Elizabeth: October 1585, 6-10

Pages 67-79

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, 6–10

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.]
Oct. 6. William Browne to Walsingham.
Excusing himself not having taken leave of his honour, as, being lieutenant to Mr. Robert Sydney, who “was commanded to stay,” he was urged to hasten out of England. If (as is reported) Captain Sydney does not come over, he prays to have his company.—6 October, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 15.]
[Oct. 7.] Jacques Valcke to Walsingham.
I have since dinner, received advertisement from Zeeland of the 5th of this month according to the new style, that their deputies, now at the Hague, have informed the States of Zeeland that the States General have approved the agreement made with her Majesty according to that made here heretofore. That they have also promised letters of indemnity to those of Flushing upon the difficulties propounded by them. That those of Holland are arranging to yield the Brill into Mr. Davison's hands, on behalf of her Majesty, not doubting that the same will shortly be done as to Flushing. That they are eagerly expecting the coming of the Earl of Leicester and other lords, in performance of the treaty. That the town of Bergen is furnished with two thousand English soldiers under Captain Williams.
That nothing certainly is known at the moment of the enemy, save that they are in great need of victuals and that nothing may be taken to Antwerp or elsewhere for them, on pain of hanging.
Postscript.—All the English troops passed muster at Utrecht on Sept. 24 [n.s.] in good order, to the great pleasure of everyone.
Add. Endd. by Walsingham's clerk “ 7 October.” Fr. 1 p. [Holland IV. 16.]
Copy of the above. [Ibid. IV. 17.]
Oct. 7/17. Colonel Norreys to Count Maurice and the Council of State.
On the 13th inst.[n.s.] we left Utrecht with twelve English and two Flemish companies and have found this quarter but very sparingly provided both with ammunition and victuals because of the enemy's forts, which everywhere close the rivers; so that I believe their provisions will [not] sustain our troops more than a fortnight. I beg that order may be given without delay for hastening the reduction of the Flemish companies, in order that, according to your lordships' promise the twelve English companies may be sent back, inasmuch as I foresee that the emergencies here will be such that we shall be able to do little or nothing with the small number of men now with us. But we will do our duty and not let any opportunity be neglected, and pray you to do likewise, that the service of her Majesty and your lordships may not be hindered, and that the inhabitants of this quarter may be delivered from the strait besieging of their rivers. And as the month of the last payment is expired, I pray earnestly that you will resolve on such means that the money may be speedily sent hither to pay both parties; for in case the companies of her Majesty receive their pay, most certainly if you do not the same to those at your charges we shall not be able to keep them together. I have desired to give your lordships timely warning of these things, that you may not later pretend ignorance thereof, praying God to inspire you with such resolution that the poor afflicted people of this quarter may be lifted up from the great oppressions by which they are crushed, for the procuring whereof I shall ever be ready to do all in my power.—Arnhem, 17 October, 1585.
Postscript.—Since writing the above, I have received information from Count Hohenloe that the enemy is making ready some troops to come into these quarters, therefore I beg that the English soldiers may be sent back at once, seeing that he does not intend to enterprise anything in the parts of Bergen.
Copy. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holland IV. 18.]
Oct. 8. Stafford to Burghley.
By my letters of the 2nd and 8th to Mr. Secretary, your lordship will see what passes here, and that I kept the bearer to see whether the edict would be published or no, which was done yesterday. “As I writ to Mr. Secretary of Epernon [and ?] Wiqgnstayn [sic] so truly Sir it was a matter of the chiefest importance of anything was enterprised since I came hither; considering the intent of that which thereupon should have been executed. They of the Religion here were never put so much to their trumps with nothing, and could not tell which way to compass it. I dare write to you that which I will write to nobody else; that if I had not ventured a joint, it had been done, for all the world could not persuade him from it; but at length it is fallen out things have been brought unto Epernon by such means and in such sort, and with that likelihood of truth, that he himself came to the French King and told him plainly he would not go with those reasons, as the King, who pressed the matter more than any, was contented himself to be the breaker of it.”
To speak plainly, unless your lordship advise me to the contrary (which I will follow), I will never, as to any service, send home to know whether I shall do it, “but do like an honest man and that will always answer himself. [If] I had done otherwise in this, I know I should have been letted of it, for I find I can send home to ask to do nothing that may be well done or win me credit withal, but it will be misliked of; and if that I had done so in this, after the steed had been gone, we might have shut the stable door.”—Paris, 8 October, 1585.
Holograph. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [France XIV. 95.]
