Elizabeth: February 1586, 6-10

Pages 357-367

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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February 1586, 6–10

Feb. 6. Leicester to Burghley.
The bearer, M. Civile, servant to the Duke of Bouillon, now returning into England, I thought good to let you understand his negotiation. The States thankfully accepted the offer of the Duke's good will, but did not take the matter to be of such importance as it was esteemed with you. Nor could they deal with it at this time, their expenses being very great, “as well in defrayment of my allowance as in payment of their old debts (which I would not but they should undertake to do before I would take anything upon me with them) and in some other things; . . . so that a little is now more to them than more will be hereafter.” Yet he goes away well-satisfied, as I doubt not you will perceive by him.—The Hague, 6 February, 1585.
Postscript in his own hand.—“I have written to my lord Admiral touching her Majesty's ships that lie to keep the seas, to let him know to how little purpose they serve, being of the burden they are, for they never go toward this coast except so far as they may be within sight, and I cannot blame them, for this coast is not for them, and then to what purpose is the charge of them.” Ten times better service would be done and a great deal of charge saved if there were but three small barks of forty tons, drawing six or seven foot of water. “It will be objected that these do nothing here, but it is not so, for they only have relieved their own ships and ours assaulted by the enemy, and two of the best ships cast away upon Goodwyn, and all their men but four.”
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [Holland VI. 103.]
Feb. 6/16. William Bodenham to Walsingham, at the Court.
The force of friendship, which according as we see in old times (?) led one friend to offer to die for another, makes me venture to write this to your honour, humbly praying you, in general and particular, to pardon Pedro de Çubiaur his offences. I hope with time and my services to counterbalance it so that you may consider well employed the grace which you show him, and which I pray you may be as splendid as befits the giver and not according to the merits of the receiver. And that the poor man may have his papers, clothes and furniture, since all these amount to very little, although to him they import much for his accounts with his creditors. I refer it to the bearer to tell your honour what I am doing here for the service of the nation.—[London,] 16 February, 1586.
Add. Endd. Spanish. 1 p. [Spain II. 55.]
[Injured by damp.]
Feb. 7. Leicester to Burghley.
I understand by my officers that your lordship has sent letters to the steward or bailiff of Monks Kirby, signifying your pleasure that I should have the over-seeing thereof. I heartily thank you, but my request was that I might have the farming of it, as it lies very conveniently, being so near “Kenelmewerth.”
Your answer to my officers, being before you in the Court of Wards, was “that you could make none estate thereof unto me, because it was not clear.” My only desire is to have it in such sort as you may grant it, during your pleasure, which if I live and return to England, may be some pleasure to me; if otherwise, “then it remaineth in your lordship again.”—The Hague, 7 February, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley. ½ p. [Holland VI. 104.]
Feb. 7. Leicester to Burghley.
As I cannot myself set down a rate of the victuals to be sent from England, having none of the victuallers here, I pray you to receive a rate thereof at my servant Richard Browne's hands, “whom I have appointed to deal in making provision for us all there. For although the prices of victuals here are indifferent reasonable,” it will be well to have some out of England, both to keep down the prices here and to prevent scarcity if any passage should be stopped by the enemy. And as we may haply sometimes be long without victuals before we' can send for and receive them, by reason of distance and uncertain winds, I entreat you to move her Majesty for a new warrant, that you may do it of yourself, without my hand.—The Hague, 7 February, 1585.
Postscript in his own hand.—It is greatly grieved at here that there is such a general traffic of our merchants to Calais, whereby they fear the enemy will be more victualled than ever. I did scarce believe it, as I had heard your lordships had taken severe order against all traffic this side Rouen (Rone) which is a good order and the same that is taken here. I have caused the master of your son's hoy that is taken here. I have caused the master of your son's hoy that lost his horses to be apprehended, for there is great presumption against him. I look for your son here again within two days and intend shortly to go to Amsterdam and Utrecht. “The Prince of Parma giveth it out still he may have peace when he will with her Majesty, and that Sir John Smith was warned to come over about it. Truly it will do marvellous great harm here, and to her peace too.”
