Elizabeth: November 1585, 26-30

Pages 179-189

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 20, September 1585-May 1586. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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November 1585, 26–30

Nov. 26./Dec. 6. Lieutenant Balfour to Davison.
Sends this by Captain Fremin to offer his respects and to pray his lordship to remember him as one always ready to do him service. And as there many of her Majesty's companies in garrison at Berghes-op-Zoom, he begs him to write to the chiefs to maintain good discipline and that the burghers may be as little oppressed as possible, whereby the said burghers will treat the soldiers the better.—Bergen-op-Zoom, 6 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. “9[sic] December, 1585, stilo novo. Mr. Balfour, a lieutenant.” Fr. ¾ p. [Holland V. 61.]
Nov. 27. Davison to Walsingham.
I am earnestly requested by the magistrates of the Brill to recommend to you the cause of the poor bearer hereof, who, following his trade of fishing upon our northern coast, “was spoiled by a ship or two of war of our nation about Lestof [Lowestoft]. He is dwelling under the precinct of those of the Brill, who taking themselves now to be under her Majesty's protection, do look for better measure at the hands of our nation.” I therefore beseech you to vouchsafe your help for the reparation of his loss, and punishment of those who have spoiled him, who by the attestation I send herewith, “should seem to have had some charge for the wafting of our own fishermen lying upon that Coast, and their fault so much the greater if it be true."—Flushing, 27 November, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. “In favour of a man of Brill, spoiled by English pirates.” 1 p. [Holland V. 62.]
Nov. 27. Sir Philip Sydney to Walsingham.
Briefly in favour of the same man as the above. “There needs must be sharp punishment used in such like cases, or else these men will take an evil taste of our government."—Flushing, 27 November, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. V. 63.]
Nov. 28. Colonel Norreys to Walsingham.
Understanding by her Majesty's letter that she “did not like of the remaining of certain companies in the field,” I was minded to withdraw them; but the Count of Neuenaar desired they might remain a few days till he sent for some others to supply their places, “which I could not refuse him, and truly Sir, it is manner of proceeding that will procure us small reputation in the country; but I have so many controllers of my doings at this time, that I must yield to their opinions; attending the coming of the Earl of Leicester, which must reform our doings, or else we shall have little credit by them.
“I met here with certain letters from the Lords of her Majesty's Council, touching the mustering and paying of the companies, according to whose pleasure I will with as much speed as I can possibly proceed, although the distance and diversity of the garrisons will cause some difficulty and length in performing of it.” I came here to confer with the ambassador and the governor of this town “how best to effect the contents” of the Lord's letter, and as soon as I have made any conclusion will advertise your honour.—Flushing, 28 November, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. V. 64.]
Nov. 28. The Elector Truchsess to Davison.
Certain persons, well qualified, lovers of our Religion and versed in the affairs of this country, have a great desire to serve her Majesty, and to be employed under the Earl of Leicester; and believing that you know upon what footing these matters stand, I beg you to let me know what they may hope for.
I am ardently expecting the arrival of the Earl, hoping that he will happily advance along the road which General Noritz has already so well entered upon.—:Leiden, 28 November, 1585. [Style doubtful.]
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Holland V. 65.]
Nov. 28./Dec. 8. States of Holland and Zeeland to their Deputies in England.
Hearing that the election of Count Maurice as governor of Holland and Zeeland has been by some interpreted otherwise than they intended, they wish to state the causes which moved them thereto, that their deputies may excuse their action when required.
It is well known that a year and a day ago, the said government was conferred on his Excellency, as was, at the time, openly declared to her Majesty and her Council, but for certain reasons the confirmation was deferred. They had hoped that the Earl of Leicester would have been there earlier and that it could have been done with the good advice of his Excellency, but that not being so, they desire their deputies to pray her Majesty, his Excellency and the Lords not to take it in ill part, and to be assured that by the commission and instruction of the said government, it is provided that the Count will administer the same under his Excellency as Governor-General, and will obey and respect him in all which may concern his Excellency's commission. They are also to impress upon his Excellency that for all respects his coming over is beyond measure required.
