Elizabeth: February 1583, 6-10

Pages 110-120

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 17, January-June 1583 and Addenda. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.

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February 1583, 6–10

Feb. 6. 96. Gilpin to Walsingham.
The enclosed copies came to my hands since I made up the other packet which you will receive by this bearer. We cannot hear any news from Antwerp, by reason that the river is so full of ice that no ships can pass, and overland through Flanders the way is dangerous.
Mr Darcy is come to Antwerp and lies at our house. 'Other I have not' and therefore am forced to be brief this time.—Middelburg, 6 February, 1582.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 55.]
Jan. 20/30 to Feb. 7/17. 97. Various letters, copied in a hand of about 1700.
(1) The Queen Mother to the Prince of Orange.—Paris, Jan. 20/30. (In Lettres de Catherine de Médicis, etc.)
(2) The Prince's answer. (In Groen van Prinsterer. See Müller and Diegerick IV. 422.)
(3) The Prince of Orange to the Duke of Anjou, of Jan. 17/27. (In Bor and Groen van Prinsterer. See Müller and Diegerick. IV. 329.)
(4) Fragment of 'A letter from a Frenchman to a friend of his in England after the affair at Antwerp.' Beginning: Là s'est cogneu [sic] la vanité, etc. (See Kervyn de Lettenhove, Les Huguenots et les Gueux, VI. p. 375.)
Fr. 4 pp. [Ibid. XVIII. 56.]
Feb. 8. 98. John Norris to Walsingham.
Your letters came yesterday to my hands, wherein I understood that her Majesty was highly offended with me, upon information given to her that I stopped a passage against his Highness, and that thereby victuals being kept from him, both his person and his troops were like to suffer great want, and that for these respects her pleasure was that either I should retire into England, or quit the charge that I had taken upon me. Nothing in the world could have happened that could more have grieved me, or been a greater cross to me than to think to have her displeasure; which if I thought to have justly deserved I would never be seen again of any that know me.
For the cutting off victuals from his Highness, I 'trust' her Majesty is truly informed that the troops of French that lie on the other side of the water are better provided with victuals than those that lie here; who are so ill furnished by the commissaries that the soldier is every hour ready to mutiny, and hereof my cousin Darcy can be a witness, who has seen the state of both quarters. Touching my retreat, I beseech you to advertise her Majesty that I am at all times most willing to obey her commands, although it were never so great a disgrace to me; but finding that her commands proceed from uncertain information, and that in performing it I assure myself I should cause that to follow which she would not like of, I have deferred to withdraw till I have a second command, finding that I do her better service being here than if I should absent myself. For you will understand that divers French troops, without order or command from his Highness, as appears by his letters to the Grand Baily of these quarters, have, in order to rob or spoil, attempted to pass the river, with such threatenings to all those on this side, especially to our nation, that the most part were 'amazed.' So that if in this confusion I had left them, they would have been 'jealous' of some treason, and so disbanding themselves, it could not have been otherwise but that most part of them would have been cut in pieces; and so whereas I have near five years led her Majesty's subjects to the wars with as much honour as any other troops, I should now have brought them to a miserable butchery. Besides, the people of this country, being greatly animated against the French, if such a second occasion of dislike should have happened, would undoubtedly have grown so desperate that they would have treated with the Spaniard, and we, above our hurt, should have got the reputation of traitors to the country.
I pray you to let her Majesty understand thus much; and then knowing her further pleasure, I shall obey what it shall please her to command me. Withal I beseech you to be an intercessor for me, that I may not have her displeasure and be disgraced for doing what I and everybody else judge to be for her service, being commanded to it by the Prince; who I am sure would not have put me to that charge if he had thought she would, mislike it. The matter is now upon terms of agreement, which I have helped to further what I may in such sort as I judged she would best allow of it. I doubt not you will be more particularly informed of it from Antwerp.—Waesmunster, 8 Feb., 1583 [sic].
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 57.]
Feb. 8. 99. Some English Merchants to [? Cobham].