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [Holland VI. 105.]
Feb. 7. Leicester to Davison.
“I have received some letters from Mr. Secretary, but of no great moment, saving he writes earnestly for the account and saith that we are like to have no money till that be come and examined.” [Part of the next two lines is illegible from damp.]
“Besides, one doth write to me that her Majesty thought much that I took the name of Excellency upon me. I marvel at it, for when she made me an Earl I had that style due to me, and though a poor one, yet by that degree among the rank of princes. Of like, if I had taken the name you know they were once in hand to have given, of like she would have taken some cause to have misliked, which if cause be offered, I pray you let it be known what they would have called [me] if I had not refused it, and your self was the dealer with them not to offer it me; for I told you also my mind. I marvel what her Majesty would have had me called, if I had only been her general and lieutenant here. This is some poor envy, which God grant to keep me from their pity (pyttye) and you, good cousin, safely into England and hither again.”—7 February.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. VI. 106.]
Feb. 7. Dr. Lobetius to Walsingham.
I am doubtful whether to write to you by this bearer, because I believe he will be long on the way; but as he has prayed me to do so, and it was he who brought me your last letter of Oct. 20, I send these few lines. I will not write to you of the affairs of France, for having only a narrow sea between you, you may often get news from thence, as also I doubt not but that you hear of all that passes in the Palatinate and other parts of Germany by your ambassadors or agents there.
The commissioners of the Emperor at Worms made propositions on the 24 of last month for contributions of money to appease the troubles of Cologne. The ambassadors of the secular Electors made other propositions, aiming at the maintenance of the liberty of the reformed religion. It is said they have very good correspondence with each other, so that if they remain firm, as is hoped, the Catholics will not be able to hinder them.
M. de Segur is at Frankfort; de Clervant in Switzerland; de la Noue at Basle, but he is going to reside at Geneva as soon as his wife and his second son come to him. Geneva is extremely threatened with a siege, but she will have friends and helpers. The four cantons of evangelical Switzerland are now assembled for the affairs of the said town, and the ambassadors of these cantons, who were gone towards Freibourg, Soleurne, Glaris, Appenzel &c. to make to same remonstrances and propositions as they had done to the five little cantons, are returned, reporting that they have been well received everywhere, and that Freibourg, Soleurne and Appenzel have said that they will make reply at the first general assembly which shall be held at Baden, but those of Glaris have replied at once and openly that they would remain in the union. It is feared that the five little cantons may follow the Spanish party, to which they are being greatly solicited.—Strasbourg, 7 February, 1586.
Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Germany, States IV. 5.]
Feb. 7. Andrea de Loo to Burghley.
Having had a reply from Signor Carlo Lanfranchi to what I wrote to him, of which I send you a copy, and leaving the construction thereof to your prudence, I will only say that for my part I can gather no other meaning from it but that to the friend it would appear well that a confidential person should be sent to Antwerp to treat with M. de Champagny by word of mouth, and I think it would be very well to do so; and that it were so neutral a person that he would have no other end than to seek (by God's aid) to bring the princes to an agreement, noting that he says at the end of the letter that he and others eagerly expect a reply. Humbly begging your lordship not to be offended if in any thing I have erred by ignorance and to send for me whenever you may be pleased to command me, thanking you infinitely for your great favour in freeing me from the “travaglio” of the Marquis.—London, 7 February, 1585 [o.s.].
Postscript.—I think Signor Carlo will have need of your lordship's prudence and good counsel to know how to start this business and what he shall discourse with M. de Champagny. I believe that he might assist greatly, and that without any doubt, by the conference which by his favour many times he had with me when he was here, her Majesty will find him very much inclined to do good offices, if he has the means given him, and aided from this side, as he would desire, by your favour, because I know that he will spare neither fatigue or toil to work to the end that the Low Countries may be restored to their privileges, and to reunite them, as in the past, with this kingdom. All of which will be easy to him by your lordship's aid, from the good inclination which I assure myself you have to the public peace.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 p. [Flanders I. 56.]
