Elizabeth: August 1582, 21-25

Pages 261-274

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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August 1582, 21–25

Aug. 21 266. Cobham to Walsingham
I have 'stayed' to write anything of the sundry bruits and advertisements sent to the Queen Mother by Meilleraye, Charlevoix and M. d'O, touching the meeting of the Spanish and French navies, with the disorder which is 'delivered forth' to have passed, because of the uncertain reports, which were such at first that the Queen Mother was for two or three days given to understand that Strozzi was dead; which made her shed more tears, with shows of greater sorrows, than has appeared in her at the death of any of her children. But now the coming to Court of Neppeville, captain of Count Brissac's ship, in which the said count is returned, has brought such news that she is in hope M. Strozzi is not drowned or slain, but hurt and taken. Howbeit, his information is not accounted so assured, because he speaks as one who fled away. This Captain Neppeville has informed the Queen Mother how after Strozzi had entered the Isle of St. Michael, remaining victorious, save that there were 200 or 300 Spaniards who had saved themselves in a little fortress which he intended to have besieged, there came withal advertisements to him that the Spanish fleet approached. Whereupon they embarked their soldiers, putttng themselves in order to encounter the enemy on the seas. Howbeit, since the captains and principal personages of the French fleet were not all of opinion to assail the enemy, both the navies lay in sight of one another till July 25, when M. Strozzi perceiving the wind would turn to their disadvantage sent word to Count Brissac and the rest of the captains that he was resolved to give the onset on the Spanish fleet, desiring him to follow him, So M. Strozzi, being gone out of his 'unwylde' [qy. unwiedly] hulk, having embarked in the ship of M. de Beaumont, Count Brissac's lieutenant, caused the sails to be 'hoysed,' and setting forward was incontinently encountered by two Spanish gallions, with whom he fought, and Count Brissac assisted him with his ship, but 'with contrary wind was put from the fight,' and seeing the rest of the navy fly, sought the means to take his course towards France. Captain Neppeville reports that he saw M. Strozzi's ship overcome and himself taken prisoner, being hurt in the head; wherewith the Queen Mother comforts herself that M. Strozzi lives, though no singular credit is to be given to the reporter. It is looked for here that some more certain news might come from England. I hear Signor Landi has delivered such knowledge of this as he had understood there; he came hither on the 19th inst. They report that Don Antonio was gone before the battle with certain vessels towards the Isles of 'Maderes.'
The Queen Mother doubts lest this mischance happened to the French fleet will somewhat discourage her son and those who depend on his faction in Flanders.
The Guises 'be made all to' become ill-satisfied with Monsieur for sending to the king the particulars of Salcedo's confessions, whereby they and many of their followers, governors of divers towns and provinces, have been so deeply touched.
Notwithstanding the king has given his mother power to govern his realm as regent, she passes nothing but it is referred to his liking.
Monsieur has sent hither M. de Plessis to pass into Germany; but not receiving the money his Highness assigned him, he is ready to send his dispatch back.
The other day I was intreated to write to you by one Carlo Doni, brother to the Treasurer Doni, at the instance of some of my Italian friends. I suppose he is sufficiently known to Signor Capponi, being a Florentine. He professes his repair into England to be only to see her Majesty, the Court, and London. There is also one Philippo Pigafetta, of 'Vinsentia,' a philosopher, who has likewise given me to understand he desires to go into England, being of young Mr Nevill's acquaintance.
I am advertised that the coming of the Muscovite ambassador is to have the title of king by the confirmation of the Emperor and the Pope; and his repair to the Diet, and Venice, is to enter into league against the Turk, as also through the Muscovite's means to have the Persian 'practised' to continue the Turkish wars.
I hear the Spanish king had a practice to take Bergamo, which was discovered. — Paris, 21 August 1582.
pp. [France VIII. 22.]
