Elizabeth: January 1586, 21-25

Pages 310-322

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

January 1586, 21–25

Jan. 21/31. The King of Navarre to Leicester.
As the present bearer, the Sieurde “Wims” [Weemys], gentleman of my chamber, is returning to Scotland, and desires to kiss the Queen's hands, I have desired him to see you on my behalf, to give you news of myself and o what passes here, and to assure you of my friendship. I have found him an honourable and virtuous gentleman, sincere and faithful, and beg you to prove to him that my recommendation has some weight with you.— Montauban, the last of January, 1586.
In his own hand. “Croyes, mon cousin, quyl ny a prince au monde quy plus vous ayme et estime que vostre plus afectyone cousyn et tres assure amy, Henry.”
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [France XV. 18.]
[Printed in Letters Missives, viii, 305.]
Jan. 21/31. Summary “State” of the revenue accruing from the general means of the Low Countries for six months, from Oct. 1, 1585, to March 31 following, but stated to be extracted from the Rolls of the farms on the last day of January, 1586.
Three copies, one of them in Dutch, the other two in French, each 4 pp. Endd. [Holland VI. 34–36.]
Jan. 21. R. Huddilston to Burghley.
I hoped before this to have sent your lordship a perfect account under the Auditor's hand, if my deputy had not stayed so long in Zeeland, shut up there by the frost.
[Account of the Earl of Leicester's arrival and proceedings, the reason why Norreys had not paid the troops &c., as to Walsingham, p. 308 above.] As there are certain Dutch troops at the charge of the States at Ostend under the command of M. de Locres, governor of the town (“a man as then held somewhat suspected, and his companies half malcontents for want of good pay”), his Excellency to encourage them imprested 600l. to them, for which he was promised reimbursement by the States, but the promise not yet fulfilled.
Bergen-op-Zoom, his Excellency appointed to be cleared as Ostend, and the three English companies in the States' pay, he caused to be paid and imprested as the rest, having first received promise to be “rembursed,” but this not yet performed. Lillo to be cleared as Bergen, and the principal officers at Vlissing to be paid to the day aforesaid. All these imprests to be made after the English rate and by warrant from his Excellency.
I am now compelled to hasten my writing “by the poverty of my remain,” a brief note whereof I send you by this bearer and will further satisfy your lordship when the Auditor shall have perfected what he has begun. Meanwhile the bearer can satisfy you of anything you may require of him, since my coming over, and will deliver you a brief of all her Majesty's charges, from the first muster till the 12th of December.
I think Vlissing must be imprested and that soon, out of my small remain, for their last month “is already run up, and without money beforehand, they have there no means, being the worst accommodate of all our soldiers, amongst a people of a froward and perverse disposition. At the Brill they are far more tractable and willing to obey, and more hospitales than any part of Zeeland.” In my opinion, “there is not any nation more easy to be governed than this, so as they be protected in their several trades and not provoked by insupportable injuries. It is wonder to hear how reproachfully they will speak against such as we call the States, and how glad they are they might no longer have government.”
It is credibly reported from Utrecht that the night before, their general fast, “they rang the bells with mutual 'applausion' amongst themselves, that they rang their States out of government.” But I am somewhat tedious, considering the need to solicit you in matter of greater moment, praying you to consider that by the time a supply can arrive, “there will be no small sum due, and the proportion wanteth very little monthly of that is contained in her Majesty's rate given me at my coming away. And to be driven to the exchange again, I suppose your lordship cannot like of it, considering the loss lately sustained in the taking up of 3,500l” I only put you in mind hereof to discharge my duty, in foreseeing what may be least offensive to her Majesty or her profit. The Hague, 21 of our January, to her Majesty or her profit. The Hague, 21 of our January, 1585.
Add. Endd. 5 pp. [Holland VI. 37.]
Jan. 22./Feb. 1. “The Act of the States for ordaining of the Earl of Leicester to be Governor General."—Haga comitis, 1 February, 1586.
Copy in French. Endd. by Burghley. 4 pp. [Ibid. VI. 38.] [Printed in Dutch by Bor, bk. xxi, f. 5.]
Jan. 22./Feb. 1. “Commission for the Earl's authority to be Governor General of the Provinces of the war."—Haga comitis, 1 February , 1886.
