Elizabeth: March 1586, 16-20

Pages 448-466

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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March 1586, 16–20

March 16. Sir William Russell to Walsingham.
I trust your honour will not measure my affection by my seldom writing, having as you best know, no great gift for it. Our estate her hourly depends on her Majesty, the common people of the country being most willing to live under her if she will but help to defend them; “whereof if there shall grow any doubt, then will they seek underhand to make their peace and leave us to seek our fortunes.” But of all these things you are so well advertised that it is needless for me to mention them, “but rather to put you in mind of certain lands of my nephew that I was a suitor [for] to you and the rest of my lords executors, the which, if I be thought worthy of paying as another will, I shall think myself beholding unto their honours.”—Amsterdam, 16 March.
Add. Endd. with year date. 1 p. [Holland VII. 30.]
March 16. de Loo to Burghley.
Although I have not been with your lordship for some days, I have by no means ceased to work by writing [torn] to extract something definite from that court, in order to come to some [treaty ?]. Having at ten o'clock last night received letters, I pray you to manage to communicate them to her [Majesty] as soon as you can, seeing the disposition of the Prince of Parma to be such that he wishes, as much as possible, so to act that the Queen may have in all and by all, what she desires. And it appears that the Prince would be willing that M. de Champagni should be somewhat employed, knowing him to be very much an enemy of the Spanish soldiers, and zealous for the liberty of the Low Countries, and also that his brother will do great things to favour it; this Prince not being himself able to appear so openly as he desires in his heart to procure the departure of the Spanish militia. But if the matter is once moved by some one else, so that it may not seem to be proposed by him, he will so work with the King that his Majesty may know his whole purpose, and there is no doubt that M. de Champagni will be found a very perfect instrument for this business, and, by its results, will prove himself to be quite the contrary of what has been reported of him.
Now as the said Prince and the nobility offer themselves, on their part, as good instruments to aid to extinguish the fire which goes on increasing, they pray that your lordship will also be pleased to do something by which the least opening in the world may be given for the two parties to begin to write to each other, which being done, they may soon have an opportunity of entering into treaty together concerning the principal business.
And—as Signor Carlo wrote to me—Sir Philip Sydney's secretary being a prisoner at Dunkirk, it would suffice for either the Earl or your lordship to write three words to the Prince for his liberation, which would be a pretext for treating of this business; the which depending entirely on this very small beginning, may it please your lordship to lend a helping hand to the doing of such good offices as will show your great desire for peace and the public good; and besides that you will gain great merit with God and the whole world, her Majesty will have what she desires:—The refunding of the money lent to the States, the securing of a firm peace and amity with the King of Spain, the dismissal of the Spanish militia and the restoration of the countries to their privileges to trade again with the subjects of this kingdom as in the past; leaving to each one his own, and all to God.—London, 16 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 p. [Flanders I. 64.]
March 16. Francesco Rizzo to Burghley.
According to the orders left with him by his master, Signor Horatio Palavicino, at his departure, he sends his lordship a letter received from Signor Fabritio Palavicino, his brother, form Genoa, in reply to one written to him on the 10th of January. Also a letter received form Padua from Mr. William Cecil.—London, 16 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian½ p. [Germany, States IV. 22.]
March 16. Count Edzard to the Queen.
[Acknowledges the receipt of letters, and thanks her for her affection to him and his subjects.]
Seeing that it has pleased your Majesty (after mature deliberation. I am sure) to send the Earl of Leicester to take command of the United Provinces, I have acquainted him with all the insults which the people of West Friesland have inflicted on me and my subjects up to this time, in violation of the law of hospitality and unjustly. Not that I have any intention of acquiescing therein, but I wished at least to give him some sort of warning, lest the men of West Friesland should inflict poverty and irremediable loss on us without cause by stealing our ships, committing depredations, and hindering commerce aud navigation. As soon as an opportunity occurs, I will give him a further explanation of the whole matter, either by ambassador, envoy or letter.
In order that the business may be more quickly promoted, I have fervently asked him to report it to your Majesty, so I hope (and I think there can be no doubt about it) that if my communications to the Earl of Leicester come to your hands, it will be clearer to you than the light of noontide that the men of Holland and Zeeland, considering the acts of hospitality and the benefits heaped on them by me, have repaid me with the gratitude of a snake, as men say.
I therefore pray your Majesty again and again to commend me and my subjects to the Earl of Leicester, and to order him to have regard to us and our province, and if he will not call off the ships of war altogether, at least to allow freedom of navigation; which I will study to repay you by rendering all good offices in point of neutrality. . . .—Aurick, March 16, 1586.
Signed. Add. Latin. 3½ pp. [Hamburg and Hanse towns II. 39.]
March 17. Leicester to Burghley.