Aug. 21 267. Cobham to Walsingham
I dispatched my servant Benedict Barwick on the 15th inst., and because I understood 'there was laying wait' for packets passing towards England and Flanders, I willed him to go by way of Dieppe, and in no wise to take his journey towards Calais or Boulogne. Now yesterday he writes to me that he went first to Dieppe, staying there a day or more, and finding the wind contrary, desirous to make more haste than good speed, departed from Dieppe to take the post towards Boulogne, and was between Nampont and 'Muttreul' on the 17th at 7 o'clock at night in the wood robbed of his packets and money by certain Burgundians belonging to Hesdin, as the postmaster of Nampont gives me to understand. I have willed my man to repair to you, to declare his mischance, happened to my great grief contrary to the order I had given him, and have sent you by this bearer, James Paynter, the double of the have sent you by this bearer, James Paynter, the double of the lost packet, dated the 15th inst. I have not yet made any complaints till I hear your pleasure further, for if they be 'happened' into the enemy's hands, there is no remedy for the 'rehaving' of them. But otherwise I use all the means convenient to recover them. Thus in grief and small contentation, with pains in my head, I crave your pardon if I write not as I should. — Paris, 21 August 1582.
Add. Endd. (serving probably for both his and the last). 1½ pp. [Ibid. VIII. 23.]
Aug. 21. 268. Cobham to Walsingham
I have stayed this bearer upon the advice I had this morning from the 'dealer' of M. Strozzi's business that a late advertisement was come that he had overthrown the enemy; but sending thereon to MM. Pinart and Lansac, I 'received' from them how Count Brissac has brought into France three of the Spanish ships, and they say seven more are sunk; which was done with the loss of 1000 Frenchmen. But they send me no certain notice what is become of M. Strozzi nor of the French 'army.' They say they are daily awaiting more certain intelligence. I hear withal that they have dispatched to M. Mauvissiére; therefore I send this messenger by Dieppe, because the other way by Boulogne proves not free.
Count Brissac has been at Court these three days sundry times.
The Prince Dauphin is in this town.
I perceive they have received knowledge of this action of M. Strozzi out of England; the truth of it may be known to you. — Paris, 21 August 1582.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. VIII. 24.]
Aug. 21 269. M. de Péna to Walsingham
You were born under the divine influence of beneficence, which is the fruit and effect of all the virtues; wherefore I beg of you, since your natural goodness makes you liberal of it to all, to impart of it to me, who have long been and always shall be most devoted to your service. I lent to Mr Dale, then ambassador, 500 crowns soleil, judging that as he was your successor he was also your intimate friend, as he seemed in some degree to show when I mentioned you. And further, having been appointed to so honourable an office by so heroic a Queen, I should not have thought that he would ever have wished to sully her service and his own honour to the detriment of the poor philosopher who for many years has been pretty serviceable in regard to all Englishmen and still desires to deserve well of all there whom he knows to be virtuous and not ungrateful, in however cowardly and ungentlemanly a fashion (lâchement at mêchaniquement) one of her Majesty's Masters of Requests, an administrator of justice, may have treated me. For so far from his having repaid me what I lent so freely, with increased measure as those of old time commanded, in the Laws of Plato and Cicero, I have not even been able to get a word of answer to all the letters I have written to him, nor through sundry friends who have spoken to him on my behalf. And besides this, I lent to MM. de Mansfeld (?), on his guarantee, for which I have his hand and seal, 300 crowns, with promise to pay the revenue on the English rate (? établissement), of which I have not yet been able to touch one tournois, as you, sir, know, who have done me the kindness to promise I should be set right, and in fact have spoken to them of it. If I have yet entrusted to them the second sum of 300 crowns, not having yet been paid the first, it is not simplicity or temerity on my part, but a sign of true friendship and great confidence in the affection which he said he bore to me and his promise to take his revenge [sic] on every good opportunity. Further I spared no industry in looking after his health, and that of his wife, daughter, son-in-low, and household, to their great satisfaction, with nothing beyond simple thanks as regarded myself.
There, sir, is my claim, which would speak sufficiently for itself, if I had done these good offices to a person who had ears, or rather who had not a Platonic, and more than Pharisaic, soul. But the industrious and malicious man, armed with the iniquity of the law, being, as Aristotle says, the most pernicious beast in existence, my complaint would be as unheard as that of a dumb man if your authority and intervention does not come to its aid; to which, as to the oracle of a Hephéstion or a Cato honourable men will at once give their consent.