Moreover—as divers of their merchants complain that their ships and goods are stayed in England, and are sold without their being heard, or informed of the cause thereof; as it appears has happened at Dover with certain ships destined for Calais with merchants' goods, not victuals, ammunition or things serving for the equipment of ships, which alone are forbidden by the placcarts of the States—the deputies are to do all they can in the matter towards her Majesty, the Lords and the Admiral and to ask that they may be informed of her Majesty's intentions in regard to the traffic with France, Spain &c. (presupposing that all traffic to the countries “here” occupied by the enemy is strictly forbidden); whether she means that they may travel with merchandise (not being victuals, munition &c.) to Calais and other French harbours or not; and whether she intends to forbid transactions with Spain entirely or only in part, since it is known for certain that many ships, both in England and “here” have daily laden by indirect means, as at Bordeaux, St. Malo, Nantes and other places.
If her Majesty will declare her views, the States General will conform to her will as nearly as is anyway possible; and will advertise all men publicly thereof, so that none may be injured unless they are in fault. And having regard to the above, they have thought well to publish a placcart such as is annexed in print, and this by provision until his Excellency the Earl of Leicester shall arrive.
The deputies are to represent these things to her Majesty, learn her intentions and inform them thereof “par le premier” as the matters will not bear delay.—Middelburg, 8 December, 1585, stilo novo.
Postscript.—The Sieur Ortell is asked to forward this affair, to present the missive of which a copy is attached to the Admiral, obtain his reply and inform them at once of the result; also to inform himself and let them know without delay what order is already taken by her Majesty in England in regard to the traffic.
They are charged by the Council of those of the government to put in train the plan for the issue of money, whereof they send copies to inform her Majesty and her Council of it and that they are following out the same.
Copy. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holland V. 66.]
Nov. 29. Davison to Burghley.
The Act and Instruction touching the election of Count Maurice to the Government of Holland and Zeeland (of which I sent Mr. Secretary a rough translation (fn. 1) ) seems to have been only a project, differing from what was concluded, whereof I send you a copy, “somewhat better qualified in regard of my Lord of Leicester's authority, not mentioned in the former, which gave occasion to suspect some indirect proceeding, not altogether without cause. . . .
“The Count arrived at Middelburg on Friday night last, and yesterday some motion was made by his friends in the assembly of the States of Zeeland for their particular ratification etc. of his government, which others thought fit to be suspended till my Lord of Leicester's coming, both to take away the jealousy might be conceived of their hasty pressing thereof, and that it might have the better grace, being passed with his intelligence and consent, which remaineth yet undetermined.
“Touching the restraint of St. Aldegonde, which I had order by letters from Mr. Secretary received two or three days past to procure underhand, I find the difficulty will be great in regard of his many friends and favourers, preoccupied with some opinion of his innocency, although I have travailed with divers of them underhand, and am promised that some order shall be taken in that behalf, which I think will be the harder to execute so long as the Count is here. For his affection, I find continual matter to suspect it inclined to a peace, and that as one notably prejudging our scope and proceeding in this cause, doth lie in wait for an occasion to set it forward, being, as it seems, fed with a hope of telle quelle liberté de conscience, which both the Prince of Parma and others of his Council have, as he confesseth, earnestly solicited at the King's hands, and appeareth in truth the only apt and easy way for them to prevail both against religion and the liberty of these poor countries, having thereby once recovered the authority which must necessarily follow a peace, to renew and alter the magistrates of the particular towns, which being at their devotion, may turn (as we say) all upside down, and so in an instant, being under their servitude, if not the whole, at least a great part of the country; leaving so much the less to do about the rest. A thing confessed and looked for of all men of any judgment here, if the drift of our peace-makers may take effect.”
Touching the points of your lordship's letter, I had not time when at the Brill to take any particular view of the quantity of artillery and munition there, but I believe the two forts alone contain about seven great pieces, although I think the town too weakly furnished, especially of artillery, “wherein some dozen cast pieces of iron would make a reasonable supply”; but if Sir William Pelham come over, Sir Thomas Cecil will not lack advice and counsel for the assuring of the place. His ordinary garrison cannot be less than six hundred men for the town and forts, and I doubt not your lordship has taken care to appoint such commanders as the importance of the place and the credit of Sir Thomas requires. “Touching his cornet of horse, it had been far best if he had made his provision here in time,” which now will be hard to do, the best markets being ended and prices enhanced. For his provisions, besides his wine, beer and bread corn, it would not be amiss to have his beef and mutton out of England.
