Elizabeth: October 1585, 11-15

Pages 79-88

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, 11–15

Oct. 11/21. The French King to Elizabeth.
Complaining that “le Sieur Drack,” general of her fleet, having met near Cape Finisterre a ship named La Magdelaine, returning from her first voyage laden with salt from Portugal, belonging to Jaques Piocheau, marine merchant of Sables d'Ollonne, stayed the said ship, with her artillery, equipage and merchandise, saying that he had need of her for her Majesty's service, the whole being valued at 2,800 crowns, not including the interests. Prays her to do him right, seeing that all was taken and employed for her service and the supply of her fleet; and moreover, as in view of the peace and amity between them, her general ought not to touch what belongs to his subjects, he desires that she will give him orders to make no further such seizures, and to recompense the said merchant, according to what she will learn more at large from the Sieur de Chasteauneuf, now resident ambassador with her.—Paris, 21 October, 1585.
Signed. Countersigned Pinart. Add. Endd. “21 April” in error. Fr 1 p. [France XIV. 97.]
Oct.11. Davison to Sir William Pelham.
“I know you long to hear from myself what success my business here hath taken, wherein . . . the difficulties and crosses I have met withal do make me loth to triumph before the victory.” Twenty days ago, things were concluded between the States and me, and on the last of the past month I took possession of the Brill, where I left three ensigns till order be taken for its better government, “which I could wish might fall to your lot, rather for her Highness' service than for your ease sake.” Last Wednesday I arrived here to proceed in like assurance of Flushing and the Rammekins, being followed by the companies appointed for them, and now look hourly for the Count Hollocque, deputed to see it put in execution. That done, I could wish the governor here to ease me of the burden laid upon me till his coming. What companies are allotted to these garrisons, and how aptly chosen, this bearer can inform you.—Middelburg, 11 October, 1585.
“Minute.” 1 p. Endd. [Holland IV. 27.]
Oct. 12/22. The States General to Davison.
Your lordship will see by the copy of General “Noritz'” letter to his Excellency and the Council of State that he demands payment from us for all the companies which he has levied at our charge in England and this promptly, or he fears he cannot keep them together.
As we presume that this proceeds from his ignorance of the last treaty of ampliation made with you on the 2nd inst., by which her Majesty has charged herself with the entertainment during this war of 5,000 foot men and 1,000 horse, besides the garrisons of the Brill, Flushing and the castle of Rammekins; and that the said 5,000 footmen should be furnished and kept complete, both as to the 4,000 sent for the aid of Antwerp and the troops which General Noritz has levied in England at our charge; and also that the provisional treaty has been converted into the principal one, as is contained in the Act of ampliation, and that those deducted, of all the troops, reduced to forty-six ensigns of 150, including the four companies of Ostend, there will only remain at our charge the payment of a thousand heads or thereabouts; we desired to inform your lordship thereof, praying you at once to instruct General Noritz and explain to him that except the residue of the said soldiers, he must apply to the treasurer of her Majesty, and discharge us of the further payment which he claims; and also to desire him to lend a helping hand with the soldiers, that the inconveniences he fears may not ensue, to the great disservice of her Majesty and the country. Being on our part resolved to fulfil every point of the treaty and to give both her Majesty and the General full satisfaction. We also enclose a copy of our letter to the General.—The Hague, 22 October, 1585.
Signed C. Aerssens. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid. IV. 28.]
Enclosing :
(1) Letter from Colonel Norreys, calendared on p. 68 above.
(2) Letter from the States General to Norreys, to the same effect as that to Davison.—The Hague, 22 October, 1585.
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Ibid. IV. 29.]
Oct. 13. The Deputies of the States to Walsingham.
As it is long since they heard from the States General, and her Majesty does not wish the lords to leave until she hears from Mr. Davison, they are sending an express to Holland and have hired a vessel which will start this evening or to-morrow morning. If his honour chooses to give their man any commands, they shall be faithfully carried out.—London, 13 October, 1585, stylo anglico.
Signed by all four deputies. Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Holland IV. 30.]
Oct. 13. Davison to Burghley.
To the same effect as that to Walsingham below, but without the postscript.—Middelburg, 13 October, 1585.
Minute. Endd.pp. [Ibid. IV. 31.]
Oct. 13. Davison to Walsingham.