Certified copy by Aerssens. Latin. Endd. by Burghley. 4½ pp. [Ibid. VI. 39.]
[Printed in Dutch by Bor, bk. xxi, f. 6.]
Another copy of the same, in small, fine writing.
Endd. Latin. 2½ pp. [Ibid. VI. 40.]
Part of the preamble of the same.
Endd. Latin. ½ p. [Ibid. VI. 41.]
Jan. 22./Feb. 1. Another paper, entitled “Actus in quo Ordines generales confederatarum Provinciarum convenerent transferre gubernationem general; eorundem Provinciarum Comiti Leycestriæ,” being an abstract of the preceding.—Hague. Calend. February, 1586. “Subscribed Aerssens.”
Latin. 1½ pp. [Holland VI. 42.]
Jan. 22. Martin Schenck to Leicester.
I have received copies of your Excellency's letters to the Count of Mœurs, desiring that I should keep good guard and avenge myself upon the enemy whenever I can.
Last Monday, Jan. 17 [O.S.], I defeated an Italian company of the enemy's horse, from the garrison of Straelen, near here (who thought to defeat a convoy of mine), taking about forty men and horses living and some dead; amongst whom I have prisoners the cornet and footmen that they had with them, come from their camp from the country of Yssel (Eessel); all beaten or fled.
On Thursday, the 20th, I defeated three hundred Spaniards, fine soldiers, who are all killed except one Spanish captain and sixteen soldiers who are prisoners. Amongst the dead were several captains and officers, all chosen men of the fine regiment of M. d' Aragon, who meant to make a fort in a little monastery between this town and the castle of Aerssen, to cut off my road to Gueldres and other places, and also desired to make a bridge of boats over the “Mosa.” Thus the enemy has sustained much damage, and his army in these parts might easily be beaten if I had more men. I have written this to the Count de Mœurs, for which your Excellency will be pleased as soon as possible to provide a remedy. Also that I may have pay for my soldiers, that I may keep them in good order and discipline, avoiding strife with the burghers, and all the inconvenience which might accrue in consequence of ill treatment. It is more than time this was done, for it is not possible for me any longer to keep the soldiers in good order, seeing that the promises the States made me, they never fulfil.
I pray you to give licence to the boats which are in Holland, laden by this town, to come hither, and to give them good convoy of horse and foot, as necessity requires, in order that the provisions may come into this town before the enemy approaches nearer. At their fort of Blirich there are four demicannon and I have no doubt they will have more brought thither. If the boats were here and the soldiers had their pay, I shall have no doubt of the town, though the enemy should bring a hundred cannon and a hundred thousand men, for the more enemies there are, the greater is the joy and the honour. As to myself, I will in all things diligently do my duty. I pray you to send the commissioners promised me to settle the differences between the Baron of Hohensaxen (Hoigsaxen) and those of this town, for I have no more help from the Baron than if we were not men bound by one oath; and if he would sometimes aid me with men, I might dare, with the men in quarter here to make a good fight against the enemy, and not risk losing fortresses and towns through this quarrel. Also I beg your Excellency to send the Count of Mœurs to his Excellency, to come to a conclusion upon all the points on which I have written to the said Count. It is more than time to do so, for the people here are so changeable that if they had to support the soldiers at their charges, there is great fear that disorder would ensue, for I am not yet master of the burghers.—Venloo, 22 January, 1586, stilo novo [sic. Probably copyist's error].
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holland VI. 43.]
Another copy of the same.
With many mistakes. Fr.pp. [Ibid. VI. 44.]
Jan. 23./Feb. 2. Treslong to Davison.
As you know that in things long wished for, the more difficult they are to obtain, the more the desire for them grows, I hope you will not find it strange that notwithstanding my long experience of your good offices to me (which my wife writes to me daily continue and increase, and for which I can never sufficiently thank you) I should still importune you by my letters. For my weariness is so great, and the piques and rubs which I receives from these Messieurs so intolerable, that it would be a great comfort simply to be delivered out of their hands, and afterwards to have my cause debated before judges neither partial nor passionate, not being able to understand the source of their mortal hatred against me unless it is that in the past wars, and at a time when this town was hostile to us, I was the first and chief who made war against them in good earnest, not only having burnt the pleasure-houses which some of the burghers had outside the town, but also destroyed the faubourgs, right up to the gates and one of the gates themselves, (fn. 1) which I believe still torments their mind and causes this spite; for it has come to my ears that at the time of my apprehension, some even of the magistrates boasted of it, saying that now they would have their revenge on me. Whereby I ask you and all men of good judgment to consider with what judges I have to do; begging you most earnestly to lend me the same helping hand towards his Excellency as from the beginning you have so liberally employed for the advancement of my affairs; and I shall not be wanting, on my part, to show you every sign of gratitude.— Middelburg, 2 February, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. VI. 45.]
