Elizabeth: June 1581, 1-10

Pages 194-202

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 15, 1581-1582. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1907.

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June 1581, 1-10

June 3. 209. COBHAM to [WALSINGHAM].
I have told you in the joint letter those matters which are 'presently presented' to my knowledge touching their Majesties and Monsieur's affairs. Herein I mean to signify to you that Count Vimioso had audience of their Majesties at Chenonceaux on the last of May ; when he showed the king the contents of letters from the countess, his mother, with good news of the desire of the Portuguese to be delivered from the Castilian government. I have enclosed the names of the French captains who have 'consorted' together for the 'action' of Portugal, of whom Strozzi is chief. As I am informed, the king has given his consent. Though the ambassador of Spain has published a 'formal manner' of his king's coronation at Tomar, the count is assured by persons come from thence that he was crowned in his own lodging privately, with few 'assisting,' and without the consent of the people. In this way the Portuguese comfort themselves. I am informed that the count has received jewels worth 100,000 crowns. Two or three Flemings have been apprehended, who sought service in the count's house, being hired to 'do him displeasure.' The king is advertised of this, and much displeased that the Spanish ambassador should procure such 'disorderly dealing.' Sundry Frenchmen have been taken and imprisoned at Lisbon ; among the rest the brother of Abbadie has 'had the torment,' to make him confess by what means Don Antonio was transported out of Portugal. The French army intended for service in Portugal is said to have been embarked at Rochelle, about Bordeaux, at 'Burrage,' and in Britanny, their rendezvous to be at the Isle of 'Retz,' and young Lansac to be admiral. I have sent Mr Charles Smith, son of 'the wardrobe,' with this packet, at the request of his father. Please let some of my servants be sent back, if it seem good to you.Blois, 3 June 1581. Holograph. Add. and Endt. gone. 2 pp. [France V. 84.]
June 3. 210. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
Since sending mine of May 30, I have been told by M. de Cigoignes that Monsieur embarked at Dieppe, and being constrained by contrary winds to return, is come back to Evreux. M. Cangey, the chief valet of his chamber, being at his inn [sic] sent to the governor of Dieppe to have his favour for a speedier passage, being sent to the Queen. The governor repaired to the inn to speak to Cangey, whereon Monsieur, being there, discovered himself to M. de Cigoignes, by whom he was dissuaded from passing at that time, the wind and weather not being to his purpose. Nevertheless he took ship. The king and queen seem to be well pleased he should repair to her Majesty, but 'show' to be sorry he adventured himself to pass so meanly accompanied. Monsieur has caused letters to be written and published, one to the king, the 'other' to the Parlement of Paris, the third to the governors of the provinces, in which he 'discovers' that he has not entered on his enterprise without the king's consent ; also that he had been induced to embrace those foreign actions, in order that he might 'route out' the dangerous humour of the civil wars which have disordered this realm, wherewith he in some manner burdens his Majesty's conscience. He was moved to write these letters on the receipt of a long letter of two sheets of paper, brought him from the king by 'Troulyon' one of the valets of the king's chamber. The king is discontented that these dealings with his brother should be published to his prejudice, and has blamed Monsieur's agent for giving out copies. The agent has excused himself, showing that, as he understood, the copies were conveyed to his Majesty by a counsellor of the Parlement of Paris, and also that M. de Montpensier had copies ; so that it did not lie in him to keep the matter secret. Young Pinart was sent on May 28 with a dispatch to Monsieur, and with a passport, because he had declared to the Queen his mother that he was determined to repair to her Majesty, but had fixed no certain time. As soon as their Majesties were told of his embarking, they sent a courier, on the 31st ult. into England, with a dispatch to the commissioners to obey him. Yesterday, after learning his return to Evreux, the king sent Bouchart, his valet de chambre, to him with good demonstrations, certifying him that his mother purposes to go to him, if he remains there. On this they are staying their determination till the return of the messenger ; otherwise they are disposed to set out about the 7th towards Saint-Maur near Paris. The king has entreated M. de Montpensier to go to Guyenne for the better continuing of the establishment of peace ; which he has consented to do. There is some idea of sending Marshal Matignon with him, the duke being very old. It is thought therefore that Marshal Biron will be otherwise bestowed. Marshal d' Aumont came to Court yesterday. They continue their preparations for making levies and disposing their affairs, and ordering munitions for the wars. But the Duke of Maine's army has been diminished and retrenched in the Privy Council, and not so much haste is used in ordering the army assigned for Dauphine. The deputies for that province who were at the late assembly at Montauban are on their way to this Court, meaning to entreat his Majesty to consent to the exchange of Noions [Nyons], and Serre town and castle, instead of Livron and Gap. But the king being advertised of their setting out has sent them word not to trouble themselves, being resolved to continue his purpose of keeping his towns. I hear that Mende has been surrendered, upon order taken in the assembly at Montauban, where the deputies of all the Churches in France have consented to the establishment and continuance of the public repose, having agreed on orders for the matters of religion. Blois, 3 June 1581. Endd. 1 pp. [Ibid. V. 85.]
