Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 14, 1579-1580. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.
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THE remainder of the year 1579 was not marked in the Low Countries by any events of very great importance, though various trains were being laid which in due course were to lead to momentous results. The fall of Maestricht on June 29, which Rossel reported to Walsingham a week later (No. 5), gave rise to the usual crop of accusations against the Prince of Orange and generally to turbulence in Antwerp. It had another and further-reaching effect, that of turning the mind of the States towards a renewal of the relations with the Duke of Anjou. Since his master's somewhat ignominious departure in the early part of the year, des Pruneaux, who had remained in Antwerp to watch over his interests, had performed that duty ably and faithfully. By the end of June it had become clear that nothing would come of the Cologne negotiations, even before Parma's success at Maestricht had raised the spirits of the royalist party. Indeed it may be doubted whether any possibility of finding terms acceptable to both parties had ever existed, even if, on the king's side, there was any sincere wish to find them. The chief practical result was to afford a decent excuse for a few more of the middle party, those who while objecting to Spanish rule were either jealous of the Prince of Orange, or scandalized by the violent doings at Ghent and Antwerp, to retire gracefully. The Duke of Aerschot and the two abbots remained at Cologne, and a few months later the Marquis of Havrech withdrew to his estates in Lorraine. The present volume contains two letters from him, begging first Davison (No. 14), and sixteen months later, Burghley (No. 486) to obtain the cancelling and return of a bond by which he had made himself personally liable for 5,000 of the States' debt to Elizabeth. Whether he was ever released does not appear.
On July 13 Rossel, after indicating his belief that the negotiations were being dragged on to gain time (which under the existing conditions of a wearied army and a disintegrating enemy was clearly Parma's game) points out that this policy may not be so wholly favourable to the enemy as at first sight might appear, because it also gave the States time to mature their schemes regarding Anjou. A fortnight later, a correspondent of Davison's (No. 24) writes a little more hopefully as to the peace, but even more emphatically as to the certainty, in the event of that coming to nothing, that Anjou will be received. That the prospect was not entirely welcomed by the average official opinion of the Netherlands appears from the same letter, where Blyleven, the Secretary to the States, is mentioned as having observed that 'he was afraid we should all become French.' Harengier had, in fact, started with the States' offer on July 5.
A certain respite was however granted to persons of Blyleven's way of thinking. For the moment Anjou was more preoccupied with his marriage projects than with his territorial ambitions. On June 29 he paid Poulet a visit, when the ambassador recurred to the Queen's desire for a personal interview with her suitor, as to which difficulties had at one time been made. Monsieur was now much better disposed to assent to that proposal ; while Brulart, who followed next day, brought messages which seemed to show that the king was ready to meet any difficulties halfway. On July 7 a safe-conduct was sent from England for the duke's use ; and at the end of the month further courtesies passed between him and the ambassador (No. 27).
The effects of the fall of Maestricht soon began to be felt. Mechlin was handed over to the Spaniards by de Bours. Brussels was turbulent. Hembize expelled la Noue from Ghent, where Frenchmen (and perhaps honest men) were specially unpopular with the demagogues who were in power. His apology for this step, with a caustic commentary by the Huguenot veteran, will be found at No. 7. A document setting forth the objections felt by the extreme party in Ghent to a visit from the Prince of Orange (No. 36) would appear to belong to this period, though endorsed with an earlier date. It will be noticed that one of the strongest grounds of opposition to him is his alleged wish to introduce the Duke of Anjou. William nevertheless went, and at the news of his approach Hembize and Dathenus fled ; the first being captured by a captain of Ghent, and brought back, to be treated with more leniency than he deserved, and allowed to retire to Holland. The French intriguers, la Huguerie (fn. 1) and Sarrazin, who were promoting certain schemes in the interests of Casimir and Cond, also decamped promptly (Nos. 38, 43). Later they went to England ; la Huguerie himself says "about Christmas." But he is inconsistent with himself, and Villiers's statement, that they were there by November 20, seems to have been quite true. The Prince remained some time at Ghent, sending Sainte-Aldegonde to the States with his suggestions as to the measures to be taken for the settlement of affairs. No. 55 (which again has been assigned to an earlier year) contains a summary of his views, together with (apparently) some note of the debate to which they gave rise. It will be seen that he attaches great importance to the establishment of good order at Ghent, not only on general grounds, but also because 'it will be impossible to make any fruitful treaty with the Duke of Alenon until this cause of discontent be removed.' His introduction is now treated as a matter of general consent. There seems even to have been a rumour current that the English marriage had been broken off in consequence (No. 26).
So far from this last report having any foundation, matters were prospering in that quarter. Early in August Anjou travelling incognito as M. du Pont-de-C, with a very small train, started for England, arriving at Greenwich (as we learn from other sources) on the 17th. Very little seems to be known of what took place on this occasion. Only two references to the visit occur in these papers, both of them in letters to Davison from his correspondents in the Low Countries, one of whom adapts some lines of Virgil in honour of the occasion. Later on (No. 105) we find the accounts of John Hawkins and William Holstock for the charges incurred in his transport and that of Simiers back to France. Anjou was at Boulogne by the end of August ; his confidant remained in England another three months. During the duke's stay in this country he received news of the death of his favourite Bussy at the hands of an injured husband (not, it was reported, without the complicity of the wife). No mention of this event occurs in these papers, though Mendoza duly reported it, but there are references in Nos. 113, 131, 132 to the quarrel which arose among Anjou's followers in consequence of the bestowal upon Simier of an abbey formerly held by the dead man ; a disposal of his property resented by Bussy's father, and his brother-in-law Balagny. The latter, with Fervacques (both of them in after times to be Marshals of France) now became prominent in the military operations arising out of Monsieur's schemes.
The first step in those operations was taken by an agreement (No. 69) between la Fert. Imbault, acting for the Duke, and M. d'Inchy, the governor of Cambray. Inchy held the town nominally for the States, though, strictly speaking, it formed no part of the Netherlands territory ; as a matter of fact he is believed to have cherished ideas of making for himself an independent principality out of it. The Malcontents however were pressing the place, and the Bishop, Louis de Berlaymont, was a royalist. Inchy was glad enough to acknowledge Anjou's sovereignty in return for French aid. The agreement is dated Oct. 25. A month later we find Inchy announcing it to the States, and professing to have acted with the approval of the Prince of Orange (No. 544). On Nov. 29, Cond seized la Fre, perhaps as part of a scheme for establishing himself in Flanders, the prosecution of which appears to have formed part of la Huguerie's business at Ghent. Whether or not there was any concert with Anjou does not appear, but it may be noticed that la Noue, who had been doing excellent service for the States in Flanders, visited Cambray in December, and went on to la Fre ; and that in the following February a treaty, of which the substance is given in No. 204, was made between Cond and Inchy under which the prince was to act as the Duke's lieutenant in the Cambrsis. The intrigues of this period are highly complicated, and it is often hard to know who was allied with or opposed to whom.