“I perceive her Majesty hath conceived so deep a displeasure toward me, as neither may my case be easily heard for my excuse, nor my letters perused which I have sent unto her Majesty, whereby, without an further examination or trial I stand condemned in her highness' opinion and more than that, which is a grievous matter for a poor gentleman who hath wholly depended upon herself alone, and made witness by my continual desire to serve her Majesty to the uttermost as her only creature, that my life with all that ever I did possess from her to be employed for her again; that now being commanded to a service of the greatest importance that ever her Majesty employed any servant in, and the scope of my intents always to prefer the cause of God and her Majesty before any worldly respect, and I finding the occasion so serving me, and the necessity of time such as would not permit such delays or circumstances as other cases might do, and flatly seeing that if that opportunity were lost, the like again for her Majesty's service service and the good of the realm was never to be looked for; presuming upon the favour of my prince as many servants have done, exceeding somewhat thereupon, more than in breaking any part of my commission in taking upon me a place whereby only I found would be the means to hold these whole countries at her best devotion, and without charging or binding her Majesty to any such matter as she had forbidden or refused to the States before; finding, I say, both the time and opportunity to serve and no lack but to trust for my part to her Majesty's gracious acceptation of a service so greatly to advance her and her estate:— Thus now I find and feel it, that how good, how honourable, or how profitable so ever it be, it is turned to a worse part than if I had broken all the commissions and commandments that had been committed to my charge, to the greatest harm, dishonour and danger that may be imagined against her person, state and dignity. I have often heard and many times read of very good servants for ill success have had very great displeasures at their Prince's hands, but seldom or never that any man not breaking the commission he had, and for the honour and benefit of his prince had brought matters to sure and good pass, over and above that he had commission for should receive a worse reward for well doing than any man that had committed a most heinous or traitorous offence; for such is my case my lord, for my conscience doth tell it me, and all men here can witness it for me; that if I had not accepted this place of government as I did and when I did, this whole state had been gone and wholly lost. The causes why, Mr. Davison could have told, no man better, but Mr. Heneage can tell, who hath sought to the uttermost the bottom of all things that have passed, and I will stand both to his and all others' reports that were here then, and seen my dealings since, whether glory or vain desire of title caused me to step one foot forward in the matter. My place was great enough and high enough before with much less trouble than by this, beside the great indignation of her Majesty. But in all truth albeit God doth know and sundry with me, I was not unmindful to do that her Majesty seemeth to be offended for, and to content that part of duty, I went very near by the delays I used for that respect to have overthrown all, which if I had done and lost that which now I got for her, howsoever her Majesty judgeth of me for my negligent fault, I will judge of my own self, that for the other if I had overslipt the good occasion then in danger, I had been worthy to have been hanged, and to have been taken a most lewd servant to her Majesty and a dishonest wretch to my country, but what authority I have so exceeded in and how it stands, your lordship shall understand by Sir Tho. Heneage; but whatsoever it was, and how much so ever it might have stood her Majesty in stead for her service, it is now at a point; for the xiiij day of this month Sir Tho. Heneage delivered a very beside his message, my self being present, for so was her Majesty's pleasure as he said, and I do think he did but as he was commanded. How great a grief it must be to an honest heart and a-true, faithful servant, before his own face, to a company of very wise and grave councillors who had conceived a marvellous opinion before of my credit with her Majesty, to be charged with a manifest and wilful contempt, to proceed as they must think utterly against all duty toward her Majesty in a matter of so great weight as this was; that I had engaged her, contrary to her intent and meaning and against her public declarations to the world; matter enough to have broken any man's heart that looked rather for thanks, as God doth know I did when I heard first of Mr. Heneage's arrival, but as these thirteen weeks I never head from the Court but two times, so I pray God I may hear better whensoever I hear any more. Albeit I must say to your lordship for discharge of my duty, I can be no fit man to serve here; my disgrace is too great, protesting to you, my lord, that since that day I cannot find in my heart to come into that place where by my own sovereign's letter, I was made to be thought of her so lewd a person. Albeit one thing did greatly comfort me, that they all best knew the wrong was great I had, and her Majesty very wrongfully informed of the state of my cause, and I doubt not but they can and will discharge me, howsoever they shall satisfy her Majesty. And as I would rather wish for death than justly to deserve her Majesty's displeasure, so, good my lord, this disgrace not coming for any my ill service to her Majesty, procure a speedy resolution that I may go hide me and pray for her. My Heart is broken; though this far I can quiet my self, that I know I have done her Majesty as faithful and as good service in these countries as ever she had done her since she was Queen of England; and as well have they succeeded hitherto till this day. God preserve her Majesty for ever, and keep your lordship in health and honour.—Amsterdam, 17 March, 1585.
Postscript—“Under correction, my good lord, I have had Halifax law, to be condemned first and inquired upon after. I pray God that no man find this measure that I have done and deserved no worse.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 4 pp. [Holland VII. 31.]
[Most part of this letter is printed by Motley, the earlier part on p. 420; the later on p. 419, but with many small omissions and alterations. The only mistake of consequence is on p. 419, last line but one, where “mine own sovereign's letter” is mis-read as “mine own sufferings torn.”]
March 17. Leicester to Burghley.
“I am bold to entreat you to present this letter enclosed to her most excellent Majesty. I trust it will no way offend her.
