Elizabeth: November 1581, 1-10

Pages 349-357

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


November 1581, 1-10

We send you the articles agreed upon between you and me at Chastelet, as they were copied by your order the same evening by your Secretary and mine, and for sealing and signature the same evening or at any rate next morning, by both of us. There only remained one point respecting Chateau-Thierry to settle, as to another place which might be acceptable to us. Accordingly we thought good to find you again at Abbeville to agree upon the house and complete the contract. Now, not having touched a penny by your favour at Paris, nor received any assistance from your agent and councillor M. Dureau [?de Rau], to obtain 1,000 or 1,500 crowns, we have been obliged to withdraw to our own country, and that against our will. Thus by our journey to the Court we have also spent the money which we had for our journey to England. So that if it was known that this recourse to the Court would be so useless, I should have been glad to be informed of it, in order that, ignorant as I am of the affairs of the Court, I might not have fallen into the inconvenience which has befallen me ; as one who should have given me this information would have done me a friendly turn. For as I proceed always with a whole heart and roundly, I always think that everybody is going to act similarly in regard to me. However, there is no further remedy for past mistakes, and this will help me in future to look ahead better in my affairs, and to make a good application of what little we have gained by this. And to discourse according to my judgement, that many who do not care to further your greatness so much as to enrich themselves and make their own profit by your means for fear that they will not get so suitable an opportunity of abusing your goodness and your goods, would not wish to have about you so faithful an overseer, nor willingly see anyone about you who would advise you not for the sake of any favour or recompense, but would seek only your authority and profit roundly and without fear. Wherefore it will be at your discretion, if you wish to turn your back on [? retourner de] your own fortune and the safety of your affairs. For you need only a man who can advise you frankly and can maintain your authority and your household, and remove the jealousies, quarrels, and ambitions which exist among your people and have up till now caused much hindrance to your designs. And to say the truth, if anyone did not undertake this task from affection to your service and not for money or reward, they [sic] would not charge themselves with the dangers and enmities in the place where they put themselves to serve you. As for the king and those of his party I am sure that they would not wish you to be assisted by a prince who would seek your honour and profit vehemently ( bride abattue) on account of the distrust which they have of your fortune and prosperity, which they could not keep in check so well as they do at this hour. And to say the truth we found M. de Villiers' manner strange, which made me think many things. For it is certain that collectively, in order to play their part, they can, if they are wise, by no means endure to have any overseer appointed. And to say the truth, if a prince does not understand his own weakness and misfortune, and is in the least opinionated or difficult (a le [sic] moindre opinion et difficult) and does not make up his mind to maintain the authority of whoever undertakes this task in all reasonable things, that person acts very foolishly in undertaking it. For thus he can gain only ill-favour, harm, and loss, in not employing his age and his life better. There, my cousin, is the discourse I make you, not with any intention of distrusting you, or of withdrawing the points agreed upon, or for the sake of one point annulling the rest. That point is easy to decide. If it be not Chteau-Thierry, let it be another place. So we do not intend this discourse to put pressure on you to do this ; but write back that as you see I proceed with a whole heart, vowed to do you faithful service and friendship, if you have the least distrust or difficulty or opinion, you will quitthe sooner the betterall the contract which has passed between us. For if with such good will and confidence in regard to me, you do not desire my services, I would not take ten times as much to attach myself to you, or meddle in your affairs. And if I did not rely on myself for having means to advance you, and to serve you well, I would not undertake so many troubles, dangers, and enmities as I must needs incur if the articles are agreed upon. Wherefore I humbly beg you to go roundly to work with me, and to declare your resolution, whether to complete the contract or withdraw it, in order that I may not lose time and the opportunities which present themselves elsewhere. And you may believe me, that if I knew that you were already in any difficulty on account of these articles, I would not ask for them nor accept them, as I hope for salvation (? sur le privement de mon salut), even if you accorded me ten times as much. Our forefathers always said a sure and faithful friend is more precious than gold ; and if you once lose him, you do not get him again so soon. Now, my cousin, I refer everything to your good will and discretion, begging you to put no constraint on yourself in regard to me unless you find for yourself it redounds to your own honour and profit. And forgive me for not writing in courtly fashion, for I think the period of courtiers will come to an end ; and if potentates are to subsist they must accommodate themselves to their period in all sincerity and truth.Pfalzburg, 1 Nov. 1581. (Not signed, but apparently original.) Endd. by the writer. Fr. 3 pp. [Germany II. 26.]