Meanwhile there was a general feeling of unrest in France. Much to the advantage of the historical researcher (for he was as copious a correspondent as his predecessor had of late been scanty), Sir Henry Cobham had replaced Poulet in November. The interviews at which one ambassador took his leave and the other presented his credentials, are reported at length (No. 85). Both the king and his mother spoke in a friendly tone. No reference to the marriage was made in the presence of the king ; but the Queen Mother expressed her wishes for its performance. Immediately afterwards she left Paris to meet her younger son. The ambassadors report an abortive design of the Duke of Guise on Strasburg. A remark made to Cobham by the Chevalier de Seure on this occasion at the dinner-table shows that current opinion in France was against the probability of the King of Spain's accession to the Portuguese throne, which it was known would soon be vacant ; on the ground that the present king was unfavourable to his claims, and was arranging the ransom of the prisoners in Morocco in such a way as to secure an anti-Spanish majority among the leaders of the country in the event of a demise of the Crown. How inaccurate this gossip was appeared in the course of a few weeks. In any case it was clear that Philip would have his hands full for some little time, and that French policy might for the moment leave Spain out of account.
Cond's seizure of la Fre, though causing uneasiness at the French Court, does not indeed seem at first to have been regarded as a hostile act. The Queen Mother, no doubt, hardly rested from her long southern tour, went as far as Chauny to see and remonstrate with him, using her best efforts to induce him to return to Saintonge ; nor was she quite easy in regard to la Noue's presence at la Fre ; yet, if we may rely on a somewhat obscure statement of Rossel's (No. 137) it would seem as if la Noue's visit had been made at her instance. As late as January 23, Cobham wrote : 'As yet there is no appearance of civil wars ; rather it is held assured of the contrary.' In February, Villequier was sent to deal with Cond, and his report of 'the prince's peaceable and humble dealings' was considered satisfactory. Yet there was much disquiet. With the New Year matters had begun to look more threatening. Mende was captured by the Huguenots in January. They complained that the terms concluded at Nrac were not being carried out, and the charge was retorted upon themselves. Navarre met Montmorency twice as it would appear, in December and in January. Montmorency was thought to be ill-using the Protestants, and 'would not hear of any redress till they should yield up their towns' (Nos. 130, 132). There was talk of an ambush laid by him in order to seize Navarre ; and on Feb. 7 Cobham writes 'it is doubted his mind is still joined with Spain, and bent rather to chasten and revenge certain in his own state than to buskle himself to assault some other country.' The next day he writes : 'there rises daily very sharp mistrust of secret practices against all such of the Religion as are either here or elsewhere,' and in a letter of the same date to Leicester, allows his suspicions to appear more at length. The King summoned a Council to consider the state of affairs. Cobham's report (No. 168) of the proceedings is interesting. The Churchmen, especially Birago and the Bishop of Valence, were for prompt war, while the laymen Malassise and Pibrac saw no occasion for disturbing the peace. Not without humour, the former suggested that if war there must be, the necessary funds should be obtained from vacant benefices and other sources of ecclesiastical revenue ; a proposal which kindled the wrath of the Bishop of Lyons, but possibly damped the warlike ardour of the prelates.
Navarre himself was under no illusion as to the critical position of affairs. About the beginning of March he sent du Plessis-Mornay into England, and himself wrote to persons of influence such as Walsingham (No. 200) and Sussex, preparing them for the probability of war, and a consequent demand from himself for aid.
A further complication was introduced by the suspicion that Duke Casimir was intriguing with the Guises. Waad wrote from Strasburg in February (No. 164) that he was at Nancy, conferring with Mayenne ; "to the grief of his best friends, doubting some abuses," wrote another correspondent. The ostensible cause of the visit was to recover certain arrears of pay due to the reiters of 1577, for which the Duke of Lorraine had made himself surety. As a matter of fact it was part of a widely-ramifying intrigue, in which Guise's abortive attempt on Strasburg and Cond's seizure of la Fre were also involved. In his jealousy of Navarre, Cond was at this time prepared to throw in his lot with the Guises, while Casimir was impelled in the same direction by his dislike of both Navarre and Orange, as well as by his long-cherished wish to become master of the three Bishoprics. Some knowledge of the actual state of things may have been the king's motive for handling Cond so tenderly. Strong measures might drive him into the arms of either Guise or Navarre ; and if war with the Huguenots was to come it would be well not to have both the Bourbon princes simultaneously on his hands. There was no fear that Cond would feel constrained to act through mere loyalty to the cause. Early in March his horses and carriages passed through Paris on their way to la Fre with a passport from the king.
A letter from Cobham (No. 247) gives some interesting details as to the Guise-Casimir-Cond intrigues. The Duke of Mayenne, acting on his brother's behalf, seems to have tried to enlist the support of the German prince on the plea of the misgovernment in France, and to have proposed to recompense his services not only with the Bishoprics but with Langres and Troyes thrown in. Casimir put in a plea for his Huguenot allies, which, as might have been expected, rather retarded the progress of the negotiation. Melroy and la Huguerie also appear to have been active at this time, though Cobham was probably mistaken in supposing that the latter was acting for Navarre.
A little later Cobham had a conversation of some importance with Villeroy (No. 271). The secretary gave strong assurances of the king's desire and intention to maintain peace. The ambassador under cover of reporting what he had heard since coming to the country, hinted plainly at the dangers arising from the ambition of the Guises, pleaded on behalf of the Protestant princes, and suggested, apparently with Villeroy's concurrence, that a foreign war would afford the best means for securing internal tranquillity. A word or two was also dropped touching the relations between the French Court and the Scottish queen. A somewhat obscure paragraph seems to indicate that the Guises (or the party which afterwards became the League) were on the alert to prevent any real rapprochement between the king and the Huguenots. A rumour that Cond had suddenly left la Fre caused some alarm at the Court (No. 272), but turned out to be premature (No. 277). On May 23, however, he wrote from that place to the king (No. 319) announcing his intention of retiring to Germany. Meanwhile war had definitely begun. In May the Huguenots took the strong place of Montaigu in the north of Poitou ; and on the 28th of the month Navarre entered the field in characteristic fashion by a dashing assault on Cahors, a town which he claimed as part of his wife's dowry. After four days' street-fighting it fell into his hands. The king's patience now gave way. It was resolved to send Matignon to besiege la Fre, while Biron had orders to take the field, and by threatening the Protestant towns, bring Navarre if possible to battle, when it was thought that the royalists' superiority in cavalry might enable them to inflict a decisive defeat on the other side. A letter from du Plessis-Mornay, then in London, to Walsingham (No. 329), gives a succinct account of the position of affairs at the middle of June. The rumour which he mentions of a mishap to M. de Chmeraut, bearing dispatches from Navarre to the king, was, it may be said, at least exaggerated, for Chmeraut was discharging his functions as a royal messenger many months later.