“I have received a letter even now from my cousin Cecil, who writes to me of his leave to return into England, to procure his better health, as indeed I know he hath been very ill a good while, and the air nothing agreeable to his body. He writes also of some other wants there, but specially of money for payment of that garrison, which is far behind, and so are all the soldiers in this country. For my part, beside all her Majesty's payments, I have had hitherto five hundred and fifty men, footmen upon my own pay, and as the horsemen hath had but one pay since they came, so have I been their creditor for prests to the most of the bands. And truly, my lord, howsoever her Majesty deal with me, being both undone here and at home, and my lease for alienation being out this March, which was a good relief to me, especially having sold and gaged most of the rest I had, and now small hope have I either to obtain it or any thing else, having lost her favour with all these beside; but yet my lord, have care of the poor men here, wherein doth consist not only her Majesty's honour, but the danger of the cause.
“My lord, these councillors have desired me to move you and the rest of my lords to hold a good hand toward Spain, as they here have done very strictly, and of late have newly set down ordinances again that no merchant at all shall go into Spain. They do set forth presently—but that they desire not to be spoken of—nine very good ships to lie at Cape Verde at an island there, to look for the East fleet homeward, which if they miss, they mean yet to proceed toward those Indies. So that the King of Spain will have enough to do between these men and Drake. And for the stay of the traffic, they desire greatly to understand again, albeit they do hear that her Majesty hath made the like stay already. Here is a secret bruit and comes from Antwerp, that is like to do very much harm, and cometh in an ill time to bring her Majesty's dealings about me in suspicion. 'Champany' doth give it out that he hath secret dealing with her Majesty for peace, and that she hath let him know her mind therein; and doubts not to give them all here a blow unrecoverable and 'unwares' by this mean. Well, it concerns her Majesty full nearly, although I know she may easily have a peace sought at her hands, if these men once smell any such matter and doubt it, be you sure they will soon run before you all there, to the utter over-throw of her Majesty and State for ever. And no doubts the very way it is to bring us all to the sword here. For my own part, it would be happiest for me, though I wish and trust to lose my life in better sort. But, my lord, before your lordship I speak it to you in greatest earnest, it is a matter greatly to be considered what will follow upon such bruits, joining these circumstances together; Sir Thomas Cecil now to come home being your son, whose only good dealing next her Majesty these men do depend upon your lordship, and he at this time to go away will breed many conceits. Then her Majesty so long after my accepting of this government to deal so hardly with me, as for the satisfying a colourable displeasure they will imagine, for I must upon all sudden resign up this place, a matter God knows though it be too true in the contrary, to my greatest disgrace that ever happened, yet will it be thought that under the revocation of me the best sort shall return also, and that the only cause of all is her secret dealing for peace, which she will hide till she have withdrawn us hence. I do write to my cousin to stay his journey at least till we may hear from you again. And that her Majesty may by some other, since my service is not acceptable, settle the government in some stay; for not only the cause will be lost, but all we here in most assured danger except God deal wonderfully. The papists in England have sent over word to some in this company, that that they ever hoped for is come to pass, that my lord of Leicester shall be called away and in greatest indignation with her Majesty, and to confirm this of Champany, I myself have seen a letter that her Majesty is in hand with a secret peace. God forbid, for if it be so, her Majesty, her realm and we all are undone, and too late shall we find the remedy. These men yet honour and most dearly love her Majesty, and hardly I know will be brought to believe ill of her any way. And good my lord, let not her Majesty know of this later part touching Champany to come from me, for they will think it is done for my own cause, which by the Lord God is not, but even upon the necessity of the present case, meet for your lordship to know and think on thoroughly [for] her own safety and the realm's and us all.” 17 March.
Postscript.—“Good my lord, as you will do any good in this matter let not her Majesty understand any piece of it to come from me, for I know that you shall hear by others too soon of it.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley, “Earl of Leicester by Mr. Poyntz. Of Thomas Cecil's coming home from the Brill for sickness.” 3 pp. [Holland VII. 32.]
[Briefly quoted by Motley, i, 424, 425.]
March 17. Horatio Palavicino to Burghley.
Having left Haarlem and arrived at Enchuysen, where I resolved to take this road, as being shorter than that of Hamburg, and safer that that of Embden, the ship was not ready or the wind favourable until the 14th of this month, when I embarked, and after a prosperous voyage have to-day arrived at Bremen, whence, God willing, I shall depart to-morrow, and so far as the difficulties of these roads will allow, in which there are neither posts nor horses for hire, shall endeavour to reach Frankfort before the end of the fair, and on my way, shall pass by Cassel and visit the Landgrave of Hessia, of which visit, and of the rest of my journey, I will day by day give you an account.
Here I learn that Duke Augustus of Saxony died of apoplexy on the 11th of last month; of which nothing at all was known when I left Holland, yet they tell me that it is certainly true. If her Majesty desires to begin some good correspondence with the new Duke, for the benefit of the common cause, now is the time, by means of the compliments usual in such cases.
I have further heard that the Emperor, by means of his deputies at the diet lately held at Worms (Vormatia) complained of the ministers of the king of Navarre, who are come into Germany to levy troops, and have gone to and been received by certain princes, their desires apparently being complied with, against the laws of the Empire; also that he has demanded help and contributions for the aid a the Bishop of Liége in recovering the land of Neuss (Nutz) and further that he has demanded that the Count of Embden should be succoured, whose river is blocked and occupied by the ships of Holland, to which three demands the deputies of the princes have taken time to make their answer, according to custom. Notwithstanding the aforesaid complaint of the Emperor against the ministers of Navarre, it appears that the protestant princes will unitedly persevere in their intention to send their ambassadors to the King of France; but whether they have set out or are ready to do so, I have not been able to learn. I will send you word of it from Frankfort.—Bremen, 17 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 ¾ pp. [Germany, States IV.23.]
