Elizabeth: December 1581, 1-10

Pages 389-395

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

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December 1581, 1-10

Dec. 1. 417. THOMAS BAXTER to
. . . . But this I would request your worship, as occasion of time shall serve you, to declare to Mr Secretary Walsingham that there is come from Rome, 'for a two months past,' one Sir Richard Shelley, who is called the Lord Prior of England, who is in great favour with the States here and with all the ambassadors. He has been out of his country 22 years, and understands the foreign states in general as any man on this side the seas, and always in his time has showed himself a right Englishman to his prince and country, and daily prays for her, and carries her Majesty's picture wheresoever he goes. In my suit to the Council here he has gone with me to the nobles, and told them plainly that it was meet and convenient to hold amity with our country, and declared to them what a friend King Henry VIII was to them, that when the Pope, the King of Spain, the King of France 'pretended' to make war against this state, our king advertised them thereof and offered to come with his army on their behalf. This was agreed on in Cambrsis, and 'Venice was Venice for England,' and surely I shall find the more favour for his sake. The chief nobles wonder at him for his learning and good life, and he is ready to pleasure any Englishman in what he can ; so that I could wish that Mr Secretary would be a means to the Queen and Council to write to him to come home to his country ; for we have need of such men as he, for experience and time have learned him to be a good common weal man. If the Queen would suffer him to live according to his conscience for himself, in his house or chamber, he could be content, I think, to come home ; and said, "If I meddle with matters of state, or against her proceedings, let her cut off my head ;" but there are many causes that urge him. He would declare what is of importance for the state of our country ; wherefore, as before, I would to God her Majesty would send for him ; she would find him a good subject. This I write of myself, but I am greatly beholden to him and have had much familiar talk, in such order that I would he were at home. It was told me last week by a friend that the King of Spain's secretary had advice here 15 days before any other prince's had, of 'Mounseire Lavensoney' [qy. M. d'Alenon] going to England, and who should go with him, and what occasion, and what letters were sent from her Majesty. Very strange. Wherefore it is said there are many spies in her Court for the King of Spain. I pray declare this to Mr Secretary. Endd. : The copy of a letter from Thomas Baxter in Venice the 1st of December, 1581. 1 p. [Venice I. 3.]
Dec. 10. 418. COBHAM to [WALSINGHAM].
I 'perceive' that this bearer, M. de 'Maningvil,' is 'entertained' by M. Strozzi to serve with him in the enterprises intended for the aid of Don Antonio. He is 'assigned' to go into Picardy for the advancement of those affairs, and thinks it convenient likewise and necessary to pass into England, to relate to the Queen what their Majesties have agreed 'to be done' on behalf of Don Antonio ; and consequently to demand at her hands such furtherance as she may think meet for the consideration of her own state. This party, M. de Maningvil, was brought to me by M. de Torsay. He was 'assigned' to take this journey in hand upon the remembrance of the conference you and I had with M. Strozzi in Carnavalet's garden. He is one who has often ventured his life and estate for the cause of the Religion, with good valour and constancy ; and besides his own worthiness he has good friends, having for his brother-in-law du Hal, the king's best-favoured valet of his chamber, by whose friendship, and the acquaintance of such like he has had means to 'prevail' those of the Religion very much. So that upon consideration hereof, and with your further commendations, I hope his Majesty will hear this gentleman graciously. I beseech you to give him such countenance that he may be cleared and well comforted to follow this action.Paris, 10 Dec. 1581. Add. and endt. gone. 1 p. [France IV. 71.]
Dec. 10. 419. FREMYN to WALSINGHAM.