Nov. 3. 379. COBHAM to WALSINGHAM.
The affairs of Don Antonio proceed in opinion and fair shows. The treating of them is committed to M. de Lansac, into whose hands the king has given certain capitulations ; one of which 'contains effect' to bind Don Antonio to marry a wife of this king's and his mother's appointment, whereon the Princess of Cond is named. She has so good a liking thereto that I have heard that marriage is 'laboured' by friends. As I hear that Don Antonio leaves these parts to repair to Tours, I think to visit him, that I may hear more particularly of his affairs. He has lately received letters from Tercera, which he sent to me ; wherein he is advertised that those islands remain at his devotion. Of this I suppose he has written, or writes, by Mr Hopton to her Majesty. It seems this good prince is encumbered with the overmuch vanity of his followers. The younger Count Brissac levies 1,000 soldiers for the Portuguese voyage. The king is departed to Dollenville, where he stays one or two days, and from thence repairs to Fontenay, a house of Lavalette's whither Lavalette goes to-morrow. It is meant that the king shall be entertained there seven or eight days. The queens stay here, if the king does not alter their determination. The marriage of M. du Bouchage, brother to the Duke of Joyeuse, is deferred till the king's return. The king has this day dispatched a gentleman to cause Lavalette's elder brother to come to Court, to marry Mme du Bouchage. The Duke's [sic] Ambassador has long lingered on his journey, but now he is looked for in three days. He is to be lodged beside M. Geronimo Gondi. The Count of Retz is come to Court, restored to better favour, and through the means of Srillac is 'made friend' with Lavalette. Since his coming he has been moved to take a voyage into England, which I hear is intended if the hoped-for marriage takes place. M. Joyeuse shows entire affection to the House of Guise, delivering apparently demonstrations of entire devotion that way ; which is somewhat more than was looked for, being so near of kin to the House of Montmorency. They write from Guyenne that the Queen of Navarre continues sick. The party whom I brought to you in the garden at Carnavalet's house has today been with me. He assures me that if the Prince of Orange will procure that his Highness shall command him, and let him have two fit persons, he will entrap four couriers who continually pass with packets and other messages and sometimes convey Spaniards likewise to the Prince of Parma. He has discovered, by the practice he has 'passed' with this Spanish agent, an Italian named Ambrosio, dwelling at the castle of Crey near Clermont on the Oise, who has undertaken the poisoning of the said prince. He has had intelligence of a Frenchman who is about the prince at present, having a 'brand' red spot or mole on his cheek, which is a sign easily to be known. This Frenchman has undertaken to take away the life of the prince. This party is now going towards Monsieur, to find him in England. I have directed him to Adams, to bring him to you. It is signified to me that the king is discontented with Monsieur for his going, because, as they have told me from those parties who said they saw his Highness's letters, not long since he wrote to the king he meant to come to Court. The Queen Mother has been very sad these few days. Enclosed I send advertisements from sundry places. The Prince of Mantua shows himself so proud and sharp, and his father the Duke of Mantua so miserable, that the Prince of Parma has little pleasure to see his daughter so bestowed. A marriage was intended of the Prince of Parma's son, who is 14 years old, with one of the 'Grand Duca's' daughters, but the Duke of Ferrara has interrupted that match. The Duke of Guise is gone with the king to entertain him at his house of Dampierre ; whence the king goes to Limours, the house that he bought for Duke Joyeuse. But first Lavalette entertains the king at his house.Paris, 3 Nov. 1581. Add. Endd. Marginal summaries of contents in Walsingham's hand. 3 pp. [France VI. 54.]
