Elizabeth: December 1584, 21-25

Pages 197-204

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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December 1584, 21–25

Dec. 21. Segur-Pardeilhan to Walsingham.
I cannot thank you enough for the care and pains you have taken for me. M. de Tournoir arrived yesterday evening, and freed me from a great anxiety; I shall follow your advice and go to embark at Plymouth, where I cannot fail to be well accommodated since you have recommended me so affectionately to “Monsieur du Drac.”
I thank you also for your French news. M. du Plessis wrote me the same. God be praised that he has so inspired our King. When I reach the King of Navarre, I shall not fail to inform you of the state of our affairs. Meanwhile, I commend to you the Elector Truchsess and the journey into Germany. On that depends the union and preservation of all our churches.
I pray you to take it in good part if I say that it is very sad to see the harm which the pirates do on this coast.—[South] Hampton, 21 December, 1584.
I have received many courtesies in this town both from the mayor and others, for which I thank you, knowing that to you I owe them.
Add. Endd. fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. XII. 135.]
Dec. 21/31. Col. Thomas Morgan to Walsingham.
Whereas I wrote from Flushing that fifty ships of war of Holland and Zeeland had passed up the river for the service of this country, I found on coming hither only the Admiral with fourteen others. The fault for my error must be laid “upon their ordinary enterprise in speeches and nothing in effect.” As soon as I arrived here, they employed me, with the rest of my regiment that was left here, for defence of the forts upon the ditches from Antwerp to Mechlin, “there to join with seven or eight cornets of horse and 300 foot for a convoy to re-victual Brussels.” I willingly consented, and marched with our whole troops for two leagues, till we came almost to Vilvorde (Filfourd), where the way was so entrenched and stopped with trees that we could not pass, and had to retire to Mechlin.
The enemy, who is advertised of any enterprise we take in hand, laid an ambush for us, “and seeing we came not forward, presented himself before Brussels with 1,000 horse and 2,000 foot, with three pieces of artillery to break our battle; because the last convoy that went thither, but with half my regiment, held themselves together, being charged by the way with three or four hundred horse and as many foot, whereof they acquitted themselves to their credit.”
This country is in a very fickle state, and without the assistance of some absolute prince, it will all very shortly be lost. Their hope is only of the French; what will come of that I know not, but they must hasten their coming, or “they are like to find all the towns in Brabant out of their commandment. For Brussels, they have been in arms already to the same effect and a great many taken and imprisoned, but none executed; whereof M. de Temple, their governor, is not altogether held unsuspected.” Most parts of the country are readier to embrace the King of Spain's friendship than to accept the King of France. The commonalty would willingly receive her Majesty. Service amongst them is now more dangerous than profitable, for the enemy knows of our enterprises sooner than we do who execute them; as appeared two or three days ago, when we were all sent for from Mechlin to enterprise something on the enemy's camp. I embarked my regiment, and the horse came by land to within a league and a half of Antwerp, where the enemy lay in ambush and charged them; who without standing, ran away and were overthrown, with the loss of three or four hundred men.
They in this town daily show their desire to compound with the enemy, and have let fall libels against M. St. Aldegonde at his own door; chiefly for amassing such large sums of money for making an instrument upon the river called the “flotte,” which they mean to do great exploits withal, but I think they will come to nothing.
My English regiment here has been better dealt with than in times past, “though not sufficient to entertain them as they ought to be”; nor will they trust me in any garrison, so that I mean, unless her Majesty takes the action in hand, to return with them into England. Letters sent from Holland say that, seeing the coldness of the French, she will now at last take the government of this country upon her; “upon which hope, the commons will some little time feed themselves.”
The Prince of Parma (Perment) lies still in Flanders at a place called Beveren (Beaver), intending not to stir until the river be shut up; which, it is thought, will be shortly accomplished, for “he hath framed a 'flot' chained, to lay over the river, with divers holds from the bottom of the river,” where the work will be made fast with anchors; so that when the nights wax a little shorter, I think he will stop the passage.
Although I have sent over hither about 1,400 men at the least, besides two or three hundred old soldiers who have long served here, I did not find, on my arrival, eight hundred able men, with some two hundred sick. Their hard usage before my coming caused many to run to the enemy, who gave them both passports and money to return home.
