Elizabeth: July 1582, 21-25

Pages 170-188

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 16, May-December 1582. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1909.

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July 1582, 21–25

July 21. 178. News from Constantinople.
I gave you an account of what happened in the square of the Hippodrome up to Saturday, the 9th ult. Now I will continue until today.
On Sunday, the 10th, the Venetian ambassador and Bailo went to the Pashas, who were in their box (palco) at the Hippodrome, and having paid them the due attentions and had some agreeable conversation, we went to our own box, whither was brought the ordinary meal, fowls, mutton, lamb, roast and boiled, rice dressed in various ways, some kinds of pastry with honey, and other condiments after their manner, and sherbet to drink. This went on till the 10th of this month, when the public feeding ceased. We saw many races of Barbs, much music after their manner, which to us is very ungraceful. One man who had climbed a high mast, in coming down fell when half way, and injured himself all over. Food as above was given to the people, and at the end was a hunt of boars, wolves, hares and foxes, which was most entertaining. At night were bonfires, and three great castles were burnt, with other fireworks.
On Monday morning (lune mattina) the 11th, food was given in the public square exactly as above, to all the spahis with their chiefs to the number of 4,000, to whom the same kinds of viands were served as I have described elsewhere, under the tents above-mentioned, and dispatched by them in the same manner. After midday appeared in the field 100 horsemen, part clad in haircloth (?), part with liveries, and part in the Rumelian style. These coursed after one another in this way. A very long mast with a golden ball at the top of it was planted in the middle of the Hippodrome, and on one side and the other in a straight line were planted two rows of trenchers (or clouts) with a little blank (bulls-eye) in the middle, on rods six quarte (?) high from the ground, and over against them was extended on the ground a log of wood representing a man. These marks were laid in order a good hand-cast apart. The horseman rode straight for them, and at the beginning of the course drew his sword, aimed a blow at the log, at once replaced his sword, shot an arrow at the ball on the mast, and at once taking another from his quiver shot it at the other mark, almost as the course was ending. This was done by all, always in one course. Then they ran with their arrows only, shooting the first at the first mark, and taking another smartly shot at the mast, and then did the same at the last mark, always at full speed, and returned to do the same feats with the left hand. Then some ran with shields, shooting the arrow with the right hand and holding the shield in the left, and then put the shield in the right and shot with the left, doing all this at unbroken speed. Others, with sword and arrow, shifting the sword to the right hand and the left, did marvellous things. Others after shooting their arrows, drew their swords, and rising from their horses touched the ground with one foot, struck a blow and remounted instantly with much dexterity, aimed a second arrow at the mark at the end of their course, doing it to right and left alike; and certainly very few shots went astray, some having in one course hit all the marks except the ball, but many were. . . . . Very good were those shots when riding one after another they turned, looking backwards, and shot the arrow behind them, hitting the mark to the great marvel of everyone. Then they went two on one horse, and in mid-career dismounted, one on one side, the other on the other, holding the pommel with their hand, and with one foot on the ground and the other in the stirrup, they remounted with such agility and precision that they seemed like one man. Two others in several courses did wonderful things. They threw darts standing upright on the saddle, and then with their head on the saddle and their feet in the air. Then they turned somersaults from the croup to the saddle and back. The courses were all at full speed; and those who bore themselves thus honourably had many presents from his Majesty, who was all the time intent upon all these things. Food was as usual given to the people, a great quantity of boxes (? cabinetti) of rice, with a loaf on the top, being placed on the ground, and afterwards mats, the whole length of the square, with beef in portions on them, and at the sound of trumpets and drums all the people fell upon the spoil (si dara all arm' et alla rapina) and in a moment cleared everything off. This continued to be done from the beginning of these festivities to the end in this manner. At night the same fireworks as above went on till the 5th hour of the night, his Majesty always being present, and the square and boxes always full of people.
On the 12th, Tuesday, the same horsemen appeared in the afternoon, and being divided into two cornets, one with a red, one with a yellow banner, on the same ground performed many displays, caracoles (caraguoli) and other feats of horsemanship. They arranged themselves the whole length of the field in long lines on either side, and setting spurs to their horses passed in the same order in line one side through the other without disorder, holding wands on high, as though to strike. After spending much time on these feats, they fell to shooting with the bow, and doing the same things as the day before. The usual meal was given in the evening, and at night, models having been made of the seven towers that are at the western end of the city, they set them on fire one after another, with such a quantity of fireworks that the air seemed to burn on all sides. This was the festival of the Aga of the Janissaries.
The 13th and 14th nothing appeared in the square, so I will only say that on the latter day the meal was given in the morning under tents, in the same order as above, to all the bombardiers, gunners (topighi), and others of the army to the number of 3,000 persons with the same number of viands, and in the evening the ordinary meal was given to the people; but at night were many fireworks, among which a 'mountain' was burnt, which the High Admiral (capitanio del mare) had had made by the slaves. This was as high as a pike and more, and was brought uncovered into a corner of the square, and there covered up, and by degrees furnished with all the fireworks that went with it, which were in very great quantity; but they had not much success, compared with what was expected of them, because having been drawn into the middle of the square by slaves, who made believe it was drawn by two serpents, fire was put to it at the second hour of the night which set it all alight at once, and all the fireworks went off so furiously with no interval that they filled the square and the whole air with fire and it burnt up at once. Some of the other castles were burnt, which succeeded better; and some models of men on horseback, but full of fireworks, were thrust in among the people, and the rockets and other fireworks with which they were fitted took their way through them. Then a great tent was seen to appear in the middle of the square, all made of fire joined together in such wise that the shape was perfectly kept. This gave much pleasure to the eye, and after lasting a quarter of an hour, suddenly all went out.
