Elizabeth: December 1585, 16-20

Pages 218-231

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, 16–20

Dec. 16. Colonel Norreys to Burghley.
Since the Earl of Leicester's arrival, I have acquainted him with the state of all payments made before his coming; who has given warrant of full pay for all the companies at her Majesty's charge till the 12th of this month at such rates as they were paid before; and from henceforth (after deliberation with most of the captains) he resolved they shall be paid after the English rate, which is six pounds a month for each company more than the other and six men less. For the rest of the money the States are to pay, notwithstanding my earnest pursuit I cannot yet procure it, but they procure it, but they promise, at my lord's coming into Holland, to clear the whole amount. I doubt not to show you “that I have not been liberal of her Majesty's purse, as I hear some do not stick to inform”; beseeching you not to withdraw your good opinion and friendship form me until I shall answer my reprovers.—Middelburg, 16 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland V. 118]
Dec. 16. Colonel Norreys to Walsingham.
By her Majesty's letters and yours “I find there hath been great discourse made of my offensive war. I am right sorry that her Majesty should think me either forgetful of her instructions or else undutiful in not performing of them, but . . . I know not what war that might be called, to suffer the enemy to carry away four or five towns from us, when so easily they might be saved, which the very event hath showed; neither was the hazard so great to bring twelve companies (of fifty) into the field, especially for an enterprise of such importance. And as for the loss of soldiers, I can assure your honour that few of them that are missing are perished either by the enemy or for want of victual, neither is it any new thing to see soldiers fall sick and run from the war; for since I knew Ireland it was never seen that of any companies sent thither by her Majesty the half of them were to be found within six months.”
If those who make these reports knew what appertains to war, neither would her Majesty be troubled nor we thus slandered; but “some special persons do give themselves to find faults.”
I will do nothing that shall not be justifiable, and as near as I can will advance her Majesty's service. “In these actions I was content to be overruled, and thereupon drew the English companies out of the field, the fruit whereof was that within few days after, the same enemy which durst not before look upon us, passed the river and so amazed our Dutchmen that they disorderly abandoned the fort and left some of their artillery behind them. Now that my lord of Leicester is come, his lordship shall see whose was the best course, and thereafter may give direction, which I will endeavour myself to follow as near as I can.” For all other occurences, I refer you to my brother.—Middelburg, 16 December, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland V. 119.]
Dec. 16/26. Jean Vanden Beken, Pensioner of Flushing, to Davison.
Informing him that this day two ships have left this place, one for the governor, laden with his tapestry; the other for his lordship laden by Martin Drooghe at the request of the magistrates of the town. Wishes it had been furnished by the town, but finding it already in order and that it was too late to change, has left it as it was. Prays his lordship to take all in good part and excuse faults. Does not write to the governor because the ship appointed for him will be known by his people.—Flushing, 26 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. “From the pensioner of Flushing.” Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 120.]
Dec. 17. Carlo Lanfranchi to Andrea de Loo. (fn. 1)
Will be glad if he will give the enclosed into Sassetti's own hands and forward any answer he may receive.
If means are found for treating of an accord with that Queen, he has good instruments who may speak to his Highness, and persuade him to do more than many believe. Would like de Loo to treat personally with the Queen.
Was the first to treat of an agreement “here,” and although he had much trouble, in the end all were pleased and he was thanked for it. Believes this will bring the King of Spain and the Queen to agree together. Such matters do not usually appertain to merchants, yet when the times encite them, occasions may arise when merchants though not arranging anything themselves may be the means of others doing so. May God inspire all, that peace may succeed to war and ruin.
Endd. by Burghley: “17 December, 1585. Extract out of a letter from Carlo Lanfranco in Antwerp to Andrea de Lo in London.” Italian. 1 p. [Flanders I. 48.]
Dec. 17. Davison to Walsingham.