I wrote to you last on the 26th ult., since which has taken place the surrender of Tournay, after 150 Scots under Colonel Paston [? Preston] had entered, and seeing the terms of the capitulation granted by the enemy, he certainly showed his weakness and straits, an inopportune discouragement to those within ; inasmuch as the troops of his Highness having arrived had express orders to form into three bodies and march simultaneously by different routes straight on Tournay, and die rather than fail in getting one of them in. But they were not put to this trouble. Since then the enemy has attempted nothing. He thought to enter Oudenarde at his ease, inasmuch as the townspeople would not receive the troops that were in their suburbs, being mutineers and scared men (effroiez) from Tournay, and turned M. de Mansart, their governor, out of the town and citadel with much popular disorder. The Prince of Parma hearing of this disturbance sent a force there, offering them every courtesy, and praising what they had done ; and if they wanted to be reconciled and united with the other provinces on the terms of the Pacification of Ghent they would do what was right in the sight of God and man. If they wanted to be reinforced with troops, and would admit them, they were there ready, which still more astonished the citizens, who were thus led to admit (par ce moyen ont reu) a garrison of M. de Thiant's troops. So have things passed in this quarter. The 4 English companies have been sent to Ypres, and order taken for all the garrisons. Those of Brussels have been greatly upset by Tournay, and there have been great murmurings against his Excellency on the part of the people, who went about in troops in different parts of the town, saying that they would have justice done on M. d'Auxy, like a traitor that he was, and that those who maintained him were no better, so that M. du Temple, the governor, had much trouble to pacify them, and but for very politic management, it looked like a tumult. They were saying 'We have been sold by our leaders ; that is the fine service we were to have from the Duke of Alenon ; we are losing our towns one after the other, unsuccoured ; we are giving all our means, and see our affairs in confusion with no sense of improvement.' God knows how they spoke of his Excellency. That is the payment which men of honour get for serving the people. If the enemy were to march into the middle of Brabant the 40 French companies lately arrived at Villevorde and Ninove will be sent, in order to put some men into Brussels if necessary. These 40 companies were reduced to 20 two days ago for Mechlin, and 4 regiments with 5 companies each are being made of them. Part of the cavalry has also passed and is near Bruges. They are demanding money, and wish to pass muster, to which effect the colonel, M. de Rochebrune, is with his Excellency to urge it. The number of the cavalry is four to five hundred. On the 5th inst. the town of Bergen-op-Zoom thought it had been surprised at 6 in the morning, by way of a sluice, and intelligence that the Marquis of Bergues had with the citizens, having joined himself for this enterprise with M. d'Haultepenne, governor of Breda. They were there with 1,000 foot and 400 horse. By way of the sluice there entered more than 300 soldiers before the guard discovered it. A hot alarm was given, and M. de la Garde and his captains came together to the fight, many of them naked, and most with no arm but their swords, so did necessity require. They fought from 6 o'clock till 8, and at last the French remained victorious, killing 67 of the enemy on the spot and capturing 93, with an Albanian captain named John Paul Botz and two ensigns. Besides these 30 were killed outside the town on the ramparts, not reckoning the wounded. Their plan had been to kill all in the town, whether soldiers or inhabitants, of the Religion. The pass-word was 'St. Bartholomew,' and the cloth laid with bread and beer on the table, and where this signal was not found all were to be killed, even the children. This was done in one house, for they thought they were masters of the town. Several citizens are prisoners, papists. A good many have jumped the walls. The citizens who are prisoners will be sent to this town for trial, and also that the conduct of the Marquis may be brought to the notice of everyone. The marriage negotiations are diversly spoken of. It is said not to be very acceptable to the King of Scots and those of that faction. The English merchants or apprentices in this town say the worst they can of it [?], and that the Jesuits who have been condemned for high treason (lze-majest), his Highness has hindered their execution by petition to her Majesty ; and that the Hamiltons' party are not at all pleased at the recent election by the Estates of Scotland of the Duke of Lenox as the 'second person of the Crown' in case of the king's death. It is a way to ruin the duke very quickly, and, in time, to see great leagues and factions in the country, to which they are very subject there, being cruel and inconstant. We have seen very few kings of the name of Stewart die in their beds, if one ; and very few persons too of good understanding, as (que) the Earl of Atholl, lately dead. The Princess was delivered yesterday morning of her sixth daughter. His Highness is much wanted here to remedy the confusion there is for want of a leader. Those of [? Bolduc] were scheming for a reconciliation with the king . . . . . of those parts with the Prince of Parma and at the same . . . to seize some of the best places which hold for the States. The secretary who was managing the affair has been taken. Monsieur van Oost, brother of the late Mme de Grainenbourg [Grevenbrock] was the principal person who managed this affair. So go affairs here for lack of a head. Antwerp, 10 Dec. 1581. P.S.Twenty French soldiers and one captain were killed at Bergen. M. du Plessis has been asked to delay his journey, and is doing so. Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIV. 127.]
Dec. 10. 420. STOKES to WALSINGHAM.
