Addenda: Miscellaneous 1576-1577

Pages 503-510

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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Miscellaneous 1576–1577

Oct. 507. Letters patent by the Queen, appointing Francis Walsingham commissioner with full powers to treat with Francisco Giraldi, ambassador from the King of Portugal, resident in England, concerning the matter of arrests, prizes, and other acts of hostility, and all other matters in controversy touching the traffic between the two kingdoms.
Reading, — Oct., anno 18.
Copy. Latin.pp. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 22.]
[Oct. 29 ?] 508. Rough draft of the treaty arranged by Walsingham and Giraldi, for suspension of arrests, letters of marque, &c., for three years from the 15th of November next ensuing.
Draft. On same sheet as the preceding. Latin. 1 p. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 22a.]
[Oct. 29.] 509. Agreement by the Ambassador of the King of Portugal.
In the articles on which we have agreed, her Majesty and your honour, desiring to facilitate the establishment of a lasting peace, have consented that the point of Barbary shall be deferred, for the clear and urgent reasons which I have signified on behalf of the King my master.
And that to the article concerning the restitution of sequestered or arrested [vessels] should be added, that good prizes, taken from our subjects by letters of mark or reprisal or in any other unjust manner shall be determined by judges appointed in each country.
To the same convention is to be added that pirates or corsairs robbing or doing any harm to the English and Portuguese, shall not be received into the ports of either kingdom.
And moreover that the vessels in which subjects or natives of either kingdom navigate, shall have free passage on both sides, and shall carry merchandize from the other kingdom, but that this agreement does not include those who come from the demarcations or prohibited seas, for these may be pillaged either by one side or the other, even if they are in Portuguese or English vessels.
Endd. Italian. 1 p. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 23.]
[A.D. 1576 ?] 510. The Reasons and Motives which might induce the Soldiers and Captains [of the Low Countries] to join with the Estates.
The duty they owe to their wives and families, who will be for ever enslaved to the Spaniards in case that, by this stroke, they become masters of the country. Their superb insolence and pride is known to all the world, and in time of their prosperity they will not have much regard to those who shall have assisted them in their need, especially knowing that it was done, not from love, but from fear.
That they need expect no advancement from the Spaniards, but all their pay must come from the States, and it has always appeared in the past, even in the French wars, that the States have paid the soldiers liberally. The Spaniards have always hindered their payment, and made it more difficult for the States, who would have to cease to pay them at all if they joined the Spaniards.
That they are so despised by the Spaniards that whenever things go well, the latter will attribute it to themselves, while, when they go badly, the fault will be laid on the natives of the country.
That they will have no credit, but will even be considered traitors.
That all profit and advantage will go to the Spaniards, but if there is anything where nothing is to be gained, they will employ the poor Walloons or Germans, and in fact, it has been seen that they have lodged the Walloons and other native soldiers upon the dykes while the Spaniards were at their ease in the towns enjoying all their pleasures, and ill-using the wives and daughters of the burgers.
That Montdragon has even forbidden his Walloon soldiers to beat any march except the Spanish one, signifying that they are not worthy to be soldiers except under the name and discipline of the Spaniards.
In effect, that the sovereign aim and intention of the Spaniards is to make the Walloons and other natives their slaves. How much more honourable for them faithfully to serve their fatherland!
They should consider moreover, what is to be expected for themselves and all their posterity if the Spaniards become the rulers in this land, and exercise their tyranny and cruelty at their pleasure. Would not they themselves bear the guilt of all the groans uttered and blood spilt, seeing that they had been the first to put themselves under the yoke? And for all that the Spaniard now shows such a good face, while he has need of them, they may be assured that as soon as he has attained his object, he will think of nothing but of securing himself against future danger, and of clipping the wings of all who might interfere with his power, and to this end, he would get rid of all the Walloon and Flemish soldiers, keeping only so small a number as they could hold in absolute subjection, as one sees clearly by the example of Italy, where there is not an Italian entertained in the garrisons throughout the land, and here also, where they put none but Spaniards into the citadels, intending, little by little, to do as they have done in Italy.
Also, it is very certain that as soon as they have received some re-inforcements from Spain or Italy, so that they have not such need of the Walloons, they will speedily show what they have in their hearts, and will take away all profits and advantages of the war to give them to their own nation.
And this will apply not only to the soldiers, but also to the captains, governors and lords of this country.