Jan. 24. Staffird to Walsingham.
“On Tuesday last Madame de Nemours with her two sons arrived in this town, very well accompanied. She was met out of the town by most of all the Court, and conducted by them to the Queen Mother's house; only Monsieur d'Espernon met her in St. Anthony's Street, and after he had saluted her in few words, he went another way.
“Monsieur de Nemours at his first coming had but cold entertainment at his mistress the Princess's hands, yet doth he not leave to court her daily and hourly; the marriage they say shall be deferred till after Easter, but some of the wisest think it will not be made in haste, if it be done at all.
“Here is an advertisement that Monsieur 'de Maine' hath taken Montignac, a small castle and village upon the passage of the river of Dordonne, but of no great importance.
“There hath been great expectation of the Duke of Guise's coming hither, and now there is a fresh assurance come that he will be here within these five days; but there be many of the contrary opinion, which they ground upon the jealous conceits which are on either side between the King and him.
“The breach between Espernon and Joyeuse is so well appeased or dissembled, as in outward show there seems to be as great friendship between them as there was before his going to Metz.
“There is a practice here to make Monsieur d' Espernon have the Government of Boulogne, Monstreuil, Ardes and Abbeville, which in my opinion will be brought to effect. The friendly interview and good looks that were between the Duke of Guise and Monsieur d'Espernon at Chalons, when he went to Metz, hath not so won d'Espernon's love as the hate he bare him and his house is any thing diminished, but rather seems since his coming home to be increased.
“The preparation of the great fleet in Spain continues still here, and is believed of many, yet can I learn no other certainty of it than common bruits, and they which have travelled Spain and know the state of the country best, do wonder how the King of Spain can set forth so many ships, or man half of them.”
We hear from Italy that 6,000 Spaniards have landed there, to be sent in the spring into the Low Countries. The Duke of Savoy's intent (by his levies) is not yet known. Some doubt it is for Geneva, but I am told “they themselves are not greatly afraid.”
My friend (who was friend to the ambassador in Spain and heard from him often) having left this town by reason of the troubles, I cannot have so good or certain news from thence as I was wont, but I will be careful to send you the best.
I send you a couple of little letters from a personage of good judgment at Sedan. I fear, if ambassadors be sent, as he writes, “that they will be corrupted here and made to disguise things at their returns to their masters”; I am sure it will be attempted, and I know “the covetousness of those they send commonly, which be doctors, which maketh me somewhat to doubt them.” I tell you, that if you think her Majesty should concur with them, you may send what directions you think good.—Paris, 24 January, 1585.
Partly in his own hand. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XV. 19.]
(1) D.C. to [Stafford].
Since my last, we have received letters from Messrs. de Clervant and Beutrik, who write of a great succour for which, to justify it, not to retard it, the Protestant princes and the Swiss are sending ambassadors to the King. M. Segur had not yet returned from Saxony [nor] M. de Guitry from England. Chombert has not yet passed into Germany, fearing to be caught there, where he has lost all his credit, which he will not recover easily. The [Duke] of Lorraine had given repeated orders to those of the Religion to depart in fifteen days from his [territories] and to dispose of their good in two months. [The Duke] d'Espernon, being assured of Metz, has returned by way of Nancy to the Court. The King has for the second time commanded M. de Bouillon to chase from his territories all those who may bear arms, or to seize their arms and horses and be answerable for them, not only while they remain in his country, but also when they are out of it, that they shall not join themselves to those of the new opinions, and bears arms against his authority.
My lord is sending a gentleman to her Majesty, to announce his return. Meanwhile, the neighbouring garrisons stop the victuals and it seems they demand nothing but war.—[Sedan, 23?] January, 1586.
Damaged by damp. No address or endorsement. Fr. ½ p.
[France XV. 19a.]
(2) The Same to the Same.
