Elizabeth: June 1586, 1-15

Pages 2-18

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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June 1586, 1-15

June 1. Stafford to Walsingham.
For a certain, the coming of the Swissers hither has been practised by Villeroy, to make the world believe that the French King meant to deal gently with his subjects and have a peace. He hoped that thereupon the King of Navarre would have sent commissioners to treat, and that report of an agreement would have run through the world, and retarded the help of those who meant to succour them. "And seeing that that cunning would not prevail, they have now turned the Swissers a grazing home again, with as sleeveless an answer as the rest; whereat they be greatly discontented, and say they see the cunning that hath been used with them." What makes me to least hope of them is that Mellunes, suspected to have been made at the King's devotion, is worse contented than any, and has more credit at home.
The King of Navarre has, by La Marselière, desired me to assure her Majesty of the continuance of his humble affection. I find their drift is to ask no peace till his succour of strangers is entering, and then—"to show to all the world that he is readiest to make it when he is strongest"—to use all means to procure it, with consent of her Majesty and all who have succoured him; which, if it may be brought to pass, is the only way likely to make it last. I pray you send this packet enclosed, which is from Marseliere to Buzenvall.
Ere long I think you shall hear more at large from me, for I think I shall shortly hear from Guienne and the King of Navarre. Meanwhile, I pray you to pardon me, "being yet very faint since my last sickness."
I send you a letter received from the Duke of Bouillon, whereby you may see how careful he is to serve her Majesty. It were good she should acknowledge his goodwill and show that she would be glad to pleasure him. Mazin d'Albene desires me to recommend his service to her Majesty. He is writing both to her and to you, by one who will deliver the letters himself. "Truly the poor man is with passion affected to her Majesty's service," and she will greatly encourage him by taking notice of it.
"Count Soisson hath been in the town but one night since Offley came, and then I could not speak with him, for my sickness. I look for him within a day or two. They do all that they can to hasten on Montpensier, who is slower somewhat than he was, or that they would have him. I think that is the chief thing he [Soissons] is gone about, for he knoweth nothing is to be had of me till then."—Paris, 1 June, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVI. 1.]
Names in italics are in cipher, deciphered.
June 1/11. French Advertisements.
On Sunday evening, a gentleman of the Grand Prior arrived at the house of M. de Villeroy, who having heard the cause of his despatch, hurried to the Louvre, and to the chamber of the King, who with some difficulty was awakened, and before whom he put the letters brought by the said gentleman; importing that the Grand Prior learning that the Sieur Altoviti, husband of Mademoiselle Chasteauneuf, formerly a favourite of the King, had arrived, went to seek him in his lodging, and as he was dining showed him a letter written to the Queen Mother, advertising that the Grand Prior secretly favoured the party of Montmorency in his province, and which letter the said lady had sent to the Prior, that he might either desist therefrom or justify himself. And after several times reproaching the said Altoviti (who had risen from table) he struck him through the body with his sword and made him fall at his feet; but in the fall, he himself was pulled to the ground by Altoviti, who put his hand to his dagger and twice struck the Grand Prior, once in his thigh and again in his stomach, of which he died eighteen [minutes?] afterwards, and the said Altoviti was dispatched by the people of the Grand Prior, he who brought the news having given him two or three strokes. The King was much displeased and entered so deeply into discourse thereupon that he could sleep no more that night.
As soon as it was day he rose and went to M. d'Epernon, who was in bed, made him rise and dress in his presence and carried him in his coach to the Bois de Vincennes; to whom he gave the government of Provence, to be joined to that of the Marquisate of Salluces, on condition of his giving up that of Metz to M. de la Vallette. And to Charles, Monsieur, bastard of the late King Charles, he gave the office of Grand Prior of the Temple, and the Abbey of La Chassedieu, held by the late Grand Prior.
The day before news came that according to the resolution taken by M. de la Valette and his Council he was gone with his forces to take a fort in the mountain, near Ambrun, and the 2nd of this month began to batter it so furiously that he soon reduced it to powder; but those in it escaped and rallied with the help of M. de Lesdiguieres who came to succour them, and so well stood the charge of La Valette's strong cavalry and weaker infantry that he killed twenty-five or thirty good men, among whom were M. de Gordes, the Sieurs d'Anvinal and Bonrepos; spiked [torn] great pieces and carried off two small ones; keeping in the mountain, where the cavalry and nobles could not fight without great hazard. And so La Valette was forced to retire with this loss and without having done any hurt save demolishing the fort and killing some footsoldiers.
