Elizabeth: December 1585, 6-10

Pages 199-207

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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December 1585, 6–10

Dec. 6. Colonel Morgan to Walsingham.
As my first arrival ministered nothing of moment, I would not trouble your honour with show void of substance. Of Sir Philip's passage by sea and welcome at shore I assure myself you are made acquainted by his own pen. Yet somewhat I mean to tell you of such things as I have been partaker of above the rest.
Eight or ten days after my coming out of England, the governor of Flushing willed me to go into Holland, to buy armours and to confer with the Grave van Hollock, “whom I found in present action against the enemy in this order.”
The Spaniards had passed the river of the Maze, and entered into a country called the Bomellsward, intending, as it seemed, some notable exploit, “for they transported over the river certain pieces of artillery, whereof the Grave having intelligence caused the sluices of the Maze to be drawn and ditches to be cut, by means whereof the enemy was forced to retire, the country being so overflown as they could make no longer abode without incurring such danger as might breed their utter overthrow. Hereupon they repassed the Maze, which was from Scilla to Charibdes, for thinking to return home, they found also their own country drowned by the device aforesaid, so that now remaining inter pontem et fontem they were brought to such strategem as they could neither pass forward nor backward, but remained upon a small island where no succour nor supply could come at them. On the one side they were environed with the river, whereon lay half a dozen sail of men of war, on the other side between them and Sattinghambusse (a town of the enemy's garrison) stood two skonces which were kept by the Grave's men; but in the end either through fear or falsehood those skonces were forsaken, which the enemy presently took and manned, by which means they became masters of the drowned land and so gave passage to the town of Sattinghambusse and went and came with their boats, which brought them relief, when they were even ready either to starve or yield to mercy. Their distress was so great as they fed upon they buds of willow trees, they killed their horses and sod the blood to serve instead of bread and they offered a pound of silver for a pound of bread. In this extremity they continued for the space of twelve days. Thus finding themselves perplexed they put their ensigns into a small boat by night and sent them to Sattinghambusse as things more dear to them than their lives. Their ensigns were in number four score and ten, and their men were in number 3,000, and that of the chosen and principal Spaniards. The Grave van Hollok was not above seven hundred men strong; he sent for supplies but they came not, only two hundred English presented themselves but their captains and leaders were absent, where, I know not. He that gave over the skonces was a Dutch captain called Rattell. He and his ensign are both fled and therefore it is to be supposed that there was a confederacy between him and the enemy. The like opportunity (I doubt) will not be had again in many years. Now I must conclude with an humble suit to your honour. It hath pleased God to take my brother out of this world, whose estate resteth dangerous in his children by reason of bonds which he hath entered into for me, wherefore I most humbly beseech your honor to favour me herein. His son and heir is your honor's servant and now in the voyage of Sir Francis Drake, so that if any extinct [sic: qy. extent] should in his and my absence pass upon his land it would be his utter undoing and my discredit, as one unprovident in such an extremity. I have written to Sir Henry Knevett (a man acquainted with this cause) to advertise your honor at all times of the consequence hereof, whose friendly care of me I know to be such as he will (I hope) omit no means that may avail me.”—Flushing, 6 December, 1585.
Postscript.—“Sithence the finishing of my letter I have received new advertisements. The enemy hath gathered his forces together and lieth about Grave, a place fittest for our annoyance. The fort at 'Nymigam' is lost, where the Grave van Meures was present in person, and even upon the show of the enemy gave up the same without fight, wherein were lost five pieces of artillery, to our great detriment and dishonour. The Prince of Parma hath forced a bridge over the Maze, by means whereof he may at his better ease enter our confines, and do sudden exploits. At the next opportunity your honour shall be further advertised.
The Grave van Hollok was not come down to receive the Earl of Leicester, amongst the other nobility. The occasion was the near approach of the enemy [to] (fn. 1) his quarter, but upon his honour's going up into Holland he met him with such company as might [be] (fn. 1) spared from his charge, at a place called 'Guilliam State.'” [This postscript must have been added after Dec. 20, when Leicester was at Willemstad.]
Signed. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland V. 93.]
Dec. 6. Henry Kylligrew to Davison.
I wrote to you by Captain Lytelton and now scribble these few lines to tell you that I hope to be “there” shortly with Sir William Pelham. “I pray you take order we may keep house together. . . . I bring three or four geldings with me, till I shall see whether they will be needful for my use there or no. I also purpose to bring ten ton of bread to begin household withal and some beer in barrels. Thus go I blindly to work till I may gather light there or elsewhere. Your man doth assure me your house shall be reserved for you at the Hague, so as I hope my Lord's train will not prevent you, nor Mr. Doctor Clerke, my colleague, who is gone before, prevent me with you for my lodging. “Things in Scotland go very well; in France not very ill and in Germany and Switzerland (Suys) indifferently for the aiding of the weaker party. . . ”—London, 6 December.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland V. 94.]