Feb. 7. Stephen le Sieur to Walsingham.
Yesterday came the long expected answer from his Alteze for our deliverance in exchange of Pedro Cibiur. Mr. [Tomson] will with it to-morrow take his journey for England and will tell you “mouthly” of the conditions and other particularties, which will excuse my silence upon the same, though I cannot but acknowledge my obligation to you, not only for this favour but for infinite others.
My poor estate being known to you I need not now declare my necessities, nor, being assured of your favour, use eloquence to induce you to assist me with such means that I may furnish myself with necessaries and transport myself to where you shall direct me.
Dr. Josephus [Michaeli (fn. 1) ] departed last Friday with the sergeant-major for Bruxelles, leaving his books &c. for me to take into Zeeland, whither he means to come, “though he should be constrained to the contrary by the Prince of Parma. . . . I judge that his going to Bruxelles will redound to much good, and that at his return into Holland, my lord of Leicester shall be certified of much which is requisite to his honour to know.”—Dunkirk prison, 7 January, 1585, stylo Anglicano.
Mr. Tomson has given his credit for cloth to make me a cloak, cassock and pair of hose, “otherwise I were in bad case.”
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 57.]
Feb. 8. Sir Thomas Cecil to Burghley.
In behalf of the bearer, Mr. Purvey, who is going over “to provide him of horses against the spring.” Prays his father to let the gentleman know that he has written, and to give him thanks for his good will in coming over (with Cecil), and more if he means to return furnished with horses.—The Brill, 8 February, 1585.
Postscript.—“Here is one Prymm, that came over with the King of Portugal's son, that required me to write in his behalf to your lordship, that whereas he understandeth her Majesty taketh in evil part his coming over with him, it would please your lordship to excuse him therein.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. ½ p. [Holland VI. 107.]
Feb. 9. Stafford to Walsingham.
“I received but yesterday your letters that were sent by Don Antonio's secretary. For that which you write to me of the means you think that may be had to get intelligence out of Spain, truly I have essayed three of them, whereof the Venice Ambassador, with whom I have done what I can to get and entertain great familiarity, serveth my turn willingly, but truly I do not take the things that come from him to be of that importance as I could wish and were necessary for such a dangerous time as this. With the Savoy Ambassador I have done what I can with all kinds of courtesies to get into him, but first of his own nature he is a retired man and not 'companiable,' besides of his own disposition he is altogether Spanish, and wholly addicted that way, besides that he knoweth his Master's will to be such, who, (although he thinketh he hath more), indeed is in wit and discretion far behind his father, who wisely, though in affection somewhat more affected to Spain, yet kept himself almost in an even balance between France and Spain,” but this man is altogether for his father in law. But I will do what I can by my seeking upon him “and by my wife's well usage of his wife, who hath found herself beholding unto her,” there having been greater kindness and more resort one to another than before she came to town.
There is one thing of which he has spoken within these two days to me very earnestly, about a request to her Majesty for Alfonso, which, if I have a good answer from you, “may breed an entry of further kindness. I was very sorry that this man came here now in the other's place, who was one of the best bishops that ever I met withal, altogether addicted 'frence' [qy. French] and my very good friend. For the other, by the way of the Genevois merchants, truly it is not unessayed, and I have had of them and I have paid well for them,” but have not thought them worth sending.
For the man from whom you think to have advertisements from the ambassador there, if you knew him and his nature, you would be out of [hope?] of him. Anything that comes from him must be of his own motion, and no good will come unless fear of his own particular harm moves him to it; yet I will seek means to have him sounded in it.
Another means I have found, the best I can devise in my opinion, which is to learn what our English men here receive from Sir Francis Ingelfilde and others in Spain. From them what I writ in my last is confirmed; that all this preparation by sea is to follow or meet with Sir Francis Drake.
Five thousand Spaniards have landed at Genoa and preparations are making for their passage through the Duke of Savoy's country, which, with that Duke's other preparations, Geneva fears greatly; and truly there is likelihood that there will be some attempt against it, and by the help of M. de la Noue, they have provided greatly for it; but it is given out that it is altogether for Flanders, to increase the Prince of Parma's forces.