On Saturday the 16th dinner was given in the square under the same tents, which were pitched both mornings (?) and then struck by the Signior's Christian slaves, to the High Admiral, . . . . to those receiving pay at sea and all their people, which was very fine to see, for the order which was kept in dispensing the viands, which was as above, and for the number of the guests, which exceeded 5,000. A great deal of food was given them, nor was there anything left over. After dinner till evening nothing was seen except many people playing practical jokes and other mountebank's mummeries.
Sunday the 17th passed without anything worth writing. The usual meals were given to the people and the usual fireworks at night, among which was seen a very pretty effect of two galleys as long as a gondola which fought together with fireworks for more than an hour so artfully that it gave the people the greatest pleasure, because having gradually approached each other one was seen to overcome the other in such wise that it was all burnt, and the victor then made great rejoicing with fireworks. This took place under the Signior's balcony (poggio), who was present every night at these fireworks, not missing any, which he found to give him very great pleasure.
On the 18, after dinner had been given under the tents to 4,000 persons, there appeared in the field 50 of the Beglerbeg of Greece's men, on horseback, part armed and part not; who after tilting at the ring, which was 'planted' on a road, six quarte (?) high from the ground, tilted one at another in the open field with buttons (grappelle) on their lances and heavy targets made in alia (?) after their fashion, under which they covered the whole body (vita) and received the lance-thrusts on them. They tilted thus to the number of 30, all without helmet and some bareheaded, one by one; but one saw no knightly stroke, and having ridden five 'hands,' in the last the horses met shoulder to shoulder, in such wise that they all fell down, and one remained hurt. After that the others struck no blow worth considering, for they hardly touched each other. At the end of these courses the usual meal was given, and the Signior standing in his balcony threw down money, when an infinite number of people crowded together. He threw silver cups to the number of 30, and as much as 4,000 ducats in aspri, and saini [qy. saie, serges] at 7½ each. His mother and his wife did the same in the other balcony, and there was great applause from the people.
The remaining days till July 7, since nothing happened at all equal to the preceding, I must pass over briefly, except what was done by the Turk of whom I wrote in my last, who gave an exhibition of licking redhot iron. He being stripped and stretched naked on the ground, belly upwards, a great stone was brought by eight men with handspikes and placed on his belly, which he bore while three or four men went over it from one side to the other. It is judged that he had something between his legs which supported it, and that it was seen while the men were going over it to sway to the side where they got on and off. But all the same, it was placed and taken away so quickly that no one could affirm he saw anything. There was placed on his belly a great rock and broken to pieces with axes by two Turks. Besides this, on all these days and likewise the preceding, there appeared in the Hippodrome all the trades (arti) of this city of Constantinople and Pera, dressed with the utmost pomp in gold and silver; especially the goldsmiths, the jewellers, the dealers in amber (berestcno) and other like artists were adorned with much gold and jewels, and especially the boys; because each of these trades had from 500 to 1,500 or 2,000 boys, all very finely clad and adorned with pearls and jewels, exactly as ours are seen on Corpus Domini Day. In those in which Greeks take part, as the goldsmiths, the tailors, the wine-sellers, the tavern-keepers, the crafts (maestranze) of the builders and carpenters, fishermen and the like, to the number of 3, 4, or 5 thousand men to a trade, they were clad in tunics of russet, with caps, etc., in the Kumelian style, with harquebuss and scimitar; whence they were greeted by the Janissaries as people specially dear to them, saying they were of their blood. These trades . . . . carrying two or three platforms (? soleri) for each, on which their trade was carried on, went round the square, then halted in front of the Signior's palace—who was always present on his balcony to see them, and sang his praises. Then they offered him the most beautiful and most carefully-wrought thing that came from their hands, each trade its own work, to whom 2,000 and 3,000 aspri were then sent by the Signior as a present. The balcony of which I speak is covered above with lead, in a half-pyramid, and has glass windows in front and at the sides (bande), so that his Majesty cannot be much seen when sitting down. It projects so much that four persons can stand in it comfortably. Among those above-mentioned appeared in the first days the people of Pera, more gorgeously clad than any others, because there were on the ground all the nobles and most principal men of Pera, who vied with each other in contriving to go clad in gold and adorned with jewels all they could, to the number of 200. These, wishing to enact a newly-married bride at the Hippodrome, selected 13 of the most beautiful youths in Pera, one of whom, gorgeously clad as a bride, was seated under a canopy, borne by four of these nobles in front, after whom were the other 12 in women's dress, and taken for such by all the people. Each of these had a partner beside him, and coming before the Signior they danced beautifully in the Greek manner, which greatly pleased his Majesty and the people. There were with them 200 Greeks, clad in short russet coats, who danced finely before his Majesty, very orderly, and did some Labours of Hercules very prettily. The other trades followed, till the evening, when the Signior threw coins in great plenty, a large crowd having gathered under the balcony. He threw also silver cups, and sultanini to the amount, it is said, of 5,000 ducats. There appeared also these days, in scattered groups, many who became Turks. These are they who have been taken year after year by this Signior, and kept till now for show, and many others, stragglers, or vagabonds, and broken men (malandati), who know not to whom to attach themselves. They were all clad in white homespun (grisi) in Hungarian style, but they are people from Bosnia, Albania, and Rumelia. These after being circumcised within the Signior's palace, and many others in the public Hippodrome before the king [sic], were sent with a capeghi, that is, porter, to have their clothes and their zaluca [?] gives them. They were to the number of about 10,000 that I saw, and they were presented in this manner. They came in a crowd, like sheep, before the palace, always holding up the forefinger, and stood still until a capeghi of the Signior's came to take them away and bring them to be circumcised, as I said above. In these days there presented themselves likewise those who wished to give roceà or petitions to his Majesty, for the great commodity they had to give them, and for the certainty they had that they would be read. Wherefore, presenting themselves before the palace, and holding a roceà in their hand, came a porter (capeghi), who took it and carried it to the Signior, who read it at once, and sent it by the same capeghi to the Pasha, that it might be carried out; and of these the number increased daily. The 'Magli' (?) Pashas and other lords have presented to his Majesty, besides other secret things of great importance, very beautiful horses, guided by hand to the Hippodrome in the sight of everyone. The relict of Gio. Micher has regularly sent in, every other day, 25 and 30 men each bearing a chest of sweetmeats, condiments, fruits and other delicacies to eat.
