Elizabeth: May 1585, 6-10

Pages 463-473

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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May 1585, 6–10

May 6/16. Mauvissière to Lord Howard, Grand Chamberlain.
I have received the kind letter written with your own hand by the Sieur Wrothe, who will have by inheritance to serve the Grand Chamberlains of England, as I have to be their servant and their friend; but I have moreover the obligation of a brother towards you and such you will always find me.
And whereas you desire a further interpretation of what we spoke of the other day touching him who is so ambitious that he demands the ruin of his neighbours, and that he had the chief part in this league for troubling the state and the repose of France, and would do the same in England when he could; I found you full of courage and zeal if it should please her Majesty to give you charge to remedy and prevent all these great designs of Spain. I desire therefore to see you High Admiral of England, to employ your virtue in so good a cause, not finding you at all short of courage, which I do not try to diminish but to increase if that were possible. According to what I know of the intention of the King my master and what he has twice written to me, to treat as freely with you as I have been sincere in all my actions, I have had an extract made for you of one of the letters, which shall be herein enclosed. If there is occasion to do anything for the friendship and assurance between our princes, and to preserve their kingdoms, their authority and the faithful obedience of their subjects and to oppose the factions of their enemies, I shall ever be ready to do all good offices in my power during the short time that I shall be here, and, wherever I may be, to use therein the small means I possess.
In regard to the conclusion of peace between the King and Messieurs de Guise, I know nothing certainly, but have received some letters from his Majesty and from my friends saying that things were in terms to see a resolution to put out this great fire which was set alight by arms, or to go on to the last extremity of the greatest war that has been for three hundred years in France, Although the Guises had not found the result of all their enterprises, yet they had such parties within the kingdom that those most zealous and resolute to live or die for the king do not see how by arms his Majesty can get the upper hand in these affairs, wherefore a suspension of arms was agreed to until the 15th of this month, while the Queen Mother treated with Messieurs the Cardinal de Bourbon and Lorraine and Guise, who were conferring with her at Epernay, in order before the 20th of this month to come to a resolution one way or another. He who has come to find a lodging for my successor tells me that on leaving Paris he heard the same thing. If I learn anything further, I will advertise both her Majesty and you. I pray you to kiss her beautiful hands on my behalf.—London, 16 May, 1585.
Postscript.—I will tell you what Julius Caesar said one day to Aurelia his mother : that he desired not to see her again until he was grand pontifex. I should desire to see you on the earliest occasion when you were High Admiral of England, believing it would be for the benefit of the French; for your sea is full of pirates, of whom I have great complaints every day.
Holograph. Add. Ervdd. Fr. 3 pp. [France XIII. 122.]
May 7. Arthur de Champernowne (fn. 1) to Walsingham.
He who is at the mercy of the winds cannot be as diligent as he would. We embarked, according to my first letter, but were forced to put back and have been waiting on fortune ever since, hoping now once again that she will be more favourable to us.— Dartmouth, 7 May, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. XIII. 123.]
May 7. Walsingham to Gilpin.
I am sorry to see from yours of the 24th and 26th of the last that the States have not yet fully resolved for the delivery of Flushing into her Majesty's hands, who, finding the people of that island so wavering, “besides that they can hardly, after the so long enjoying a popular liberty, bear a regal authority,” would be loth to embark in a dangerous war without sufficient caution from them. And if by corruption that town were recovered by the Spaniard, it would put all the rest of the country in peril. If it may be gotten, and it is “made probable” that the 300,000 gilders a month will be duly paid, her Majesty is fully resolved to receive them into her protection. I think your repair hither most necessary, “and wish it may be the sooner,”—Greenwich, — May, 1585.
Postscript.—I have written to Villiers to impart to you what he wishes to tell me, therefore you will do well to repair to him at your coming over.
Copy. Endd. “1585, 7 May. To Mr. Gilpin.”¾ p. [Holland II. 4.]
May 7. Walbourg, Countess of “nuenar,” to Davison.