Cond did not go at once to Germany, but first tried what could be done in England. His intention does not seem to have been declared, but it was known in Paris, and on June 15 Cobham announced it to the Queen. Three days later the prince himself wrote from Sandwich, where he had just landed, to Walsingham and Leicester. His attempts at keeping the expedition secret were very unsuccessful. Stafford landing at Calais a few days later 'found everybody full of' it ; and Gourdan, the governor, had already sent news of it to Mauvissire. It embarrassed Elizabeth not a little. Her policy at present was to keep on good terms with the French Court ; and so far as she sympathised with the Huguenots, it was with the 'centre' who followed Navarre rather than with the 'left wing' led by Cond. She herself wrote to the king and his brother to mention the prince's arrival. A day or two later official dispatches were sent to Cobham for the king, and to Stafford for Monsieur, repudiating all previous knowledge of Cond's intention, and explaining that she had only received him as a matter of courtesy, and in the presence of the ambassador. If Mendoza is to be believed, this statement was untrue ; but he can hardly be correct in stating that she had seen him two or three times before Stafford's departure, which must have taken place at the latest on the day after Cond's arrival in London. At any rate, he took nothing by his move, and before the end of the month he had left the country. Elizabeth had at one time intended to send a special envoy, Henry Middlemore, to the French king, improving the occasion by speaking in behalf of Navarre and Cond, and using strong persuasions in favour of doing all that was possible to satisfy the Huguenots instead of fighting them. Instructions to this effect were drafted by Burghley (No. 344) ; but it would appear that the envoy never actually went. Some polite correspondence passed between Burghley and Mauvissire ; the ambassador being to all appearance perfectly satisfied with the Queen's action. In France, similar explanations offered by Cobham were amicably received, and pacific assurances given (No. 350).
A strange and mysterious incident occurred about this time in the English Embassy at Paris. Among Cobham's confidential servants was one Best, who seems to have been employed by him in affairs where secrecy was demanded. He had, for example, recently been sent to the Prince of Cond in Picardy, to ascertain if possible what schemes were on foot in that quarter (Nos. 103, 113). In May this man had got into a quarrel with another Englishman named Lilly, and had killed him in a duel. Walsingham had for some time been desirous of sending a secret agent into Spain ; and this mishap seems to have suggested that Best might represent himself to the Spanish charg d' affaires, Vargas, as dissatisfied with his present position, and desirous of transferring his services, as others had done, to a foreign employer. In a letter of May 23, carefully ciphered (No. 300), Cobham propounds this scheme to Walsingham. Early in the morning of June 30 a scuffle took place outside the Embassy, in which one of its inmates was involved. Best went out, unarmed, to enquire into the matter, but was attacked by a party of men who appeared to have been concerned in it. Pursuing him to the door of the Embassy, they shot him through the body and made off, leaving him mortally wounded. Cobham reported the crime to the authorities. The murderer was easily identifiable, but little pains seem to have been taken to arrest him. Richelieu, the Grand Prvost, on the contrary, put the ambassador off with various flimsy theories as to the motive for the crime, ascribing it to some unknown Italians. It seems most probable that by some means the Spanish agent had become aware of Best's real design, and had taken steps to remove him before he could do harm ; while the French authorities, who, as the Venetian ambassador mentions in a letter dated, like Cobham's, July 1, had been closely watching the ambassador's house during the past few days, while Stafford was in Paris, were probably for their own reasons by no means anxious to have too close a light thrown upon the circumstances (Nos. 352, 372).
By the beginning of July Matignon was before la Fre, and the siege began. Cond had left Mouy and other well-known Huguenot leaders, with a force of 800 men, to hold the place ; and the operations were carried on in no excessive spirit of animosity. It was thought the town would not stand an assault ; for which reason, perhaps, no assault was delivered, though Rossel seems to have heard of a 'furious assault' about the time when it surrendered. The younger courtiers, d'O, d'Arques, la Valette, went to take part in the siege ; M. de Grammont was even unfortunate enough to be killed by a culverin-shot, and one or two other young men lost their lives. Finally, about the middle of September, the place, with the consent of Cond and Navarre, capitulated upon easy terms ; too easy, it would seem, to please the group which Cobham designates by the name of 'the Italians'presumably Birago, Gondi, Nevers and others, who desired stronger measures. Montaigu still held out, and the troops set free from la Fre were dispatched thither ; but the influence of Monsieur was thrown strongly on the side of peace, and by the middle of December hostilities had ceased.
In fact throughout the year the interest of the king and his mother had lain in altogether a different direction. On January 31, Henry, the old 'Cardinal-King' of Portugal, had died. He himself had succeeded his great-nephew, and as he left no children, the question of the succession was naturally somewhat complicated. The King of Spain and the Duchess of Braganza were the claimants with the most obvious right ; while the Queen-Mother of France and the son of the Duke of Parma were able to allege more or less shadowy claims. The nearest in blood was Don Antonio, the Prior of Crato, who was a nephew of the king ; but he was illegitimate. Nevertheless he had a strong following in the country, and throughout Henry's reign he had been making great efforts to obtain recognition both from king and people. Edward Wotton, writing from Madrid in August (No. 39), treats him and the Duke of Braganza as Philip's only serious competitors. He shrewdly indicates as probable what actually happened : that with two native claimants in the field, Philip's policy would be to win over the weaker to withdraw his claim, and thus gain valuable support. In September King Henry appointed a commission to hear a report on Don Antonio's allegation that a lawful marriage had taken place between his father Dom Luis and his mother. Their report was unfavourable (No. 53) ; Don Antonio, in spite of his remonstrances, was bidden to withdraw ; and when Henry died, it was understood that he had recognized the King of Spain as his heir. An interim government was formed of five persons. These seem to have favoured the Spanish claim, while the Estates of the realm were opposed to it. The Queen Mother of France, who had already commissioned Urbain de Saint-Gelais, Bishop of Comminges, Lansac's natural son, to maintain her claim before the late king, now employed an agent, named d'Abadie, who seems to have been with the bishop in the previous year, to see how the land lay, and perhaps to come to some mutual understanding with the Duke of Braganza. His report, dated April 8, did not contain much encouragement for her. Don Antonio, with whom Anjou, it seems, had been in communication, expressed his intention of getting justice done him, and had a considerable following. The people are represented as determined to resist the hated Spaniard, though the disaster in Morocco had left them short of fighting men and arms.