March 17 Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
To the same effect as the first half of his letter to Burghley. States that M. de Guitri accompanied him from Enchuysen.—Bremen, 17 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. IV. 24.]
March 18/28. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
Recommending the bearer, Mr. Shute (le Syr Chut), whom he has always known as an honest gentleman, a good Englishman and very zealous for the Queen's service, and who is returning in hopes of doing some service to her Majesty in the wars.—Paris, 28 March, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France XV. 57.]
March 18. Buzanval to Walsingham.
This child would not forbear until he got this little letter, that he might address himself to you. He has a marvellous spirit, if he is as young as he seems to be. He has written a short discourse which he wishes to have printed, and desires your favour to obtain the privilege from her Majesty. If you will take the trouble to examine it ever so little, you will think there is something rare in this spirit. I send you the letter he wrote to me on the subject.—London, 18 March.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. 58.]
March 18. Stafford to Walsingham.
On despatch of this bearer, M. Pinard sent to me, by the King's command, about a cause wherewith I think you have often been made acquainted, “for a ship laden with salt, which was stayed in the haven of 'Artemue' [Dartmouth] by Sir Arthur Champernon, then Vice-Admiral, in the year 1575: and the salt sold and distributed to the country, which then wanted.” The party interested having vainly sought justice in England, supplicated the King, who committed the hearing to M. de la Mothe Fénélon and me; whereupon he had letters to her Majesty from the King, but still being delayed has renewed his request; and order is given to their ambassador to move the Queen again in the cause. I have been desired to write to you, and beseech you, if you find his demands just, to favour him the more for my sake.—Paris, 18 March, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [France XV.59.]
Statement of the case of Francois des Troyes
The said des Troyes—a merchant of Orleans and adjudicataire of the public magazines of salt—in September, 1575, loaded 284 muids of salt, for provision of the magazines, in the port of St. Wast in Portugal, under the name of Pierre Brisse, his agent, in a ship called the St. Jehan, which was driven by bad weather to put into the port “d' Artemue” [Dartmouth]. There it was stayed by the late Vice-Admiral Champernon, who sold and distributed the salt to English subjects, there being great need of it, and himself received the money, not allowing the master of the ship to be present at the sale, or des Troyes' agent to have any account of the said salt.
[Statement at length of applications to the Queen and Council by himself, the late ambassador, Mauvissière, and the French King (who has ordered him letters of marque of no satisfaction can be obtained), all of which have been without effect, beyond a verbal answer that Vice-Admiral Champernowne was dead, and his children without the means to make restitution.] The French King then ordered that M. de la Mothe Fénélon and Sir Edw. Stafford should treat of it together, which they did; further letters were written to her Majesty; des Troyes' losses were proved to be over 20,000l.; interests up to the present 17,000l. and upwards, besides journeys and suits which have cost more than 1,500l., all which has brought such ruin upon him that from affluence he is reduced to penury. It may please the ambassador to consider that this is a domestique retention, and contrary to the liberty of commerce granted by treaties between the two countries. Moreover, when the like complaints have come to the King and his Council [from the English], justice has been done and restitution made. Also, the sale of salt was made in a free port, and by one of the principal officers of the Queen.
The King in his Council having seen the present remonstrance, has ordered that it be shown to Sir Edward Stafford, and that, for the last time, letters be written to her Majesty and the Sieur de Chasteauneuf, that petitioner's business may be attended to as is fitting.—Paris, March 22 [n.s], 1586.
Copy. Endd. “Pour bailler a M. I'ambassadeur d' Angleterre. Pour M. des Troyes.” Fr. 1 ¾ pp. [Ibid. XV. 59a.]
March 18. Leicester to Burghley.
Recommending to his lordship the request of “this young gentleman” his cousin Crofts, who is desirous to serve in the Low Countries. Thanks that if her Majesty send any more men over, “it were not amiss to bestow a charge upon him.”—Amsterdam, 18 March, 1585.
Signed, Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holland VII. 33.]
Probably enclosed in the previous letter:—
Leicester to Burghley.
I have great cause to thank your lordship, for I understand from my brother and all my friends how honourably you have dealt with me. Though I cannot requite you, yet you shall do like a nobleman to defend an innocent, for so am I before the Lord for thought to offend her Majesty, but if I had made a greater fault than mine in truth is, it deserved more favour, but good my lord, help me hence, and be good to your poor soldiers here. I will warrant her Majesty hath lost ten thousand marks that she did not send over more money when I came. Whensoever any comes, send a good auditor also; the other was a very honest able man, but ill dealt withal.
Endd. by Burghley. “18 Martii, 1585. Er. Leicester. Thanks.”½ p. [Ibid. VII. 34.]
March 18/28. Council of State to the Queen.