On Saturday the 7th there were few fine doings in the Hippodrome, as festivities were going on within, the son [sic] as I had it on a trustworthy report, having to be circumcised. Mehemet Pasha, formerly Beglerbeg of Greece, was summoned, who being a favourite with the prince, came to him and brought him into a chamber, entertaining him with pleasant words. Then he asked his leave to perform a duty necessary for the performance of the laws, and for the satisfaction of their Majesties his parents; and making him say the Alla Illa la, uncovered him before, and it is said with a knife that he had ready for the purpose dexterously and promptly circumcised him, three persons only being present to testify to the circumcision. He shed a few tears, though they say it was without pain; but he was placed on a superb bed under the care of his confidential people, and the Pasha went to kiss the Signior's hand, and give him the good news of the success. The Signior immediately gave him 20,000 sequins, his own robe which he was then wearing, and 20 other robes, very superb. The Pasha then sent the bloody knife to the Sultana Mother on a golden cup, who sent him back the cup with 10,000 sequins. In like manner the Sultana Consort presented him with 4,000 sequins and 10 most honourable robes, and the sultanas [sic] of the mag . . . isir . . . likewise presented him with money and jewels; and this evening the Signior has thrown to the people 4 loads of aspri and many silver cups. The four waxlights which I mentioned in my former letter were lighted and burnt all night, and fireworks without end were let off, with a great uproar of drums, trumpets, and similar instruments, and this lasted all night.
Sunday morning, the 8th, was spent by many performing various buffooneries; but after dinner appeared horsemen to the number of 40, who having first ridden with bows, and tried to hit the ball on the mast, fell to tilting one against another in the open field just as I have described above, with the targets covering their whole body as they ran, and on them they caught the lance-strokes. But when ten of them had run, the two following met with such force that they broke their lances, and the horses dashing head to head fell dead and one of the riders was grievously injured, the other saving himself very smartly. With this the festival ended, but at night the waxlights were lighted in the same way, and there were fireworks without end, and very delightful.
On Monday the 9th, after dinner, appeared in the square the king's falconer, son to that Mehemet Pasha, and many lords of importance, who skirmished together, throwing darts at each other, coming out by one, two, three, four in turn. These appeared with very fine horses very well trained, and they changed them every other course; all showing themselves nimble and ready in throwing their darts and avoiding the enemy's, so that they were accounted brave cavaliers. This they did in the presence of both the king and the Sultana. The Sultana Mother's pet son (?figlio di anima) tilted, much loved and favoured by her. At night they again lit up the waxlights, and let off other fireworks, with burning animals, castles, and things of various sorts, his Majesty delighting greatly therein. And seeing that on this day the 40 days appointed for the festival were completed, the Signior for certain reasons, and also to quiet the Janissaries who have risen, demanding as their present for these festivities 1,000 aspri per head or an increase of two aspri per day, has prolonged them for ten days more; but the public meals wont to be ordered, as I have said above, ceased today, and the princes' ambassadors ceased to go to the festivities.
In these days, certain troublesome news, displeasing to those here, having come from Persia, they kept the Persian ambassador and his suite under restraint, and to express contempt destroyed his box at the Hippodrome, erected exactly opposite the royal palace, and they are still keeping him in restraint, their design not succeeding.
On Tuesday the 10th nothing was seen but 80 horses excellently trained, who skirmished from midday till evening, throwing darts in the Moorish fashion, like those yesterday, but with more show to strike; those yesterday having checked themselves, for the quality of the persons they were meeting. At night there were the usual fireworks in the presence of the Signior, his mother, wife, and son, and the sultanas.
Wednesday there passed all round the Hippodrome near 1,000 persons, with cymbals, lutes, flutes, and other instruments. After their manner they made a very great uproar, braying, for so I may certainly say, rather than singing, with the greatest dissonance; and after going round the Hippodrome two and two, they departed. Next came the Signior's wrestlers, naked, who gave fine exhibitions of dexterity and strength, trying to put each other down on his back, in order to remain victorious. They had a present from the B . . . . of 1,000 aspri, and departed. Then appeared some mounted spahis, to skirmish with darts, who took up the rest of the time. Food was given to the people, and at night were the usual fireworks, endless people looking on.
Wednesday [sic] the morning passed quietly till 12 o'clock; but after dinner appeared some 100 horses, who ran many courses in different modes, also playing with darts. Then was set up in the middle of the square the fortress of Kars in Persia, exactly as it stands, full of fireworks. This having been assaulted by the Turks was finally captured and burnt; but whereas some Persians in effigy were standing in the ramparts to defend it, all fitted with fireworks, these could not be got to burn, although fire was put to them by the Turks; and as the Turks took this accident for an omen of importance, they called the master of the work and enquired the cause. The answer was, that they had been soaked by the rain which fell that day, though it was not much, and that the powder could not take its course. This structure (fattionc) was shown by Assa Pasha, son that was [sic] of Mehemet Pasha, high in favour with this Porte. Afterwards at night the Turk gave a wonderful exhibition on the rope, with which the Signior was much pleased, staying till past midnight, with very great gusto, and the man for carrying himself so many times so well, had a present of many aspri from his Majesty, and robes from the Pashas.