The preservation of Abadie's letters among the English State papers appears to be due to the enterprise of Sir H. Cobham. In forwarding them to Walsingham (No. 300) he manifests some anxiety lest it should be known that they had passed through his hands. They of course relate to the earlier stages of the process by which Portugal became united to the Spanish Crown ; but the subsequent course of events is very fully narrated in the papers. Several Englishmen were in the country, and Cobham at Paris was also well informed. Botolph Holder, an English merchant at Lisbon, gives an account of Don Antonio's election as king by a small body of his followers at Santarem. The authorities, such as they were, do not seem to have supported him ; but the troops sent to prevent his entry into Lisbon were won over, and the populace of the capital received him with joy (No. 342). Another account (No. 359) represents the Papal legate and the Archbishop of Guarda as consenting to his appointment. The Governors hereupon declared openly for Philip and a Spanish army under Alva, which was lying on the frontier at Badajos (No. 367), entered Portugal. Before the middle of July, Roger Bodenham (a frequent and copious correspondent) mentions (No. 375) that Alva is already before Setubal. On the 17th that place surrendered when threatened with bombardment. Other strong places on the Tagus were reduced, and on August 25, after a battle at Alcantara with Don Antonio, who was himself wounded in the fight, Alva entered Lisbon. A letter from Oporto, dated Sept. 30 (No. 437), gives a graphic idea of the effective way in which the suburbs (for Alva spared the city) were looted, and of the pretender's flight. The sequel of the story (together with the terrible fate that befell the Governors and other recreant Portuguese who had acquiesced in the transfer of their country to the rule of Castile) is told with much spirit in a letter to Cobham (No. 488) by Antonio Brito de Pimentel, a Portuguese nobleman who had been one of Don Antonio's companions in defeat and proscription, and had shared his escape into France. He was now come to the French Court, leaving his master at Nantes, with the view of obtaining some assistance. The relations between France and Spain were at the moment decidedly strained. Henry suspected Philip of unfriendly designs before and during the war of the previous year (No. 492) and was quite disposed to afford surreptitious aid to his rival. In December a small force was actually dispatched from Nantes by Strozzi, who (being a foreigner, and therefore, as someone suggested, the more easily disavowed) was regularly employed in this business until it brought him two years later to an untimely end. Elizabeth was also quick to see the opportunities offered by at least the appearance of support rendered to the pretender. Whether the note of which the draft, addressed to 'il R Don Antonio,' appears here (No. 450) was ever dispatched, there is nothing in the papers to show ; but it indicates her policy in the matter.
On one curious episode in French history these papers throw a considerable amount of light. Towards the end of June 1579 Marshal Bellegarde, the governor of Dauphin, had taken possession of some French towns in Piedmont, and finally of the Marquisate of Saluces. The Queen Mother, who was still in the south, hurried to Grenoble to look into the matter ; which made sufficient stir to be twice mentioned in Rossel's letters from the Low Countries. He seems to have suspected (what probably existed) collusion with the Duke of Savoy, annoyed by the French King's dealings with the Genevese. The fact that Bellegarde had been paying his men with Spanish coins pointed also to the complicity of the King of Spain (No. 26). A little later (No. 45) a correspondent of Poulet's sends from Lyons a circumstantial statement of the transmission of these 'pistolets' to him from Milan. The same correspondent refers to Duke of Savoy's meeting at Grenoble with the Queen Mother 'who wishes him at Turin.' Presently Poulet mentions (No. 51) a general belief that the Protestants of Dauphin, where Lesdiguires, the future Constable, was their mainstay, had some understanding with the insubordinate Marshal.
Bellegarde himself, on receiving the Queen Mother's invitation to meet her at Grenoble, had addressed to her a long memorial setting forth his own integrity and complaining of the hostility of Charles Birago, the King's governor in Piedmont. The copy of this document preserved among the State Papers (No. 28) is in Italian ; but a French version of it appears to exist in the Bibliothque Nationale. How it reached Walsingham, and why in this formsince it was presumably written in Frenchthere is nothing to show.
It took a good deal of persuasion to bring the marshal to a conference. Down to September 15 Poulet reports that 'he will not be intreated.' Presently however a compromise was arranged, and we hear (No. 62) that she hopes to meet him at Montluel, a town on the French side of the frontier, but belonging to the Duke of Savoy. Poulet thought the result would be important. The meeting actually took place on Oct. 17 ; but Poulet is wrong in supposing that Lesdiguires took part in it. That wily leader entirely declined to come within the Queen Mother's reach. Bellegarde apologised, submitting himself to the king's pleasure ; and was at once formally installed in the office to which he had irregularly preferred himself. The next we hear of him (No. 107) is that he is making things pleasant for the Huguenots of Provence and Dauphin. Two days after this was written, however, he was dead. His death no doubt relieved the Court from some embarrassment, and in some quarters there was talk of poison ; but there is no hint in these letters of any such suspicion, and as the marshal had been unwell for some time, there is no need to look beyond natural causes. His post was given to Bernard de la Valette, but not surrendered at once by the Marshal's son ; and some pressure was required from the new governor's younger brother, the future Duke of Epernon, who was sent by the king to compose the matter. The Marquisate remained even so in an unsettled state. In June 1580 Cobham writes (No. 320) 'if the king should seek to alter the present government, or displace the captains, he would perceive what small authority he has there.' The most prominent of these captains, Anselme Peyrussis (generally known as 'Captain Anselme') was apparently receiving Spanish money, with the connivance of the Duke of Savoy, on the one hand, while on the other he was in close touch with Lesdiguires and the Huguenots of Dauphin (Nos. 395, 413). The death of the Duke of Savoy in August altered the situation, and Anselme presently made his submission, on sufficiently favourable terms (No. 500).
In the Low Countries little was going on when the year 1580 opened. The Malcontent leaders were quarrelling with each other, and military operations were at a standstill. La Noue spent Christmas at his house not far from Paris. His recent proceedings appear to have given considerable offence in some quarters ; for Cobham writes that owing to complaints 'thundered' against him by the Nuncio and the Spanish Agent he was keeping away from the Court. Early in the year he appears to have gone to la Fre, and Rossel reports (No. 137) an absurd rumour that he had been assassinated on his return. A remark in the same letter, imputing to a person unnamed, but obviously meant for the Prince of Orange, unfriendly feeling towards the Huguenot leader, is curious ; but probably to be regarded as a bit of Rossel's usual detraction of the Prince.