Oct. 8. (fn. 1) Roger Williams to Walsingham.
“This bearer, Captain Lytellton, requested me to desire your honour's favourable countenance. His meaning is to bring over a hundred soldiers to inforce his company; without your honour's favour he cannot walk the streets.
“I came to this town six days agone. Being within three leagues the States sent us direction to send three companies to Lyllo; one to Williamstat. The next day after our arrival the enemy presented afore the town; we issued out, had a great skirmish, fleyst' two hundred pikes in the sight of all the rest. They tell me they care not for so many horsemen as themselves. We have certain intelligence the enemy has thirty battering pieces ready mounted to march towards us; it is like, for if he marches to another place the garrison of this town will undo Antwerp. This town is of no strength to abide a siege (sig) of ten thousand there must be in it three thousand six hundred. In six hours with such a battery as they mean to bring in the strongest place they will make a breach of twelve score, we have but four great pieces that is worth anything; small munition with a small store of victuals. Besides our eight companies the rest are not four hundred strong. To advertise the States is to no purpose, notwithstanding with God's help he shall be fought withal on the breach and come ont what will, he never gets one of our ensigns; I mean in this town. At the worst I will burn them. At the first sight of their vanguard we mean to turn out the burghers, women and children.
“The Prince is in Antwerp with the most of his nobility; all the artillery that were on the river are in the Castle Green. He has disarmed the burghers; raised a great trench betwixt the castle and the town. He prepares what he can to the water; keeps his buildings so secret that few knows what they do. Two days agone, a burgo was executed because he looked over the walls on their works. His Spaniards and Italians with a few cornets are paid; the Walloons, Burgonians, Almains with most of the cavalry are not paid. The great [part] of his army lieth at 'Stauburch' within two leagues and a half of this town; they were all in a mutiny this five days; yesterday the Prince was amongst them; promised to pay them presently. At his return to Antwerp proclamation was made, pain of death, for every one to repair to his cornet and ensign. This morning the minister of the town carried two to me which came from Antwerp at the shutting of the gates. They say his artillery is out of the town with a number of boats and wagons; by those boats his enterprise should be on some of the islands, wherefore we advertised Senebergen, Williamstat, Tergose and Tertole.
“Unless her Majesty places her garrisons very shortly, all will be nought here. This is my reason, besides the great intelligence he has with Holland and Zeeland with a number of instruments to advance his affairs. Your honour knows these people are very 'timberus' and variable, apt to conclude to a shameful peace or to deliver places 'unpreniable' at any overthrow. I do remember twelve years agone when Mondragon entered Middleburg, the fleet of Antwerp came afore the Island of Zeeland, sailed round about, remained unfought until Mondragon entered Middleburg. In those days we were two hundred men of war. Now in our fleet afore Lillo we are not thirty; nothing so well governed, manned or munitioned as the first. Antwerp is better in artillery, munition and all manner of provisions to arm a fleet; more store of mariners and shipping; the people recoiling (?) on their side in general almost. Wherefore I pray God her Highness' garrisons be placed afore there be any fight on the water.
“All my trust is to have commandment amongst the cavalry. It grieved me the last day to be on foot and to see the enemies braving on horseback, leave and take at their pleasure. My mind gives me, had I had two hundred lances, I would a carried in to this town three score of their horsemen.
“True it is I have great pay on foot. I had rather take half on horseback, wherefore I do humbly desire your honour to remember me if there comes any. Without horsemen our wars will be nothing in the field.”—Berges, 8 October.
Postscript.—” Since I began this letter poor 'Assilers' with ten Scots are taken afore the gates.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 5 p. [Holland IV. 19.]
Oct. 8/18. M. Combes to Walsingham.
Has not been able to go to the Count of “Nuenart,” being here with the Estates. Warns him about the Italian who is coming to the Court, and has certainly come from the Prince of Parma in much friendship. It will be best to get rid of him, for all that he says is false.
Here the people only need a good chief, and the sooner the better, to break evil designs and prevent the enemy from enterprising anything upon the doubtful towns. As the people put off all their affairs until the coming of the Earl of Leicester, it is more than necessary for the welfare of her Majesty and the country that he should come speedily, or evil may ensue to some of the towns, and people begin to murmur; for they are devoted to him, and it is incredible how welcome he will be.
