Elizabeth: October 1585, 1-5

Pages 57-67

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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October 1585, 1–5

Oct. 1. Davison to Walsingham.
I advertised you last week by my servant Burnett how things were finally resolved here betwixt the States and me according to an Act of supplement to the former Treaty 'Soubz l'adveu' whereof I sent your honour the double.
“On Monday last I repaired hither accompanied with the Count William of Nassau, who returned the next day to the Hague, the Count of Hohenloe and others deputed by the States of Holland to see this place delivered into her Majesty's possession according to the contract, where we stayed a day or two expecting the companies appointed thereunto by Mr. Norrys, which arrived but yesterday morning; for whose entry into the town the Count Hohenloe and Deputies of the States gave order within an hour or two after; where, having taken their oaths according to the form herewith sent, they were divided to the guard both of the town and forts and the others immediately withdrawn and conveyed to Rotterdam. Which done the magistrates caused the inhabitants to assemble to public prayers to give God thanks that had inclined her Majesty's heart to take their cause into her defence and themselves into her special protection, and in token of their joy caused the artillery to be shot off, the bells to be rung and chimed and fires to be made in divers parts of the town with other ceremonies and testimonies of their affections in her Majesty's behalf.
“The same evening I took the keys, which I have commended with the government of the place by provision to Mr. Henry Norrys, whom his brother had sent down with the Captains Hill and Roberts to remain here in garrison till her Majesty shall be pleased to take other order, and having allotted two companies of 300 strong to the town I placed the third under Captain Roberts in the two forts, the garrison whereof I have taken order—both for the surety of the places and ease of the soldier—to shift by turns every fifteen days with some one of the other companies remaining in the town, which being with the fewest for the guard of both places were fit to be increased either with another company that may come with the governor, or supplied to the number of 200 strong for each ensign, whereof it may please her Majesty and your honours there to have some consideration. The view and inventory of the artillery, munition &c. I have referred to the coming of the governor whom her Majesty shall send over. . . .
“In the evening the Magistrates, who had provided a solemn supper and banquet for the captains and myself at my lodging, delivered me a request containing some petition they would make to her Majesty in behalf of the town, especially for drawing hither the staple of wool and fells, which they think would not only be some mean to enrich their town with the time [sic] but also bind and devote this people so much the more towards her Majesty, wherein I promise to give them all the furtherance and address I could, the rather because her Majesty had given me charge to put them in comfort of all the favour she might shew them.” If you would be a mean that some merchants of the staple were to being some little traffic in that kind, it would be both an encouragement to the inhabitants and a commodity to the merchants, who may be as well-assured and largely privileged here as in any other place whatsoever.
I find the town, both by nature and art, of such importance as were worthy the sending hither of some person specially qualified both by calling, judgment and experience to take charge thereof, and could wish for a speedy choice, as the commanders and companies here are raw and weak for such a government, though otherwise I doubt not careful enough of their charge. To-morrow I return to the Hague, to get the Act which I have received by Mr. Bruyn signed by the rest of the Commissioners, and then go towards Flushing to take possession of that place and the Rammekins.—At the Briell, 1 October, 1585.
Copy. Endd. 1 ¼ pp. [Holland IV. 2.]
Oct. 1. Davison to Burghley.
Briefly to the same effect as that to Walsingham, above. Prays his lordship to further the speedy despatch of the governors for the Brill and Flushing, “which by the provision here are very rawly to be supplied for towns of such moment.”—At the Briell, 1 October, 1585.
Draft. ¾ p. [Ibid. IV. 3.]
The Magistrates of The Brill to Davison.
Their town, formerly so flourishing by reason of the herring fishery (sending out a hundred ships, vulgarly called busses) that, with the Pays de Voorne it was assigned in dower to Madame Margaret of York, widow of Duke Charles of Burgundy, who held her court there and granted them many privileges; has, by lapse of time and great losses by shipwrecks, fallen into decadence, and unless they may have new privileges and staples of merchandise is in apparent danger of ruin and depopulation.
