Elizabeth: March 1585, 26-31

Pages 378-388

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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March 1585, 26–31

March 26. Stafford to Walsingham.
Yesterday one of the best merchants in Rouen came to complain to M. Joyeuse, and the news is confirmed both from Bordeaux and St. Jean de Luz, that all English and French ships are stayed in Spain and at Lisbon, and that the King is preparing a great army for the sea, taking all his own ships and those that come to traffic there, and removing the sails, tackling and ordnance from those not so fit to serve, to better furnish the rest. I advertise you of this rather as a duty than for any other certainty I have of it.
There is greater and stronger guard here every day; all gates shut up but five, where is strong ward, and at every one of them a knight of the St. Esprit and another of account appointed to remain all day long.
The King himself, a-horseback, with three or four hundred gentlemen, went the round of the town inside to see that all was in order, and to-day will do as much on the outside. Companies come every day here about and are lodged at the places and passages of most importance, as Pontoise, St. Cloud, Medon &c. Yesterday, all that had commissions went from hence, promising “by the end of this [next] month or the midst of May to have them ready.”
The King sent yesterday to ask the Queen Mother's advice about the offer from the King of Navarre, Condé and Montmorency, which his Council stood against, “persuading him that it is the way, not only to have all the Catholics of this realm against him, but also all strange princes of that religion; when it shall be seen that against them that make the chiefest title of arming for the religion Catholic, the King shall take succour of heretics, and bring them by that means in opinion that he meaneth to lean to them; laying also before him the oath that himself and all the knights of the St. Esprit take at their creation, to have nothing to do with heretics, that they had almost won the King; but yet he holdeth steadfast,” and has assured some who are gone to make companies that they of the Religion shall be as welcome and well-used as any.
” The Duke of Montpensier (as he never speaketh to purpose but when he is in choler) spake very plainly to the King . . . desiring him to look into them that gave him that counsel; that they were dangerous counsellors to be about him. That for his part he was a Catholic as any of them, but that he would never counsel the King but to accept and embrace them of the Religion in this case, of whom he was rather to be more assured than of others, because both to the persons they went against and for the cause sake, they were more irreconcilable than any other, and therefore less doubt and more assurance there was to be had of them; besides that he must say what he had found, that in Flanders, where he had the honour under Monsieur to have commandment, he found none more obedient, loving, faithful and diligent in all services than they.”
The Pope's nuncio had audience the day before yesterday and did all he could to make the King believe that the Pope was unacquainted and unconsenting to these things.”The King seemed to take it but so-so. It is thought that it is a thing done of purpose for the nonst to amaze the King withal, and being out of doubt that the Pope is not consenting to this, the rather to make him little set by the King of Navarre's offer of help.”
This day the Queen Mother should reach her journey's end. It is uncertain whether the Duke of Guise will meet her or no, “but for a certainty the Cardinal of Bourbon. They do what they can to keep him from meeting with her, for they fear she will do with him what she listeth.” He is at Guise, being let in by the Captain, who, it is suspected, holds the town at the Duke of Guise's devotion, “but he would let the Cardinal come in but with what company he listeth. He sent yesterday hither to the King that he was sick in his bed of an extreme cold, desired pardon for not coming as he had promised by M. de la Mothe Fenelon; that as he was coming he had certain advertisement that the King would put him into the Bastille as soon as he came.
“The King is nothing so much amazed as he was, nor feareth not, for he findeth that they are not so strong as they were made, and that they are greatly amazed themselves, seeing that of four score great towns they made account of there is but two in their hands, and that of great companies they expected to flock about them they are deceived, having yet not past four or five hundred horse, and some assure scarce so many.”
Besides that, the 2,000 footmen and 400 horse which came to Ivoy from the Prince of Parma are retired, and the King is assured “that the King of Spain having embarked them to serve his turn, his turn being served, calleth them back again for his own service in Flanders,” though the Guises' party say they have only gone to meet the reiters.