Wishes the Queen and the King of Navarre knew as well as he does how the enemy seeks their death. When princes and great ones warn them of it, they take no heed, and believe it is only said to flatter them; but more wicked things have been proposed to him than he has told them, and it behoves her Majesty to take better care. M. Rougier has close correspondence with Dr. Meptellus at Cologne, one of the greatest enemies they have and writes to him of all that passes in England.—Del [Delft], 18 October, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2 ½ pp. [Ibid. IV. 20.]
Oct. [on or before the 8th]. Privy Council to the Commissioners of the Hanses.
The Queen has signified her pleasure that the decrees affecting Hanse merchants in her realm be not at present abolished, as she finds that the promises made by the Alderman of the Steelyard in September of last year—namely that the decrees against her merchants should be abolished and a residence granted to them at Hamburg—has not been made good, but that the commissioners say they have no power to promise anything as to the residence, which was the very thing that her Majesty specially asked for in all her letters to the Hanse lords (dominos Hansiaticos).
If the Hanse lords or those of Hamburg think fit to grant this residence, her Majesty promises that the decrees shall be at once abolished and the Hanse merchants restored to their former privileges. They shall buy and sell in the city of London, Blackwell Hall and elsewhere; they shall be treated as naturalized subjects of the realm with regard to the custom on cloth; the Queen will gratify them yearly with a suitable number of white cloths, notwithstanding the statute to the contrary; their alleged grievances against the Mayor of London shall be relieved as far as possible, and as to all other matters at issue, general as well as particular, the Queen will appoint commissioners to treat with their representatives in a friendly fashion.
Although her Majesty is sole judge of all privileges granted in her realm, and recognises no superior, yet she doubts not but that this arrangement will accord with the Emperor's letter which they, the commissioners, have brought.
Endd. “October, 1585. Minute of answer to the Ambassadors of the Hanses.” Latin. 2 ¼ pp. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 20.].
Oct. 8. The Hanse Commissioners to the Lords of the Council.
Seeing that the Queen promised an answer to our letters, and yourselves, in the conference at Nonsuch, urged a reciprocal abrogation of the decrees, putting your promises in writing at Wimbledon, we were buoyed up with hope that it might be possible to come to an agreement. But now, as you explain yourselves differently and persist in your decrees, not considering that it is not a mere abrogation of these that is asked for, but that we have been sent to treat for a comprehensive settlement of the whole matter. we find to our sorrow that all our labour and expense is wasted. We therefore pray that we may be allowed to take leave of her Majesty and return home.
Lest, however, we should seem to have failed in our duty, or to have come hither so unprepared and uninstructed as not to be able to propose fair and mutually tolerable conditions for a residence, we must shortly refer to those heads of a mutual intercourse which we began to explain at Nonsuch, but from which we were distracted by your ordering the Adventurers to exhibit the former heads relating to Hamburg, or extracts therefrom. As you, in your answer, make no mention of those fifty-six very ample heads to be granted by the Hanse towns, these are the first of them:—
1. Protection by land and sea to be guaranteed, that the goods of appellants' ships and merchants be not plundered by pirates; a fate which happens almost daily to the Hanse merchants on your coast.
2. Equal dues and customs to be paid by both parties.
3. Free exportation and importation of all merchandise, native and foreign, without restriction by statutes, decrees or licences.
4. Free right to buy and sell, either by travelling through the realms or by contracting, within the walls of a maritime city, with outsiders.
5. Right to dwell during pleasure and to possess a house of residence and govern it, provided that nothing be done to the prejudice of free trade. Such a house, indeed, the Hanse merchants possess here, but not without a burden, as the other heads relating to commerce are defective.
Since therefore her Majesty demands a free and unrestricted right of trading for her subjects at Hamburg, it is incumbent on you to consider whether she has hitherto been willing to permit the associated States to have such freedom ; whether it is not fair that such privileges should be reciprocal, and whether, as none of the said fifty-six articles has hitherto been presented to the other States, we may not rightly be said to have fulfilled the Alderman's offer.
Moreover, as the associated States have asked you to name any further equitable privilege which you desire at Hamburg, and make an offer in return therefor, they feel confident of being able to prove to all Christian princes that they have done their best, especially if it be added that commerce, while claimed and exercised there by the English in all freedom, is here restricted not only by the decree whose abrogation we demand, but by licences and other burdens.
Seeing that Walsingham has told our Alderman that the King of Poland wrote asking that nothing in this treaty should be allowed to prejudice him, we append a verbal translation of our instructions in this matter, beseeching you, again and again, not to blame us if we have been more troublesome than you would have wished ; but to see to it that we may have your opinion and decision on the matters at issue in writing and under seal, to enable us to give an authentic and positive answer to our masters, thereby enabling any future negotiations to be carried on more successfully, and any future commissioners to come more fully instructed.—London, 8 October, 1585.