My fatherThough the wines of this year do not approach those of last year in goodness and delicacy, I could not but fulfil my promise by making you share in them ; as also that by tasting them you may know the quality of the vines here. I have thought good to send them by this bearer, Zolcher, whom you know, to avoid the inconvenience of last year. I think that this time you will receive them pure and neat, as they came out of my cellar. This makes me hope that if they are not so choice as might be desired, at least you will find them better than those which by Dr. Sudermann's negligence were sent you from Holland blended and adulterated. And as I am sending some to other lords, I may tell you that there are four barrels for your share, two of red Perlwein and two of white. I greatly desire that a good opportunity might offer of doing you all pleasure and friendship ; which makes me beg you to spare me in nothing wherein I may employ myself for you and for the service of the Queen, whose hands I humbly kiss. Whenever you think fit to impart to me anything that occurs there, I shall be glad to hear what may be communicated to our friends.Fridelsheim, Nov. 4, 1581. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Germany II. 27.]
Nov. 4. 381. DECREE of the HANSE TOWNS.
The fourth of November, at the assembly at Lubeck, upon the answer made by the Queen's Privy Council on Oct. 13 to Alderman Maurice Tymmermann, the said alderman on behalf of the Ambassador of the general 'Steades' there present, 'may give' to understand as follows : That the general Hanse 'Steades' as most ancient friends and confederates with the Crown of England never were otherwise minded than to continue in good neighbourhood and friendship therewith, and as they have received the same quasi per manus from their predecessors, so to continue in it. But whereas for confirmation of the ancient privileges and because of the residence kept certain years within the city of Hamburgh some misunderstanding has been incident, which hitherto by reason of divers impediments could not be compounded, whereon is ensued that by certain decrees made on both sides the accustomed traffic has been suspended, which on the behalf of the 'Steades' has been done to no other intent but to keep their citizens harmless ; the ambassadors of the Hanse 'Steades' now assembled at Lubeck declare by these presents : That they do not mean to execute their decrees heretofore passed against the subjects or allies of the Queen, but hereby dissolve and abolish the same, provided always that 'the same' be not prejudicial to the privileges, ancient liberties, laudable customs, etc. of either of both parties.Lubeck, 4 Nov. 1581, under the secret seal of the Senate there. Endd. by L. Tomson, who notes : To this there is an andidecree [sic] made by the Lords, 31 Jan. 1581. 1 pp. [Hanse Towns I. 65.]
Nov. 4. 382. GILPIN to WALSINGHAM.
The custom or use of these countries' 'longness' in their resolutions upon suits has and does stay me here longer than I had hoped, and what I hear or can perceive of their answer hitherto is likely to fall out, I have written at large to Mr Governor ; as also of the course they mean to take for the Ipswich merchants' contentment, which if it tend not too much to the hindrance and damage of those interested, is better to be accepted as their own offer in friendship, than by other extremer ways of law, justice, or trouble to seek satisfaction. I perceive those of Holland and Zealand will ere long send some agent or commissioner to abide 'there,' for the better maintenance of friendship and correspondence ; of whom I have also touched somewhat more to Mr Governor, to trouble you the less. I send herewith a copy of an intercepted letter, doubting it has not yet come to your hands. For the resolution to the three points required by your former letter, I cannot, 'neither think shall be able,' till I come where the Prince is, particularly to advertise; but this note hereunder set down was delivered me as the last set down and passed by the States at their being here ; and since, no greater or small alteration. The Hague, 4 Nov. 1581. On fly-leaf, a statement of the monthly contribution of the united prorinees (including Brabant and Flanders) ; 524, 115 florins in all. Also the number of men, viz. : 32,986 foot, 4,750 horse ; their pay per month, 518,000 fl. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 114.]
