Elizabeth: June 1582, 1-5

Pages 55-67

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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June 1582, 1–5

June 1. 65. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
You know that you have never done with ambassadors, and that they always have something fresh to bother you with. What I have to do in this note is on behalf of the little Englishman called Nicolson; to beg you to have him let out of prison, and set free to go in search of my son and his mother, who are expecting him at Paris. Otherwise order him to do what you please; I am sure he will not go beyond it in anything. The Lord Treasurer told me yesterday that as soon as you had written a line, he would sign it with you, for Nicolson's deliverance; whose chief enemies, I hear, are his own relations, who wish to have a little of his property. He has asked them for an account of it during the last 20 years, when he has not been in England, but nourished at the universities as a poor scholar, full of gentleness and modesty. I would answer for him and for no other, knowing him to be of a very good and gentle nature. Which is what I will say to you of the matter, leaving it to your consideration.—London, 1 June 1582.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid, VII. 91.]
June 1. 66. “Jehan Gower's Examination.”
Friday, 1 June 1582.—We the officials of Paris at the [? Prétoire —judgement hall] of the officiality have called on Jehan Gower, prisoner in its prisons to appear before us who, after making oath, when we would examine him, gave us to understand that he could answer more easily in Latin than in French. Accordingly we enquired as follows:
Being asked as to the cause of his imprisonment, he replied: 'I am suspected of having uttered words of a somewhat impious sound, though I have always been a steady Catholic.'
Asked why he uttered these words, he said that having left his country and his widowed mother, and lost his lands of considerable extent, for fighting on behalf of the Catholic faith, he had come to Flanders and to these parts being driven out by the arms of the Queen of England, and had therefore with other noblemen taken up arms against the Queen in order to restore the Catholic religion. But before a year was out, he had received letters of grace from the Queen, at the request of his relatives, to permit him to return to England; and in order that he might obtain letters from the English ambassador, he had associated with that ambassador, and used these words to win his favour.
Asked where he was born, he said in the diocese of Chester, province of York.
Asked how old he was, he said thirty-five.
Was he layman or cleric? He answered that he had been ordained priest at Rome, and meant by God's help to hold his priesthood as long as he lived.
On what title had he been ordained? He replied that those in the English College at Rome, of whom he was one, could be ordained on the recommendation of his Holiness, and required no other title so far as he knew.
Are they not ordained on the understanding, or under promise, that they will go back to England, to work for the Catholic cause? He said that in general that was so, and he himself had promised the same by oath; but he was at Rome before the College was constituted by the Pope, having been sent by his Holiness to the hostel to get his living, and entered the College when that made out of the hostel.
Who had ordained him to the priesthood? He said that as far as the diaconate he was ordained by some English bishop, and to the priesthood by a Greek bishop, acting for the Pope.
Had he his letters of orders? He said not, but he could easily get them.
How long had he been priest? He said two years, and he said his first mass on Trinity Sunday at the English College, nearly two years ago, and had said mass almost every day since when circumstances permitted.
Asked when he last said mass, he said on the previous Saturday, in the church of St. Opportune at Paris, where he had been accustomed to celebrate since the beginning of last October.
Had he reserved at that mass? He replied, 'Yes, sir.'
Had he come to doubt any article of the Roman Church? He said as God was his witness, no such doubt had entered his heart.
Asked if he had ever lived at Douay in Artois at the charges of the College or the Pope he said he lived among Catholics at Louvain and Douay at his own cost.
Did he thence repair to Rome? He said that as, owing to the Queen's dislike of Catholics, he got no money from England, and by order of the Catholic king, who had said that all who had taken up arms against the Queen of England were to quit that country, he had gone off to Rome.
How many years had he been at Rome? Nearly four, he thought.
How long had he been back from Italy? Two years or thereabouts. He came first to Rheims and stayed there from the end of October till June. Then for his health's sake, he went to some wholesome waters near Liege; returning thence to Rheims and after a few days coming to Paris. At Rheims he received some money from the Principal of the College, named Allen, for which he gave his bond and acceptance.