Notes of the “effect” of the letter:—
“They are extremely sorry that her Majesty hath conceived so great offence for that which is happened between the States and the Earl, touching his acceptance of the Government.
“Wherewith nevertheless they acknowledge that her Majesty hath just cause to be displeased if it shall appear that ought hath been done therein which may be found repugnant either to the contents of her Majesty's declaration or the Articles of the Treaty, but hope withal that when her Majesty is thoroughly informed of the whole state of the matter, she will then rest better satisfied with their proceedings therein.
“For which purpose they humbly desire that it may please her Majesty to understand that the commission granted to the Earl is no other than in like cases hath heretofore been granted to other Governors, and that although the words of absolute power and authority contained in the said commission may seem to import the title and jurisdiction of sovereignty, yet in their sense and common use there of the said words, the meaning of them is no other than to give unto the said Earl full power and authority to execute the contents of the commission without attending any further direction in matters and accidents that may occur; with reservation nevertheless of the sovereignty and propriety of the country to the people.
“Which commission and authority cannot now be revoked in, nor any great show made of an intent to revoke the same without great peril and danger to the State.
“And therefore they most humbly beseech her Majesty to allow of their doings therein, which are agreeable to her own advice, that the multitude of heads which breed confusion in the government should be avoided and some course taken for redress of the same.”
Endd. “March 18 [o.s] 1586.” 1 p [Holland VII. 35.]
[A Shorter minute of the same letter (at the British Museum) is printed in Leycester Correspondence, p. 468.]
March 18. Henry Kyrkman to Walsingham.
In presuming always to advertise your honour, as next God the only preserver of my estate and life, which, now at the weakest, I hope may be advanced by her Majesty's means into the King's better favour, I pray you to use your best means with her that I may not be crossed by my old enemies. The King of Denmark, with the Curfürsts (Corfastes) of Saxony and Brandenburg, and the Palsgrave, have at a meeting at Ormes, determined to send ambassadors from each of them to the French King, requiring him to “surcease” the war against the King of Navarre; if not they would take order thereon. “And since it hath pleased God to call to his mercy the 'Corvaste of Saxon,' who died suddenly, what effect now it will have God knoweth, who grant they may succeed in the good cause they have in hand.” Also order is taken that none out of their dominions shall serve the King of Spain or his associates.
The King of Denmark “maketh out ships” to aid her Majesty, and has divers building which will shortly be ready. At my coming to [name faded by damp] I found seventeen most poor and bare English soldiers there, “come away from their captains with exclamation they could neither get meat, drink, nor money.” Mr. Myllward, deputy of the Company and his associates gave them shirts and shoes, and money and victuals enough to “serve them” to the Earl of Leicester, asking me to see them thither, which, God willing, I mean to do, and so follow his honour's advice which way it pleases him to employ me; only craving your favourable letter to the Lord Willoughby, who may many ways pleasure me.—Harling, “put in by extreme weather with my men.”—18 March, 1586. [Probably old style as regards day of the month.]
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. VII. 36.]
March 18. Sir Philip Sidney to Burghley.
“I have written to my lords of the Council in answer of theirs, where because I was fain to be long, I will not trouble your lordship with any repetition. but only humbly beseech your lordship to give your hand to the helping of the moneys sending over, for truly, my Lord else there will some terrible accident follow, particularly in the caution towns, if her Majesty mean to have them cautions. The news here I leave to Sir Thomas Heneage, who hath with as much honesty in my opinion done as much hurt as any man this twelve-month hath done with naughtiness; but I hope in God when her Majesty finds the truth of things her graciousness will not utterly overthrow a cause so behoveful and costly unto her, but that is beyond my office. I only cry for Flushing and crave your favour, which I will deserve with my service.”—Amsterdam, 18 March, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Seal of arms. Endd. by Burghley 1 p. [Holland VII. 37.]
[Quoted by Motley (i, 421), but the order of the phrases altered.]
March 18. Rowland Lytton to Burghley.
The service has been so small since our coming over that there is little to be said of it. Our sharpest enemy hath been the cold, from which some have lost their health, some their lives, “but now that skirmish is past, and we begin to think of other adversaries.” For the place, there is nothing to be misliked. The country is fruitful, the towns fair and rich, the people most dutifully affected to her Majesty, and king and friendly to such as use them well. Prices are somewhat dear, because of the great excise for the war, but to those who know how to make provision, there is little difference between the Low Countries and England. “I see no cause to be weary yet, and till summer be past, I will not think of home.” Having by misfortune lost my horse, I would be glad to be employed afoot. Some greater numbers are expected to be sent over, in which I pray you to reserve me a place. I desire it might be of three hundred, as divers gentlemen have in this country, and doubt not but so to demean myself, that you shall think me worthy of that charge.—Utrecht, 18 March, Stilo vetere.
Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. VII. 38.]
March 18. Richard Cavendish to Burghley.
