Elizabeth: May 1583, 16-20

Pages 345-356

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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May 1583, 16–20

May 17. 316. The Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg to the Emperor.
The advice which we lately dispatched to your Majesty in the matters of Cologne, has brought us into conflict with you. The resolutions you have graciously taken upon the operation, we have had intelligence thereon in what fashion you desire to bring to effect the treatment for which we were led to hope, to have consideration of the original causes, how the Archbishop has been excommunicated by the Pope of Rome, and deprived of his episcopal dignities; but that nevertheless you were purposing to appoint Commissioners to him, certain Electors and Princes of the Empire of both religions in equal numbers, to make a report hereof, how to guide this restless condition of affairs, and in contrast to it, rest and peace be maintained to the good of the Holy Empire. If then your Majesty had taken this way in hand [sic] we would have no anxiety about it, but would have most humbly contented ourselves with your pleasure therein.
Since however your Majesty formerly gave preference to kind treatment, and on various occasions graciously gave us and other States cause to hope on that account, and the opinion was on all hands that such was the most convenient and best means by which a settlement might be devised to these widely prominent matters, so it struck us, on many grounds not unreasonably, as quite deplorable, that this course was now to be rejected solely to please the Pope; for it has been from the very beginning easy to calculate that hereupon the Pope at Rome would not long abstain from visiting the archbishop with his ban. Therefore when your Majesty was minded to bring to effect the proposed treatment, you were, while you could take no steps to hinder the ban, in our humble judgement at any rate able to find the best way and means to cause it to be withheld until the proposed treatment had preceded it, or that treatment, since a good time has now elapsed, might have been all the sooner brought to effect. But since we and the other States of the Augsburg Confession have been allowed to be of that opinion, and daily to expect that such treatment would certainly ensue, and now it has been set aside for the sake of the ban, your Majesty must graciously consider what aspect this will acquire in many eyes. Also what advantage it will bring to this and other affairs, the effect itself will show.
Further, seeing that we both, for the sake of your Majesty's assurance with regard to the treatment, have oftentimes given the credit of it to others, our kinsmen in religion, and they have for the most part been moved on account of it to abstain from further participation in these matters, but have left it all to that treatment; you must judge, when those States learn now how the treatment especially on account of the reason set forth, is not going to come about, what reflections it will cause them, even on account of our personal position, and what good we shall be able, on such an occasion, in this matter, or others in the future, to do or effect.
We also cannot see when there is to be no negotiation with the archbishop, how it will be possible by his means merely to put affairs together in order; for if the opinion is only held that the Pope's ban is to be executed, no State of the Augsburg Confession certainly will let itself be made use of for that end, but the Catholics alone will be willing to venture upon it. One can well perceive what sort of things might follow from that.
Furthermore, it is a dangerous and most mischievous precedent to concede so much to the Pope at Rome as to let him have power at his pleasure to depose an Estate of the Empire, to say nothing of an eminent Elector, without previous hearing; and that as soon as he has discharged (ausgegossen) his ban, your Majesty's hands are to be tied in such wise that you cannot in this matter take in hand that which the common welfare of the Empire demands. The histories testify what disasters and bloodshed have oftentimes in Germany resulted from the Pope's venturing to depose an Estate of the Empire from his dignities, and put some other into them, of whom he has then often made use to his own advantage, and has often pitted (angemast) against the Emperor himself. For this reason even the Germans of old, when their eyes opened, were unwilling to allow the Pope so much sway within the Empire; and thus too your predecessors, and especially your father, his Majesty lately deceased, of blessed memory, would not give him such. But is so much now, in this work, to be conceded to him, that by reason of the ban your Majesty's hands are to be locked up, every gate and door thereby to be opened to him, and he to assume every kind of unauthorised sway against the States of the Empire and ultimately against yourself?
Your Majesty has graciously considered that when so much power is to be attached to the Pope that he is to be empowered to put his grip upon the College of Electors, and deprive an Elector of the Empire of his dignities, and when he presumes that no one is to have power to take the side of the other, there will follow herefrom not only a dangerous mistrust between the spiritual and secular Electors, but also a mischievous unsettling of the Electors' prestige (Verbiderung).
