Elizabeth: April 1586, 6-10

Pages 523-540

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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April 1586, 6–10

April 6. Ortell to Walsingham.
The bearer is a poor man who has been sore troubled by Ringout and his assigns “for certain transport made by him (as they say) unto the enemy, yet hitherto unproved.” He ought ere this to have been either punished or released, and now Ringout is recalled, “whereby his commission seemeth to cease.” Your honour will do a work of charity to cause the man to be released and to order that they shall plead their cause in their own country, where they shall not want justice. Letters have been to-day shown me from Lucas vander Straten, secretary to the Prince of Parma's Council, stating that Ringout is solicitng for pardon, alleging that there is no cause to deny it to him, as he has kept himself in a neutral place, namely England.
There is advertisement from Hamburg that they are lading a great quantity of corn, tar, cables &c. for Spain, a matter not only prejudicial to the Low Countries but to England, as giving greater means to that King to arm against her Majesty and Mr. Drake, which I tell you (as also to my masters), that better regard may be taken, and such transportations prevented.
“The practices of some be such,” that of late one Andries de Loo, dwelling here in London (as is reported), has caused ships laden with corn and provision to pass to Spain by the north of England. I leave it to you to consider “what such lewd and dangerous persons durst attempt against these estates, if they had the means.
“I send here enclosed the copy of the commission for the reconciliation of Capt. Pedell and the rest, whereby your honour may perceive the small cause they have of any further distrust.”—London, 6 April, 1586.
Postscript.—As Mr. Swift made difficulty to give the poor man leave to go to the Court without my Lord Admiral's or your express commandment, I sent to the Judge of the Admiralty, “whose answer was that he might not release the prisoner but with consent of Ringout or his deputy,” and as Ringout is recalled, the poor man is like to continue in prison without my Lord Admiral's and your honour's charitable letters in his behalf. His name is Wybrant Pieters of Amsterdam.
Signed. Add. Endd. English. 2 pp. [Holland VII. 82.]
Commission from the Earl of Leicester to Joachim d' Ortell, agent for the Estates of Holland and Zeeland in England, to send for certain ships' captains and their men (who being in these countries' service, have in England or elsewhere transgressed their commissions and done contrary to their oath), they being yet in England, to hear their excuses, and in his Excellency's name to promise them forgiveness and restoration to their name and fame. Hereby commanding all officers and others that if the aforesaid captains shall show authentic copies of this commission, attested by the said Ortell, no hindrance or opposition is to be done or suffered to them; 'well understanding” that the said captains shall be bound to renew their oath to Count Maurice as admiral, and to employ themselves hereafter faithfully in his own and the countries' service. Amsterdam, 20 March, 1586. Signed by Leicester; Meetkerke, president, and Huygens. Underwritten, note that a commission of like tenor, mutatis mutandis, was granted by Count Maurice as Admiral of Holland and Zeeland, by order of his Excellency, on March 26.
Copy. 2½ pp. [Holland VII. 82a.]
April 6. Leicester to Burghley.
“There be many things wherein I have great cause to impart to my lords of the Council, but till I know what shall become of myself, I make stay. Among other things there is one most special touching the establishing of the moneys of this country, being a matter of great weight, not only for these countries, but also for her Majesty, for therein consisteth greatly the value of her Majesty's money to be considered, and I have deferred as long as I can the continual pressing of these States and Councillors for taking order therein. If your lordship do find her Majesty's pleasure to be continue my service here, then I pray you to send Palmer, the controller of the mint, over with as much speed as may be; for he understands the diversities of coins best of any man I know, and here he shall meet with very skilful and cunning men. And I see they envy to see her Majesty's coin at so good a price, wherein the angel is like to take a loss, but if Palmer come I hope it shall have his right, at least it shall have no wrong, whilst I am here. It is a matter of great weight even for England. How your Papists of England have handled me, or rather her Majesty upon her late conceived displeasure, this whole country is full of. I have written somewhat to Mr. Secretary of it, though I love not to write of my own case, but never man so villainously handled by letters out of England as I have been: not only advertising her Majesty's great dislike with me before this my coming over hither, but that I was an odious man in England, ad as long as I tarried here, bade them look for no help out of England. That her Majesty had denied any more men to come over, nor any money more than to pay them presently. That I was used here but for a time till a peace were concluded between her Majesty and the Prince of Parma;bidding them to mark the sequel, as also what great care or countenance hath been showed toward me out of England since I came thence either from the queen or her Council; with as much ill reports as can be devised of her Majesty's dislike of me. A practice I know more to hinder her Majesty's service than my poor credit, for I know the better sort are not so easily persuaded, but what the continuance of a man's discredit will turn unto is to be thought of; better I were a thousand times displaced than her Majesty's great advantage of these notable provinces should be hindered; and my lord I pray you think of it. And I will boldly pronounce all the peace you can make in the world, leaving these countries. Will never prove other than a fair spring for a few days, and all overblasted with a hard storm after. What advantage her Majesty now hath all men here well find, yet are we at the worst that I trust ever we shall be during our abode here. We are now in some dealing with the enemy and good speed hitherto. We have taken a fort of great importance that hindered our victualling of Grave. The Count Hollack surely hath done his part very diligently and painfully, and I look hourly for some further news. The fort was called the Mill fort, and in the chart I think it be called the Lyte. It stands upon the water westward from Grave two or three mile. If here were men and money, great things would be done. I would your lordship did see these countries what they be worth, as I and others do daily. But I pray you, as you are wise, so beware of our common intelligencers hence; you shall find here be shrewd 'pick-thinks,' and hardly worth the harkening unto.”