On the following day, the 18th, nothing happened, save that from the 20th hour onwards the same horsemen appeared, to skirmish and strike each with their darts till evening, when the usual fireworks went on for 5 or 6 hours.
On Wednesday the 19th there was not much to be seen in the Hippodrome, but at the 23rd hour an incident occurred of much importance. The Subassi of Constantinople passing along the road saw a Greek tavern keeper with some spahis; and on their wishing to have him beaten, a spahi, one of the 500 recently come from the serraglio, prayed the Subassi not to allow this. He, not caring anything for the spahi, ordered the Janissaries of his guard to beat him too, which was immediately done, and the spahi, being struck on the head, was killed. Then the Subassi retired, and the Janissaries, owing to the crowd that assembled, took to flight. But being pursued by the other spahis and many people, they were taken and bound, and brought by the spahis, with the dead body into the Hippodrome before the king. But no sooner were they come than the Janissaries rose against them, and the spahis on the other side being reinforced, they came to fighting. Wherefore the Grand Vizier and the other Pashas, with the Beglerbeg of Greece, came down from their boxes, and went among them, shouting and doing all that was possible to allay the uproar. And seeing that those of the scaffie (?), who are the youths that wait on the king's person, were gone down to the aid of the spahis, the Pasha hastening to the gate, persuaded them to go up again, saying that the tumult had by now ceased; and had the door locked. Then the Vizier, seeing that the new Aga of the Janissaries was in a manner encouraging (fomentava) the Janissaries on this occasion, giving cause for disorder rather than otherwise, said very . . . words to him, and that he was ill performing his duty; and returning to the men, he managed to separate them, albeit 15 were left dead, for the most part spahis, and many wounded; and if these personages had not intervened, the greatest slaughter (tagliata) between the Janissaries and spahis that was ever heard of would certainly have followed, and some troublesome result that would never have been forgotten. But night, and the courage of the Pashas extinguished all this fire, and the subassi was imprisoned, and they say he will come off badly.
On the 20th, by his Majesty's order, the Aga of the Janissaries was dismissed, and his place given to the Emir Alem, who is the one that carries the royal standard, and gives his standard to every Pasha, sandjak, and other official of the Empire when appointed. He immediately used words of authority, yet very friendly, to all the Janissaries in the public Hippodrome; always calling them brothers, which won them all to him. His place has been taken by Mahmoud Aga, pet (?) son to the Sultana Mother, and beloved by her. At night there were plenty of fireworks, and finally a scuffle to carry off the planking and supports. All yesterday and today, they have been working furiously to take the Signior's things to his new serraglio; these unsurpassable festivities being completed, which to people who have always been shut up and have never seen a mummery of mountebanks have appeared most superb. Tomorrow his Majesty, by what they say, will move from the Hippodrome to the new serraglio, but early, so as not to make a state-entry. His family has been sent there.—Le Vigne di Pera, 21 July 1582.
Endd. Ital.pp. Somewhat damaged. [Turkey I. 5.]
July 22. 179. Cobham to [Walsingham] .
Upon occasion of the conference I had with M. Pinart about d'Armeville, amongst other speeches he delivered to me how the king had written to M. Mauvissiere touching the defraying of the Duke of Brabant's charges in the wars of Flanders to such effect as would content the Queen and Monsieur. He added that she 'was to' find the king would perform as much as he had informed her, as she may perceive by what had been begun for Don Antonio, so likewise the rest was to follow; knitting up his speeches with this, how the further assurance of all matters must begin by the concluding of the league offensive and defensive in case of the consequence of the marriage, which had been deliberated on heretofore. I have some 'inkline' the king seeks profit in these affairs, if he might get it out of these Low Countries, or the enlarging of his estate. He has this year aided his brother with 300,000 crowns.
The king and Queen Mother 'have no opinion' that Monsieur is going to send the Duke of Bouillon to the Imperial Diet, for the duke will repair to these parts, and to this Court.
M. de Ségur, sent to the king from the King of Navarre, has 'propounded' to his Majesty 'to part from his government for the consideration of 100,000 crowns' and to sell him the county of Rodez and the 'Isle of Jourdan,' so that he will permit him to make war on the Spanish king in Navarre. The king answered that he liked well to buy the aforesaid county and isle of the King of Navarre, but he could not consent to have any war made against the Spanish king. The king seeks to see the King of Navarre; whereon the King of Navarre has accorded, as I understand from those who appertain to him, to meet the king at Champigny, the Duke of Montpensier's house.
Those at Court conceive that the king seeks the Princess of Beam for the Duke 'Pernon,' whereon they have cast abroad the enclosed verses.
It is mistrusted by the wisest, that if the King of Navarre do not 'the sooner' provide marriage for his sister, he will 'incur into' some danger; wherefore if she were bestowed on the Prince of Condé, it might be a great comfort to them of the Religion, and a surety to both their persons, and the House of Bourbon's issue restored.
Advices are come from Italy that they laid wagers in Borne that on June 20 his Majesty would 'pass great peril,' as likewise that the Duke of Brabant would be slain on the 29th. God be their protector.
An Italian came to me the other clay professing to be of Alessandria, and to have preached the Religion in Faenza in M. di Torretto's house in 'Provynce' [sic]; but by his manner he appeared to be of another sect. He sought earnestly to have a passport, or means to pass into England, which I have deferred to grant; but if he return, if you command, I will send him to you.
Advertisements are come from Germany that about June 29 the Emperor entered 'Augusta,' where the Electors of Saxony and Mentz had already arrived, and the Elector of Brandenburg soon . . . the administrator of Magdeburg with other princes, and the Pope's legate, Cardinal Madruzzi.
Please let Paulo my Italian return with the first.—Paris, 22 July 1582.
P.S.—M. de Gourdon's only nephew and heir is slain in fight within these three days in the Pré aux Clercs, which will much grieve him.
