Elizabeth: November 1586, 16-30

Pages 146-156

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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November 1586, 16-30

Nov. 16. Giustiniano and Rizzo, factors of Signor Horatio Palavicino, to his Excellency [Lord Burghley.]
The four thousand pounds last received by his Excellency's orders have all been remitted in accordance with Signor Horatio's orders, and as there is still a good sum to be provided in Embden and Hamburg, and letters of exchange upon them for 500l. have come from Antwerp and for 1500l. from Venice, they pray him to give orders that they may be paid the other 4000l. asked for in their last memorial, that they may make an end of providing payment of the letters of the said Signor Horatio and also pay the above mentioned sums to Antwerp and Venice, good part of which is already due, and the rest will be so in a few days.
The Signor Horatio had already provided the value of all this sum, and was shortly to furnish the small remainder, as he had lately given report to his lordship.
Unsigned. Endd. by Burghley "16 Nov. 1586." Italian ½ p. [Germany, States IV. 120.]
Nov. 17. Stafford to Burghley.
"Surely I know that Bellievre is gone with private instructions from the King that nobody but himself is acquainted withal, I think not Villeroy, who is the King's right hand and the other's most especial and private friend. The King reposeth a great trust in the man." If there be good to be done with this country there is no way better than by his means, for he is very wise and discreet. And if now you see how hardly this matter of Flanders can be maintained and wish for some other way from hence to keep him [the King of Spain?] occupied, I think this man's coming over will bring more effect than any body else that could be sent, as he is a great enemy to the Spaniards and to Spain, and I think will be very willing to divert the civil war of this realm to somewhat against Spain. I write of very good knowledge that (if he see things disposed in England) he has commission to hearken to it and perhaps to speak of it; not that I think the King will declare himself openly, but that some means may be found without this, and that to good purpose, for the French minds are very much bent against Spain, and a small help will set them forward.
But if he do make a motion, I think he will move for the Queen's help to a peace in France, and if a good reasonable one might be made, "it were not the worst for the King of Navarre." Perchance the news which they have of the certainty of the reisters coming will help it, whereas I fear, if they be once come, and find, as they will, great want of victual, that want will make them mutiny, want of pay will make them worse, "and if, they either returning or by hunger starving, be defeated without fighting, all the money that the Queen hath bestowed and the rest of their friends [will] be lost, the succour melt away to no effect, and so they in worse estate than before."
This a Frenchman of the Religion will not abide to hear, nor that an army of a hundred thousand men might die of hunger in France, but they who see that there is already a general famine, and know that all that is possible will be taken away into the towns, "whereof they hold never a one," will soon find it probable.
Besides, their light government makes me to fear bad success; for if they have a thing in their heads, they will execute it, and not forsee what harm may come of it; as they now, "in surprising a town in the Duke of Guise's government called Rocroy, which serveth them to little effect, have brought a house upon M. de Bouillon's head that will cost him sweat, and, which is worst of all . . . have given the colour to the League to take arms, and an occasion that the King cannot refuse them to find means to recover it," and so arm them again, when he was seeking by little and little to disarm them, as he had almost done.
I know that the Queen Mother has secret commission to offer exercise of religion in all the places that they hold, and liberty of conscience throughout all France; and if they offer this of themselves, what further they may be brought to, I leave you to judge. "They persuade themselves, and I think the Queen hath charge to offer it, that if the King of Navarre will become a Catholic, the King will declare him his heir, and give him the Duchy of Anjou and many things more; but they be all tales. If they thought the King of Navarre would take it, they would never offer it, but they know that if he leave his religion, he loseth the party that is only sure unto him, and is not assured what the others will be to him, though he fall to their religion. . . . I can assure you this, that if the King of Navarre were a Catholic, and upon that change the King had declared him heir apparent, he would first fear him, and then hate him ten times more than he doth, being a Huguenot. . . ."