Fearing that Tupper might not arrive so soon, who assured me that you were willing to oblige me so much by your kindness as to present a placet to his Majesty, I have again sent by Paynter the same very humble request. And not knowing the style of the placet, I have left it to such command as you may give for its drafting and presentation. The time is so long, and my loss through the unjust detention of this sum so great, that I am compelled to importune you, and to beg you once more through this kindness to plunge me into an eternal gratitude, which I hope will some day be effectual and not verbal only.
As I was closing this, I was given some letter of Seneca, very well turned, the subject of which, it seems to me, will also be acceptable to you, as the author has some conformity with your teaching. life, and integrity. Therefore I beg you to excuse me for sending it to you. — Paris, 21 August 1582.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [France VIII. 25.]
Aug. 22. 270. Reply of his Excellency to the Earl of Leicester's Letter
I could not express in words the satisfaction which your letter has given me, for although I had before no doubt of your goodwill and affection towards me, of which you have assured me by so many proofs, yet in this my deliverance from so extreme a danger I have been glad to receive this further testimony of your solicitude on my behalf. I feel myself greatly obliged to you, and beg you to believe that throughout my life, when I shall have an opportunity of serving you, no man will do it more cordially. But meanwhile you have added, as the crown of this obligation, by offering yourself to be employed to your power in the aid of this cause; for which indeed I very humbly thank you, begging you to employ your credit, as you have up till now. — Ghent, 22 August.
Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 116.
Aug. 22 271. The Deputy and Assistants of Merchants Adventurers to Walsingham
We have written to the Lord High Treasurer touching a certain English book, whereof it may please you to receive one herewith. It is made by one Browne, an Englishman now at Middelburg, where, as it is said, he exercises a ministry in a corner, deluding certain of her Majesty's subjects that to follow him have left their ordinary calling in England. Of this book divers were brought to this town by one William Pagett, sometime a brewer's clerk in London, who on the English 'burse' publicly offered them for sale to the merchants of our company. Which being understood, the books were here examined by our minister, and found for sundry points of doctrine to be erroneous, and the whole scope thereof (specially the epistle) tending not to the peace nor edification of the Church; so that we caused Pagett to be apprehended, with purpose to have sent both him and the books into England. Howbeit, requiring the magistrates' assistances therein, because our jurisdiction in this case stretches not so far, it was answered that neither we, nor they themselves, have authority to send him out of Brabant, being a thing clear against the privilege of Brabant. But they promised that if he should here utter any of them, he should be punished and banished the town, and gave us consent to take these books from him; which we have done, and withal have given him such sharp admonition that we trust no more of them will be brought hither, besides that we account to procure the suppression of them in Zealand. — Antwerp, 22 August 1582. (Signed) Richarged Godard (and apparently written by him).
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. 117.
Aug. 22 272. The Duke of Anjou to Walsingham
It is no new thing for me to recognise the effects of your good will, of which I have heretofore had so much experience; but what you have added to what is now past redoubles my obligation, though not my good will to you, to which nothing can be added. Believe me that my spirit is bend (bandé) to nothing save the service of the Queen; and esteeming my position much lowered if she were to deem otherwise of me, seeing that all my happiness and satisfaction consists in the part she is pleased to give me in her good graces, which I hope to deserve by some signal service. For yourself, believe that you have no better friend than I. — Ghent, 22 August.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid XVI. 118.]
Aug. 23 273. Sainte-Aldegonde to Walsingham
I have received your letter, and thank you for the testimony which in it you give me of your continued good will towards me. I beg you to hold me always one of your most affectionate servants. Touching Stewart's journey, it was too late to hinder it. We hear that the Scotch generally have received orders from their king either to withdraw to their own country, or to serve on the other side. If this is so, it will cause us great inconveniences for the loss of confidence assured. If it is otherwise, even so the ill offices done by some of them cause us much perplexity. Please let me know what you have heard about it. As for what you promise to do for me, you will act worthily and conformably to your 'virtue' and your former doings, and will infinitely oblige us all to recognise it by all service. For my part I believe you to be so assured of my desire to serve you that there is no need to declare it in words. And in fact my duty constrains me thereto, both for the obligation I have in respect of the general, and for my private respects.