Certain ships, laden with merchandise, of the good cities and towns of London, Bristol, Westchester, Exeter, Hull, Bridgwater, Newcastle, arrived at the city of Rochelle very lately, and loading [sic] our wares, with selling some part thereof, paying to the king such ancient customs and duties as others before and we ourselves have paid time out of mind, so it is, his Majesty has laid a new imposition of 5 per cent. 'of' all manner of wares that come out of England, over and besides the ancient custom. If this should be paid throughout the realm of France, it would amount to above 200,000l. a year, which would be a great 'decay' to merchants-owners, as also to the body of our realm; to pay so much money yearly, and to receive nothing at all for it.
Therefore, knowing you to be both dear and trusty to her Majesty, whom you serve, whose obedient subjects we be, are the bolder to impart our grief to your honour. For some of us by the king's officers and farmers of this new impost, have our wares arrested, and others their moneys stayed, notwithstanding our complaint and earnest suit to the mayor and magistrates of this city, whose lawful favour we have. And for the better redress thereof, they have sent their deputies, the bearers hereof, to the king, for order therein to be taken. We beseech you so to embrace our cause in furthering their suit that by your means our monies and goods may be set at liberty, and we not forced hereafter to pay any other customs or taxations than have been paid before.—Rochelle, after the computation of England, 8 February 1582. (Signed) Thomas Midwinter, Henry Maunder, Reynold Streymer, Henry Hardy, William Hickens, Baptist Tooker, Daniel Bulkley, John Thorton, William Rogett, Peregrine Wenslaye, Robert Stewerd, John Griffith, Robert Wilson, Robert Hawkins, John Iloid, John Frenche.
Copy, apparently made in Paris Embassy, and endd. there.pp. [France IX. 29 bis.]
Feb. 9/19. 100. Pietro Bizarri to Walsingham.
They say that the reconciliation with his Highness has already taken place, and that he will soon go to hold his Court at Brussels, where he will have for his personal guard 600 Swiss. M. de Tympel as Governor of Brussels will have as many from the country, besides those whom he has now; so that he will remain in superior force, to obviate all inconveniences that might arise in future, which God forbid. Withal his Highness consents to restore Dermonde and Vilvorde, retaining for the present, not without the great displeasure of all the United Provinces, Dixmude and Dunkirk; with the hope, however, and please God it be not vain, of restoring them in time.
Here has lately been discovered another conspiracy practised by the King of Spain against the Prince of Orange, by means of a Spaniard, to whom he had given 500x, and promised that if he carried out the plan he should have 4,000x of annual income. This unhappy Spaniard reaching Antwerp from far away, guided by his destiny went to a 'palace' near the Exchange, with the sign of the Ruby, where only the French are wont to lodge, and there being asked whence he came, began to change colour, and vary his words, saying he came from Calais (? Calese) and then from other places. Wherefore, falling under suspicion, he was immediately detained, and notice given to the colonels, by whom having been examined, without waiting for torture of any kind, he confessed of himself the whole practice that he had carried on with the King of Spain, and that his design had been to kill the Prince with a shower of dagger-strokes (a furia di pugnalate). Thus he was kept in custody, and having been legally tried, they say that he has already been condemned, and that he has confessed to two accomplices of the crime, but they have not yet been found as yet. Meanwhile the Divine providence is shown to be wonderful in the preservation of this good prince from so many wiles, and in warning him that he ought to guard himself for the good of these poor countries, afflicted as they are in divers ways.