I write this only to you, to use as it shall please you, for what comes from me to any other is subject to what interpretations they list, and I fear to write anything "that doth not please every body's humour," but to your lordship I dare show "that though I love the King of Navarre and his house very much . . . yet I am her Majesty's subject, and thereby bound to look to the best way to provide for the good of the general estate, and to seek to have them helped according to reason . . and not according to their fond imaginations." And if from what I write there come any matter to build some good upon, and I hear from your lordship, I think I can find out their meanings in anything they propound, and those who will be best disposed to help forward the weal (welthe) of both the realms.—Paris, 17 November, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVI. 77.]
Nov. 17. Quitry to Buzanval.
The latest dispatch brought by Quatreguillen, ordering that the last sum granted by the Queen of England was to be employed only by the advice and consent of the Landgrave, has delayed our proceedings and thus given some dissatisfaction to Duke Casimir; as has also the condition which M. de Palavicin wished to obtain, viz: to retain in the hands of the said Duke the half of the hundred thousand crowns if the German princes should contribute to the succours for the King of Navarre; not to be used but by notification of the Queen, a thing which Duke Casimir has strongly disputed and finds very strange, both because the King of Navarre, to whom the money is lent, is bound for the whole sum, and also because, as he alleges, the Queen had always offered, in case the princes should contribute, to add a good sum thereto.
For the above reasons, and also that M. de Palavicin has not yet been able to collect all the ready money (which he will not be able to accomplish till the end of January) . . . we have been kept to this day. I beg that Mr. Walsingham will enable us to go on in our good work with M. Palavicin. . . .
So much for the past. As to the present, M. de Palavicin has at last signed the articles and conditions, and I have got them received and agreed to by Duke Casimir, though not without great difficulty. Now it only remains to pass the capitulation, which is to be done a week hence. The dangerous illness of M. 'Beuthrick,' and also of the Duchess, who was believed to be dying of smallpox and is not yet out of danger, has prevented the Duke from engaging in this affair, which I think is as good as settled, if M. de Palavicin does not change his mind; but they can agree so little in their discourse, either for lack of understanding each other or from craft, that we thought to have lost our match, and but for my plan of putting their intentions into writing, we should not have reached our goal. Now as by the treaty there remains a large sum to be paid in January, for which Palavicin and other merchants stand bound, there is great need of the continuation of Mr. Walsingham's friendly letters, seeing that the Duke has sworn to me many times that he would treat only on condition that if Palavicin should fail in any one point of his promises, he himself would fail in all. They have obliged us to negotiate only with him, without power to treat elsewhere, and he is impressed with the idea that they wish to embark him in the affair and then leave him to bear the burden of this war, so that we have got the name of quibblers.
As soon as the capitulation is made, I will let you know, and if in discourse on the above you see that there is any thing which might bring prejudice to Palavicin, I pray you to be silent about it; for I have never seen in him any lack of good will, but only the exigencies of his charge and instructions. I pray you also to communicate these news to M. de la Fontayne and M. de la Tour; my excuse for not writing to them being that I should only repeat the same things.—Angrefsheim, 17 November, 1586, old style.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1¾ pp. [Germany, States IV. 121.]
Nov. 18. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
We are falling here into very dangerous delays, and the humour of Casimir and of his men is such that they cannot be persuaded to give us satisfaction by telling us the reason of it, and so quieting our minds. Wherof, it is not wonderful if I desire at once to inform your honour and to obtain some remedy for it from you; this proceeding from a passionate desire for the good of the commonwealth. And although I know that after such a loss of time as there has been, nothing can be more unseasonable and wearisome than a new proposal to begin a new negotiation with a new person; yet better late than never; and the present season may be better employed in this than in any other action. And such a resolution will perhaps have, on Casimir's mind, the same effect that a like one had in the year 1575; in which, if he brings his mind to give us honest satisfaction, we shall desire nothing better; and his terms are always to be preferred to those of all the others.
