Elizabeth: October 1584, 26-31

Pages 119-134

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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October 1584, 26–31

Oct. 26. Walsingham to Stafford.
I acquainted her Majesty with your letters of the 15th, and she desires greatly to understand, and that speedily, the King's resolution for the Low Countries; therefore her pleasure is that according to your directions dated the 8th of September you should earnestly press the King to a resolution, only that you should forbear (as I signified to you by letters of the 2nd instant) to use the argument which tended to dissuade the King from entering into the action of the Low Countries as a possessioner, “for she is so hardly persuaded of the King of Spain's good will towards her, as she preferreth the peril that may grow unto her by his recovery of the possession of those countries before any inconvenience that may fall out by the interest that France may get in the said countries; and therefore she doth allow very well of your answer made to Pinart touching that point.”
In your report of what passes between you and the King and Queen Mother, in this and other causes of weight, you will do well to set down the substance and material points “without dilating the circumstances, in such letters as are to be showed to her Majesty, for that she cannot now away with any long discourses in letters”; but I pray you let me know all, which I will use so as not to offend her, for although she dislikes that manner of writing, it is necessary for her advisers to know as well the circumstances as the causes.
For myself, I think the King (as he has reason) will have no dealings with the Low Countries without absolute sovereignty, which they will not assent to, but rather compound with Spain. I wish he would be content (without open war against Spain) to assist his mother in the prosecution of Don Antonio's title, and the King of Navarre in the recovery of that part of his kingdom now held by Spain, which, together with a general restraint against carrying victuals to the Low Countries, might greatly comfort the States, and provoke her Majesty to do somewhat for their relief, if assured that France, although underhand, “would join with her in the action.”
Our peril from Spain grows so great that it is over dangerous to let him prevail as he does in the Low Countries; and this is one principal cause of our present assembly of the Parliament; not that anything is to be propounded there concerning those countries, but to provide treasure to be employed therein if need shall require.
You will therefore do well to feel Bellièvre's mind whether the King would assent to such dealing underhand, and to advertise the same as speedily as you may, in letters apart.
And whereas you seem to mislike that the matter was imparted to the French ambassador—the cause being of such weight it was thought meet we should receive the King's resolution as well from his own ambassador as from you, a course held by all princes in weighty matters, “and can yield no hindrance at all if the King be minded of himself to go forward,” besides which it is often seen that if ambassadors resident are not made acquainted with matters, they seek to cross them.
I send you the Judge of the Admiralty's answer to the French complaints which I promised you long since.
You will do well to forbear having anything to do with Lord Paget or the other fugitives, for her Majesty was offended both with the receiving and sending of his letters.
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 4¼ pp. [France XII. 101.]
Oct. 27./Nov. 6. Clattdje Paulmier to Walsingham.
I send you a little book upon the Admiralty of France lately published, hoping it will please you the more as somewhat concerning the state of your kingdom.
When leaving London, I went to see you, to thank you for all your friendly offices to me there, but her Majesty had sent for you to the Court. I believe Mr. Waad will have made my excuses as I asked him to do. You will know that there has been convoked a general synod at Montauban in Languedoc, by consent of the King at the request of the King of Navarre.
It is said that his Majesty has granted an assignation to the deputies of the Religion to appear at Court some days of this week, to hear his pleasure upon the articles proposed by them. God grant that all may tend to his glory and the quiet of the people.
Some examination is being made into the evil practices of the financiers, certain of whom practice the saying of the learned Greek, Thales the Milesian: Stultum est subire periculum judicii cum possis fugere, while others have been arrested. Yet I do not see that the King uses them severely.
Mr. Robert Cecil will tell you that the King has returned from Blois, also that the dangers of the plague are so great in these parts, that one knows not which way to turn to escape from them. Mr. Cecil has accompanied Mr. Stafford everywhere and will not fail to inform you of all else.—6 November, our style, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [France XII. 102.]
Oct. 27. Capt. Roger Williams to Walsingham.
“Being idle, I thought good to write all the actions which passed in the Low Countries since Duke d'Alba's first entry until the Prince's death, where I have busied myself this five days when I had leisure from company. I have passed the siege of Mons (Monnce) the which put me in some pains, by reason I was not at those services; what I do write, it is by good reports or by experience, being in present with the service.