As for French affairs, they give us good hopes, and even those who till now felt most distrust are drawing better auguries. But surely I do not see that the results correspond thereto. I think you will have heard that MM. de Bellièvre and Brulart left here the day before yesterday — though owing to my absence I did not see them — and took with them Salcedo, who had in their very presence deposed great things about the conspiracies against the king's person and estate. If that does not open his eyes, I find it hard to believe that anything else will do any good. But as all is in the hand of God, we must leave this to Him, and pray Him to turn all to His glory and the good of His Church. — Ghent, 23 August 1582.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 119.]
Aug. 9—23 274. Correspondence of the Queen and the Prince of Orange
(1). The Queen to the Prince. — We find it very strange that a prince of such quality as Monsieur, brother to the Most Christian King, having betaken himself to those parts for the defence of the country and the maintenance of its liberties, at the great risk of his honour and life, whereof the very dangers in which he was been these days past give proof, so little respect is nevertheless shown him that no account is taken to furnish him with the sums granted him to meet the costs of this war. Wherefore we have thought good to address you particularly, as having been the principal instrument in bringing this prince into the country, to say that your honour, and the care which you ought to have for the welfare of those countries, bind you to represent forcibly to the Estates the fault which they commit and the wrong they do themselves in having so little respect and showing themselves so ungrateful to a prince to whom they are so obliged. Even if they do not consider him, reason itself bids them in their own interest to show themselves readier to furnish him with the necessary means for the defence of the country. For to call a prince of that quality to their aid, and then to abandon him without giving him any other aid themselves, will only be to lead up to their own ruin and render themselves hateful to all the nations of the world, who will rightly detest such bad faith and ingratitude. As for ourself, if they act in this way, and behave so to him as to compel him to withdraw once more, in a manner of speaking, in his shirt-sleeves (en pourpoint) to his dishonour, as he did the first time that he began to endeavour to disengage them from bondage to their enemies, they may be assured that, sooner than see him in danger of falling into a like dishonour, we shall be the first to advise him flatly to leave the whole thing betimes, and to take no more account of them than their ingratitude deserves. And whereas perhaps they persuade themselves that our fortune is so much bound up in the success of theirs that we have reason, for our own private good, not to abandon them, we would testify to them that they will find themselves mistaken if they rest on that foundation. For our affairs are, thank God, in such fashion, and offers so advantageous have been made to us, that whatever may become of them, we shall not leave to enjoy the peace and repose which God has up to now given us. — Nonsuch, 9 August 1582.
“The following was written in the Queen's own hand": My cousin, I promise you on the faith of a princess that if Monsieur pleases to open his ears to the honourable offers that are laid before him, he will have no reason to regret it; and therefore mind you do not torment him too much.
Aug. 23 (2.) The Prince of Orange to the Queen. — By your letter of the 9th August, I have seen the singular care which you have in respect of his Highness, which as it redounds more and more to the good of these countries lays us, and myself in particular, under a great obligation to be your obedient servants. For my own part, as my conscience and my actions testify with what integrity I have proceeded and yet do proceed, having nothing so much at heart as that which touches his Highness's service, so would I lay before you no evidence but his own of the loyal endeavours which I have up to now, relying no less on his kindness that he will have accepted the good will which I have offered him. As for the States, I can assure you that albeit they cannot in performance equal my desire and affection, the country being in such wise spoiled and exhausted by the long continuance of so oppressive and difficult a war, nevertheless they are doing their utmost to discharge their duty, and his Highness would receive full satisfaction, if the greatness of the needs which present themselves every day and the power of the enemy did not diminish their resources and strength. For which reason, being in no way satisfied with what is done, I am taking all possible pains to induce them to make further efforts, as I hope they will do.