They should think of the example of Monsieur Egmont, who was so much beloved by the soldiers of the country; this being the principal cause of their hatred of him, and of the death to which they condemned him in spite of all his good services.
I omit speaking of the lords Horne, Hoochestrate and others, or how they treated M. de Noorcarmes [Noircarmes, i.e. St. Aldegonde] whom they almost publicly called traitor, and hounded to death, so much that the report ran at that time that they had poisoned him. Then the Count de la Roche, how was he treated by them? Is it not well known that he was mocked and blamed and almost insulted, because he favoured the soldiers of the country, in such sort that for long he has not held the government of Utrecht because of the insufferable insolence shown him by them. What passed between him and Valdez (Valdesse) is well known, and how Valdez dared to write to the King that the said Count was the cause of the loss of Leyden, putting the manifest fault of the cowardice and baseness of the Spaniards upon this good and valliant gentleman. Moreover, how they acted towards the Count de Bossu, whom they leave still to languish so long in prison, (fn. 1) even putting upon him the blame that Holland had revolted. The Duke of Alva even by all means endeavours to give the Prince of Orange occasion to put him to death.
M. de Beauvoir, is he not accused as if by his means the Spaniards had lost the town of Middelburg, when all the time it was their own doing, by such manifest and grave faults that children might have been ashamed of them.
To sum up, whatever gentlemen of this country are in command of its soldiers, they are all paid in the same coin, for however much they try to please the Spaniards, it is impossible but that they should sometimes show their displeasure at such insupportable haughtiness and presumption, and then they are ruined with his Majesty.
What then can the soldiers expect from the Spaniards, or what honour or profit can they hope for? What baseness and littleness of heart would it be to submit to those who, when made safe by their arms, will oppress and crush them. For they have seen well enough what affection the Spaniards bear to them, and that they will be treated like a thorn in the foot. Let them not be deceived by present appearances, for it has been seen that when they needed the Estates of this country, they were the greatest friends in the world, but when they have not been allowed to waste the country and pillage the towns one after the other, they have promptly taken up arms against them.
And that thus it will be may be seen even now, when they are so puffed up with pride that they cannot dissemble their nature for a little time to the soldiers of whom they have so great need.
And do not the soldiers remember what Montdragon replied to the Walloons when they prayed him to pardon them what had passed; saying that they might seek pardon from the King, but as for himself, for his life he would not give it them.
And yet one sees that they support the Spaniards, the most mutinous, seditious and rebellious people anywhere in the world; the Spaniard mutinies when he pleases, takes the towns of the King, pillaging the country and sacking one town after another, as much as he does those which have been declared rebels and enemies of the King and country by the King and his Council and by the Estates of the land.
And the Walloon, who has so greatly suffered, if he dares to take any spoil in a town which he has helped to capture, has committed so great a crime that it will never be forgiven! Does not one see by this what is to be expected; that they shall be trodden under the feet and destroyed one after the other, while the Spaniards triumph over them contemptuously (de leurs epaules.)
It is time that they opened their eyes. The opportunity now presents itself. They must range themselves with the Estates for the defence of their fatherland, or they must expect an unhappy end, after they have put in power those who will make them die miserably and will oppress their posterity for ever.
Endd.: “Remonstrances given by his Excellency to make the soldiers join with the Estates.” And in another hand, “du par Monsieur le Prince.” French. 3 pp. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 24.]
[A.D. 1576?] 511. Extract from a Letter.
If the reply does not come shortly, I fear that, in the end, the Prince of Orange may be forced to make an agreement with the mariners, in view of the importunity of certain persons of Zeeland. Hence I fear war, infinitely harmful for those both here and there. There have certainly been no arrests here, at least of merchants, but as I have written to you above, without the Prince's decree, I believe to-morrow will see the end.
Endd.: “Cipher, deciphered.” French. 6 lines. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 25.]
[A.D. 1576–7, Feb. 4.] 512. Report by the Council of State [of Brabant] to the States-General of their negotiations with Don John of Austria, in relation to the pacification with the Prince of Orange and the provinces of Holland and Zealand, and the sending away of foreign troops.
4 pp. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 26.]
(A translation of the Report in French of which there are two copies calendared under date. See Cal. S.P. For., 1575–7, pp. 509, 510.)
[A.D. 1576–7, Feb. ?] 513. A brief Discourse for the States General upon what has been lately treated of with Don John at Huy.