Asked if on Monday, 28 May last, at noon, he went to the College of the Clermontais at Paris and had there talked about religion with one or more of the priests of that College, he answered that he had been sent for by Father Thomas, an English priest there, that he might receive through Mr Comer, an Englishman, his travelling expenses to England, which were in the hands of Father Thomas, and when the payment of this money to him was being dealt with, he has been questioned about religion. Three or four times he tried to avoid the subject, but upon Father Thomas seriously urging that he would not pay the money unless he openly professed that he was going to England for the public defence of the Catholic religion, he replied at last that he would rather get the money by borrowing than under such obligation. When it was refused, he said that he must look out himself for his journey-money. On Father Thomas asking him if he wanted to return to England because he was badly off, he answered, yes. Not only on this point, but when he further asked 'Does any Article of the Faith in our religion displease you?' deponent answered 'If it were denied that one or another Article was expressly based on Scripture, it would be difficult to prove it.' On the enquiry what article that was, he made answer, not that he himself was not so persuaded, but that if for the sake of testing a mass it were in the clear testimony of Scripture could be held to be the Article of the invocation of Saints, and the man answered that in the Book of Maccabees one of the prophets is represented as praying to God after his death, he said in reply 'What if it were denied that the book is canonical ?'
Asked if he maintained that the saints should not be invoked, he replied that he had said merely by way of a test.
Had he there said that the soul, of Christ had not descended into hell, according to the teaching of the Church of Rome, but that He had suffered the torments of the damned on the Cross, as the Calvinistic Church taught, he replied that this enquiry had been made elsewhere, and that nothing had been said there on the subject so far as he remembered; and whatever he had said, he had said with the idea of testing.
Had he said that the true Body of Christ was not in the Eucharist? He replied that he had spoken in no other form, and admitted his own temerity.
Had he said the mass was not a sacrifice? He replied that he had spoken in no other form, and that it could not be proved from Scripture against a gainsayer.
Had he not been asked if he was a presbyter and answered in such a way as to seem to deny that he was one, and that there was no order of presbyterate '? He answered that he had in like manner said it could not be proved from Scripture.
Had he not said that he was very sorry he had ever said mass, and admitted having said so? He replied that he had no recollection of ever having said so; if he had, he ought not to have. He had no wish to maintain it, and had never even thought such a thing in his mind.
Had he denied that auricular confession was a sacrament, instituted by Christ? He replied that he had said tentatively it could not be proved by Scripture.
Had he denied that the mass was a propitiatory sacrifice? He replied he had said whatever he had said as in the other cases, namely by way of testing, and did not wish to maintain or confirm it.
Being put upon this oath and asked if he doubted or disagreed with any article of the Roman faith, he replied that not in his whole life, nor today had he felt nor did he feel any doubt of the Roman Catholic faith and teaching.
Being asked if he was willing and ready to make a profession of faith according to a form taken from the Council of Trent, he replied that he had much such a profession at Rome, and cordially approved it, and offered, if it seemed good, to make it today; he had been guilty of a slip of the tongue and so admitted, and submitted in heart and spirit to the Church.—Signed on the minutes, John Gower.
Copy. Endd. as at head. Walsingham's mark. Fr. Lat. 6 pp. [Ibid. VII. 92.]
June 2. 67. T. Longston to L. Tomson.
1582, 2 June, Antwerp.—By my letters of the 26th, which I think are yet in Zealand through contrary winds, I answered yours of the 19th; whereof I beseech you to have that regard that appertains.
Mr Gilpin has delivered me certain copies of the States' bonds, and of the interest; with instructions etc. which as yet I have not perused, for he is not yet departed on the journey, but purposes to depart on Monday, if 'contrary advice of the Imperial Diet holding' come not tomorrow. He has also left with me a 'substitution' made by Mr Governor to Reynold Copcott for receipt of such money as the States are to pay, and therefore methinks the commission were fitter for him than for me, in respect both of that, and of my business here not being less than rey [nold's ?]. Besides, it may fall out that if Mr Pal . . . , our secretary in London, be called from that place to a . . better in the Mint (as is likely), it may be my lot, with the help of good friends, whereof I account you 'one chief,' to be called to England to that office. Hereof best (?) I pray you have consideration, and extend your helping hand, if you judge it good for me.