“Here was the strangest reception of the Duke of Guise that ever I saw . . . No one only gentleman went to meet him. . . .
He saw the King upon Sunday morning, who when he was coming in, spake all the worst he could of him to them that were about him, but when he came in to him, embraced him and welcomed him marvellously, but tarried not a quarter of an hour with him, but went his ways, and never saw him since but in the masque, where he said never a word to him. The Queen Mother welcomed him marvellously and used him with very great kindness, and he her with more honour than ever he did in his life.
“At his going out of the Court, there is not one man that followeth him but them that came with him; not so much as some of them that are of the League . . . nor nobody goeth to visit him at his house, where he lieth and not at the Louvre (Lover). All his people be marvellously out of countenance, and Madam Montpensier, the virago of the League, crieth out extremely of this usage of him; and in truth, when he was within two leagues of this town, he was about to have gone back again.” If we might believe outward shows, men might hope well, but they have so often deceived us that I can hope nothing that is good.
There was a great stir here by the partisans of the League at “M. de Meine's” taking of the paltry little castle of Montignack, “till Marshal Biron, who is nothing Leagueish, struck them all dead; telling the King that it was a great wonder indeed, and a great hope to be conceived of it, when with the expense of 360,000 crowns, four months' time, and the ruin of all the countries that they have been in, Montignack was taken by force, which M. Bellievre, with good usage and the giving of 2,000 crowns had three years past gotten out of their hands and put into the King's. That if all things else cost at that rate, they might all shut up the doors, and go seek a new country to live in.”
Shomberg sends word that the ambassadors from the German princes are on their way hither. Marshal Retz is still stayed. I will do what I can to enquire of the cause of his going.—Paris, 9 February, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XV. 27.]
Feb. 10. Stafford to Burghley.
I leave to Mr. Secretary's letters to report what has passed since Stalling's departure; but I desire your lordship to consider what effect the engaging such men may have, whether in peace or war; “for if war continue, the enemy is weakened greatly and our friends strengthened; if peace be, the example of others will teach them to have by covenant (?) such towns as they take in their hands; which how perpetual a strength it will be to the cause, your lordship may judge.” Also, those engaged in this action can never start from it, for you may assure yourself the French King cannot continue long. The greatest policy is to strengthen our friends, “and yet, as they have used the matter, all will be little enough. . . . I think seven or eight thousand pounds will serve their turns, it may be six. I have so good an opinion of the fruit of it, that if I were worth so much, to engage myself to her Majesty to pay it myself,” for I dare suppose so great commodity would come to the general cause, that I would venture it to have so much honour as to have it executed in my time.
I know your lordship never cared for the glory of having thanks for what has come from her Majesty, but I dare assure you that for what is done in this, all that feel the good of it will think themselves, next to her Majesty, beholden to you and nobody else, if only the good of having Perone come of it.
“Good my lord, put your helping hand to this . . . that there may answer come with expedition of her Majesty's will.”—Paris, 10 February, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1½ pp. [France XV. 28.]
Feb. 10. Leicester to Davison.
“I am heartily sorry with all my heart to hear of your long stay at Brill; the wind serving so fair as it hath done these two days, I would have laid any wager that you had been in England 'or' this. I pray you make haste, lest our cause take too great a prejudice there, 'or' you come. Though I cannot fear it, because it is so good and honest.
“I do find divers very honest, careful and loving councillors here, among which Walk and Medykerke I am most beholding unto, for their respect and care of me.”
Pray remember the postscript of my letter by young Carey (Care). “God send you good speed on your errand, and me quick mews of it. I end in haste in my old corner.”—10 February.
Postscript.—“I pray you imagine in what case I dwell till I shall hear from you, albeit some way very resolute.”
There was a great treason practised in Grave, with some French and Walloons. It was happily discovered, eight executed and many in prison; we here not knowing of it till this day.
