K. d. L. x. 624,
after Sir Harris
Nicolas, from a
104. DAVISON to HATTON.
Of the present condition of things I can write nothing that you
will not amply understand from my Lords here. The Duke of
Alençon's lying at Mons is the matter which at this time most
perplexes opinions. Such as consider the power of France, the
unquiet humour of that nation, their readiness to fish in the
troubled streams of their neighbours, the occasion which this war
offers them both to make their profit abroad and to throw the fire
out of their estate at home, together with the inclination of some
part of this country to embrace them, hold the enterprise of singular
moment and danger. Others, measuring it by the age and quality
of the Duke, by the supposed difference between him and his
brother, by the firm unity between the two kings, by the lightness
and negligence proper to that nation, by the strength of these
countries, and in some by the difficulties which great attempts
commonly meet with, think it a matter not much to be feared,
unless it tend to the deceiving of these States by advancing the
affairs of the Spaniard. What is like to result is the harder to
judge that it depends on accident and on the will of a most
inconstant nation. Since his arrival he has written to divers towns
and persons particularly, and to the States generally, 'disguising'
the cause of his coming to be wholly for their succour ; but as they
can well spare his help, so are most of them loth to embrace it,
unless with better caution than is expected. However, the matter
has now grown to that point that they must either accept him as a
friend or reject him as an enemy, a question hard to decide. For
if they receive him as he desires, that is, to have the command of
their forces with his own, they must depose the Archduke or
abridge his authority ; and also put their fortunes in the hands of a
stranger, and what is more, of a born enemy, of whom they have
infinitely (sic) to suspect, and nothing to trust but a French
promise. So that whether he run a course for the Spaniard, as
some suspect, or to serve his own turn, which is rather believed—
for other object than these he has not—the danger is apparent.
On the other hand, if they reject him, the fear is that he either will
take part openly with the enemy, or impatronise himself of
Hainault, and so have a gap opened to invade the rest of the
country, either of which inconveniences were hard for them to fall
into, though in common reason they cannot eschew one or the other
unless remedies be soon applied.
The Duke, to blear the eyes of his people, has already put himself
in action, and has sent Bussy d'Amboise with 3,000 men to the
siege of Mabeuge, not far from Mons, where is a garrison of the
enemy, his drift being chiefly under that colour to draw his prepared
forces (reported by his ministers to be above 4,000 horse and
15,000 foot) the sooner into Hainault. Yet in the meantime he
gives out that he does nothing but with the liking and knowledge of
her Majesty ; whose name and credit he uses as a cloak to colour
his ambitions and pretexts, as will better appear with time, and is
partly to be judged already by the manner of his ministers when
treating with my lords here. He has sent one Beaujeu to Casimir
to make fair weather with him, 'whose unity he pretends
singularly to account of' ; but of all his demonstrations the scope
and drift remains suspicious.
The Baron of Preinder, late ambassador from the Emperor sent
hither chiefly to hinder the French matter, is gone homeward very
ill satisfied. The other seems minded to repair to Don John, to see
if there is yet any hope of peace, to prevent the danger which the
common enemy is like to fall into by the course of this war. The
only remedy seems to be Don John's retirement, and surrender of
the places he occupies into the hands of the States, who are otherwise
indisposed to enter into any treaty of peace ; presuming it will
bend on his part to the gaining of time, and wearying them with
maintaining an army, rather than to any sound composition. The
army, composed of 8,000 horse and 9,000 foot, besides the regiment
of our nation and those remaining in garrison, is still within a mile
of Lierre ; whence it is thought they will remove within a day or
two. The enemy has withdrawn most of his forces into garrison,
intending as some think to make a defensive war. His forces are
5,000 horse and 15,000 foot, counting the companies as complete,
which they are not. He has abandoned Soigney in Hainault, in
which Count Lalaing has put a garrison, and it is thought will
probably do the like with Diest and Aerschot, whence he has withdrawn
his munitions and artillery, even to the small iron pieces.