In the first week of January, the States lost Mortaigne and Saint-Amand, neither place being of any great consequence. Some prisoners, English and others, were taken. Want of money among other causes prevented the Malcontents from following up their success. La Noue, who had now gone to Cambray, threw 200 French into Bouchain, which was their next object, and staved off its surrender for eight months. An interesting correspondence (No. 147) containing the reports of the commanders at Cambray and Bouchain (Inchy and Villiers) to the Prince of Epinoy, in command of Tournay, and of the last to the Prince of Orange, gives a good picture of the state of affairs on the French frontier of the Netherlands. Presently the States' party had their revenge for the loss of Saint-Amand and Mortaigne, when a force from Brussels took Nivelle and one or two other towns in the enemy's occupation. The main Spanish force lay inactive about Lige. For some time all the correspondence that passes between England and the Low Countries relates to the perennial matter of the loans. Hoddesdon was away in East Friesland, negotiating with Count Edzard for trade facilities to replace those which the Merchants had lost through the recent unfriendly action of the Hanse Towns. In a letter of April 2 (No. 246) he mentions the siege of Groningen by the States' troops. (fn. 2)
In April la Noue returned to the field, and for a time, under him and John Norris, the affairs of the States prospered. Mechlin, which though it had seceded from the national cause had refused to admit a Spanish garrison, was recovered by them about this time ; Tournai was revictualled ; Ninove was taken and Count Egmont with it. Unfortunately in May la Noue, who was besieging Ingelmnster, was captured in a skirmish with a relieving force under the Marquis of Roubaix or Richebourg, better known as the Viscount of Ghent. A letter from Thomas Stokes at Bruges (No. 292) depicts the dismay caused by this mishap. Though Stokes professes to fear 'the Italian fig' for him, the prisoner was well treated by his immediate captors, but after being handed over to Parma was, by special orders from Spain, kept in the most rigorous confinement for several years, all proposals for his exchange being declined. Efforts for his release were made both in France and in England, but Philip was not likely to allow so formidable an opponent to be at large again, when he had been so fortunate as to catch him. Mme de la Noue made several appeals for help to Cobham, and a touching letter from her to Walsingham will be found at No. 469. (fn. 3)
Another valuable prisoner fell into Spanish, or practically Spanish, hands before the end of the year. In October Daniel Rogers, who had been sent on a mission to Duke Casimir and the princes of Germany, with a message to be delivered to the States on the way, while crossing the territories of the Duke of Cleves, was attacked and carried off by some of the band of the freebooter Martin Schenk, who at this time was carrying on his depredations in the name of the King of Spain. In a letter to the Secretaries dated Oct. 31 (No. 476) he gives a detailed account of the whole transaction. The letter is very interesting from many points of view ; not least as showing the helplessness even of a personage like the Duke of Cleves to maintain order in his territories against an utterly lawless power like that of Schenk and his men, if these were even nominally attached to the service of Spain. Schenk at first spoke of letting his prisoner be ransomed for 5,000 crowns, but presently, at the prompting of 'one half a lawyer,' who probably had a better head for business than his employer, saw that there was political capital to be made, and tried to extract from his prisoner information for the benefit of Parma, even talking about the rack. As with la Noue, there were some threats of sending Rogers into Spain ; and, like la Noue, he remained for some years in captivity, in spite of the supplications which he continued to send both to friends in England and to acquaintances at Parma's Court, and of the Queen's representations on his behalf.
La Noue being gone, the States had to find a new commander for their forces. The Prince of Epinoy, brother to his predecessor's captor, took the chief command in Flanders, with Argenlieu, a Frenchman, and Yorke, an Englishman, as his chief subordinates. Norris remained at Antwerp for a time. A letter from Walsingham's stepson Christopher Carleill and probably written to him (No. 332), gives an account of a ruffianly assault committed upon the English colonel in a street-brawl ; and incidentally affords evidence of the general disorder which the disturbed state of affairs had brought about. At the beginning of August Norris went to take command of the operations in Friesland. That province was now in a very insecure position. It had joined the Union in the previous year, and its governor, George de Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg, had given his adhesion to that measure. He was regarded, if not by those who knew him best, at any rate by the public, as staunch to the popular cause. Even in May his name is found in a list (No. 287) of the commanders on the side of the States, though by that time his arrangements with Parma were completed, and he soon after declared himself. Early in August (No. 394) we find him tampering, ineffectually, with Deventer and other towns of those parts. He was feebly besieged in Groningen by the States forces, but succeeded, with the aid of Schenk (who in June drove Hohenlohe out of the strongholds recently captured by him in those parts) in securing Delfzyl and other places. On the other hand Norris succeeded during December in relieving Steenwyk (No. 532). Rennenberg himself did not live long, but the district was for many years the seat of continual fighting, and was probably preserved to the States solely by the exertions of Norris and his English troops.
In Hainault, Bouchain surrendered to the Malcontents in September. Villiers, the commander, had, however mined the place, and an explosion soon after the garrison had left it, 'slew and spoilt' a good many of the victorious force, according to the version given by Gilpin, whom Stokes corroborates (Nos. 426, 428). It is right to say that historians on the royalist side give a different version. According to Strada, the explosion did much damage in the town, but caused no loss of life, while the train went out before reaching the citadel. In any case neither Montigny nor Richebourg suffered any harm.
One important incident of the year 1580 receives very scanty notice in these papers. At the suggestion of Cardinal Granvelle, Philip II issued a ban of proscription against the Prince of Orange. From No. 407 it would appear that though March 15 was the date of the original publication, at Maestricht, it was three months later before Parma directed its general promulgation, and that at Mons, at any rate, it did not make its official appearance till the end of August. The immediate effect does not seem to have been very great, judging from the silence of all the correspondents on the subject. The only other reference to it in the present volume is in the extracts from the Prince's 'Apology' preserved among the papers of the time.
The loss sustained by the States in the capture of la Noue made it all the more important to get French aid in some other way. 'On the news of this mishap' writes Stokes (No. 292), a post was sent after MM. Provyn and Caron, who had started on May 9 as a special deputation to the Duke of Anjou from the Estates of Flanders, accompanied by Hubert Languet, acting, it would seem, as the bearer of special communications from the Prince of Orange, with injunctions to 'procure a speedy answer.' They left Paris on May 23 for Tours, where the Duke met them. Ostensibly the deputies were acting only on behalf of Flanders, but from the first they were in correspondence with the States General. Since the expulsion of Hembize, the feeling at Ghent had grown much more favourable to the French alliance, and any opposition that might arise was expected rather to come from Brabant. However, on June 24 articles were brought forward in the States to serve as a basis for negotiation (see No. 383, which should be placed earlier). As will be seen, careful precautions are taken to prevent the assumption of anything like arbitrary or absolute power on the part of the Duke. It is interesting to note the recognition in the last article of a claim on the part of the Archduke Matthias, thus cavalierly superseded, to some gratitude from the people to whom for nearly three years he had been acting as an unpretentious figurehead. On July 22 he wrote to the States, excusing himself for nonattendance at their meeting, and in dignified terms reminding them of the circumstances of his adoption as Governor, accepting their new departure, with a reminder of its significance as marking a transference of their allegiance from the Empire to France, and ending with a request that his personal suite may not be left unprovided for. Henceforward he became as a recent historian says, 'more and more the fifth wheel of the coach' ; though he did not actually resign for nearly a year longer. However, he is now practically 'out of the story.'