Thus I bid your lordship heartily farewell, thinking myself very greatly beholding to you. And if you find what I have written to you not true, believe me the worse another time. “I marvel I never heard from your lordship therein, and whether you spake with Davison or no, and what he hath delivered you. If not very plain and sufficient matter to guide your lordship, then charge him to tell you both what he doth know and what he hath promised me to your lordship he would declare; and have both him and the auditor together; and then must I think that opinion cannot be which I here to be among you there and is bragged of here; or else both these men deal ill both with her Majesty and you. Good my lord, let them not pass lightly with that they know I know from themselves they know touching her Majesty's great service in the matter of laying out her treasure.”—Utrecht, 6 April.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 3 pp. [Holland VII. 83.] [Short quotations (with variations) in Motley, i, 438, 439.]
April 6. De Loo to Burghley.
By mine of last Thursday, I told your lordship of my letters from Carlo Lanfranchi and M. de Champagney, who, being a Burgundian, is moved by affection and nature to see the foreign soldiers sent out of the country. And there being no means for this except a good agreement, he greatly desires that, seeing what has happened in Holland and Zeeland, some good means might be taken to treat of it; as also, on the other side Signor Carlo would be greatly grieved if it should not be effectuated, from his love to the public good and his great interest in trade; foreseeing how it will go daily from bad to worse if not remedied in time, as it appears it might very well be by the aid of M. de Champagney, his great friend.
Your lordship having sent last Saturday to say to me that you could give me no other reply than you had done before, I wrote by the courier what appeared to me needful, and now send you a copy of my letter to M. de Champagney and of his to me, that you may see everything and know that I am acting in good faith, my heart undertaking what my powers are not sufficient to carry on, but your lordship's wisdom being able to supply all lack, I pray you once more for the same great kindness which you used in the first letter which you wrote, viz.: that your goodwill to me may not turn into displeasure.
And seeing that by writing to and fro time is being lost without anything being effected, and that thus the fire goes on, burning and destroying, I am minded (if you will give me passport) to pass the sea, assuring you that nothing shall be done which will not be for the reputation of her Majesty and likewise for the honour of the King of Spain; and I know that it is specially desired by M. de Champagney, both because he very well knows that the importance of the business demands it, and also from the obligation he feels under to her Majesty for favours received from her. And being a powerful person, having access to and credit with the Prince of Parma, and the support on the other side of his brother in Spain, I do not think there could be a better instrument; he not being able to do otherwise than satisfy his natural obligation and the importunities of the nobles and magistrates of the country and of the poor merchants, who are more affected than any, by offering to employ himself as much as he can for the public good, if some ground for it is given him, which not being wanting on that side, there will also be abundance on this, assurance being given him that her Majesty is earnestly inclined to negotiate a treaty with the Catholic King.
Your lordship may be pleased to let me know when you would have me go to see you, where I do not show myself more often, as I believe you would not like it, and also not to waste time without fruit.
In a letter of the 4th instant, which I received yesterday, Signor Carlo notified to me that Agostino Graffigna had been with his Highness on the same business (as is imagined), and it seems he was going into Holland to the Earl. If this is done with your Lordship's knowledge, and if, to obviate the confusion which might easily arise from his negotiating on one hand, and Signor Carlo on the other, you think it would be better for Signor Carlo to labour no further in the business, I pray you tell me so; it being all one how we walk or which road we take, if only we may come to an agreement. I pray you to impart this to her Majesty, that being cognisant of the whole, she may then resolve what to do for the good of her kingdom, for Spain and for the whole world.—London, 6 April, 1586.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 2 pp. [Flanders I. 71.]
April 7. Leicester to Burghley.
“My very good lord, I pray you bear with me that I do not write at large to you at this time. This bearer, Jan de Vyke, was dispatched by Sir Thomas Heneage before the arrival of Mr. Poyntz, who came even as he was ready to depart. I would not fail yet to testify to your lordship the great and unspeakable comfort that I have received now from her most excellent Majesty; as the whole scope of my service hitherunto did alway tend as much as in me lay to the safety of her Majesty, so shall I never cease with that mind to employ myself to the end of my life to serve her faithfully, honestly and truly.