Thanking him for the kind remembrances contained in his letter of 8 May, new style, and regretting that she is hindered by illness and her husband by the need of putting things in order at Neuss, from visiting him at Utrecht.—Arnhem, 7 May, 1585.
Signed. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 5.]
May 7. Thomas Robinson of Sandwich to Walsingham.
Since I came to these parts, I have endeavoured to take notice of such things as tended to the hurt of our sovereign and her country and have given advice of them to some of good account, that you might be made acquainted with them. But henceforth I will, with your good liking, give information thereof to yourself, having special means to attain to the knowledge of any attempt.
I have here met John Spritwell, and have imparted to him divers matters touching the present state of these parts. As to the river of Antwerp, “ some great matter is happened there, but no man dareth speak, the subjection of the people to the Spaniard is so great.” A Gantois writes to a friend here that about eight days past, being in the land of Waes, he heard about three thousand great shot on or near the river in one day, and alleges that he could write other news but durst not; “ whereupon I gather, if the news had been on this side good, he had no cause to have been afraid to write.” The Prince of Parma has sent for all the soldiers and ordnance out of the towns (except Nieuport and Dunkirk), either from some great want, or else, doubting a revolt of the towns, to weaken them. Howsoever it be, the sea-towns are left so weak and in such fear as is very strange; “the people very impatient, poor and in great misery, no trade, great dearth of all things, by reason the men of war have of late restrained the trade hither very hardly.”
I see no fear of anything to be done by the shipping here to annoy our country, for here are neither men, munition nor anything; almost all the mariners are at the river, where many are laid up. All the anchors, cables and masts are too little for the affairs of the river. There are seven or eight good fly-boats here, but nothing to furnish them withal. Two days past two small boats, very good sailers went forth, as it said to the coast of Holland, but Rochester Water should be looked to, for they are very fit for such a purpose.
Of her Majesty's disloyal subjects here, it has pleased God to take away a great many, as the lord Dacres, Copley, Tempest, Dr. Farnam, Boymer, Captain Fleming, Capt. Henry Cary, Charnock &c., in whose rooms spring up others, as Trasam [qy. Tresham] and great Harman and Capt. Barnett, who are said to have been the chief conspirators against her Majesty's navy, a thing of all others to be looked to.
Capt. Pekott [qy. Pigott] has promised the Prince to provide him 200 mariners out of England, a thing which with money he may easily do unless prevented. ” Pedro Ornando, the infamous Jesuit of these parts, who attending upon the Prince lost his arm at Callo in the fiery attempt,” is dismissed and Dr. Stapleton comes in his place, whereat the English much rejoice. I have been tampered with by the officers of M. Drinckward, purveyor general of the vivers, to sell them four or five thousand weight of beef and bacon, which I have refused to do, “yet I suppose the turn shall be served” by one Mr. Warram, merchant of London, whose man, Peter Holle, is in talk to deliver it at six pence per pound. He has already brought to Calais a ship laden with oxen, who are thence come hither by land, and I know of many more to follow.—Dunkirk, 7 May, style of England, 1585.
Add. Endd.pp. [Flanders I. 22.]
May 7. Thomas Bodley to Walsingham.
Being newly arrived in Hamburg, and finding opportunity of conveyance, I write to tell you that her Majesty's letter to the Duke of Holst coming to my hands only when I was going out of London, and without direction how to use it, I stand in doubt about the manner of delivery. His present abode, as I am told, is but two days journey from this town; thus “not to go to him first may be construed amiss, and to go to him first, for sundry respects may be hurtful to my service.” Howbeit, I intend to follow my instructions; to go to Brunswick and then into Denmark, where I will either get the letter sent by the King, or deliver it, with some convenient excuse, on my return.
Her Majesty's letter to the Landgrave of Hesse, delivered to Zolcher (Sulker) I have, at our arrival here, taken to myself; for “it is in Casimir's letter, and so set down in [my] instruction, that it is commended to the Duke of Brunswick, to be conveyed to the Landgrave, whereupon I am required to procure a speedy answer.”
In other matters in this service, I can only promise my faithfulness and diligence, wherein I hope to satisfy her Majesty's and your expectations. I will take order here with one Valentine Palmer, a very honest English merchant, to forward any letters you may send me with all speed.