We do not forget the compacts which the German nation of the Empire has for the time had with the See of Rome. But since the setting-up of Religion-fried it has taken up a far different position towards it, and under whatsoever conditions it will on account of that, the terms of this same compact cannot anyhow extend so far that the welfare of the Empire is not much more to be kept in view. Rather does this become a force of kinship, whereby all States attached to the Empire reasonably act for it in preference to all others. Therefore it must be regarded as good, to adopt treatment in order to turn the Empire away from imminent disaster, and that the Empire's necessity demands this. So we cannot see why the Pope's ban should be asked for or allowed to stray by unnoticed; for if it is allowed to come to this, that something tending to the good of the Empire is to be forborne for the sake of the Pope; things will of a truth come to a doubtful pass for the Empire. Many a thing was put forward, we know, in the days of your ancestors that did not please the Pope, but when it was for the good of Christendom, no one cared how far the Pope agreed to it. If again people had been willing to follow him, it would never have come to a Religion-fried; nor in future, on such an occasion, if so much indulgence is to be given to the Pope, can we reckon much upon any such peace of religion.
And whereas it is obvious what wholly dangerous and mischievous consequences will follow, if the heretofore promised kindly treatment, so calculated on all sides for the benefit of the common welfare, is to be set aside for the sake of the Pope; we humbly beg your Majesty to be pleased to weigh the above suggested and other circumstances of this affair, and to take order as soon as possible for such kindly treatment; and to set about it as may tend to the good of the Holy Empire, after the example of your predecessors, not to let the Pope's ban run loose (irren); or at least so to set on foot the recently proposed way of putting things in order that the Pope may not be indulged as he desires, or the kindly treatment be altogether set aside at his pleasure; but rather what appears to be demanded by the good of the Empire; that the States of the Augsburg Confession, for honour and conscience sake may without reproof assist at the same, and that you will graciously at the earliest moment ordain this before matters come to the irrevocable extension.
For we remark nevertheless that on the side of the Chapter, with the actual treatment, no end is achieved, but every day there is a further advance. In order to attend to this, no delay will be permitted to them, but since they are so desirous of coming to business, some one will be found who may regulate their high spirit (ihnen ihrem Hochmuot steuern), which then, when the occasion comes, would be no great misfortune to them.
And whereas we have heard of what the Prince of Parma has written to your Majesty, how he asked that he might put Spanish soldiers on the soil of the Empire, news reaches us from various trustworthy quarters that not only has this taken place, but also that the Prince with a numerous force has repaired to Maestricht, and that it'is his purpose to advance to the Chapter (?) of Cologne. If this happens, it will assuredly not stop there; but certain States of the Empire, who have the welfare of their beloved fatherland at heart (for even the Catholics, for sundry reasons, do not wish to injure it), are combining to ward off this hostile invasion, and take steps for the defence of the Fatherland. What a fire will arise over this in the Empire, and how difficult it will be hereafter to extinguish, anyone can easily judge. We have however the most humble confidence in your Majesty that you will not allow it to come to this point, but will give your most gracious heed to it, and will carry out the measures heretofore proposed, or whatever treatment may suit the case.—17 May 1583. (Signed) Augustus, Duke of Saxony, John George, Marquis of Brandenburg, Electors.
Copy. Endd. in German. German. 5½ pp. [Germany II. 66.]
May 18. 317. Cobham to Walsingham.
I have lately received from Mr. Henry Unton a letter in which he requests me to obtain the French king's letters in favour of his brother and his deliverance. He would have them directed to Cardinal Borromeo and the Duke of Terranova, Governor of Milan; wherein I shall use my best means to fulfil his desire, wishing he may receive comfort thereof. I beseech you to have much feeling and compassion for Mr. Edward Unton's miserable imprisonment.—Paris, 18 May 1583.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [France IX. 107.]
May 18. 318. Gilpin to Walsingham.