Their lordships should consider that Don John's proceedings since coming into this country show that he thinks of nothing less than of dismissing the Spanish soldiers and their adherents from the country, but rather means to maintain them there, having hitherto entertained the States with words only, seeking one excuse after another for delay, so that he has now for about three months filled them with false hopes (fn. 2) without in the least point carrying them into effect, simply to amuse them and consume them (as one says) by a slow fire, and that meanwhile he might have ready his men whom he expects from all parts, and thus craftily gain his end, having also by every means tried to make division among the provinces, as he hoped to do in Artois by some of his favourites, and in Frise by the soldiers whom he thought to gain by large promises of money.
I omit the great pretences which he has employed in divers places, as when he sent with the deputies returning from Luxembourg, Octavio Gonzaga and the secretary Escovedo, (fn. 3) to treat (as he gave out) with the Spaniards as to the means for their withdrawal. And yet the result has since shown that he thought of nothing less, and that it was only a pretext to treat with the Spaniards about holding a sure correspondence with them. And in other ways, his intention is notorious to all who know the proud and arrogant humour of the Spaniards, who have no thought for the good of their subjects, but only for their own tyrannous domination, which, by all means, they endeavour to maintain, and, meeting with the least obstacle, will move heaven and earth to reach their end and to crush those who in any way oppose them. As they have shown in the Indies, and quite openly in the realm of Grenada, where Don Juan was chief in the business, who here will not omit all possible means, or to employ the whole power of the King, this affair being of such great consequence for the Spanish domination, which will be shaken throughout Italy and other parts if the Spaniards are driven out from hence by force.
Wherefore all that Don John treats in these affairs must be looked on with suspicion, until we see the true effect of our claims, and also we should weigh well what he has done with the Council of State and other deputies going to him at Huy, promising (as is said) to dismiss the said Spaniards and their adherents, and even to accept the peace made with the Prince of Orange and the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, provided that the said Spaniards are paid their wages, a thing which, at first sight, would seem reasonable; and in order to do away with the distresses of war, might well be accepted.
But considering the whole matter, we shall find that under this pretext lurks something else; viz. a fresh delay in order to gain the whole springtime, knowing well that in three or four months the full payments will not be able to be made, for want of ready money, of which at least seven or eight millions of gold would be needed, and yet we must maintain our gendarmerie and augment our cavalry to be secured against the said strangers. And in the end, all this time being lost, and the country on all hands so eaten up and ruined that afterwards, if need were, we should not have the means to continue the war, all the money which ought to serve us against our enemies would come into their hands, and so give them the knife wherewith to cut our throats. And moreover, having been paid, they would very soon find some other pretext not to depart, and would simply defy us.
And the said Spaniards having, under pretext of friends and defenders, exercised so much tyranny and taken and sacked our towns (notably Antwerp, so flourishing and the market of all the world, where they committed such cruel and infamous acts that no Turks or other barbarous nations would have done the like) we should be blamed to all posterity if we should be so cowardly and faint hearted that instead of taking just vengeance we paid their wages and sent them back honourably quasi re bene gusta.
For (under correction) it were better than this that the said Spaniards, thieves, robbers, murderers, and filled with all vices and abominations, should be persecuted and punished as such, than that we should bear the blame which, by doing otherwise, we shall bring upon ourselves.
Also, it would be doing a good work for all other nations dominated by the Spaniards, who would take example to behave differently, whereas if these are sent away so honourably and full of riches, they will follow the same course, and, occasion serving, do the like.
By which it appears that their lordships ought by no means to accept the conditions proposed by Don John, but to persist in their first resolution, which is good, just and reasonable, and will be reputed as such both before God and the world.
And as this affair is of so great weight, and should be carefully considered, your lordships should call hither with all speed the Prince of Orange, that in this and all other matters he may henceforward take care and advise conjointly with you, which would be a great comfort to the people and also to the soldiers, by giving them good hopes of a better advancement of our affairs. You need make no difficulty, because Don Juan has already accepted the peace made with the said Prince, and moreover, the Prince's presence may lead Don John to resolve to act reasonably and to cede some of his pretensions, seeing that we take the matter so to heart, and endeavour, by all means, to stand out against him, this being the only way to bring the Spaniards to a good point, which expedients, had we used them earlier (as some advised), things would have already been ended. And by delaying to summon the said Prince, we shall give him occasion to be angry with us, Don John having consented to this by the said acceptance of the peace.