Since you do us the honour to inform us of the state of our business, we send the bearer to be enlightened as to what you have learnt since your last, which we at once imparted to our friends. Two days ago I informed you of what they had written to me ; which was, in sum, that their affairs were going on well ; that the princes and the Swiss Protestants are sending ambassadors into France, not to delay their succour [but] to justify it ; and that Gaspar Chombert did not dare to pass into [Germany], having lost all his credit there from being [thought] one of the chiefs of he Leagues. The King still urges the lord of this place to put out all who may bear arms, or to seize their arms and horses ; and to be answerable for them that they will not join those of the new opinions, not only while they are here, but when they are turned out. The merchant of whom I wrote to you [i.e. Epernon] has been to [the court?] to show his passport, which is for 4,000 muids (muys) and is gone to Nancy, to begin to make his purchases. We have here one of the people of the Princess of Orange, who tells us of the reception of the Earl of Leicester as vice-roy in the Low Countries, and of the defeat of four or five thousand Spaniards, returning from the re-victualling of Nimegen. We pray God more and more to be pleased to support the affairs of her Majesty and your own.— [Sedan], 25 January, 1586 [n.s.].
Damaged by damp. No signature, address or endorsement. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. XV. 19b.]
Jan. 24. Stafford to Walsingham.
“Claud Hamelton went yesterday out of this town towards Scotland, embarked in a Scottish ship at Dieppe ; he came to me the night afore he went, excusing for fear of the offending the King his Master, assured that next to his service there was nobody's service he was so much at as her Majesty's, that he would never be ungrateful, desired to have her Majesty assured of it, and that if he durst, he would have gone home that way, expressly to have showed her Majesty his gratefulness.
“He hath been with the King once besides the day he took his leave with the Bishop of Glasgow, requesting of the King certain arrearages that was owing his father for his pensions to help to carry him home ; the King gave him many fair words; he commanded to have somewhat given him, what it is I cannot yet learn ; but as I take it is no great matter. The great commender of him was Mauvissiere, accompanying him continually to Joyeuse, and often telling the King what he was able to do in Scotland, and how affected he had been ever to the Queen of Scots. I do [not ?] hear, and yet I have laid wait for it, that the King, besides hearkening to that 'the' said, made any reply of importance.
“He was with the Queen Mother, the Bishop of Glasgow and he half an hour alone and very few women by. I will do what I can to know . . . what speeches they had, but I fear I shall not, for non [of] my good friends were there.
“It is very certain that the King of Scots with his own hand writ a letter to him for his return, and that here there is conceit . . . that he is a man that can trouble and will trouble if he findeth the King's humour to it. Very certain it is that he hath been twice or thrice this week with the Spanish ambassador, and the Bishop of Glasgow with him ; that he made a journey under a colour of visiting Madam Seton at Rheims, to see the Duke of Guise, who had with him very private conference and used him with great kindness. I can assure you he and the Lord of Westmorland were very great here, and that [he] used to him many persuasions to go into Scotland-as the place he might deserve best in of them that should give him entertainment, and make him be feared at home ; but the man could not be persuaded to it, what for fear of the untruth of Scottish men, of their daily changes, and also partly extreme necessity, which he looketh every day relief for out of Spain. . . .
“The Queen Mother is in a marvellous great alarm of an advertisement hath been sent her that Ste. Aldegonde hath been secretly in England, sent by the Prince of Parma to treat some very secret matter with the Queen. She desired a very great friend of mine to sound me privately in it. . . . I did to him protest, as in deed it is true, that I never heard of any such thing ; to whom she said she was sure of it and that she feared some private practice between the Queen and him for to part those countries. I made a man to one that is a great carrier of news to Queen Mother let it fall as a great secret that Aldegonde had been in England, which presently he did carry to Queen Mother, and I know she is greatly troubled withal. These be practices that they use, and serve their turns withal, all that may be. I thought good to pay them with the like ; . . . if you think that that manner of proceeding may do any good, if you send me direction, I will follow it in the best manner I can.
“There is no doubt but between Queen Mother and the King there is no good intelligence, and that maketh her for very melancholy keep her bed under the colour of the gout. She was within these three days very melancholy with an advertisement that was given her very secretly that the King had gotten one Madame d' Estres' daughters with child and meant to repudiate his wife and marry her presently, but I do not think he dareth do it. There is one yesternight come from the King of Navarre. I will by the next send you what he hath brought, for yet I have not spoken with him.
