Elizabeth: January 1586, 6-10

Pages 282-287

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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January 1586, 6–10

Jan. 6/16. Hermann Wynhoff to Jehan de [—] (fn. 1) Onynck, residing with Mr. Davison at the Hague.
On Jan. 12, n.s., I received your letter dated at the Hague on the 3rd of that month, and was glad to learn that you have entered the household of Davison, the Queen of England's ambassador. You will be able to learn from his daily practices and treatment of affairs things that will be useful to you in public business all your life. For the expression of his good will to me, I return him most hearty thanks.
It would be a long business to set out a list of all the magistrates of the confederate Belgic states and to designate the governors of each province and city, seeing that the nature of our states (and more especially of the cities) is partly aristocratic and partly oligarchic. Moreover thee are printed books in which this is set forth. For instance, Lodovico Guicciardini's description of the Belgic provinces is sufficiently clear, and Christopher Plantin has lately printed the geographical descriptions of Gerhardt Mercator on Ptolemy, to which are prefixed tables showing the form of government of the various provinces.
The provinces which are still resisting the Spanish tyranny (Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, the land of Utrecht, Gueldres and Overyssel) have as their chief magistracy a college of the general orders of the provinces [i.e. the States General], and it is the hope and desire of all good men that these will soon hand over, or have already handed over, the government to the Queen of England, with the Earl of Leicester as governor. Each province has its own governor (prœses); for instance, Holland and Zeeland have Count Maurice of Nassau; Friesland, Count Louis William of Nassau; Gueldres, Utrecht and Overyssel, Count Adolf of Neuenaar. These are the supreme magistrates, and aknowledge no superior except the States General or their deputies. Besides these and their inferior magistrates, there is in every province a college of their States, of which the Governor is head. These either meet themselves for public deliberation, or appoint councillors who administer the ordinary business of the province, only summoning the States for the more important matters. The States consist of the nobility and the cities, except in the case of Utrecht, which has also an ecclesiastical order. There are no ranks among the nobles. The cities are ruled by burgomasters (consules). But in serious matters of peace, war and taxation, they can do nothing without consulting the college, which varies in authority and constitution in the different cities, some of which are practically aristocracies, while others approach more nearly to oligarchy.—Utrecht, 16 January, 1586, stilo novo.
Add. Endd. Latin. 2¼ pp. [Holland VI. 5.]
Jan. 7/17. Mauvieeière to Walsingham.
I send you this in haste to accompany the departure of Sir Charles Chester, whom I brought over to see France. He says he likes it better than Spain. I refer you to him for what he has learnt here. We are in much confusion. Mars is somewhat frozen with the great cold, and although all things are prepared for civil war, no great exploits have been done.
I have lost my government and all that I had, not by my fault, but being discharged from the former because of the long time during which I have lived in England. One must hope in God rather than in the world which is here ready for great changes, as you will have sufficiently heard. Everyone, however, admires the prosperity and admirable prudence of the Queen, your good mistress. I pray you to keep me in her kind favour, and humbly to kiss her royal and beautiful hands on my behalf. My wife begs the same, and that you will permit us both to offer our humble compliments to your wife and Madame de “Chedenay.” thanking them both for the many favours and courtesies received from them. Allow me also to salute Mr. Du Glas, who has entirely forgotten me. I commend to him and to you the business of “Wis,” if the thing is reasonable, and to remember the 800l. sterling which I delivered to Nuchas [Nutshawe]; and to Messieurs of Flushing that they might return to me the powder and other things which they took from me and my people, although the inhabitants of the town and those of the court of Justice think that the pirate has given back the whole. But they stole, with the mariners and soldiers. whatever they could, although the present of her Majesty has been saved and returned into my hands, which I shall preserve, by God's help, as a mark of perpetual remembrance.—Paris, 17 January, 1585[sic].
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [France XV. 3.]
Jan. 8. Stafford to Walsingham.
“This worshipful gentleman's return maketh me to give him a carriage fit for himself; which is this Belief which I send you herein enclosed, published for to make all them to acknowledge that are turned from their religion by this last edict.” Here it has not yet been presented to any and truly this town is the neutralist(?) place that may be for them of the religion, for there has been no violence offered nor constraint used. Inquiries has been made in all houses, but the enquirers have never returned,and no place in France so much desires peace.
“But abroad in the country, in divers places the bishops have been very rigorous, and used abjurations to them, and presented this Confession . . . very rigorously.
“Mr. Chester can tell you news of Bernardin de Mendoza's health, for he hath visited him oft; and no man so much in his favour as he.” He wishes me to ask for his return hither when you shall think good; and “if the poor man for this poor show of a packet may by your honour's favour have the effect of one, I shall for his sake, and the often putting of my wife out of many a melancholy humour, think myself beholding to your honour."— Paris, 8 January, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XV. 4.]
Jan. 8/18. Arnoult de Grunevelt to Davison.
Although I am a captive in my chamber through sickness, and hear nothing worthy of telling you, I cannot but express my regret at not having come to meet his Excellency at his entry into the Hague and from thence accomplished my return to Sluys, where I doubt not that besides the imminent danger of the enemy for the forts which we hold near that town, by means of the present frosts, the soldiers are in very great need, having received nothing for six weeks, and only living by our means. And notwithstanding that before the last payment there was quite four months interval. Wherefore I would humbly beseech you that if in any way it can be done before my departure, I may obtain an order from his Excellency for a month's wages. For I assure you that his Excellency has very loyal and constant servants in Sluys, and that from the side of the States there is no hope whatever. Moreover I beg that if the burgomasters and pensionary of the said town go to his Excellency and your lordship for this or other affairs, you will be favourable to them.