“This is the occasion I have not done my duty so long unto your honour. Touching Mr. Morgan's suit and mine, I trust your honour will not suffer anything to pass without my knowledge. Yesterday, one gave me all the conveyances which passed betwixt his father and my brother. Out of the Low Countries I hear nothing but that Count Maurice is come to Zeeland and that Count Hollack, with the troops which was in Gueldre, are come to Bergen op Zoom; and that they make great provision to beat the Spanish from the river. For truth, they have quitted two or three scances and the town of Antwerp 'resolves' Count Maurice they will continue enemies to the uttermost to the Spanish. One thing I do not like; they have released all their prisoners. In my poor judgment, God help that State that is afeard to execute his traitors, having so great an enemy so near to practice.
“The Prince of Parma is passed the river to Mondragon's camp, and lies in a strong house at Eker [Eckeren]. I spake with a post which came from Ghent, which passed by Dunkirk. He met, going to Ghent, a number of waggons laden with chains and cables; they say they were bought in London. They have in Ghent twenty-five ensigns, four cornets; great want of victuals in the town.
“This post came also from his camp. He changes his guards in the ditch thrice a week from the villages, and makes a number of huts to cover his men hard by the ditches, resolving to set his rest in that place. I do believe this man, for he is of the Religion. Mr. de Grise says there are gone the last day certain ships out of the Thames for Dunkirk loaded with victuals. Here are Italians says the Turk is dead, and that his son is like to make wars, wherefore the Venetians sends soldiers to Candy and doubles their garrisons.”—Barnard Castle, 27 October.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 41.]
Oct. 27. De Gryse and Ortell to Walsingham.
We are certainly informed that neither her Majesty's prohibition nor the repeated letters of the Lord Treasurer prevent those of this country from daily transporting victuals and ammunition to the enemy at Dunkirk and other ports of Flanders. There have lately gone thither no less than twenty ships laden not only with all sorts of victuals, but with cables and anchors, all which tends to the great prejudice of the United Provinces, the said quantity being sufficient to nourish the enemy's army for four or five months, and the cables and anchors serving to take away their navigation, especially at Antwerp, upon which depends all that is left in Brabant.
And as we are well assured that the States of the said provinces will think these proceedings entirely contrary to the trust which they have had in the affection of the Queen and your honour, and their hope that her Majesty, according to her promises, may in the end succour them actively; we pray very humbly, on behalf of those who are her affectionate servants (and whose ruin—being her nearest neighbours and of the same religion, assailed by the same enemy though in divers ways—must be as near her heart and yours as her own estate) that she will give such order as that from henceforward her subjects will not use such deceits, in which a good part of them wish to support themselves by the pretended behaviour of those of Holland and Zeeland, wherein we can assure her Majesty that hearing both sides, she will not find any truth, but that it simply serves them for a cloak.
We expect every hour the reply of the States to what her Majesty was pleased to give us. The river of Antwerp is free and ships arrive there by every tide, both from the side of Malines and of Holland and Zeeland. The enemy has quitted Buyren-Schantz [the Boors' sconce], where the river is narrowest, and another place, wherefore we hope that God will fight for us and will employ the rains as. his men at arms, so that to him alone will be the glory of our deliverance.
The enemy are also visited by plague and bloody flux, and it is only the doing of our neighbours that they are not also distressed by famine. Antwerp is more assured than ever, since the failure of the enterprise there (the authors of which have since been punished in their purses) and is now so encouraged by the resolution of the General Assembly that one and all have taken oath never to propose any pacification.
On the 16th there arrived Captain Morris and other English captains with their troops, who have been very well received and were to be mustered on the 19th.
They write that 36 ensigns of Spaniards and Italians have returned into Flanders, attracted by the bringing of provisions from outside. The soldiers at Brussels have been in mutiny, but are appeased by a month's pay.—London, 27 October, 1584.
Signed by both. Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 42.]
Oct. 28. Stafford to Walsingham.
This bearer, Gossam (being seduced by some papists in England), has been at Rome [qy. Rouen] and Rheims, and seeing their abuses there desires to return into England, where he promises to live as a good and honest subject, and to declare to you what he has seen in those places. I have no assurance of him but his own word, and have only given him a passport on condition that he should at once present himself to you and attend your pleasure, to be cherished or chastened as you shall see good.—Paris, 28 October, 1584.
Add. Endd. ¾ p. [France XII. 103.]