Since my last, which I sent by your servant, I did not omit to deal, as I wrote, most earnestly with the burgomasters and sundry of the echevins, laying before them the harm and inconvenience 'would' fall on their burgesses and goods, if such contentment were not given to her Majesty as the manifold favours extended to them deserved, and she had in reason and equity with long patience expected. To this they made sundry answers, excusing themselves by the default of other provinces; with solemn protestations that they had done, and would continue to employ all their possible endeavours, omitting no means for the obtaining of what they so greatly desired; and so most humbly wished it would please her Majesty to conceive of them. They trusted that this next assembly of the States some absolute resolution will be taken to her contentment. I spoke likewise to the chief merchants trading London, and so handled the matter that they will be importunate suitors at the next meeting; using such ways of inducement and precautions the whilst to their magistrates that they may be the more 'habled' for all oppositions, and so promise a final end to so long suing. But what will follow thereon cannot, till trial made, be judged. For my part, I shall rest in my opinions by my 'former' advertised, and look for no other, unless some extraordinary means be put in practice, of which I wrote my mind with desire to understand your pleasure. It cannot, in like sort, do any thing but good that small countenance be shown to M. Ymans, and such suits as he shall have the less favoured (with respect always for the justice and reasonableness of honest men's causes); for I know this will touch and move the traders greatly and breed discontent with dislike of those that give her Majesty occasion to be so offended
As I took leave of the Prince before coming away from Antwerp, he continued very well minded to yield her Majesty satisfaction, with promise to employ himself and his means as he had promised.
I have travailed earnestly to find out some further light 'of' the Latin letters I sent you; but could not compass any further matter, only that there is a certain lawyer in Antwerp named according to the direction of those letters, for the feeling and handling of whom, since I could not myself stay there longer, I left order with a trusty friend of mine, and trust if there be any good to be done it will not be neglected.
For news, I understand the enemy is still about Diest, with intent to lay the siege; for it is so near Maestricht that it annoyed them greatly, besides the doubt of a surprise. The cannon is come thither, and plenty of victuals from Liége for the camp. He will soon 'bear it away,' the place being weak, slenderly manned and otherwise ill provided. Besides, the governor was sometime a merchant and Colonel of Antwerp, not experienced nor fit for war.
The States' men continue about 'Barrowe,' discontented and scant in order for want of pay; M. Biron having returned furnished with more words than money, as the speech goes. The present state of the States is such that in 14 days they could not get 10,000 guilders together; so that if some other unexpected remedy does not fall to them, it is to be feared that neither will their camp be kept together, nor they able to hold out long, such is the dislike the commons conceive of their dealings.
The Prince is in a manner grown clean out of credit with the people, and the choice made of him by Holland and Zealand, joined to the rumour that he had agreed with Monsieur to 'have' those two for him and to help him to the rest, breeds great suspicion; while his earnestness to bring in Monsieur makes the more jealousy. So it is doubted haste will make waste, and some sudden alteration follow.
It has been in talk and 'a-handling' to make the Prince margrave of the Holy Empire, and so link the town and margraveship of Antwerp to the earldom of Holland and Zealand. This might haply so succeed, if he could better satisfy the people.
In Brussels the common people grow weary of the long troubles and the Papists, with other 'adjuncts,' which were neuter or indifferent, so strong that they will have the Religionsvreidt established, or else mean to work another course to compass their better security. To advance this, the great guilds, as it is termed, had a mass said in their common hall, a place of such compass as could receive 2,000 persons. To impeach this 'doubted' alteration, those of Antwerp have sent thither 600 of their burghers, in hope if they could get in with the help of those of the Religion that dwelt there, to assure the town and suppress the stoutness of the Papists. If they fail of this, matters will decline anew and more towns be in danger.
Flanders hangs in 'suspensed terms,' not knowing what resolution best to take; whether to agree with the Malcontents, to 'range themselves into a private politicque government,' or to reenter into a parley, and make and conclude some new treaty with Monsieur, which of all other means they have hitherto most disliked. It is reported that they are so forward with the Malcontents, that of 45 articles there are but 5 still in question; and it is thought they will be 'voided.'