“I am in so great haste, having very much to do at this present, as I will take leave of your lordship, meaning within a day to write at more length. I have written to Mr. Secretary the good success the Count Hollock and Mr. Norris hath and against the enemy in giving them an overthrow of their people; though yet not relieved the town, as within few days you shall hear it shall be. The certain number slain I hear not yet, it is but lately done, but a very great piece of service it is, and many are slain, and but ten of our side; beside, we have won a piece of ordnance the enemy brought with them. Mr. Norris is somewhat hurt, but will be here with me to-morrow. He did very valiantly, and so did the Count Hollock, as Mr. Norris writes to me of him, but Mr. Norris and the English in truth did all; and it must be the English that must help here. God send us them.”—7 April.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland VII. 84.]
April 7. Leicester to Stafford.
The enclosed copies of the [French] King's letter to me, and the answer of the Admiralty of Zeeland [see p. 489, above] to what I wrote to them, will show the cause of his Majesty's writing, and my care by all reasonable means to accomplish his desire, notwithstanding that the party who brought the letters has neglected his business by absence, not knowing what is become of him. You will pleasure me greatly to let the King understand thus much, “that he shall find me and those of the Council to have due regard in any matter may concern his Majesty or subjects, desiring nothing more than the continuance of his good favour and firm opinion of the proceedings here,” that mutual amity may be continued between his realm and these United Provinces. If anything occur there concerning these countries, I pray you let me know it, and show your goodwill by doing all good offices for them.—Utrecht, 7 April, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. VII. 85.]
April 8. Heneage to Burghley.
I have received your honourable letters by my servant William Pointz. What he brought has relieved a most noble and sufficient servant, but I fear will not restore these decayed countries into the state I found them in. “A loose, disordered and unknit estate needs no shaking, but propping; and a subtle and fearful kind of people would not be made more mistrustful but assured. What stuff I first brought hither to work either, your lordship in wisdom may consider. And how much help is now come after, and how sufficient, God knows, but in truth I yet see not.
“Fault, I perceive—not by your lordship, but by some others—is found in me that I did not stay (having warrant) to proceed, if I found that the public cause might take hurt. It is true I had good warrant for the manner, the place and the persons to use my discretion, but for the matter, none, for done it must be. And her Majesty's offence must be declared. If I did not all this, I am to blame, and if I did not all I possibly could to uphold the cause, and to keep the tottering course thereof upon the wheels, I deserve no thanks, but reproof.
“Well, my lord, wiser men may serve more pleasingly and happily, but never shall any serve her Majesty more faithfully and heartily. And so I cannot be all persuaded but her Majesty thinketh, for from herself I find nothing but most sweet and gracious favour, though by others' censures I may gather other-wise of her judgment, which I confess doth cumber me. Your lordship's good opinion and interpretation, with your honorable favour, I much desire and shall never but deserve. And now will deal freely with your lordship. By my direction I last received, and that also was written to my lord here. I do not yet find how I shall possibly satisfy her Majesty in her desire and not do exceeding hurt to the present state of things; for I find both in reason and my experience of these folk here, that the very moving of an alteration of the present course of government (whereby the people's complaints and cries be heard and satisfied, the soldiers ruled and disposed, the officers and ministers of all the finances and contributions called to account and limited, and all the scattered and broken course of things reduced into one circle of order) will remove them from ever bowing to the yoke of true reformation again. Such sweetness did those base sort of people (in whom summum imperium now remaineth) find in the spoil of the people, whom they made a prey of, and never cared to preserve. But I shall confer with my lord and such as it shall please him to call unto him, and then execute that shall be agreed on. And after, repair home, as I am appointed, as soon as I well may. The whilst, having troubled your lordship too long, and yet not told you all I would have you know, I refer you for the rest to other letters or my return, . . . having sent your lordship herewithal the copy of Mr. Norris' own letters to my lord of Leicester and her Majesty; the principal, of that happy day and good success her Highness' captains and soldiers, designed thereto by my lord here, had against the proud Spaniards.”—Utrecht, 8 April, 1585 [sic].
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland VII. 86.]
[Short quotations in Motley, i, 439, 440.]
April 8. Richard Cavendish to Burghley.
Your lordship's most welcome letters have not a little rejoiced me. Though the gifts the Lord has bestowed on you be many, yet nothing ever befell you wherein you have so much deserved of the Church of God, her Majesty or your country as in furthering this cause.
“It may please you to think with yourself what a favour the Lord hath herein bestowed upon you in these your old and declining years; namely from your good and happy labours, to adorn your posterity with the note of this most just and worthy Renown; that such a father, a grandfather or ancestor of their, in such a needful time, was both found and felt to be indeed pater patriœ; a good father to an happy land. . . .”
I write not this “to stir up in your lordship old Adam, but knowing how well you have learned Christ, I do it only to quicken in you the joy of well doing,” for if the Lord Himself said of Mary Magdalene that wheresoever the Gospel was preached, there should the memorial of her act be had in record, that example may well warrant any who fear God, one to encourage another, to go on in well doing.