To conclude, if he has any occasion for the service of so poor a man as myself, your lordship may be assured he shall find me always ready to perform the office of one faithfully bound and devoted both to you and yours.—Flushing, 29 November, 1585.
Postscript.—“The enemy hath been this last week before Ostend, with twenty-four or twenty-five ensigns of footmen and some cornets of horse; and is retired to Oldenbourg, where the most part of them remain, it is thought to assure the convoys to 'Brudges' against the incursions of those of Ostend and Sluys. Of the governor the jealousy increaseth daily and yet no care taken to remove him. The Dutches in the town have a month's pay sent unto them, which they make some difficulty to receive if they may not have withal another month's pay in cloth.”
Copy. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland V. 67.]
[The passage concerning St. Aldegonde is printed, with a few variations, by Motley, United Netherlands, i, p. 261.]
Nov. 29. Davison to Walsingham.
“Within a day or two after the delivery of my last, the deputy of Zeeland that hath, as I understand, without commission assisted and furthered the election of the Count Maurice in Holland, returned thence with the Act and Instruction resolved in that behalf to prepare the way here for the ratification thereof against the Count's arrival, which was on Friday night last at Middelburg; the copy whereof coming to my hands otherwise qualified in my Lord of Leicester's respect than the former (which seemeth to have been some project only), I had sent unto your honour with my last, if the sudden departure of the ships whilst I was at Middleburg had not prevented me.”
[Concerning the proceedings in the States of Zeeland, and in relation to St. Aldegonde, as in the letter to Burghley, above.]
The suspicions concerning Ostend were not without some ground. La Motte was before the town this last week with four or five and twenty ensigns of foot and some horse; where he lay in ambush, thinking to drive our people forth, but failing of his hope, departed to Oldenburgh, where most part of them yet remain. Many circumstances confirm the suspected intelligence between them and the governor. We hear little of the enemy's proceedings in Gueldres save “that those of Nimeguen have received in certain companies of burghers from Bois-le-Duc, and that some 3,000 of his footmen should be entered into Bommelswert, an island closed with the 'Wahall' and the 'Mose' above 'Gorichum' “; but of these things you will be best advertised from the General, now here.—Flushing. 29 November, 1585.
Minute. Endd 1 p. [Holland V. 68.]
Nov. 29. Capt. Robert Sidney to Leicester.
“There being news brought to Flushing of the besieging of this town, my company being here already I came hither with Mr. Digs, Captain Willford, Master Hungate, Captain Huntley, Captain Winkfeld and other gentlemen. We found that the enemy had showed himself before the town but was retired to Oudenburg, where he yet lieth with the greatest part of his forces. The rest it is said are at a place called Leffing, upon the river that goeth from Nieuport to Bruges. They are said to be 33 companies of the regiments of the Marquis de Renti, Conte d'Egmond, Baron de Bourse and Baron d'Obigni. Even as I was writing this Monsieur de Locre, who is Governor here, told me that he had intelligences by a spy that Monsieur La Motte had been in person at Leffing, but by reason of the quantity of waters found it an unfit place to build a sconce at; but that they have finished one about two English miles hence toward Odenburgh, wherein two companies do ever watch and ward, and that this morning he went with him to a place called Stalisle [Stalhille] to view the place if it were fit for a fort or no. All these forts are built to bridle the excursions our men do make, for this garrison hath so spoiled the country here abouts that almost for twenty miles riding every way there is never a horse standing nor never a man out of a walled town to be seen; and now by these forts they hope to assure the convoys which shall come from Tournai (Torney), Ypres and the places that way to Bruges and here about. Here be in garrison eight companies of this countrymen and a cornet of horse of fifty, but all very weak. Of English, six companies; Captain Erington's, Captain Ch. Blunt's, Captain Bret's Carsey's and Littleton's and mine own. Ours be strong and I think the whole garrison be well 1,400 strong. All the hope the Governor, as he saith, and the Dutch captains have is upon your Lordship's coming. They are in exceeding great misery and have not received one penny this four months; saving now within this four or five days the States sent their Commissary of the Musters to muster them and sent but one month's pay; whereat they were greatly discontented; but most of all because the States sent them word that they were to remain at their pay, and their hope is her Majesty will entertain them. There can not be