Add. and Endt. gone. 4 pp. [France VII. 138.]
July 22. 180. Thomas Doyley to Walsingham,
Yours of the 14th I received on the 18th, and have addressed your other letters to our camp, which is between Dunkirk and Berghe St. Winoc.
Concerning your 'requests,' whether Monsieur shall be able to keep the field against the enemy, and whether he goes to Flanders to take possession of it, the second I have in part satisfied by my last letter, advertising you of his going to Bruges by Flushing; not, as I hear, to take possession of it, being given him already by the 'quater' Members, but removed as to a more commodious place for the address of his affairs. The first I am not so well able to answer, being now from the Court and camp, and am loth to set down a conjecture devised by myself. Yet you may come near to the truth by knowledge of both their forces. The enemy has good 5,000 horse and 13,000 infantry with the last Burgundian supply. Our camp I will particularise. Those whose names follow had each a cornet of horse, the camp being before Ghent. M. de Villiers, de Teligny, de Ransarde, de Rocourt, d'Alleza, de Freince (?), all French. M. de Norreys [sic], de Morgan, de Williams, d'York, all English. M. Seaton, de Bruwer, both Scots. M. d'Antoyne the More [sic] and d'Esperance, an Italian. Also M. de Ryhove, grand baylieu of Ghent, de Granville, de Swich, de Landa, de Golbe, de Waterflyte and Vander Guith, Flemings, Walloons and Brabanters. Also M. de Bolancie, de Tiwarde, de Lacroy, capitaines des compagnies d'Ordonnance du Prince d'Épinoy. There are 24 cornets, which are by estimation not 2,000 strong; besides the 1,500 reiters and 7,000 [sic] French lancers joined by our camp by Dunkirk; so that I guess our cavalry to be '4,000 scarce.' Our infantry in the regiments of the English colonels 2,500 strong, besides those that are in garrison. Villeneuve has a regiment of 12 companies, by estimation almost 1,000 good; la Garde a regiment of 10 companies, 800 strong; Stewart a regiment of 10, 800 strong. Preston has there but 4 of his companies, 300 strong. M. de Thiant has there 4 companies of Walloons, 300. good, besides 4 French captains of Son Altèze 300 strong and the 2,000 French foot joined to our camp by Dunkirk. So the whole infantry is 8,400. Concerning the supplies which are looked for on both sides, I hear greater certainty and greater number to come from France than from Italy. As for those that are levied in Bohemia and those quarters, I hear they are for some services against the Turk; so that I persuade 'my' at the coming of Laval, Colombiers, Lorges and the rest, we shall have a far greater number. But nervus belli pecunia will mar all.
Our English mutiny is appeased. At my going to Bruges to continue about the Court, wherein I await the general's pleasure, I hope more particularly to advertise you, since I find 'them' to be so acceptable to you; being desirous to employ my pen wherein I can to gratify you.
Our stratagem of Limburg of which I wrote by my last is now much diminished by the 'lame post,' who is commonly most of credit—I mean the last news. It was made the most, to 'counterpease' the loss of Oudenarde, which 'hath, neither is likely to cause' any revolt. We are so accustomed to get and lose, although some 'deem' to furnish the ordinary contributions, which they never willingly pay.
I am also, on behalf of our general, to request you, either by letters addressed to the burgomasters of Antwerp, or by means of Dr Ymans, to require that such assignation as they have passed to the general in payment of their particular obligations may take place and be effected; or else to advertise them that order shall be taken in England according to the tenour of the obligations, to the satisfying of one Lecester, who has taken the obligations into his hands, and for their service disbursed the money to the general. My cousin, Mr Edward Norris, can more particularly inform you hereof. —Antwerp, 22 July, 1582.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 74.]
July 23. 181. Audley Danett to Walsingham.
Since my last, of the 16th inst. his Highness and the Prince of Orange arrived at this town of Bruges, on Tuesday the 17th. They were received by the burgomasters, and the rest of this town, and by those of the 'Free,' as they call them, in very good sort. They seem to be very glad of his coming hither, the rather that he has not been at Ghent, which they interpret here for a token of better goodwill to them than to those of Ghent. They, on the other side, utter some soft speeches, that seeing their town is the first of the 4 Members, they should have wished that Monsieur had come first to them. Letters have been written to them from his Highness to excuse the matter, and some promise made to see them shortly; but it is talked among common persons of Monsieur's train that he minds not to come there, both for that they are a people ung petit trop haut à la main, and that it is thought his mass will hardly be welcome amongst them. It would appear they would be glad to see him there, and therefore it may be they will receive him with all conditions, notwithstanding his mass, which in that place is very odious.
This day begins the assembly of the States of the whole provinces, in this town, to take order for the employment of the army, and to advise where it shall be presently employed. The Prince himself was on Saturday the 21st in the Town House among those of the Council of the town, and used some persuasion to them to provide money for the payment of the camp; but that argument was nothing pleasant, and the Prince, who knows that these people must be gained by persuasion and not by force, knows not, as I have heard say, how to behave himself to win them. The camp, on the other side, are daily ready to mutiny for want of pay; and truly they have cause to be discontented, for although victual be plenty, yet without money the common soldier gets nought. It cannot be but these people are better able to furnish their wars than they do, considering the great imposts which daily are levied in all places; but the most part seek their own 'particular,' and neglect the common business, which in time it is thought will be their overthrow. It is said that hitherto his Highness by the help of his friends, and money taken up on his own credit, has defrayed his own charges and been very little relieved by this country; and now when he has assembled great forces to their succour, and men should be encouraged by a pay to do some service, these people draw back, as though all the burden should be on his shoulders. The duke himself bears all with patience, but his people have much ado to forbear to speak at the least. If this assembly of the provinces do not accord some good order, and that shortly, to content the army, things will go but badly forward for this year's service.