“It may now please your lordship to give me leave to note unto you what good news . . . have here befallen my dear lord and all his followers in one day. First and above all, the notice of her Majesty's most gracious and most desired favour to my lord and this cause. Secondly, not only the revolt of Cambray to the King of Navarre and those of the Religion, but also that they now do so annoy the King of Spain's adherents round about them, as the Prince of Parma is enforced to employ four thousand of his soldiers that way to defend those parts from their daily incursions. The third joy is the happy success which God hath given my lord here. for he having sent Mr. Norris with Count Hollock and Count Philip to the relief and victualling of Grave, they (besides the winning of a sconce of importance standing in the parting of the old and new Maas) have also achieved a noble victory in this sort: They had sent some three hundred soldiers to entrench themselves within one mile of Grave, which the enemy perceiving, came upon them before they had finished their work. with three thousand men: against whom our men most manfully defending themselves for a time (being nevertheless still oppressed with multitude of fresh men), were at length compelled to give the place and to retire, still in fight, towards their forces, where they . . . meeting with Mr. Norris with eight hundred fresh men, charged again upon the enemy most fiercely, and not only enforced him to yield the foresaid trench again, but also to take him to flight, wherein they pursued them with such fury as for the space of one whole mile they made a most horrible slaughter of them. to the number of eight or nine hundred at the least, wherein Mr. Norris himself was hurt with pike, both in the mouth and breast, but without danger. Mr. John Brough is also hurt in the hand with a shot, not without some danger of maim in some fingers. Captain Price is also hurt. There be slain of our side some ten or twelve of some account, and about eighty or a hundred common soldiers. My lord doth presently send more forces unto them, both on horse and foot, which by God's grace, they forthwith shall receive. O my good lord, if her gracious Majesty do but for this summer stretch forth a liberal hand to this cause, no doubt but both she and England shall thereby be happy for ever. The enemy is like to starve for lack of meat, whereof we, by God's great providence abound. Good my lord, help Sir William Pelham away hither, for if her Majesty knew the need here is of him, I think she would not suffer him to tarry one hour there.”—Utrecht, 8 April, 1586.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland VII. 87.]
[First paragraph partly quoted by Motley, i, 441.]
April 8. R. Huddilston To Burghley.
I understand by letters from the Privy Council that on perusing my accounts sent over by Mr. Hunt, sundry defects are found, wherewith her Majesty is greatly offended. I cannot answer until I know the particulars, but am willing to take knowledge of my errors and repair my defects; hoping meanwhile that “in substance it swerveth not from the truth.” For your letter touching the pay of the garrison at the Brill, I can only say that the clamorous wants of other places emptied our coffers, and my credit here did not serve to supply enough to content the whole garrison, “Sir Thomas Cecil himself saying to me that he would be loth to receive part unless he might have the whole,” a thousand pounds or more. And where you find by bills of exchange that I have received great sums from our merchants here, payable in England, true it is that by warrant of my Lord General I took up 4,000l. to be answered there; but I was commanded to send it wholly to himself and durst not detain a penny, “chiefly for that his lordship's letters . . . seemed to import some special service of her Majesty's.” But I advertised him of their great wants at Brill, as I had done before, whereupon he wore again to the merchants for another thousand pounds for the Brill; but by good hap the treasure arrived before I had delivered the letter. I mean to pay the Brill as I go to Holland.
For the 315l. for which a like bill of exchange was sent, I was very glad (upon some extremity that fell out at Bergen) that my credit served to relieve the same, suspected to be in bransle from a mutiny amongst our soldiers. The place being so important and I so near to it, I could do no less, fearing that I could not answer it if the town or our people had miscarried. Thank God, “the fear was greater than the danger; . . . for by some justice executed there at the arrival of Sir Philip Sidney, all things are well appeased.”—Middelburg, 8 April, 1586.
Postscript.—Her Majesty's treasure sent in the Bull arrived safely on Tuesday, but the weather being tempestuous, I could not get it ashore till next day. I find there is the sum meant for us, viz., 19,000l., deducting what you ordered to be withdrawn by Mr. Cade, and am using all haste to dispatch the garrisons in these parts. The commissary for the victuals is absent, which makes it more difficult to clear the defalcations, but we will lose no time, that we may the more speedily enter into account with the auditor.
Add. Endd 2 pp. [Ibid. VII. 88.]
April 9/19. Extract from a letter touching the death of the Comte de La Val, on this date.
Since April 9, when M. de La Val commanded one of his gentlemen to write the letter of which the copy is given above, my lord fell ill of a slow fever, caused, as in believed, by his great toil on the 6th and 7th of the month, augmented by his grief on the loss of his two brothers, whom he loved tenderly. So that notwithstanding a drowsiness which oppressed him, knowing that God wished to call him, after having in most Christian manner prepared himself, he put his affairs in order, by his testament prayed the Prince to take the guardianship of his son, and died happily in Christ, the 19th of April, new style, 1586.
On the same sheet as the letter of March 30—April 9, p. 498, above. [France XV 78a.]
April 9/19. William Lewckner to Edward Lewckner.