There is news from Toulouse of the 28 of last month that M. d'Audou had at last taken the [Mas] de Pamiers and that M. de Turenne had raised the siege of St. Bertrand de Comminges and taken some other forts in the same country, where he has very well settled matters. M. de Joyeuse, the father, was assembling his forces, with those of M. de C [torn] (who has not dared to attack the strong places of Albigeois and has only ruined the Catholics there) to make an offensive war against those of the Religion and Marshal de Montmorency; but they fear they will not be able to protect the harvest, so strong are they in all that country.
From Bordeaux they wrote on the 30th that the Sieurs de Duras, Vaillac and Lansac senior wished to come thither to see M. du Mayne, but M. de Matignon and those of the Parliament would not permit it. Although they professed to wish to reassemble the army of Messieurs du Mayne and Matignon to go to besiege Castillion on the Dordogne, they were beginning to disband so many of their troops and to retrace their steps towards Poitou that it was thought they might in the end take that route, in order to aid in holding in the King of Navarre.
From Poictiers they wrote at the same time that those of Lusignan continued to fortify themselves by order of the King of Navarre, who had visited all the strong places in those quarters, and provided for them, being urged by those of Rochelle to shut in Brouage by land as they were doing by sea, in order to take it, as they hoped, very shortly. And that M. de Biron was waiting for his troops and artillery in order to succour it, and play his game against the said King.
The journey of M. de Joyeuse into Auvergne, Rouergue and Givaudan is said to be deferred for a week, yet all his baggage and artillery is going and an infinite number of nobles, whom he has invited, are preparing to follow him; to the chief and most favoured of whom he daily has gifts given by the King, to encourage them.
The Swiss protestant ambassadors are going away, some to-day, the rest tomorrow, having each had a chain and a sum of money and taking a letter, conform to the copy which I enclose, very "captieuse." It is still said that those from Germany are coming, and that the reiters are to march on July 15.
There is a rumour that M. de Mandelot, governor of Lyon, has seized the castle of Pierre Assise (fn. 1) which was held by the Bishop, and has turned out an Abbé whom the Bishop left there, but that this was done by the will of the King.
All the court has returned to St. Maur since Monday except the great Council. It is said that the Sieurs de Rosny and La Marsilliere, come from the King of Navarre to meet the Swiss ambassadors, have only once spoken with the King, in the presence of these ambassadors, and said to him that they had no charge save to assure him of the King of Navarre's fidelity and obedience; who had armed only for defence of his Majesty, his kingdom, and his person against those of the League, who, having armed themselves with his Majesty's forces, were trying to ruin him with his own arms. The King replied that he was also of the League, having signed and avowed it, to which they answered that the King of Navarre knew well it was done against his will and by force. His Majesty asked if they had any charge to treat for peace. They replied that the King of Navarre did not think of war, and had not put himself in arms against his Majesty, whom he revered as his King and lord and from whom he demanded nothing; but was resolved not to lay down his arms until he had made him obeyed and revered also by the League, the sole authors of the war; and that from them peace must be demanded, not from him.
As soon as the Senechal of Toulouse had left Albigeois without daring to attack those of Lombers, Realmont, Briteste and Salvagnac, as he had intended, those of Castres drew out the cannon, and went into the diocese of Vabres, where they have already taken three or four places, and continue their proceedings without hindrance, gathering the harvest in that country as in Albegeois and most part of Languedoc.
There are some who hold it for certain that the King is going a fortnight hence to B [lois?], and the Queen Mother to Chenonceaux, to be near Poictou, where he will try if possible to drive the King of Navarre into a corner before the reiters march or enter France, and for this purpose it is thought that all his Majesty's armies will be brought into Poictou, and there encouraged and enticed by the approach of the said King to B [torn] or further if need be.
Before departing, the Swiss ambassadors, perceiving better by the letter which the King gave them than by the verbal reply which he made them, with the ambiguity which he usually employs in speaking, that he means to make every effort to establish a firm and stable peace in his Kingdom, and not such as the former ones, made supplication to him to give them the explanation, and in writing, that they might make clear to their cantons the manner in which he meant to proceed. To which his Majesty replied that it was not his custom to give his answers in writing, and moreover that when it came to a treaty of peace with his subjects he would inform them of it. It is said that the Swiss only came hither on the prayer and solicitations of the King, made through his ambassador resident in Switzerland with the Catholics, with whom they bargained beforehand for their expences, which have been paid them here. And that it was only at their instance that the King of Navarre sent de Rosny and La Marsillière hither, who told them frankly that they had no instructions to speak of peace, [although] his Majesty intended to draw them into the lists for the treaty and to make them dance attendance thereupon. (fn. 2)
His said Majesty has sent for them this morning and they are gone to speak with him at St. Maur, and it is feared he will scoff at them, being irritated at not being able to embark them therein; and may afterwards try to gain them by large promises.