I humbly beg your Majesty to take these things into your kind consideration and to do me the honour to believe that whereas not only the ruin or preservation of these countries. but also the glory of God and the good of all Christendom, depend on the result of these affairs, there is nothing in the world which we have so much at heart, and at which we shall work to the very utmost. Meanwhile the proofs of your virtue, magnanimity and goodness are such that they have impressed the hearts of all, that not in respect of your private interest, but for the general good of all Christendom, you would never desert our cause. Wherein these Estates have more cause than any other to hope, having more experience of your kindness and good will. If being overwhelmed by so heavy a burden they cannot now show you worthy gratitude, they will never fail to recognize that they are bound to devote their lives and all that they have to your service; as for myself, I have always done, and do to this day. — Ghent, 23 August 1582.
Copies. Fr. 4 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 120.]
Aug. 9 Draft in hand of L. Tomson of the Queen's letter above. 2 pp. [Ibid. XVI. 120a.]
Aug. 23 275. Masino del Bene to Walsingham
In reply to the letter which you sent me by Signor Landi I have nothing to tell you, except that I am beginning, sexagenarian though I am, to learn grammar — not the Latin, for of that I know too much, but the Spanish, which I plainly see that he who would go about in the world ought to know. There is none of those whom this fact touches, and very nearly, that considers it or seeks to put any hindrance in they way; on the contrary the greater the peril, and the nearer it comes, their depreciation of it and of any care to remedy it increases therewith; in such wise that I no longer have any doubt that everything is on the way to ruin, and that it is not an evil that it comes from on high for the chastisement of our sins, which it would not be possible to remedy, if God in His infinite power do not lay to His holy hand, as I, leaving all other cares, have betaken myself to pray Him, and then over and above have with much sincerity and affection done all the services of which I felt myself capable in order that some remedy might be applied; and perhaps also, in their view, with too great freedom. His Highness is not in a position to allow any hope of his going and retaking any of the places that have been lost; and it will be of no small importance, seeing the state in which his affairs are, owing to the great forces which the enemy have, and the smallness of his own, which will be late besides, nor do I know how he will be able to get them together, to say nothing of the disposition here. His Excellency will preserve those that he has remaining, waiting for the enemy to begin to feel the assaults of cold and hunger, and for some better decision to be taken here than that which at present holds with us; such as I cannot but think our king will be for taking, if it is faithfully pointed out to him in what peril he will be if the King of Spain recovers the Low Countries. But I greatly fear that in this matter His Majesty has not been served as is fitting, and that the person most bound to do him such service is she who is proceeding with more caution (rispetto) than is fitting in an affair of so great importance, as I have frankly said to her. This is as much as I have to say at present.
For all which reasons, in the letters which in these days I have written to His Highness and the Prince of Orange, I have always been of opinion that they should think only of maintaining their forces and their strong places, and leave the enemy to lose the dash (furia) with which they will enter the country; which will undoubtedly happen soon in the case of so large an army when what little there is there and can be sent from here has been consumed, since nothing will go there, or but little and that with difficulty. — Paris, 23 August, the vigil of that blessed saint, 1582.
Add. Endd. Ital.pp. [France VIII. 26.]
Aug. 23 276. Peiero Landi to Walsingham
The enclosed was given me by Captain Masino del Bene for you, and he told me it was the reply to the one you gave me for him. I wish to accompany it with this, and to let you know that I have sent you back the packet of letters which you gave me for Signor Horatio Pallavicino. I have given them into the hands of your servant Paynter with strict injunctions. — Paris, 23 August 1582.
Add. Endd. Ital. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 27]
Aug. 24 277. John Norris to Walsingham
Yours of the 4th came later to my hands than another of the 7th, which has been the cause that I have not yet answered it. You give me a friendly admonition to amend two special points, wherein it seems you are advertised that I am faulty. For the first, which concerned reckonings and payments, I have somewhat by my last declared to you how I had behaved myself: and to repeat it, I will assure you that I am able to prove that no Colonel on this side the sea has dealt so well with his captains touching their accounts as I have done, and so much I have maintained before the whole assembly fo officers and captains of all the English troops. For the other, that I did not give everyone the credit that they have deserved, if you will show me so much favour as to name to me him that finds himself most aggrieved, or any one of them, I will answer it in such sort that they shall be ashamed. I guess that Captain Williams is one of those that complains of me in this case. When I know it, I will make it plain to you that I have done him no wrong. He seeks now to withdraw his company of horse from the other English companies, among the French. You will see what credit he will win among them. I beseech you to give me leave to stand upon my defence, for my countrymen here are readier to accuse than to prove. Whatsoever they say of me I will keep myself out of the 'danger' of those unsettled heads, and prove myself untouched with any dishonesty, let them scape (?) as they can. — Ghent, 24 Aug. 1582.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 121.]