A grant is passed here, 'under broad seal from Monsieur this Duke,' to 'these country' merchants for incorporating them into a company, with authority to assemble here and in England, in 'conventicles,' with a headman and six assisters, for 'carriage of their causes,' etc. And one Paul Aurat, being their secretary, understanding of the suit we have for her Majesty, offers to be a solicitor here, to urge and cause contentment to be given her. Whether this offer be to avoid touching their merchants in England, or to get favour and furtherance for a charter to be granted them in England, or both, I leave to your judgement, and withal pray you to have a care of us in this behalf, that no further scope be given them in England than they have, for it [is] too much already. They are too cunning for us, notwithstanding our long experience, and would eat us out, if they get but a little further or more of us. And therefore, as also considering how they 'abridge' and tax us here contrary to privilege, notwithstanding that we by our trade with them bring them great commodity, and they bring no profit to our country by coming thither, it were an unequal thing to grant them a jot further, or more liberty, but rather get reason to abridge them.
Add. to Mr Laurence Tomson, at his house near Charing Cross. Endd.pp. [Holl and Fl. XVI. 26.]
June 2. 68. Sainte-Aldegonde to Walsingham.
Your last letter was handed to me, but my illness, following on so many afflictions one upon another, has hindered me from putting on the pressure I could have wished. Anyhow, I will not cease to use all endeavours.
This is to beg you to interest yourself for a merchant of this place named Hansz Wouters, who is prosecuted by Fernando Poyntz for debts which he says are those of the States, which he has bought—unlawfully, and is further prosecuting an arrest over them yet more unlawfully. As I know the rights of the case, I commend it to you boldly, and beg you to accept the recommendation. I shall feel much obliged, and will add this obligation to an infinity of others.—Antwerp, 2 June 1582.
Add. Endd Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. 27.]
June 3. 69. Stokes to Walsingham.
My last to you was the 27th ult. This week all things have been somewhat stiller, so there are few speeches to write save the following.
Those of Ghent 'think the time very long' till Oudenarde be succoured; for which cause they this week sent to the Duke of Brabant two of their chiefest 'deacons' with a blunt message to put his Highness in remembrance for the succouring of the town. He has, by report, given them good contentment in speech, with which they are returned to Ghent again and have reported it to the magistrates and commons. But the commons like it not, so that the Gentners begin to wax warm in speech, and if Oudenarde be not succoured, it is feared it will turn to some further displeasure.
It is now 6 weeks and 3 days since the enemy came before Oudenarde and in all this time they have done nothing to it to any purpose. It is now 10 days since they mounted 25 cannons to it, and as yet they have not discharged them above two or three times for a 'proof'; so their dealings are strange to all men here. Some say the cause of the stay is they are making bridges and boats, with many other devices, 'which' until these things are ready the cannon will not play. Some say they hope for some treason within the town. So here go many doubtful speeches of great fear the town will be lost for want of aid in time, for since the 14th ult. no man has come out of it.
The enemy has removed 10 cannons over a 'water' to plant in another place against the town; at which planting, by good report, there are slain about 200 soldiers and pioneers by the great artillery from the town, and they are not yet planted. So it seems those in the town show they have courage and 'valiant.'
Many speeches are given out here by the French and others of great forces of Monsieur's that are come by Cambray or will be here shortly. These speeches have continued here these two months and more, and nothing else follows; so that people here begin to wax weary of them, considering what a great loss Oudenarde will be, if the enemy take it.
There is also a great longing among the commons and magistrates here for the coming of Colonel Norris and his soldiers from Fries-land, for it seems a great part of their hope is in them for the succouring of Oudenarde.