more hate conceived than the Governor and Dutch captains here bear the States. They all swear they will rather kill themselves than continue their service to the States. And I think nothing keeps them from 'mutining' but the expectation of your Lordship's coming; at which time I believe your Lordship will find it necessary either to entertain them yourself or to dispatch them from hence; for unpossible it will be to keep them from endangering this town, if they live in misery and our men be paid. There be daily of them that fly to the enemy, and the most part of the dwellers here, which be very few indeed, for half the town is unpeopled, are all papists. Here is want of all things. No victuals in store for above 20 days. If a soldier should break his pike or his halbert not here any to furnish him. Of powder but 12,000 weight, whereof five is not serviceable. All our victual must come from Flushing and out of Holland, and that is very dear and here at all no money. The States are very slow in furnishing the wants. They promised I should have brought along with me munition and victual, but I was fain to come away without anything, and the men of war of Dunkirk scour so up and down, even before the town here, that almost no small bark dare stir. In sum, order must be taken or it is to be feared this town will be hazarded.
“They of Bruges do offer great sums of money to the Prince towards the payment of the soldiers if this town might be taken. For before these forces of the enemy came no man durst stir out of Bruges without a convoy of 50 or 60 soldiers. Their sconces perhaps may somewhat assure them. The Governor useth me with very great honour and courtesy and so he doth all the other English gentlemen and captains.” He desires me earnestly to present his service to your lordship, and his desire to spend his life in her Majesty's service and yours, affirming that he would rather leave the country than continue at the States' pay.
“Better intelligences I have none, for the Governor is so poor that he cannot maintain any spials to speak of and we dare not go out of the town to seek the enemy. Captain Erington doth govern here with very great judgment, and had not he been here, the Dutches had mutinied against the governor. There be some which misdoubt his faith, but I imagine without cause, and so thinks Captain Erington too. . . His poverty, and all his friends being of the other side may perhaps somewhat move him, or at least make him 'suspect.' For my part I will assure neither the one nor other. Your Lordship's coming is wonderfully looked and wished for everywhere. God send it may be quickly."—Ostend, 29 November, 1585.
Postscript.—The governor now tells me that a boy has brought news that M. La Motte is gone with 1,000 foot and three cornets of horse towards Sluys, to a small castle called Coxey [or Coxi].
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland V. 69.]
Nov. 29. Capt. Robert Sidney to Walsingham.
To the same effect, but at less length, as that to Leicester above. Where in the former letter he writes that there are eight companies “of this countrymen,” to Walsingham he writes “of Dutches,' showing that he gives the word its more modern English meaning. Ostend, 29 November, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. V. 70.]
Nov. 30./Dec. 10. Count William Louis of Nassau to Davison.
As the news sent him yesterday imports greatly to his government, he sends his secretary to learn further particulars, praying his lordship very earnestly to place entire confidence in him and to inform him of all that is known.—Middelburg, 10 December, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 71.]
Nov. 30. The Queen to M. de Locre, Governor of Ostend.
Stating that she has expressly desired the Earl of Leicester to make such account of him as he merits for his zeal and affection to the service of his country and advancement of the common cause, being assured that the effects of this will be shown whenever occasion shall serve, as she also doubts not that on his part he will render to his lordship due respect and kindness; that by a general concurrence of those most zealous for the common cause and for her service, matters may the more easily be brought to a good end.—Richmond, last day of November, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Flanders I. 44.]
The like letter sent to M. de Groenvelt, governor of Sluys.
Nov. 30. leicester to M. de Locres.
A bruit has been spread in London that the enemy has approached Ostend, and although he hopes this is only a malicious report, yet in order to avoid the worst and to learn the truth, he sends two captains to visit him en passant, and some canoneers, powder and other necessary things, assuring him that upon the captains' return and report, he shall be quickly succoured if occasion require.—London, 30 November, 1585.
Signed. Add. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. I. 45.]
Nov. The Queen to Count Maurice of Nassau.