The colonel of the lansquenets who were coming to the King is dead, which may delay them until another is elected.
The Duke of Saxony has written to M. de Chomberg, praying him to use his interest with the King for Wolf Chomberg his brother and two other colonels of the reiters who had promised to come for the service of his Majesty, and had received 7000 crowns apiece, as the said Duke had need of their attendance in a visit which he is making through his State, and to go to the Emperor to render him homage; but that in regard of the money advanced to them, they will hold it as so much paid of the money his Majesty owes them of the old debt.
Most part of M. de Joyeuse's army is going into the Bourbonais, to Chelles. M. de Suse has sent his son to the King on the death of the Grand Prior, to pray him to restore to him the place of lieutenant which he had given up to the deceased; so that thereupon it is said that M. d'Epernon may go into Provence, for fear of some disturbance happening there.
Endd. Fr. 3¼ pp. [Newsletters IX. 29.]
June 6. The Queen to Count Edzard of Embden.
Being given to understand "that the Earl findeth himself grieved for that divers outrages and spoils have been committed by certain ships maintained by the States in the river of Ems" upon his subjects and those of other parts trading thither, her Majesty hopes, that having given order to the Earl of Leicester to deal with the States in her name to stay all such outrages, before the receipt of this her letter, there will be somewhat done to his contentment; having ordered that Earl to send a special messenger to him, to show him the great care she has that good friendship may continue between him and the United Provinces.
Being further informed that of late the said Earl has "made difficulty to renew the privileges heretofore granted to her subjects, the Merchant Adventurers," alleging that as the Emperor and princes of Germany oppose themselves thereto, he cannot with safety yield to the Merchants' request unless assured that her Majesty will protect him if anything should be attempted against him; she assures him that in that case, "she will not fail to assist him to the uttermost of of her power with all such good means as God hath given unto her," and hopes that this assurance will persuade him to grant the said privileges, as a thing no less beneficial for his own subjects than for her Majesty.
Lastly, hearing that he finds himself grieved that the Merchants Adventurers have not shewn themselves more grateful to him, she has commanded them "to acquit themselves towards him with that thankfulness that appertaineth" both in respect of themselves and for the great devotion and love which the said Earl has always professed to her, "whereof she holdeth a thankful memory; as shall always appear unto him when occasion shall be offered."
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. "The heads of a letter to the Earl of Embden, 6 June, 1586. 3 pp. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 48.]
June 6/16. List of edicts published by the French King on this date.
Endd. "The French King's edicts, 1586. Added by Burghley, "To get money." Fr. 1½ pp. [France XVI. 2.]
June 7. Stafford to Walsingham.
The broils here since my last make me to send you this dispatch. "The government of Provence is given to Espernon, with whom Joyeuze had strife for the Admiralty, which is ever wont to go apart with the government, and to be separated from the Admiralty of France. But Espernon would have all or none, and so hath had; whereupon a great jar hath grown between Joyeuze and him, and so great as the King being gone on his way to Dolenville, where he meant to have stayed four or five days, came presently back when he was half way, only to agree them, which yet he cannot do. I think he would rather lose half his kingdom than have them to disagree."
There is another broil in the court on the death of Mandelot, governor of Lyons, whose government long ago was promised to M. de Nemours. The Queen Mother demanded it for him, but the King flatly refused it and gave it to La Vallette, Duke Espernon's brother, whereat she has raged marvellously, and made herself sick over it, but all would not serve. "Since, it is fallen out that Mandelot is not dead. Some say he was never sick, and that this bruit . . . was but a practice of Madame de Nemours to sound the King's goodwill. She hath now, if it be so, found that which she should never [have] sought for; and farther, . . ., the K. [sic, should be Queen Mother] requesting the King that the next government that fell, he would bestow it upon M. de Nemours, he answered her that if there fell six governments, they were all promised already. She asked to whom. He answered, to those two that had the last; whereat she is in a great rage."
Espernon makes great preparation to go to take possession of his government. As the deputies of the country are come hither "to require to have either a prince to govern them or a chief gentleman of the country," and because there is already some stir there, he is preparing an army to go with him of four regiments of foot and twenty-eight companies of men at arms; and is, as he says, to depart this next week. M. de Joyeuze "assureth" to go on Saturday or Monday with the army that Marshal d'Aumont should have led into Auvergne. My opinion is that these are but shows, and that when they are ready, they and Marshal Biron will join together, and "light all upon the King of Navarre at one clap," shut him up in some town, and assail it by all the means they can. And I think that the arming by sea is with intent, if they could put him into Rochelle, to shut up that haven. "That army goeth but slowly forward yet it goeth on; but there is great strife between la Milleraye and Chattes, the Governor of Dieppe, who is M. de Joyeuze's cousin, who shall command in it."