Since my last of the 7th, with the advices of Venice, the camp in Dauphiny is dispersed, “partly through some forces sent by M. Memoransy and M. Chattelon to Montellemayr and Bays,” but chiefly for want of victuals. Soldiers daily pass here in great poverty, but forbidden to remain above twenty-four hours. We are in some hope of the commerce to Marseilles, as M. de la V[alette] has let pass the boats which have lain so long.
It is reported for certain that the King of Spain, who is still at “Vallense,' intends to embarks on his great preparation, “which some think is to go into Portugal,” for the soldiers about Piedmont and Milan, who came from Naples and those parts, are for that King's army; hoping there is nothing intended for Geneva. M. de Besse [Beza] is gone “into Germany to Monbeleard, to confer touching some point off Le Cene [qy. la Cene]. Mr. 'Cysell' is not yet at Geneva, but looked for daily.”
Enclosed is the advice from Venice. Touching the point that the Earl of Leicester is levying new imposts upon the people, many think “it will be a cause to lose the hearts of them.”
News was rife here that the Governor of Cambray had rendered it to the King of Spain for 400,000 crowns, “but since known to the contrary.' It is reported that those of Rochelle have taken a ship of the King of Spain bound for the Low Countries with 800,000 crowns and great store of powder and munition.—Lyons, 19 April, 1586.
Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. XV. 88.]
April 9. Lord North to Burghley.
Sir Thomas Heneage's man has given me your letter of the 1st of this present, for which and many former ones, I humbly thank your lordship. They have “long passage by sea or slow delivery by land,” for I have received some of them six or seven weeks after their dates. I beseech you so to deal for me that I may be “entertained with credit and some such charge as may ease my great burden. . . . I find my lord of Leicester willing to do his best for me, and lacketh but means, which time may bring forth. . . .
“The welcome and blessed news of her Majesty's most gracious dealing with my lord and with this notable action hath raised up the whole army into such comfort and courage, as on the one side we all praise God for her Majesty, and for all those good means who have calmed this storm; wherein your lordship, above all others, have royally dealt, and most assuredly tied his friendship unto you who governeth here. On the other side, every man is so cheered, as no doubt we shall die valiantly or get victory. The Lord God doth subscribe unto this action, and hath blessed our labours. For we have sundry times drawn blood of the enemy, and he never of us; as now lately my lord sent Count Hollock and Mr. Norris to victual Grave, if it might be, with sundry bands of footmen only. At the first they attempted a windmill, which was 'sconsed' about, and won the same. And now they have given the enemy a great overthrow, by skirmish before the town, slain many of them, and we have lost but ten men in all, in so much as we trust the town shall be victualled, and the siege raised. These good beginnings we have, which God will increase and continue. It is said that Mr. Norris was hurt, and Mr. Bowrowgh shot into the hand, and Captain Price hurt, and no other, and this not greatly, for so great an overthrow. The Dutch forsook our men in this conflict, according to their manner, and fled. The Count 'Mewers,' Governor of Gueldre, thought he should have surprised the scone which the enemy keepeth by Cleveland, the same which Mr. Norris built after the winning of Arnhem sconce, and which Count Mewers' men most cowardly gave up. To this enterprise the Lord Willoughby and myself went with the Count, who conveyed us into the Betue, a place where no horsemen can do good; it is like marshland, riding all upon ditches. He led us a marvellous voyage, full of danger, and to no purpose in the end; where we spent time from Maundy Thursday till Easter Monday. Of such a guide we will hereafter beware. Other occurrents here is not at this present. I could wish her Majesty to think of Enchuysen as the place of great importance, for I believe Amsterdam may in time prove the fittest place for her merchants; from whence, by way of Frise, all merchandise may easily pass to any part. If her Majesty had Enchuysen, which is the north part of Holland, having the Brill, the south part, she shall govern Holland, and make what peace she will. For North Holland is invincible; it hath a town by it called Medenblicke, of marvellous strength, which ruleth the coast as the Ramikens doth in Walcheren; all which I leave to your lordship's most noble and grave judgment.”—Utrecht, 9 April [1586].
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1¼ pp. [Holland VII. 89.]
April 9. Richard Cavendish to Burghley.
In my last I omitted one or two things worthy the nothing. “The first is the wonderful cunning dealing of these fellows here called the States concerning the finances and receipt of the revenues, whereupon the people rest greatly grieved, and themselves (as is thought) no less enriched”; nor do I see how it can be remedied unless the Queen will take upon her what the people crave and cry for, namely the sovereignty. Another great deceit is in the profit of the mints, both which that medicine can alone thoroughly cure, but my lord would greatly have amended the former if crosses had not hindered his proceedings. If these causes were fully provided for, “no doubt but the revenues here will well suffice to the driving of the enemy out of these countries for ever, and afterward in clear profit unto her Majesty. . . .
“The third thing I omitted is an intelligence given by one who was in the enemy's camp, treasurer for the horsemen's pay,” who, “upon some mislike with the Prince of Parma, is from him fled to Ostend, and doth constantly affirm that the Prince hath written unto the King of Spain flatly that if he do not speedily send him great strength, both of men and money, he shall certainly be driven to lose that in five months which he hath won in five years; whereby it is plain how he is every way distressed, both for men, money and victuals.”—9 April, 1586.
Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland VII. 90.]
April 9. Lord Willoughby to Burghley.
“I think myself very happy that your lordship retaineth me not only in your good opinion, but that you have also vouch-safed to witness it unto me so largely with your own hand, and with your honourable promise performed for Ednam; and were there anything in me to deserve those favours of your lordship, I should be most ready, being sorry I have no good news to satisfy your expectation withal from Germany as you require, having understood nothing since the Duke of Saxony's death worth note, more than the prosperous continuance of the King of Navarre's affairs in those parts; and that the departure of the said Duke hath letted somewhat the designs of Grave Edzart of Embden, who had hope of greater matters that the said Duke should compass for him with his brother John at an appointed meeting at Lunenburg.
“I doubt not but your lordship hath written to his Excellency your sound and necessary opinion for the ships to be equipped hence against the Easterlings' passage into Spain. For my own part I will use my small credit to remember him of it. The good news come from her Majesty and you in court hath made all our hearts here joyful, immediately after which came advertisement of great overthrow and defeat given by Mr. Norris and our English (most valiantly) about the winning of a trench near Grave made by ours, which the enemy drove us from, with two thousand men before it was perfected; but possessed it a small while, for those which retired being seconded with fresh companies, recovered their ground with loss but of some few of them, and divers of the enemy. In this conflict Mr. Norris received two hurts, the one on the face, the other on the breast, both slight, and were given with the push of the pike. Captain Borrowes hurt on the hand, not without danger to lose two of his fingers. Captain Price is also sore wounded; other persons of note, God be thanked, have not miscarried. His Excellency is determined to send divers companies of foot presently to supply those are there already, among which number I make one. Other place have I none yet, neither can I ask any, because of may own insufficiency, but since your lordship hath vouchsafed in your letters to remember it, I should think myself bound unto you if I might (but for some stay of the excessive charge that I have been at both before and since my coming hither) be by your good means credited with the leading of some three hundred lances, and a regiment of foot of those companies that are now levied in England. If I look not for some thing from you at home, I fear me I may attend here as a loose soldier, so many worthy are already preferred. Thus your lordship seeth my boldness grounded on your favour, which I beseech you to pardon and accept, and to command my service wherein soever I am able.”—Utrecht, 9 April, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1½ pp. [Holland VII. 91.]
April 10/20. The French King To Elizabeth.
On behalf of Francois des Troyes. Narrates the seizing of his ship, the St. Jehan “au port d' Artemue,” the sale of the cargo of salt by the late Vice-Admiral Champernon and the vain attempts of des Troyes to obtain redress (see p. 456, above), and prays her to pay him the value of the salt-taken against the treaties between their crowns and the liberty of commerce between their subjects-without his being constrained to grant the reprisals which the said des Troyes demands by his petition, which petition has been shown to Mr. Stafford, that he may inform her thereof, as will also M. de Chasteauneuf, his ambassador in her realm.—Paris, 20 April, 1586.
Signed. Countersigned by Pinart. Add. Endd. Fr. ½ sheet. [France XV. 89.]
April 10/20. Richard Wagmore To Walsingham.
To signify my willingness in the discharge of the duty I owe your honour, I presume to send you such occurrences as concern these parts.
The King of Navarre, finding himself pressed by two armies, one led by the Duke “de Mayne,” the other by the Marshal Matignon, “hath retired his forces into places of greatest strength; by which excellent policy he hath preserved his in their entire, and exceedingly wasted and consumed the enemy.
“M. du Mayne hath been in Gascony and thereabouts ever since the beginning of November, without performing anything worthy the reputation of his army; only he hath taken 'Montigniac,' an old castle of no great importance, yet such as amused him the space of a month, and was at last rendered upon reasonable composition. Since, he hath spent the time in refreshing his army and repassing the river of Dordogne. He hath compounded with five or six gentlemen's houses, unto the most part whereof he hath left the exercise of religion, with condition not to bear arms against the King. At this present he besiegeth St. Basile, upon the river of Garonne, and is like to carry the same (as being but of small defence). These no more than ordinary exploits have already cost the King 500,000 crowns and the loss of five or six thousand men's lives, as well by the sword as sickness.
The Marshal of Matignon (Montignon), having for six weeks besieged Castes, (fn. 1) the house of M. de Favas, has at length gained it by composition; the soldiers to depart with bag and baggage; the houses to be razed, but M. de Favas to carry from thence what he would, even to the timber and “tile stones,” and to be paid 12,000 crowns.
The Prince of Condé's forces are very small, yet he has no well employed them as, having taken Royan upon the river of Garonne (Gairon), Tonnay-Charente (Tonna-Charranta) and Subise upon the river of Charente (Sherrant), with thirteen other castles in Poitou, he has assured that country, and controls the traffic of those two rivers, bringing great profit into his coffers.