Campen is affirmed to be surrendered to the States of Gueldres, who
are in hope of a like composition with Deventer. Casimir was to
begin mustering as yesterday near Zutphen. The Gauntois
surprised last Sunday the town of Ypres in Flanders, which with
the rest of the members [of that province] is now at their devotion.
The towns of Hainault and Artois, Lille, Douay, and Orchies,
being 'practised' by Monsieur's letters, have written hither to the
Estates to know what to do. The Estates in their answer have
required [them] to refer themselves only to the general resolution
of the province.—Antwerp, 21 July 1578.
P.S.—I just now hear that Mabeuge is yielded to the French,
who have gone on to the siege of Beaumont, a town belonging to
the Duke of Aerschot not far from the other.
Draft. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 74.]
105. DAVISON to BURGHLEY [?]
Duplicate of the last.
Draft. Endd. : to my Lord Treasurer, [but qy. to Leicester]. 2 pp.
[Ibid. VII. 75.]
K. d. L. x. 622.
106. WILSON to WALSINGHAM.
I received to-day at Havering Lord Cobham's and your letter,
together with one letter in your own handwriting, both dated the
18th. As for your negotiation with Monsieur's deputies, her
Majesty likes it well, approving your several speeches used upon
occasion offered to understand his full meaning by his ministers.
And whereas Dammartin called you apart, and said that the Duke
desired to have private conference with you, her Majesty's
pleasure is that you shall repair to the Duke where he is, to know
as much as you may the very secret of his mind. But before you
go, I am to disclose a matter of great moment which you must handle
with all dexterity, that her Majesty may be well informed of the
truth to avoid further harm in this dangerous world. It is reported
that the Prince of Orange has made his way by the Duke of
Alençon and is the chief cause of his coming into the country,
having offered him, as it is said, his daughter in marriage ; whereby
Monsieur is to be chosen Duke of Burgundy and lord of all the Low
Countries, and the Prince to have the government under him, to
the dispossessing of King Philip altogether. You are to deal with
the Prince in this matter as of yourself ; declaring to him that
you have had credible understanding of this matter by good means
and therefore you are to deal with him very earnestly to know the
truth, and how he is affected every way, so far as you can learn.
Having thus dealt with the Prince, you shall immediately repair
to Monsieur and deal with him apart, as he has desired, and know
the bottom of his heart, if he be disposed to discover it to you. Then
show him, as of yourself, what bruit goes abroad of him, that he is
to match with the Prince of Orange's daughter, and that therefore
he is called into the country to be lord of it and the Prince governor
under him, to the utter expulsion of King Philip from his right.
For the marriage you may say that you marvel greatly at it, seeing
that you know by good means, no worse than the French Ambassador
here resident, that Monsieur himself desired the Queen Mother at
her last being with him, not only to give him leave to be a suitor to
the Queen for marriage, but also prayed her to get the King his
brother's good word for that intent ; whereupon the King had
written to his ambassador here that he liked this match well, only
desired to have the honour done him that he might be made
acquainted with the dealing in it before the marriage should be
concluded. Now if Monsieur have taken this course with the
Queen our sovereign, and run a clean contrary way with the Prince
of Orange, you may boldly say that such dealings cannot but seem
very strange and give cause of just offence.
These are the two principal matters that I am to require you to
deal in at this time, with these two principal personages.
For the bonds, her Majesty stands irremoveable as Mr. Sommers
left her, notwithstanding Lord Leicester has been most offended
since his coming with this manner of proceeding, and ceases not to
persuade her to give her bond at this time ; alleging the great danger
that is like else to ensue, and 'allowing' your danger and Lord
Cobham's for giving your word and promise for the bond to be given.
But all will not serve ; for which Lord Leicester is very sorry and
so I think are all that love the Queen's safety. God direct all things
to His glory.—From the Court at Mr. Altham's, 21 July in the
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 76.]