Over the gate of the Abbey of St. Michael, where his Highness lodged at his entry, were put up some very fine paintings with Latin verses written on purpose in his praise. These, shortly after the incident that befell at Antwerp were totally destroyed and erased, and the abbey with the palace is kept continually locked up, some Frenchmen being there as prisoners. Similarly the doors of the church are kept locked, so that the Papists cannot go there to hear mass as they used to do. Likewise the French arms were taken down, which were over the door of the palace, and this people of Antwerp will always hold the French name in horror; albeit the Queen Mother in a letter to the Prince gives all the blame for this alienation of Monsieur to the States and the magistrates of Antwerp, saying that a son of a king and the only brother of him who now governs France ought to have been treated and entertained otherwise than was the case. But they on the other hand give the blame to his Highness, and to his impatience or rather ambition to reign; the States having obeyed him in all things wherein it was possible to them. Wherein I would not set myself as arbiter and judge, being one of very humble sort (bassissimo soggetto) and a little worm to such greatness. But I will say that kingdoms are not so easily won, and that those 'which give themselves voluntarily, like these Provinces, ought to be pleasantly and gently handled; being a people of an easy (dolce) nature, but also most harsh in resenting injuries received. Be it as it may, Monsieur has now fallen to an infinite extent from the love and favour of the country,' and from that of many German princes, who had conceived a marvellous expectation of him as a wise, just, and loyal prince, loving towards his people, in such wise that in time he might have aspired to the Empire; and this I say not without very good ground. But now he has rendered himself hateful to all, and might work miracles, and he would hardly be believed. Of such importance is it to a prince to keep his word, especially when a solemn public oath comes in.
But leaving aside this disagreeable and odious matter, of which I write and speak unwillingly, I send you by your wellbeloved servant Edward 'Bornem' two copies of my Persian History, one for her Majesty and the other for yourself. I am infinitely sorry that time did not permit me to send them bound, as I should have wished, since the last leaf was barely finished printing this morning, and your servant is on the point (in procinto) of starting for your country, and I likewise towards Germany. So I must humbly beg you to excuse me to her Majesty, and to show her where mention is made of her and her most glorious reign, with the greatest testimony of my service and reverence that was possible to me on a subject and in a matter diverse from my object. I have done it in treating of the Emperor Theodosius II, as the index too will show.
I have lately heard here that the Margrave, the bailiff (sculteto) and two other personages have been dismissed from their posts, as privy to what happened on the 17th ult.
It is written from Cologne that an agreement was being negotiated with the Elector, those of Cologne being content that he should retain Bonn, and have a yearly stipend of so many thousand thalers (taleri). But I am not sure if the Elector will remain content with it. It is also said that the Bishop of Liege, brother to the Duke of Bavaria, has repaired to Rome to obtain investiture of the electoral dignity, which cannot be without a fresh conflagration.—Antwerp, Feb. 19, the day [sic] on which was born his Highness, who is now 29 years old, who last year on the same day had prepared a noble banquet and invited the States and chief men of the city, and it was to be that evening, but was then broken off by the accident that befell the Prince on the same day, which was just a year ago, and his Highness was 28, as was faithfully signified to me.
P.S.—Eyndhoven is still besieged, and if not succoured may easily be lost. Count Mansfelt went the other day to see his Highness, who is still at Dermonde, intending very soon to go to Brussels. Of the Prince of Parma it is not heard that he makes any movement. He has not, however, failed to carry on very close practices in divers ways, but without effecting anything. Here there is a sort of interregnum, and resolutions are very slow and prolonged, until some good end is seen to all this 'garboil,' happened so unexpectedly.
I hope that in three months at furthest I shall by the favour of God, be back in Antwerp. I greatly hope so, that my service with you may not be interrupted. I pray you to keep me in your good grace, and commend me to Mr Robert Beale.
Feb. 10/20 P.S. 2.—Turning over in my mind with more care the above calculation of his Highness's nativity, I find that his entry into Antwerp was the 19th of this month, and his birthday the 18th of March next, the day on which the Prince was in so great danger of his life. On that day he will complete 29 years.
I understand that at Dermonde he has taken away their arms from the burghers, not leaving so much as a spit to roast their meat, which gives an ill presage of an agreement. It is likewise said that more French are coming. I pray God they are coming for the country's good, which now is very doubtful.
It is written from Cologne by the last post, come two days ago, that the deputies and commissioners on either side had departed without effecting anything, which indicates greater movements rather than peace. Anyhow it will be better understood as time goes on.
Endd. Ital. 6 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 58.]
Feb. 10. 101. Edward Burnam to Walsingham.