I cannot but humbly thank you for your friendship towards me at my coming out of England, and as long as I live shall be ready to do you service. I mean shortly to send Mr. Middleton to you, with things which I will buy in Antwerp, and send to you for the satisfaction of the money I had upon your assurance.—Antwerp, the last of December.
Postscript.—According to her Majesty's commandment, I have presumed to write to her, and pray you to give some countenance to it; for it is easier here to find many good soldiers than a few good servitors. We have just had news that 300 of our horsemen, who escaped out of the enemy's hands, have arrived at Mechlin; some of them without horses, and a great many horses without
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 82.]
Dec. 22./Jan. 1. [Captain Lucar] to Walsingham.
Duty binds me to tell you of the state of our wars, and the ability and strength of our English regiment, to the number of 700 fighting men and very sufficient, as was seen in our last march towards Brussels, with the company of Mechlin, two hundred foot and six hundred horse, commanded by the Heer Van Earner, two brethren, the Battes, “very forward gentlemen,” and others, well mounted, to pass with a convoy to victual Brussels. But the enemy, advertised of our going, “plashed” the way with trees, so that we had to turn back. Upon our return, M. Temple coming with all his forces out of Brussels, lying in ambuscade and places of strength, and doubting we could not come to them, sent us the true report of the enemy's strength, being 1,500 foot of his best men in his garrisons, 15 cornets of horse and three field pieces. They had heard that we were in Brussels the night before and thought to have beleaguered us in the town, but finding that we remained at Mechlin, they sent nine cornets of horse to Lierre, that our horse might not pass to Antwerp. We fear they will set down their force between Mechlin and Antwerp, and take the river. Their horse are driven to eat the tops of trees and straw when they can get it, so that I do not think they can be long here about us.—Mechlin, the first of January.
Unsigned, but with seal of the Lucar arms. Endorsed, “From A. B.” 1 p. [Ibid. XXIII. 83.]
Dec. 22./Jan. 1. The States [Of Brabant?] to M. De Grise.
There has been little change here since our last letters. The ambassadors for France will have started if the wind has served them. Mr. Morgan arrived about a month ago, but as he had delayed so long and his men had not been mustered (which was put off at his request) we mustered them about a week before his arrival and paid them a month's wages. They have already done good service, especially for the convoys to Brussels, where they showed themselves very valiant, but they are rather difficult to manage, and in case they should report that they are not treated fairly and better than any other of the soldiers, we wish you to bear in mind that, as you know, they all arrived without arms, which have cost us 13,000 florins; and for the time that they were not received in muster, we have entirely supplied them with provisions, amounting to a great sum, and have moreover paid them the said month's wage in ready money, without any deductions for their arms or victuals, or on account of the moneys which the said Morgan had received in England under colour of transport; and have since advanced him about 4,000 florins upon another month, and are doing all we can to provide the whole.
If therefore, anything is said which might offend her Majesty, you will be able to give her and the lords entire satisfaction.
This last week we endeavoured to revictual Brussels by some 600 horse sent by the Council of State to the Neckarsport, near Malines, but the roads were so barred by trees, besides that the enemy had about sixteen cornets of horse thereabouts, that it was not considered wise to send the convoy, but rather to try by some ruse to divert the enemy.
We therefore, by advice of the Colonels and other chiefs, sent all the troops at Neckarsport last Thursday evening for this purpose, and also (while the enemy had most of his horse near Brussels) to try if they could do some exploit upon the enemy's camp at Stabroeck, which was not entrenched.
But as the horse were much more dilatory than the occasion required, those of Lierre got wind of the matter and planted an ambush of several hundred horse, so that all the horse, being more than 800 with those whom we had sent to join them, from simple fright fled, some towards Malines, others to this town; but not fifty taken or killed; so that we hope shortly to put things to rights again. Those of Brussels still hold out well. Do not fail to advertise us of all you learn from France.—[Antwerp ?], 1 January, 1584 (sic).
Copy. Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 84.]
Dec. 23./Jan. 2. Rudolf II to The Queen.