'In the countries here adjoining, there are newly levied 7,800 horsemen, already in pay; “and because French crowns is their payment, they are thought to be for France, whereof the colonels may be privy but the common soldiers are ignorant. I have seen a note of the colonels' names and of their charge, which are Otho Elder van Plato, (fn. 2) Suffride Elder van Plato, Caspar van Schon-berg (for whom his brother Hans Woolfe van Schonberg doth serve) and Ernest van Mandesle, each 1,500; Antonius van Lutsenberg, 1,000; “two of Alles,” 800. It is besides reported that a Grave or Earl of Westerberg shall bring up two regiments of foot.
The Bishop of Breame is lately deceased, very much lamented by the multitude.—Hamburg, 7 May, 1585, after our English account.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [German States III, 69.]
May 7/17. Pedro Çubiaur to the Prior and Consuls for the Indies, at Seville.
For five years and more I have been here simply for this business of Francis Drake, and if it is not ended, it has not been by my fault. I pray you let me know whether the records [qy. “ricados”] are to be sent, yes or no, as I do not desire to be here in so much danger if they do not mean to send them. I will wait for a reply. I have made solicitations enough by way of friends to Don Juan, and now it appears he has not given them. The factor of Penas does not appear. If they had informed themselves thoroughly, they would not have given him such a commission without your orders, and had better have kept quiet.
Francis Drake is here, and I believe will not go to sea. That restless person (bienagvdot (fn. 3) ) desires to go a-plundering, as in his last three voyages. Up to this time they have said nothing to him, but her Majesty does not wish to consent that he should go to do more evil. Ralegh's ships, which were going to Noronbega, have returned, as is said, broken by some ships which they looked to take, and thus that voyage is stayed(?).
The affairs of Flanders go on well, and Antwerp will be his Majesty's before the end of two months, for they have corn only [to last] until the middle of July. On Tuesday, the 7th of this month, those of Holland and Zeeland thought to break a dyke, but our people fell upon them so stoutly that they sent to the bottom five or six men-of-war and killed and took many people. Likewise when they sallied forth from Antwerp two or three times, they knocked their heads against the wall so that they are now at the last gasp and can do no more.—London, 17 May, 1585.
Add. Spanish. ¾ p. [Spain II. 37.]
May 8. Stafford to Walsingham.
On behalf of the bearer, Mr. James Hay, a Scottish gentleman, who returning to his country through England, desires to be recommended to his honour, that he may with the more ease and speed obtain a passport for his going forward. The gentleman is “ commended to be very honest.”—Paris, 8 May, 1585.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [France XIII. 124.]
May 8/18. (fn. 4) News from Divers Parts.
Prague, 7 May, 1585.—Sunday last, a courier from Venice brought news of creation of the new Pope. Great satisfaction in all this court. The Archbishop of Colocza (Colozense), Chancellor of Hungary, has banqueted his Majesty's chaplains and the canons of the Cathedral and yesterday the nuncio gave a splendid banquet, for joy of this election.
Archduke Ferdinand cannot be here for the Ascension and has prayed the Emperor to defer the ceremony of the Golden Fleece (il Tosone) until St. John's day.
The famous Scottish magician has died at Dantzig, leaving with other riches, many jewels and sumptuous vestments, said to have been partly acquired by the apostate Truchsess, and lost by him at cards.
The Electors of Saxony has granted (it is said) a levy of men to Count Barbi, a colonel of the French King; and on the other side, many are ready for the same purpose.
Rome, 18 May.—At Saturday's consistory, Cardinals Mondotti, Terranuova and Joyeuse made their entrance to receive their hats, being escorted from the Porta del Popolo to the palace by thirty-two cardinals and a fine cavalcade of gentlemen. Cardinal Medici has had audience to inform the Pope that the Grand Duke wished to come to Rome to kiss his feet, and desired to have audience in the Sala Regia; to whom reply was made that he was to speak of it another time, more at leisure. At the consistory, many churches were settled [names of churches and recipients given]. The Pope declared as legates the following cardinals :—Salviati for Bologna, Colonna for Campagna, Gesualdo for La Marca [d'Ancona], Spinola for Perugia and Canani for Romagna, and finally declared his nephew's son Cardinal Mont' Alto, giving him his own arms and 7,000 crowns income from the first.