“For the council that was held as you were advertised at the provost of Paris' house, truly I think it is a thing that never was, but I will enquire after it. The Prince of Conde's brother came but yesternight to town ; he hath been out this fortnight, and as he sent me word since he came, that he is in a great agony for not hearing from Montpensier, from whom he expected by promise to hear by one that was purposely sent to him and should have returned hither since the 20th of January, French account, so that I think some few days may pass afore the full seeing into that Stalling came for.
It is since yesterday given out that Montpensier hath taken arms, and the King hath sent Shemereaux (fn. 2) to him upon that advertisement, but it is not true as I think. If it be, he hath played a foolish part to begin in before the rest were ready.
Upon the fourth of this month Pinard's son in law [d'Esneval] embarked at Calais, and they hope is in Scotland long “agone.” I can yet know no more particularities of his instructions than I wrote to you in my last. -Paris, 24 January, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [France XV. 20.]
Jan. 24./Feb. 3. Richard Tomson to Walsingham.
Presently after my arrival at Calais I went to Dunkirk, to solicit the liberty of Stephen Le Sieur and others of our nation for Sibuar, and returned yesterday. I send herein his letters to his master, Sir Philip Sydney, and your honour.
I told you from Dover of ten sail of Dunkirkers which, as I was informed, were out at sea, but I learned at Dunkirk that they have only six abroad, “very small and simple boats,” whereof two came in on Saturday last, bringing two boats of Ostend and “a Fleming that dwelleth in Sandwich” ; they had little or nothing in them but empty barrels, brought to fill with beer. One Of the Ostenders was a man of war, but had no ordnance and yielded without resistance.
Three of four boats of Holland have come with cheese into Newport, whereby the enemy is much relieved. They go to sea a fishing and the cheese is brought to them in hoys that have their passes for England, and after discharging the greater part at sea, go with the rest for England.
There is an inhibition here against carrying corn into Flanders, yet it is certain that it is done daily, and by the consent of the best of France, as the Spaniards themselves have informed me. Last Saturday I found the market of Dunkirk so furnished with French wheat that above 50 quarters remained unsold, “and not worth above 44s. sterling our quarter.”
But nothwithstanding this cheapness and plenty by way of France, the store of the town is nothing amended, and what necessity the same would be brought into by a siege, men may easily judge, “for neither the garrison nor the inhabitants have money to make provision aforehand, but serve themselves from hand to mouth, and never more exclamation among the soldiers for payment than at this instant,” for the pay expected three months past is not yet come.
At Graveline there is the like complaint, and divers of the burgers of Dixmude and Berghes are brought prisoners to La Motte, the governor, until they have paid their arrears “for the farms of the King's imposts in those towns,” which are appointed for paying the soldiers of Graveline, but for want of trade the farmers are so impoverished that they have nothing to pay.
There is great alteration of late in the minds of the people of the Low Countries and of the Spaniards themselves, for having been vary conversant with the chiefest, “I find their haughty minds much abated, and to use all humble and reverent speeches of her Majesty, . . . much commending the rare government of her realm and affairs, and openly complaining of their Master's simplicity (for so they term it) to be thus counselled by doctors and clergymen ; . . . cursing and reviling the authors of these troubles, which (themselves say) will hazard the loss of the King's right in these countries.”
If things proceed roundly with my lord of Leicester, “I trust there will be a victory obtained without many blows,” the intent of the Prince of Parma apparently being to make strong his garrisons, and to make a defensive rather than an offensive war.
The merchants of Antwerp and Lisle have lately had two great losses ; one, for “such bills of exchange as the Prince of Parma gave three months past to them, for 300,000 ducats in the King of Spain['s name ?] are returned by protest and will not be paid to the undoing of very many, especially Italians, Spaniards and Portingals.” This was for cloth, money and other things taken to pay the Walloons in mutiny at Calloo and Antwerp. The other loss happened between Cologne and Antwerp, “where four score wagons are taken by the 'Grave van Meure and Skinke,' as the report goeth, laden for the most part with velvets and silks, and, as their own letters report, 20,000l. Flemish in coin, upon which news many men are broken at Lille.”