“Two days past, the Count Hollock apprehended a clerk of his band upon a paper that fell from him, which did show to come from the part of the enemy, but so darkly written as we could not tell what to say. And now it falleth out he was one of the chief of them.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland VI. 108.]
[Quoted by Motley, i. 393.]
[Feb. 10.] Instructions to Sir Thomas Heneage.
Preamble to instructions:—
“Whereas of late we have been given to understand that the Earl of Leicester hath in a very contemptuous sort, contrary to our express commandment given unto him from ourself, accepted of an offer of a more absolute government made by the States unto him than was agreed on between us and their commissioners sent unto us not long since into this realm, which kind of contemptible manner of proceeding being done contrary to our commandment, giveth the world just cause to think that there is not that reverent respect carried towards us by our subjects as in duty appertaineth: especially seeing so notorious a contempt committed against us by one whom we have raised up and yielded in the eye of the world, even from the beginning of our reign, as great a portion of our favour as ever subject enjoyed at any prince's hands:—we, therefore, considering that no one thing could more touch our reputation than to endure so open and public a contempt at a subject's hand without reparation of our honour, (fn. 2) have found it necessary to send you unto him, as well to charge him with the said contempt, as also to execute such other things as we think meet to be done, as well for the justifying of ourselves to the world as the repairing of the indignity cast upon us by his undutiful manner of proceeding towards us; having in that behalf made an especial choice of you, being one whom we have always used as inwardly and confidently as any other subject we have, assuring ourselves that you will so carry yourself in this charge as shall be answerable to that trust we repose in you.
And for that we find ourselves also not well dealt withal by the States, in that they have pressed the said Earl, without our assent or privity, to accept of a more absolute government than was agreed on between us and their commissioners, we have also thought meet that you should charge them therewith, according to the directions hereafter ensuing.
And to the end there may be no delay used in the execution of that which we think meet to be presently done there (for that haply it may be alleged by those that do presently assist the Earl in the government of those countries, that they cannot execute that which shall be by you in our name required at their hands to be by them performed, without a general assembly of the States of the United Provinces) you shall charge the said parties, even as they tender the continuance of our good will towards them by the performance of our promised support and assistance, to proceed to the speedy execution of our request following, all delays and excuses set apart. And now to descend to the particularities of your charge.
[Here the document links on to the following one.]
Draft, much corrected by Walsingham. 3¼ pp. [Holland VI. 109.]
[Mostly printed by Motley, i. 396.]
[Feb. 10.] “A draft of Instructions to be sent into Holland.” This is an early draft, corrected by Walsingham.
Endd. “A draft of instructions for A.B. to be sent into Holland.” Below has been added at a later time in different ink, “1596.” 5 pp. [Ibid. VI. 110.]
[Feb. 10.] A later draft, in which the corrections of the earlier one are incorporated, but many additions made by Walsingham. From this draft, apparently, was made the copy in the Cotton MSS. printed by Mr. Bruce in the Leycester Correspondence (p. 105 et seq); as the mistakes in that text seem in each case to be due to the difficulty of reading Walsingham's careless writing. All the words for which Mr. Bruce has suggested the true equivalents are correctly given in the Record Office copy. There are a few other misreadings in the Leycester Correspondence text, of which the most important are the following:—
P. 106, l. 13 “prevented” should read “pretended”; l. 16 “and least as” should be “and such as,” and l. 26, “will conceive another course taken by him” should read “will conceive (seeing another course taken by him)”; p. 107, l. 9, for “allegancie” read “allegiance”; ll. 26–31, the passage from “both likely” to “government” is marked for deletion in the draft, the long passage above, beginning “you shall let him understand” taking its place; the end of which should run “the said Earl should hold that form of government, during the time of his abode there, as is expressed” &c.; p. 108, l. 7 for “advertise,” read “address”; last line but 2 for “shall” read “should”; p. 109, l. 31, for “an especial care the said abuses [be] redressed,” read “especially care to see the contents of the 15 article of the contract duly put in execution, whereby the said abuses may be redressed.”