Oct. 28./Nov. 7. Paul Buys to Ortell.
I have not written to you, because of the uncertainty and sudden changes here, and some, who at first were in favour of the affair there, have so sought to bring me into suspicion, that I have thought good, after giving the States sufficiently long notice, to withdraw from the Council and resign my post.
The advertisements which you sent me long ago of the affairs of France, and which I communicated to Valck of Zeeland, have been entirely misinterpreted, especially by des Pruneaux, to whom someone reported them. He sent one of his intimates to beg me not to hinder the treaties with the King of France, and that if I showed myself well disposed thereto, I should not find his Majesty ungrateful.
Others imagine and dare to say that your advices are meant to break the said treaty. It will be more than necessary hence-forward that you should address your letters in such a way that they fall into no hands but my own, for you would never believe the rumours which are spread abroad here by our adversaries, some saying that I am a pensioner of her Majesty. But all the same I do not yield a foot to them and take care that they get no advantage over me.
As to the treaty with France, it is true enough that by the urging of some of Flanders and Brabant, and especially of Antwerp, to whom some of Zeeland have joined themselves in the name of the generality (rather too hastily, it seems to me), it has been decided to offer the King of France the annexation of these countries to his crown. But many have little liking for it, and the conditions are not yet resolved upon. It is to be feared there will be disputes over them, although des Pruneaux departed five or six days ago with a sort of declaration by the States-General, who have resolved to submit to that crown, and have begun to commission certain persons to go thither, of whose departure I do not yet see many signs, or that an affair of such importance will be settled so quickly.
Believe me, it needs only that her Majesty should aid them with three or four thousand men, paid for four or five months, to make all things straight again, and she should be prayed to consent to this provisionally, upon the conditions already presented to her, there being no doubt but that she would hereafter have assurances which would be entirely to her satisfaction.
Her power and good-will are so scoffed at by some persons here that it is grievous to hear them, and it would be very well for her to write to the States and complain of the small respect shown to her (that is, if she is as well-affected to us as we are assured).
Count Hohenlo lately thought of going over himself to learn her decision, if he knew that his doing so would be agreeable to her. I can write no more now, but will do so more amply in my next. It would be a very good thing if you could find out privately and clearly from her Majesty what assurances she would demand beyond those already offered to her.
As to Mr. Davison, it would be well if he were here already. Before his departure, you should so settle matters with him that the mouths of these ill-wishers here might be stopped.—The Hague, 7 November, 1584, stilo novo.
Endd. “A copy of Paul Buys' letter to Ortel.” Fr.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 43.]
Oct. 29. Stafford to Walsingham.
The King will give no audiences till Monday next, at the soonest. He is still close at Bois de Vincennes, where nobody dare come at him unless sent for. Last night, the Queen Mother arriving very late in this town, he sent for her; perhaps upon some inkling of the King of Spain's sickness, but it is rather thought to consult upon the answer to the States, upon des Pruneaux' coming, who, it is said, brings their full resolution but no deputies with him, they desiring first to know how the King will accept them, both in respect of their friends and their enemies. If it be true that des Pruneaux is come, I fear our audiences will be further delayed, to hear him first.
On Monday night a courier from Spain came to Tassis and Bernardin [de Mendoza], “who both were very melancholic upon it, and at supper neither did eat nor drink.” Next day they despatched him to the Prince of Parma. He told a secret friend in the ambassador's house that the King of Spain was very sick of a quotidian ague. “It may be they have some cunning in giving this out, and that so secretly, that it may be the better believed, knowing that the King here being cold enough of himself, would be colder if he thought the King of Spain in any danger. The only thing that maketh men hope something to be amiss is the sorrowful countenances of the two ambassadors.”
Bernardin gives out divers causes of his coming. To all he says it is to condole on Monsieur's death, but for the rest, to some, that it is to redemand Cambray, to others, to release it to the King; to others, to demand it first, and if he cannot obtain it, then to offer its release on two conditions, viz. that the Queen Mother release her whole pretension to Portugal, and that the King promises neither to help or allow his subjects to help the Low Countries.
Men of judgment think this last the likeliest, but howsoever he deal, I am told “he is like to go without it,” and that “to keep it with a better colour,” they have procured deputies of Cambray to be here at the time when he speaks of it, to demand that as they were always under the protection of the French King till the Emperor Charles V cunningly brought them under him, so now they beseech him to keep and maintain them still.