I wrote by the last post two letters to you. I hoped well to have been ready to return before this time, but the general has not been here since my coming to dispatch me. Doubting the French passing over the water, he has attended to his charge. I hope that shortly he will be here; the sooner because yesterday M. de Laval was dispatched from the States to carry such articles to Monsieur as they have agreed upon, offering Brussels to make his residence, and then to come in, with 500 Swiss and 500 of these countrymen, besides his domestic servants; his forces which he has to march presently to the succouring of Eyndhoven; he to restore, upon his coming to Brussels, Vilvorde, Dermonde, Dixmude, and Dunkirk. It is thought that he will hardly be brought to yield to these, and other as hard conditions; the present necessity he is in may cause him to accept these offers till time give him opportunity to seek better remedy. Master 'Darce' is not yet returned from his Highness; I think 'a be gon' from Dermond directly to Dunkirk. At his departure he told me he would return this way, and so to Flushing.
He that attempted the last enterprise against the Prince of Orange's person is found to be a Spaniard, who by his own confession says that he presented himself to the Spanish king, promising him to do this murder; who answered, that it was not a thing so easy to be done, and that one had missed. He said he would do it with a dagger. The King upon these speeches withdrew to his closet, and left with the fellow his secretary, who encouraged him more and more to go through with the enterprise. Upon this the king came out again and demanded of the fellow whether he were well persuaded to go through resolutely with his former determination, alleging to him that it was dangerous. But if he did it, he promised to give him 50,000 ducats and caused 500 to be delivered to him to bear his charges; and besides this, to have a commandery of 2,000 ducats a year. This fellow arrived in this town from Flushing the same tide that I came hither. Being asked what he was, he said a Slavonian, and named a town of that country; whereupon a young man of this town who had been in that country and could speak the 'langues' fell a-reasoning, and found he could not speak it, and so varying in his talk, and 'chansing' his countenance, 'which took him.'
The Prince of Parma has sent to the Bishop of Liege 2,000 foot and 800 horse to aid him against him of Cologne.—Antwerp, 10 January according the old date.
P.S.—M. de Laval departed this town for Dermond this morning.
I hope the general will be here within these two days, to assist at Mr. Henry Knollys' burial, and then will Randolph he delivered to me, whom I hope to bring with me.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 59.]
Feb. 10. 102. Audley Danett to Walsingham.
Since my last of the 3rd I have forborne to trouble you, having nothing worth writing, and knowing that Mr. Darcy on his return from hence to Dermonde sufficiently advertised the proceedings here by an express messenger. Since that time, the duke assembled his whole forces without any sound of drum at Zele and Lochres [Lokeren] two places upon the river most fit to pass over into the land of Waes, where he continued from 9 of the morning till 4 'at' afternoon, with 12 small boats and certain timber to make bridges, with purpose to pass as it should seem, which by reason of the frost was not hard to be done for the footmen; who notwithstanding thought not good to adventure without the troops of their horse. The duke repaired again to Dermonde, not without some show since to enter the land of Waes, which yet is unperformed.
M. de Mirambeau is returned hither again from the duke, with report of his forwardness to incline to some good accord; and is on the point to return to France.
The treaty with the duke was much delayed here by reason those of Ghent were enemies to any accord, and those of Brussels would not in any case agree the duke should come into their town. On Friday the 8th, the 'appointment' was accorded by the States that the duke should presently surrender Vilvorde and Dermonde, and be received into Brussels with 600 Swiss and as many Netherlander for the garrison of the town; and being once settled there, to treat further touching the other towns held with French garrisons, as also for the establishing of the duke again in his former government, with this clause that the forces should presently be employed for the relief of Eyndhoven.
It is thought the duke will not accept of this appointment, nor put himself into Brussels, where he will not be able to be master; and yet unless he has received some certain hope of succour from France, whereof there are some uncertain speeches, it is presumed that, being restrained greatly in the place where he now abides, he will not refuse the offer. The effect of it will be seen within a day or 'twain.'
M. Laval having stayed here this fortnight for the States' resolution, was yesterday dispatched to the duke, and as it is thought, will return to France as soon as he conveniently may. The like is supposed of the Duke Montpensier, Count Chasteauroux, and divers others, who do not like to make any longer abode here. The French gentlemen taken prisoners here in the 'fury,' are now suffered to lodge in substantial burghers' houses, and sometimes to walk abroad accompanied 'with' their hosts, receiving more mild entertainment than they looked for. Only Fervacques is still kept close prisoner in the Town House, with his guard to watch him, as from the beginning.