They have failed to gain Orleans and Newhaven, and news came last night that Duke Mercœur had an enterprise upon Nantes which has also failed, and that on his retreat, la 'Hunodaye,' one of the King's lieutenants in Brittany, has besieged him in a castle. They have no towns of importance except Chalons, which, it is thought, if the Duke of Guise do not leave a strong garrison in it, “will scarce be well assured,” and Dijon, where M. de Mayne is and which they are only sure of so long as he is there; but he has provided for it as well as he could, putting 500 men with store of artillery into a little town and castle on a hill half a league from it, which commands the city. As for Rheims, as long as the Cardinal of Guise was there, they were contented to guard him, but now he has gone to his brother at Chalons, they have sent to the King to assure him of their fidelity. Marshal Daumont, whom all thought to be at their devotion, came yesterday to the King.
There is a report here that Liége and Cologne have shut their gates against their bishop, “because he would have put garrison into them, and, as they think, keep them for the devotion of the King of Spain. It is also said the Duke of Cleves is in the like jealousy.”—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XIII. 79.]
March 26. Stafford to Walsingham.
I have found means to know the sum of the Manifest (as they call it), a new Italian name given to the Declaration they mean to make to the King of their demands and the cause of their taking arms; the effect whereof is this.
They declare the abuses committed since the reign of Henry II's children, both for evil government and oppression of the people, and evil bestowing of the great sums received by them; “as also for the maintaining of the Catholic religion, by the too much levity that hath been used by them that have had the government, and by the falling from the Church of certain princes, relapsed from the Catholic faith: That therefore Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, as first and chiefest prince of the blood and heir apparent of this crown . . . maketh request to the King, first for the naming of a Catholic prince a successor to this goodly realm, and so forward with the points that I writ to your honour in my last.”
I am told that one of their demands was that the King should restore Cambray and Cambresis to the state in which his brother found it; but finding that “would sound so hardly into all good French men's ears,” it is thought it shall be put out.
I hope God will make them fall into the pit they have laid for others, for if either they make a peace (which it is thought they will be fain to do) or if the King “fall not to have any intelligence with them . . . which nobody here now greatly feareth, no doubt but they are undone”; for if they give over suddenly, their courage will be called in question, and they who have not openly declared for them will, to curry favour with the King, be the first to accuse them, and if they go on and fail, the King, having them at a vantage, will never forgive them. And if this fall not out according to their expectation, there never came anything so profitable to the King of Navarre as it will be.—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [France XIII. 80.]
March 26. Stafford to Burghley.
Copy of the two preceding letters, sent by Lady Warwick's man; with the addition of the following paragraph.
“My lord, as I was sending my letter away for my cousin Cecil to come hither, I received a letter from him that he was at that instant going to Blois (Bleez), where I think he shall be in very good surety . . . especially finding both Orleans to be quiet and all things thereabouts.”—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Holograph. Endd. by Burghley. 4 pp. [Ibid. XIII. 81.]
March 26. Waad to Walsingham.
Hearing nothing from the King since our audience on Tuesday, we sent this morning to Secretary Brulard to put him in mind that we may know his pleasure. By reason of these great occasions he excused himself that he had not time to move the King, but would take the first opportunity. My greatest doubt is that the King will be advised not to give the Guises so great cause of discontentment as the yielding to her Majesty's request would breed, for I hear that they proceed in these matters “with temperate advice rather to defend than to offend and to appease than suppress.” Howbeit it is certain that those in arms have misreckoned greatly in their opinion of their partakers and the taking of divers towns.—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIII. 82.]
March 26. Stafford to Walsingham.
Sending the copy of a letter from the Earl of Leicester (wanting) and praying to know how her Majesty would wish him to deal in the matter.
Asks him to be good to “poor Tupper, now sent back in haste, “for his honest behaviour and dutiful service” and sends thanks from his servant Lilly for his favour to him.—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIII. 83.]
March 26. Stafford to Walsingham.
Sends him by Palavicino's man the horse which M. de la Chapelle aux Ursins gave him.