From Savoy I hear that the Duke is in great perplexity; that the King of Spain defers sending his daughter till the spring, and some think that as the Emperor Charles often agreed to articles which he never performed, his son may do the like; that his sudden kindness to the Duke was only to draw him from the French King and stop the marriage with the Princess of Lorraine “and that now by that mockery he offered the French King in so doing, he findeth he is irreconcileable with [him], he now will pause awhile. If it fall out so, the Duke of Savoy is beaten with his own flail, for he passed the Mounts and made show of an interview with the French King, only to make the King of Spain come off with his daughter the sooner.
“Some say that the King of Spain answereth that he shall have her, but that he will have the eldest daughter married first and with child afore he will let his second go,” but that I believe not, for “Idumée,” the Dukes base brother, has been very well received in Spain, and lodged in the house that was assigned to Don Pietro de Medicis, and the King has given him 1,000 ducats and a pension.
There is news from the Low Countries that the waters have carried away all that the Prince of Parma had done for stopping the river at Antwerp; also that Lord Dacres, Copley and Tempest are dead in the Prince's camp.
The King was in great alarm, hearing that the Prince of Condé was gone secretly in the night from St. Jean d'Angeli “with a cloak-bag afore him “into Germany, but these are but devices to put the King in a fury against him, for the advertisement was given by Entragues, “who is wholly a Guisian.”
His own folks here assure the contrary, and I assure myself the same, “for there could be no better way, afore the time, to bring the King in a jealousy of them, and make Annas and Caiaphas agree to crucify Jesus Christ.”
The house of Guise leave no time unspent to win and keep friends in Burgundy and Champagne, going daily to visit one gentleman or another, and that of all religions. They provide armour both for men and horse, and their friends there speak “big and very contemptuously “of the King and everybody else. Some say that already men are enrolled, to be ready at the first opportunity.
The day before yesterday a post came from the Duke of Guise to the two Spanish ambassadors. They sent to the Bishop of Glasgow, who presently came and remained almost an hour with them.
The King is told of all these things, but seems to make little account of them, giving them out to be men of no value; “but he is so strange a man of disposition and so unknown in his proceedings, than no man can settle any judgment upon his actions. He is become, since Monsieur's death (whom he stood in fear of) to care for nobody, and so keepeth every one about him in awe, that mother, counsellors, mignons and all quail when he speaketh. Epernon, that was wont to keep the King in awe, now is another man,” for when absent in Gascony “it was put into the King's head that he had built a pillar upon the foundation of the King of Navarre,” so that he dare not speak boldly, as he did. Joyeuse, “whom the King had in like jealousy for the house of Guise,” is so afraid, that (to take that suspicion away) he does all the bad offices to the Guises that he can.
I am told that this last week the King sent for them of Guise to come hither, who answered “that they were better able to do him service where they were than at the Court, where they had neither grace nor favour, and therefore desired pardon for not coming,” and that thereupon he means to send Bouchages, Duke Joyeuse's brother, to them, with a message they will not greatly like. This comes from a good place, but I believe it not. Bouchages is certainly not yet gone.
There was a bruit and secret advertisement given here by some of the chief Catholics to them of the Religion to take heed of a massacre, “pretended” by means of Guise, upon All Hallows day, “but I can assure you that the Catholics were more afraid of the bruit than the Huguenots, for fear that under colour of massacring the Huguenots, the rich of both religions might be robbed and spoiled.”—Paris, 29 October, 1584.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XII. 104.]
Oct. 29. Stafford to Walsingham.
The Englishman that I desired Mr. Robert Cecil to tell you had come to the Spanish ambassadors out of England the day he left, was next day sent back to Rouen (Roan), but is expected again within a week. He carries a false name, I am sure, calling himself Stinter. He brought with him three or four of those books “made against a great counsellor in England”; for before his coming by diligent search I could hear of none, and I know the papists in the town did likewise, but now I know where two are, “but very closely kept.”
There is a bruit that three or four hundred of them were taken in one port in England. I cannot find out where they were printed. They themselves say in England or Flanders, which I think true, for it could hardly be done either at Rouen or here without my knowing of it.
The Spaniard who went from hence into Flanders and was going into England, is returned, saying that they dared not venture, the ports in England being so narrowly looked into; also that the Englishman was dead who should have gone with them, who I think is Tempest.