The trade in wool and hides would greatly help them, if they might without extraordinary charge trade into England as do her Majesty's subjects; and moreover her said subjects trading in the Low Countries, and also merchants from Flanders and Brabant &c. driven out of the parts of the enemy, would come to reside in the town, which the late Prince of Orange (having a singular love for it) had made a third larger than it was; the new ground and squares being still unoccupied, notwithstanding their convenient situation along the new harbour. The English merchants trading in wool and hides (of which the staple was formerly Calais, Bruges and Antwerp) have not yet an assured place of residence, for which this town would be very suitable, having easy communication with almost all the towns of Holland. As his lordship may easily do much to this end with her Majesty (having inspected it all), they pray him to intercede with her to grant them free traffic into England of all sorts of goods and for transporting thence what they will, paying only the same dues as her own subjects, and to appoint their town to be the staple of wool and hides; petitioners offering the merchants all such conveniences and assistance as they can possibly give them, and such conditions as shall be found reasonable and in equity.—Undated.
Endd. “La requeste des Messieurs de la Brielle,” and by Burghley “primo October.” Fr. 3 pp. [Holland IV. 4.]
[Probably enclosed in Davison's letter of Oct. 1.]
Oct. 2/12. Promise by M. de la Noue not to bear arms against the King his Master. Begging also the enjoyment of his goods and assurance of his life, that he may retire out of the kingdom, with his family, pursuant to the declaration of the 7th of October.—12 October, 1585.
Copy. Fr. ½ p. [France XIV. 91.]
Another copy of the same.
Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. XIV. 92.]
Oct. 2/12. Count Maurice of Nassau to Burghley.
I have given to Mr. Davison certain memoirs and articles, which I trust will be agreeable to her Majesty; and as we hope and desire that the Earl of Leicester may come hither as her lieutenant, and that by his means our house may feel the effects of what it may please her Majesty to grant us, I have prayed Mr. Davison to put them before her and also to send you a copy thereof; and beg you to lend a helping hand, that her Majesty may incline to the humble requests offered to her by my step-mother, myself and all our house.—The Hague, 12 October, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holland IV. 5.]
Oct. 2. Colonel Norreys to Walsingham.
Recommending Henry Swanne, one of the corporals in the field, who is repairing into England for a month on private affairs. As he finds in the man “good forwardness and sufficiency to be further employed,” he believes, if he had the charge of a company, he would, by his pains and diligence, deserve the favour.—Utrecht, 2 October, stilo Angliœ.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 6.]
Oct. 2/12. The Brill.
Certificate by the burgomasters and council of the Brill, that—it having pleased the Queen of England to make choice (amongst others) of the said town and its forts, as assurance for her Majesty, in accordance with the contract made between her and the United Provinces—Mr. Davison, Ambassador of the said Queen, did on the 10th of October (in presence of the deputies of the States of Holland), take possession of the said town and forts, putting therein three English companies to keep garrison there.—Signed de Langue, secretary.
Seal. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 6 bis.]
Oct. 3. Colonel Norreys to Walsingham.
The bearer thereof, Colonel Morgan, needs not my letters to procure him favour at your honour's hands, who have long known and borne great affection to him, “only” I beseech you to assist him in all his causes with your wonted favour, “and namely touching his entertainment for his place of colonel”; wherein I find the States General nothing so forward as I could wish, and thinking it “no reason a man of his service to receive no entertainment,” have given warrant to our Treasurer here to pay him 600 guilders by way of provision, until it please the lords of her Majesty's Council to set down some order in that behalf.—Utrecht, 3 October, 1585, stilo Angliœ.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. IV. 7.]
The mentioné informs me that three days ago he took leave of the States. I have found him much annoyed that they promote de Neuenaar so greatly. Under correction it seems to me that he will not be contented without some other honourable charge of German horse and foot, since for the present, he may well boast to have Holland and Zeeland in his hands. (fn. 1) You may be pleased also to communicate to him her Majesty's goodwill towards the House of Nassau.