Latin. 2 pp. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 21.]
[Oct., after the 8th.] “A breviate of the late negotiation between her Majesty's Councillors and the ambassadors of the Hanse.
“Her Majesty in all her letters . . . and the Lords in their decrees have insisted upon a residence at Hamburg and thought it not fit otherwise to abolish the decrees made here.
“In September was two years, the Alderman of the Stylliard offered an abrogation of the decrees beyond the seas and a residence at Hamburg upon reasonable conditions ; and desired that one might be sent to Lubeck to treat thereof ; but their lordships' answer was that they thought the matter might be more conveniently intreated of here.
“Hereupon these ambassadors are come with a letter unto her Majesty from the Steedes, pretending that in their lordships' order somewhat was dark, which needed a more special declaration, and for that purpose they had sent the said ambassadors hither to understand her Majesty's mind more perfectly.
“Their lordships have signified unto them that unless there may be a residence granted at Hamburg . . . her Highness cannot consent unto the taking away of the decrees.
“But if it shall please the Steedes to abolish their decrees, and also to grant a residence at Hamburg, that then they shall be forthwith restored to such liberties as they have at any time enjoyed with her Majesties coming to the crown, and also their lordships will treat with them of such other points as are in controversy.
“They say that they have no commission to conclude, and so, having fully understood her Majesty's meaning, are desirous to return home.”
Endd. 1 p. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 22.]
Oct. 9/19. [Captain Williams] to the Baron of Grehange [qy. Creange] and the Admiral [Justin] of Nassau.
Hears from divers that the enemy intends to attack La Doulhe [Doel], and to batter the fort of Lifksouc [Lifkenshoek], mounting strong artillery on the dykes after their ships have passed from Antwerp to fight our fleet.
Is in this town with 1,300 English, but would gladly part with half of them to second his lordship or the admiral by sea or land. But for the great winds, he would have gone to kiss their hands.
Prays the Baron to show favour to the three English companies at Lillo, and if possible not to separate them from the rest, as he fears they have hardly an experienced officer among them. With the first fine weather he will come to them.—Bergen, 19 October, 1585, stilo novo.
Copy. No signature. Fr. 1 p. [Holland IV. 21.]
Oct. 10/20. M. de Chasteauneuf to the Council.
Requests justice for French subjects and especially for the following:—
Jehan Frangeault, a merchant of Bourdeaux, to whom is due a debt of 200l. sterling from Mr. Seckford (fn. 2) (le Sieur de Sakford). M. de Mauvissiere many times urged this and even obtained letters from the King, his master, which he sent to M. Walsingham; but notwithstanding all Frangeault's diligence and charges, he has obtained nothing and his expences now exceed the original sum.
A French merchant of St. Jean de Luz, whose ship was a few days ago taken by the English and is now in Plymouth harbour. They are prayed to restore it with the merchandise and all other things that were in it.
The Sieur de St. Jehan. M. Walsingham is asked to speak to the Queen on his matter, pursuant to the French King's letter thereupon.
A merchant of St. Malo named Jehan Pepin, whose ship has been stayed at Bristol by merchants of that port, pretending that certain vessels and goods of theirs had been detained by inhabitants of the said port, which is not the case; and if any proof be produced, they relate to some English who, directly contravening the treaties agreed to between their Majesties, assisted the Rochellois (then besieged) with victuals and munition. But although the merchants ought not to make any claim, nevertheless Pepin offers to give security to the estimated value of his ship and goods until he has shown the Lords of the Council that the letters of commission given to the merchants were obtained by falsehood.—London, 20 October, 1585. Signed de l'Aubespine Chasteauneuf and de Seuer [secretary].
Endd. Fr.pp. [France XIV. 96.]
Oct. 10. Capt. Henry Norreys to Davison.
The “gurgemasters” (fn. 3) since your departure have made new keys and locks to set on the gates, that they might have the guard thereof as well as I and that I might not open them without them; but I would not suffer them and have referred them to your lordship for direction. Moreover the States have sent all officers in the town to me for their entertainment, saying they have nothing to do with them, the town being delivered into her Majesty's hands. Not they only but our own soldiers desire you to hasten their pay, the month being expired. For myself, the States refer me to the contract, wherein is set down the entertainment for the governor. I humbly desire you to remember me, considering the charges I must be at, and also to have in remembrance the re-inforcing of our garrison with another company, or else that we may have authority to raise our companies to two hundred apiece.—Brill, 10 October.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland IV. 22.]