There are already arrived good forces out of France, and much more are looked for daily, and are forward on the way to join the rest. It is said about 8 days hence the whole force may be come, and then it is constantly given out, to satisfy the camp, that his Highness means to come among them to take a general muster, and give order for their service; but always provided that in the mean time money be furnished, or otherwise some great disorder will ensue.
The enemy is said to be on foot, and already to have passed the water, and to be come into Flanders. It may be he will give the attempt somewhere, and take the advantage before our camp is thoroughly provided. And truly here in this kind of service the deliberations are very slow, especially in anything that asks money. M. du Plessis is daily looked for here from Antwerp, to take his final dispatch to the Duke of Bouillon, and so to attend on him to the Diet in Germany for his Highness's service. It is said the King of Spain means to propose there great matter for his interest in these Low Countries, and to crave aid of the princes of the Empire against his Highness, for 'pretending upon' his possession.
The Prince of Chimay, son to the Duke of Aerschot, having lately taken upon him the profession of Religion, is retired to 'Seydan,' and there remains as yet.
On Friday the 20th were apprehended in this town four, or as some say, six persons; men haunting the war, as 'spialls' for the enemy, most of them as I think French or borderers on the French. One of them, the chief, called Salcedo, a 'Lorrainst' born, but a Spaniard by his father, who was killed at the instigation of the late Cardinal of Lorraine at the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, for a Huguenot, being as it is said a Papist, for a certain piece of ground in Lorraine which the cardinal could by no means get from the Spaniard. The son being left very rich by the death of his father, in short time spent all, and was of late hanged in effigy at Rouen for a coiner of false money, and is reputed to be a man given to all kind of naughtiness, and hereupon absented himself from France; till of late he came to this town, recommended by the Duke of Lorraine to his Highness's service. In the small time of his being here, he practised the conveying away of the young Count of Egmont to the enemy; who it would seem inclined thereto, for he is now 'commanded' prisoner to his own lodging in this town. Salcedo has had the torture, and it is said has confessed some other bad enterprise which I cannot learn as yet. It is thought he has some other bad partisans in his enterprise, who are not yet commonly known.
Being come thus far in my letter, I received one from you of the 14th. Touching the number of the forces already arrived, I learn that they may be 2,000 French foot, 1,500 reiters, and about 700 French lances and 'argouletiers.' The forces coming are said to be 2,000 Swiss, certain pietons under the conduct of M. Fervacques, M. Laval, Count Rochefoucault, and young Colombiers, with M. de Lorge; and great store of horse under the Prince Dauphin. The enemy is said to be much stronger both in the number and goodness of their horsemen.—Bruges, 23 July 1582.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 75.]
July 23. 182. Sainte-Aldegonde to Walsingham.
Yesterday were brought me two letters of yours, addressed to M. de Villiers. But as I was told that they might be of importance, and have to do with the state of affairs, I made bold to open them and communicate them to his Excellency. I know this will be agreeable to M. de Villiers, who is still at Antwerp, and I hope it will not be disagreeable to you. Anyhow, his Excellency thanks you very affectionately for the good advertisement you give him and for the disposition which you show to this country herein; wherein we are all much obliged to you. We have already had the same advices from divers quarters, but we cannot as yet get at any knowledge of the facts. As for the governor of the town, we hold it for certain that it is not the Governor of Walcheren, M. de Houtain, but rather the bailiff of Flushing, who has himself called governor of that town. But I hope that God will grant us to arrive at certain knowledge, and will hinder him from effecting his evil designs.
Our affairs are in their wonted state. Since the loss of Oudenarde our camps have joined, but they do not as yet come near the enemy's forces, especially in cavalry; also we are low as regards money. Please remember the promise that you gave me several times in England, in regard to offices to be done with her Majesty. You know how the Guisards are scheming in France, always strengthening themselves. You know the efforts they will make to dissuade the king, and alienate him from his brother. Pray consider how important it is if on your side we are not better united, in heart and in resources. To the intelligent, few words; and then the neighbourhood of Scotland may serve to spur you.
—Bruges, 23 July 1582.
Add. Endd, Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 76.]
July 23. 183. Walsingham to Cobham.
The French ambassador having lately had access to her Majesty declared to her that the king, desiring more than the accomplishment of the marriage, and being therefore disposed to remove all difficulties that might any way impeach its proceeding, had given him charge to let her understand that for her assurance she should have anything that she could in reason desire. Whereupon, taking some time to 'advise herself' what were fit for her to answer in this behalf, she thought it meet, since she conceived the ambassador had commission to satisfy her more particularly touching the manner of the assurance that would be given to her by the king, to send to him to have an extract out of the king's letter of so much as concerned that assurance. Which being performed by him, and afterwards perused by her, she saw it expressed in such general terms that she could not find from anything contained in it that the king has 'enlarged himself' so far as has heretofore been delivered to her by his ministers who have dealt in the cause, and as is contained in the late treaty of marriage, by which it is expressly provided that the marriage proceeding, she should not by the duke's means or procurement be thrown into war. She finding this strange, considering the speech the ambassador delivered to her at the time of his access, which seemed to her much more ample than was contained in the extract, when he came to receive his answer let him understand that finding by perusal of the extract that it did not contain any other utterance than had been before given to her by him and others who had aforetime dealt in that cause, she saw nothing to move her to give any other answer than she had both delivered already to him herself, and caused you to impart to the king.
So being dismissed with this answer, he desired her to give order to you to deliver so much to the king, which her pleasure is you shall perform accordingly; saving that you shall not be 'acknowen of' the extract from the king's letter delivered to her by the ambassador; but rather that she collected the substance of his speech to be such as is contained in the extract, and so to be delivered as a correction by her made and not contained in any writing given her by him.