Monsignor Fiesso has started for Savoy, to carry that Duke the consecrated hat and sword, and the rose to the Archduchess. He may remain there as nuncio and his place as Vicar of St. Peter's be taken by Monsignor S. Vitale, belonging to Cardinal Farnese. The Duke of Sora has resigned his office of general, and the Marquis di Riamo that of lieutenant.
Grandonio, the famous bandit, has been executed and his brother hanged. Signor Boncompagno, brother of Pope Gregory is come to Rome, being met by the Duke of Sora and Cardinals San Sisto and Vastavillani, and lodged in the house of Card. San Sisto, his son. Next day he kissed the feet of his Holiness, by whom he was graciously received and may have the government of Fermo. That commune has petitioned the Pope to give them as governor the new Cardinal, Mont' Alto, but he refused, saying that for some years he has more need to be governed than to govern others. Aldobrandini is elected Datario; Bastone goes as nuncio to Spain, and S. Georgio to Naples, succeeded perhaps in his place by Monsignor Montevalente. Monsignor Carlo Conti, governor of Camerino, has prayed to be allowed to come to Rome. Monsignor Maffetti is going in his place. They are treating for the marriages of the Pope's two nieces, one to Sieur Giuliano, son of Gio. Georgio Cesarini; the other to Pietro Gaettano, son of Signor Honorato.
Monsignor di Nazaret (fn. 5) is going as legate to France, to compose the troubles there. The Bishop of Camerino has died on his way from Poland, where he went as nuncio, and Cardinal Vercelli died suddenly on Thursday morning. His death vacates an abbey worth 5,000 crowns a year, which it is said the Pope has granted to Mont' Alto, his nephew.
The great scarcity in Naples caused the people to choose one to treat with the Viceroy, that he would not suffer so many people to die of hunger; but the man went and treated just the contrary, urging that some ships laden with corn which were within the mole should be sent to Spain, as they had plenty, which coming to the ears of the people, in a fury they killed him and dragged him all about the city and before the Viceroy, all crying in procession Viva il rey et la giustizia; whereby the Viceroy, alarmed, retired into the castle and ordered the guard not to stir. To-day is come hither a nephew of the Pope who has been for ten years out of Italy at the wars, wherefore it is believed he will be General for Holy Church. Another is come from Piacenza and relatives of his Holiness continually arrive from foreign lands.
The Tuscan galleys have arrived at Genoa with the Duke de Nevers, who is gone to the Baths of Lucca. Genoa is sending two envoys to Rome, to offer obedience to the Pope, and two to Nice, to pay their compliments to the Duke and Duchess of Savoy.
Antwerp, 1 May.—So far nothing is done against the bridge, but within a week the ships &c. will be ready in Holland, and here, besides the three already written of, they are making ready ten smaller ones, laden with fireworks, and another which will go under water, full of powder, iron and stones, to wreck the bridge and drive the Malcontents off the dykes, which have been strengthened by the Prince of Parma, both with men and artillery; also there have been placed in the water divers rafts and other instruments, and, further from the palisade, artillery, which, together with that on the dykes, will shoot at the ships with fireworks, to make them explode before they reach the bridge; for if it remains standing, this city will be forced to an accord from the great scarcity of victuals; a quart of corn selling for 14 caroluses, a quart of salt for 10; a mug of wine 80 pence and a pound of butter 16. It is said that the Prince of Parma, in the last rout of his men was wounded in an arm, as he was lifting it to his neck.
Cologne, 9 May.—It is confirmed that those of the States, trying to break through certain dykes, were each time repulsed with great loss, and will not adventure any more such enterprises. It is said that five coaches, carrying some ladies from Antwerp, with passport and an escort of soldiers, were met by the Malcontents, their guard put to flight and they conducted to the Prince, who gave orders that they should be well treated and protected.