On returning to the Hague I found all the commissioners departed home save Menin and Hersolt, and so thought good to leave the signing of the Act to another opportunity, and departing from thence on Sunday was sennight, came hither on Wednesday last, where ever since I have “attended” the coming of Count Hohenloe, which being put off from day to day gives me cause to suspect some ill measure. [Margin, in Burghley's hand, “he departed the 3 of October, came to Midd. 6 October, hath attended till the 13.”]
The five companies sent by the General having been ten or twelve days on the way by reason of the weather, came to Armue last Saturday and are now in this town, waiting for their entry into Flushing. “Their captains are Mr. Edward Norris (to whom his brother hath give commandment over the rest) Simmes, Ri. Winckfielde, Hinder and Rolles; themselves all young commanders and their companies neither so strong or well furnished . . . as had been convenient; and of those a great many sick and some dead by the way and since their coming hither; so as both for her Majesty's honour and to avoid the distasting of those of Flushing, I have been driven to employ my credit” both for money and cloth to relieve their necessities until the coming of the Treasurer, in the mean time they being all without pay, a thing very needful to be provided for coming into a town where the soldier has always been well paid and nothing to be had for ours but for ready money. I beseech you that the governors may be hastened over to settle things in better sort both here and at the Brill.
The three companies at the Brill are not above 400 strong, and these five, sick and whole, under 700; in whose place if her Majesty send any from home, it were not amiss to increase each company to 200, “which may be done underhand, and kept complete with good looking to, as were requisite if her Majesty think to be assured of the places. The General is gone towards the fort above Arnheim, upon the Yssel, where I fear he will rather waste those troops he hath with him and lose his time than effect anything of moment, the enemy in the mean time renforcing himself thereabouts to bid him welcome. On this side we are yet uncertain what he intendeth. Since the assurance of Barrow by the entry of Captain Williams, with eight ensigns of ours (which otherwise was in great hazard for some suspected intelligence he had within it) it is doubted that his drift is now to attempt the forts upon the river, at this present weakly provided for, or else to fall upon the Isles of Tergous or Tertollen, both which are much suspected for the number of papists and partialists that are in them.” He has provided faggots to fill up ditches, and flat-bottomed `skutes' to transport his people, besides hoys and other vessels, mostly drawn down to Callo, ready for his exploit.—Middelburg, 13 October, 1585.
Postscript.—By the enclosed from Mr. Henry Norrys you will see the need of a good choice and despatch of governors for these cautionary towns, “where otherwise one difficulty will beget another. The novelty attempted at the Brill since my departure about the keys” proceeds from those who seek any occasion to set the burghers and our people at difference, and so the better hinder the success of things here. I hear nothing of Count Hohenloe but a common bruit that he is on the way. Villiers is come with letters from Count Maurice, but to what end I know not, “though I find cause enough to be jealous, things proceeding as they do.”
Our people, after lying ten or twelve days upon the ships are here disposed in churches, without meat or money. The undertreasurer [George Lecester] returned yesternight from the General without mean or order to content them. If better order be not taken, it will be hard to keep the soldiers in obedience or this people in devotion. I have already given my credit for some two hundred pounds Flemish in money and cloth, and am pressed by Lester to do as much for five or six hundred more, “without which I see not how these companies may enter the town with her Majesty's honour or live there one day in any order, where nothing is to be had but for ready money.”
I pray you hasten the governors, lest what has been brought with so much travail to this point be overthrown in a moment.—Middelburg, 14 October, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland IV. 32.]
Minute of the preceding.
Endd.pp. [Ibid. IV. 33.]
Oct. 14. Stafford to Burghley.
“I was very sorry to hear the last day by Mr. Secretary's letters that the King of Scots (fn. 1) hath but dallied with the Queen and that he is to go somewhither by sea with Arran his favourite. Truly Sir, if Mr. Secretary have not made the Queen acquainted with what I writ to him long agone of a letter that was written with his own hand to the Bishop of Glasgow to desire them here not to ground upon his manner of dealing with the Queen (for the end should try all), he hath done me great wrong and the Queen more, and if your Lordship think good, I pray you to make the Queen acquainted withal in what manner you shall think best, that that hath come from me to him a great while agone, to Mr. Secretary, which might make us to stand in fear and to look well to him that he dealt not doubly with us.