By letter from Ghent it seems Monsieur's camp will remove to the Castle of Gavar [qy. Gavre], lying on the river within a mile and a half of the enemy's camp.
The magistrates of this town have 'entertained into' their service, to lie in this town, to aid their sergeant-major in keeping their town and soldiers in good order, a very honest French captain of the Religion called Captain Geron, who has 'lyne' in this town about a year and was lieutenant to M. d'Argentlieu when the great camp was here. He has dwelt some time in England, and has told me of two ships lately laden at 'hable neffe' in Normandy with 'pellets' for great artillery and other munitions for Scotland, and has desired me withal to write his humble commendations to you. —3 June 1582.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 28.]
June 3. 70. Thomas Doyley to Walsingham.
Receiving your letter the same day that the post went from Antwerp, I wanted time 'presently' to answer it. Concerning the heartburning between our captains, I dare assure you it has not been mutual, nor 'had' at this present on the general's part, had not Mr North, Cotton, and their 'complices' given out in their bravery that he being heir apparent to a more ancient baron was not to be commanded by Norris, who came into these countries not for honour, but for necessity; whereas he had supply both from the Earl of Leicester, the lord his father, and my lord Rich; and that they would range themselves under Rochepot, who was an honourable gentleman; their commissions being absolute, to be commanded at their pleasure; besides Mr North's speeches, given out against the general to divers, whereby he deeply and bitterly touched his private person and his authority. And in truth were not his supply from England better than the favour that he finds from the Estates, having neither transport-money, nor imprest, nor quarter upon the 'boures' to raise up his companies allowed him, the commodity would not 'in' half countervail the charge; besides that I think their regiments will prove but champignons to serve his Highness's turn for a summer's camp. Also Mr North has entangled himself with other brawls, as with Mr Rawley, Captain Williams, and Mr Webb, whom he stabbed twice in the breast with a knife; so that he run himself far into a ticklish, dangerous, and chargeable action. Our general is ready to embark his troops to join our camp. His horse and foot were never stronger.
The enemy, since their beating against the sluices prevailed not, have attempted nothing. There is an edict published that neither Zealand, Holland, nor any of the confederate provinces, shall 'entertrafique' with the enemy; whereby they will want their great provision of butter, cheese, and fish that they had daily from thence. The like stay the French king has made by Calais and Mèziéres. The Prince of Orange is somewhat troubled with a rheum; and [sic] there is a report that 2,000 lansquenits are come into Friesland to serve the king.
By the next post I hope to advertise you more particularly of our and the enemy's camp, and of the commanders.
Chevalier Breton is still in prison for his letter to the Baron of 'Victrieu' for the killing of Fervacques, which were intercepted.
In our camp M. de Gourmette, lieutenant-colonel to Colonel Villeneuve, was slain by Capt. Chordon [sic] for a private quarrel.— Antwerp, 3 June 1582.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 29.]
June 4. 71. Monteith to Frbmyn.
I received yours of May 12 with the enclosed packet, thanking you for the trouble you took to let me have it speedily. I see that those who have written to me, and chiefly the king my sovereign require for answer that I should go in my own person to satisfy them by my presence of what they ask; which I will willingly do, provided I can obtain leave from my master M. de Laval, for I perceive that my relations desire to see me, and especially the Baron of Cars[?] my nephew, who has caused me to be summoned by the king. I am not answering them this time, not having yet been able to decide what I ought to do; but within a fortnight I hope to be at the end of my plans.
Duke Casimir ought to be at this town tomorrow, passing towards Montbéiard, to stand godfather to the Count's son. Spaniards and others are often passing through Lorraine to reinforce your enemy's camp; and I have heard today that a great army from Italy, up to 26,000, is coming to assail you. If it should please God to touch the heart of his Highness, to give him true knowledge of His word and to profess it publicly, I am sure that God will assist him in all his good enterprises, maugre the Pope, the Spaniards and all their adherents.