From Friesland we hear that the castle of Kan and fortress of Rechera are restored to his Highness and that Col. Verdugo is before Schulenborg, where the burghers, seeing that they cannot long defend themselves, have begun to treat with him. There is a bruit that Col. Schenk has abandoned the Spanish party, because he has not obtained the government of Gueldres, which was promised him.
The Queen of England has offered men and money for aid of the States, as soon as she is assured of Enchuysen, Brill and Flushing. To-day comes news that Count Neuenaar (Neuenort) having intelligence with the Calvinist burghers of Neuss, a town five leagues from here, has made himself master of it, killing many of the Catholic burghers who opposed him, and sacking the town, as is reported by some who escaped by throwing themselves from the walls; who say further that the Abbot of Campen, who was in the city, after being severely wounded, was thrown half dead into the Rhine (reno). This news has given great joy to Truchsess at Utrecht.
Venice, 15 May.—[Concerning the “shocking case” of Count Paolo Emilio Scoto, whom the Signoria are supporting against the nephews of Bartazzuoli; also the affairs of the Magnificoes Dolfini, Pisani and Alvises.]
The Venetian courier has had a solemn mass sung in S. Giovanni di Rialto for joy at having obtained the office of Roman post from his Holiness.
The usual rites for Cardinal Zeno (fn. 6) have been performed in the presence of the Signoria and all the ambassadors except France, who was at Padua; where the Legate appeared for the first time, and although his Serenity [the Doge] on account of his great weakness, by advice of his physicians avoids appearing at certain times outside the palace, he has taken part in the important deliberations in College, intending in any case to come out at the feast of Ascension to espouse the sea.
We hear that Metz has been given to the Duke of Guise, but the castle still holds for the King, wherein there being much money belonging to the Duc d'Epernon, the Duke of Guise intends his men to have the sacking of it, and that it may be assaulted hotly five hundred reiters have gone to help the Leaguers.
Last week, Pellegrini, a very famous professor of law, was attacked and severely wounded at Padua, as he was going out at the postern-gate (portello), and some days before, at the coach races, a son of Vitelian Orsato, a Paduan gentleman, was killed by some of his kinsmen, and his father, coming out on hearing the tumult, was mortally wounded.
Italian. 9 pp. [Newsletters XCV. 14.]
May 9/19. François de Civille to Walsingham.
I have received yours of the last of April, and heard of the state of your affairs from John Toupet. Would to God ours were in so good estate, yet though the number of our enemies be great, I doubt not God will preserve us. I am very glad to hear “that the King of Scotland is determined to follow the Queen's Majesty's good counsel, and take no other prince's part, which will be much profitable to him and was necessary to his people and country.” The Scottish bishop here has been away for awhile, but is come again; “a perilous man,” in whose house there is a great resort of your English rebels. We look daily for Sir Thomas Layton. There are great rumours of peace, but we cannot believe it will be concluded under such conditions as is commonly said.—Rouen, 19 May, 1585.
Postscript.—Since writing this, I have received letters from the Duke of Bouillon, who desires me to salute you, waiting for the time when those of the League his neighbours, who run all round about his territories and to whom he hopes to give a good reception, shall give him a little leisure to write to you himself; also he sent you word a few days ago of the deliverance of Mr. Rogers, who has been seen at Augsburg by one of his gentlemen. I sent you a few apples and pears, dried after our fashion, by John de Vicques, to see whether you liked this way of drying them, in which case I hope to send you more and better ones. I have asked Le Peintre to tell me of this on his return.
Add. Endd. P.S. only in French. I p. [France XIII. 125.]
May 9. Gilpin to Walsingham.
Two days ago Brasser arrived with money from Holland, and is gone to the fleet to pay the soldiers, to encourage them for the intended enterprise. He brought news that the commissioners were appointed, ships made ready, and that they mean, the wind serving, to embark on the 19th.
They of Holland will accept her Majesty's garrisons, and those here will shortly assemble their States and determine the like and other points, which were at first thought more difficult than now.