“Yesterday the artillery, four demi cannons, and two demi culverines with such bad furniture as they have, went from this town towards Guienne, and this day M. de Mayne receiveth of the clergy 120 thousand crowns, and to-morrow he is to go after the artillery, toward Guienne. If the clergy be as long about the getting the money for all the months to come as they have been for this, and that he have not better artillery with him than this, the first town he cometh at in Guienne, I think some will curse this devilish league.”—Paris, 14 October, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XIV. 98.]
Oct. 14. Davison to Leicester.
So soon as I had set some order at the Brill I hastened to do the like for these places, where arriving on Wednesday was sevennight, I have ever since attended on the arrival of Count Hohenloe, of whom I hear yet no news at all, “which giveth me very great cause of jealousy, howsoever it be excused.” The companies have been here since Saturday last, and (by reason of their long and foul passage hither and their ill-accommodating here, where they fall sick daily) are in very ill plight for those garrisons; their number, sick and whole, not above 700, “of whom two are of the voluntary companies and come hither in very weak and ill case.” [Names of captains.] “The Count Hohenloe, before my coming out of Holland, pretended a journey into England. . . . Some of his friends do excuse his stay thus long upon some provision in that behalf, though I suspect another drift, the man being more than half-discontented to see his kingdom so near an end; and that humour, as I doubt, nourished by such captains and others his followers as either for fear to be cast or mislike of our nation, would hinder it all they may.” The Council here have sent daily into Holland to know the cause but have no answer. The companies thrust into these important places not being fit either in quality or number, I doubt not but you will see them otherwise supplied.
The longing here for your coming is very great; “if it be not all the sooner, I hope to return time enough to attend upon [you], if Sir Philip Sydney and the other governors were here to discharge me of the burden laid upon me,” which I pray you further all you can.—Middelburg, 14 October, 1585.
Minute. Endd. 1 p. [Holland IV. 34.]
Oct. 14. Davison to Capt. Henry Norris.
“I have received your letter, [see p. 75 above] and marvel much of the alteration happened since my departure in the making of new keys and locks to the gates, though I do partly gather the authors and scope thereof.” But it were absurd to yield to it, and you will do well to pray them to forbear it until the coming of the governor. The sending to you the officers in the town for entertainment “hath as little reason, which you can answer well enough.” Touching the pay of your garrison I cannot answer until I hear from the General what order he has taken, which I will do my best to hasten. “For yourself, you shall do ill to make any motion to the States for any allowance, being a matter that toucheth her Majesty and at her disposition,” wherein you shall not want my poor recommendation. The strengthening of your companies is best deferred till we know her further pleasure, which I hope will not be long, if the wind will let my letters go over.—Middelburg, 14 October, 1585.
Copy. ¾ p. [Holland IV. 35.]
Oct. 14/24. Count Hohenloe to Davison.
The reason of my long stay here has been only that in consequence of the weather, I have not known where I should find the English troops which are to go into Flushing; and also that the Council of State had determined to send me for some days to the fleet. But as I just now receive news that the said troops have arrived at Middelburg, I will not fail to start with the first getie (fn. 2) to come to you, and to execute that with which it may please you to charge me.—Delft, 24 October. 1585.
Signed. Add. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. IV. 36.]
Oct. 14/24. The Princess of Orange to Burghley.
The condition of the whole house of Nassau, to which I have the honour to be allied, and especially of my son the Count of Nassau and myself is such that you and all good men will excuse us if we are importunate towards those from whom we hope for aid. And as in an affair concerning which we have already solicited the Earl of Leicester to intercede for us with the Queen, we know you have the means to aid us, we beg you to use your influence also in our behalf.—Flushing, 24 October, 1585.
Signed, Louyse de Colligny. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 37.]
Oct. 14. Colonel Norreys to the Lords of the Council.
According to my last to your honours of the 10th instant, I placed three other great pieces of artillery on this side the water in a sconce that I caused to be made against the fort, but the water increased so much (by means of wet weather) that I thought it best (although not fully ready) to begin to batter, which we did yesterday morning at six o'clock, and continued until two in the afternoon. “Finding that our artillery did not work to good effect, as we looked for, by means of the unskilfulness of the gunners and by the breadth of the river, thought it good, having provided some boats to be assistant, to make proffer of an assault, to take knowledge of the height of the rampart and the depth of the ditch; but such was the unskilful fury of our soldiers as in a great hour they could not be drawn back, although the place was nothing suitable, nor by no means to be entered. In this attempt we lost between fifty and three score men, but none of any account saving Captain Heminge, who had the charge of one of the boasts . . . and being half way over was slain with a great piece.”