Bernardin daily expects one Courtes out of England, to bring some great matter from the Spanish partizans there. “There is two brothers of them, as it is told me, in London, depending of some man of quality,” and one of them has lately been at Gravelines.
Even now I hear that there comes one from the States with des Pruneaux, not as a deputy, but to take back word of the King's acceptation of what they send. Gondi assures me that Mendoza has not yet pressed for an audience, at which men marvel greatly, he having been so long here.—Paris, 29 October, 1584.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1⅓ pp. [France XII. 105.]
Oct. 29. Stafford to Walsingham.
I am fain to do what I thought I should never have cause to do of any gentleman here; to complain of Mr. Gray and desire your help to have my own, which I would never have done but for his manner of dealing with me, for as for the money, when you have it, I care not if you give it to the poor.
He wrote me a letter dated from Orleans of the extremity he was in, being sent for home, and not able to get out of that town, and that if I would help him with fifty crowns, it should be repaid by my lord his brother's means within a month.
As I did not know his boy, I said I would send the money by the Orleans coach, and it was taken to the “cocher's” house, with orders that he was to deliver it into Mr. Gray's own hand at Orleans.
But Mr. Gray was in this town, and hearing of this from his boy, went to the coach-house, received the money and went his ways, neither coming to see me or sending to thank me, but bidding the coachman tell me that he had delivered the money to him at Orleans, nor have I ever heard of him since.
I never saw the man in my life, but in respect of his brother's honour would not suffer him to be in extremity; but his contempt in disdaining to see me, and yet using me to pleasure him in such “shifting sort,” angers me very much.
Yet have I (being asked about his estate by friends in relation to a match which he “pretended”) dealt with him like a gentle-man, because I heard it would be a rich match for him, “which since I hear not to be so, and more of his shifting manner of proceeding there, where he hath left a name greatly to the discredit of his house and country.”—Paris, 29 October, 1584.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XII. 106.]
Oct. 30./Nov. 9. M. Gourd An to Walsingham.
Stating that he leaves it to “this gentleman,” the bearer, to inform him of what has passed “here” in the matter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and praying him to believe that not only in that but in all other things he will always be delighted to do him service.—Calais, 9 November.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France XII. 107.]
Oct. 30. Ortell to Walsingham.
No doubt you received my letters yesterday and with them the two brought by Jehan Regal, water-bailiff of Dunkirk, who is certainly a Spanish spy.
I am informed to-day that this Regal has had some vessels laden with corn at Dover, Sandwich, &c. for transport to Dunkirk and Nieuport, under pretext of going to Flushing; I know not under what pretence of licence or permission. As I fear this is done with the aid of the officers of these places, especially the one at Dover, in favour of whom you wrote to me so earnestly the other day, I must beg you to take order at once for the prohibition of these collusions and frauds, which show great contempt not only to the restrictions of her Majesty, but to your lordships, who have written so often to that purpose, besides the irredeemable harm done thereby to our people.
I have no doubt that if Regal were strictly examined it would be found that he comes not only for corn, but because of other secret intelligences with the Spaniards, the enemies of religion and of this realm.—London, 30 October, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl and Fl. XXIII. 44.]
[Oct ?] Walsingham to the States-General.
The merchants of Dover, Sandwich, &c. who have received injury by your men-of-war, still complaining to the Lords of the Council that they have no redress for their losses, have been ordered to deliver their papers to M. Ortel, whom the said Lords have requested to recommend their cause urgently to you, that better order may be taken in the future than in the past, and for this purpose have despatched the present bearer with charge to go first to Holland and then to Zeeland, and to bring back your final resolution in the matter. For they have decided to grant the said merchants ordinary remedy of justice here without further delay, unless you send him back with an answer which may justly satisfy them. To send the merchants themselves thither in future, as your agent demands, does not seem reasonable to the Lords, seeing the poor despatch you have hitherto given to those who have gone over. Thus we think it more convenient that you should send hither the whole matter, with full instructions of your will and pleasure, that the affair may be finally and justly settled without further delay; to which the said Lords will give all the aid they can.
Copy, without signature or date. Endd. “Copy of Secretary Walsingham's letter to the States.” Fr.pp. [Ibid. XXIII. 44 his.]
Oct. ? Discourse Concerning the French King and the Low Countries.