The King seems to be in a great choler that the King of Navarre has not demanded peace; and he has disavowed the capitulation made by Biron with the Catholics that are now in Lusignan (the soldiers of the Religion being now retired out of it)—that they should live quietly with the townsmen, and that these should have exercise of their religion—and sent in post to Biron that it is not his will.
"There is here no speech of nothing but of wars; no word of peace, nor no regard to the great misery that is already, and likely more and more to fall upon this country. Yesterday I had it assured of one that came out of 'Avernia' that there is many thousands there already dead for hunger, and in that extremity . . . that they feed upon grass . . . like horses, and die with the grass in their mouths.
"The King is so little careful for all this misery of his people, that he layeth still more and more upon them. Yesterday he was at the Parlement himself in person to make certain edicts to pass which the Parlement would not pass. There he passed them himself to the number of twenty seven, all unjust and domageable to the people; among the rest, to make all offices but them of justice hereditary, and constrain them that have them for life to buy the inheritance.
"All the world greatly cry out and openly upon them. He made the colour of it in his oration to the Parliament, the necessity of these wars, but it is thought that the money that shall proceed of these edicts, which is two millions and six hundred thousand crowns, is already disposed; most of it to the use of these minions and their followers, which maketh all the world to stamp at it here, and maketh them hated, cursed and blamed with extremity.
"There was a placard set up upon the Chancellor's gate the morning afore these edicts was published with these words— Garde toy Chancellier, et conseille mieux ton Roy qu'il n'oppresse et foulle son people comme il fait, car autrement il y a cinq cents en ceste ville qui se vangeront de toy, son Espernon et son Joyeuze, et te traineront par ung licol [i.e. licou], toy et toute ta race par la boue. This did a little startle them, for fear of a sedition; but for all that the next day the King would needs go and have these edicts pass.
"There is a great ado made for a placard that my lord of Leicester hath made in the Low Countries, and the Admiral here hath made a counter placard against it which will be greatly domageable to them I think. I have stayed it till I speak with Joyeuze, who hath promised it shall be within these two or three days, having not yet for his great business spoken with him at all for nothing. When I have, I will send your honour both the placard, and what I have done with him."—Paris, 7 June, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVI. 3.]
June 7. Stafford to Walsingham.
I am advertised, "but under great benedicite, for it cometh from one that M. de Joyeuse said it to in great secret, that the Queen Mother is very mad at the death of the Grand Prior," who by her appointment had great traffic with 'Memorancy,' only to entrap him, which was upon the point of execution at his death. That she, forgetting that twelve months ago she had set this Castillan who killed him as a spy over him, when the man advertised her that the Grand Prior had intelligence with Memorancy, sent the letter to the Prior, that he might "keep his actions more secret, seeing that that fellow had discovered them. The Grand Prior being in a choller to see this man had gone about to espy his actions, went up into his chamber where he was, to have killed him, whereupon . . . the one killed the other; and now the Queen Mother, to cover the matter, would lay the fault upon the poor gentlewoman his wife; that she had given the Grand Prior advertisement of this.
"Count Soisson is returned. Yesternight I spake with him. He has had news from Montmorency, and assureth he will be in a readiness in all points within this fortnight at the farthest"; but I believe he will not stir till the strangers be ready to enter."
I send you a book which I am sure you will take pleasure to read. Pray send this packet from Madame de Bouillon to the Princess of Orange.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 4.]
[The names in italics are in cipher.]
June 9/19. M. du Pin to Burghley.
Recommending the "Sieur de Bradbery," who has served the King of Navarre very well as page of the chamber, and has now permission to return to England. M. Bacon, his lordship's nephew, should be removed, and have change of air, or he will continue to be ill. He is still at Montauban, and cannot recover his strength. God has favoured him greatly, above all he has virtue and piety, and deserves his lordship's care for his preservation.
The army of Messrs. de Mayenne and the Marshal de Matignon is much harassed and diminished. It is going to attack Castillon, a little town upon the Dordogne, newly fortified. Montmorency is approaching "us."—La Rochelle, 19 June, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Fr. ½ p. [France XVI. 5.]
June 11. Stafford to Burghley.
Sending the bad news out of the Low Countries, but "for haste," referring him to his letter to Mr. Secretary. Fears, if the news be true, that worse will follow, "for those country people commonly upon one great loss are amazed and lose more." Prays God that some good luck had by the English in the beginning "have not bred an overweening, and that those old foxes that are there, that do still lie at wait, take not their advantage." Within half an hour of writing his last letter, his lordship's son arrived and now awaits his pleasure. Sends a letter from him enclosed.—Paris, 11 June, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 6.]
June 11. Stafford to Walsingham.