Before Christmas I mean to go to the Landgrave, and with him shall try to get to the bottom of what may be done under another chief; and that he would do me the favour to persuade him and afterwards to facilitate matters for his taking horse, whereof your honour shall be diligently advertised.
So that although, from my inexperience, I cannot promise any sure fruit of this new course which I propose, and that it is grounded rather upon divers discourses with these French gentlemen than upon any knowledge of my own; yet, since they approve it, and also that we do not mean to mar any thing with Casimir, I hope you will not blame my idea, and will accept in good part any fruit thereof, be it small or great; not holding me bound for anything more than what depends on my own diligence.—Francfort, 18 November, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. Seal. [Germany, States IV. 122.]
Duplicate of the same, signed only.
Add. Endd. Italian, 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 123.]
[Probably despatched by another route.]
Nov. 18. Gio. Battista Aurellio to Walsingham.
A letter of sympathy on occasion of the "common loss," [i.e. Sir Philip Sydney's death]. Grief is natural. St. Paul did not write to the Thessalonians that they should not weep for the dead, but only that they should not weep as those without hope of the resurrection.
And since he has lately published a little book on this subject, he has thought well to send it—not that he esteems it worthy of his honour's leaving the matters of weight in which he is always engaged, to read it entirely—but first because it is a record of what was first said by St. Paul of the true reason for consolation on losing a relation or friend, and secondly to offer him a small fruit of the mind of him who will be always his honour's true servant, and who prays to the Father of all consolation, not only for him, but for both his ladies.—London, 18 November, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [Italy I. 16.]
Nov. 20. Stafford to Burghley.
"I have sent your lordship the little mulett (fn. 1); I pray God he be as good as I wish him. He is young, and little, and very towardly paced, which I think you desire as much as anything, but if you desire a bigger I will fit you the best I can.
I have written to the Secretaries such things as have passed since Mr. Wotton's departure, and therefore refer you to their letters. For the Spaniard I have written to them of, [Don Pedro Sarmiento; see p. 154 infra], I think never a craftier knave came this side the sea. He says that of all he dealt withal, he thinks you trusted him least, which I think is no small honour to your lordship, for of all the rest he brags that he "cousened them kindly," and so I believe he has done.
Mr. Wotton has told divers here that "he is afraid that he cannot put off any longer coming hither shortly, now Sir Philip Sidney is dead, who was his only friend he trusted upon to unburden him of this burden." He thought his man would have brought him a commission, and stayed five days after his dispatch, hoping for his coming. "I would he were here already, so I were not wrought out with cunning; it may be he will be full weary of the place ere long, specially if he be as well used in it as I have been," for I am fain to find out the news of England a fortnight or three weeks before I have it from thence, and when it comes, it is very short. "This last time by Mr. Wotton's man I had never a letter at all from Mr. Secretaries, . . . and if it had not been for your honourable dealing in writing to me at large I had had nothing; but I must bear all with patience and say nothing, and so I beseech your lordship not to be a known that I have complained to you for that will make me far worse. . . .
"The more I look into the necessity of this country, the more I have cause to think of the inconveniences that will come to the army of the reiters . . . if they come afore May out of Germany, that they may be in Lorraine in June and July, and eat both the old in the barns and the new on the ground, and enter into France in August, when they shall find all in the barns and uncarried away. . . . To make the bruit run that they are ever coming afore is necessary and convenient, but if they come afore, if all expences be not lost and their army go to wrack, never trust me; and that without fighting; but [to] persuade a Frenchman that hath no brain to look further than the top of his nose is lost labour. But when I see that the King's armies, which be but small, and divided into sundry provinces and have all places opened to them, are fain to break themselves only for want, [I] may with reason write what I think to your lordship . . . I have since more cause, in speaking with them that be here from the King of Navarre and deal for him, to believe that their intent is, the reisters being upon the frontier, to take the vantage of the large offers that shall be made them of peace in soothing them a little; they tell me plainly enough their intent."—Paris, 20 November, 1586.