And if upon delivery of this answer the king asks of you what further assurance she would desire in this behalf, and whether you have any commission to descend to particulars, her pleasure is you shall let him understand that you have no such charge, for you conceive that she, finding his ambassador's speech to contain no further matter than has been heretofore delivered to her, is entered into some doubt, considering how long the impediment of 'quitting' her of the charges of a war has remained unremoved, that the king does not so greatly affect the marriage as outwardly he pretends. She did not therefore think it necessary, as you suppose, to give you any further commission in that behalf.
And if the king, not satisfied herewith, will stand 'to the maintenance' of the contents of the extract to be such as in reason she ought to rest satisfied with, in order that you may not be ignorant of the cause that moves her to think the assurance contained is not to be such as has been always demanded and looked for, her pleasure is that you shall let the king understand that whereas in the said extract it is said Que s'il adrenoit cy aprés qu' à l'occasion et en hayne dudit mariage, etc. her Majesty does not think that any prince can with any just pretence attempt anything against her for marriage itself, but in respect of marrying with the duke his brother, who has possessed himself of some portions of the King of Spain's dominions; and therefore she foresees that the duke having no other support but his own and such as the States may be able to give him, will not be sufficient to maintain head against the King of Spain, whereby, if the marriage proceeds, she will be drawn either to relieve him, which will be most ungrateful to her people, and therefore she can by no means be drawn to assent thereto, or else to see him dishonoured unless the king will give assurance to assist him in such princely sort that she shall not be constrained to be at heavy charges in that behalf; upon which point she has always principally stood, and greatly marvels therefore that nothing was contained in the extract tending to that effect.
In conclusion of your speech with the king and his mother, her Majesty thinks it very meet you should as of yourself let the king understand how greatly you are grieved, as one that desires a perfect amity between the two Crowns, and sees how necessary it were for the continued conservation of both realms in respect of the greatness of Spain, to have the king and us knit in some sound and perfect amity, that seeing this treaty of marriage is subject to such difficulties that the success of it is doubtful, there should not be some other way taken for the conclusion of some such league as may tend to the assurance of both Crowns against any that should attempt any thing against them. And that you conceive that if the treaty of amity propounded last year by her Majesty had proceeded, good fruit might have in many ways followed thereof, without any impediment to the marriage, but rather might have greatly furthered it. The like speech you should address to such of the Council there as you have known to affect the amity between the two Crowns.
Her Majesty's pleasure is that you shall most effectually recommend to the king the great necessity his brother is in of his brotherly and princely support; letting him understand that although she sees that her often and earnest recommendation has not so far prevailed to work the effect desired by her, yet she hoped that the natural affection he ought to bear his brother, and the great good that the Crown of France will receive by the prosecution of the action he has now in hand, would have wrought in such sort that he would have been otherwise supported than hitherto he has been. For if the king would only have favoured him so far as to have given order that upon his frontier bordering on the Low Countries there might have been a general restraint made against the transporting of victuals to the Prince of Parma and the Malcontents, it would have stood him in such stead that the prince would not have prevailed in the taking of Oudenarde as he has done.
Her Highness would further have you let him understand that she is informed there are great numbers both of horse and foot coming to the succour of the Prince of Parma, both from Italy and Germany; whereby it is very likely he will be in such sort fortified that the duke's forces will not be able to withstand him, unless the king deals more roundly in supporting him than hitherto he has done, especially by giving present order of the said restraint of victuals, which by the judgement of those who know what necessity the Prince of Parma is in, and how hardly he could be furnished otherwise than out of the king's dominions, will more 'prevail' to annoy the enemy than the furnishing of him with 10,000 men. Therefore, seeing this may be done without breach of league or just cause of offence to Spain, her Majesty most earnestly desires the king to give order in that behalf. She takes this cause of the duke's to heart, foreseeing the danger that may befall to them both in case he shall not be better assisted than hitherto by his brother; and therefore she looks that you should deal substantially and earnestly therein, pressing 'with' the king and Queen Mother to yield you some answer. Her Majesty is content you should show the extract to the king, if you see good cause to lead you to it; and therefore I send a copy of it enclosed.
Draft, with one or two corrections by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 10 pp. [France VII. 139.]
July 25. 184. John Norms to Walsingham.
I have received your two letters here at Dunkirk. Touching her Majesty's pleasure how I shall govern myself in this army, I will in all my actions prefer her will before my reputation, and howsoever I am used, it shall content me to think how I may do her service. My brother can make you the true report of this last meeting. I cannot yet learn the foundations of it, but there is great appearance that some of the officers were faulty 'of' the beginning, not thinking it would have grown to that extremity. When I have learned more, 1 will more largely advertise you.
Our news is that Octavian Gonzaga has arrived at Namur; the forces from Italy in the Duchy of Luxembourg being 4,000 Spaniards and 2,000 Italians on foot, and of both nations 1,500 lances. Count Charles is said to march with two regiments of Almans. Our forces from France are looked for devoutly, but we learn no certain time of their arrival. I will, as you write, advertise you when anything happens of importance.—Dunkirk, 25 July 1582.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl, and Fl. XVI. 77.]
July 25. 185. Fremyn to Walsingham.
I received your letter on the 23rd, through Capt. Williams, who gave it me at the camp. It was dated July 8. Touching your commands, I will not fail to write to the person in question very fully; he does things easily for me off-hand (à la légère) especially in these matters. And to tell the truth, I cannot persuade myself that there is not some great feat to be executed on the part of the Roman Catholic princes, which has been long projected, and is at present on the table (sur le bureau) if God do not lay to His hand to hinder it.