Having lately heard with some certainty how the 'Hanzes' have dealt, I am the bolder to impart it to you. The result bewrays in them a certain weakness of the cause which they would maintain, and a manifest obstinacy in that they choose rather to take any way than submit themselves to the 'indifference' of her Majesty, as by the circumstances of their proceeding is to be perceived. Immediately before last Frankfort 'Mart' the magistrates of Cologne called before them such of their citizens as had any dealing with our nation, and would have examined them upon oath what debts they 'ought' to Englishmen. This the citizens, upon doubt of the sequel, and in respect of continuing their trade and credit among us, refused to yield to ; alleging that they were never traders into England, and therefore no reason why they should hinder or discredit themselves for the commodity or pleasure of a few. Whereupon the magistrates appointed them to appear again the next court day ; before which time the greatest 'doers' of the merchants departed to Frankfort Mart about their affairs. After whom Dr 'Sutherman,' lately come from the Emperor's Court, was sent also to Frankfort, and there through the friendship of the head burgomaster caused the merchants of Germany and the Hanse towns as well as those of the Low Countries that 'used dealing' with our nation, to be summoned to the town-house ; where the burgomaster, associated with Sudermann and others, after grievous complaints of injury done to the 'Hansteedes' and the whole state of the Empire by means of the monopoly trade which our company exercised, whereby cloths at this instant were a marvellous excessive price, desired for remedy hereof that each of them would not only refrain from dealing with our nation, but also join with them in supplication to the Emperor and the State that some redress might be speedily provided. Whereto divers who were there, of good experience and long dealers among us, chiefly those of the Low Countries, declared their opinion touching the dearness of cloth, and 'excusing' the Company of monopoly-trade, in the end, with all the other merchants, gave a flat 'denial' to join against us in this action ; for their case stood with England now, as it had done a long time before, and no cause why they should interrupt their own dealing for other men's commodity. Sudermann, not leaving the matter so, departed thence towards Nuremberg, where, hoping to have found great favour with some of the magistrates, he could by no means obtain it ; but rather a flat answer that they never received benefits by the 'Hanzes' trade in England, and therefore saw no cause why they should entangle themselves in these matters, much less entangle their town without hope of any commodity to be reaped thereby. I understand also there have been great sums of money levied among some of the 'Hanzes' to prosecute this matter to the uttermost, the greatest part of which is already spent to small effect. And whereas they ground their doings chiefly upon our monopolytrade, that 'platt' has so weak a foundation that whatever is raised thereon must needs fall of itself. For supposing our trade were a monopoly, the common wealth of England would sooner feel it and more hardly endure it than the state of Germany ; because both the gentleman would exclaim upon us for the sale of his wools, and the clothier likewise for the ill market of his cloth, if we had the rein in our own hands to bridle the prices of them as we listed. But on the contrary, our government by the Queen's authority tends to the abolishing of monopolies, and staying the covetous desire of the rich from carrying away the living and trade of young beginners and such as are of the poorer sort ; as may evidently appear by all our orders touching that point, which stint every man in reason, and according to his time, to a certain proportion of shipping, that the benefit of our traffic may not be kept in the possession of a few, but distributed indifferently and by order among all. For witness of this, besides our ordinance, we may boldly refer ourselves to the clothiers in England, who find most commonly more buyers than there are sellers ; and also to the merchants both of Germany and of this country who traffic with our nation ; who in