Will it be for the safety of our State for the French King to be our only defender from Spain ? He will have all the States or none. Should we not fall from one mischief into another ? Truly none could better help us if we were assured of his goodwill. But in like manner Germany could do so, if she would. Would he with sincere mind take us into his protection; and would his defence not do us more harm than good ?
We have many reasons to doubt his goodwill. In trust of his aid, the war was taken in hand in 1572 by the Prince of Orange and his brother Ludovic. The King, by his sister's marriage, gave hopes for peace with the churches, yet was meditating that execrable murder [the St. Bartholomew].
But (they say) that King is dead; he who now reigns may favour our cause. Deluded with this hope, we called in the Duke of Alençon, believing that his brother would furnish him with money, which he never meant to do. Thus we gave the Malcontents occasion to call in again the Spaniards.
Some say the King will do anything to increase his dominions, but this is very doubtful. The cold letters delivered by des Pruneaux only give hope that he will aid us if we offer acceptable conditions. What these are he does not say, but we have agreed to let him have Holland and Zeeland so much in his power that we can never “start from our words.”
Many allege the Prince of Orange's judgment, that safety could come only from the French. But he never meant all the provinces to be given up to them without any refuge to which to retire. Seeing how every town thought only of themselves, and that the whole State drew towards ruin, he thought it necessary that some mighty Prince should be called in, to resist Spain and hold the provinces and towns united, having seen how little his own authority prevailed with them; yet always meant some provinces to be kept out, to whom the rest, if any mischief happened, might have recourse.
But allowing that “it was once my lord the Prince's mind,” we must frankly confess that we were all shamefully abused in calling in the Duke, persuading ourselves that the King would support his brother, though, considering how the Kings of France have always been jealous of their brothers, we were mad to think he would help to make him “the more mighty.”
But now, men will say, we have to do with the King himself, who lacks no power to go through with the war. But what are the conditions ? We all agree that two are necessary:—1, no change in religion; 2, no foreign soldiers to be put into our towns. And whoever thinks he will grant these, or if granted, keep them, I believe is much deceived. The Duke bound himself by oath, but broke it, and if God had not protected Antwerp, the French would have raged there more cruelly than the Spaniards. Have we forgotten their watchword, Vive la messe ?
Those present at the examination of the prisoners know that in spite of the Prince's having so well deserved of the Duke, he and his family were appointed to be slain; only his daughters of the house of Bourbon to be saved and thrust into nunneries. These confessions “were purposely suppressed in the history, but we know we speak that which is true,” and so do they who would now receive the French.
It is alleged that Brittany and Dauphiny enjoy their ancient laws and privileges; but there in nothing there “contrary” to the King, while here there is religion, remembrance of the ancient lords, and love of liberty. Against these he will never think himself protected save by the placing of garrisons.
Our ambassadors in France report what peace the churches there enjoy, but this was not granted of the King's goodwill. What arms have wrung from him and fear of war retains can only be sure while that fear lasts. What fear will he have of us, when he has filled our provinces with his soldiers ?
At any rate, it is said, our condition will be better than under the Spaniards. But I think the only difference is that between an open enemy and a counterfeit friend. A known enemy we may fly, the other we cannot avoid. If the Spanish and French Kings changed places, they would probably each act neither worse nor better than the other does now.
We do no injury to the French King if we trust him no further than Frenchmen do. The Rochellois do not let him set a garrison over them. They of the Religion hold strong towns, garrisoned by themselves, for their security. What madness then for us to trust him with our lives and all that we have. If he demands Holland and Zeeland, better that some of us should perish than all be exposed to certain danger.
Yet, if the King will take on him our defence, trusting us as faithful subjects, neither planting garrisons nor making any change in religion, we are not against his being admitted as our Prince. He will divert our enemies from us, will transfer the burden of the war upon himself, and we shall be idle lookers-on, so we pay the money agreed upon. But why should he credit us so far, and we credit him in nothing; and enter into a doubtful war with Spain while uncertain of our fidelity ?
We shall (some will say) be bound to him by solemn oath, testified by charters and all our seals. But Kings crave more assured and compelling pledges, and who so persuades himself otherwise knows not the qualities of Kings.