Dec. 6. Thos. Randolph to Davison.
The long expectation of your return has made me deter writing, and now our hope of your speedy coming is so great that I will not trouble you with discourse of our state, which if I should enter into, “one whole quire of paper would not serve the turn.”
Postscript—“Sir William Pelham and Mr. Killegrew mind to be with you so soon as they may, and leave me at home to wait upon the Scots' affairs, which are now in meetly good tune.”—St. Peter's Hill, 6 December, 1585.
Add. Endd 1 p. [Ibid. V. 95.]
Dec. 7. Walsingham to Stafford.
By my late letters I wrote that, for the reasons by yourself alleged, you might forbear to make any motion of the peace to the King, as before directed, wherein I had the consent of my Lord Treasurer; but I since find her Majesty to mislike of that course, thinking the motion very necessary, “for that being not disposed, so far as I can perceive, to yield to any contribution for the levy to have been made in Germany, she can be content that any lame peace shall be shuffled up in France rather than to be put to any such charges.” Therefore you will do well to demand audience, and prosecute the motion.
Minute. Endd with date. ½ p. [France XIV. 112.]
Dec. 7. Leicester to Walsingham.
“I thank you for your care for the despatch of the merchants' assurance. I am sorry her Majesty hath so hard a conceit of me that I should go about to cozen her. . . . I pray God any that did put such scruple in her have not deceived her more than I have done. I thank God I have a clear conscience for deceiving her in anything in this world, and for money matters, I think I may justly say I have been the only cause of more gain to her coffers than all they do is nothing, and others that do nothing do all, and have all the thanks. But I would this were all the grief I carry with me; but God is my comfort and on him I cast all; there is no surety in this world beside.”
I have received form my Lord Willoughby as wise a letter as I have read a great while, and not unfit for her Majesty's sight. I pray God open her eyes to the wonderful means God offers her, “or who can look for other than dishonour and distruction.”
“My Lord Treasurer hath written me a most hearty, comfortable letter touching this voyage; not only in showing the importance of it, both for her Majesty's own safety and the realm's, but [that] the whole state of religion doth depend thereon,” and therefore promises his best assistance for the supply of all wants. I was not a little glad to receive it.
“But what hope of help can I have, and to find her Majesty so strait with myself as she is.” I trusted that the cause being hers and the realm's, if I could have got no money from the merchants, she would not have refused to lend it “upon so easy priced land, to have been gainer and no loser by it.
“Her Majesty I see will make trial or me how I love her and what will discourage me from her service; but resolved I am that no worldly respect shall draw me back from my faithful discharge of my duty towards her, though she shall show to hate me, as it goeth very near, for I find no love or favour at all. . . . I have not had one penny of her Majesty toward all these charges of mine, not one penny; and by all truth I have already laid out above 5,000l.” She appointed 8,000l. for the levy of the horse, which was at the rate of 400 horse, but there is shipped 800, so that 8,000l. more should have been paid me.
“No general that ever went, that was not paid to the uttermost of those things before he went, but had prest for his own provision; which her Majesty would not allow me not one groat. Well, let all these go. It is like I shall be the last shall bear this, and some must suffer for the people.
“Good Mr. Secretary, let her Majesty know this yet, for I deserve God a mercy at the least; and help away Pelham. You may see by your son's [Sidney's] letters the need of him. . . . In haste towards Harwich.”—7 December.
“I am heartily sorry her Majesty hath sent away for Goodrowse. He can little serve her Majesty, and the only man that may save under God many men's lives. In respect of him, I have only a bonesetter with me and left others behind; beside, all his stuff is gone by sea. I beseech you get him sent away if you can.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland V. 96.]
[Mostly printed by Motley, United Netherlands, i, 331.]
Dec. 8. Colonel Norreys to the Lords of the Council.
Since my last of Nov. 28, sent by Captain Scott, upon further views of your lordships' last letters, “ I conceive that they concern thus much":—
First. You have sent over 7,000l. to be issued out by my warrant to make full pay to Nov. 12.
2. No inequality of pay to be allowed to any soldier.
3. The money disbursed for transporting the pioneers to be redemanded.
4. 2,000l. to be delivered to the Treasurer from the States, and 2,000l. to be defalked for armour of the soldiers.
Lastly, the companies in Flushing and Brill to be mustered and paid by “poole” [qy. poll] from leaving the camp until Nov. 12.