Monsieur continues at Dunkirk discontented, and sick, as report goes, for grief that his actions succeeded not better. Four ships are said to have been taken by the Frenchmen there, coming from Spain or Portugal. They have made prize of the goods, to the great dislike of all this people.
In the castle-green at Antwerp some earth was cast up, like banks and ditches, to part of the ground which is to be sold and afterwards built on; but the commons, very jealous, said they were, and would serve for, trenches to the annoyance and hurt of the town; so that they were so bold of themselves as to fill them up, though of great depth, notwithstanding the Prince 'showed' not to allow nor like their proceedings. So it is judged he will ere long abandon them, and depart one of these days to this or the neighbour islands; the more by reason the people there murmur that they would have him come and lie in the 'mayre' [qy. mairie] where the Archduke Matthias kept Court Sundry hard speeches have been used against him.—Middelburg, 18 May 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 46.]
May 19. 319. Audley Danett to Walsingham.
By the report of others coming from other provinces in this country and by the proof we daily see here, it would seem the state of these countries grows worse and worse. The people in every place, altogether detesting the French, are now become so jealous and in such fear one of another, that they know not where to trust. In this town they stand so 'amazed' that they fear lest their town, which they say is the most shot at, will suddenly be surprised and spoiled. Therefore, upon a small occasion, Marshal Biron and some reasonable number of the French dining with the Prince in the castle last Friday, there was an alarm in the town that the castle was seized, and many of the ensigns with their whole companies repaired straight thither, and some of the baser sort spared not to deliver very hard and unseemly speeches; which was so unpleasant a sight to Marshal Biron, that having lain here long, soliciting to have pay for the troops in the field, wherein he says hitherto he has prevailed nothing, he departed next day to the camp, not purposing, as it is thought, to put himself again into this town, where he sees a people which are belua multorum capitum bear so great sway. They are fortifying their walls and strong places without, and keep great guard at their gates against the enemy, but yet scarcely see that their ruin is more likely to spring out of their own bowels within, for want of good order to bridle a people, which by the great 'popularity' of their commands is become headstrong.
At Brussels the people are already fallen to open mutiny, the Catholics refusing any longer to watch and ward for the defence of the town against the enemy, and withal demanding a church for the exercise of their religion according to the Religions-vreidt, as they term it. For the appeasing of this dispute, and for the strengthening of the better part within the town, 500 burghers are already sent from hence, well-appointed, to remain there in garrison.
The camp remains still at Rosendael, where the soldiers daily disband, 'what' for want of pay, 'as' for faction and division amongst themselves; some to their own countries and dwelling-places, some to the wars at Cologne, and it is now reported, both horse and foot in no small numbers of the French, and of others some few, have departed to the enemy. Inhibitions are published to the contrary, and many apprehended and executed, but nothing will stay them.
There is no appearance that the English and French in this service can stand on any reasonable terms together, the hatred and jealousy being so great on both sides that of late they have sundry times stood in arms, one expecting what the other might attempt; and bad instruments are not wanting to blow the coal between them, to set all on fire. I have many reasons to move me to fear some bad practice against Mr. Norris from that nation; great speeches having already past, and of late some blows fallen on their side, which I know they may not, with reputation, but seek to revenge, having many a daily proof of the States' hard dealings. I trust I do not do amiss in persuading Mr. Norris rather to remain at home, with my lord his father's 'entertainment,' than continue any longer in so ungrateful and quarrelsome service.
Last Thursday the Count of Schwarzburg departed this life, who was married to the Prince of Orange's sister. Ten or twelve days before he had entered into a kind of diet, for the gout and dropsy wherewith he was much troubled.
The same night came news that Diest had that morning been surrendered to the enemy by composition. The soldiers within are not yet come hither; and the report of it 'coldly' given out, for fear of stirring the people, who mutiny upon every small accident, causes the bruit not to be altogether believed; yet I think it is assuredly true.—Antwerp, 19 (alt. from 29th) May, 1583.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 47.]
May 19. 320. Stokes to Walsingham.
My last was the 12th inst. This week all things have been very still; only these speeches.