“He is young and lately come out of Italy . . . but his curbies have made him unfit for anything but for the race,” in which he thinks he will very well serve his honour's turn.—Paris, 26 March, 1585.
Postscript in his own hand.—Begs him to look to what he wrote by Tupper, for he finds “that he with the 'pimples' in his face is but a vain young fellow, and the other but simple.” Mutio, whom they seek to find in England, and that the Spanish ambassador employed with intelligences thither, is in this town and in prison.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [France XIII. 84.]
March 26. Davison to Walsingham.
On the 17th I received yours of the 9th by Burnham, with the news of these States' success in France, together with what you gave him in charge to tell me. Within an hour I sent for one or two of the principal States remaining here (for the rest departed eight or ten days ago), and acquainted them with the answer given to their commissioners, “agreeable” to what I had often foretold them. At first it appeared strange to them, the rather that for a month they have received no line from their deputies, yet “coming on the neck of some bruits dispersed here a day or two before to the like effect” through merchants' letters, they soon believed it, and seemed glad that the matter was so happily settled, being (as they now confess) the best issue to that treaty. After some discourse how this matter had been carried by some few against the liking of the greater part, and especially of Holland, they sounded me touching her Majesty's disposition, “into whose arms, as they pretended, this people would a thousand times more willingly cast themselves” if she would embrace them. Wherein—although her Majesty had (as I told them) good cause to withhold her favour, considering their little respect to her—yet I did not doubt but they would find her graciously disposed, if the fault proceeded not from themselves; showing them how they might redress their former oversights, and assuring them of my good offices. In the end we settled for them to repair to the Assembly, to tell them how things had passed in France, and to cause letters to be sent to summon the [deputies of the] towns to come hither with all speed and with full instructions what way to take if their business with France had not good success (“for to advertise as it was, they thought it not expedient”); which was the same night agreed upon, and the rest summoned for the 28th of this present.
As soon as they have grown to any ripeness, I will send back your servant with news, and in the meantime find some likelihood that they will do their utmost to give her Majesty satisfaction. The only difficulty I fear is Flushing, rather by the “untowardness” of Haultain and indirect offices of others ill affected than any indisposition in the people to cast themselves into her Majesty's protection.
Their commissioners arrived at the Brill last Wednesday, and here that night, “where they have had a welcome agreeable to their success.” They will make report on Monday, the first day of the General Assembly and meanwhile entertain the people with some opinion that all their labour is not lost. The night before, came letters from Ortell, saying how well disposed he found her Majesty to embrace their cause, if sufficiently assured, which news somewhat revived their fainting spirits.
We hear nothing yet of an attempt to open the river, though the tides are now at the best, and all things prepared both at Antwerp and in Zeeland. Doesburg has followed Nimeguen's example and the like is feared of Dotechem and other towns in Gueldres and Over Yssel, “not without suspected intelligence of their governor, the Count of Nuenaar, who is feared to be entered into some treaty underhand with the enemy, though I hope better of the gentleman, whom I have known long.” Those of Nimeguen have recovered the fort made by those of Arnhem over against the town, and cut the garrison in pieces, and have taken Haultpenne, one of Berlaymont's sons, for their governor. You have no doubt heard of La Motte's attempt on Ostend, where he lost two hundred men and five or six ensigns, with good store of munition, to recompense the loss of the States at Bois-le-Duc.
At Liége things are said to be in trouble. The Bishop warned the States of his bishopric to assemble on a prefixed day; apparently in order to find some way to content a regiment of Almains, who served him in his late wars. When the day came, no man appeared, whereupon the Bishop ordered the men “to be 'furried' (fn. 1) upon the peasant,” to compel them to seek some way for their contentment; where they committing divers outrages, the people gathered in arms, and assisted by some companies from Liége, assailed and defeated divers of them. The Bishop being meanwhile withdrawn into Germany to his brother, the Almains solicited succour from the Prince of Parma, who sending 2,000 horse, they have omitted no insolence against the Liégois. One of the troop, judged by his rich apparel to be a man of quality, being with his servants in his inn, in the suburbs of the town, let fall threatening speeches against those of the town for assisting the peasants, which being reported, some of the burgers seized the gentleman, carried him into the town, and having publicly stripped him of all that he had, after many indignities cut him in a thousand pieces, burying him in the place where he was slain, and vowing to do the like with their Bishop if he fall into their hands. We hear that they continue on their guard, greatly inflamed both against the Bishop and the Spaniard, but what this will grow to, they being no better backed than they are, is yet doubtful.