“Even at my first arrival here, I find that true in judgment of the wiser sort which I have often heard before, namely, that it is a thing almost incredible, that the care and diligence of any one man living could in so small time have so much repaired so disjointed and loose an estate as my lord found these countries in. But lest he swell in pride of that his good success, your lordship knoweth that God hath so tempered the cause with the construction thereof at home as may well hold him in good consideration of human things. And that it worketh in him such effect is more than evident, for as a man armed with the innocency of a good conscience (until her Majesty take this Government from him) he goeth still forward by the benefit of this country to work the safety of her Majesty and her whole state so much as in him lieth, to the waste of his goods and adventure of his own life. And surely to the furtherance of so good a beginning, her Majesty's gracious and cheerful countenance and ready support with money men, and necessaries for the time is so expedient as the withdrawing thereof cannot but be the ruin both of them and us. But touching your lordship's careful endeavour to draw her Majesty to the same, I trust my lord here is so fully satisfied as nothing can remove the impression thereof from him, wherein, good my lord, go on still forward; though the difficulties be great, wisdom and diligence still working with time bring happy conclusions. . . . . . .
“I use boldness, because the cause is vehement. It may please your lordship to see (by experience of my self) into what straits we that repair hither be driven by the bruits of her Majesty's mislike of my lord's proceedings. A person holden both grave and wise demanded of me very carefully whether it could possibly be that her Majesty should so lightly esteem of this their willing submission to the obedience of him whose whole care and endeavour (they were well assured) is but how best to obey and serve her; to whom I answered, that either those bruits were untrue, or else that the judgments of princes being like unto mighty depths could no way be sounded by persons of so weak ability as myself, but if any such show were, I assured myself, that to be done, either to decipher her people's disposition towards the cause, or for some other matter of as great or greater consequence, for of this they might well assure themselves, that she would not now forsake the action. But to oppose itself against this mine answer, there be here advertisements of most fearful instance, namely that 'Champany' doth not spare most liberally to bruit abroad that he hath in his hands the conditions of peace offered by her Majesty unto the King his master, and that it is in his power to conclude at pleasure, wherein he affirmeth that some one or two of the chiefest councillors about her are by her appointed to handle the cause with him, which fearful and mischievous plot, if in time it be not met withal by some notable encounter, it cannot but prove the root of great ruin, for this people, beaten with tedious, long and sharp miseries is made wonderful provident and suspicious, assuring themselves that if under any conditions they would suffer the Spanish yoke anew, they need no mediator thereunto, for they can easily conclude for themselves how with least mischief to become miserable again. Surely, my lord, if you saw the saw the wealth, the strength, the shipping, and the abundance of mariners whereof these countries stand furnished, your heart would quake to think that so hateful an enemy as Spain should again be furnished of such instruments, and the Spaniards themselves do nothing doubt upon hope of the consequence hereof to assure themselves of the certain ruin of her Majesty and the whole estate. And as for this people, if they taste not shortly a more feeling and quick endeavour towards them, I fear to write what by all reason may thereof be concluded. My good lord, what English heart can without shame or grief hear the Flushingers reproachfully say that (even in their hardest estate) the soldiers of that town were always paid at every fifteen days' end, whereas the same being now in her Majesty's hands, her people there can get no pay in three months, so that they be almost driven either to starve or beg in the streets; these be heavy spectacles in the eyes of such as look for relief at her Majesty's hands. My good lord, the storm of our careful and grieved mind doth carry me I know not whither, but I crave pardon and so end, beseeching your lordship never to cease to bring some happy end to so good a cause.” —Amsterdam, 18 March, 1585.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [Holland VII. 39.]
[Briefly quoted by Motley, i, 427.]
March 18. De Loo to Burghley.
You will have seen by the copies of Lanfranchi's letters that his offers to her Majesty are all she could desire, it being tantamount to the gracious relation which you made to me on her behalf upon the first letters; and whereas, at the beginning, it was demanded by the said Signor Carlo that this business should be negotiated with the Queen and not with the Council, I promised him to do it thus; but considering myself too unworthy for such business, I had recourse to you to have the goodness to supply my lack, having always had a firm opinion of your good inclination for the general good, and especial confidence that whatever I said or wrote would remain with her Majesty and yourself alone; the said Signor Carlo not knowing, so far, from me to whom I had imparted it, and still less of my proceeding in giving you copies of the letters. And to correspond to the sincere disposition shown by her Majesty's royal reply made to me by your lordship's mouth, I have with all my power exhorted and urged the said Signor Carlo to arrange that it should be proceeded with on the other side in like manner, and as clearly and plainly as possible, in order so much the sooner to come to a good resolution to re-unite this crown in a firm peace with that of Spain; in which matter, as very little is now needed to bring it to the desired goal by your lordship's favour, I pray you to lend your aid, that her Majesty may make it appear to all the world how great is her clemency and goodwill; since she openly declares herself to desire peace and amity with the King of Spain, who likewise, on his part, desires to remain her friend and good brother. And if it were not unfitting for such a worm as I to take part in so great a matter, and warrant had been given me, it might have been possible for me to show the greatness of my zeal in procuring (with the divine aid) an accord between such good princes, by going myself beyond the seas, and giving ground for his highness to write something to her Majesty; for if once the ice be broken, all will go on of itself.
Pardon me, of your grace, for my boldness in saying that which does not befit my lowly station and may the ardent desire of his Majesty be taken in good part, striking the iron while it is hot; preferring peace to war, and taking advantage of this opportunity.—London, 18 March, 1585.