I never knew raw soldiers more forward in service, so that in short time they will be able to do anything against the enemy “that is for men to do.”
I must above the rest commend Mr. Knowles, Darcy and Vavasor, and especially Mr. Blunt, who having no charge here, was at the assault and shot into the leg. The bullets are taken out and he is in no danger.
The water increases so much that I am this day driven to dismount the artillery, but mean to keep the fort besieged, “attending better weather and better commodity with further provision,” and hope you will soon hear that we have possession of it.
By your last letters I received command from her Majesty “that most of the companies should be put into garrison, for that her pleasures was to make a defensive war, the which accordingly I have done, saving fourteen companies for the which they can yet find no garrisons; . . . notwithstanding, I say thus much, that if her Majesty do not help to frame up some convenient army speedily, we shall lose more (for all our garrisons) in six months than shall be recovered again in two years, and besides, divers towns that stand yet upon doubtful terms and are of great importance will be more assured than they can be made by garrison,” but in all things I refer me to your wise consideration.
The pioneers coming over without any leaders, I have appointed them captains, and pray you to do the like with the rest you send. It is very needful for you to appoint some skilful man to be their colonel, for there is great want of such an one, and none to be found in these parts.—Arnhem, 14 October, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland IV. 38.]
Oct. 14/24 Thomas Lovell to Walsingham.
This is to inform your honour that on Oct. 7 [n.s.] he Majesty's ambassador came from “the Haeck” to the Brill, accompanied with the County Philip of “Henloe” and the County William of Nassau, and County Philip his brother, Colonel Schenk and divers of the States and gentility of Holland; where they were triumphantly received, with great joy of the magistrates and burgesses. On the 10th there arrived three companies of English soldiers, and the same day the ambassador took possession of the town and forts for her Majesty. On the 12th he went to the “Haeck,” and presently journeyed into Zeeland, and is now at Flushing, but what he has done there I know not.
I was bold in my former letters to crave your furtherance that I might be sergeant-major with a company in some town of garrison, or of a regiment. It is well known that I have served long in these countries and have borne divers offices as serjeant, ancient bearer and lieutenant. Afterwards the Prince and States of Holland preferred me to be lieutenant of the Ordnance, and when the force of the enemy was so strong that we could no longer be in the field, but were driven “to keep our towns” and so it was needless to hold any in that office, they gave me a commission to be serjeant-major of Col. William Thorpe's regiment, which I discharged for two years. Then, having much to do in law matters I sought my discharge, and after this the States made me commissary and muster-master of their soldiers in Holland, where I have employed myself till now. But my desire has always been to serve under her Majesty, and I pray you to confirm with a commission the gift which my lord ambassador has bestowed upon me. The case is thus. The ambassador has thought me worthy of the place of serjeant-major in the Brill, but two countrymen of mine, one a captain, the other a merchant, think themselves far more worthy of the place than I am; and the one with the letters of the General, the other with the commendations of the burgomasters, would undo what the Queen's ambassador has done and mean by money to purchase what ought to be deserved by virtue. [Here follows a long digression upon covetousness &c.]
If I may obtain this at your honour's hands, “at this time I desire no more, and in time to come will deserve no less.”—The Brill, 24 October, 1585.
Postscript.—And if it will please you to bestow a company on me, I pray you to deliver the commission to this bearer, James Hyde, who is a gentleman and a soldier, has served long in the country and has always been trusty and diligent. I assure you he will diligently discharge the charge we give him. The companies of the governor here, Mr. Harry Norris, and of Captain Roberts of 150 men are full, but Captain Hill has not above 120, “and I think he seeks no ways to fill his company, which weakens the watch very much and ought not to be suffered. Three companies is very little for the town and forts here, and there is a fort at Maesland Sluys . . . of great importance, and hath always been kept by the garrison of the Brill.” If it please you to confer with the bearer hereof, he will advertise you more at large.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holland. IV. 39.]
Oct. 14. Walsingham to Lord Willoughby.