Now that Anjou's acceptance by the States a second time was imminent, suspicions seem to have been aroused afresh in England. To this time must probably be assigned a letter from Elizabeth to the French King (No. 546), evidently intended to allay any suspicions caused by Cond's visit to England, and at the same time to keep alive the project of the marriage, which had of late been slumbering a little. It was not the moment either to allow any irritation to grow up in France, nor to lose her hold of Anjou. A memorandum dated July 10 (No. 363), drawn up as it would seem by Wilks for Burghley, discusses various 'ways to prevent the coming of Monsieur into the Low Countries.' It is a fairly unscrupulous and not very far-sighted document ; the writer having nothing better to suggest than the employment once more of Casimir's services, to keep the war going in France ; an object towards which it is suggested that the King of Spain might be induced to contribute, if indeed, under the pressure of affairs in Portugal, he might not be persuaded to make peace in the Low Countries. Another suggestion, the breaking-off of the marriage, is made only to be rejected, nor does one see how at that particular juncture it can have occurred to any reasonable mind. The document probably reflects the opinions of that section of the English Court whose sense of the danger from Spain was overpowered by their inveterate suspicion of everything French.
Instructions were, however, presently drawn for an envoy to the States (probably Rogers, though one phrase in them points to the possibility of there having been originally an idea of sending Davison) in which the want of confidence shown by them in negotiating without the Queen's knowledge is the principal topic. A desire is also expressed that they should stay 'their last commissioners,' i.e., Sainte-Aldegonde and four or five others who left Flushing for Dieppe on August 24, to complete the treaty which Provyn and Caron had been negotiating. This was actually concluded at Plessis-les-Tours on September 19. Curiously enough, for it can hardly have remained long a secret, Cobham, while fairly well informed as to Monsieur's movements, seems to know nothing of this transaction, or at any rate to have thought it not worth reporting. He was apparently not on the best of terms with Stafford, through whose hands most of the communications with Anjou passed (No. 435) and may therefore have been inclined to know as little as possible of what was going on at Tours ; indeed he mentions (No. 502) that he heard nothing from Stafford, but he seems really to have been sceptical as to any result of the negotiations between the Duke and the States (No. 432), not being inclined to believeth at the king would come to any understanding with his brother in the matter. Like Poulet, Cobham fixed his attention mainly on the internal affairs of France, and the supposed designs of the king and his mother to 'extirp religion, and those in this realm who profess to take arms for that cause.' In this aim they have the encouragement of the King of Spain, and consequently are disposed to ignore their own interest, which would lead them to injure him in all possible ways (No. 443).
Cobham's suspicions were not allayed by Monsieur's departure, a few days after the signature of the treaty of Plessis, for Languedoc. His intentions were, however, wholly pacific. So long as war was going on in France his schemes must be delayed, if only because the Huguenot fighting-men upon whom he would naturally rely above all other troops, were not at liberty. Stafford, who had been going to and fro all the summer, on his last visit to Tours found Monsieur already gone and followed him by the Queen's instructions to the South, arriving at Fleix on October 27. He appears to have addressed a kind of oration on his own account to the King of Navarre. This address (No. 479), of which I can find no indication elsewhere, is a strong exhortation to peace, in the interest of the Protestant cause throughout Europe, and expresses probably the view of those Englishmen who understood that Spain rather than France was the quarter whence danger was really to be feared. On his return early in December, Stafford called on Simier, who had till just then been out of favour with his master, and living in a kind of banishment at Bourgueil, writing long letters of gossip and scandal to the Queen of England. Stafford also took a letter from the Queen Mother, couched in the usual affectionate terms, and expressing the usual desire to see the marriage accomplished (No. 512).
Matters having been arranged with the States, and the king's assent, as it would seem, obtained to the undertaking, though without any promise of actual assistance or open breach with Spain, Anjou as has been said left Tours for Languedoc, in order to negotiate with Navarre for the termination of the existing state of civil war. Marnix accompanied him, the other commissioners remaining for the present at Tours. To this time must probably be referred a somewhat despondent letter, apparently from Walsingham to a correspondent in France (No. 478) though the allusion to a meeting at Nrac is obscure, for Navarre was not at that place till the spring was well advanced, and peace had been for some time established. It seems, however, just possible that the letter may be a reply to Poulet's of February 23, 1579. In that case the 'treaty of peace' spoken of at the beginning of it, can only refer to the perennial negotiations for 'a league of amity' between France and England.
In spite of the good will of both Navarre and Anjou, the diplomacy of the secretaries Villeroy and Bellivre, and the king's desire for peace, it was some time before a settlement was arrived at. A letter from Cobham, dated November 27, gives a good view of the situation at that date. 'At Paris,' he writes, 'they have small opinion of the conclusion of the peace.' The whole letter is interesting, showing, among other things, the growth of the faction which afterwards attained such formidable dimensions as the League. At present it is the 'Italians' who are determined to prevent any real union of the nobles (i.e., doubtless that large section who professed, or at least were not unfriendly to, the reformed religion) and the Crown ; and especially to hinder the establishment of cordial relations between the king, his brother, and Navarre.
Cobham's next letter (No. 501) clears up a point which biographers seem to have hitherto left undecided ; the date of the death of the sometime mistress of Francis I, the Duchess of Estampes, who for more than thirty years had been living in retirement. Another personage mentioned in the same letter and elsewhere, it has been found impossible to identify. None of the ordinary genealogical authorities throws any light on the name variously written by Walsingham as Montbrun, by Cobham as Montbreny, and (in a letter of 1581) Brunnyo, and by an anonymous correspondent in the Hatfield papers (ii. No. 784) as Montbaranye, kinsman to D'Aubigny's wife (Catherine de Balsac d'Entraigues) and sent, it would seem, by d'Aubigny himself on some obscure mission to France (No. 421). That adventurer's proceedings were giving a good deal of anxiety in England during the latter part of 1580. Cobham wrote in June of an enterprise in hand to convey the young King of Scots into France, with a view to his bringing-up in the Roman Catholic faith (No. 316). The same letter contains a curious account of an interview with the veteran intriguer, Sir James Balfour, which (with subsequent references in letters six months later, when he is said to have gone to Scotland) materially adds to the extant information relating to that estimable personage. (See s.v. in Dict. Nat. Biog.) In January he had been offering his services to Mary ; in June a similar offer was made to Elizabeth, or to Cobham on her behalf. The pious Sir James also proposed to visit Dieppe, in order to enjoy 'the exercise of his religion' with more freedom than was attainable in Paris. When next we hear of him, in November, he 'has left Dieppe towards Scotland, though he has given out he went towards Flanders.' In December Cobham hears of him at the Scottish Court ; where, as we learn from a letter of somewhat later date, from Mendoza to the King of Spain (Span. Cal. Jan. 15, 1581) he took a leading part in the accusation of the Earl of Morton.