No signature or address. Fr. Scrap of paper, gummed to the preceding, with pencil endorsement that it was “found with the papers of Oct. 3. 1585”; but the mentioné is almost certainly Hohenlohe. [Holland IV. 7 bis.]
Oct. 4. W. Waad to Walsingham.
I yesterday imparted to the French ambassador her Majesty's pleasure, upon notice given her of the great resort of strangers and some of her subjects to his service. First he answered me (en Ambassadeur) as M. de Foix on the like message did before (as he says), “that his gates are shut to no man, and that he could not forbid any to forbear the frequenting of his prayers. . . hoping her Majesty would not abridge him more than other ambassadors heretofore. . . . I told him her Majesty's pleasure was rather to enlarge him than to restrain him in any respect, but this being a thing very offensive to her subjects, so as already complaint was thereof made, and falling out at his first coming, her Majesty thought good in time to advertise him thereof, the rather lest some inconvenience might thereby arise,” and though strangers be not called to account, yet being not subjects of this master, there was no reason why they should give offence to her Majesty's subjects here, nor did she think it lawful for them so to do.
After long reasons, he told me (en homme de bien) “with great oaths and protestations, that sithence his being here, never any one of her Majesty's subjects had been at any mass in his house, neither any of the Italians of calling about London,” but that certain Portugals lately arrived had come to him, and once the two Spaniards taken in Alderman Bond's ship had asked leave to hear mass. Howbeit, he said he would signify to the King, his master, her Majesty's pleasure, and do as he should be directed; seeming to be “persuaded not to give herein needless offence hereafter.”
Then I let him understand the order you had taken for the ship of St. Jean de Luz, wherein he will write both to the King and to the Governor of Bayonne, his great friend.
“Of himself he told me that he understood our merchants should not repair this year to Bordeaux for wines, whereupon I took occasion to speak of Lansack's being on the sea to stop their passage” ; which he promised should be no let to them.
He makes “extreme suit to have some convenient house in London, his wife being ready to lie down, and in the mean season, he would borrow the Bishop of Winchester or the Marquis of Winchester his house for five or six months,” entreating me to commend this his suit to your honour.—London, 4 October, 1585.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XIV. 93.]
Oct. 4. Captain Henry Norreys to Walsingham.
The charge of this town being given to me as governor by provision, I thought good to tell your honour in what state I find it. By natural situation it is very strong, if in some places the fortification might be amended. We being but two companies hold every night ten 'cordigardes.' Upon the 'ramper' there are but seven pieces of artillery, and of powder in the whole town but two little barrels, some of which I have had to send into the forts. I have put Capt. Roberts in the great fort with a hundred men, and his lieutenant in the little one with fifty. In the one there are five pieces and in the other three.
I have changed none of the officers, such as porters [i.e. keepers of the gates] gunners, munition-masters &c. “finding them dutiful, for fear, I think, lest they should lose their offices.” I would willingly know what orders your honours will set down, “which shall be kept, both for the safety of the town and contentment of the burgers.”—The Brill, 4 October.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland IV. 8.]
Oct. 4/14. Count Maurice of Nassau.
Count Maurice having consulted with the Princess his stepmother and his kinsmen, friends and servants, has declared to Mr. Davison as follows:—
First, he thanks God for the agreement made between her Majesty and the States of these countries, and consents that his town of Flushing shall be put into her hands. And although in consideration of its importance, and also of his father's services, he has a right to demand of the States large compensation, he consents “simply” to it, hoping by her means in time to obtain for himself and the house of Nassau due recognition of the said services.
Protests the obligation of himself and his house to be her Majesty's faithful servants (as he and Count William have already declared to the ambassador), and prays that she and also the Earl of Leicester (continuing the friendship he bare to the late prince) will take their persons and affairs into their protection. Also that if by the chance of war, any prisoner should fall into the hands of her subjects of such quality as might serve for redemption of the Prince of Orange, Count of Bueren, so long and wickedly detained a prisoner, the said prisoner may be granted to him, that he may thereby endeavour to procure the said Prince's release. And if the like happen in the case of any men of war of another nation, serving her Majesty or the States, that he may receive the like advantage.