The Queen finding by the cold answer returned by the protestant princes of Germany that most of them “still slumber in security and show themselves very slow to hearken to a general concurrency for common defence,” without which the cause of religion will probably go to wrack, so earnestly are the enemy bent against us;—as shown by the French King's reducing to fifteen days the three months yet unexpired of the six of respite given to those of the religion to provide for themselves, whereby it is feared they will be in danger of a general massacre, “whom his new ambassador here, who at first carried himself very temperately, doth not now stick openly to give out that he meaneth to prosecute with all extremity”:—it seemeth to her very necessary to travail the more earnestly to procure the said concurrency; she having made choice of your lordship to go towards the said princes of Germany; for which purpose you will receive letters and instructions by Mr. Daniel Rogers, appointed to assist you in the negotiation; “wherein I hope it will please God to bless you, as a Christian, well-affected nobleman,” with good success.
Minute, by Walsingham. 1¼ pp. [Denmark I. 62.]
Oct. 15. Colonel Norreys to the Lords Of the Council.
Since writing my last I have sent some boats to strengthen the siege and made other provisions for a new attempt; “which the enemy greatly fearing, sent yesternight to parley with me, and . . . we have agreed that they shall depart with their arms and baggage, leaving their ensigns and drums behind them, and so this morning are to effect the same.” I consented the “willinger” for that the place imports greatly, and that we might the sooner go towards another fort upon the Rhine (Reayn) of like importance, and so proceed against 'Dousborrowe,' where there is as yet no garrison, not doubting that I shall shortly send you some more good news.
This is the first service her Majesty's troops have done since their coming hither, but I doubt not but they will do many more,-Arnhem, 15 October, 1585.
Postscript.—Upon entering the fort, I found six brass and three iron pieces, “and presently sent to a castle held by the enemy not far off, who delivered the same up and departed without arms.”
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland IV. 40.]
Oct. 15/25. Christofle Roels to Walsingham.
Yours of the 18th of last month (I think English style) reached me on the 23rd inst. our style, having been already opened and closed again. I should like to know to whom it was given in charge, in order, it may be, to discover some ill-willers to this treaty. I cannot sufficiently thank you for your affection to me and am ready gratefully to obey you in whatever you may be pleased to employ me. And as I cannot better demonstrate my affection than when it shall please her Majesty or you to command me, either at the coming of my lord of Leicester or otherwise, I will remit the whole to that time and place.
I am much grieved that the delivery of Flushing and Rammekins is so long delayed by the absence of Count Hohenloe, to whom it is committed by the States General, everything here being ready. Ambassador Davison knows well the good affection they have here to have it effectuated; as indeed our safety and welfare depends thereupon, our affairs, reduced to extremity, having been sustained only by the coming of the English, and likely to fall into worse terms unless there quickly arrives some lord of authority. I hope by my next to be able to send good news and then we hope also for the arrival of the lords from thence.
This serves only to inform you that we have heard that my lord the Earl of Leicester has taken into his service one named van Oncle, formerly secretary to the princes of Espinoy and Chimay and who has the recommendation of some of the deputies of these countries. And inasmuch as by their credit he might abuse the said lord and others, I desire to warn you that he is held here to be a very dangerous man, and suborned by the enemy, and of whom one should be on one's guard; begging you to warn the said lord thereof.—Middelburg, 25 October, 1585.
Postscript.-I pray your honour and her Majesty not to be vexed about these beginnings, which are always difficult, especially with provinces so dissipated by licence, which must be remedied little by little and not by violence.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holland IV. 41.]
Oct. 15. Thomas Cartwright to Walsingham.
Stating that he is employed by one M. Combes to convey letters from him to his honour, and to remit his honour's letters to him in Germany. At the Hague last Saturday Combes gave him the enclosed, which he sends by Mr. 'Bornet,' servant to Mr. Davison the ambassador.—Flushing, 15 October, stilo veteri. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 42.]
Oct. 15/25. Count Maurice of Nassau to Davison.
As my cousin Count Hohenloe is now going to Flushing, to admit the English soldiers intended for the guard of that town, I am asking him to bring you this, simply to keep myself in your kind remembrance, and to assure you that I shall never esteem myself more happy than when I receive commands from her Majesty. Knowing your great credit with her, I pray you to assure her of my entire and lasting devotion. I need not exhort you as to what concerns the welfare and repose of the said town of Flushing, knowing very well that you will lend my cousin a helping hand that all things may be there done in good order; to which end I have written to the magistrates to assist you.—The Hague, 25 October, 1585.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. IV. 43.]


  • 1. The symbol 60 (Queen of Scots) is used instead of 59 by mistake.
  • 2. Dutch, “getij,” opportunity.