Irish affairs are frequently alluded to, but seldom with much precision or at much length. Poulet on August 14, 1579, just mentions the arrival in Ireland of James Fitzmorris with a Spanish force ; while Jacques de Somere writing from Antwerp to Davison, seems to imply that the news of it had excited more interest in the Low Countries than in England. Various reports of his doings reached the various correspondents. An undated fragment (No. 77) probably belonging to Poulet's last days in Paris shows that in Catholic circles the news of his death was discredited. Towards the end of 1580 the preparations in Spain caused more anxiety. Ships returning to Antwerp brought news, duly reported by Stokes and Hoddesdon, of what they had seen in those parts, two thousand men already embarked, eight thousand more waiting to go (Nos. 428, 452) ; the ambassadors in Paris began to be curious as to what steps the Queen was taking to meet the danger (No. 443) ; 'English rebels' abroad began to be 'very hasty,' while in the Netherlands dismal reports of the state of things were current. In October the news of the landing, with a report that the invaders had defeated the Lord Deputy, reached Matignon from Normandy. The chief impression made on the French Court was one of satisfaction that the King of Spain would have his hands full. Mendoza in an interview with Wilkes and Beale affected to know nothing about the matter. In reporting the interview to his master, he does not seem to have referred to this part of the conversation. A Spaniard, captured presumably on the high seas, gave some interesting information (No. 477) from which it would appear that the understanding between the native Irish and their foreign allies was not exactly cordial. When the prisoner states that their commander is a 'Signor Cornellia' he may be thinking of Cornelius Ryan, Bishop of Killaloe, who as appears from a document given in the Spanish Calendar, was of the party. The defeat of the invaders at Smerwick is mentioned in a letter from Gilpin on December 11, and by Cobham two days later ; the latter presently received the congratulations of the French king. Col. Morgan imparts the good news to the Prince of Epinoy on the 17th.
A curious little incident arising out of the preparations for the invasion of Ireland is recounted in No. 218 and some subsequent letters. One James Sydee, it would appear a loyal Irishman, captain of a Plymouth ship, appears, whether acting under orders or on his own account, to have made an attempt in March to seize in or off the harbour of Ferrol some of the vessels intended for the expedition. A difficulty with the local authorities naturally ensued ; and a correspondence took place in which it must be admitted that the advantage in point of politeness was on the side of the Spanish officials. The allusion to a challenge in the Alcalde's letter of March 20 (No. 225) may not improbably refer to a fierce exchange of letters between Sydee and one Barnaby O'Neyle, alias William Hall, a rebel on board one of the ships, which will be found in the Irish papers.
To some of those who watched affairs from abroad, the English government seemed dangerously lax in the matter of permitting foreigners to reside in the country. A letter of Roger Bodenham's from San Lucar, towards the end of 1580 (No. 504), is very outspoken. He would even have the Spanish ambassador treated at once as his predecessor had been, and as he himself was in fact eventually to be treated ; and mentions several Spaniards resident in England, as he believes, for no good purpose. That San Vitores and the rest were playing in England a very similar part to that which Bodenham himself and other Englishmen played in Spain was probably true enough. The 'indisposed persons, pensioners to King Philip' of whom Cobham was speaking a little later (No. 514) were, it may be supposed, native Englishmen.
The uneasiness caused in England by the activity of the Roman See is apparent in such documents as the list of English Papists in Paris sent over by Cobham in April (No. 279), or the report (No. 401) by a former servant of the Earl of Westmorland respecting that nobleman's doings, with a list of Romish priests known to be in England. Of the Jesuit mission or of its pioneers, Fathers Parsons and Campian, there is, however, no mention.
Among the incidents and persons coming in for casual notice in this volume will be found several interesting to the student of history and literature. No. 13, an official permit granted to an English priest desiring to travel in the Holy Land, contains the autograph of Gregory XIII. No. 57, in which Sir Humphrey Gilbert is charged with piracy, appears to refer to his raid on the coasts of Galicia, mentioned in Mendoza's letter to the king of September 5. It seems possible that the Mr. Knowell who appears in the same paper may be the Mr. Knollys mentioned in a somewhat similar connexion in No. 474 ; i.e., no doubt, Francis Knollys, youngest son of the Treasurer of the Household.
The punishment of William Stubbs, for his pamphlet condemning the French marriage, is several times referred to. Villiers recurs to it over and over again in letters to Davison (Nos. 66, 92, 98) speaking of the incident with much regret ; while Poulet anxiously disavows a rumour that he had been so uncourtly as to mention the work to Anjou himself. His letter (No. 73) gives some evidence of the interest roused by it abroad. La Huguerie, by the way, asserts that the proceedings against Stubbs were taken at the instance of Simier.
'Otteman,' the son of the famous 'professor of the civil law,' who acted as tutor to Poulet's children, may not improbably be Jean Hotman, afterwards Sieur de Villiers, and author of a treatise on the duties of ambassadors.
In the Mr. Savile and Mr. Bodleigh mentioned in No. 74, we shall doubtless be right in recognising the future Sir Henry and Sir Thomas. The latter appears again a year later, when Cobham seeks the benefit of his experience in dealing with one of the Italians of doubtful antecedents who found their way to Paris in those days (Nos. 369, 371). One of the ambassador's functions seems to have been to put obstacles in the way of these people's entrance into England. In the following September we find Cobham writing of an Italian woman who, doubtless thinking she could appeal to the Queen's weaker side, 'would repair into England to show her cunning for the preservation of beauty.' Walsingham in reply (No. 421) suggests an ingenious method of inducing her to keep away, which seems to have answered its purpose. Cobham's distrust of Italians appears plainly in No. 448. The Modenese named Castelvetro who is mentioned in that letter as an alleged Arian and a suspected Jesuit is probably Jacopo, nephew of the famous critic, Ludovico Castelvetro of the same town, and editor of his uncle's commentary on Petrarch. Another descendant of a well-known writer was in London on same political errand in the early part of 1580 ; Fabianus Niffius, as he writes himself, whose father (or grandfather) Augustinus Niphus is now perhaps best remembered by his piracy or plagiarism of Machiavelli's 'Prince,' though in his own day he enjoyed a considerable reputation. There is an allusion to his work 'De Auguriis' in No. 259 ; a letter otherwise interesting for the graphic account it gives of an earthquake which visited Normandy in the spring of 1580.
Other well-known Italians are Jacomo Mannucci, a regular employ of the Embassy ; Masino del Bene, less avowed, but even more important in the intrigues of the next few years, a member of a Florentine family which was, as the frequent form Delbne shows, rapidly becoming acclimatised in France ; and Jacopo Corbinelli, familiar to students of Dante as the first editor (in its original Latin) of the treatise 'de Vulgari Eloquentia' ; another importation of the Queen Mother's. I cannot identify Signor 'Ascanyo Ezilam' of Ferrara. The surname does not look precisely Italian.
A letter from Burghley, to introduce Anthony Bacon, addressed probably to la Mothe-Fnelon, a former ambassador in England, gives a pleasant glimpse of the friendly relations existing between French and English statesmen. Incidentally it offers evidence of Burghley's weakness in the French tongue, being written in English, evidently with the view of being translated into French by a secretary.