There is a general bruit here of the death of the Pope.—The Hague, 26 March, 1584. (fn. 2)
Draft. Endd.pp. [Holland I. 86.]
March 27./April 6. Jacques de Dynetiere to M. de Nyeulant, Burgrave of the Franco, at Bruges.
As the enemy have made an attempt upon the stockade I have enquired the result of the enterprise, which I have learnt from M. de Massavi, who was present. At ten o'clock at night, the day before yesterday, one of three fireships sent from Antwerp came against the vessels at our stockade, and in order to put it out many came out openly and too near, so that the fire in the boat reaching the powder with which the hold was filled, flung up so many stones, pebbles, beams, pieces of iron &c., that quite five hundred of our men were killed, and amongst others, the Marquis de Roubaix, Sieur de Billy, Sieur de Torsy, Captain Sigura and many others of his highness' household; he himself having left the stockade on some other business. This ship having carried away four of our boats, they have been replaced by others, so that those of the enemy who are still near the dunes with two boats have not been able to pass. The place of the unfortunate men has been taken by Manrique's regiment, which had just arrived.
The rebels at Antwerp attacked the fort of Ubalons between the city and the stockade, upon the Flanders dyke, but were repelled, so that we hope God will aid the good cause.—Ghent, 6 April, 1585.
Postscript.—I have not divulged these sad news to the College, but leave the matter to your discretion.
Copy of an intercepted letter. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 87.]
March 29./April 8. Don Luys de Rozos, governor of Santiago de Leon, to the King of Spain.
According to his Majesty's orders, he has issued proclamation that no negro, mulatto or mongrel should go among the natives, “for the harm they receive”; nor enter the new kingdom of Granada without licence, seeing the disorder there, and that it is “the principal place of infecting the whole kingdom and also of Peru.” Also that all natives shall repair to their own country, “being as they are beasts and rude,” and will not obey their governors. Some “redeemed negroes” went about to seize themselves of the royal coffer, wherefore he ordered the justice to punish them; but he found the people in such disorder that he could not do it, for they would obey nothing in his Highness' name.
They have great need of a Council house and prison. Has bought the best house in the city for it, without charge to his Majesty. Also they are making a conduit for the water, very necessary for the citizens, as they have to fetch it three miles.
Has despatched a captain for the province of Quiriquiros to inhabit there, because of the report of rich silver and gold mines. Their people have gone heretofore and done nothing. Has also caused two towns to be erected, called San Sebastian de los Reyes and San Juan de la Paz, with many natives in each, by means whereof they have found very rich mines of gold. Has given order for the conquest of the people called Sumanagows to Capt. Christofer de Cobos, a very good soldier. These are the Indians who killed Capt. Serpa and his people; very needful to be brought into subjection because of the city of Sumana, which cannot hold out without some town planted near, to provide them with victuals, as the city does not breed any kine or other beasts. In this government there is great store of pearls (perells) which have been seen by many of his Highness' subjects.
Prays that orders may be sent to the officers of Santiago to pay him his wages for the time when he had the government of Santa Marta, which they refuse to do.—Santiago de Leon, 8 April, 1585.
Dorso. A note of the possessions of the King of Spain.
Translation. Endd.pp. [Spain II. 28.]
The brackets and lines have been added in another hand, no doubt to call attention to certain passages.
March 29. “A, note of such ships as are to repair into Spain out of the East countries.”
From Hamburg 22; Lubeck 10; Dantzig 8; Oxborough (?) 6. Total 48.
Endd. with date. ¼ p. [Ibid. II. 29.]