Yet if we let the King set garrisons in our towns, we shall betray our religion and safety as much as if we opened our gates to the Spaniards. “An example is not far to be fetched. What Alençon's soldiers did at Dunkirk is well enough known.” I can never believe that the wolf will be a fit guardian for the sheep, nor he who has been brought up from his cradle in hatred of the churches take upon him the defence thereof. And it is not without suspicion that the Spaniard is nothing moved by our leagues with the French, any more than the Duke of Alva was by the action of the Prince of Orange. Besides, those who have most power with the King, the cardinals, bishops, Jesuits and Guisards favour the Spaniard and would not let this thing happen unless they were sure it would turn to their good and our destruction.
Lastly, if all these suspicions were false, and the French King should be induced to go to war with Spain, and it did not prosper, he might forthwith make peace, and either sell us to the Spaniard or by treaty deliver us up, as Henry [II] the French King, in the last peace with Philip, restored all he had in Italy. The King fears (say some) that when he was entangled with Spain, Holland and Zeeland might make their peace with that King and forsake him, but we have much more cause to fear the other.
Consider with what contempt our ambassadors were received, and what answer, after a whole month, they got from Secretary Brulard. At the last, des Pruneaux and La Pre obtained letters and embassage to us, and audience for them from the Queen [Mother], but no great account is to be made of that.
Lastly, I fear, if we do not offer profitable conditions to the King, he will “delude us with courtly cunnings “so long that we shall be compelled either to receive him on any conditions or else yield to the Spaniard, “wherefore we think it not wisdom to depend any longer upon the uncertain affection of the French.”
But as it avails little to show dangers unless we show also how they may be avoided, I will say what, meseemeth, may procure safety.
The first cause of our calamity is the wrath of God for our sins and despising of religion. If the Lord of Hosts were worshipped as were the false gods of the Gentiles in times past, victory would follow. This is first to be amended, if we wish for happy success.
Another cause is our neglect of our neighbours and care only of our private “commodity.” If, from the beginning of the war with Don John, all had studied the common safety, the enemy's forces had long since been broken, and our affairs had flourished, free from the danger into which we have cast ourselves headlong.
The third cause is the cowardice of our people, who would rather depend on foreign aid than themselves fight for their native soil. Wealth and delicacies have made us so effeminate that we can neither “serve nor live freely; neither govern ourselves nor be ruled by others; acting as if war might be accomplished without any supreme governor, or that the government might be committed to anyone.
What nation in such extremity has not created a dictator and captain with sovereign power ? Do we think we are wiser than the ancients most expert in warfare ? Would to God we had their courage and love of liberty, then should we easily deliver ourselves. Many things remain to us; men, money, ships; there wants only courage and will to fight. If they of the Religion in France had such helps; goodly towns, rich and strong, rivers, havens and ships, they would fear no violence and power. Let us remember our ancestors, who made wars far and near without foreign soldiers. I do not mean that we should be deprived of foreign aid, but that our men should fight with them and that the strength of our armies should be our countrymen.
England is our neighbour, “whom it concerns” that these provinces should neither return to the Spaniards or fall into the hands of the French; for if we be lost, she cannot be safe; and though she will not bear the burden of the war, yet she will not deny us help. From Germany we have hitherto received small succour, yet we hope well. Count Maurice, the Prince's heir, is with us, whom we may use to gain the favour of the German Princes. “If there were any envy, hatred or discord with his father, all this is taken away by his death,” and I hope this young Prince will obtain more favour with the Germans than ever his father had. The Elector of Saxony is his uncle on the mother's side, and others “touch him by blood and affinity.” If he only gets a little help from each, joined with our own and what we look for from England, it would suffice for our defence.
This way may seem long, but the French King has said that no help could be prepared in less than a month or six weeks. In three months, both England and Germany might send us succours, and thus an army be raised to oppose our enemies, whereby, through God's help, we may be saved from the tyranny of the Spaniard.
Endd. “A discourse in English, impugning the election of the French King to be governor of the Low Countries.” 14 closely written pages, probably by Villiers. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 45.]
[Oct ?] Sir Jerome Bowe's demands.
Demands of Sir Jerome Bowes, late ambassador to Muscovy, touching certain debts and other things due to him by the Muscovy Company in respect of his voyage thither.
1. The freight and lading of one ship, such as is usually sent on that voyage, “and the return of the commodity thereof to his own proper use,” without being impeached by them, according to their grant made to her Majesty.
2. The repayment of money disbursed in the voyage, for diet, rewards and other needful charges, as covenanted by the Company before his departure.