Two personages not unknown to readers of the former instalments of this Calendar, make their appearance in the present volume : Frederick Schwartz, Baron of Ruissingen, whose predilection for Latin tags seems to have undergone no diminution ; and Captain Nicholas Oost, alias Lymborch, who in spite of past rebuffs, has abated none of his desire to serve her Majesty. Of 'Signor Scoto the Italian, who has been in England,' mentioned by Cobham in a letter of February 20, 1580, I can find no indication elsewhere ; unless he be identical with the 'Scotinus' who a few years later, according to Strada, lured Gebhard Truchsess, the unlucky Elector of Cologne, into the love-affair which cost him his see, by an artifice not unlike that to which the virtue of Dr Faustus had succumbed.
One old acquaintance disappears from view in a tragic fashion. The Baron de Hze, always restless, and apparently no better content with the authority of Parma than he had been with that of Orange, had entered into some intrigue, with the French, according to Strada, with the States, according to Christopher Carleill (No. 332), with a view of detaching certain important garrisons from the royalist cause. Carleill adds an interesting detail, that the astute Commissary Rossel was employed in this matter ; a point on which Rossel himself, who in the next letter also reports the arrest of Hze, is discreetly silent. The next reference to the subject is some four months later, when Rossel briefly mentions (No. 473) that Hze has been sentenced and executed.
Hze's capture had been effected by the Marquis of Roubaix (late Viscount of Ghent) by means of what appears from Strada's account, given without disapproval, to have been a singularly dirty trick. Roubaix's mother, the Princess of Epinoy, was in the Walloon camp near Cond. In order to get Hze away from his troops, Roubaix had invited him to come and pay his respects to her, and had then arrested him. Of this the papers say nothing ; but the princess appears as a political agent in the remarkable letter (No. 530) from her elder son, the Prince of Epinoy, to the authorities of Flanders, in which he narrates a fruitless attempt on her part, aided by the persuasions of Councillor Richardot, to withdraw him from his allegiance to the popular cause.
Some details concerning the renewed activity of the Papa party on the Continent are given by R. Lloyd, one of the Embassy staff in Paris, in a letter to Walsingham written at the end of May. The story of the murder of Cardinal d'Armagnac's major-domo is curious. It is referred to by de Thou, who makes the victim to have been Guillaume du Blanc, Bishop of Toulon. But as that prelate did not die till 1588, the view that the person in question was a M. de Patris seems more probable. That the murder was committed by order of Gregory XIII, on the ground of the official's suspected leaning to Protestantism, seems to be undisputed by any of the authorities ; nor that it caused great distress to the cardinal. In the same letter is a significant reference to the efforts made, not without success, to curtail the freedom which had hitherto made Venice the asylum of persons whose religious orthodoxy was in question. The effects were to be seen before long in the cases of Bruno, Sarpi, and others.
Two letters (Nos. 172 and 189*) from Sir Henry and Lady Cobham respectively give an interesting and vivid picture of Court festivities and the manners of the time. The ambassador and his wife seem to have been invited for different days, and the entertainments to have varied slightly. He dines with other ambassadors apart, while she feasts at the royal table. The absence of anything like formality or stiffness is very noticeable. The king 'buttonholes' the ambassador and chats with him amid a pushing crowd on the stairs, or holds the door open for his guests ; while the childless queen rather touchingly makes enquiries as to Lady Cobham's thriving family and insists on a visit from the one member of it who happened to be available. These easy personal relations between princes and subjects form one of the more attractive features of 'Renaissance' manners, and contrast pleasantly with the rigid and pedantic Spanish-Austrian etiquette that was to fetter Courts in the next century.
The difficulties connected with the chaplaincy at Antwerp seem to have continued. Travers went back to England in the summer, and decided not to return. Cartwright, who supplied his place, it would appear, without stipend, was no less resolute a Puritan ; and the cautious Hoddesdon, who had succeeded Loddington in the capacity of Governor of the Merchants Adventurers, was brought into some perplexity between his reluctance to absent himself from Divine Service, and his anxiety to avoid countenancing a minister whose views might not be acceptable to the Queen. Writing to Burghley in December (No. 536) he even hints at resignation as a means of escape from the dilemma.
In the early part of 1580 Hoddesdon had been at Embden, where he hoped to find a door into Germany which might compensate for the practical closure of the Hanse towns to English trade. The Count, who evidently sought to make the best of both worlds, and who, while, as we learn from other sources was the case, he supplied the Spanish forces with provisions, was desirous to oblige the Queen, and perhaps get a Garter or a pension in recompense, was very friendly and promised various facilities, though making it clear that he did not want his town used merely as a place of transit, but desired to see a trade-centre established there (No. 232). The Hanse towns had no idea of being circumvented in this way, and induced the Emperor to write to the Count, directing him to expel the English merchants, which the Count in a spirited and wellreasoned letter, prompted, we may conjecture, by Hoddesdon, declined to do till better grounds were shown (No. 380). Later on the Duke of Prussia also takes up the complaint of the Hanse towns (No. 455).
An astronomer and mechanician of some note in his day, Jacobus Cuno, introduces himself to the Queen (No. 531) in the hope of finding in her a purchaser for an ingenious instrument constructed by himself, of the nature of what would now be called an orrery.
As usual, a good many curious or interesting forms of words and phrases are to be found in the letters. Sir Henry Cobham, who though not as eccentric a speller as his brother, was often original in those matters, is responsible for a good many. The king will not 'buskle' himself to assault some other country ; and, the next day, those of Guienne began to 'buskle' themselves to stand to their defence. He uses 'confined' in the Italian sense (which is found in Shakespeare) of 'banished' ; and 'Levant coast' to denote the Riviera di Levante or coast eastward of Genoa (No. 321), a meaning not recorded in the New English Dictionary. He uses the phrase 'to heap coals on his head' in its natural sense of 'to cause further annoyance,' and not in that which its Scriptural application has consecrated. In describing the furniture of the royal supper table, on the occasion of the Shrovetide festivities already mentioned, he notes that the dishes were all of 'India earth of China,' reminding us that porcelain was of very recent introduction into Europe, and had as yet no settled name. When he writes (No. 327 bis) that Earl Morton 'upon the next easy occasion will, as they term it, be sticked,' he probably does not, in spite of the context, mean to suggest assassination, but uses the term in the sense familiar to us in the phrase 'a stickit minister.' In a passage otherwise noticeable for its estimate of the influence wielded by the apparently not very forcible Rudolf II, he says 'they will find him to be the spirit of the Spanish king' ; where the use of 'spirit' in the sense of source of inspiration, illustrates Elizabeth's playful application of the same word to designate Burghley.
'Shrivewick' for the more usual 'sheriffwick,' and 'checkboard' for 'chessboard,' are forms that may be worth noticing. 'Boyards' (Dutch loeijers)=barges occurs in a letter from Hoddesdon of March 22, 1580. The earliest instance given in the N.E.D. is of 1618.