Those of Ghent stir every day more and more against the French. That town and Ypres are wholly agreed never to deal any more with them. Next week the Gentners have appointed a general meeting there, of Flanders only; and therefore have written to all the principal towns here in Flanders to send their deputies thither. So this town and the 'Free' send theirs to-morrow thitherwards, and it is thought that Brabant and Zealand, though they be not called, will also send thither; for by some speeches that go here, there will be some strange matters handled there, chiefly by those of Ghent.
The ancient order here in Flanders is to choose every year new magistrates in every town, which is done in August and September; against which time, two months before, the Court used always to appoint four gentlemen as commissioners to do this, most of whom are of great worship and estimation. According to this order, the Prince and States last week appointed the same gentlemen that did it last year; which because those gentlemen are of the French faction, and good-willers of the Prince, those of Ghent and Ypres will not have them, and if no others are appointed, it seems Ghent and Ypres will choose their magistrates themselves. So there is like to be a great division among them here in the country; I mean between town and town, which will make some alteration.
The forces that M. la Motte of Gravelines gathered together in those parts are all sent between Meenen and Lille. The speech is they are about 1,000, and they give themselves out to be Malcontents for their pay. But by secret advice their intent is to be dealing with Meenen; for they have made provision of a great many scaling ladders, so that the Scots at Meenen are advertised hereof, and do not fear their coming.
Monsieur's departure from Dunkirk into France is now stayed; for the speech is that the Queen Mother will shortly be at Dunkirk. It is said she is now at Boulogne or Calais.
This week Monsieur's French ships have taken in the narrow seas and brought into Dunkirk three great rich ships laden in Spain for Antwerp. Yet it seems that the French will make them prize, because they say they are Spaniards' goods. Yet it seems also that there is good store of 'rialls of plate' in the ships, which will make them worse to be released.—Bruges, 19 May 1583 stilo anglie.
P.S.—Letters are even now come from Calais that the French king has 'set at liberty,' there and elsewhere thereabouts, for all men to carry to the Malcontents all victuals and other things needful for them; which news makes them here greatly to 'muse at.'
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 48.]
May 19/29. 322. Fremyn to Walsingham.
This is to tell you that the decision they are about making in the matter of his Highness goes along slowly; which by no means furthers the affairs of the country, by reason of the road which is opened to all sorts of schemers who meanwhile take a hand. The Papists of Brussels are demanding churches, not being content with their 'exercise' in their own houses, and liberty. They say that if it is not granted them they will take some by force; and their bold manner of talking makes people believe that they have some enterprise in hand, or some powerful support. This makes the Papists at Antwerp, Ghent, and other places talk big, and it seems that their aim is to seek reconciliation with the King of Spain. Besides this many ministers in divers places are preaching publicly that no reunion ought in any case to be made with his Highness. Meanwhile the enemy makes his profit of these things. He has taken Diest, where a colonel of Antwerp, named Doncre (?) was in command, by composition, without its standing one single cannon-shot; in so cowardly fashion, indeed, that it is a disgrace. It is presumed that the enemy will be able to come to Mechlin, and by the same means blockade Brussels. All the Walloon infantry in the camp commanded by M. de Trielles (?) are being sent into Vilvorde, so that some of those troops may be put into Brussels if necessary.
Last Friday about midday was a great alarm in this town; it was said that the French had taken the castle, and that there were full 4,000 of them in the town. God knows how they spoke of his Excellency, some saying that he was killed, others he was a prisoner, others a wicked traitor, who ought to be killed. Others said that he ought to be put in prison, others that he must not be lodged any longer there, but on the 'maire brugue' (?). There were as many as 6,000 before his quarters. The Prince had all the doors and windows of his lodging thrown open, in order to remove the current belief that there was someone hidden, and spoke to them from the window; and everyone went back home. Some of those who caused this alarm are imprisoned; among them a priest, who will be executed to-morrow. Its object was to get Marshal Biron and the French killed, and even his Excellency. The day before, M. de la Pierre sent a challenge (cartel) to Mr. Norris on account of a Brabançon[?] prisoner; and next day some English waited for la Pierre and la Grandville as they were coming out of their lodging, and attacked them with sticks and stones. This was about six in the morning, in order to cause no scandal to anyone. Please excuse me if I do not write you the whole truth about it.