My multitude of business since my lord's arrival, and his resolution to write to you of all things, may excuse me for not troubling you with many lines. Of his safe passage, arrival and honourable reception, you will hear from others. The same day he arrived, the confirmation of Count Maurice's government was again set on foot by his friends here, but stayed with the news of his lordship's coming. This day he takes his journey towards the Hague, whither I intend to go before, to prepare the minds of the assembly against his coming. Those of Zeeland seem resolved “to refer unto him the sovereign commandment, and hope to induce the rest to concur with them.” Valck has done very good offices and should have her Majesty's thanks. Our greatest difficulties will be on the two points of sovereign commandment and settling the means to maintain the wars, neither of which I despair of, but I shall be able to tell you more when in Holland.—Middelburg, 17 November [sic], 1585.
Postscript.—“If Sir William Pelham come not over, my lord shall find himself half maimed.” I wish all impediments were removed in his behalf.
Holograph. Add. Endd 1 p. [Holland V. 121.]
Dec. 17. Leicester to Walsingham.
Recommending “a matter touching a ship laden with oils and cottons out of this town and bound for Newhaven” [Havre de Grace] which has been taken by Englishmen and carried into England. As their factor is there, he leaves the particulars to him, but prays that Walsingham will show them all favour for his [Leicester's] sake, that the people of Middelburg may understand how ready he is to requite the affection and courtesy received from them.—Middelburg, 17 December, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. V. 122.]
[A letter to Burghley, to the same effect, is printed in Leycester Correspondence, p. 28.]
Dec. 17/27. Jaques Valcke to Walsingham.
Lack of matter worth troubling you with has so far kept me from writing to your honour, but my gratitude for all your favours obliges me to delay no longer in assuring you that it is so great that I shall always remain your very humble and obliged servant.
We have all rejoiced extremely at the coming of the Earl of Leicester, firmly believing that by his means God will revive the affairs of our poor state, which truly otherwise were visibly on the verge of a precipice. We have much reason to thank God and her Majesty for their care of our preservation, and especially your honour for having lent a helping hand to such good purpose that we look upon you as our chief support there, who will not fail to carry on this work, so well set on foot, to the desired end; and it must be our part by our service and obedience to repay her Majesty and you for what you have done.
His Excellency goes to-day towards Holland, and I, amongst others shall follow him, if perchance I may be of some service to him, which I ardently desire for the sake of my country.
I doubt not but that you are informed of all things by a better hand than mine, but if I knew that my advertisements would not be troublesome to you I should make bold sometimes to send them. The Sieur de Mont St. Aldegonde is still at his house of Souburch, being forbidden to leave it by order of the States of Zeeland. No particulars are known of his business or his designs, but he is assailed by great adversities, having just lost his wife.—Middelburg, 27 December, 1585, stilo novo.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holland V. 123.]
Dec. 18. Stafford to Burghley.
When this bearer was ready to go, Tupper arrived with your lordship's letters, for which I humbly thank you, and for your honourable dealing with me. In return, I can only promise you “true, honest dealing, both in serving of her Majesty and loving of your lordship.” with what has been done to me, I must content myself, seeing at home you have the like measure. Would to God those who desire to be best thought of “would leave all particular glory and ambition apart,” and show their goodwill to serve without other respect than God's service, as all of us ought to do.
I am very sorry my mother is so troubled. I know how much inward grief hurts her. “For my part, though of nature I am as impatient as anybody, yet I have barrelled up a whole barrel of patience to anger them withal that would anger me.”
For the writing you say was sent into England, I think it was set down there, as many others be, “and made to come from hence, especially because your lordship is glanced at in it; for it is a thing that carrieth no sense. If it had been advertised but of me that Charles Arundel had assured the Duke of Guise, it had carried some likelihood, and showed his folly, of the which there is nothing I will do the Queen more service and serve my turn of [better] than of that; and indeed I have done what I can to make Charles Arundel to not think me so passionated to the King of Navarre, and by that means have drawn things which else no way but that could be come by, and . . . also spread abroad and put fears into them which I could not have done if I had showed too much passion the other side.