K. d. L. x. 625.
107. COBHAM to BURGHLEY.
I thank you for your letter to us jointly. The error committed
in laying aside our first treaty with the States, whereby her Majesty
had no knowledge, is a thing committed by chance, for which I
submit myself most humbly to her goodness ; yet for my own part I
think it was sent. In our letter to Mr. Secretary we wrote of the
necessity the States were in of money, and therefore requested him
to move her Majesty to sign those two bills, which she misliking
made a flat denial ; a matter to me very grievous, being only (sic)
a confirmation of an act that she had passed under the great seal, a
discredit to her ministers, and very dangerous to the States. For
when it is known that she will neither enter into open action, nor
'allow' them with her credit, it will force them to change masters,
and to take one that England will hardly brook. I may truly say
that if by her Majesty's credit the want had been supplied, their
army would long ago have been in the field, Don John driven to
fight, fly, or yield to a peace, and M. d'Anjou's claim cast off. If
her Majesty mislikes having lent her money and given her credit
only upon ink and paper, I think that upon a new supply she might
have a maritime town. I am sorry that your good and sound
advice did not take good effect, both for the staying of the common
cause from ruin and for the sure payment of her Majesty's money ;
but my hope is that however she mislikes at one time, when she is
persuaded that what you say is said for her safety, she will at
length do it.
Monsieur is come in person. He requires no towns, as 'Don
Martin' says : he will serve them with 15,000 foot and 12,000 horse at
his own cost. To win the more credit he is besieging Mabuse,
lately taken by Don John. Yet I believe if her Majesty will help
them now, all Monsieur's actions cannot withdraw their goodwill
from her ; but what? necessity hath no law.
Campen is surrendered to the States, and now 'Deventrye' is
besieged ; it is thought it will yield. Certain bands of Almains
were levied to succour these towns, but were overthrown by the
peasants and some of Casimir's bands.
We think ourselves most bound to you for so earnestly advancing
this cause ; and again commend to you the supply for Dover.
Monsieur's deputies will be here, it is said, in a few days ; after we
have conferred with them I see no great cause for our stay.—
Antwerp, 23 July.
P.S—.It is said that Mabuse is won by the French.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 77.]
K. d. L. x. 631.
108. WALSINGHAM to BURGHLEY.
Both by Mr. Sommers's reports and by your letter to Lord
Cobham and me, we perceive how honourably you have dealt both
in furthering her Majesty's assistance to this country and qualifying
her displeasure towards us.
In what terms the state stands here we have at large and truly
set down in the general letter directed to your Lordship and the
rest. If her Majesty by yielding them some present assistance does
not stay them, I see in them a full determination to throw themselves
into the protection of France. I have good hope that if she
would pass the bond for the £26,000 we might stay it for the present,
whereas otherwise I look for a revolt. It were a very hard case
that for the giving credit for so small a sum the alienation of these
countries should be hazarded, considering how much it imports her
Majesty in both honour and safety. The Prince confessed to us
that he was never more perplexed with a matter, having to treat
with a prince that has the sword in his hand. He fears too that
the King his brother, whatever he protests to Spain, means to back
him, whereby he is like to grow overstrong unless her Majesty is
disposed to deal more effectually. It seems by Sir Amias Poulet's
letter, which I send to Mr. Secretary, that he doubts the king's
disposition in this behalf.
The desire I have that this may come speedily to her Majesty's
hands makes me shorter in writing.—Antwerp, 23 July, 1578.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 78.]
