hold together in one resolution, he should find it a desperate enterprise ; but though I hear there are divers of good counsel among them, yet their advice will yield the less profit, when the execution shall proceed negligently and unwisely, a matter not without reason to be feared. I do all that the little time will suffer me to nourish where I know it may do good the untowardness to peace ; which as it is to be desired and embraced when it may be had with variety and without increase of danger, so where it is like to bring forth effects clean contrary, and under the name of peace hath a more pernicious and dangerous war as a pestilent poison under the name of a medicine, it is no sort to be accepted ; but as I find here many sound and honest compatriots with whom this persuasion works its effect, so I observe that the greatest part, as men secure, do set all at six and seven. And for the Prince I see that the greatest number of the States, partly fearing by his growing great to receive a change of their religion, and partly by the emulation between his house and the house of Croy, which is not without a great faction, have a slow disposition either to follow his advice or to use his help.—Brussels, Aug. 14, 1577. Draft. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 25.]
Aug. 14. 104. DON JOHN to the EMPRESS.
Copy of a letter, translated from Spanish into French, written to the Empress by his Highness' own hand. Affairs here leave me so little freedom that they hardly ever permit me to do that which I desire ; and I have known of no propitious person by whom I could write. Now however, taking advantage of the return of Peter Divre (fn. 1), who promises to give this into your Majesty's hands, I will report as much as I can of my concerns. Divre will tell you more fully of my state, inasmuch as affairs here have come to such a pass with the Estates that if I had delayed to place my person in safety, Religion and his Majesty's obedience would have perished altogether. For in truth, here they will neither recognise their God nor obey their King, but claim liberty in all things, in such wise that it is pitiful to see how they go on, and the shamelessness, and the little respect with which they repay his Majesty for the favours he has done them, and me for the labour, the indignities, the dangers which I have undergone for these folk. Little profit has been the good which has been done to these evil men. In short, they love and obey in all points the most perverse and tyrannical heretic and rebel in the world, that is this damnable Prince of Orange, and on the contrary abhor and dishonour the name and commands of their natural prince and lord, without fear of God, or respect or shame of men. Yet there are a few who are resolved to do their duty in the service of Our Lord and of his Majesty, like honourable noblemen and cavaliers. With them I have withdrawn to this castle, whence I do all that is possible, with the aid of the Imperial deputies, to make both sides lay down their arms, and recognise their obligations. But their own conscience accusing them, they distrust me, and seek only to deserve that God and men may league together for their ruin. God knows how I desire to avoid these extremities, but I know not how else I can act towards men so obstinate in their rebellion. And as they seem to think that fortune is now smiling on them, they grow proud, and do not remember that there is a morrow when their chastisement will come. Meanwhile I am half besieged, yet not losing so much time as these people force me to gain. Such is the state of affairs here, as Divre will tell you. He wishes to stay awhile at Court, till it is clear what resolution has to be taken here. Whenever he returns I will entertain him and do what I can for him, in obedience to your Majesty's command, even though I have to exceed the orders given by the King my master. I have lately received a letter from your Majesty as to giving orders for the payment of what is due to you here. In order, no doubt, that I might have good cause to lament my ill-luck all round, this was handed to me just when it was impossible for me to attend to it promptly. I said so to the person who delivered me the letter, of whom I have since heard nothing. I wish he would come to see me, that we might discuss ways and means. In one way or another your Majesty shall be accommodated. The greatest danger will be in regard to the time, for I will take care that there is none touching the security. Even if I should not be able to find the bearer of the letter, I beg your Majesty to command whom you will to address himself to me, and I will employ myself in your service, unless war or some fresh turn of affairs should be stronger than my power.—The Castle of Namur, 14 Aug. 1577. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 26.]
Aug. 14. 105. Another copy of the same. [Ibid. II. 27.]
Aug. 14. 106. Another copy of the same. [Ibid. II. 28.]
Aug. 15. 107. Articles of capitulation of Brouage as accepted by the besieged.
Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [France I. 17.]
108. Another copy of the same. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. I. 18.]
Have had long conference with her Majesty this night touching French affairs, and laid before her again the dangers 'so oft put into her head to follow through this slack dealing with her friends.' I hope yet God doth move her heart to consider her own and country's wealth. She is pleased you send for Plessis, and as of yourself understand what dispatch he has made to the King of Navarre, and if he have not sent any yet, to persuade him to stay till he hear further, and that you send some inkling that her Majesty expresses more care of them than when he was here.—At midnight, this Thursday. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France I. 19.]
Aug. 15. 110. The ESTATES to DON JOHN.
Just before receiving your Highness' letter we had decided on our reply to the message written and verbally delivered to us by M. de Grobbendonck, not having been able sooner to come to a resolution owing to the need for mature deliberation. Our only wish is to live in peace under the authority of the King, and in the observance of our holy faith, by the ways and means stated in the pacification of Ghent and the perpetual Edict. We are aware how much more expedient it is for the country to take the means tending to peace than to fall back into new wars, but when we consider that while we have dismissed nearly all our troops, your Highness has, before departing towards Namur, and since the treaty between them and the Estates, given fresh assurances to the Germans and has retained strangers and others ill-affected to the country, who we understand serve your Highness as a secret council, as well by the letters of Señor Escovedo at various times intercepted as by those which your Highness wrote lately to Colonel Charles Fugger, some by the hand of J. B. de Tassis, telling him that you were awaiting the "total remedy" of his Majesty—your Highness can judge if we have just occasion to persuade ourselves that you wish honestly to maintain the pacification, and if we are really free to choose peace or war, and are not rather constrained to look to our own defence, if only by a good peace we might see all causes of distrust finally extirpated. It is not our business to lay down the law to your Highness, still less to dictate whether you ought to be on the side of peace or war. The pacification so solemnly sworn to, shows more clearly than enough the road you ought to take. This we intend to maintain, and by no means to make war on the King our lord. The union sworn to by us will never contravene it, unless we are forced by your Highness. If you take up arms it will be the ruin of our religion, as the case of Holland and Zealand, to our great regret, clearly shows. We send your Highness those letters which we have succeeded in deciphering, hoping to send the rest when we have the means —Brussels, Aug. 15, 1577. Copy. Add. in Wilson's hand to Walsingham. Endd. by L. Tomson : Copies of letters from the States to Don Juan, and from Don Juan to the States. Sent to Mr. D. Wilson : of the 10th and 13th of Aug. 1577. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 29.]


  • 1. Bor gives this name as Dore.