Postscript. I beseech your lordship be good to this bearer in a suit he has to you, of which I wrote to you before.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVI. 78.]
Nov. 20. Horatio Palavicino to Burghley.
I yesterday (fn. 2) wrote very fully to Mr. Secretary on the state of this negotiation, and cannot now, because of the haste of the messenger, advertise your Excellency thereof, only telling you that our negotiators here have put us off, today with a warm hope, tomorrow with a cold one, very grievously, awaiting the reply which Casimir is expecting from these Princes, without whose aid it is idle to think that either by reason of his promise given or from pity for the common weal will he satisfy our demand. Segur and Guitry, who have said so and wished others to believe it on their report, go on with sole regard to their own convenience and to satisfy their particular ends, neglecting all else. The man who went to the King of Denmark arrived yesterday [margin, by Burghley, 19 November] so that they will have no further occasion of delay, and with my next, I shall be able to write either of a conclusion or postponement until July next, for if it cannot now be settled for the month of March, it cannot be done except for that time or thereabouts, unless my new proposal to seek another captain should expedite matters, on which point I greatly desire your lordship's orders how to proceed.
It being reported from many places that the King of Spain is preparing troops, money and munitions against England for this next spring, and although it is probable that when they come to put these preparations into effect there will be better known the great difficulties or even impossibility of carrying out the design, none the less it is very wise on our part to make the dangers appear the greater, in order to provide abundantly against them on all sides, and above all not to abate our efforts or feed ourselves with hope of peace, whereby the wisdom of the Spanish Council might easily enjoy every advantage.
Some think that the Duke of Savoy will conduct the war, and here I bethink me of what Lorenzo Grimaldo wrote, that they had one there who had troops and a bond to lead it in person. I doubt not but that your lordship, on whose shoulders is borne all the weight of affairs, will know much more of this and be able to judge thereof even to its most secret depth, therefore I will say no more, but only await what I may do in the service of her Majesty.
Certain French gentlemen of the Religion have surprised a town named Raucroy, half a league from the Meuse, below Messiers [Mezières], a strong town, armed with thirteen great guns, munition and other furniture of war; which is esteemed to be of some importance and may, in time, serve our affairs in the Low Countries.—Frankfort, 20 November, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 2 pp. [Germany, States IV. 124.]
[The words in italics are in cipher, undeciphered.]
Nov. 21. Horatio Palavioino to Walsingham.
I wrote on the 18th and 19th. Now, believing that Zolcker will be long on the way, going by Embden as he does, I will just say that he carries letters from the Duke to her Majesty written on the 16th, in which he may have more freely declared the true cause of his irresolution or delay, and imparted his intention for the future; whence you will gain light on what to order me to do as to my new proposal, which I eagerly await.
The Councillor of the Duke returned on the 19th from the King of Denmark; and I expect every hour the news of the final resolution, whether negative or affirmative, which I will at once send to your honour.
Some French gentlemen of the land of Tierache have surprised a place called Raucroy [details as in previous letter].
I pray God to console you for the loss of Monsieur Sidney and me also, who am much afflicted thereby.—Frankfort, 21 November, 1586.
Postscript. Zolcher much desires to return home quickly.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Germany, States IV. 125.]
Nov. 21. Duplicate of the above.
Signed. Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 126.]
Nov. 25. Stafford to Walsingham and Davison.
Since Mr. Wotton's departure there has been nothing here of moment, "the King having been almost always absent, and not yet returned, in a voyage to Nostre Dame de Chartres, whither he hath carried the Queen his wife with him. It is given out she should be with child, but I rather think it an imagination grounded upon the kindness of their two voyages together, which is not often seen, and to Chartres too, where their fond superstition hath persuaded them that be of that religion that women come oft from thence with child, than for any truth I think there is in the matter . . ."
There is no assurance when the Queen Mother shall see the King of Navarre, and she has sent to the King that she desires either to return or to go to Montmorency, to see if she can reduce him to the King's obedience; but the King will by no means consent, but will have her to remain there. Two days ago she wrote that she hopes to see the King of Navarre this next week, which is not believed here. If she do, I think she must go to him at Rochelle.