Aug. 24 278. Harry Astell to Walsingham
'Having' been this month in the camp of his 'Altez,' under General Norris of our nation, in whose absence the mutiny which I know you have heard of took effect; but on his return he assembled all the captains purposely into his tent, where I was present, and heard the general with great temperance and judgement demand the causes of the mutiny, which by the captains was so slenderly and weakly answered as is not worth the hearing. Which when he saw how things were cloaked, he said further to them: “I have been greatly wronged by some of you here, who put into your soldiers' heads that I was detaining in my hands a half month's pay, and how false that bruit is, yourselves know.” To which they all particularly confessed it to be most untruly reported of him. Further he also demanded of them if ever he demanded of them one stiver towards his charges, which also was bruited to discredit him with the soldier. But they all acquitted him thereof also, which I was glad to see and hear, and therefore am the bolder to advertise you hereof, not that any word or letter can give any credit to his deeds, but to witness what I did hear and see. Concerning the encounter between the enemy and some part of our camp at Bergues, where our 'stand of pikes' did duly their parts to their credit, I know you have heard in better sort than I can deliver it.
And so for the sudden dislodging of our camp from Dunkirk, which the enemy calls a running-away; and so we must do still if no better aid come from France than hitherto is come. Our camp is now near Ghent, where his Highness and the Prince with most part of the States are, to determine what to do. God give a good success to their directions. — Ghent, 24 August 1582.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XVI. 122.]
Aug. 24 279. John Cobham to Walsingham
On the 20th inst. Monsieur was received with great solemnity into Ghent. From the gate where he entered, till he came to his lodging, there were to the number of 500 new-painted seats made on each side the way, wherein were placed 500 young virgins clothed all in white, with torches alight in their hands, in token that Ghent was never conquered by the enemy and therefore yet has her maidenhead. Upon these seats on the one side of the way 'were' wirtten Amor Syneere, and in Dutch Oprechte Liefde; on the other side was painted the letter F for François, with a crown all gold upon it. On the 23rd Monsieur was created and sworn Earl of Flanders and Ghent. He was accompanied to the market-place, called the Friday Mart, where he took his oath, with the Prince of Orange, the Prince of Épinoy, and diver other Estates and 'burgos' of the town. At that place there was 'attendant' for his coming 3,000 'burgos' in arms, very well appointed. I saw no great rejoicing among the common sort. He came to the stage where he was created earl, apparelled all in black taffeta; but at his departure he was clothed in robes of murrey velvet, and went to the 'Statehouse' to dinner accompanied as above said.
Monsieur's camp is came within two leagues of Ghent; as it is thought, they are going into Brabant to relieve 'Leero' [qy. Lierre]
There was written on the outside of a gate newly erected, in French, viz. —
Comme le froid hyver nuict a toute verdure, Mais le fécund solent [sic; qy. soleil] remet tout en nature, Aussi les maulx passez ont ma beute, Que revenir je sens souz ce nouve [sic] esté.
On the other side in Latin:—
Talis esto Princeps, qualis paterfamilias.
Monsieur is now determined to go from hence on Friday next to Antwerp. — Ghent, 24 August 1582.
P.S.—You shall receive my next letter from Antwerp.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. 123.]