The Swiss assembled their Diet 15 days ago at Baden, to consult on the enterprise of the Duke of Savoy, who had sent some bands of armed men to the country round about Geneva, thinking to surprise the city by treason, as some of the citizens who had intelligence with the duke have since confessed, and have been executed. The Swiss have sent four ambassadors to the duke to tell him to withdraw those troops from the country, assuring him that otherwise they will make them withdraw by force. I have heard that this was an enterprise got up by the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Duke of Savoy; and it seems manifestly that God watches over that city of Geneva, for if He had not by His mercy discovered that enterprise by the confession of the traitors, inhabitants of the town, to the number of five (?), it was in danger of being surprised.
I have presented your recommendations to M. Lobetius.—Stras-burg, 4 June 1582.
Add. Endd. in England. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XVI. 30.]
June 4. 72. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
This bearer, a man of letters, and a very honest Huguenot, who formerly taught Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac at Oxford, is one of the suitors in respect of the vessel called the Fran¸ois of Pihiriac and of the Hermine of Brest, of which I sent you a note, and the requests I have presented with much urgency to her Majesty by command of the king my master to have justice done them. You will find this very reasonable if you will consider the whole matter, and hear the bearer and many poor people who are here, who are interested in it. And inasmuch as I am sure you desire nothing more than to favour the poor afflicted and do justice, I will recommend this case to you with all my power.—London, 4 June 1582.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France VIII. 93.]
June 4. 73. — to —.
“An account of Geneva, besieged and then surrendered, as they say, but untruly.”
Most illustrious Sir—Supping the other evening with Secretary Walsingham, he asked me what I believed about the siege laid to Geneva by the Duke of Savoy. The answer I gave him was what I am about rather more fully to say to you. I lived ten years at Geneva and know everything appertaining to that city. To describe it briefly, I will say that it is situated on Lake Leman, now called the Lake of Geneva or Lausanne. The situation of Geneva is more beautiful than its streets and buildings, which are all built of stone, but are lofty, large, and commodious rather than handsome, because they are built in the fashion of Savoy. There will be about 8,000 souls belonging to the city, and 12,000 French, and the Italian church with about 500 Italians; there are besides merchants from Germany and other parts. The city is small, but commodious; it has four fine open places, as markets where various kinds of things are sold, and in the longest and finest street there are arcades on both sides, full of shops of all kinds; built however in the Savoy style, not handsome, but convenient for the rain. It has three abundant fountains, and the palace of the lords, in a fine position, not very beautiful but large, not yet finished. It has five temples; four serve for the preachers—there is preaching there every morning—and one for the scholars, since there is an university there for science and languages, and lectures in theology, logic, philosophy, medicine, and civil law. In languages, there are lectures on Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. There are many scholars from divers parts. Also there is a long wooden bridge there, beneath which begins the river Rhone, that goes into France; it drives a great quantity of flour-mills, and other devices (artificij). It is a city with modern walls, and moderately strong. It has a revenue of about 30,000 crowns, and no expenses, now that it is fortified. Inhabitants and strangers mount guard night and day, and everyone has to do it, either by night or by day, or pay about 2 groats of their money. There is a very large hospital, and great revenues for the poor, not only for those who are in it, but for those in the city likewise, because the lords do not want to have begging. A poor stranger coming through can stay there three days. There is a large grammar-school (collegio di gramatica) for boys, and rooms for the masters who teach them. They pay nothing, by statute (de bando), and the masters are paid at the public cost. This school was newly set, large and well-placed on high ground, in my time. I designed it, but in many points they have not followed my plans, on account of the too great cost. There are seven large classrooms (scale) for the boys, according to their ages, big and little, and large halls and gardens, and a court below. There is also a large port, and every evening it is closed with a chain. It is a popular republic, and every craftsmen can be of the lords. Geneva was beloved by the Romans; there are many ancient marbles there with letters carved, also on the gate; and Caesar made the stone bridge.