Touching the first point; as the time was expired before your letters came, and the scarcity of the soldiers such as that imprests were delivered to them both by the Vice-Treasurer and the towns where they lay, there could be no pay made to them without inequality, neither have you said after what rate you mean to have them paid. But making the computation after the payment in Ireland (which I enclose), I find if amounts to more than is now allowed, and I think it no part of your meaning to put her Majesty to that charge; therefore I desire to be further instructed.
Touching the second [i.e. third] point, I have sent one to demand the money, which when received, shall be at once repaid to the Treasurer.
Of the 2,000l. to be had of the States, 1,000l. is already received and paid over to the Treasurer, and he that I have sent about the pioneers had orders “to demand the same in like case; and defalcation is made by the Treasurer upon every month's pay towards the payment of the 2,000l. for armour, so much as the soldier can well spare.”
Touching the last point, with the advice of the ambassador and Sir Philip sydney ” we have thought it best to make an imprest to the companies until the Earl of Leicester's coming and then to make a full pay”; having sent both to the garrisons and the camp for a certificate of the present state of every company.
I have caused the Treasurer to set down what her Majesty's charge amounts to until the 12th of this present; what he has received and what he has paid, which I send you here inclosed. As it appears to us, “there will want some four or five thousand pounds to make the full payment till the 12th of this month, and by reason that then another month will be growing due, and the necessity of the soldier great having not any means but present money to relieve them, and as well in field as in garrison all things extreme dear,” we shall be forced to take some money up by exchange unless a supply comes before the 12th.
“As touching the occurrences here, our troops be withdrawn from Nimeguen, where we have left the fort defencible and eight hundred Dutchmen in it for the defence of the same.”
The enemy has retired form Bommelwert with the loss of few or none, and is marched towards Grave, which it is thought they will besiege, or some other town there; and employ all their forces this winter for the clearing of Guelderland, which I think they will easily do, the States having no army in the field to “let” them.—Middelburg, 8 December, 1585, stilo Angliœ.
Signed. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland V. 97.]
“A brief Estate drawn out of the account of George Leicester, under treasurer” . . . from Aug. 12 to Dec. 12, 1585.
1. Moneys received for the forces. Total 21, 248l 4s sterling.
2. Payments made to the officers and companies at her Majesty's charges. Total 250,290 guilders.
Endd. “Extract out of the account of Ry. Hudleston” [sic]. 4 pp. [Holland V. 98.]
Another copy of the preceding, but with variations and giving the total in sterling money. Total 250,190 guilders, or 25,019l.
Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. V. 98a.]
[Dec. 8?] The Queen to Burghley.
For the encouragement of Brill and Flushing and to draw them to be the more obedient to her Governors, she has ordered some of her ministers in those parts to make promise on her behalf to the inhabitants of the said towns, being merchants trading into her realm, that they shall be used as her own natural subjects during the continuance of the said towns under her government:—Therefore he is to give order to all the officers of her ports &c. that when any inhabitant of these towns, “certified by sufficient testimony” from the governor and chief officers of the same, shall bring merchandise into the realm as her own natural subjects do, or “make any like lading out of the same,” no other customs or duties are to be demanded of them (until directions be given to the contrary), than are paid by her own subjects.—Richmond,—December, 1585.
Draft, corrected by the Lord Treasurer himself. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 99.]
Dec. 8. Postscript of a letter from the Lord Treasurer to the customers &c. of the ports of this date, that “since the writing hereof,” her Majesty has signified her pleasure that the inhabitants of Brill and Flushing repairing into this realm, bringing certificate from the governors and rulers of these towns, “shall be used with all favour in payment of any customs, subsidies or other duties, for any wares brought in or carried out, as Englishmen.
Copy. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. V. 100.]
Dec. 9. Leicester to [Burghley].
“I do thank you most heartily for your letter, which doth give me no small comfort to find your Lordship so earnestly bent for the good supply and maintenance of us poor men sent in her Majesty's service and our country. Good my Lord, take it to the heart as you say you will, and I believe you will, as well because you do so assure me as for our good cause sake you do like well. And albeit my meaning was to trouble your Lordship as often as occasion should serve for the service of her Majesty and my charge, yet must I now the more often and the rather for that I find [by] Mr. Secretary's letters he is utterly discouraged to deal any more in any these causes that come from me. I pray God your Lordship be not so too, for then all will to the ground on my poor side specially. But by the grace of God I mean not to trouble you with any thing but for the true and needful service of her Majesty and for discharge of my duty in this charge committed to me and therein, good my Lord, be not weary neither of my often nor plain writing.
“In the meantime I beseech you to remember our money.” Her Majesty thinks this 20,000l. will last a long while, but if as I hear, there is not above a month and a half paid to the soldiers, “it will not scant make a full pay above the end of this month.” I will make it stretch as far as it will. Hitherto neither I nor any of my ordinary servants have received one penny of her Majesty's money, “and so I think no general nor captain nor other minister almost can say. For the levy of horsemen which I received, God knows and my poor purse now feels, I have paid almost 2,000l. more among them than her Majesty paid me; for I have double the number of horse and men; but in troth I asked no more, and therefore her Majesty not to blame for it.”