March 29. Harborne to Walsingham.
I cannot by word, much less in deed show my affection for your bountiful liberality to my poor aged parents and myself, “in restraining Bowen and others impugning her Majesty's late grant, which thereby they quietly enjoy, “and also in procuring her Majesty's protection against the rigour of their creditors; but I will pray God to requite it, and to give me hereafter means to show my devotion to your service. I am sorry you have not vouchsafed here to make trial thereof, which makes me doubt I have offended you, so that I should fear to write again, but for the thought of your affability and kindness, “preste” to pardon my want of learning and experience. Wherefore I pray you to continue your favour, the souvenance of which revives my wearied spirits in this weighty charge; for the which, as I confess my insufficiency and my desire to return for the comfort of my parents, I humbly crave your “congie” at the expiration of my prefixed time.
“I have delivered her Majesty's letters, gratefully accepted and herewith answered, received favourable promises and like addresses to Argier for the release of our captives, with restitution of the goods taken and severe commandments to abstain hereafter from harming ours, which I have despatched thither in this ship, the Charity, by a chaouse, my chief dragoman.”—Rapumat, 29 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Turkey I. 33.]
March 30./April 9. M. de Carrouges to Walsingham.
Regretting extremely that he has not accomplished what he would have wished for the English gentleman who is a prisoner there, of whom his honour wrote, not having failed to do all that was possible, as the bearer will inform him. Begs to assure him of his desire to serve him.—Rouen, 9 April, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [France XIII. 85.]
March 30. Stafford to Walsingham.
Having a convenient bearer, I thought well to write to you of a thing coming out here, and as I take it, printed at Rheims, which is the book against the Earl of Leicester, [“Leicester's Commonwealth”] translated into French with a very villaneous addition. They are looked for here in three or four days. I send you word in time that you may surprise them, for there is no doubt they will be sent over, and they are determined to bring it to the sight of the Queen. “I am in a peck of troubles what to do in it, for to complain of it were to have the matter more to be divulged abroad and the more looked into and marked when it shall be seen to stir in [sic] and especially by me, because my nearest have a touch in it, (fn. 3) which, though between God and my lord of Leicester's conscience, and almost in the opinion of most Englishmen her conscience be no further touched than an honourable intent and a weak woman deceived, yet when it cometh to French heads standings, who can neither speak nor think well of any, I doubt how they will interpret anything.” If by any device I could have it suppressed I would do it; but their malice to my lord of Leicester is such that it could not be done but by complaint, which is the worst way, and therefore “though I be touched in it, others that touch me being touched in it,” till I hear your opinion, I shall not stir in it, but by making no account of it, make it thought a jest, as the Queen Mother has done in all things set out against her, which has made them die the sooner. Some of our good people here, to curry favour with me, have had me told that the matter touching my friends is so slight, and not named, that I have no cause to be offended, but if I come to know the doer of it, “I will not leave to light upon him . . . for I am not such a baby but that I know well enough that though the names be either left out or the matter coloured in the French, there be enough that have read the English and know the parties, that can take pains to gloze and interpret the text. . . . If you command me, I will send you [one] of them, for else I will not, for I cannot tell how it will be taken . . . Two things have hindered me to write to my lord of Leicester of it; the one that I have no cipher, the other, I would be loth to do anything subject to bad interpretation, and therefore I leave it to you to do in it as you shall think best. I have kept it from the beginning that the other came out from translating here, for Throgmorton was even then in hand with it, and by means that I found, left it off, and ever since it hath slept, and is but now of a sudden gushed out. I am very certainly advertised that the matter of the addition is come out of England, and from thence very earnestly pressed the translating and the setting out of it afresh. I pray God my friend be not laid up again when that it shall come to her ear, which yet is not, for I can assure you that the melancholy of the fear of the misinterpretation of the first, contrary to the desert of her conscience, was the cause of the last sickness that was so long, and almost of life, which in truth I was a good while greatly afraid of.”—Paris, 30 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [France XIII. 86.]