I much wished that the Sieur de Grunevelt, my brother, should go to salute his Excellency, but he was prevented by an order from the Council of State to go into garrison at Arnhem with his company, for which town he was to set out yesterday, hoping that it may be an acceptable service to his Excellency, to whom, if occasion offer, I pray you to recommend him; for you will find two brothers very desirous to do you service.—Utrecht, 18 January, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holland VI. 6.]
Jan. 8/18. Jo. Nicolai “Bruxellanus” to Davison.
Your great pressure of public business makes me hesitate to apply to you twice in a day with regard to a single matter and that a private one. But what do I say? Can I feel diffidence towards one who by his kindness and good will has restored confidence to us, and by whose influence I this morning met that noble here, M. de Cidney, to whom so far as the circumstances would allow, I laid open the cause of my addressing him, I hope with success. I brought back from him such an answer as I should never have hoped for, I not known his kindness, or could have expected had not I found the way made plain for me by you. He granted me his full favour and promised to assist you in procuring my relief. Indeed I deserved good fortune in that quarter, seeing that on account of my persistent loyalty, first at Brussels and afterwards at Antwerp, my punishment was demanded by the enemy. That you then, may join your entreaties to his and come to our aid, is not only our prayer, but may be said to be required by the encouragements, both public and private, which we have had. You will not find that I come short of the expectation and judgment of my supporters. The Hague, 18 January, 1586, stilo novo.
Add. To the ambassador from the English Queen to the States of Belgium. Endd. Latin. ¾ p. [Holland VI. 6 bis.]
Jan. 9/19. Thomas Digges to Burghley.
There have been many abuses in former musters, whereby much treasure has been wasted, and the bands weak, unfurnished, unarmed and untrained. The only means to avoid these abuses is to have in every principal garrison a resident clerk of musters, who may find out and enter the deaths, discharge or other departure of the soldiers, that neither so much treasure be paid for dead men's wages, “nor the captains left any hope, by the death of their soldiers, to put in their purses so large spoils of the treasure as heretofore.”
Where towns lie near together and have but few bands, one such deputy might do duty for two or three garrisons, but in such towns as Bergen-op-Zoom, remote from other garrisons and having ten or twelve ensigns, there must be a clerk continually resident. If I may have six clerks or deputies, I will so place them that each shall either save her Majesty “forty-fold his wages yearly” or force the captains to maintain their bands in such complete military order as shall advance the service to far greater value. [On his hopes of improvement &c., as to Wal-singham, p. 278 above.]
If my allowance and the addition of 200'. a year of my own would have maintained my charges, I would not have troubled you, but being unable to perform it without more, I am bound to open the matter to you, and the rather as I perceive that the General is limited to the allowances already set down.
I send enclosed certain notes of the state of Flushing and Ostend, as I have also advertised his Excellency, after taking a full survey and perfect platts of both places.—Vlissinge, 19 January, 1586, stylo novo.
Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. VI. 7.]
Notes by Thomas Digges, concerning (1) The imperfections of the present fortifications of Flushing, and (2) The present state of Ostend.
Endd. 2 pp. [Holland VI. 7a.]
Jan. 9 (fn. 2) G. de Prounincq to Davison.
Although I fear to trouble you with my letters, yet in regard of the public welfare, I make bold to enlighten you on a point which will be very opportune to his Excellency, upon the contributions and convoys that the States are putting into his hands. For as to our convoys (means of great revenue, but so badly managed that their extent is not known), the augmentation of these being charged with the sum of about 180,000l. for the debts of the Landraad, his Excellency ought to be warned thereof. For if one deprives the creditors of the effect of so many promises with which they have been entertained already, by the space of two years, the continuation of the same disfavour which has cost us more inconveniences than one can say, will greatly hinder the progress of his Excellency's good will, seeing that the little care taken so far to keep faith has reduced us to our present extremity. We have twice written of it to the States General. [Details of the methods of payment.]
Nothing is so much wished for here as that the resolutions may be speedily taken, by which the enemy will be dismayed and his Excellency feared and respected. For while the Council is debating, our soldiers are begging their to our very great disgrace.—Et qui moras nectunt, pontem sternunt Hispano.—Utrecht, 9 January, 1586.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Ibid. VI. 8.]
Jan. 10. Stafford to Burghley.
I see daily such likelihood to increase . . . of the doubtfulness of 79 (fn. 3) that I thought good by my letter . . . to Mr. Secretary to advertise her Majesty of it ; as also an accident happened to him yesternight, which increaseth the opinion greatly.” I hope her Majesty will consider “what importance that likely accident may bring,” if not provided for beforehand.—Paris, 10 January, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. ¾ p. [France XV. 5.]
Jan. 10. Claude Paulmier to Walsingham.
Praising his zeal for the common cause and for religion, and commending to his care a matter already undertaken by him of his own accord, in this time of calamity which compels exiles from their own land to appeal for help to those of another faith [Undated.]
Add. Endd. “10 January, 1585. From Mr. Poumier.” Latin. 1½ pp. [France XV. 6.]
Jan. 10. “The number [with names] of horsemen taken over with the Lord General into the Low Countries, and paid at Leyden the 10th of January, 1585.” Total 619.
“A supply of more horse that were in pay from the 10th of January, 1585,” [total 35]; “And more of horse of the Lord-General's, 40.” Total of all the horse, 744 [sic].
Endd.pp. [Holland VI. 9.]


  • 1. The first letters of the name have been cut away with the seal.
  • 2. It is often difficult to fix the exact date of letters written at Utrecht, as the new style seems to have been often used there at this time, although not formally adopted until 1700. This letter, however, must be dated o.s. as on Jan. 9, n.s. the States had not made their offer to Leicester.
  • 3. 79 is Elizabeth, which is manifestly incorrect. Probably it should be 77, i.e. the French King (cf. next page).