The Spaniard sent hither to attempt the killing of the Prince, having had the torture, confesses that his purpose was to have stabbed him in the body with a dagger, and the other particulars touching the king's promise and his reward; so that it was expected yesterday he should have been executed, which for some cause is respited for a while. The suspicion conceived that this practice had some other partisans in this town proves not true.
Mr Norris was purposed to have written to you, as I gather by his last letter to me; but as I have not heard from him these three days, I think he means to do it by Mr. Darcy, who promised to see him on his return, being the next way from Dermonde to Dunkirk. Please continue your good favour towards him, and excuse that which might be misliked at home touching his late proceedings in the States' service, wherein I am sure he has not willingly offended, being ready to repair anything on his part which may be thought to be amiss.—Antwerp, 10 February, 1582.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 60.]
Feb. 10. 103. Roger Williams to Walsingham.
Within two months this is the seventh letter I 'wrote' to you. The last was a very large discourse, wherein I am sure a 'good ele' is 'fauled' (qy. fallen) truly. I fear me few came to you, or else 'some does' abuse me with speech. I never heard from you but of Mr Burnam. Assure yourself if I could write better it should be to you before any man in the world. You shall never find me ungrateful, but 'will' confess you always to be my best patron, and will do you and yours all the service I can during life.
Many could discourse of these 'estates,' but I assure you they are so dark, and things 'faules' out so contrary that no man can guess right. 'M. Delavale' is 'part it' for Dermonde with articles of peace which carry no great reason; Monsieur to enter Brussels with 600 Swiss, 600 Netherlanders; the rest, I mean English and all, to march to the succour of Eyndhoven; Monsieur to 'content' the Swiss, the States to content us, I mean the rest. Monsieur delivers Dermonde and Vilvorde. If he enters Brussels at that composition, he is not very wise; if they take him not, they are more foolish. 'The discourtesies that past betwixt them, there can never be a good true peace again which wayes they will.' Since France was France, French never received so great a disgrace. 'Thig' [qy. think] you, if Monsieur be so honourable as they say, being the second of France, whether he will seek revenge. You know no man is so ambitions as the French, for the most part of their wars which they made in France was for ambitiousness; and doubt it not, those that broke their oaths with their own countrymen for revenge, will not fail to break with strangers. These Netherlanders are so jealous that they mistrust their best friends. Some of the better sort will say: wherefore went the English merchants from Antwerp, but that they heard some inkling? Although their nobility heard of his countenance in England, they could agree all in one(?) to shift him out. Surely they will never agree one year.
I am sorry for the good Prince of Orange. The 'ammyrall' was a great 'wyte' [? wit], and divers knew the king loved him not, but all his friends could not persuade him to the contrary; so do I fear all 'this' his friends cannot make him believe but these 'does' favour his cause. The last day when I heard 'this boyles,' I 'wenterd' [? ventured] from Eyndhoven with 50 lances, came to the Prince, thinking to find him something changed towards them. I do assure you I never received harder countenance. Among other speeches, he said I 'mought as well written' to England from Eyndhoven as from Antwerp. I know what that meant. 'I am sure the best friends you have in England will confess I am your servant with my tongue; for writing, I care little or nothing. But so much as I can was and shall be ever for your Excellency's service and honour.' I assure you, had I so many frowns as I had within this seven months, I would 'wenter' to quit this service, and would write such a letter to him, perhaps I should anger him for the present, but I 'doubt it not but' before one year he should find some of it true, and would think me more servant than 'never.'