As my trust is that you will be mindful for us that we may not want what her Majesty has promised, so I will do my best to see what the States can do for themselves, and to ease her Majesty's charge hereafter, this first and greatest brunt being considered of by her, for her honour and our relief. “In hot haste, ready to set sail. This Thursday [9 December] in the Amatyst (fn. 2).”
Postscript.—“ I came a shipboard and all my company yesterday four a clock.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 2 pp. [Holland V. 101.]
[Extracts from this and the next letter in United Netherlands, i, 333.]
Dec. 9. Leicester to Walsingham.
“Because I find you so discouraged, Mr. Secretary, I have written to my Lord Treasurer that I must the more trouble him for all causes that are to pass from me. I am sorry her Majesty doth deem you so partial, and yet my suits to her hath not of late been so many nor so great; the greatest I am sure are for her Majesty's own service. For my part, I will discharge my duty as far [as] my poor ability and capacity shall serve; and if I shall not have her gracious and princely support and supply, the lack will be to us for the present, but the shame and dishonour will be yours there.
“At my arrival on the other side, I shall advertise her Majesty of all things. In the meantime I have forborne to trouble her Highness, finding all things from me now are troublesome. God defend us and prosper us; our beginning is hard. . . . From the Amytyst, where I have been since four o'clock yesterday. This Thursday, ready to sail.”
Postscript.—“ I pray you remember that there be not too many victuallers appointed; for so, those that have taken it is hand will give it over.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 102.]
Dec.9. Leicester to Walsingham.
Thanking him for his favour shown to Sir Owen Hopton, and begging him to befriend Sir Owen's son, Mr. Arthur Hopton, in his reasonable suits. Aboard ship, 9 December, 1585.
Postscript.—“I pray you bear with this haste. . . . I perceive Mr. Hopton's chief request is to friend him to help him hereafter over to me.” I have written to my Lord Treasurer as you wished me.
Only the postscript holograph. Add. Endd ¾ p. [Holland V. 103.]
Dec. 9/19. Cristophle Roels to Davison.
I send your lordship six silver pens of the sort you desired and beg you to accept them kindly, looking rather to my affectionate wish to please you than at the smallness of the gift. I hear that you have been here unknown to me, which I am sorry for. I pray you not to let the hand-writing of my papers and copies be seen, for some here have been boasting of knowing that you have the details of everything. Mr. Gilpin will write to you of what I said to him of it. I do not know what holds you back form making some demonstration in the form of a remonstrance, as you said; if you find it expedient, it may be done this week.
The Earl of Leicester's fourrier has been with me, to desire me to make ready the lodgings for Mr. Knollys. I have told your man about it. You will direct me what you wish and what it is proper for me to do. I have offered my lodging to his Excellency by M. Valck. I hope you will pardon whatever I have done amiss in the matter.—Middelburg, 19 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 104.]
Dec. 10. Leicester to Walsingham.
Hears that many of Captain Cromwell's men have “fallen into diseases,” some dying and some continuing so sick that they cannot serve. The cause is supposed to be the noisome air of the place where they have served; no fault being in the captain, of whom he hears a very good report. Prays that Captain Cromwell may have leave to take up as many men as he needs to “furnish up ” his company, and may be sent hither again as speedily as possible.—Flushing, 10 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. V. 105.]
Dec. 10. Stephen le Sieur to Walsingham.
I still await the order from the Prince of Parma, to whom the Council of the Admiralty here sent again a fortnight ago, and until that comes, and I know whether by exchange or ransom I shall obtain my liberty. I will not be importunate to you and my other patrons, without whose assistance I must perish in this most miserable place. I assure myself of your and my noble master's [Sydney's] favour, although not so much deserved as enjoyed. This place yields only sorrows, especially to me, and so I refer what is fit for you to know to the relation of the bearer, who was taken with me, but, with two others, was yesterday released.
The hard entertainment of the keeper of this prison, refusing to give us any victuals without either money or caution has obliged me to use one Thomas Read, an English merchant trading in these parts to give his word for me, who in all ways offers himself to me most courteously. Mr. Bodenham daily expects Mr. Tomson (who greatly desires the liberty of Peter 'Cibiur') hoping by his coming “to be certified of the same, and myself to receive some good comfort from your honour.”—The prisons of Dunkirk, 10 December, 1585, stylo antiquo.
Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Flanders I. 47.]


  • 1. The paper torn.
  • 2. In the journal of Leicester's proceedings printed in the Leycester Correspondence the ship is said to be the Amith.