“Besides, I have set a deadly feud between Charles Arundel and with him those that be the least evil doing papists here, and Morgan and Charles Paget and the deep traitors. And have made him set the Duke of Guise in a very hard conceit of them, so that they be every day one ready to stamp another in. What effects such a dissension may bring to the Queen's service, to come by things and to do other services which from nobody else I could have, I leave to your Lordship to judge. And one thing I would have every body to look in, not whom I deal withal but whether my dealings tend to serve the Queen or no, and whether that be not the mark every body seeth I shoot at. If notwithstanding, this course like not your lordship I will amend it when I know your advice. My dallying with Charles Arundel is not unknown to Mr. Secretary, as I can show by the answers of his letters to me with his own hand in cipher, but which way I deal, it is not reason anybody should know it but them that I may trust well, which truly is not he. And in my opinion men should not in this place look with whom he that is in it dealeth, but look to the effect of his doings and let him answer it.
“I have written to her Majesty very earnestly to humbly beseech her to look unto the disposition of things here, and to take the opportunity that is offered to do good to her friends for ever and harm to her enemies everlastingly, referring her as I do your lordship to two letters I have written, part of both in cipher to Mr. Secretary by this bearer, and to another letter by another afore in cipher.”—Paris, 18 December, 1585.
Postscript.—I have written to Mr. Secretary to send my man Lilly to me. If he do not—considering his innocency, which I knew afore—I must have recourse for justice to her Majesty, and crave your lordship's favour and furtherance.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XIV. 114.
Dec. 18. Capt. Robert Sidney to Walsingham.
“I beseech you pardon the rude letters I wrote from Ostend. I was in 'troth' ashamed of them, but the hastiness of the bearers was the cause.” Since that, nothing has happened but the loss of the fort by Nimeguen, which I am sure you have heard of from others. The bearer, one Welch, an Irishman, has importuned me to give him a letter to you. “He says he hath a suit in court, but what it is I know not and therefore I will not further recommend him.” My lord has given me a cornet of horse, of those he brought over; my foot company lies in the Ramekins.—Flushing, 18 December, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland V. 124.]
Dec. 18. Thomas Wilsford to Burghley.
I have received your lordship's letter. Your honourable dealings with me make me presume “again to trouble you with a rude style of a poor soldier, being driven to scribble in such haste as I pray God you may pick out some sense of my meaning.”
I will not discourse of my lord's arrival, entertainment or departing, leaving these to the reports of others. Before he came I had viewed Ostend in every part, and since his coming, the bailly of Ostend having reported the enemy's coming to besiege it, his lordship sent me again.
[Describes the state of affairs as on p. 215 above.]
Upon my report of his lordship's arrival, and her Highness' royal intention not to leave them distressed, “that night was made such a soldierly triumph,—though naked in apparel and barefoot, but rich in good furniture—as they might do.” Next day, leaving them well contented, I returned to my lord, and the governor and some of their captains with me. His lordship used them very honourably and has sent the Dutch “like imprests as the English have, which will stay them for a time. The soldiers rely wholly upon her Majesty, and will never trust to the States' pay, so ill have they entreated them.” If her Highness had not set foot here when she did, all had been gone. There are many papists in the country. The better sort, with the soldiers, desire her Majesty to have the whole disposition of the treasure and taxes, “and say it will never else take good success. Surely I think so too. . . . Her Highness hath now entered into it; the fire is kindled; whosoever suffers it first to go out it will grow dangerous to that side. . . . Her Majesty hath such footing now in these parts, and so good helps by the countries' contributions as I judge it impossible for the King to weary her out if every man will put to his helping hand, whereby it may be lustily followed and the wars not suffered to cool.” When I came out of England I heard every man so well affected as it seemed that they would not stick at any contribution. “If the excess used in sumptuous apparel were only abated, and that we would convert the same to these wars, it would stop a great gap.” [Concerning the training of men to guard England, as in his former letter.] I did not desire wars. I had settled myself in another course, but it having pleased her Majesty to enter into it, I am determined to spend not only my life but my poor living in it, rather than that the action shall quail. I have had divers gentlemen and others come out with me upon my charges, more than my ability will bear, and my lord, to ease me, has granted me a company to be levied in England. The men I can levy of voluntaries, who will come to me “enowe,” but I would gladly have the Council's letters to warrant my doings. The matter was only moved when my Lord was in the ship ready to depart for Holland, which was the reason he did not write to your lordships.
Certain gentlemen, my kinsmen, who have heretofore served under me and whom I have sent over to make a company will wait upon you lordship, to know your pleasure about the letter.