Geneva has little territory, and they gather no corn in it. For two months all comes from the rest of Savoy, and from Burgundy, and Germany, almost all by way of the lake, and from other countries. Geneva is the chief place of Savoy, the richest and most commercial city; whoever wants to make money ought to take stuff to Geneva. As London is the principal place in England, so is Geneva in Savoy. There are trades of all sorts there, and merchandise. The Italians have brought the fustian-making trade there, and the silk business. Sarcenet, and grogram, and satins, and velvets of all kinds are made there. The French have brought them printing, and they print excellently in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and all the tongues.
The forces of Geneva consist in the readiness of the people to fight—and on occasion they will fight to the death—rather than in their walls; also in two defensive leagues which they have made in the port. Having become a citizen of Geneva by payment (since I brought with me 2,200 crowns when I first went there, but the 25 years since I left Italy have used them up), I went into [sic] the Greater Council of the Lords. This Council every year appoints all the magistrates of the republic, and makes leagues and everything; and I found that Geneva had made two defensive leagues, one 24 years ago with their neighbours, the lords of Bern, the principal canton of the Swiss, the richest and most powerful. They can of themselves put 30,000 soldiers in the field in eight days. All are inscribed (?) with their corslets and harquebuses. This league was made through fear of the duke of Savoy, who is their neighbour, when he made peace with King Henry I [sic] of France, who gave the duke Madame Marguerite his sister to wife, and for her dowry the territory which he had taken in Savoy and Piedmont. He being so great an enemy, those of Geneva and the Bernese allied themselves, fearing lest he might wish to recover both Geneva—upon which he has a certain claim, it being Imperial territory, and having been granted to the Duke of Savoy by the Emperor Charles V—and also what the Bernese had taken from him in Savoy. This league was made perpetual, for the mutual defence of both cities against the Duke of Savoy or any other strangers. The other league was made in 1570, the year in which I came away—and I was present in the Great Council—with the Duke of Savoy, who made leagues for 22 years with both Geneva and the Bernese, because up till then the Duke would not have his Savoyard subjects sell victuals either to Geneva or in Bernese territory, and the people had no place more convenient than Geneva to earn money in plenty, being the richest and chief town of the country; insomuch that the duke was always at odds with his people and with Geneva about many matters, also about the frontiers, and so with the Bernese, and therefore concluded the alliance as I said for 22 years, till his son, who is now duke, should grow up to years of discretion in the event of his death. This he did in order that they of Geneva being in alliance might feel confidence. And in this time he has many times tried to take it by craft, but never with armies; and many have been quartered for it, and also before the alliance; and I in my time saw six quartered at various times, among whom was a bishop, a nobleman of France (the others were all Savoyards) worth 40,000 crowns, whom they called Monsieur de Passi. He stayed in Geneva about five years in order to betray it, at the requirement of France and the duke. He bought a house, and brought with him a concubine of his and a grown-up son, and said that she was his wife, to give colour to his designs, and said that he had come for the sake of the Religion. The matter was discovered, and I saw his head cut off, albeit both the King of France and the duke exerted themselves much to save his life.
Now they say that this young duke is besieging Geneva with the aid of the Pope, the Spaniards, and the French. I do not say it is impossible; all things can be done with money; but I say it does not seem likely to anyone who knows the affairs of Geneva, because the young duke's father, who was held to be one of the best warriors in Europe, never had the boldness to attempt such an enterprise by open arms for fear lest the Bernese their allies with 30,000 men should take from him all that he has in Savoy; because they know well that if the duke took Geneva by force of arms, he would not stop there, but would follow up his victory and take the remainder of his country which is occupied by the Bernese. For this reason he never attempted that enterprise by force of arms, though he has done so by treachery, as belonging to him in virtue of the donation made by the Emperor to the duke.