Aug. 24 280. Henry Knollys to Walsingham
As I have always found myself to be most bound to you for your continual favour in these troublesome times of my daily disgrace, so I acknowledge myself to be at your disposition, both when and where you may please to employ me, for the late favour you have been pleased to show me in this time of my 'full' banishment, and whereof I have received advertisement both from my father and brother Francis; viz. in staying the unjust and injurious suit of the French ambassador from her Majesty's ears; whose heavy hand and hard speeches against me have given heart to every caviller to tread me down at their pleasure, whereas, if I might have the benefit of law like a subject, but with her Majesty's indifferent favour, I would neither fear the extremity of justice, nor be forced to plead from so far off as I do. And although I know that my brother Francis has fully informed you of every particular that passed in that action, yet with your favour, though to your trouble, I will as briefly as I may make a true report thereof, referring myself and my cause to your protection and disposition.
Being 'at the seas' with two ships of my own, I chanced to meet with this Breton now in question; a prowler, by his own confession, as it also appeared by his manning and furnishing. Before day he came upon my best ship, wherein myself, my brother Francis, and divers other gentlemen were, with intent, as it seems, to have surprised her, if my watch had not been the warier to avoid his boarding of her; who, seeing himself frustrate of his intent, passed by to the northward, and we to the southward, after he had given us many vile and injurious words. Not content with this, after an hour he turned his course clean backward, following us with full sail as fast as he could; and by that it was day, being a notable good sailor, he had fetched us up again. But seeing my ship to be too well appointed for his purpose, he forsook her, and sailed into the wind towards my little bark, which he likewise quickly overtook, and finding I was not able to rescue her, in our sight they boarded, and fought a great while. In the end, as God would, my men prevailed, after the hurt and loss of a great many of them, in great peril to sink before I could come near them; in such sort that I was forced to break off my journey to my great hindrance, and for safeguard of my company driven to seek for the next shore, which was Ireland, where I was no sooner arrived, but my bruised ship to my great loss was cast away. With no small charge I repaired the other to transport my men; and in the meanwhile seeing no fit place there to commit the men to justice, I found the means to have them all transported into England, and landed them in Wales, as Sir john 'Parrat' can witness, before whom they appeared, without requiring any other thing of him, than a passport to depart into France. Some of them tarried, and served in my ship.
Not long after, myself and my company came with this new-repaired ship of 'Bryttayne' into the haven of 'Hampton,' where she has remained ever since in harbour without any challenge to her; myself most commonly at the Court, without any question of this cause. The ship has remained in the harbour at Hampton now four years and upward, and being almost rotted 'apeaces' at my coming into Flanders I gave her to Mr. 'Owtred,' who belike has bestowed some cost upon her, which makes them the busier to recover her again.
I assure you, upon the faith of an honest man, that I have written nothing but the truth to you, and that my lost ship and goods at least doubled the value of this other ship; which nevertheless I am sure Mr Owtred will be content to let them have again for my quiet. Other recompense I am not able to make any, her Majesty's disfavour has made me so beggarly. Besides all this, for order's sake at my first arrival in England I caused an action to be entered against these persons in the Admiralty Court, as may yet appear for any discharge.
Thus have I made a 'tœdiouse' but true discourse to you of the 'estate' of 'Mr Mavissier's' complaint; who unless he were become a party with the Spaniard in helping to plague me, might have picked out some other time to prefer pretended actions against me than now that I am entertained in the service of his master's brother; unto whom I have complained of the wrong done me by Mauvissière. His Highness has given charge to this bearer, M. du 'Bec,' to deal expressly and roundly with him in this my cause; whereunto I humbly carve your aid and assistance. He has likewise written to her Majesty in my favour, if it will stand me in any stead.