Endd.: “Copie d'un advis fait par un quidam aux Estats.” French.pp. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 27.]
[March 17.] 514. Note that Dr. Beutterich has warned Bonaventura (the King of Navarre) of the treachery of the French Court, and assured him of the assistance of Jonathan (Duke Casimir).
Cipher, deciphered. 1 p. [S.P. For. Eliz. CXLVI. 28.]
Calendared from another copy under above date, in Cal. S.P. For., 1575–7, p. 546, where however Navarre is signified by the number 48, undeciphered.
[Oct. 16.] 515. Advertisements from the Low Countries.
Don John has written letters to the States General [see Calendar, 1577, Oct. 14], which (according to his nature) are arrogant enough. He says that, in accordance with the letters he has received from his Majesty he desires nothing but the maintenance of the pacification, but we know this is only a ruse to lull the States to sleep. Moreover he commands the said Estates to retire each one to his own house, and to lay down their arms, and also demands that they shall oblige the Prince of Orange to withdraw into his Government of Holland and Zeeland, with all his abettors and adherents.
By letters from the Emperor and the Empire (distinct one from the other), the States are desired to inform him if there be any good means of making a sure peace.
The Baron Daubigny, with M. Manshart, starts to-morrow, which will be the 17th of this present month, to go to the Duke of Alençon, and to pray him, in the name of the States, to move the King, his brother, not to permit the Duke of Guise to come to Don John's aid in these countries, seeing the just cause they have to rise up against the said Don John.
Letters have been sent to Casimir and Würtemberg to come with the Reiters that they hold in wartgelt, of whom Casimir has three thousand and Wäurtemberg two thousand. It is believed they will come without delay.
On his return from England, the Marquis de Havre will have charge of 1,500 German horse. A gentleman named Schenck, whose father was Governor of Gueldres, is coming also with 1,500 horse. It is said that 25 companies of English and Scots are arrived at St. Geertruydenberg. Yesterday was mustered a foot company of M. de la Motte, which was very well equipped, and is going to the camp at Namur.
Those who come from the camp say that it is a short league from Namur, and that they lack neither provisions nor munition. The Germans who are in Ruremond (Remunde) will, it is thought, be hardly able to hold out, for want of provisions.
It is believed that the Prince will be here this evening.
French. 1 p. [Holl. and Fland. III, 41a.]
(Cf. “Advices from Antwerp,” Oct. 20, 1577, in Cal. S.P. For. for that year.)
A.D. 1577.
Oct. 22.
516. [Fremyn to Davison.] Advertisements from Germany.
Yesterday there arrived here very secretly a man in great favour and place with the Pope; a Jesuit called Father Osmaro, a Low Countryman, born in Beaumont, in the Duke of Aerschot's lands. He is sent to Don Juan, the Bishop of Liége and the Duke of Aerschot from the Pope, and two other Spanish Jesuits in Commission with him for the quieting of the Low Countries. They have discovered to a friend of theirs that the delays used by one part of the States, “which abuseth the other very cunningly and finely,” have fallen out very well for the Holy League, for had it not been for the dissembling and fine show of these cunning fellows, their belief is that they would have lost all in the Low Countries; Don Juan had been utterly defeated, “and all his enterprises cast down the stream.” But now these Jesuits seek to accomplish what the other have begun, while the forces of the Pope and other princes of Italy are setting forward to join with those of Naples and Sicily, which are led by the Prince of Parma, “Ascanio and Cappy Souppe.”
The mildest speeches used at Rome of the Flemings are “that the fire and bloodshed that shall be made of them shall sufficiently revenge the K[ing of Spain] for their rebellions, and to that end, he will not spare both his Kingdom of Spain, his Indies and Crown. This is the best entertainment the Low Country people are like to have at his hands, yea and the realm of England, which troubleth the quietness of his government.” For the accomplishing of which, all the forces of Spain, France and Portugal will be employed, as is long since determined, and “for the better effectuating whereof they are not destitute of good intelligence with some great personages both in England and Scotland.” Augusta, 22 October, 1577.
1 p. Endd. [Newsletters XXVII. 1.]
(This paper is mentioned by Fremyn in his letter of Oct. 26. See Cal. S.P. For., 1575–7, under date.)


  • 1. Bossu was imprisoned 1572–1576.
  • 2. Negotiations began in November, 1576.
  • 3. In December, 1575.