I do not think that Monsieur has any intelligence with the Spanish; but I fear me it will not be long but his mother's counsel will persuade him rather to them better. You will find he does nothing but 'dayly' [? dally] with the States as Don John did, until, some great force comes to him. It is thought the Duke of Guise will come. M. de la Noue's secretary told me such a matter, with other speeches. True it is, when he passed by Duffell, Lierre 'sortit' [? sortied], defeated some of his rearguard. So does the Prince of Parma persuade all towns against the French, offering them large compositions. Without that 'sines' [? sign] the matter should be too plain. Since his departure from Antwerp, he never offered him any sign of flattery. It may be there are but two Spaniards, two Italians, two Frenchmen of the counsel, and maybe neither Parma nor Monsieur any of those; but assure yourself there are 'neither of both' but is to be persuaded to second anything that pleases the Houses of Austria and Valois. And do not think that the Prince of Orange overreaches himself to trust 'any of both.' I assure you within this six months I saw a gentleman Italian, Venetian, come to Monsieur, mounted with six brave horses, meaning to serve. I did not see Monsieur talk so often with any man as with him, still secretly, far from anybody hearing. This man after a month slipt away, left his horses—whether he sold them or no I know not—never came to the camp. I enquired what he was; it was told me he was very great with Queen Mother and had been of Monsieur's chamber, but now with the Duke of Florence.
'Shute the foule'(?) confessed, that morning that he 'offered for' Antwerp, Monsieur asked him whether his brother the captain was a Catholic, or if he could speak French. When I had his letters to go in garrison to Eyndhoven, with our three cornets, he stayed me two days. In the end I went to take my leave. He going to the man, stayed, turned to a colonel with Biron and Rochepot, looked very earnestly to me, in the end, called me to him, gave me very fair words and bid me depart. You must think he was willing to procure some to serve his turn with our nation, although he would 'a never' made any privy to it until the 'larum'(?) time. His captains' ambition was the loss of his enterprise. If it had pleased God to suffer him to entertain us with his 'laughing use' and fair words, 'and never said' anything until the time he mounted on horseback, then to say “Mr Norris, come with me with your captains to see my army,” at the gates to use those words, “Messieurs, 'courage' your men; I will be master of the town; you shall be paid to the uttermost; we will be no more in misery leaving king fine homes [sic]"—for my part I would have ventured as far into the town as the proudest Frenchman there; and am sure all the rest of our nation would not 'a bin killed all in the bake' as they were.—Antwerp, 10 February.
Add. Endd. 6 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XVIII. 61.]
Feb. 10/20. 104. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
By all the laws of nations and human civilization (polices) ambassadors are accounted sacred; you know well how that is. To this quality I have for my own part added as much honourable conduct as a gentleman can bring to it, being always ready to give an answer to the most malevolent and malicious.
I have, however, thought it my duty to write this to you, to beg you to tell the Queen and her Council, that in recompence for the good and honourable offices which for 22 years I have rendered to this realm on divers occasions, apart from those which I yet may render, (leaving aside all that concerns my residence in my ordinary charge), I am every day informed that there are several in your Court, in this city, and throughout the kingdom who would like in attacking my honour by a gross invention to charge the French in general; inciting a good-for-nothing hussy of a woman (villaine quoquine de femme) to make wicked statements about me and of my acts, highly honourable and God-fearing. I have had her forbidden my house, not wishing to hear the thousand slanderous lies which she told of every one; and in recompense they take pleasure at your Court, and elsewhere in using her as a trumpeter to accuse all France under my name. I have not up to now complained of anything which has happened to me, still less attacked anyone. If there are any friends or foes who are curious to know about my affairs, whenever they please I shall be ready with (ne demoureray sans) a justification and an honourable reply, as one who is always glad to be judged by my actions.
In conclusion, and not to delay you with a story which would hinder your public business, I beg you to call upon her Majesty and the Council on my behalf to do justice to the dignity of the post which I hold in this realm, if no regard is had to my private position, which does not deserve that a hearing should be given to causeless talk about me, instead of which proof ought to be supplied by my conduct. It seems to me that the least that can be done is to put a stop to these rumours, and give the hussy the whip and pierce her tongue with a hot iron; first making her declare who have incited her and taken pleasure in making her utter such slanders, as she would not otherwise have done, for the sake of the alms she has received in my house.
In the hope that you will do better than I could request in this matter, I beg you to kiss her Majesty's hands on my behalf, if you see an opportunity, assuring her of my devotion to her service, and my wish to see an assured good amity between France and England all our days.—London, 20 February, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [France. IX. 30.]