We are not unmindful of what we wrote to your Grace about two years since, in answer to your letters sent by William Waad, concerning your differences with the Hanse towns, and of our promise to return answer thereupon, which we would gladly have performed before now if the reports of the Hanse towns and other Imperial Free cities whom the same concerned had been returned in due time for us to consider them and impart them to the Electors and principal States of the Empire.
But seeing that most of them are of opinion that it does not beseem them in such private sort to alter what was agreed upon at the Diet at Augsburg, and as the late troubles of the Empire, especially about the Palatinate of the Rhine, have prevented the calling of a new Assembly where the cause might have been considered, we pray you to hold us excused for the delay, seeing you may yourself perceive it has proceeded from no want of readiness on our part.
But as the Hanse towns earnestly press us to exclude the Merchants Adventurers, which your Grace, on the other side, thinks unreasonable, it cannot but in the meantime prove very prejudicial to both parties and to other free towns of the Empire, “in respect of the common traffic and mutual intercourse whereby they live,” if the matter remain undetermined.
And for our part, considering your former friendly disposition towards your neighbours, we cannot believe, howsoever you have been moved against the said towns, that the privileges and contracts which in consideration of many great services were granted to them, and so often renewed and confirmed, should now be taken from them, and the intercourse so long carried on between the subjects on either side discontinued and broken off.
And therefore, as wishing well to the cause, we have advised the said towns “that they should not any longer stand upon the great charges they had been at in defence of their privileges, but to yield to some indifferent agreement” until the matter can be determined at a general Assembly of the Empire, which, if they would do, we promised them our best assistance to your Grace, which, as they “defer” with all dutifulness to do, and “mind” to send an express messenger to you, we could not do less than recommend both the man and the cause to you, and pray you to deal with them in such friendly sort that they may find that for our sake you have been willing to grant them the continuance and confirmation of their ancient privileges, or at least (if the differences thereupon cannot at present be compounded) that they may have again “their former course of traffic, from which, by reason of the great and double customs charged upon them ever since anno 1578, they have been debarred,” until in some good time these matters may receive a final conclusion. “Which we trust your grace will as willingly yield unto, as we shall be ready to acknowledge it in all friendly and neighbourly sort.” —Prague, 2 January, 1585.
Endd. “The Emperor's letter to her Majesty Englished” and (very briefly) with the three main points contained in it. 2 pp. [Germany, Empire, I. 61.]
Dec. 24./Jan. 3. Stephen Le Sieur to Davison.
No doubt you will have heard of my travailing for Mr. Daniel Rogers' liberty this last summer, and that on October 20, stylo novo, he was delivered from his four years' miserable captivity, on payment of 5,500 florins. Part is paid, but he must remain in those parts until the whole is satisfied. His creditors allowed him to go to Wesel and thence to Düsseldorf, where he was congratulated by the Duke of Cleves. Now he is at Cologne.
After going higher up in those countries, I am now in this town, where I hear of your lordship being come to these parts as ambassador, and send these lines to excuse me for not coming to you myself, “by reason of the haste of my business.”
The state of Germany gives little to write about. The new Archbishop of Cologne has possession of the whole archbishopric (“only Berk, which yet is in the hands of the Count de Moers, from whence, as I hear, is grown the quarrel betwixt the old Elector Truchsess and Count of Hohenlo both against the said Count de Moers”), being supported by the Pope, Emperor and King of Spain, to whom he is a necessary pillar in those parts.
The protestant princes of Germany “have made some show in words of discontentment against the Emperor for having so suddenly (contra statuta aureœ bullœ) dismissed Truchsess . . . and admitted the Bavarois, but all their anger as yet yieldeth no effect.”
The Pope is said to have sent the Emperor 200,000 crowns to prolong [i.e. defer] the Imperial Diet, earnestly required by the princes of the Empire, who will not acknowledge this new Elector, to whom likewise the Pope has sent 100,000 crowns, to pay his army. The said new Elector was last summer busy “practising” the marriage of the only son of the Duke of Cleves (now Administrator of the bishopric of Münster) with a daughter of Baden; “he a young gentleman of twenty-two years of age and she of better than thirty and an earnest Jesuit.” The marriage was concluded unknown to the noblemen of the Duke's countries, who ought to be consulted. It has been put off until next Whitsuntide, at the request of her parents; which has caused great joy to the Duke's subjects “and would yet more if they knew it should never be; and the cause most for her religion, and that in degree she is not equal to their young Duke.” The wisest believe that the Elector practised this marriage to “attain” to the total ruin of the gospel in Germany, especially in his dominions, those of the Duke of Cleves, and the bishopric of Münster, where he seeks likewise to make himself bishop. His practices have already brought such fruits that more are feared, if God do not cut off the designs of such as seek the destruction of his elected church.—Dordrecht, 3 January, 1585, stilo novo.
