Elizabeth: May 1587, 1-15

Pages 287-296

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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May 1587, 1-15

May 1. Buzanval to Walsingham.
M. du Bartas ne peult passer devant le temple des divinités humaynes de sa Majesté sans luy offryr quelque fruyt des fleurs qui ont rendu son nom en bonne odeur a tout le monde. Cest pourquoy en ce premier jour de May il luy ha composé ce sonnet, lequel il desire estre tant honoré que d'estre presenté par vostre main." Also sends a letter from M. des Landes.—London, 1 May.
Add. Endd. with date. Fr. ¾ p. [France XVII. 60.]
May 4. Waad to Walsingham.
It seems by your honour's letters to the ambassador and myself, that you conceive I mean to escape from hence, according to the suggestion of the French ambassador, which I protest was so far from my meaning as I was resolved rather to abide any peril. "The only care I had was, if I had been licenced of the King, how to convey myself safest. That surmise came from the French ambassador's conceit, for he wrote the same hither long sithence, and caused me to be watched by his own folks and divers spials." If I had been so minded, I should rather have attempted it now than any time before, as I am assured I shall have no audience of the King until de Trappes come hither, and understand by your letters that her Majesty will not send him till we have audience. Therefore if she do not command my return, I am like to remain here longer than I have done, nor do I see any likelihood to have our ships released unless we can stay so many of theirs that the exclamations of the people may force the King to release ours. I refer myself wholly to her Majesty's pleasure, being only sorry to yield her no better service. "Truly the simpleness of my understanding cannot conceive to what end the continuance of this unkindness between the two realms serveth her Majesty, whereof I see they here serve their turns, for although the King have no meaning to break with her Majesty, yet the show thereof keepeth the world in suspence and opinions, and serveth his reputation, to egg on the King of Scots and to give some hope to the Guise, to whom the Queen Mother is now gone; who is very evil satisfied with the King of Navarre and somewhat inclined to pacify the other. All this her Majesty might have cut off very easily, and without any prejudice to her honour. The further things go on, the harder they will be to reconcile. The merchants here and of divers places were earnest suitors for the release of our ships and restoring of the traffic, and began to be glad when they heard there should have been main levee. But now the King is assured to have their necessity supplied with corn from others . . . he is like to show himself more stiff, because it should not seem he yielded by constraint to release our men, and that colour is taken from him wherewith he might have satisfied the world; and we shall draw but hatred upon us in staying of their corn in such sort as we did, which if it had been thoroughly done, the King must of necessity have yielded to the release."
I pray you to consider this poor man, the bearer, who was dispatched hither ten weeks since, and no passport could be got for him till now; because he attended not upon Chasteau Neuf and came hither as a Frenchman. He has lain here at great charge.—Paris, 4 May, 1587.
Postscript. "Mr. Fant dealt with your honour in the behalf of a suspected person, whom I take to be a very fit man to be employed and to perform good and special service. . . . He hath given me all faithful assurance of his fidelity and desire to be retained. He confesseth some discontentment, but I know he is accused by some that are not to be credited. . . ." Since my being here he has done good service which without him could not have been performed, and "greater desire I have seen in no man to efface the hard conceit had of him . . . He hath done some good service to some great personage he most hath offended, whose favour I have undertaken to reconcile unto him."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. Seal with monogram. [France XVII. 61.]
May 4. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send the copy of a letter which I write to her Majesty, and which I pray you communicate to my lord Treasurer. Also the copy of one "which I have come handsomely by, which is said to have been sent by you into Scotland. You can best tell when you see it whether it be a true copy or no. It is sent the Bishop of Glasgow by the King, and by himself that you writ it to, not knowing the King had sent it him. . . . I pray you that nobody but yourself may know it, for if there be anything discovered that I have any such thing, I shall come by no more. . . . It was written to him that you sent it thither secretly by young Douglas." They have translated it into French and shown the King certain points of it, such as they thought fittest to serve the turn, to prepare him against they have a mind to employ him.
"The Queen Mother is almost at her wit's end . . . She doth all the worst offices she can both against the King of Navarre and reviveth this matter of the Queen of Scots, which is not altogether so asleep as I have written to her Majesty . . . but yet better than it was. But I can speak with nobody but that is a piece of it still, councillors specially. Then what I writ to her Majesty of one that was still stayed for to attempt upon her is true, and procured and egged on still by those two knaves, and cast off now as a thing will be no more dealt in, the Queen of Scots being dead. It is the same man I bid Mr. Fant to mark when he was here."
I pray you tell me if I may keep Lillye, which I still do because you wrote to me so to do, and Mr. Wade also desired it "and warranted me it shall not be evil thought on; and as I keep him so I use him in things that he hath served me in and cannot hurt me. . . . I would be very glad to keep him as long as I tarry here, for the man can do that which I put him to very well . . . and I know he hath done service and stood me in good stead." Mr. Wade has taken upon him to reconcile him to my lord of Leicester's favour. I will keep him no longer than that I hear her Majesty mislikes not of it and that my mother is satisfied, for I will neither displease the one nor offend the other.—Paris, 4 May, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVII. 62.]
May 4. Waad to Walsingham.
"It may be her Majesty presumeth of the civil dissention in France, which may thus be quenched to England's hurt. For Queen Mother is indeed displeased with the King and leaneth to Guise, whom she would take with the bait of Evreux.
"In the mean season, her Majesty doth furnish them matter to work upon, which likewise draweth on d and Scotland which cannot be profitable to us; for were the sting of yielding (?) never so great, deferring the same would break it quite. So as her Majesty could at no time nourish vengeance (?) worse than at this present, specially with the ambassador (?), for the same is so reproached to the French King as whatsoever the League doth is not seen, or that cast in his teeth.