As for affairs here, they do not go as is requisite, but always from bad to worse. His Highness is at present at Bruges, haying passed through Zealand with his Excellency. The Prince of Épinoy has remained at Antwerp as governor. Since his Highness's arrival at Bruges, Lamoral d'Egmont has been ordered to keep his house as a prisoner under guard, and others have been imprisoned. They say that M. de Marquette is of the party, and the baron of Salcedo, son of a Spaniard who was killed in the Paris massacre. He was governor for the king of a place near Metz in Lorraine, and had lately come to the camp, two days before it was raised from the neighbourhood of Ghent. He had passed through the enemy's camp, and was at the surrender of Oudenarde, with a passport from the Duke of Lorraine. He has had a regiment in France—is a busybody (remue ménage) and dangerous; 28 to 30 years old. As to the deed for which he was arrested, or accused, I have not heard the truth of it.
As for the conduct and government of our camp, not a sol or patare has as yet been paid to the gendarmery since we were encamped before Ghent, and there is no sort of brigandage or theft which is not committed by the soldiers who go out from the camp in search of victuals, besides (que) violations; and these continue. That is the state, conduct and discipline of our army, with infinite gambling. If his Highness does not set order there sooner or later, we may fear the worst, that some great alteration will come about. To wish to make use of an army composed of five nations, without pay or tolerable food, what is one to hope for from such management ? And to say the truth, since we have been encamped at this place we have lost as many men, deserted or dead, as joined us at Dunkirk. They go away daily, and pass through the enemy's ground to get to France. Free passage is given them at Gravelines. As for the English, young Mr Norris will inform you more fully of their state. There are at present 25 ensigns in the camp, and 5 of Walloons; 60 French companies; 6 Scotch will remain; 800 or 1,000 reiters, and 27 cornets of cavalry, such as it is. We await the forces from France that are said to be at hand; which again is not a ready thing. Yesterday morning arrived in post a French gentleman, who said he had seen the Prince Dauphin a fortnight ago. He told him that he would not come to these parts but by the king's license and express command, and that he had no forces ready yet. In the evening arrived M. de Saucriaut (?), who said just the contrary. He went to see his Highness, and said that by the 15th of next month the force would have joined the army. These are words. Time and the season are passing, with the resources. There are only two or three months of summer left; and the French proverb will come true 'après la mart, le médecin,' even if steps were being sincerely taken, which most people doubt, from the results which they see with their eyes.
To-day 5 of the newly-come French companies left the camp to go into Dixmude with the others of M. de Saint-Seval's regiment. It is reported that the enemy is on the way towards Poperinghen. This is not assured; but he certainly had some design on Brussels, to blockade it, and reckoned to retake Alost easily, inasmuch as he could get rid of the water from it.
The enemy's reinforcements are at hand; and those which were in the neighbourhood of Geneva are on the way thither, led by one named Anselme, who is from Avignon, and has served the king of France in the Marquisate of Saluces; where having taken certain places, the king had to pay him 30,000 crowns before he would hand them over. There are also some old Spanish regiments, which have been here before.
As for the general of our camp, M. de Rochepot, he has had two attacks of tertian fever and went yesterday morning to Bergues for medical treatment, and is lodged at the abbey. M. de Villiers commands in his absence. I will not discourse longer to you on the miseries here, of the disorders, confusions, plunderings, robberies, embezzlements (? concussions), violations of laws divine and human, leaving it all to Mr Norris; what is going on in this town on the part of the garrison, and other things that must not be written. In sum, Sir, we are the scourges of the wrath of God, who will strike us all for being conduit-pipes for the scum of wickedness; living only by prey, whose end will crown the work.—Dunkirk, 25 July, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, 1582.
P.S.—There is no great choice between tyrannies, complains this desolated country, which laments itself.
Colonel Stewart is at present in Zealand. He married the Countess of Batemburg a fortnight ago, and is on his way to Scotland from Veere, where he embarks.
Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl, XVI. 78.]
July 25. 186. Gerhardt van dem Birboum to Walsingham.
Although I am not personally acquainted with your lordship, necessity compels me to write and will excuse my boldness. I have continually and at great cost been for a long time soliciting through my special deputy for payment of the bonds given by her Majesty which the Mayor and Alderman of London promised to pay us the debtors in chief; upon which, owing to my deputy's diligent solicitation, you will not be unaware that I have been for some years entitled to sue. On this I have had to expend a great part of my substance, contrary to my expectation. For relying on that old promptitude of payment for which her Majesty was for many years celebrated throughout Europe, I thought that by the transfer to me of those bonds I held the very gold and silver. But I have been so much disappointed, that in despair of getting anything by any further modesty and civil solicitation, I decided to recall my deputy, especially when I understood that I had hitherto been cajoled (lactari) with the vain and so costly hope of the payment of interest, promised to similar creditors, as though I seemed to be held in derision; whence others might snatch occasion to open their mouths for a transfer of my security (? meœ actionis translationi inhiandi). After having thus far at so much expense, tried to get some return from it, I had no idea of withdrawing, and if any postponement should happen to me, allowing the name of others to be admitted upon it—otherwise, to say the truth, an unusual thing in Germany.
Wherefore I beg your advocacy to enable me to get satisfaction, that I may not be forced to adopt that method of obtaining payment which is granted by the bonds, and for which there is certainly opportunity both among us and elsewhere; and I have hitherto put off using it to my heavy cost. Wherefore being unable any longer to bear the delay, some months ago I made my protest before the senate of this our city, and gave orders for it to be made known in England. Understanding that it has been read by the Mayor and Aldermen of London and others, which is enough for me without further protestations or publication (insinuatione). Before taking further steps, I will wait to see what hope may dawn from this humble statement of the case.—Cologne, 25 July 1582.
Add. Endd. by L. Tomson: From Gerard Byrboum, for payment of his bonds. He has protested in Colin, and means to proceed accordingly in case he be not otherwise satisfied. Latin. 1½ pp. [Germany II. 34.]