News came yesterday that the Prince of Parma has taken Grave, and that Venlo is surrendered to him; upon which sudden good fortune he went to make some attempt upon my lord of Leicester, then at Henem [Arnhem] who, seeing this, retired with his forces, and Henem yielded to the Prince. The news came from Antwerp, to divers private persons, and the Spanish ambassador gives out that he has it from the Prince himself, and has sent two couriers into Spain. One of his household tells me that he has no letters from the Prince, but that the said Prince "sent expressly to Antwerp to him that writ it to dispatch one hither presently to the ambassador with it, because he himself upon the suddenness of this enterprise, had so much to do to give order to things that he had not leisure to write." Grave is said to have been taken on the 5th of this month by their account, which was their Corpus Christi day.
The same writer says that the Prince means to follow his fortune and go presently to Utrecht, which he is in very good hope to have, both by the great intelligence he has within the town, and also because part of the town is extremely weak, "upon the left hand where the citadel was; where there is a great space of a curtain of the wall without anything to defend it"; and by quickly bringing his ordnance thither, he hopes so to amaze them that they will yield to him. It may be that all this is but a Spanish bravery, but I thought it necessary to advertise you with all diligence, that my lord of Leicester may have it from you, to look to it if there be any such thing. I have written two or three hasty words to him, leaving it to you to advertise him at large. Pray tell me whether you have sent him a copy of the cipher between yourself and me, or any other, as I have once or twice desired you before. Having it, I could sometimes find means "from hence."—Paris, 11 June, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVI. 7.]
June 12/22. Lazaro Grimaldi to Horatio Palavicino.
I did not write to you last week by way of Venice as I had nothing to say; now although there is little, I do so to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 18th of May. I hope you have returned in good health from the journey you were about to make into Saxony.
The Prince Doria having returned from Loano, I went to him at once, and have been with him again today, and imparted to him what I had received from you. He listened attentively, and I am sure that he will keep alive the design in Spain, from whence so far he has had no answer, either from his Majesty or his ministers. What is the cause I know not; perhaps the belief that he had already gone out with the fleet has held them back. Whenever it comes you shall know of it.
If her Majesty has not ordered her ambassador with the Turk to demand a fleet for the molestation of the King of Spain, the Prince assures me that will help matters greatly, because they will be satisfied that she will do nothing. The said Prince will sail some days hence, but it is not known whither; if it should be to the parts of Spain, as being nearer the Court, he might have opportunity of doing something further in our design, and perhaps treating of it with some minister. I hope it may be brought to a good end, and nothing shall be left undone either by the Signor Fabritio or myself which we think may serve thereto. You shall have notice of anything that happens. Martia and Cassandra send greetings to you.—Genoa, 22 June, 1586.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1½ pp. [Germany, States IV. 55.]
June 13/23. News from Bayona, "the front town of Spain."
The first fleet set forth against Sir Francis Drake, being about forty sails is returned to Lisbon and Cales [Cadiz] about 24 days past, the sickness in them being so great that most of the men died. They that have come home are not suffered to land, for fear of infection.
The King is greatly discontented with their return; and is taking up all the men and mariners in Biscay, whether they will or no; but to content them, imprests them with twenty or more ducats beforehand. Also he takes up all fishermen, old and young. Many that were imprested in Biscay have run away and fled into the mountains.
The King is come into an Abbey at Toledo. "He is very unwilling and disliking of these causes [qy. courses] but the Cardinals and clergy enforce him thereunto."
He "hath set forth a promettica [prematica, i.e. proclamation] wherein is a prohibition that no Spaniard shall buy any wares or goods made or growing in England (upon pain of confiscation of the goods by the buyer, and his body at the King's pleasure) either of English man or Frenchman"; and no Spaniard dare be seen to speak with either for any wares.
Corn is very dear; wheat worth 28 rials a hannick (i.e. hanega, a bushel). "The common people do grudge and murmur; saying the gentlemen have enough, or have money to buy, but they lack. They say also that if they may not buy and sell with Englishmen or French for English wares, they shall either beg or starve."
The King is said to be making ready 12 sail of great ships at Passage and elsewhere in Biscay. It is reported that he is preparing 500 sail, "to come for England and these countries the next year.
Endd. 1¼ p. [Newsletters XC., 31.]
June 15. Stafford to Walsingham.
I dispatch the bearer more to obey your commandment so to do and that of my lord Admiral "to write presently what state the arming by sea was in and how it went forward," than for anything else worth the writing.