There has been a report “by the soldiers that have come from hence, of the misery of the soldier here.” I hope my lord will take such a course that those going hence may speak well of it, so that we may have voluntary men enough come over, as we had at Newhaven. I meant to have written of Ostend but must refer it to another time.
In my last letter to you I wrote of a matter of great importance, that is, “upon the strength of the fleet that ride at Lillo . . . on the well-doing whereof standeth the whole force of this journey.” If it should be corrupted or surprised, no greater distress could come to this enterprise. “A galley and some of her ships 'would' be laid here, though of this country's charges. . . .
“The freehold of England will be worth but a little if this action quail, therefore I wish no subject to spare his purse towards it. Surely no danger nor fear of any attempt can grow to England, so long as we can hold this good. The papists will make her Highness afraid of a great fleet now preparing in Spain. . . . It is but a scarecrow to cool the enterprise here.”—18 December [o.s.].
Add. Endd.pp. [Holland V. 125.] See Motley, i. 355.
Dec. 19/29. Certificate by the magistrates of Middelburg, that this day there has been exhibited to them a passport, written in English, and signed and sealed by the Earl of Leicester, which has been translated by a notary public into French, and of which the following is the tenor.
[Passport recited, to the effect that report having been made to the Earl of Leicester by the magistrates of Middelburg that their trade is greatly reduced reduced by the long wars, for which cause they have granted their licence to certain merchants to load a ship of Flushing called the Golden Falcon to go with goods to St. Malo; he has, on petition of the said merchants, granted them his passport for their better assurance; always on condition that they have also their passport from Middelburg.—Middelburg, 17 December, 1585.]
They certify also that the passport which the bearer may exhibit in Flemish, despatched for Jacob Ingels, is a general formula, usually employed for the trade of the towns of Zeeland. Which things they confirm with their seal under the hand of one of their own secretaries.—Middelburg, 29 December, 1585.
Extracted from the register and certified as a true copy by J. vander Varent, notary public.
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Ibid. V. 126.]
Dec. 19/29. Elector Truchsess to Davison.
I believe you will have heard that some time ago, the Marquis of Baden and some gentlemen, servants of the Bishop of Liege, who were on their return to him from the Prince of Parma, were carried as prisoners to Bergen-op-Zoom.
They are now at Ste. Geertrudenberg, and their release is urgently solicited, under pretext that they are neutrals. As this concerns me very much, I earnestly beg that if their deliverance is sought from the Earl of Leicester, you will, underhand and as secretly as possible, prevent anything being done until I have in person declared my reasons to the said Earl and to you, which I hope to do very shortly at the Hague.—Leyden, 29 December, stylo novo.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holland V. 127.]
Dec. 19/29. Charles, Count of Mansfelt to M. de Hemert, Governor of Grave.
It is as fitting for a prudent, noble and valorous man (such as I hold you to be), to foresee evident evil, as to maintain himself resolutely in fair and safe times. And as former examples may draw the veil from before our eyes, I shall use no rhetoric in saying to you that the remedy which some propose for your maintenance and salvation is made of such feeble stuff that I can hardly persuade myself that you do not look upon it merely as a night's frost, and that the wise man should rather run to the arms of his father, stretched out to receive him, than wait until at the end of his toils, he finds a great dog with gaping jaws ready to suck his blood; which is the spectacle you may expect from the strangers you are now proposing to assist; preparing the tragedy of your ruin and their establishment. How has this obstinacy served Ste. Aldegonde, who after holding the chief place among you, and sustaining a siege of fourteen months, is now pursued with the utmost rigour.
This is the difference between serving the King or a mob. The King, your natural prince, wishes for nothing save to bring you all once more, as in the days of our grandfathers, into the Golden Age, in which his Highness labours once more to see you, if you will listen to him. What he has done gives testimony thereof, and all the people whom he has reduced to his Majesty's obedience loudly confess it. And being authorised by my said lord the Prince to reconcile those who sincerely desire to be reunited to his Majesty, I declare that if the town of Grave will thus return to the said obedience, I will continue every man in his charge, soldiers as well as citizens, on condition that they take the proper oath, as we others have done. As a native of these countries, obliged by right of birth to procure the well-being of my compatriots, I pray you earnestly to consider what I have written, and to send me an answer by the bearer.—Herpen, 29 December, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 128.]