Oct. 10. Colonel Norreys to Walsingham.
As yesterday I received yours of September 23, telling me of some abuse touching Captain Hynder, who is one of the captains I have sent to Flushing, so that I cannot now answer anything; but I will write to him and doubt not but that he will satisfy you; otherwise so much of his entertainment shall be stayed as will answer it.
I have sent Count Hollock her Majesty's letter [see p. 52 above], but fear the proposal for him to fortify about the Sluys will make him employ some English companies, and if so “they will go near to be lost, for they shall not be there fortifying twice twenty hours but the enemy will come to seek them.
“As for the strength of those places, I have already sent your honour Captain Erington's opinion of Ostend, whereof I do not altogether allow, but think it far more guardable than he makes it, and is to be succoured by sea as long as they shall keep the old town, which with 1,200 men is not to be easily lost. As for Sluys, it is strong by situation, but I fear the haven may be taken away, and yet sithence I came over, I have learned that at full sea it is so broad that boats may pass out of danger of any fort that can be made.
“For fighting with the enemy, the States have so dispersed our troops that there is left us little means to fight, except it be in a trench, but I could wish that her Majesty might be dissuaded from that course of war, for otherways we shall be always on the losing hand, and the only way to defend towns is to have a reasonable army in the field . . . and the greater the garrison is, the harder to be provided for.”
I have received no letter from her Majesty to Count Neuenaar, who is now governor of Gueldres, Utrecht and Overyssel, and general of the forces in these parts; so that much depends on him, and he seems very affectionate to her Majesty's service. I pray you procure a letter from her to him.
For what we do here I refer you to my letter to the Lords. The five hundred pioneers have arrived “so sore beaten at the sea as they are very poor, yet come to stand us in great stead.” I pray you solicit my Lord Treasurer that we may want no money to pay the soldiers, as it would be a great hindrance to the service, and the States “will quickly take hold of the same.”—Arnhem, 10 October, 1585.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holland IV. 23.]
Oct.10/20. Jaques Rossel to Walsingham.
I have already thanked you for your kind intention to put me in the list of those to be recommended by her Majesty to the lord who is to come into these countries, to whom I will do very humble service and inform him of the state of the provinces as fully as any man in the country. To which end I await his arrival at Middelburg, as also the introduction of her Majesty's troops into Flushing and Rammekins. Mr. Davison having put the garrison into the Brill is here awaiting the arrival of Count Hollock and also the English companies, which have been dispersed by storms; some being at the “Platte,” others at “Remuz” until the tempest subsides. I have given him all needful advice concerning Flushing, where, as in Noah's ark, are all sorts of wild beasts; but also many good ones, devoted to her Majesty.
In Holland they have made several reductions in the troops; but there are very few in the Council who have judgment or knowledge of the sufficiency or valour of the captains kept in the service. His late Highness, who knew them, used the opinion and advise of those who had best noticed them in exploits of war. So far as I see, all is now guided by the opinion of Count Hollock, who is more feared than liked by the troops; so that if the nobleman from her Majesty does not command absolutely, I do not think things will succeed; Mr. Davison having spoken to me so seriously of affairs up to now that I know not what to say; while I see General Norreys (Noritz) about the quarter of Gueldres, less well seconded than I could wish, but have never-theless put myself under his obedience, believing that you will be very desirous for me to support him in the service of the war, where many will follow him with but little affection. He has gone upon some exploit, otherwise he would have come to Flushing.
The Prince of Parma has kept the gates of Antwerp shut for six days save one, and in the city, in the quarter of the avenues to the castle there is a guard, and none may pass. It is believed they are making preparations against either the fleet, Bergen, or some other places, but no one knows what.
The Admiral de Nassau went to the fleet on the 17th new style, to re-furnish it with troops and await the enemy's attack if he comes that way.
They have broken the order for passports for Antwerp, but at the suit of the merchants they will allow the passage for some days, which would not be permitted if her Majesty's authority held there. All such commerce should be broken, which is the cause of all the disorder and loss of the provinces.
As to France, those who have boasted of that King's sincere intentions are finely mistaken, for he has cast aside his mask and hurled his venom against those of the Religion.—Middelburg, 20 October, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holland IV. 24.]
Oct. 10. Bonaventure van Oncle to Walsingham.