Postscript.—As the ship Balanzera of Venice is only waiting at Margate for her Majesty's safe-conduct, I pray you to ask her to be pleased to sign it, that the said ship may start on her voyage.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1¼ pp. pp. [Flanders I. 65.]
March 18/28. George 'Farnandus' to Sir Pedro Francisco.
News is come that certain Englishmen have sacked Proto Rico, after doing the like to Capo de Verde, and now likewise to Santo Domingo, which hath discouraged those of this country, that we remain the most heavy and afflicted people that may be, for they have taken possession of that strong 'thing' Santo Domingo, which is the key of all the Indies,” where are my goods, and those of many others here.
I beseech you to consider in what case I shall be, having all my goods forth of my hands, part in New Spain, in the fleet, part in Terra Firma and Peru, and most upon credit, so that is the fleets miscarry, I shall not be able to pay. God deliver them from enemies and send them home in peace.—Seville, 28 March, 1586.
Underwritten, copy of letter dated April [13–]23. (See that date, below.)
Translations [?]. Endd.: 1 May, 1586. Advertisements out of Spain touching Sir Francis Drake.” ½ p. [Spain II. 59.]
March 18/28. Another copy of the first paragraph of the preceding letter.—Seville, 28 March, 1586.
With a so-called “postscript,” containing part of the abovementioned letter of April 13–23.
Endd. “Advertisements out of Spain.”½ p. [Newsletters XC. 24.]
March 19. Sir Philip Sidney to Walsingham.
Recommending his cousin Crofts, a young gentleman of whose honest and good parts he has a very good opinion. Refers himself to his letters written by Adams and Poyntz (Poins.)— Amsterdam, 19 March, 1586.
Holograph. Endd. “In favour of Mr. Herbert Croftes.” ¾ p. [Holland VII. 4.]
March 20. Stafford to Burghley.
I received by Lillye a letter from Mr. Secretary containing a flat refusal from her Majesty of that demanded by Count Soissons and thereupon was fain to deliver it; yet finding things here, as you shall see more at large by my letters to Mr. Secretary, to be such that the time may be delayed a little longer, and “that most of the enterprises may be yet awhile continued longer, and they that should be the doers of them kept in breath, I thought fit to do what I could to keep them still on foot, and both the chief enterprisers and the ministers to them in devotion,” because I see there may be “a great establishing” wrought by it here, whether peace be made or wars continue, and that by part of it her Majesty may reap commodity, “by keeping them awake upon that frontier whom she is entered into action already against; which Count Soissons hath assured me that peace or war, little or much, he will be at the Queen's commandment ever as far as he can, to serve her turn.” Good may come of this two ways, both to help them in France and to annoy them in Flanders; and a small thing prove of great good; for having the towns, they will never give them up. “They are taught that lesson of the Duke of Guise. He may miss of some, but most he holdeth himself out of doubt; especially of Perone, which he reckoneth most sure, and which indeed he may serve the Queen best withal. Twenty-five thousand will do all. . . . If I were worth so much, I would hazard it without making the Queen acquainted with it, to procure so great a good as I think would come of it; and leave it to the Queen's consideration to restore me it or no.”— Paris, 20 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XV. 60.]
March 20. Stafford to Walsingham.
Thanking him for ” so well taking” what Staling delivered to him, and assuring him of his willingness to perform anything that his honour may command. “I beseech you, be earnest with the Queen in this matter, both for her own good and the State here. It were pity for so small a thing such an action should quail.” I would I were but worth so much. “God confound me if I would not hazard it.”
I beseech you to have this packed sent safely to the Princess of Orange, which has been sent me from her brother, M. Chastillon.—20 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. 61.]
March 20. Stafford to Walsingham.
I have had to open my packet to put in one which comes from the King of Navarre to Buzenval. I hear that that King is coming this way to join the Prince of Condé and Montpensier, “and that M. du Mayne had made a 'calvacado' with the chiefest elected soldiers of his army to 'let' his coming from Nerac to Bergerac; that the King of Navarre hath passed, and slain eight hundred of his men in the field. If the King of Navarre come forward to that intent, and Montpensier have cause of discontentment, I pray you think what importance that is of, if the Queen do not help this Count Soissons. . . . For God's sake think of it well, and let me have answer by the 15th [proximo] as I have promised.—20 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. 62.]
March 20. Staffort to Walsingham.
As I was sending away my letter on Monday, Lillye came hither, having been three times driven back after embarking.
“I was very sorry to see her Majesty's resolution touching the request of the parties you wrote of, to whom, with an evil will, I declared as much as I had direction from you, and with the plausiblest terms I could; and left them satisfied with the assurance of her Majesty's good will, but quite desperate that for want, the chief of their action was like to quail,” as you may see by the copy of a letter of Montpensier to Soissons, which I send enclosed. I saw Soissons greatly afraid, knowing Montpensier's capricious head, and fearing the burden may light upon himself, which he would not be able to bear, considering how Chavigny, who still lies by him, is commanded by the French King to look to his actions and offer him whatever he asks, and also that the King and Queen Mother continually send to him to the effect, that — seeing Soissons' action in Picardy to quail — he may be won to lie still, or rather, in a pettishness to be against them, and do what the King will have him.