There has been talk of sending Villeroy thither, "and for my part I do not think that till he go, the bottom of the King's will shall ever be delivered," for Villeroy is his viceroy in all matters of weight, and I have not seen any treaty of peace or matter of that weight concluded (whosoever may have begun them) till Villeroy has been sent.
"In the last conference at Nerac, where Queen Mother was so long; in that where Monsieur was, where I was present; in this last . . . with them of the League, never anything was agreed upon till Villeroy came, and he was not so soon come but he brought the King's thorough will with him and all things were ended presently. . . . If he go, I think he will carry wherewithal to give a hard push and wherewithal to content the King of Navarre, if ever they will seek to content him at all."
The news which came at Mr. Wotton's departure I feared was too good to be true: "that Epernon should have had a great defeat in Provence . . . and thirty of the chief of his army killed and hurt." Sobolle, (fn. 3) one of his chief confidants is since come to the King, bringing letters from him "that he hath taken by force or composition all towns and castles that held against the King's authority; that in all that province there is not one house but is in the King's obedience save Orange, which is a sovereignty, which yet he hath not dealt withal, and as far as I [have] seen, doth not mean it . . . At Breoulle, which is the last that he took in the end by composition, he had, afore he took it, Grillon and two or three of his chiefest hurt, but hoped there was no danger.
"He hath showed, as he writeth himself and as I have heard otherwise, great favour in all places that have yielded to him to all them of the Religion but to the ministers, but he hath not spared any one of them. He carryeth himself in such sort as we cannot tell here what to judge of him, for the League suspecteth him to have intelligence with Montmorenci, and they of the Religion have no great cause to trust him . . . dealing so hardly with their ministers. But this is certain, that they that be of the League in that country be as little favoured of him, and whereas he carried from hence the Count de Saux (fn. 4) with him, the greatest man, one of them in that country that had been of the League, feeding of him with hope that he would leave him his lieutenant there, now he hath the full possession of his government (which he thought the other, with the help of M. de Vins, his brotherin-law, might have found great means to impeach him of), after that the Baron d' Allemaigne (fn. 5) and 'Ediguieres' had quite defeated Vins at Epernon's first entry (which is suspected to have been with intelligence from himself) he determineth (now that he meaneth to come away shortly) to leave his brother [the Sieur de la Valette] his lieutenant-general there; so that which way he is affected nobody but God himself I think knoweth except the King, whom some think doth not know all the bottom of his meaning; but surely I think his meaning is, howsoever the world go, to make himself as great as he can.
"Bernardin de Mendoze hath taken the advantage of the Spaniard's release (fn. 6) that Chester came over withal . . . for a colour to put jealousies into their heads here that there is a private seeking underhand by us to compound with the King of Spain to their disadvantage, which is to be trafficked by him and that it is the only cause of his release, insomuch that . . . ; favourers of the chiefest counsellers here have come to me themselves, and have set the Venice ambassador to sound me in the matter, which I have, (as in truth you know if there be any such matter I know not of it) denied with great assurance. . . . The Spaniard's own carrying himself hath helped me greatly by his never coming at me or sending to me," for they have been so jealous of it that they have kept continual watches both on him and me; by which jealous research of me I have found out (what I had some advertisement of before) that if Bellievre find things in England disposed to his liking, "he is to make, or at the least to sound you of some plot to be laid to annoy the King of Spain some way, though I think not by any open breach."