It may please you to certify my lord Admiral that two flyboats of Dunkirk, richly laden for Spain, will be ready in three or four days to depart with the first easterly wind. If some of her Majesty's ships lie about Blackness, by Boulogne, they may be easily surprised, “for they are but slenderly appointed, notwithstanding their riches.”
The bearer, Mr. Ralph Shelton is, with three other gentlemen, released from prison at Dunkirk for their ransoms. For Stephen le Sieur I can obtain no liberty at all until answer comes from the Prince, to whom the Spaniards have sent Sibuar's letters, when I will deal as effectually as I may for him and the rest of our nation.
M. “Gurdeine” returned last night from Paris, “and this day was seen in his habit of the order of the Holy Ghost."—Calais, 3 February, 1586, “style of France.”
Signature torn off, but name given in endorsement. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XV. 21.]
Jan. 24. Notes by Walsingham, endorsed by him, “An estimate of three months' pay from the 24 January, 1585” [and in another hand] “until the 12 of April, 1586.”
Money remaining, 24 January.
The foot of the Treasurer's account 8,339
Disbursed for the States 1,491
Defalked for armour 1,200
The profit of gold 0,700
[Sum of which the source is not given] 24,000
Total 35,730
The 24 February 9,680
The 24 March 9,680
The 24 April 9,680
Total 29,040
[The amounts for the later months are of course only estimated.]
Endd. 1 p. [Holland VI. 46.]
Jan. 25. The oath of the Earl of Leicester to the States.
Certified copy by Aerssens. latin. 1 p. [Ibid. VI. 47.]
[Printed in Dutch by Bor, bk. xxi. f. 8 (c). By a curious mistake, in the allusion to the treaty of Aug. 10, 1585, the year date is printed in Bor as 1568.]
Jan. 25. Ortell to Walsingham.
I doubt not that you remember the States' letter to her Majesty in favour of Seigneur Antoine Carlier, the bearer. But as it has had no result and I feel great compassion for him, I cannot refuse his earnest request that I would write to you again, for without your intercession to her Majesty, the good man, burdened with eleven little children, will be lost by the vexatious pursuit of his adversary, who listen to no reason nor submit the dispute to indifferent persons.
You know well that in the ancient Intercourse is a right that all the testaments of strangers should be held here as of the same power as if made beyond the sea, as, reciprocally, are those of the English nation ; so that in Carlier's affair, he seems to have no other remedy, unless her Majesty will expressly order, either that the said testament shall remain in its entirety, without being inquired into here, or that the Lords of the Council shall give a final decision in the matter before the parties and their counsel learned.
I pray you to favour Carlier's cause, as I know him to be an honest man, and it requires to be hastened.—London, 25 January, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1p. [Holland VI. 48.]
Jan. 25. Sir Thomas Sherley to Burghley.
“This day, the States have delivered unto his lordship their commission under their common seal, which they did very solemnly . . . . For the manner, thus it was. They first placed his Excellency in a chair under a cloth of estate. Then the President of the Council of State made an oration, declaring how much they were bound unto her Majesty for her relief and favour in this time of their affliction. That done, the commission was publicly read. Then they took an oath unto his Excellency and he to them. . . .
“Concerning the wars there is yet little done since our coming, nor is not like to be until there be a supply of men from England, and the winter somewhat more passed. The enemy lieth still before Grave, but there is no doubt had of that place ; it is both strong an well prepared.”
There is a report that a company of Count William of Nassau is defeated in Friesland, but they that bring it also say “that one Skynke hath given a greater overthrow unto the enemy. . . . We have long expected the coming of your noble son, who is now safely arrived at Brill.—The Hague, 25 January, 1585.
Holograph. Seal of arms. Add. Endd. 11/2pp. [Ibid. VI. 49.]
Jan. 25. Sir Thomas Sherley to Walsingham.
Concerning the ceremony of giving his commission to the Earl of Leicester [as to Burghley, above].
“They have given him absolute authority to govern, which surely was their wisest, for their many headed government could neither have brought forth any speedy or perfect determination, nor have put it into practice with any sound resolution.”
Concerning the war [as to Burghley].—The Hague, 25 January, 1585.
Postscript.—Fears the news of the defeat of a company of Count William in Friesland is true; but they likewise hear that Skynke has given as great an overthrow to the enemy.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2pp. [Holland VI. 50.]