Postscript.—I must remain for some days at Middelburg, and then go to Antwerp. If you send letters to Mr. Gilpin at Middelburg he will give them to me. I hear from England that my master's brother, Mr. Robert Sidney, is married to Mr. Gamage's daughter and heir.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 85.]
Dec. 24. Davison to Walsingham.
I have this evening received yours of the 12th, whereby I find that her Majesty marvels that she has not oftener heard from me; the cause you will ere this have learnt by my letters and the report of my man, who has been long delayed by wind and weather. Since his departure little has happened save the defeat of a convoy of the States sent to re-victual Brussels, but without much loss. Nothing is yet enterprised for dislodging the enemy from the river, where these seem content he should spend his time and amuse himself, as the place where he may least annoy them or profit himself, so long as they can pass up and down with whole fleets as they do. Their commissioners departed yesterday from the Brill and are by this time, we suppose, in France. Dr. Junius is gone in place of Straelen, deceased, and the pensionary of Dordrecht instead of Cassembrot, for the States of Holland.
There is a bruit from Germany of an intended meeting “about Liége,” whither the Emperor and other princes “mind” to send commissioners to make a new overture of peace between the King and these countries, with as much appearance of success as the last treaty at Cologne had. I will do my best touching the gentleman mentioned in your letter, but the few deputies felt here will, I think, do nothing therein before their general meeting.—The Hague, 24 December, 1584.
Postscript.—The Elector [Truchsess] thinks the time long till he receives her Majesty's answer, in hope whereof he has with much difficulty kept his people from dispersing. I can only give him good words from day to day, and pray you to return my man with her Majesty's good pleasure as soon as you possibly can; by whom also I would be glad to hear of my revocation, “since my stay here is to little purpose, considering on what terms they stand with the French.”
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl, and Fl. XXIII. 86.]
Draft of the above letter.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XXIII. 87.]
Dec. 24./Jan. 3. Capt. Henry Ricardes to Walsingham.
Duty binds me to advertise you “of a most dishonourable overthrow of all and most part of 600 horse dismounted and slain. First and for the principal commander of them, the Heer van Heamer; Captain Battes and his brother, lieutenant; Captain Lessalle, captain of the horse of the city of Antwerp, two captains of 'moffes,' commanders of two cornets of reiters, and other seven commanders was to be thought of them, but coming to the execution, showed themselves for their own parts very valiant; but for their troops very peasants. First, for the order of their march commanded by the States by a letter, to come presently to Antwerp with 300 of footmen of Mechlin, who was their commander Captain Lambert, for to be their safeguard through the straights; the enemy having good intelligence of their coming, as no likelihood of any other, by reason experience doth teach us the like, that the governors are all traitors.
“The horsemen being to pass by foot over a little river, the footmen led, and were commanded to make a stand for them and made none, but marched their way to Antwerp.” The commander of the horse here, Van Heamer, fearing this, sent a captain of horse with fifty carbines to stay them, but they could not overtake them till they came to Antwerp.
The enemy, having let them pass, and being strong enough for the rest, disposed themselves “in a strait,” and charged the lancers who, having the vanguard, dishonourably retired, the two cornets of “moffes” following them, and overthrew their own troops. “The enemy following of them so hard, put them most on foot and to forsake their horse; first the Heer van Heamer who was commander came to us to Burganholte 'all a pe' [i.e., à pie], Capt. Battes mounted; Capt. Battes' brother a pe; ' Shattillion ' lieutenant to ' Beamyatez ' mounted, the captain of the moffes a pe. “
If the enemy had not been stopped by night, none had escaped.
For our regiment, we passed by shipping from Mechlin to Antwerp, being commanded by the States.—Burganholte, 3 January, 1584 (sic) “to this computation.”
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 88.]