like case find both at Embden and here more sellers of our commodities than there are to buy them. So it appears the 'Hanzes' allegation is most frivolous, and that they abuse both themselves and other men in calling the policy and good direction of our Company a 'monopolar' trade, when there is in fact nothing in it that agrees with the nature of a monopoly. I need not write of the customs which were imposed by the 'Hanzes' on our nation and all such as should deal with us, for I perceive the violence of that decree is now 'meetly well stayed,' and among some of them laid wholly aside ; for there is a command from the Emperor in behalf of the contractors for copper and others, whose factor is Giles de Grave, that all such goods as appertain to the said parties shall pass freely through all the Hanse towns at the old rate of custom without any further charge ; which command Hamburg finding that they must obey, has not only set the said Giles at liberty with his commodities, but all other strangers and our nation also, at the old rate. Hereby, though it is apparent that the 'Hanzes' stomachs are greater than their abilities, I cannot see that we receive any profit by their relenting on this point ; for while they kept their course in making it so dear a matter for any man to pass to us through their towns with commodities, merchants found other ways 'better cheap,' whereby we neither wanted sale of our own goods, nor yet foreign wares to bring back in lieu thereof. So that this device redounded chiefly to their own harm, in that it caused them to be without trade ; and therefore I am persuaded they were for the most part willinger to obey the Emperor's mandate than to keep their own decree, at which some of them are greatly aggrieved, especially Lubeck, which seems chiefly to be pricked. It has now appointed a new meeting of the Hanse towns, in which it is likely they will better bethink themselves, and perhaps seek to her Majesty by way of entreaty, when they perceive how little all their other practices prevail. And as they sought through friendship to win to their side some princes and free cities in Germany, so they importunately endeavoured to weigh down the Earl of Embden with the Emperor's authority : at whose hands they have lately procured a second letter against our residence in that town. The earl has thoroughly answered this, and confuted all objections that the 'Hanzes' could allege to prove our trade 'monopolar' and unlawful. Thus much I understand from a letter lately received from himself, in which he writes that the Emperor, as he hopes, will be satisfied touching this point. Yet if his Majesty gives too much ear to the 'Hanzes,' and so is led to deal herein contrary to the constitutions of the Empire, he would think upon other lawful remedies, and not so lightly be dispossessed of his liberty and right. And whereas they 'note' him to be a maintainer of monopolar and hurtful trade, he takes that slander not well at their hands, but says that as he has begun, so he will continue to disprove them therein, and purge himself and the English nation of so notorious an infamy ; with other like matter, declaring both how 'smally' he accounts of the 'Hanzes' force, and how well he is affectioned to her Majesty's subjects. I have sent the copy of his letter to the deputy of our company at London, the original I keep by me. Both are at your disposal when it shall please you to see them. As for news, very little has fallen out here this week. Such as we have, I send enclosed.Antwerp, 3 June 1581. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 79.]
Copy of the above with the following :
I have received your letter by the last post, with a packet directed to Mr Gilpin. He left Amsterdam about 10 days ago ; and therefore upon knowledge of the letters which were in it for the Prince and States, I have opened it, and sent M. Villiers what was for him, minding to carry the rest myself to the Prince and States as soon as I have recovered a little more strength. I doubt not but I shall receive some 'resolute' answer for her Majesty's contentment, of which you shall be advertised with all diligence. Antwerp, 3 June 1581. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Ibid. XIV. 80.]
June 4. 213. STOKES to WALSINGHAM.