Marshal Biron left this town yesterday for the camp, where there is a want of many things and much discontent; and that the marshal should allow and endure so many things, and so much disorder, without going, makes people judge that there is some great exploit in hand.
Mr. Norris is about departing for England for six weeks. M. de Fervacques is giving his daughter in marriage to the Sieur d'Avrilly, his Highness's minion. This marriage has been settled and is certain.—Antwerp, 29 May 1583, starting for Brussels in haste this morning.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 49.]
May 19 ? 323. J. Lobetius to Walsingham.
I will write this little word, to let you know that Mr. Wade arrived in this town, in health, thank God, on the 10th inst. and to accompany his letter, which he has asked me to forward to you (faire suivre); which I willingly undertook to do on the first opportunity. He left the town next day, to pursue his journey. And because Mr. Wade is one of my long acquaintance and ancient friendship, we drank your good health together here.
You have already heard that the assembly of the Swiss which was held at Baden in Switzerland has had no result except the postponement of the negotiation, to wit, that of composing the difference between Savoy, Berne, and Geneva, until St. John's Day next. These postponements do not please all men, and come with singular inopportuneness for the city of Geneva, which in the meantime incurs great expenses, and is in anxiety and trouble. It is plainly to be seen that if these delays last long, the patience of some will break.
The Cardinal of Austria, who had been hindered from going to Cologne, has retraced his steps and retired to Innsbruck; but the two bishops who were in his company, to wit, Malaspina and Vercelli, are gone secretly to Cologne, incogniti and by covert roads. It is said that those of the Chapter of Cologne who are against their archbishop have fixed the 24th of this month to proceed to the election of a new one and depose the old, according to the Pope's commission and the order from Rome. And it is likely that this will come to pass, looking to the slowness of those who wished to oppose it, who are not yet ready. Some of them are to some extent growing cold, having thought at more leisure of the difficulties which might intervene; others however have not lost heart.
Just now, as I have heard, is being celebrated the wedding of the son of John William, the late Duke of Saxony, with the sister of the Duke of Wurtemburg, and the festivities are taking place at Weinmair [sic] in Saxony. There will be conference there on many matters.
The Emperor has finished the Diet for Hungary, which has been held at Presburg; and has appointed to the Imperial cities a day at the end of June next, for their assembly at the town of Dunckspiel, which is situated between Swabia and Franconia.
Our good and honourable old Mr Sturmius is at his country-house. It is not long since he wrote to you, sending his letter in the packet of Mr Robert Sidney, on the 10th inst. He is in good case, thank God, and most of his greatest enemies are dead. I have been very glad to hear of the alliance to be between you and Mr Philip Sidney, who is to marry your daughter. I think I saw her in your house at Paris. I rejoice with them both, and it seems to me that the match is well made; I pray God to give it his blessing, which I am sure he will, as is promised in the 128th Psalm. Please greet Mr Philip Sidney from me, and his brother Mr Robert at the same time and congratulate them on so honourable a connexion.—Strasburg, 19 May 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Germany II. 67.]
May 21. 323. Lobetius to Walsingham.
I sent you on the 19th inst. a letter which Mr Wade left for me in passing through this city, sending it under cover to M. 'Hotoman' [qy. Hotman] secretary to the Earl of Leicester; to whom I also wrote, sending him a letter from his father, and forwarded my packet to Paris to your ambassador, my Lord Cobham. Since then I have received another letter from Mr. Wade written from Ulm, just he was about to go on board a boat on the Danube, to sail to Vienna. He forwarded me a letter to you, which he begged me to let you have via Antwerp, by Gilpin, Nothing new has happened since my last; except that those who favour the party of the Archbishop of Cologne are getting ready to aid him, and they say that Duke Casimir has declared himself enemy to the City of Cologne, and so we shall have war on that side. I have no more to write you at present.—Strasburg, 21 May 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Germany II. 68.]