My last was October 29 ; since which by means of foul weather all things have been something still, saving 'of' Tournay, which town continues in danger to be lost for want of aid. Though of late it has been foul weather, and much rain has fallen, yet the enemy does not forsake his enterprise against Tournay. He maintains it very hard, for now he has got the 'bulwark' before the gate, which they first laid their battery to. But they say it stands them in small help ; for those within the town have made a 'moate' against it, and beat them out of it with their great artillery, so that they dare not tarry in it. The Prince of Parma follows his mining very hard, for he loses no time at it day or night, and hopes to prevail of his purpose ere it be long. As yet I cannot learn of any preparation in hand for the aid of Tournay, only for want of horsemen ; for it seems all their hope is of Monsieur and his forces, which if they come not, I perceive matters will not go well here in Flanders. At Dunkirk and at Berghes are many soldiers gathered, most of them come out of Zealand. Some say it is about some enterprise in those parts, and some that is to meet Monsieur for his guard into the country. This week M. du Plessis passed through this town from France, and is gone to the Prince. He said here that he left Monsieur at Saint Valery upon his journey to England ; and that he would not tarry there above seven or eight days, but return to these parts with speed. Notwithstanding it is feared that it will be long before he return from thence ; and M. de Sainte-Aldegonde is gone to him. And as I have written to you in sundry of my 'formers,' matters on the States' side here in Flanders go not well ; for I see by the magistrates and other rulers that bear good will to the cause have [sic] a great misliking of their state, and all for want of a good government and a good commander over them, which is their only lack.Bruges, 5 Nov. 1581. Add. Endd. 1 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 115.]
I trust you received my last. Although no great occasion presents to trouble you, I dare not forget my duty with what these parts yield. First the not entering of his Highness into the country, after having raised the siege before Cambray and possessing himself of that and 'Camberesye,' and so returning and dispersing his army, has greatly discontented and left this people desolate ; and thereupon the enemy is treble reinforced in infantry and double in cavalry, and advanced to the siege of 'Tornue,' which makes this people that they know not where they are. The troops before Tournay are 5 regiments of Walloons, 3 of Almanes, and 29 cornets of cavalry. Of chiefs, the Prince of Parma, Count Mansfeld, Marquis of 'Rysebrock,' M. de 'Mountanye,' Mondragon, and other chief Italians, who with their troops are so intrenched that we must have a greater force than theirs to make them 'make place.' There have arrived at Louvain 1,500 reiters led by Schenk that was in 'Frise.' For our troops, we are encamped by Oudenarde ; two regiments of infantry, and four companies of English, and five of Flemings, and eleven cornets of horse, of whom four were sent to batter 'la Stoade' (which was the Prince of 'Pinow's), 'Woyssines,' 'Watterflytte,' and 'Anguesses,' which four were all defeated, with [sic] some 60 of the horses ; so that since it makes us very quiet, I am ashamed to live with such 'addresses' and poverty of spirit as I live with in these unresolute conductors, both in their addresses and actions. Of these four companies there are above 120 slain and taken. They were all Flemings, and thought to have all the honour apart. Therefore they must be content with the dishonour. Touching the fault, that his Highness did not advance, though you know it better than I, yet we say that it comes through want of provision, both from England and from these parts. Money from these parts 'after' 200,000 florins a month is ready, and every province has sent according to its 'cotte,' and the most part already in France ; which sum should endure for five months after his Highness' entering. The want of performing whereof I fear will cost the country dear, for with the forces that his Highness had joining ours they might have done more than they will now be able to do with double the forces, as well that the enemy is so reinforced, as the resolution given to the people, and promises which 'brandeloyte de totte cotte' [qu. branloient de tout ct]. But now, since the sending of the aforesaid sums by 'Allegonde,' which I fear comes too late, they are assured by letters from such as are in those parts that his Highness is assembling his