My last was May 28, wherein I told you of such speeches as were then current, and some fear that there was about Monsieur's coming. But their fear is now turned to some joy, for yesterday the Lords of this town and the 'Free' received letters from the Prince with copies of Monsieur's written to him and the States, wherein it seems he has written that he and his forces will be shortly on the frontier. Also since that time there has come from Monsieur the master of the Prince's household, called M. de Tondorff, who has reported that Monsieur will be here in person on the 15th inst. with 12,000 foot and 4,000 horse. So these speeches have somewhat comforted their hearts here ; for it is more than time that Monsieur and his forces were here, for the enemy grows daily very strong upon them. The Malcontents for their retreat are fortifying a place called Saint-Venant ; which is a passage over the river that comes down from Aire to Meenen and so to Ghent, and is the chief passage to that part of Artois, being but seven leagues from Loo. On the 2nd inst. at two in the morning, M. Montigny, Baron d'Aubigny, M. de Mauny and M. de la Motte, came with all their forces, 15 cornets of horse and 4,000 foot, very suddenly, and camped within a small mile of Loo ; thinking that their sudden coming would have made the small number of the States' camp forsake their place. But they find it contrary ; for they are of good courage in Loo, and care not for the enemy, for they have made the place strong, and the country thereabout is full of rivers, so that the States' men keep good order in their camp, and stir not out, while the enemy seeks all the means he can devise to break in on them. So the matter stands somewhat dangerous on the States' camp ; God send them to hold out well, for every hour news is looked for of some dealing of blows between them. They write also from Artois that the Viscount of Ghent has departed from Cambray, with as many horse and foot as can be spared from thence, and is marching towards the States' camp at Loo, also that 6 great pieces of artillery are come to Rousbrugge from Graveling ; so it seems they will give some great enterprise upon them. Before Cambray the Malcontents have left but 12 cornets of horse and 2 regiments of foot. The Prince of Parma lies there with them. The Four Members of Flanders being at present assembled here have this morning sent a gentleman in post to Monsieur to hasten his forces hither, because they stand in some danger of the enemy. This is the fourth messenger they have sent to him of late.Bruges, 4 June 1581. P.S.I have received yours of the 27th ult., and thank you for it. Enclosed I send you two copies of three letters (see Nos. 201, 2) ; 'to say,' two from Monsieur to the Prince and States, and the third from M. de Neufville, colonel of the French foot that were under M. de la Noue who are now in the camp, and to the Four Members of Flanders. I further send a proclamation which the French king caused to be proclaimed in France last month. There comes daily from Sandwich and thereabouts great store of corn into these parts. Surely that town of Sandwich suffers great quantities of corn to go out of the realm in a year ; no town in England the like. Even now at the shutting of the gates the secretary of Monsieur came to this town out of France with letters to the Prince and States. To-morrow morning he departs for Holland. He has reported to the magistrates of this town that Monsieur is now at Chateau Thierry, where he is assembling all his forces for the aid of Cambray. Letters are also come this evening from the camp to the magistrates of this town and 'free,' wherein it is written that yesterday, at 3 in the afternoon, the Malcontents came with 1,500 shot and 500 horse, and gave a 'Larome' to the States' camp ; who went out in good order, and skirmished with them 3 long hours. Of the Malcontents were slain but 32 ; 10 taken prisoners and many hurt, and of this side there were but 5 slain. It seems by the confession of the prisoners the enemy's coming was but to take a 'fewe' [qu. view] as near as they could of the place where the States' camp lies ; for they look for 2,000 more men, and when they are come, they will give some enterprise on the States' camp. The aforesaid secretary's name is M. de Neveu. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 81.]
June 6. 214. STOKES to WALSINGHAM.
Yesterday within two hours after the post was dispatched to England, the magistrates of this town received news of a great skirmish between the States' army and the Malcontents, which was in this sort. The States' camp being well informed that the enemy was not so strong as at the first, it was reported that last Monday night, the States' camp with a good courage 'gave the charge' upon the enemy where they lay, which was but a small mile from Loo ; and so by valiant force drive them from their trenches and sconces in such sort that the enemy was forced to abandon the place and so to fly, and the States' men followed them almost to 'Hounscott,' and M. Montigny very hardly escaped being taken. He is gone into Artois again with some part of his forces, and M. la Motte is gone with the rest to Graveling, so they are separated. In this defeat were slain about 300 of the Malcontents, and many hurt, and on the States' side many slain and hurt ; among them Col. Preston, one of the Scots colonels, is hurt with a small shot in the thigh, but in no danger of death nor yet of maim. They write that Captain Yorke and the Scotsmen did very valiantly in this skirmish. So this small victory has revived their hearts here : long may it continue. As I wrote in my last, of the 4th inst., Monsieur's secretary, who is gone into Holland to the Prince, has 'left such speeches' here that it is thought Monsieur's forces are at present very near Cambray, for he has declared that Monsieur makes great haste to succour it. Also M. de 'Terlone,' admiral of Zealand, has left Dunkirk with 4 or 5 ships of war well-appointed. Some say he is gone to England, some say to France, to fetch some noble personage to these countries. This, finding conveyance, it is my duty to write.Bruges, 6 June 1581. P.S.'Because' such great quantities of corn come here daily from England, and especially from Sandwich, 'makes me' so bold once more to write to you thereof ; the rather because the speech goes here that corn is very dear in Kent. Within these two days four ships have come here from Sandwich all laden with corn, and more is looked for every day. Besides these many come from 'a longst' the coast, so that great quantities come daily. Add. Endd. 1 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 82.]