He has placed M. d'Aubigni with a regiment of foot in “Olberon,” to hold M. de St. Luke in alarm and to levy the salt there made or to be made this year. St. Luke has “bent his best skill to frame an army naval” at Bordeaux, to levy the salt of Marennes, Brouage and Oleron, to convey four cannon into Bordeaux and to block Chef de Baye (Shef de Bois), which is the entrance into Rochelle. “But a very disfavourable beginning doth promise unto him no well-pleasing consequent.” For finding M. d'Aubigny in Oleron (contrary to his expectation), he sends to Bordeaux for what shipping is ready to come to him with all speed. Meanwhile, he prays M. de Bellegarde (Governor of Saintes) to assist him with men and ships, and the desired companies being arrived at Brouage, embarks himself and brings the cannon before the castle of Oleron, thinking by such diligence to prevent all succours. But the Rochellers take such good order that within six days they furnish a well-appointed army of twenty-five sail, and with a favourable wind, set their course for Oleron.
M. de St. Luke, amazed at the sudden action, with all speed embarks himself with the loss of a hundred and forty men, not having stayed in Oleron above forty hours. The Rochellers follow his flight so closely that neither dare his ships stir out of Brouage, nor those of Bordeaux come to his succour.
The galleys have twice tried to leave him, but the wind has forced their return; “howbeit they must essay a third escape or else starve, for M. St. Luke hath not bread to put into their mouths, notwithstanding that himself in person doth hunt all the smoking ovens in the town and villages near about him both for bread and meat, in so much as some poor creatures have been found dead in the field with grass in their mouths, whose means of sustenance was taken away from them by him.”
Eight hundred of the foot sent him by M. Bellegarde, returning to Saintes, were charged by the Prince with but seventy-five horse, who killed a hundred died within five days and the rest, leaving their weapons behind, fled into Saintes. On the Prince's side only five were slain and three hurt, but of those five were M. de Reux and M. 'Tanly,' brothers to M. de Lavall, who presently sickened and died ten days after them, on April the 18th. The physicians hold that this accident did but hasten his end, as he could not have lived six months.
The “ill-succeeding voyage unto Angiers hath so frostbitten the forwardness of the noblemen and gentlemen (as well of Poitou as of other places),” hitherto at the Prince's devotion, that though professing to continue the same, most part keep their houses or lie at Rochelle, “to temporise and attend the descent of the reiters.” For this cause the Prince has not joined the King of Navarre, though twice required to do so; which King's resolution “was to have fought with M. du Maine in plain battle.”
Neither the Prince de Conti, the Count Soissons, nor M. de Montpensier yet “enter into arms,” although here it was reported that six weeks since, M. de Montpensier sent his declaration to the King. Great skill has been used to gain him on both sides; the King offering him the government of Poitou, and the King of Navarre the lieutenancy of his army.
Monsieur de “Mercury” threatens mightily, but performs nothing. The other day he passed the Loire to surprise one Captain I'Humeau, who, having only “a silly barricade in a simple village, slew twenty-five of M. de Mercury's bravest gentlemen and saved himself; with good leave to the Governor of Brittany to return with no more honour than he brought with him.”
On the 18th one Bontemps (a captain of Rochelle) brought hither as prize a ship of Brittany, laden in the river of Seville (Cyvell), whose master, being questioned by the Mayor, confessed that the King of Spain had furnished an army of two hundred ships and twenty-two galleys, and that no ships at St. Lucar or in that river might load until they had served to convey the victuals aboard the army; which was fully victualled, and only waited for certain troops and a good wind. The common bruit was that it was for the West Indies, to find out Sir Francis Drake, but he was persuaded that it was for England, because pilots had been fetched from Fontarabia (Founterabbye) and Biscay, one of whom assured him that all that preparation was for England.
It is certain that about the end of February the King sent an army into the West Indies, under Don Juan Martin de Recaldo, both for the safety of his merchant fleet and to fight with Drake if he can encounter him.
This is all I can now learn. If I am able to do your honour any agreeable service, I shall esteem myself most happy.—Rochelle, 20 April, 1586.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XV. 90.]
April 10. Gilpin to Walsingham.
I wrote awhile gone from Amsterdam, and forbear still from writing largely till I know your pleasure. I have made bold to take up forty marks and charge your honour with payment to my friend, Christopher Umfry, the bearer, wherein if I be favoured, I shall for ever be most bound to deserve it.
“All things here go well; wanteth nothing but a supply of a little money to make an army, whereto the meeting of the General States will stand in some stead, but nothing so good as to hasten time, and amongst multitudes are many resolutions and fall out longer than often the exigent and haste of a matter requires. The love and hearts of the people to his Excellency increaseth daily more and more, and his dealings provident and to good liking. The chief lack is a good purse presently, for the time of year is forward; the renown of her Majesty in this action will be immortal, and to be liked amongst all princes Christian and heathen, none excepted but those that are enemies to God and this cause, which is for the defence of His word and chosen people.”