Requests her Majesty to aid him in retaining his principality of Orange, in case the King of France should try to assume the sovereignty thereof; to use her influence with the French King and the Swiss Cantons (especially Berne) to procure the restoration to himself and his brother Count Frederick of the estates by right belonging to them in Burgundy, if occasion should offer, and to interpose to obtain recompense for their loss of lands occupied by the King of Spain.
If her Majesty takes the sovereignty of their countries (as they desire with all their hearts), he prays her to have such regard as she may think good to the articles proposed by the States in relation to his House.
And lastly, if she employs any gentlemen of quality into Germany, that it will please her to choose Count John of Nassau who is very zealous to serve her, very faithful to these countries, and whose affection to the true religion, prudence and experience are well known.—The Hague, 14 October, 1585. Signed, Louise de Colligni, Maurice de Nassau.
Copy. Endd. Fr. 4 ½ pp. [Holland IV. 9.]
[See Meteren, book xiii, f. 285 (2) et seq.] (fn. 2)
Another copy of the same.
Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Ibid. IV. 10.]
[Oct. 4.] The Lords of the Council to Huddilston.
Heads of Instructions for Richard “Hurlston,” appointed Treasurer for her Majesty's forces in the Low Countries.
That he shall transport the treasure committed to his charge to Middelburg in Zeeland, or such other place as the General of the army and he shall think meetest, to be disposed as the necessity of the service requires.
That the payments shall be made in the current moneys of those countries, to be accounted by florins, according to the custom of the country, and that treasure sent over in specie shall be issued according to the value there current to the best and highest estimation of the same.
That he shall receive in those Low Countries 5,000l. sterling, which sum was delivered to General Norris here in England, for levying of 2,000 voluntary men, at the times contained in the contract between the General and the deputies of the States; “with which sums so received he shall be charged to account, and shall make payments out of the same by like warrant as he shall do for the treasure carried out of England.” For which sums he shall be allowed [blank] in the hundred.
As many dead pays to be allowed as are allowed by the States. Defalcations to be made of checks certified by the muster-master of the troops and commissary of musters for the States.
In what sort he shall make payments.”
Draft. Passages in italics added by Burghley. Endd. 1 ½ pp. [Ibid IV. 11.]
[Oct. 4.] Draft of the Instructions of which the preceding paper gives the heads, corrected by Walsingham. The allowance to the Treasurer to be at the rate of “ten pounds in the thousand.”
Endd.pp. [Ibid. IV. 12.]
Oct. 4. Fair copy of the above Instructions, as signed by Lords Burghley, Howard and Hunsdon, and F. Knollys, Chr. Hatton and Walsingham.
Endd. 1 p. [Holland IV. 13.]
Oct. 4/14. “Advertisements from Byona.”
“Wellbeloved,” I wrote to you by Anthony Barlowe of the state of this country. God be praised, since that day great matters have passed with us, for on the 6th inst., Sir Francis Drake arrived at this island of Byon, with twenty-six goodly ships, in royal order, a royal sight to see. I was called before Señor Pedro Bermodis who requested me to go aboard and know what ships they were.
“When as I came aboard, I was half amazed, but like a stout man I did come before Sir Francis, who I promise you, did give me a friendly courtesy, and did ask me what I did come for.” I told him, to know whether they were men of war or merchants. If merchants, they might come in librement; otherways, what they lacked, they should be provided for. And as I came aboard [sic], I met Sir Francis Drake embarked with two men, who came into Byon, and landed royally, he and all his men, in the island of Our Lady of the Borgo. “There they were so bold as to take the clothes from her, and when they had so done, they took both her and all the rest of her company of the church that she was wont to have.”