There is no fresh news here "but that upon the edicts . . . that the King had made to be published, this town is greatly grieved and amazed, and the Palais [court of justice] is quite without pleading; for there will never a procureur, which we call in England solicitor, come thither to call upon any cause or to answer to any." The Parliament has made great complaint to the King of that edict, and it was thought once he would have revoked it, but M. d'Espernon, to whom he had given it and to whom it should have been worth 400,000 crowns, being a thousand procureurs at 400 crowns a procureur, hath impeached it with all the means he could, and this morning hath procured the King to send the Count Soissons to the court of Parlement . . . to have it go forward. What answer they will make him I know not, but I am very sorry he is employed in it, and so is he himself, but . . . the King took him upon such a sudden that he could not refuse it."
The Chancellor is in such fear that he has some of the guard always with him. One or two of the procureurs the last day, "having the 400 crowns given them underhand to offer themselves to bring on the rest, did so, but they were like to be had away and thrown into [the] river as soon as they opened their mouths; and they have all agreed among themselves that whosoever shall open their mouths about it shall die for it."
I can write nothing of the sea preparation, other than I have done before. Also I have written it to my Lord Admiral, to whose letters I refer you. I send you a book that is come out very secretly. I have but one, therefore pray you to impart it to my lord Treasurer. "They would fain have it thought an Englishman's doing," but I hear it is by a Jesuit, affected to the League.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 8.]
June 15/25. Mazin del Bene to Walsingham.
I am extremely glad to learn by your letter that the Queen was not offended by my writing to her, and had not taken amiss what I wrote to your honour, for which I humbly thank her Majesty and you who moved her to receive it favourably; which will encourage me in the future to persevere in so doing.
I rejoice greatly at the happy success of Drake's enterprise, and pray God to bring him safely home, that upon his relation, her Majesty may with good ground and brave forces put in effect her resolution to give real trouble to the King of Spain on that side. As to the affairs of the Low Countries, we have here quite other news than those which I thought to hear from the hope given me by your letter; for news comes by way of Antwerp affirming that after a certain ravelin had been assaulted and taken by force on the 5th of this month by our style, Grave surrendered, and that the Prince of Parma, with all the cavalry and arquebusiers, both horse and those in groppa [i.e. mounted behind the horsemen], had pushed on to "Harnem" where the Earl of Leicester then was, and had dislodged him from thence; and that by this fright, and that of the taking of Grave, the place surrendered; but of this last, he who wrote from Antwerp was not certain, but—the rest being true—it is greatly to be feared, and if the taking of Grave be true, which God grant it is not, this would greatly confirm what I wrote to your honour of my opinion of the fortresses of those countries, founded upon good informations; and also by the sight of one of them, because it is a serious matter that in all this time they have not fortified a place of so great importance as Grave so as to render it impregnable. If it is true, God grant that this may be the first and last injury to be received in those parts from the like cause, and make me rather a liar than a prophet.
Here it is said that the ambassador of the King of Denmark is come to your country to persuade the Queen to make an accord with the King of Spain. God grant that some honourable and safe means might be found to please his master, for it seems to me that her Majesty would have obtained a great thing if by means of her war waged against the King of Spain she should in the end obtain from him an honourable, safe and good peace. And as to me, I cannot but be very desirous for the quiet and safety of that state, and especially when I put before my eyes the general disposition of the affairs of the world, and particularly of our state, and to how many very dangerous accidents the events of the wars are liable, especially in this most corrupt century, when faith is very rare, and I see the Queen of England bearing upon her arms alone so powerful an enemy as the King of Spain, and having to resist him with only her own means and forces; who it cannot be denied is a very powerful prince, furnished with good captains and excellent soldiers; having moreover a great fortune, managed by a very wise Council.
And I feel not a little concerned, from the especial affection which I bear to your honour, when I consider that the ministers of princes are more likely to receive blame and harm from the ill success of the enterprises of their patrons, than praise and advantage from the happy results of the same. Which last I pray God may be the ending to this and all other undertakings of her Majesty; and that of his infinite goodness, he will be pleased to deliver the Queen and yourself from every evil. Finally I beg you to offer my reverence to her Majesty and assure her of my affection and readiness to do her service.— Paris, 25 June, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 2¼ pp. [France XVI. 9.]
June 15. Horatio Palavicino to Burghley.
Having found an English servant of Mr. Secretary's at this place, he has written by him all that has happened to him in this court, from whence he to-day takes his journey to the Marquis of Brandenburg; praying his lordship to look both at the letter and the [enclosed] sheet for the information which he would give him particularly if he had time.—Dresden, 15 June, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. ½ p. [Germany, States IV. 56.]