My last was the 3rd inst. since which have passed these speeches. The forces that the enemy sent last week into West Flanders, were sent for back again in great haste ; for it seems they desire to be dealing with some town on the frontier of Brabant, which is thought to be Brussels. They have already placed in Alst a regiment of foot and 8 cornets of horse, so that it will shortly be seen what they will do. Contrary to the agreement that the Prince of Parma made with those of Tournay, he has suffered his soldiers to 'return' certain boats going to Oudenarde, which were laden at Tournay after the town was taken. They have most violently spoiled and taken away the goods, esteemed to be worth 400,000 or 500,000 guilders ; and besides have taken many men and women prisoners who were going into the States' government. That you may see in what 'order' Tournay was given over, I enclose the four copies of all the 'pieces' of the contracts between the Prince of Parma and the town. The Prince of Parma has placed in Tournay 11 'ansigens' of Allmans and 4 cornets of horse ; and 400 Walloon soldiers are in the castle. The States have separated their small camp and placed their soldiers both horse and foot in their towns, all save the French, who still lie in villages under Ghent ; for it seems they scarcely trust them in the walled towns. M. de Rochepot is past this town with all his troops, and they are for a time at 'Ardenbourghe' and 'Madelbourghe,' beside Sluys, within 3 miles of this town. The French horse have also with much ado passed Gravelines river, and this week they passed through this town, and lie with the foot as aforesaid ; being 7 cornets of them, and they are the poorest horse that ever served in any war, for most of them are not able to do any service, and they have not been paid for 8 months. It is much feared by all men here that when the enemy comes to besiege any town they will yield at the first parley, and all because the Prince seeks to rescue no town that is besieged ; so that if Monsieur come not speedily with some good force out of England, it is to be feared that it will not go well on the States' side, so there is great longing for his coming. The loss of Tournay has put a great fear in people's hearts here and not without good cause. Therefore, seeing the government so evil on the States' side, a great number in this town have this week sent their goods secretly away. The like by report is done at other towns, which is no good token. God send them better government, which only they want. I perceive their most trust is in England, whence they hope to receive some comfort ; if not, they will all be lost. As yet there are no letters nor post come from England, so that there is great longing to hear from thence. Bruges, 10 Dec. 1581. P.S.The Prince of Parma has summoned Oudenarde, which has made some trouble in the town, for the burghers will suffer no soldiers to come in, and they have beaten their governor out of the town because he would have brought some in. Captain Yorke being sent to pacify the matter was beaten down by the burghers and put in danger of his life, so that he was well 'knott' [? knocked] but not hurt. They say the governor would have brought French into the town, which the burghers will not have ; so the trouble continues still for want of good government. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XIV. 128.]
Having received your most favourable letter in which you advise me to proffer my service to Monsieur at his coming to these countries, I thank you for it, and mean when opportunity serves to conform myself thereto. Concerning affairs in Friesland, we were quartered by the States in Overyssel, but the enemy being retired towards Guelderland, being disabled 'to' do any further service in Friesland, both in respect of an effort we made, and for the overflowing of the country with water, we are sent for by the Governor and Estates of Guelderland to repair with expedition to their succour ; so that our companies are marching to those quarters, and tomorrow I mean to hasten thither. The enemy at his first entry surprised the house of the Count of 'Brunkhust,' and since, with intelligence of the Heer of Keppel, passing through his house, have cut in pieces divers of our horse and foot that lay in a fortified village of his. So I suppose our war this winter will be in those quarters, that state of Friesland being such that we can do nothing there. You shall hear of the success of our enterprises, 'most humbly desiring' you to continue your good counsel and 'address' to me, and that I may understand the 'event' of Monsieur's affairs, purposing to direct myself thereafter. Mr Soms being long sick at Antwerp recovered, and again fell sick at 'Lee Werden' so dangerously that by the opinion of his physicians there is small hope of life. I am heartily sorry for it, both for the well-affectioned and dutiful mind he bare toward you and for the great pleasure he did me.Campen, 10 Dec. 1581. (Signed) J. Norreys. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIV. 129.]
Dec. 10. 422. GILPIN to WALSINGHAM.
Since I have been in Holland, I have not had any matter worth the troubling you, which was the cause of my silence this month ; and though hitherto there are no great alterations, yet lest you might be moved to 'fall in construction' of my duty or carefulness to discharge it, I resolved rather with a few 'rude (though needless) lines' to satisfy therein, than to 'overpass' longer without writing. 'Other than by my last to Mr Governor signified I have not touching her Majesty's cause,' save that those of Holland, as I hear from a private friend, will very shortly send over their resolutions and money as they promised at the Prince's last being there. To further this, those of this town, who seem, and, as I judge, are very forward, in respect it touches them very much in particular, wrote letters, earnestly requesting a short answer ; so I trust to send other news soon. Immediately on the loss of Tournay the Prince caused letters to be written to all the united provinces requesting them to send hither commissioners or States General, that some order might be taken to meet further extremities.Antwerp, 10 Dec. 1581. P.S.For other news I refer to the enclosed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIV. 130.]