In accordance with her promise, she has very earnestly commended him and his affairs to her cousin the Earl of Leicester, who himself bearing much affection to him and knowing her own extraordinary care for his welfare—both for his own sake and as the son of a father who always showed the utmost affection towards her—will not fail to aid and favour him in every way possible. And she doubts not that for his own part he will hold all good correspondency with the Earl, both for the advancement of her service and the welfare and repose of those countries.—Richmond,—November, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Holland V. 72.]
Nov. The Queen to the Princess of Orange.
As she is now sending her cousin the Earl of Leicester to assist in the defence and government of those countries, she has expressly charged him to visit her Excellency on her behalf and to aid and support her both in whatever matter she may have with the Estates and in all her other affairs, thereby to testify her care for her Excellency's welfare, both for her own virtues, and as the daughter and wife of a father and a husband who have always shown such true affection for herself.—Richmond,—November 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 73.]
Nov. The Queen to the States General. (fn. 2)
She cannot better testify her care for their welfare and preservation than by sending to them her cousin the Earl of Leicester, a person (as all know) who is higher in her esteem than any other of her subjects—to take command of the forces she has sent to their aid, and to assist them in the government of affairs; which should oblige them the more on their part to hold good correspondence with him, and to show him all due respect, wherein she hopes they will not fail, according to the zeal and affection which they profess towards her; to the end that she may account all well employed, and that their affairs may have the happy success which she desires.—Richmond,—November, 1585.
Copy. Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 74.]
Nov. The Queen to Count Hohenlohe.
As she is now sending over the Earl of Leicester, to take command of her forces and assist the States in the government, she has given him express orders to take extraordinary care to have him treated and respected with the honour and reputation due to a nobleman of his quality, who for long has been so earnestly employed in the service of that country, for the public welfare and advancement of the common cause, and who has always shown such devotion to herself. Not doubting that persevering more and more in this praiseworthy design he will, for his part, hold close and sincere correspondence with the said Earl in all things for the public good and her own service.—Richmond,—November, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Holland V. 75.]
Nov. The Queen to Count Neuenaar.
To the same effect as to Count Hohenlohe.—Richmond,—November, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 76.]
[Nov.] The Queen to the Brill.
Although she has already given express orders to Sir Thomas Cecil to have extra ordinary care of the state and common welfare of their town, she has their affairs so much at heart that she has given the same charge to the Earl of Leicester, whom she is now sending to command her forces and to aid the States in the government of affairs. And as she doubts not that he will do this, to their entire satisfaction, so she also expects that they will render him the honour and respect which is due to him, both for his office and his own quality, he being esteemed by her more highly than any other of her subjects.
Endd. “Copy of her Majesty's letters to the town of Brill, and of a letter of the same tenor to the town of Flissingue.”
Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 77.]
Nov. The Queen to [Truchsess] the Elector of Cologne.
Stating that she has very expressly commended him to her cousin the Earl of Leicester, whom she is sending over to take command of her forces, and to assist the States in the government, and whom she has commanded to assist and solicit for him, both with the States and in all other ways with affection and promptitude, as knowing how much she has his affairs at heart. Hopes the said Earl will acquit himself to his Excellency's satisfaction, desiring nothing more than to see him restored to the state and prosperity which he deserves.—Richmond,—November.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Germany, States, III. 86.]
[Nov. ?] “A memorial of such things as concern the Earl of Leicester's despatch.”
An establishment for Brill and Flushing.
“The signification of her Majesty's pleasure unto the two assistants in Council.” [Margin: H. Killigrew; D. Clarke.]
“To send to the Lord Mayor the names of the parties that have assented to the loan.
“The allowance of the transportation of horsemen.
“The time of their entry into entertainment.
“The entertainment of Frederigo [Gianibelli] the engineer.”
The nomination of those to have charge of the horsemen.
“The answer to Count Maurice's letter and the request.
“The request of the town of Brill.”
In Walsingham's hand. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland V. 78.]


  • 1. Probably the documents calendared on p. 117. above.
  • 2. Bruce prints a short minute of this, from the Cotton MSS. in his Leycester Correspondence (p. 20); stating that “a copy of the letter itself has not been found.”