At each tide we expect to hear of an attempt by Antwerp and the navy, but some doubt of its success, because they have so few men to meet the great forces of the enemy, who, however, it is said, might now be overcome with the aid of two or three thousand men, whereas, if this side receive a repulse, it cannot hereafter be done with a hundred thousand. If this good might fall to Antwerp by her Highness' favour, many think this country would be altogether devoted to her, and the enemy so discouraged as would tend to disunion and consequent overthrow.
About three or four thousand sacks filled with sand have been sent from Camphire to the navy, to make a defence on the ditch whilst it is cut through.
The Governor of Barrow found means this week to send into Antwerp three or four hundred sheep and some oxen; and made provision of more, but the enemy laid watch for them, insomuch that some hundred people coming from Antwerp to Barrow were met with and most of them slain or taken.
They three days ago “made a show of a charge to Terneusen,” thinking the soldiers had gone to the navy, and to find none but burghers there, wherein deceiving themselves they were repulsed with loss.
The Count of Mœurs, under colour of taking men out of the garrisons in Guelderland for the fleet, went to Neuss (Newes) by Cologne with 800 horse and 2,000 foot and surprised it by intelligence of one Captain Clout, who had lain there with a hundred men for a few days, set fire to it in three or four places, and while the people were quenching this, took in one of the gates, so that the Count entered and possessed it. He found there provision and victuals for more than a year, and the situation being strong will be able to keep it and, with a few horsemen, trouble the passage from Maestricht and other places to Cologne.
The new Bishop has gone to Rome, it being certainly said that the Pope is dead. It is thought the choice of another will not pass without division. “He presseth hard to be Bishop of Münster, where the people would not hear of him, being bent wholly to the Bishop of Bremen, who deceasing a few weeks agone, is taken to have been poisoned, and so will work trouble in the election of others to both the charges.”
The young Duke of Cleve's marriage is deferred; some think until the bishopric is disposed of to his father's liking, who is altogether bent to the Bavarian. “Howbeit this taking of Neuss may breed a stop, doubting the falling into wars, which the Westfalians seek to avoid by all mean.”—Middelburg, 9 May, 1585.
Postscript.—I have received yours of April 23, and mean to continue writing until commanded to the contrary, although some, writing to the States, seem to blame my letters as a “lett” to what her Majesty meant to do for these countries. [See p. 427 above.]
Add. Ervdd. 2 pp. [Holland II. 6.]
May 10/20. James Colville of “Estwemes” to Walsingham.
At parting from his honour, he had hoped ere now to have returned to his own country, but his enemies—and not his only, but the enemies of all good—have such credit that he cannot get licence to return without (“bot”) great danger. If the Master of Gray had not stood his friend he would have been “forfeited.” Delivered his honour's letter to the King of Navarre, which was very lovingly accepted, as M. de Ségur will tell him.—The Rochelle, 20 May.
Add. Endd. with year date. 1 p. [France XIII. 126.]
May 10/20. A. Van Goor(?) to Davison.
Your honour having desired me, at your departure, to keep you instructed of the state of affairs on this side the Meuse, I take advantage of the journey of M. de Prouninck, the Receiver General, to ask him to inform you thereof, which I am sure he will willingly do, being very zealous for the good of his country.— Utrecht, 20 May, 1585, stylo novo.
Add. Fr. ¾ p. [Holland II. 7.]


  • 1. He now spells his name in this way.
  • 2. Otto von Plotz, sometimes called Hotte Plotte. Gaspard von Schonberg had roused Guise's suspicion and was kept by him at Chalons. Ernst van Mandesloo or Mandeslohe, had taken reiters to the French King in April, 1576. (See Archives of the House of Nassau, 1st series, v. 345. )
  • 3. Agudo, a person who cannot stay long in one place.
  • 4. These news-letters are put under their latest date.
  • 5. Fabio Mirto Frangipani, Archbishop of Nazareth.
  • 6. Cardinal Zeno died May 8, 1581. His body was brought to St. Marc, where, in accordance with the condition attached to his large bequests to Venice, a solemn requiem mass was sung yearly, in presence of the Doge, senate and ambassadors.