Names in cipher undeciphered.
March 30. Stafford to Burghley.
I have sent Mr. Secretary word that the book against the Earl of Leicester is come out in French, with a very filthy addition, that they may be stayed at their coming over. I am in a peck of troubles what to do; “for first it is a particular man's case, and whether in that being a public person I may speak in it or no, I know not,” or whether taking notice of it will do more harm or good. “For my part, I rather think it better to let it alone, as a thing that we make no account of, than by speaking of it or against it to make think that a galled horse, when he is touched, will wince. . . .I stayed it once here, when I knew it was a-doing and by whom, but now it is suddenly gushed out.” They give out that it is done at Cologne, but I think it is at Rheims or Eu. If you command me, I will send you one, but else not, for the Earl of Leicester does not take well what comes from me.—Paris, 30 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIII. 87.]
[March ?] Extract from a letter [to Count Maurice].
I see that in this juncture of storms from all sides we must use great prudence and singular discretion, and the more that the King of France having declared against embracing our affairs, we must above all maintain ourselves by the firm bond of an indissoluble union. If your Excellency thought well to throw yourself into the arms of the King of Navarre, now succeeded to the place of his late Highness, and who, being duly requested, will not fail to embrace our just quarrel and will not be forsaken by the King, if the matter be dexterously and urgently treated, it seems to me that this would be a true means to maintain and increase your greatness, and to obtain just vengeance on your enemies. On which point there being many things to consider, if it pleased you to send me one of your confidential gentlemen, a man of judgment and discretion, or the secretary Bruninck or any other that it pleases you, I should be very glad to communicate to him my ideas, which I dare not confide to paper and cannot say by word of mouth, as the times do not permit me to.
Copy. Fr. ¾ p. [Holland I. 87 bis.]
March. Samuel Daniell to Walsingham.
About three months past, on certificate of my honest demeanour, education and virtuous disposition, you licenced me to travel into France, where my intent is to study, that I may render myself fit for the service of my country, to “whom” I am bound by nature, and of your honour, to whom I am vowed by inclination to be always at your commands, if I am thought worthy of the least place about you, “after I have spent some time in Paris, the theatre of Europe, where, tanquam ex alto speculo, may be descried the conduct . . .of the turbulent affairs of this admirable time; considering that France is in these days as sometimes was Italy, officina rerum totius Europœ, and that many estates of Christendom are squared by the rule thereof; whose confused state being very doubtful and uncertain, for that they here seem cuncta compositius quam festinantius agere, et bellum habere quam gerere malle. And the chief actors in this scene rather arm themselves for the time to come, and especially the Duke of Guise, cui hoc persuasum est se salvum esse non posse se ab exercitu recederet The wiser sort foresee that within these few months, of force they must condescend to some peace and accord,” constrained rather by necessity than by good counsel, both by the clamour of the people and of the chief cities of both factions, as also by dearth, famine and poverty. “The nobility and clergy begin now to look more narrowly into the drift and intention of the leaguers, and the common people themselves, whom they had trained by a 'sleit' to their pretexed purpose, will be those in the end which will ruin them. The prudent dealing of the King of Navarre hath good success, whose arriving to Poitou or to the Court is greatly feared of his enemies; who foresee the number of cities and nobility that will be ready to offer themselves unto him, if the league which the Duke Montpensier hath addressed for him be true.” What ensues of this will shortly be seen, whereof I will not fail to advertise you. From my chamber in Rue St. Jaques, at the sign of the Fleur de Lis.
Add. Endd. “March, 1585.” [France XIII. 87 bis.]
[The contents of this letter point rather to the end of March, 1585, than to March, 1585–6.]


  • 1. i.e. quartered.
  • 2. This and Davidson's next letters are dated by himself 1584, and (excepting this first one) were bound up in the volume for that year (Holl. & Fl. xxiii). But as they were clearly written in 1585, they have been removed to their right place.
  • 3. i.e. his wife. Lady Sheffield claimed to have married Leicester privately as her second husband in 1573, but was discarded by him.