That day I was sent four times betwixt the two generals, and with much trouble made a peace that they should join together, on the day of their meeting in Tyse [? Tuy], above Vigo, the 11th inst. when they determined that Bermodis should deliver all merchants and their goods freely. I promise you his (Drake's) coming made all the country quake and run away. He had two days of terrible foul weather, and when it amended, he ordered some of his fleet up to Tyse as before. “On their way they did find the great cross of Vigo, with other two crosses, and all their chalices and their rich copes and all their plate that was belonging to the church, and all that was in the town were fallen into their hands, [so] as the complaints they are terrible against Sir Francis.” If Bermodis complies with him, he will restore all; if not, he will destroy the whole country. “The church in Tyse, the church of the Cobras, the friars of Redondela with other churches, he hath spoiled all, as oxen, sheep and goats.” Of their boasts and nets, they have taken some and sunk or burned others, as carvels and others, Portingals, with salt. But he will restore all that is not spoiled, “with condition that the governor do but give his 'firme' that we do live at liberty, which to-morrow must be done or else he doth swear that he will be clear of his word.” These eight days I have gone to and fro between them. “His royalty, it is a world to see; with all that do come, great and small, he doth keep as open house.” By Titus Johnson I will write more at large. Your friend in Pontevedra is in the Maliado [qy. mal de hijada, i.e. pleurisy], so I cannot give him your letter.—Vigo, 14 October, 1585.
Translation. Endd. 2 pp. [Spain II.]
[Oct.] after 4/14. Advertisements from France.
Paper headed “Recueil de plusieurs lettres.”
Some time ago, the King of Spain sent an ambassador to the King of Navarre to offer him help, to which ambassador the King of Navarre replied:—
” Si vostre maistre m'avoit randu ce qu'il me detient injustement, je pourroie traicter avec luy comme avec l'un de mes bons amis. Je serois marri qu'il pensast que les affaires ausquelles je me trouve me feissent perdre le cœur de luy redemander quoy qu'il tarde. Je ne desespere point de la bonne grace du roy mon seigneur. Je say qu'il a faict. Et tandis que la poincte de ceste espée durera, je n'emploieray point le secours de vostre maistre. Sy je me nuis en cela a moy mesme, au moins je feray ce profit a la France de n'avoir jamais ouvert la porte a son ennemy.”
Those of the Religion have taken the Castle of Montlimar in Dauphiny. They held the town for long against the Catholics of the said country. The followers of the King of Navarre have taken the citadel of Mascon.
A letter of Oct. 1 says that the Prince [of Condé']s army besieging Brouage is about 4,000 harquebusses and 400 horses, not counting two hundred horse, gentlemen of Poitou who remain in their houses to spare the provisions, but would join the army as soon as there was need. There have been several skirmishes, without much harm to either side. The King of Navarre has 1,200 horse and 12,000 harquebusiers, including those brought by Chastillon and Turenne. M. de la Tremouille and the Sieur de Vantadour have joined the party of the King of Navarre.
Wednesday, Sept. 25. Captain Haloc [or Halot], who in his Highness' lifetime had command of the castle of Angiers (hearing that there were very few men there) surprised it, killing “le Capitaine Grec” and three others who were with him to guard the castle, in which the Sieur de Lisle-Brient was held a prisoner, only because he was of the Religion. Captain Haloc lost none of the fifteen men who entered with him. Shortly after, he returned to the town to put twelve more men secretly into the castle, but he was discovered and made prisoner. [Details of the proceedings of those of the town in order to regain possession of the castle.] Having made their dispositions, they invited those of the castle to parley with them. Captain Fresnes was sent out and was killed by townspeople hidden near the corps de garde. Other letters say that Captain Piletiere went out with him and was also killed. On seeing this, those in the castle fired upon those who came to parley and killed a famous advocate and his clerk. Then the townspeople, making a shield of Captain Haloc, sawed down the great bridge, those in the castle not being able to hinder them for fear of killing Haloc; after which they cut trenches round the postern which they keep guarded.
The King hearing of this, sent the Sieur de Monglaz to those in the castle, who declared that they held it for the King of Navarre. It is said that a lieutenant of M. de Montpensier also went to them to whom they made the same reply, and that the said Sieur afterwards had some companies there, but those of Angiers would not trust him, and brought in about three hundred horse without his knowledge, whereat he was so vexed that on Oct. 10 he left the place. Neither would they trust the Comte de la Maignanne, who offered them three hundred men whom he had near by for the King. Their whole confidence is in those who are openly for the League, as M. de Brissac, who is now there with many nobles of Anjou and a large number of soldiers, so that, with the inhabitants of the town, the castle is besieged by quite two thousand men.