June 15. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
I used such diligence on my way from Frankfort that I not only arrived here before M. de la Verriere, but have done my work, and he has not yet appeared. I arrived on the 11th, and was honourably received and lodged; had audience [of the Duke of Saxony] on the 13th, when I fulfilled my office of condolence in the Latin tongue, and was answered in words full of gratitude and kind expressions by the Duke's chancellor. Then I said that her Majesty had commanded me to declare the present state of affairs in France, as also that she wished to testify to the Duke her desire to join him with herself in the care of such things as concern the common cause, and offered to give it them in writing, but the Chancellor replied that the Duke would send his councillors to me, which he did the same day; to whom I not only gave the writing, but showed in Italian (which they all understood) some other matters, upon which they consulted the next day and brought me the reply which you will see in the annexed letter to her Majesty with which not being satisfied, as being dilatory, and little conformable to the urgent necessity, I put before them anew how needful it was to find a remedy for the evil in France in case the embassy should not obtain a peace; and that to wait to take counsel until after hearing the result was so slow and so dangerous that it was to be feared it would be to call in the doctor when the sick man was dead. Upon which reply they consulted afresh, but did not recede from their first resolve; with the confirmation of which when they returned to me they bade me farewell, and thus have dismissed me without giving me any further opportunity of seeing the Duke. These are the facts from which and from other private discourses with some of the chief of the court, I have got together the collections in the annexed sheet, in which having specified plainly every thing that I have gathered, I pray you to accept it in good part, and to send me a speedy answer. I have here met with a servant of yours, to whom I have committed this packet, and hope he will carry it faithfully.—Dresden, 15 June, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1½ pp. [Germany, States IV. 57.]
I. Christian, Elector of Saxony to her Majesty.
Thanks her for her goodwill, as shown by her letters and the speeches of Horatio Palavicino, her ambassador; laments the untimely death of his father, snatched from them in these very troublous times, when his wisdom, advice, authority and skill in treating of and settling affairs were so necessary to them, and declares his intention, by the divine aid, now that the task of governing the State has fallen upon him, to fulfil it to the glory of God's holy name and the benefit and advantage of the Christian church and state. Offers hearty thanks for her promises of aid, and begs her to be assured that he will omit nothing that may conduce to the maintenance and increase of that friendship which for many years has existed between his late father and herself, as both respect to her requires, and these times evidently vehemently demand (in which the fierce devices of the Roman pontiff against those who have forsaken the errors of Rome are revealed more and more) in order that the care and vigilance of those princes who have embraced the true gospel may be roused and sharpened.
Thanks her for what she communicates to him of French affairs, and heartily approves of her piety, wisdom and solicitude for the safety of the Christian state.
Had learnt with great grief how, by the ambition and wickedness of certain restless men, the peace sworn and not long since renewed being disregarded, that flourishing Kingdom was again plunged into civil war. In regard to which matter, when last winter the King of Navarre, by his ambassador, informed his late father and himself thereof, the Duke of Brandenburg being also called into Council, they replied that it was their intention, on the first opportunity, to send ambassadors into France, to exhort the King to observe his former edicts of peace. What was then spoken of, they have since done their utmost to carry out, as doubtless her Majesty has already learned, and are now awaiting the result of this legation, hoping that by means of their own and others' exportations, that King's mind may be drawn away from this intestine war to peace.
But if (against his own belief), that which her Majesty fears should happen, and this legation be without result, he will then willingly—together with the other Evangelical Princes of Germany, from whom he cannot separate himself—undertake to do that which, saving the laws of the Empire, he shall see to be profitable for the restitution of a good peace in France. All which her Majesty will learn more at length from her ambassador, Horatio Palavicino.—Dresden, 13 June, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. "From the young Elector of Saxony." Latin. 2½ pp. [Germany, States IV. 57 I.]
II. A Relation of things met with at the court of the Duke Elector of Saxony, noted on 15 June, 1586.
I do not find that they have here the present troubles of France so much at heart that they do not plainly prefer their private interests thereto; or will meddle in these affairs without a general consent of all the protestants of Germany; holding it not to be in conformity either with their customs or the laws of the Empire, and very odious to the Emperor that they should practise to aid France by means of a levy under the conduct of Duke Casimir, conceiving that this Duke would never give him publicly either approval or aid.
Duke Casimir, who knows likewise that this action of his will be very obnoxious to the Emperor, designs, as they suspect, to embark this Prince and others publicly; but it has been so badly managed that his plan is known and disliked, whence it comes that this Prince is very cautious, and on his guard, being most anxious not openly to offend the Emperor, for reasons of state; besides that in this beginning of his government, he will have need of his authority in many matters, especially in the confirmation of his feofs, which is not yet settled; a thing of which they make great account.
Moreover, there remains in this Prince enough of his father's humour and of the memory of his views, for him not to interest himself openly in the affairs of France.