Endd. “1585, Feb. Minute of Instructions for Sir Thomas Heneage.” 5 pp. [Holland VI. 111.]
Feb. 10. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
I started on Monday night, and on Tuesday arrived in this city, where I have stopped, because, the wind being quite contrary, I wished first to send information to Mr. Borowe of my arrival and to learn from him whether I am to go to “Margatta,” Gore End (Gorinde) or Sandwich (Zanduicci). To-day the messenger will return, and I shall start immediately, desiring to reach Holland as soon as possible, to console the Sieur de Guitri, who is counting the hours and expecting me impatiently. Meanwhile I have found here a church of the French language, ruled by a very discreet and prudent minister, well worthy of such a post; and wished to give you notice thereof, knowing that you will rejoice that there should be here a pastor of such quality.—Canterbury, 10 February, 1585.
Postscript.—M. Ringaut arrived here yesterday evening, and desired to go with me. He showed me a passport from your honour and a letter from the Earl of Leicester summoning him to Holland, but I can do nothing for him save that if Mr. Borowe will be disposed to send him, I will take him without any difficulty, and this, because M. Ringaut tells me that you advised him to go with me; but to me you have said nothing of it at all. I now tell you of it, that you may either hinder or permit his passage, as you think good.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. VI. 112.]
Feb. 10. Leicester to Davison.
“I trust by this you have done some good for the satisfying her Majesty touching this place I have, or else I must curse all causes and means that brought me to it; country, people and all. [The next six lines much damaged by damp.] Both by her Majesty's authority over her people as by the like authority over these soldier people, I was thought, being her Majesty's lieutenant, fittest to take it upon me, and except I did so, all would be nothing, considering the confusion among these governors and the diversities among them also for opinions; some to run a course for peace, others to make their own way, whereof there was good store, which confusion to be stayed this way till her Majesty might have better means to strike a stroke among them, also made me with those other reasons you had, to yield to this service, because it is only and chiefly her Majesty's service, and so will it fall out, whether she make war or peace. As for myself I care not. I would I had my charges again and I would never serve more whilst I live, that having done such a service, as all wise men so account of it, and a notable service, it doth bring [a line destroyed by damp] without either her own name used, or one groat of charge more than was before. Well, I see my fortune hard, and therefore will leave all to God; I will only pray you to testify with me to her Majesty how careful I was to observe her commission, and how dangerous it had been for her service and the whole cause if I had refused or declared to them that her Majesty had forbidden me to take it. You know what was said and how long we debated it, and what other shifts I found to prolong it, by examining what their state of their revenue was and what their forces were and how they were planted. All these and more ways found I to defer what I could, and made as many objections as our wits could find out to have taken discouragement for myself rather than to seem her Majesty would not have [been] served by any of hers. [The paper here decayed by damp.]
“Whereby . . . the way of war or peace may be taken, and in the mean time no course taken but such as her Majesty shall direct and the enemy driven to seek at her hands for favour and not at these men's. And if this be ill service, well, I am content to suffer for it. And as you are like to bear your part, so I pray you let the truth be known, that her Majesty's service was and is cause, and none in the world else that I know, nor, as I believe, you know, unless your two pieces of linen cloth have corrupted you.
As for myself, I take God to record I am 4,000l. in 'arreges' with them, and never had farthing or farthing's worth yet at any of all their hands. If for them I lose her Majesty's favour and my goods too, I have [paper destroyed] but it is the least I care for.
[If her Majesty] conceive ill of me for my true heart, I will go into a poor corner of the world, where I will never hear of friend or country again; whereas if I be comforted and maintained by her countenance, and without any more charge than her Majesty is bound to already, if ever she had more honour or greater security than I will be cause of here, let not only displeasure but indignation follow.”—10 February.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. Much mutilated by damp. [Holland VI. 113.]


  • 1. Cf. Leycester Correspondence, p. 336.
  • 2. The sense of this passage, as printed by Motley, is very confused, as he has not understood that underlining was equivalent to deletion. The word which he renders “faction” is parat of “reputatin” deleted.