Dec. 20/30. Lubbert Torck, Heer van Hemert, to Count Mansfelt.
In reply to your lordship's letter, it does not seem to me improper to declare that it would not be the part of true nobility to be resolute only in fair and safe times, and that it is as fitting to every man of honour and quality to maintain a firm resolution for the defence of his fatherland, so heavily oppressed by calamities, as to be shaken, were it never, so little, by every evil which past examples may have put before our eyes. Wherefore I am persuaded that for the maintenance of our good cause, God of his grace will inspire us with strength to confound the designs of the wisest; as I desire to have no other end to my labours than one day to see our fatherland preserved from the horrible spectacles and tragedies of the Spanish strangers.
As to the differences of the services, and the Sieur St. Aldegonde's discharge of his duty, I do not esteem it to be my vocation to enter further into this dispute, contenting myself with the knowledge that my own preservation and the interest of so many honest men oblige me to offer all good service to my country, so afflicted with miseries; with all confidence that in thus continuing my duty, I shall not be blamed for being too obstinate.
If it please God that the King, as our natural prince, should incline to listen to the just complaints of his poor people, not in order to put them into a Golden Age, but only to assure them of their life and property against the treason and inveterate vengeance of their adversaries and the enemies of the estate of these provinces and the common welfare; in this case, it is not to me in particular that application must be made for reconciliation with his Majesty or to restore this town of Grave to his obedience, but to those to whom I am bound by oath of fidelity to procure the good guard and preservation of the town. Wherein I am resolved not to fail in the least point to acquit myself as the duty of a gentleman of honour requires and demands.
And thanking you for being pleased to think of procuring my welfare, as by right of nature thereto obliged, I will make this no longer than to pray you not to disturb me henceforth with such requests, as they are far too much removed from my nature, and you do it with very little discretion in my regard.—Grave. 30 December, 1585.
Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holland V. 128a.]
[On the same sheet as Mansfelt's letter, above.]
Dec. 20. Raffe Boseville to Walsingham.
Has delivered his letters according to direction, and, thanks to his honour, has found “some good acceptance.” His Excellency seems very willing to pleasure him, and would have sent him back with letters to the Lords of the Council for procuring him his promised charge, to be levied in some shire, but (having taken the advice of the governor of Flushing, to whom he is most bound) feared he should but lose time and money to small purpose and so has refused it until he should hear from his honour, on whose “notice . . . to come and speed,” he will be ready to attend.—Flushing, 20 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. V. 129.]
Dec. 20. Walsingham to Leicester.
I know how earnestly you desire the assistance of Sir William Pelham, and have very carefully dealt with her Majesty for his despatch, but cannot prevail.
“The cause is for that her Majesty will that he shall still stand charged with the debt of 8,000l. to her.” He has prayed that it may be “stalled,” or that she will take the land and sell it in payment of the debt; the overplus to be delivered to him, wherewith he may furnish himself for the service; for he can make no money of the land while it is liable for his said debt. But we cannot prevail with her to agree. He himself has written to her Majesty, “but she hath taken great offence thereat, although it be written in such dutiful terms . . . that men may easily judge it is but a picked quarrel in respect of his ill-husbanding of things in his office here.”
This stays him here, as he wants means to furnish himself, though otherwise most willing and desirous to be employed out of this realm and specially to attend upon your lordship.
Her Majesty finds fault that you have not sent her a cipher of which she spoke to you; you will do well to satisfy her as soon as you may. She is offended with the States for not looking more carefully to the restraint of the transportation of victuals to the enemy, being advertised that their want is so great (especially now they cannot be supplied out of France, in respect of the great dearth there likewise) that if not relieved out of Holland and Zeeland they will be forced to a reasonable peace.
My lord Admiral desires to know if you have not taken order for deputing him “Justice of an Ayer” in your absence, praying you to think of him before any other. He has always showed himself forward to further all good causes, and seems particularly to wish well to your lordship; therefore it may please you to do him this pleasure.