Those within it are very resolute and do not spare their cannon, firing even upon the portal of St. Maurice, which is fine, high and very dear to the inhabitants. The Sieur de Brissac and the nobles of Anjou and the people of Angiers keep many of their valuables in the castle, which makes them very anxious to recover it. Those within fight for their life. They are about twenty-seven men, with six women. A parley has been held with them. They demand a thousand crowns apiece, to be paid at La Rochelle, and four of the chief men of Angiers as hostages. M. de Clermont is at Chasteauneuf, about five leagues away, with twelve or fifteen hundred men, mostly horse, in order to try to put men into the castle, and every day expecting more troops with which to join the Prince.
The Prince of Condé has raised the siege of Brouage, after having a great quantity of salt carried away by English and other ships. He went by way of Touars, where he has become betrothed to Mademoiselle de la Tremouille, who is gone to Rochelle. M. de la Tremouille is with the Prince, who has sent about two hundred men to Rochefort, a castle three leagues from Angiers, belonging to Madame de la Tremouille, now his mother-in-law. By his orders all the boats there were seized, and on Sunday and Monday, October 13 and 14 he carried over the whole of his army, which is said to be much greater than when it was before Brouage. All our letters say that M. de Clermont has now joined the Prince with a good force, some say three thousand men, which is quite credible, seeing that men are reported to be flocking to him from all parts, on this side the river. The Comte de la Maignanne has certainly joined him. M. de Guise remains to hinder the passage of the reiters. M. d' Espernon is marrying his sister, widow of the late Duc de Montpensier, and is going into Dauphiny. The Duc du Maine, who was going into Guienne, is coming towards Angiers with his forces.
The King is sending these three lords 400,000 crowns. He is about to sell 200,000 crowns of rents of ecclesiastical property, the Pope having given his consent by his legate, who is at Paris, on condition that the money accrueing from the sale shall only be received by clerks of the said clergy and employed by their consent.
The King demanded from the States lately held at Nantes 13,000 crowns to maintain a garrison in Dinan, which he has granted to M. de Mercœur, and to entertain a company for the said duke.
The State is in danger of utter ruin, “car on joue a bander, a rascler et a pis faire.” The King has shortened the term of his edict, commanding those of the Religion to depart within fifteen days on pain of death and confiscation of goods. May God have pity on his church.
Endd. by Walsingham's clerk; and in a later hand “1584” [sic]. Fr. 5 pp. [France XIV. 94.]
Oct. 6/16. Emmery de Lyere, Governor of Willemstat, to Walsingham.
My great affection to England emboldens me to congratulate your honour upon the happy issue of the treaty between her Majesty and the United Provinces, knowing that you have employed all your credit and authority in this pious work of relieving the oppressed from their miseries and calamities. For it is notorious to all that without this only remedy, the affairs of this country were reduced to such a state that they were in the greatest danger of being exposed to the rage and mercy of their ancient enemies. But her Majesty having received us into her merciful bosom, I doubt not but that God will bless all her heroic enterprises, since she in a way brings back to life the late Prince of Orange in the person of the Earl of Leicester, on whose coming all good men have fixed their hopes that the affairs both of state and war will be restored to their ancient lustre and splendour.
And as for many years I have been devoted to his Excellency's service, I pray that by your intercession I may in the future be acknowledged as one of his very humble servitors.—Willemstadt, in the Isles of Clunaert, 16 October, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 ½ pp. [Holland IV. 14.]


  • 1. Cf. Davison's letter of Oct. 18, p. 93 below.
  • 2. And cf. letter to Earl of Leicester 9–19 October (Cotton MSS., Galba viii, 180) of which an abstract is given by Motley, United Netherlands, i., 324.