3. The sum of 100l. due to him upon his return, as appears both by the letters and covenant under their own hands.
Endd. ¾ p. [Russia I. 14.]
Another copy of demands 2 and 3, with variants. States that Alderman Barnes, then governor, and Anthony Marlowe, agent, signed the articles agreed on before his going into Muscovy; and that he has a letter confessing the debt of 100l., signed by Sir Rowland Hayward, Aldermen Harte and Martin and Mr. Customer Smythe. (See previous vol. of Calendar, p. 553.)
Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. I. 14a.]
[Oct ?] A note of moneys paid to Sir Jerome Bowes by the Russia Company before he left England, while he was in Russia and since his return, including (the figures torn away) which is stayed in the hands of the Company because he keeps certain plate of theirs, and will not deliver it. Sum total, 1,882l.
Besides all this money paid to him, he owes them 348l., which was laid out for him in Russia.
Endd. 1 p. [Russia I. 15.]
[Oct ?] A remembrance for Alderman Martyn, governor of the Russia Company.
1. To call upon Sir Jerome Bowes for delivery of her Majesty's plate which he had when ambassador in Russia.
2. To demand from him a silver basin and ewer, sent into Russia for a present.
3. William Turnbull, the Company's agent in Russia, charges Sir Jerome with 500 roubles in his account. To know what order he will take for the same.
4. The hundred pounds due to him is ready to be paid when he delivers the above goods and money.
5. That all furs brought over by Finch may be forthcoming, and not delivered into Finch's hands, according to the Company's request to Sir Jerome at his first coming over. Finch would have shrouded himself under the ambassador's protection, to have paid no custom (which since he has done) and to have entered into the Company's trade contrary to their privileges.
6. The Company desires these things to be cleared before Christmas, and “as Sir Jerome went over with good will, so all things may be finished with friendship.”
Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 16.]
[Oct. ?] Sir Jerome Bowe's information against George Roper.
Being one day discontented with his diet at my steward's table, he swore to the clerk of the kitchen that if so served again he would beat the platters about his head, and another day he struck at the same with a knife, and if the steward had not put him by, would have stabbed the man into his guts. Again, when one day the under butler would not leave business of charge to get him drink, he so beat the said servant that he came up into my chamber “with his blood all running about his face.”
Because I misliked these doings, he left my house and went to the English house, where he so practised with the enemies of my embassage that the Emperor sent a gentleman to talk with him. What speeches passed between them I know not, more than that he caused Jerome Horsey, a servant of the Company, to tell the Emperor's messenger that he was a gentleman, the Queen's servant, that the ambassador had used him ill, and that he desired to speak to the Emperor, to have an allowance of diet.
The Emperor sent his principal Secretary to me to enquire into the matter, and I saw that his practice had so wrought that he would be carried before the Emperor, whether I would or not. What speeches he used to the Emperor I know not, but afterwards to the “Prestaves” (gentlemen to whom the Emperor committed him in charge) he boasted that he was a gentleman, the Queen's servant, “and as good as I, were my commission off my back; that he had as good friends amongst the Council as I had, and durst as well answer his cause when he came home before them as I durst.”
The Emperor imagined his talk to be true, and that consequently I was but a mean fellow, having learned that Roper had been a baker, a skinner and a fencer; and hereupon, whereas I had been, before then, called to Court every few days, it was now three weeks before I was sent for, and then, instead of her Majesty's demands being yielded to, the Emperor began to cavil again, and I was sent back to my lodging and nothing done. A day or two after, talking with Giles Crow, the interpreter, the Emperor said to him, “Your ambassador is not so great a man as he would have been esteemed to be. I have now learned what he is.”
Besides hindering my embassage, Roper and his companion Waddam greatly diminished my credit amongst the merchants, reporting “that I was not the Queen's ambassador, but hired by the merchants; that the Queen was content to let me go, because she imagined that I might profit myself by the voyage; that I was so poor as not able to live at home in my country and therefore was sent abroad, and for that my lord of Leicester could not abide the sight of me; that I kept but one man, and often times they had seen me without any.”
In conclusion, if these speeches and behaviours of George Roper had not been used against me, “I had had my despatch in the best sort that was possible, and had been five hundred miles upon my way before the death of the Emperor, and so had brought home the first granted privilege, newly ratified by the Emperor, with much greater profit to the merchants than was by them any way expected.”
Endd.pp. [Russia I. 17.]