I have taken order at your request for the thousand black bills, to be sent over out of hand.—December 20, 1585.
Minute, in Walsingham's hand. Endd. 1 ¾ pp. [Holland V. 130.]
Dec. 20/30. The States of Zeeland to Walsingham.
That her Majesty has engaged in our affairs; that the Earl has now embarked for these parts to the same end; that with such courage he has taken up our cause:—To whom after God, do we owe these things but to your honour? We are ever bound to you for the great benefits which, without any merit of ours, you have conferred on these countries and on us. The greater our danger and the nearer our ruin, so much the more welcome to us has been the remedy. And we should be very ungrateful if we did not acknowledge her Majesty's kindness in depriving herself and her realm of so important a personage as the Earl of Leicester, in order to let us share him with her. What recompense can we offer her? None but humbly to obey her commands and to honour the person of the said Earl as we should her own, serving him with all our power, so that we may not only protect these countries against the enemy, but also gain some advantage over them. And to your honour we can only offer our desire to please you in anything in which you may command us.
With all our heart we hope that these commencements will be the foundation of an eternal obedience to her Majesty and her Council, for the maintenance of the reformed religion and the alliance of these countries with England, and pray you to assure her of our sincere affection, in which we will not fail to persevere with all our power.—Middelburg, 30 December, 1585. Signed, Chr. Roels.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holland V. 131.]
Dec. 20/30. Pietro Bizari to Davison.
Is emboldened by his lordship's very great kindness and courtesy to recommend to him anew the present bearer, who has been for a long time a captain of Antwerp, and then “Wathmaster” [Wachtmeester], i.e. Magister vigilum, and for his fidelity, integrity and prudence has always been loved by honest men, and especially by the Prince of Orange of blessed memory. Prays his lordship to be gracious and favourable to him when occasion offers, for his own benefit and the interest of the good cause.—Dordrecht, 30 December, 1585.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 132.]
Dec. 20. W. H. (fn. 2) to the Queen.
Points to be “remembered” to her Majesty.
The key of the boom at Flushing to be in the hands of her governor, not of the townsmen.
A sufficient garrison to be settled there to repress mutinies or insolencies of the townsmen, to which they are easily inclined.
Sir Thomas Cecil to seek to be possessed of Maesland-Sluys and Delfshaven, places of importance to assure the river and Brill, at no great cost to anybody.
To procure possession of Enchuysen, “the key and bridle of all North Holland.” A governor and garrison of her men would be received and willingly entertained by the town at their own cost. This is very necessary, “for King Philip hath sundry dangerous friends and instruments therabouts.”
Hessels of Antwerp, a man of learning and experience, who was joined with Aldegonde to mediate the late peace, is retired into Holland discontented, and “probably affirms” that King Philip means to proceed against the whole Low Countries, when things are “framed to his purpose”; which notice being distributed amongst the nobility of the Malcontents, may bring them to a sense of their danger.
The Prince of “Pinois,” a papist but a good patriot, residing now in France, “may be wrought an apt instrument to break the ice herein; but principally Montigny's mother,” for the reverence due to her and for the care she hath “to persuade her son and the rest from ruin evident.”
The surprising of La Motte would be easy “as he rides on hunting weakly accompanied, or in passing between Graveling and St. Omers by boat . . . with his wife.” The names are enclosed of those who would serve best to execute the enterprise.
Calais (which is negligently guarded and grown secure by wealth) may be surprised by fit instruments thereabouts, and might be done at a fitting opportunity from Ostend, without discovery or danger.
If the King of Navarre and those of the Religion in France be well backed, the enterprises of her Majesty's enemies will be broken, and the “progression” of the Prince of Parma made vain. Which depends on her Majesty's resolute proceeding, “not staying to be amused with treaty or temporising that shall be ministered (fides enim non est servanda hœreticis).”
Likewise King Philip may be diverted by Portugal and Barbary, without any unlawful act, only in seeking to repress unjust violence. Her Majesty, “in using the King of Fez, doth not arm a barbarian against a Christian, but a barbarian against a heretic, the most dangerous that was in any age, the usurper of kingdoms and the subverter of God's true religion, . . . whom, by pursuing of his fishing in Newfoundland, and his trade out of Biscay,” she will marvellously hinder; starve his country and possess his mariners and shipping, wherein consists his chief strength.