Since his arrival with the deputies of the States General, has desired nothing more than to pay his respects to his honour, but has feared to trouble him. Prays to be allowed to do so at the earliest time possible. Is exiled for the third time by the sad event at Antwerp, and the deputies can testify that he has always employed himself for the rightful cause against the tyranny of the King of Spain. They have presented him to the Earl of Leicester to serve him as secretary for the Low Countries for the Flemish and French despatches, a post he has held for nine or ten years with certain princes and lords having the chief charge of the government over there, but who have now revolted from the party of the faithful, there remaining only himself of all the secretaries of those lords who are reconciled with the Spanish King.
Add. Endd. with date. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 25.]
[Oct. 10.] Davison to Walsingham.
So soon as I had settled things at the Brill, where, as you may perceive by my last, I left Mr. Henry Norris, Hill and Roberts with their companies, i returned to the Hague to see the Act sent by Mr. Bruyn signed by the rest of the deputies, but finding all the commissioners departed home save Menin and Hersolt, who declared that their commission was expired “and the thing I desired already performed, as they took it, in the Act passed between the States and me,” I thought good to suspend further proceedings, and departing thence, the next day came hither on Wednesday night, “having in my way visited the Count Hohenloe and received his promise to follow me so soon as he should hear of the passing by of our companies, . . . who coming to Dordrecht the same morning I departed, which was on Tuesday last, arrived not here till yesternight, (fn. 4) by reason of the foul weather.”
This day I look for the Count and to-morrow hope to see these places put into my possession for her Majesty's use with all the ceremony that appertaineth.
The governors should be hastened over, both for these two places and the Brill with all convenient speed, and some better choice made of the companies and commanders “to remain in garrisons of so great moment and importance than are upon this necessity thrust into the one and other.”
And though her Majesty send over but the like number of ensigns, viz. five for Flushing and the Rammekins and three for the Brill, yet they should be underhand made up 200 strong, and charge given to the captains to keep them complete, which, if they do their duty may easily be done; and if the like were performed for the rest of the troops, especially those at her Majesty's pay, it would save the charge of a great many needless officers, as those of Zeeland do, whose companies in Flushing and elsewhere are 200 or 250 strong. The three at the Brill are not above 400, too weak for the guard of the town and forts, and those sent hither hardly 600 strong; “which requireth the more haste of a governor and supply from thence, considering the importance of the place and nature of the people we have to do withal.”
Upon Sir Philip Sydney's arrival I mean to use her Majesty's licence for my return home for some few days “to take order in my poor business” and to be afterwards the apter to do her service. [There is no need to hasten in transporting of horses, as the States show no disposition to make a winter camp. This paragraph cancelled.]
For my better help at Flushing amongst a company of young commanders I have determined to use Captain Bennet as serjeant-major, “a man very honest, valiant and of good experience and discretion,” whom I pray you to remember for some charge either of horse or foot of those to be sent over. He has served continually on horseback for seven or eight years, and is fittest to have a cornet of horse.
Mr. Norreys has marched towards Gueldres “with some nineteen or twenty ensigns of his troops, already diminished and weakened with sickness, upon some enterprise taken in hand between the Count of Moeurs and him, whom the enemy attendeth with good diligence, having put nine ensigns into Nimeguen and strengthened his garrisons in other places thereabouts to bid him welcome.” The States were unwilling he should keep the field, and I have dissuaded him “what I may” both in regard of the season, the sickness of our people, his small numbers and the need of their employment elsewhere, besides the inconvenience which might follow if they were defeated. They of Zeeland have written for six ensigns to put in Tertollen and Tergoes, “where it is suspected the enemy will attempt somewhat, having prepared a number of skutes to transport his people, and little provision yet to resist him, a thing that would be of very dangerous consequence to the rest of the Islands.” We hear that the gates of Antwerp have been kept shut these eight or ten days, in which time no man has come thence, which confirms the suspicion of some enterprise of moment in had. Thirteen or fourteen pieces of battery are planted on the ditch by Blauguaren (?) on this side Lillo, forcing the fleet to retire and endangering the forts of Lillo and Lifkenshook, where are three companies of our nation, and the rest very weakly provided for. [Middelburg.]
Holograph draft. 3 pp. [Holland IV. 26.]


  • 1. Comparison with his letter on p. 50 shows that this one is dated n.s. and should have been put to Sept. 28. Williams' dating is erratic.
  • 2. One of the Masters of Requests.
  • 3. i.e. “burgemeesters”; burgomasters.
  • 4. The companies arrived on Saturday, the 9th. See Davison's letter of the 14th, below.