June 9. 215. A. GOSSON to DAVISON.
It is about two years since I wrote to you, being on the point of starting for Holland, in which country I spent four whole months, partly in following the Court, partly in seeing the towns, and suffered various inconveniences to my health by the change of air and water, not being one of the most robust, every time that I went from one district to another. Now that I am back and settled (de retour et sjour) and begin to feel better, I would not fail to greet you with a letter. Our news is not so frequent here as formerly, by reason of the absence of his Excellency and the States, but you shall know what is matter of common knowledge. In Friesland our people having for some time prospered, while pursuing their aim have met with bad luck ; the people of M. de 'Ninnurt,' [qy. Neuenahr] having been put to flight, though otherwise there has been no great loss. To prevent the enemy from attempting a further advance, I understand that the States have commissioned Mr Norris to return thither with the English and Walloon forces which had retired into garrison. In Brabant the Malcontents a fortnight ago occupied the castle of Baarle and fortified it. This would have done great harm to the open country, and we took out our garrison, with great diligence and dexterity formed a small camp under the command of M. de la Garde, and laid siege to the castle of Hoogstraten, where the commander, who was keeping neutral, agreed to come to our side, and the place was surrendered to our people. It is good and of importance. The same was done afterwards at Turnhout, whereupon the enemy abandoned his fort at Baarle, which has also been retaken by our people. Marching forward, we took the castle of Tillebourg, one league from Boisleduc, where we are at present encamped. In Flanders a camp has also lately been formed and fixed at Loo, under M. de Villers, who was governor of Bouchain. Very good order is maintained there so far, in regard both to pay and to discipline. MM. de Montigny and de la Motte have approached it with large forces of horse and foot, but up to now have gained only discredit. Our people gave them a camisade much to the purpose, which astonished them, and keep skirmishing with them every day. As for those of Cambray, they are still in good heart awaiting the success promised by Monsieur d'Anjou ; especially on the occasions of the exploits above-mentioned, which drew off part of the forces and gave them opportunity and boldness to raid and sometimes snap up booty from their opponents. Meanwhile a little dialogue has been published here, very pretty, concerning the chief affairs of the country. I am sending you a copy to-day. I commend myself to your good favour and that of Madam your wife.Antwerp, 9 June 1581. Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 83.]
[? June 9.] 216. PINART to WALSINGHAM.
The Prince Dauphin and the other commissioners desire me to send greeting to you (vous envoiasse donner le bon jour) on their account and on my own, as I cordially do, and beg you to be so kind as to arrange that the three contracts and the three acknowledgements (contrelettres) may be ready in good time to-day, that we may meet this afternoon and sign them, and to-morrow take leave of her Majesty and start if possible ; if not, with the tide on Sunday, and sleep at Gravesend (Grarezines). If one of the contracts is written, please send it me by this bearer, who wrote the first draft of it that I sent you, in order that the president [Brisson] may check the translation into French, of which I must ask you to make three duplicates [sic], one to append to the Latin which I shall take for the king, another for M. du Vray to take to Monsieur, inasmuch as they do not understand Latin, and the other which I shall sign as evidence that we came to an agreement. It was so done at the treaty of Blois, with the late 'M. Shemit' [Sir T. Smith] and you. I can offer you some of my clerks, and my son the present bearer, to assist yours in writing, if you please ; I have two or three who are very trustworthy. Please also remind the Queen to write the Queen Mother an answer with her own hand to the letter which my son brought and presented to her. Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France V. 99.]