K. d. L. x. 640.
109. A MEMORIAL for MR. SOMMERS, being sent to the DUKE OF
Among other causes moving her Majesty to send us hither, one
was to confer with his Deputies, and to know his intention in the
cause of these Low Countries ; protesting as he did by a servant he
lately sent to her Majesty that he would do nothing without her
Immediately upon our arrival, about the 1st of this month,
Dampmartin and Alferan, his ministers, came to us to inform us
that his deputies remaining at Mons had commission from him to
treat with us, and would be with us in four days ; which being
expired we remained expecting them till the 15th, when
Montdoucet came to us with Dampmartin, but with no credit or
instructions save to visit us in his name, and to signify to us that
now he himself was come into the country, their commission to
treat with us was expired and that we should shortly hear from him.
Which kind of proceeding, when we had waited so long to know his
pleasure by his deputies, you shall shew him we found strange, and
therefore let Montdoucet and Dampmartin understand that her
Majesty would not like us to be so dealt with, to be so long
delayed, having no other cause of stay but to treat with his
ministers ; and therefore prayed them to tell him how much her
Majesty would mislike of it.
On the same occasion we gave them to understand that if he
should seek contrary to his promise to her Majesty and his protestations
published in print, and to all justice, to impatronise
himself of any part of the country, he would not only wound his
reputation, but also provoke her Majesty to employ all the forces
and means that God has given her to hinder it. And if he had
that good will to the country which he outwardly pretended, there
could be no readier way to perform it than by procuring a peace ;
so that he would do well, before entering on any hostilities, to send
some gentleman of quality, furnished with some good means of
persuasion, to move Don John to a composition. If he refused he
would make his cause appear worse to the world, and the Duke
himself might enter with more honour into the action.
Last Sunday Dampmartin brought word from him that he could
not well proceed to deal in the peace until he were 'grown to some
full point' with the States and thoroughly informed of their disposition
in that behalf. Seeing the proposition of peace, so
honourable a thing for him to attempt, put off, we could not think
he was delaying it in respect of any doubt how the States would
allow of it ; when we had delivered to Montdoucet the States'
answer to the proposal of peace presented in her Majesty's name to
them by us, from which it might appear that they were desirous of
peace. Wherefore, since he brought no letters of credit, as
appertained to public ministers, though personally we thought not
otherwise than well of the gentlemen, we could not tell what credit
to give them.
For the matter we then proposed to them touching the dealing
with Don John, we are of opinion, still that it is the most honourable
course he can take, the nature of peace being more to be desired
than the condition of war. And nothing is more just in these kind
of actions, between such as have no special cause of enmity, than to
offer offices of amity before they present the point of the sword.
We are sure he may as safely take this way of dealing without
offence to the States before his full accord with them, as put in
'ure' acts of hostility, which way we understand he has already
entered by besieging Maubeuse before any capitulation with the
States. And because we are persuaded that this is the most
Christian and princely way of dealing, we could not, for the respect
and honour we bear him, as a prince professing to be devoted to
her Majesty, but wish that he would hearken to it.
Her Majesty, hearing of the delay used by his ministers, has
commanded us to repair home, which we are to do within 8 or 10
days. Our time of tarrying here being so short, we thought it good
to signify thus much to him ; that if he wishes his deputies to have
any conference with us, as he promised, and her Majesty expects, he
may take order for their dispatch out of hand. Otherwise we were
to report to her Majesty of his dealing. (Signed) W. C., F. W.
Copy. 2¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 79.]
110. (1) Acknowledgement of the receipt, from 'Jacques de Desmond
[James Fitzmorris] lord of Kerrykurrihy,' of seven chased (verees)
silver cups, and two gallices as pledge for a loan of 100 crowns.
Executed and ratified (enteraigné) at his lodging in the Rue de
Léhon, Dinan.—June 27 1578. (Signed) Sérizay.
(2) Note of the repayment of 200 livres and consequent return
of the gallices and four of the cups. 'The other three cups are in
the custody of my uncle Lessart, who will restore them when the
balance of 100 livres is paid ; which the said lord has promised to
do before next Sunday.'—Dinan, 25 July 1577. (Signed) Sérizay.
Fr. 1 p. [France II. 58.]