There is a stay until the King hear again from Montpensier, which occasion I took to assure them that if they will keep things in the state they are, I would again send to her Majesty to see what she might be brought to do; which is why I have stayed this long, till Soissons might hear from Picardy. This morning I had his answer: “that all his partisans would keep all things in the state they are in at his devotion till the 20th day of the next month, stilo novo,” when the King has desired Montpensier to say “whether he will take the army, and Biron joined with him to do the King's commandment; which day the King hath been contented to give him upon the earnest letter he writ not to have Biron come thither; and by Montpensier hear (fn. 1) by Soissions, that have put the King in some hope that if he may have the charge, the King shall be sure to command him and that his honour will bind him to it; which is only done but to gain time.” Upon that, Biron is stayed, and Soissons' partisans are willing to keep all things as they are, except “the dealer for one of the best towns, who is not to be kept any longer, which Soissons is marvellously grieved at: but the rest all have promised till that day; and among the rest Perone holdeth still good, which I care more for than all the rest, because it may stand her Majesty in stead.” But they are all resolved that if he does not keep promise, “they will give their words for no longer, for Biron shall not be so soon set forward not the Duke of Guise nor the rest preparing, but they will take party with somebody.”
I have thought necessary, notwithstanding your dispatch, to take the opportunity of the time and advertise the Queen again. I think that both for the state of things in France and for annoying Spain in Flanders, which she is to look to now, she could not make so good a purchase, for Soissions has given me his word “that peace or war, whensoever the Queen will command him, he will keep them occupied in that frontier.
Five and twenty thousand crowns will do all. I pray God the Queen may well consider what great good so small a thing may do; besides that for Flanders, if there were nothing but engaging so many of quality in France who could never retire themselves again, her money were not lost; and truly I fear and so do all that know Montpensier's humor that if he be not kept promise withal by Soissons, who was the first and the chiefest setter of him a-work, he may, considering all circumstances withal, alter his mind. For my part, I conceive so great a good to come of it, that if I were able of mine own to make so much, I would lay it out and put myself to the Queen's courtesy when she should see the good of it.”
I have promised to give Soissons her Majesty's answer by the 15th of next month, stilo novo. I pray your lordship let me have my credit kept, that they may trust me hereafter, and if by any means this bearer cannot come, that you will send Tupper or some other, to be here by that day.
There still continue “the same persuasions to me underhand of a desire to peace, but the Queen Mother or the King have never spoken to me, as it was said they should, and I have certain advertisements . . . that all is but a cunning, to make her Majesty to believe it, and to stay that which she hath sent into Germany. Take this to be true, upon my word.”—Paris, 20 March, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XV. 63.]
[Duke of Montpensier to his cousin, the Count of Soissons.]
I have found very strange what you tell me of the King's resolution touching the army which he means to give to the Marshal de Biron, to come into these parts. I have written of it to the King, and also to the Marshal, praying him not to give me cause to be no longer his friend, by taking charge where I shall be and have had command before it was given to him. If he undertakes it, I doubt not but I shall make him feel what it is to address himself to a prince. However, if he does come, be assured that all will be prepared; that I shall fail in nothing on my part, and that our brother will not be wanting on his, or the others either. On your side, you must omit nothing, but hold to what you have promised, which is one of the principal foundations we have; that by this means the forces of our adversaries may be diverted for a time, that all may not still fall upon my shoulders, and that they may know that the towns must serve as retreats for our partisans, and assurance for others who shall come that they shall not find the door shut everywhere (qu'ils n'auront pas partout visage de bois.)
No one has brought me into this so much as yourself, which makes me sure that you will not fail me, for otherwise I have opportunities and offers enough to keep myself in good credit, as I have given charge to the bearer to say to you more at large.—19 March, 1586.
Copy. French. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. 64.]
March 20. Sir William Stanley to Walsingham.
Has been appointed by his Excellency to fetch a thousand voluntaries from Ireland, but “understanding a present piece of service to be taken in hand,” has craved licence to stay for it, after which he will go into Ireland as speedily as he may.—Harlem, 20 March, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holland VII. 41.]
March 20. The Lords of the Council to Leicester.
Desiring him, on complaint of Count Edzard of Embden of wrongs and spoils done to him by those of Holland and West Friesland, to mediate between the States and him in the matter. A letter has already been sent, but if his lordship does not hear from the Count “according to the intents and purpose of the same,” he is to send William Herle to him, to assure him of his lordship's determination to do all friendly offices in the matter. That he may see what has passed between her Majesty and the Count, they send copies of the original letters.
Draft, partly in Walsingham's hand, corrected by Burghley. As corrected, it agress almost verbatim (except that Leicester is addressed in the first person) with the report of it in the Acts of the Privy Council under date March 16 [Vol. for 1586–1787, p. 32.]
Endd “To deal with the States for the well-usage of the E. of Embden's subject. To address Mr. Herle unto him.” 3 pp. [Ibid. VII. 42.]


  • 1. Or “here,” but in any case the meaning of this paragraph is obscure.