To this must be added that the Navarrese ministers left this court very ill-satisfied with them, having spoken very indiscreetly, not only of what they had understood of the willingness of the late Duke to favour them, but much more, whence there arose much talk, to the great displeasure of this Prince. Upon which words of these ministers, and the conceived hopes and discourses in Duke Casimir's court, there was there drawn up by their fancy, that list of contributions from all princes of which I have already given you notice (fn. 3), and which was published so indiscreetly that it came to the notice of the Emperor, who thereupon made such complaints as anyone may imagine, whence it is said there ensued amongst them cunning pretences of threats on the part of Rome and promises on the part of the Emperor; since the Pope has written that he will not molest the protestant princes of Germany, if they do not mix themselves in the affairs of France.
My journey to the Marquis of Brandenburg cannot be fruitful, it being probable that he may know from his son-in-law of his deliberations and that they may act in concert together. Nevertheless, I will make proof whether—as being more free from reverence to the Emperor—he will secretly join himself, and under his name this prince his son-in-law also, with her Majesty, to make ready a brave and sufficient levy, or if he does not wish to do this, she being a foreign princess, whether he might be willing to let France taste of their succour by means of the Landgrave, on whose wisdom and advice they here much depend.
In case he refuses both one and the other, there is no hope of their treating with Duke Casimir, unless new accidents change their resolutions.
And therefore if it is deemed necessary by some means to make a levy, although it will not be ready to serve until November or December, it will be needful to resolve to give more money and to supply the feebleness of the King of Navarre's ministers, otherwise there cannot be an army strong enough to do anything. I believe 40000 crowns more would be sufficient.
It will be well for her Majesty to get the King of Denmark to work continually to get this Prince to aid the French business with money, by the hand of a third party.
In conclusion I say that the expence of the money which this Prince might have to disburse to succour France does not weigh so much as the above-mentioned reasons and the improper methods employed by Duke Casimir and the Navarrese ministers, against which I see no remedy if the Prince of Brandenburg will not join, or if the Landgrave do not heartily undertake it, of whose interposition I have very little hope, as I believe he has small love for Duke Casimir or for anything that, by his means, may be done for France.
An express must be sent to Frankfort that I may know her Majesty's will as soon as possible, and how I am to act.
I learn by advices from the Emperor's court that the King of Spain is angry with Cardinal Granvelle, who has withdrawn from the court, but I cannot discover the reason. Perhaps it is not yet known. Pasquils have been put up in Madrid against the Cardinal, whom they threaten to beat to death.
In Aquila, a city of the Abbruzzo formerly belonging to Madame di Parma and now to Duke Ottavio her husband and the Prince her son, some forts had been made by order of this Duke on the shore of the Adriatic, in order, as is said to make sure the country against Turkish corsairs; but have been pulled down by express orders of the Viceroy of Naples, who, it is believed had orders for it from Spain; which matter has greatly vexed Duke Octavio and all the house of Farnese.
The bearer will tell you verbally about Doctor Dee and "Kele," (fn. 4) banished from the States of the Emperor, at the instance of the Papal nuncio.
At this instant I understand from one of the Council that the Duke will be within three weeks with the Marquis of Brandenburg and then both will go to the King of Denmark; at which time it will be very a propos that that King should speak not only of the aid for France but of a general league, wherefore let your honour look to it that the opportunity be not lost.
I have myself urged this to the said councillor and he thought it very needful and has promised to keep it in mind. Besides, he has suggested a method by which he gives me hope that this prince and his father-in-law may aid Duke Casimir's levies, whereat I am much rejoiced, and shall not be slothful in bringing it to pass.
They have advices from Rome concerning the affairs of Spain. Every day there was less hope of the Prince's life. The King was in great anxiety as to the Indies and the affairs of the Low Countries. I gather from many things that it infinitely imports her Majesty to strengthen and re-inforce Drake; for so long as he remains there, there is nothing to fear except treacheries against her own person, in which the Spaniards place great hopes, and to which your honour will give the thought that you are wont to do, and to which your office obliges you.
Endd. Italian. 3¼ pp. [Germany, States IV. 57 II.]
III. "Copy of Mr. Horatio Palavicino's declaration unto the Duke of Saxony at his first access."
Paper so endorsed. Latin. 2 pp., in his own handwriting, 2 pp. [Germany, States IV. 57 III.]
IV. "Copy of Horatio Palavicino's speeches delivered to the Duke of Saxony at his second audience."
Paper endorsed as above. Latin. 2¾ pp. [Germany, States IV. 57 IV.]


  • 1. Qy. the priory of Pierre Aveize.
  • 2. The manuscript being torn at this point, the wording is not clear, but this appears to be the meaning.
  • 3. Cf. list under date July 30, below.
  • 4. "Dr." John Dee, Mathematician and Astrologer, and his companion Edward Kelly.