This Spaniard either dissembles with the King and his ambassador here or is a very flat knave towards England, for when he thinks it may come to my hearing, "he speaketh honour of the Queen's Majesty and of all them that have used him well, but . . . when he is in any company that is not affected to us ward, he maketh a jest of his delivery, of her Majesty and of all them that have used him best, and hath declared to the Ambassador that he hath used the matter so cunningly that he hath gotten away; that he hath promised to set all irons in the fire for a peace and . . . that in England he hath left opinion of him that he thinketh there is not so strong a prince in Christendom as her Majesty, but he hath found there is not so weak a prince as she; that he had rather have been cut in a thousand pieces than to move his master to have peace with her; that she hath taken so much in hand that she shall be fain to come and cry peccavi (for those were his terms), not being able to 'furnish' it; with other words not fit to be writ, both of her Majesty and the general estate, and of them particularly that he hath been most beholding unto. With whom he doth dissemble I know not, but I think for my part the worst, in the which there is more likelihood than in the best."
The Queen of Navarre is where she was, and the King is "upon deliberation" to send her a train of women at his devotion, and certain Swissers of his guard. The 2500 Spaniards have not yet passed the Franchecomté, nor at the last news were not out of Savoy.—Paris, 25 November, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3½ pp. [France XVI., 79.]
Nov. 27. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
Sends a copy of the letter despatched by Zolcher, since whose departure he has received the annexed letter from the Sieur de Quitri, whereby his honour may see how his own and their hopes of a settlement still continue. Is going on the morrow to enter into those bonds and hold himself ready for their resolution, which, God grant may be according to desire.—Frankfort, 27 November, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. ½ p. [Germany, States IV. 127.]
Quitry to Palavicino.
The Sieur de la Borde, a gentleman of the chamber to the King of Navarre, has today arrived, and declares to us that this King will not treat with the Queen on any condition whatsoever without assurance of being succoured, which he desires to have without delay. Also that he complains of the delay of M. de Mongla's journey. I send this word, with M. de la Borde's despatch to you, to say that as soon as ever I get Duke Casimir's reply, you shall know it. The illness of M. Beutrich and mortal danger of the Duchess Casimir has caused this delay, but you will be informed of it at the end of this week, there now remaining no difficulty save the interview of the master and the counsellor which will take place today or tomorrow. I hope that in a few days we shall see you, and shall take the pen in our hands to sign what we have so greatly desired.—'Franctal,' 23 [November].
Holograph. Add. Endd. as received on the 25th. French. 1 p. [Germany, States IV. 127a.]
Nov. 29. Stafford to Burghley.
This bearer, coming from Mr. Anthony Bacon, has brought me letters from some of those about the King of Navarre, saying that the interview with Queen Mother will be presently; but that though the King is willing to see and hear her, in respect of the pains she has taken to come thither, he will not conclude anything without the advice of her Majesty and other princes with whom he is allied. Poigny de Rambouillet, who is come from the Queen, says the meeting is to be between Coignac and Jarnac.
"The King is at Chartres, all alone with his wife, one valet of his chamber and his guard. He is not always so kind a husband to her, but many think this kindness comes of a belief he hath she is with child. There is news lately come hither that she is fallen very dangerously sick, more than women with child be commonly."—Paris, 29 November, 1586.
Postscript in his own hand.—"I am afraid that as the interview is, which was not looked for, more things will follow which are not thought upon now."
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 80.]


  • 1. Probably the "footcloth moyle" which Burghley had written of on Oct. 2. See Hist. MSS. Comm. Report on Cecil Papers iii, p. 179.
  • 2. This letter of Nov. 19 is missing from the series.
  • 3. Roger de Comminges, Seigneur de Sobolle.
  • 4. Francois d' Agoult de Montauban, Comte de Sault, one of the chief gentlemen of Provence (See d'Aubigny, ed. Baron Alphonse de Ruble, vii. 92, note).
  • 5. Melchior de Castellane, Baron d' Allemagne in Provence, of the family of Mas or Massa. He was killed on Nov. 5 N.S. in the abovementioned fight against Vins. (See ibid iv. 208, note.)
  • 6. Don Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, captured by a ship of Ralegh's and brought to England. Released by the Queen in Nov. 1586 and sent by way of Paris to Spain in relation to the peace negotiations. (See Cal. State Papers Spain iii, 651, 654, 666.)