As touching our affairs here, our camp has daily grown great by report with French supplies, but is small in effect; in such sort that we have privily stolen away form Dunkirk with a hastier march than ordinary towards Brabant; for what effect, is yet kept secret. In each town, as we passed, we have left 'garnisons'; which is a token, in my judgement, that we are not like to be masters of the field this year. The French are misliked generally in these countries, saving of such as by policy, for necessity's sake, are forced to court them. The enemy, by occasion of the report of great supplies, is grown great 'indread'; so that reports have hurt us, and helped them. Touching our English regiment, I find the common soldier miserable with continual marching, and want of money and victuals. I find the captains as envious as may be; causes, in my conscience, of our late shameful mutiny, most ungrateful where they owe most thanks, that is to their general, without whom no one of them 'are' able to do themselves any good, who helps them still at every pinch, and yet Passata la fortuna, gabbato il Sancto. He grieves most to find unkindness in such as himself only has set up, such as with his favour have gained some credit, and only by his means being climbed as high as themselves can hope for, begin to spurn against his government. To be short, they are all hirelings. I find that either by enticement of others, or fantasticalness of himself, Capt. Williams has of late withdrawn himself and his company of horse from the rest of our English, and joined himself to the French; after the example of Rowland Yorke and Mr Cotton, affirming all of them amongst some others, as the truth is, that they live not by any in England, but by this 'plow which they hold here,' a dangerous report to be put into mutinous soldiers' ears, as also dishonourable to command over such as upon slight conceits are ready to slip away suddenly. Myself have heard them at sundry times make dishonourable and untrue reports of our general, which when I have brought into question face to face they have utterly denied again, besides bearing me a grudge for my labour. These liberal speakers make me think they care not what they write, especially finding that the general's humour is neither to accuse others nor to excuse himself. His walking uprightly cannot warrant him from shameless slanderers, but wise heads will judge causes by their effects. He was never in greater credit with his 'Alteza' and the Prince of Orange than at this present, and thereof I assure you upon my credit, which I will rather die than crack. Yet I know that some have reported the contrary, and to their power procured a practice to bring it to pass.
His Highness made his entry in to Ghent the 20th of this month, and yesterday took his oath in the market-place. It is said that he removes towards Antwerp on Wednesday next; the 'Gawntoyse' are tickle-headed fellows.
I beseech you to pardon my tediousness. Enjoin me to what penance shall please you for it; only help to rid me out of these my troubles, et eris mihi magnus Apollo. — From the camp by Ghent, 24 August 1582.
Add. Endd 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 124.]
Aug. 25 281. John Cobham to Walsingham
The letter you wrote to Mr Norris in my behalf for the debt he owes me, I delivered to him presently after my coming to Dunkirk, requesting his answer, which he has from time to time deferred till this day. He now says that eight days ago he wrote to you in full answer of your letter, and that he is to answer you and not me. Therefore I pray you once again direct your letters to him, requiring him to take some reasonable order with me; 'which' if he shall refuse, after the receipt of your letter, so to do, I pray you give me leave to deal with him in such order that I may recover nothing but that which in equity and conscience is due to me. This bearer will diligently attend on you for your letter.—Ghent, 25 August 1582.
P.S.—Our camp is come to a place called 'Milbrig,' a league from Ghent, where it will tarry till Monsieur is passed by to Antwerp, which will be about Friday next.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. XVI. 125.]
Aug. 25 282. The King of Denmark to the Queen
You doubtless remember the friendly request we made in a former letter, with regard to Hermann Oldensel and John Elmenhorst, citizens of Lubeck, who were plundered in our seas by some of your subjects. They have now come back to us without any result, complaining that although you expressed yourself very kindly touching their cause, they could get no other answer from your officials that they were compelled by law to try the case against Seckford, the owner of the pirate-ship, before the ordinary Courts (? judicio generali). Against which they on their side maintained that they could not fairly be referred to that tribunal, since you had shortly before issued a Commission, as your people call it, before which cases of that kind, having to do with piracy and that sort of public charges, were to be tried; further that they could no longer bear such expenses as the ordinary Courts demand, having been detained there to no purpose for so many years, and their powers being nearly exhausted. They summoned him therefore before the Commission abovementioned. But they say your officials affirmed that Seckford was amenable to that Commission, and that they, the complainants, would get no other answer; further, that since Lord Willoughby, your ambassador, was instructed to unravel the cause here, they should repair hither. On reaching this country and appealing to the ambassador on the matter, they 'perceived nothing of it in him'; only he offered, if they would come back to England with him, to pay their expenses and do his best to further their cause with you. From this we beg you to gather the position of these poor men's business. They have now appealed to us to commend their cause to you. We have stated it so carefully already that we do not know what we can add. It only remains for you to let them feel they have gained something by our intervention.—Frederiksborg, 25 Aug. 1582.
Add. Endd. Latin. 1½ pp. [Denmark I. 22.]