Jan. 25. [Thomas Wilsford to Leicester.]
“I thought meet to advertise your Excellency what a working the last execution upon those victuallers (the which I took off Newport) hath taken.” First, no man of Holland or Zeeland (that I can learn) has since relieved the enemy with victual or munition, and “whereas heretofore they built sconces and forts to keep the cutting off of their victuals that came from Newport, this hath dried up the fountain from whence all those victuals came, so as now . . . the forts are fain to be relieved from Bruges, and as fast as they bring it in, the press of the soldiers is so great about it as it is taken from the victuallers, whereby they can yield no reckoning for it. The soldiers themselves rob the convoys, and fly hither and render themselves ; their tales . . . concur with my secret intelligence.
“The late governor here gave a protection from spoiling certain places here, from whence the enemy's chiefest relief groweth. If I might know your pleasure, I could spoil the same.
“My 'platts' lately laid and executed will be much impugned, I know, by the mean States, for it cutteth off their huge gains they got by victualling the enemies. if there be one honest man, there is twenty nought. A quire of paper will not open the shameful actions and reasons that I do daily discover. Let her Majesty look well to Flushing. I have given of late good warning to the vice-governor there, who is a good tall soldier I judge but etc. [sic. The enemy hath always gotten more by policy, practice and treason than ever he hath done by force of arms. In this country the execution of justice doth amaze and terrify the ill, be their numbers never so great, and is a comfort unto the honest and good. Sithence I came into this government, I never had mutiny nor alarum. They do wonder by what means it comes. Notwithstanding, the want of pay is great. I most humbly crave [you] to relieve it in time. . . .
“The governor of Dunkirk hath with a pestilent traitor of this town, one Joise Lews, laid a pack of treasons for and about this town. I cannot bolt it out more than by his son ; notwithstanding I have twice put him upon the torture, more than his son confesseth to his face I could not get out of him. He brought three traitorous letters sewed in his clothes to this town and into Zeeland, which he utterly denied upon the rack, as also divers conferences had with the governor of Dunkirk and other notable traitors there, fled from hence, from hence, with money received from the governor there, and promise that he should be made a great person etc., with divers other things, the least whereof he could not once confess, neither upon fair promises made to him nor tortures, until his son confessed all before his face . . . whom I caused to be blindfolded, whereby he could not see his father, and his father's mouth to be stopped for the time.” The man is one of the best pilots in all this country. I have deferred his death till your Excellency's pleasure be known, and have also reprieved the master of the ship “of those I took off Newport” on his promise to “appeal” divers great ones in Holland for victualling the enemy.
“Thus your Excellency may perceive into what a dangerous sea the ship wherein is freighted the good success of all this journey is fallen". In my opinion, punishing the ill, and cherishing the good, “will be a remedy to cure this sore.”
I have lately cut off a great convoy from St. Omer of all sorts of victuals, which has done us much good, and the enemy ten times more harm. By the vessels taken, I am able to send out two or three hundred men, whereas before my coming, all the boats were lost, and I could not send out above thirty.
“If I had but 2,000 men to put into the field, Bruges, the forts and all this country were ours.” The enemy understands my plot for drawing away the Walloons, and keeps his gates towards Ostend shut, yet lately two hundred “at one clap” came from him. If we could go into the field, I am assured most of them would come away. But I must remind your Excellency into what dangerous state want of pay, especially of the Dutch, may make us fall. “I have drawn them on so long upon hope, as hardly we shall win any longer time ; had not 'bottyes and botehaling' fed them, it had grown hard 'or' this. There can be no discipline not justice executed upon the offenders where that is wanting.”
I have already written of our need of a couple of men of war to be laid here. We have of late been so besieged by the Dunkirkers that none could come to or go form us, and there is no trusting to the Flushingers.
I would gladly hear your pleasure in these matters. I have written many letters to the Lords in England and to your Excellency, but to this day have heard nothing, and know not whether I do well or ill. I have been so long under my Lord Chief Baron's yoke “that my heart and spirits are yet scant come to me."—Ostend, 25 January.
Copy. 21/2 pp. [Holland VI. 51.]
[Enclosed in his letter to Walsingham of January 26, below.]


  • 1. The allusion is to his exploites as a Beggar of the Sea, in 1572.
  • 2. Mery de Barbeizeres, Seigneur de Chemerault.