army, and to that effect I have seen divers letters. But the contents of the forces are so far from that I must hear of, that I assure myself his Highness has more advised counsel. For to deal with these forces, I must hear of the companies of ordnance of France, and some 3,000 or 4,000 Swiss or English that will carry pikes, else little good will be done. Yet his Highness has written to those of Tournay, without fail to give them succour ; for the Prince of pinoy showed me the copy of the letters written to the assurance thereof, and to give them courage in hope of the honour they shall receive of the besiegers by his means. But now that he is in those parts, I assure myself you see what will be the issue here. Truly these parts, so long as I managed in their affairs, were brought into very good terms, as everyone will confess with whom I negotiated, and 'did me that honour to his Excellency' as to prefer my opinion and 'addresses' before any they have negotiated withal ; but envy did like 'pur me copper la chimine' [qy. pour me couper le chemin), so much that the only way they could find to hinder my credit, they gave it forth I was 'espione' for your Honour. It was one who should rather meddle with his pulpit than to calumniate any. I have been these twelve days in this town from our camp, and had yesterday a prisoner of the enemy's, who assures me that one who calls himself Lord Latimer is governor of Nivelles ; and M. de Bockell, one of this town, has sent me the copy of a feigned discourse made by our fugitives at Lige, which I send to you that you may see in the least occasion that presently they show their affections in slandering their own native country. But by this they show to be the old men, which watch for that which I trust will never be. Meantime, God so open the eyes and hearts of those that negotiate with her Majesty, that such wicked persons may ever hope [sic]. For this poor country, you must not 'leave' to care for it, as you always have done ; for God be thanked there are yet means here to make money, so that in time it may come to good managing and the moyens gnraux into one good manager's hands, as his Highness or his Excellency. I assure you I know all their secrets therein, and by this little you may judge, namely that Flanders alone has maintained in campaign all this summer 40 'anshents' of infantry, and twelve cornets of cavalry, with all kind of officers, pioneers, and commissaries, besides their garrisons, amounting to 85,060 florins per month ; besides those of Brabant, Holland, Zealand, Guelders, and the rest of the provinces. But if from strangers the land have not relief, I fear the 'sequalles' much. I was in hope to have come over to kiss your hands, but his Excellency will not give me leave yet ; but I trust as soon as his Highness has been in these parts, which we say will be within these four days, and 'that he should' arrive at Dunkirk, where provision is made for receiving him if there be anything you please to employ me in, I shall be happy ; trusting you will not forget your old servant. There is a quarrel fallen out here between Villiers the minister and a Burgundian, and the Burgundian has written an apology against Villiers which is worth the reading. M. du Plessis has arrived here and gone to Antwerp ; and means, he and his family, to depart for France.Ghent, 5 Nov. 1581. (Signed) Rou. de Yorke. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV, 116.]
The conviction I have always had of your friendship in pursuance of the declarations you have been good enough to make, coupled with my desire to serve you, has caused me to send this express bearer to you with the present. So good an occasion presenting itself to be assisted in pursuing the result of the part allotted to me by his Highness, which has hitherto remained unfruitful to me, notwithstanding all verbal or written promises, since it has been for some time alienated to another, please recommend to his Highness on the strength of what I have bidden this bearer to ask on my behalf. If I am fortunate enough to obtain this of you, I cannot fail to be treated (dress) as I desire.Dompmartin, 10 Nov. 1581. (Signed) De Dompmartin. Add. Fr. 1 p. [France VI. 55.]
Monsieur is here, and ardently prosecuting the business of the marriage. It only depends on him for it to come to a result. However, it is not yet known what the issue will be, but it cannot be long before we see a final decision. I will not fail to advertise you of what comes of it. I cannot disguise from you my great contentment at the coming here of M. de Saint-Aldegonde.Richmond, 10 Nov. 1581. Copy. Fr. p. [Foreign Entry Book, 162.]