Touching this young duke's wish to besiege Geneva, it does not seem likely, for the reasons stated. Besides, it cannot be besieged, because nearly all the victuals, and the principal things, such as wood and charcoal, and nearly all the corn and wine, come there by the lake; and if he wants to besiege the lake, he can not, because he would have to have fortresses for the 20 miles of lake that there are on one side and the other, and he has none, and a fleet of many vessels on the lake would be needed, which he cannot do, because he has not a single ship of war of his own, nor any equipment for one. If he wished to build them on his own (sal suo) they of Geneva and the Bernese would attack and burn them before they were made, both by land and by the lake, since they have 100 mariners, and pinnaces made on purpose to guard the lake, not a great quantity, but as many as they need. They have also sail in plenty, of other boats which could have artillery adapted to them. Regarding artillery, Geneva is well furnished, and so are the Bernese; so that as for besieging Geneva, they being masters of the lake as they are, it is a thing impossible. They have besides the churches of Geneva, which are all built on high ground, for the city is half upon a pleasing little hill, and half on the level. These temples are built and ruled by the whole laity, and there are many culverins on them, for which I gave the plan, and they are still there. If there were any desire to force it, it has such advantages by reason of the lake; and if this young duke broke the league with Geneva, as he made it after his father's death, and that with the Bernese, which are one and the same thing, he would run the risk of losing all Savoy, for the reasons given above. But this is how the matter stands, and the secret of the business is this. The Pope, with the princes of Italy who are aiding him, and King Philip, and France, who want to send people to make war in England, as they have wanted for four years past, and know not with what title and excuse to send so great quantity of soldiers, Italian, Spanish, French, and German, &c, seeing that if they send them by land they must pass within four leagues of Geneva through the Duke of Savoy's country, and pass on into Luxemburg and the rest of the Low Countries—this route was taken by the Duke of Alva, and other soldiers who have been sent by land into the Low Countries—and whereas the hostile league has to send many troops, and has no excuse for sending them into the Low Countries (because the Pope has never sent any in former wars, and the Prince of Parma does not want them, because he has the command of the field, and there is no money to pay a great quantity of the soldiers that he has, and he owes them, as is said, twenty or thirty payments, and there are no victuals in the countries to feed them, and they are dying of hunger and there is great dearth there), these princes know that this would never be believed. So they have made up a story about besieging Geneva, which is only 4 leagues from their route, and are then coming straight by the shortest way to England. And the Pope, under the name of 4,000 soldiers, whom he pretends the duke is asking for, will send 10,000 or 12,000 or as many as he may wish, because they come broken up into companies (quadriglie). King Philip and France will do the like when sending the Spaniards, French, and Germans, and will mass these armies near Geneva, under colour of wishing to lay siege to it, and set things going in their own fashion. In a few days' marches they will be in the Low Countries on the coast, and at Calais and other ports, to cross over to England, if some port has been taken for them by the English papists, as their design is, and by the fleets of Spain, France, and perhaps of the Turk.
So this news of besieging Geneva signifies nothing else than war in this realm, for the reasons stated. But the true remedy to meet this stratagem, and the alleged siege and capture of Geneva, is this: to complete the alliance with the Steelyard (i Stigliardi) and with the princes of the German Ocean, for defence against strangers, and get those republics and princes to protest to the King of France and King Philip, and the Pope and the rest of the hostile league, as I wrote to your lordship at the beginning of May last, that they will defend England, their friend and ally, from the injuries of foreign soldiers, if it is molested. In the same way the princes of High Germany, friends to her Majesty, should be made to protest to the hostile league. If this is done, all its designs will be broken, and the pretended siege of Geneva will go off in smoke, and the soldiers will turn back. If you please to read this letter to her Majesty, and keep the matter secret, because the ambassadors of France and Spain are spreading a great report of this siege and taking of Geneva, and they want it of all things to be known, and if they knew that I through being familiar with that country have discovered that it was false, some displeasure would perhaps be done me, but pretend to believe that it is true, and let it be talked about at Court; but see that the provisions I have said are made, of forming a league with the Steelyard and the princes of the German Ocean, and take steps to get them to make the aforesaid protest to the princes of the hostile league.—1582, 4 June 1582 [sic].
Endd.: Traite de Geneva, 1582; and in Walsingham's hand: Tratato di Geneva. Ital. 1 p. [Switzerland I. 1.]