I humbly crave your honour's favour for the Merchants Adventurers, whose cause I love and tender, not only for good received from them, but because I know them good members of our commonwealth, ready to accomplish their duty, who have of late stood his Excellency in good stead to help the relief of the poor soldiers' necessity. For news of Mr. Norris' good success I refer you to others. “He is as brave a man of service as this country receiveth, and so will all his deeds witness, so long as the Lord spareth his life.”—Utrecht, 10 April, 1586, stilo Angliœ.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland VII. 92.]
April 10/20. Carlo Lanfranchi to De Loo.
I marvel at what you say you wrote to your friend at the Court. You had better have sent my letters or a copy word for word, for I never told you “I spoke or caused speech to be had with his Excellency here.” I only discoursed (as I told you) with M. de Champagni and others to learn how these countries might be brought to peace and quietness, which would be as profitable to England as the continuance of this war may be prejudicial; “the which being taken in hand to any purpose, will not be supplied peradventure so lightly nor with such advantage as it is thought by some, especially if the King of Spain have so good success in his proceedings as he hath had hitherto. And if you be acquainted with the disposition of the people here . . . you know that they esteem as much their reputation as others do in those parts where you are, and the rather for that the King of Spain finds himself assaulted in earnest, the Queen's Majesty having sent her men of war into Holland and Zeeland, and having taken upon her the protection (although covertly) of the King's rebels.” This is more than words, which might be answered with words, but it is the custom of princes to answer deeds with like deeds, especially not to show distrust of their forces, “which you may well believe will not be wanting to a King of Spain, being so mighty.”
As touching the example you give of France and Newhaven, it is very weak, for that King has not any city in which the Huguenots have not such strength that he has been constrained by necessity to such things, while the Catholic King has all Spain, possessions in Italy and Burgundy, and the greatest part of these countries in his obedience, besides there being in Holland and Zeeland and other places many Catholics, to whom it is not pleasing to be subject to the English, but rather to yield obedience to their natural prince. Wherefore it would be both fit and honourable for her Majesty (now that the Earl of Leicester is with his powers in Zeeland and Holland) to make known that she has no other intention than what she set down in her Justification; and “to offer to enter into communication, if here were the like meaning; wherein she should do an act honourable, highly to be commended, and worthy of the excellent bounty and virtue” of which she makes profession.
As touching myself, you know these matters are beyond me, yet I have endeavoured as much as you have seen, M. de Champagni having written to you. But I cannot enter into speech with the Prince of Parma “without a convenient prop or stay and with assurance that it may not be thrown in my teeth hereafter.” I know that this good Prince will do what he may to procure the quietness of these countries, and think I have not a little prevailed in having brought the matter so far as that M. de Champagni should write to you; which he did the rather that he is known to her Majesty, so that his uprightness is not to be doubted of. And being here, and his Catholic Majesty having an opinion of him as a man “upright in his actions, by which means such things are best furthered, I know . . . he will omit no office herein, if there, for your part, you can minister him matter convenient for such an entrance. . . . The worst is that in the meanwhile that these matters are in compassing, the minds on both parts are sharpened, and the provisions of war are made, which being once in a readiness and the time passing on, things are committed to the proof of fortune, the which if it come to pass according as it hath been seen in many places, and especially in the siege of this city, it will be hard then to use persuasions.” Wherefore for love of God and compassion of all and especially of us merchants, who are like to be undone thereby, (if it may be) so bring to pass this matter that of so good a beginning may proceed some good effects.—Antwerp, 20 April.
Translation. Endd. by Burghley. 3 pp. [Flanders I. 72.]
April 10. Reports from Spain.
In a letter received by Thomas Cuttell from Seville, dated the beginning of March.—All Easterlings' hulks to be released, by the King's orders.
In letters received by Garratt Malinas from St. Lucar, a month ago.—All Easterlings to be freed. The Duke of Medina Sidonia ordered to examine which they be and to release them; but all freighted for Englishmen or Hollanders to be imbargoed still.
The servant of Philip Curtys of London, merchant, came from Ayamonte (Amounty), March 17 n.s., and says:—That only one Scots ship is “imbarged” there, “because some of them were challenged for deriding the mass.” There had been two or three hulks and a Scottish ship, but they had all quietly departed.
About two days before he left, divers pressed soldiers and mariners, who came from Lisbon, dismissed to their homes, said that the Marques de Sta. Cruce had commandment from the King that the English Queen had written to him, persuading him “to take compassion of her, and that she being a woman, he was contented not suddenly to enterprise against her, deferring therefore the same, with dismission of the greatest part of his forces, until the next year.” The same soldiers reported that the ten hulks appointed victuallers, with other shipping, were discharged. A carvel of advice came home about March 8, and thereupon eleven armados and other small shipping “went forth as wasters [i.e. convoys], being all they mean to employ this year.” Signed, Richard May. [Undated.]
Endd. “10 Apr.” [Style doubtful.] 1 p. [Newsletters XC. 27.]


  • 1. Castets. See Lettres Missives de Henry IV, t. ii, p. 186.