Great preparation has been made of late in Danske of grain &c. to furnish a navy for the said King, which she may easily meet by watching the passages of the narrow seas and by the help of her faithful ally the King of Denmark.
Shipwrights have been sent from Genoa to Antwerp (as one Pearson, a subject of her Majesty can report) to build galleys to invade the passages of Holland and Zeeland, and to surprise England by the river of Thames, a plot devised many years ago, and judged facile both by La Motte and the Marquis Vitelli, “either of them having been employed as discoverers and viewers to discern the same here in their several disguised parts.”
Great store of timber &c. to make shipping is provided in the country of Liege and also at Danske, to be conveyed to Antwerp, which “foreseen,” would not be easy to do.
If her Majesty would “entertain Earl Edzard of East Friesland with some good negotiation,” she would have the river of Ems at her devotion; stop the Spanish course in those parts, and reduce Groningenland, West Friesland and Gueldres to an easier obedience.
If she would “cut off the commixed government” of the provinces under her protection, she would take away the confusions which hourly ensue.
And if she would plant sufficient colonies in Terra Virginea, she might increase her navy by shipping made there, and be near at hand “to possess King Philip's purse” and so ruin him and all the usurers who are the nurses of unjust wars. For effecting which, Sir Francis Drake's enterprise will shake the King's state and enrich both her Majesty and her whole realm.
Letters from Seville state that the ship taken by Sir Richard Greenefeild had 600,000 ducats “by register,” besides probably as much unregistered, “which is no treasure for private persons to usurp, seeing that her Majesty hath need thereof for the peace of the land.”
The letters of mark “given to the French by Bernandino de Mendoza's practices to annoy us by” are matters of great peril and should be provided for.
“Brancha Leone, a Florentine and near companion of Parrie's, sometimes a follower of Sir E. Hobbies (now governing the French ambassador peaceably) . . . is a malicious practiser, poisoner and intelligencer, near of kin to the Bishop of Paris, by whom he is here maintained.”
Ringout, Vander Aa and Dr. Joseph Michaeli, now in London, “are dangerous fellows also and meet to be deciphered.”
Has thus in obedience to her Majesty's command, set down his knowledge “in the premises,” and commends them humbly to her wisdom and secrecy.—London, 20 December, 1585.
Postscript.—Prays her “to make a salamander” of these his observations, and (he having none other to trust to) to be good to him, lest he perish by necessity.
Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Holland V. 133.]
The list of persons who might aid in the suggested attempt against La Motte, resident at Calais, Waldam, Oie, Haines, Gymes [? Guisnes], Gravelines, St. Omer, Argues, St. Augustine's cloister and other places in that district. 1 p. [Ibid. V. 133a.]
Dec. 20. Nicolaus Kaas, Chancellor of Denmark, to Walsingham.
I have received two letters from you, and from them, no less than from the others which preceded them, I abundantly discern your affection to me. I give you many thanks therefor, and in my turn will respond by doing you any service for which you may have occasion; nor will I allow myself to be easily beaten in this contest of goodwill.
Now, as to the matters in controversy between the English and the cities of the Hanse league, as they call it. I have approached the King of Denmark with regard to giving letters to those cities of such purport as you asked for, and, of his kindly feeling towards your nation, he easily consented to your petition; so the letters have been drawn up and sent by our courier. You will learn their contents from the copy given to the merchant who brought yours to me.
They (the Hanse towns) have obtained from my King the liberation of Henry Kirckmann from the prison in which he has been for some time confined; so you are to imagine that his wrong-doing is to be attributed to his youth.
I write this that you may realize how the affair swings on a hinge from side to side'; or rather that you may know that I have lost none of my affection for you; nay that I labour in all this strife to increase it more and more.—Copenhagen, 20 December, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. Latin. 2 pp. [Denmark I. 72.]


  • 1. Cf. de Loo's letter of Dec. 26, below.
  • 2. Perhaps William Herlle, but in that case it is a copy, as it is not in Herlle's handwritting. The letter is unsigned, but endorsed “W. H.”