"If de Trap had been sent, all had gone well, and I think to the French King's desire; that would be glad those lets had been removed which serve Guise's turn; for I assure you that was the chief cause why the Queen of Scots' death vexed the French King, because it gave favour, pretence and colour to Guise and the League, against whom he was thoroughly bent, and then desired most her Majesty's aid, and sithence hath done and doth, if offences were remedied, that in honour he might do it.
"The League forget not all means to maintain this unkindness between us, alleging the breach with Spain upon like cause and like proceedings; this King being not inferior to the other, therefore cannot but do the like, having by the other received further occasion; and they have so aggravated her Majesty's [torn] of the ambassador, as the Gazettes doth speak [torn].
"Clervant pressed extremely the French King upon the [torn] they offered his ambassador. Bellievre and Pinard are only those we find lament, and seem indeed to be very sorry to see things go in this sort, and did counsel her Majesty to gain Fervaque (?) in respect of the credit he hath with the French King. It is certain he hath moved the King of Navarre to mediate with her Majesty with very earnest persuasions.
"Truly, Sir, her Majesty might, if she had pleased, have buried quite the remembrance of the Queen of Scots, which being revived now by the treaty of Queen Mother with Guise and the French King with Scotland, cannot be so easily got out of.
"My lord ambassador is most certainly informed that Queen Mother did extremely listen after news out of Scotland, and was very glad of the last message; caused a present to be made two months after for [the Bishop of] Glasgow. Whatsoever the French King beareth in hand to do good offices, he doth all the worst he may, which we easily perceive by his [the Scots King's] servants sent hither. Upon his last dispatch it was given forth my Lord Treasurer was chased about. The egring (fn. 1) of her Majesty's displeasure towards him is very evil interpreted here, to hurt her reputation, though they would be glad to nourish that humour.
The staying of their ships is the only way to make them stoop, and if her Majesty yield the King contentment in his ambassador and delivery of de Trappes, it can no way prejudice her Majesty so much as the opinion of this unkindness doth; serving their turns to evil purposes; for the people cry out for lack of grain, merchants show [sic] most earnestly for release of arrests, the customers [to] obtain rebatement of their farms. So as if the opinion of this jar served not to some purpose, it were to no end to nourish the same.
"D. Joyeuse is said to hinder the release of our ships, and all these in general, especially Queen Mother, because here in hand he hath most mislike of the late ejections, because of the example; being threatened with libels by processes.
A brother of 'Naw,' one that is a secretary to the King, hath been with my lord, desiring to go into England to procurehis brother's delivery. I have dealt with him to find the means to send 3 [qy. Morgan], the only way to have his brother. By means of one that doth my lord ambassador service we have brought him in mind to undertake it. He hath a very good reputation. Your honour may advise if you think it best he repair thither or that Naw write to him out of England. It may please you we have answer hereof."
Add. Endd. 1 p. very closely written. Seal of arms. [France XVII., 63.]
[The cipher used by Waad is one that has not been employed before, nor, as is evident, was any key to it to be found in the collection of that date. Possibly the key was sent by Waad by a different messenger, and failed to reach its destination. Burghley has made an attempt to decipher it, but has only succeeded with a few words. The various symbols for the same letter (each of the vowels has 5), and the large number of nulls and also of name symbols have made it very difficult.]
May 5. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send your honour certain books brought me since my letters were put up. "You may see that our actions here be not easy to be judged of when that upon the Queen Mother's going to pacify and agree with the l[eague] such books as these are printed and cried by privilege of the King.
"As also that the Queen Mother is sent to be revoked [who] is yet but ten leagues hence; that the King is very much offended with new demands they of the league make, to have Metz, Calis and Boullen, and leave to make war for the Religion without demanding any thing for the charge of the King; but this is but news brought me, and therefore I assure it not. . . .
"There is also news brought me which I do not believe, that there is an ambassador appointed since yesterday to go into Scotland, and that they have sent . . . to the ambassador to demand passage for him through England. And that the same despatch beareth commission to the ambassador to assure the present release of our ships here and to desire the same in England; that it was friends of his that pressed that he might have the delivery of it sent him to get grace and delay after they had resolved upon it, given us here. I do not believe it, but if it be so I am glad of it, for so a thing be done to you, I am nothing ambitious of the honour of the d[oing] of it"—Paris, 5 May, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVII. 64.]
May 5. La Huguerye to Walsingham.
Once more praying that he may have her Majesty's letter, his passport, the letter for Duke Otto etc.; otherwise he must go away without any reply save that which he carries in his mouth. On Wednesday he took leave of the Earl [of Leicester] who promised that he should have his letters today. (fn. 2) He can hardly await the departure of the ship going for the Sieur Palavicini, as it is to take over M. Bel [Beale], his honour's brother-in-law, whose dispatch is not yet ready.—London, 5 May, 1587.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Germany, States V. 46.]
May 8. Walsingham to Stafford.
". . . Her Majesty hath yielded to give the French ambassador audience, which he had on Sunday last [sic] in Croydon. (fn. 3) His desire was that her Majesty would not enter into any repetition of things past lest the answer that he should be driven to make for his own justification might give her occasion to enter into some choler and heat of speech against him; whereupon I dealt so effectually with her Majesty as she used him very graciously, to his great contentment and satisfaction.
"Afterwards he had conference with my lords of the Council, a copy of a memorial whereof I send you here enclosed [wanting]; and lastly there hath been a passport granted unto him for the sending of des Trappes into France.
"It is here looked for that upon knowledge of this mild kind of proceeding of her Majesty's, there will be present order given there for a general release of all our merchants' ships and goods; and that as we have taken a course to yield redress to the French for the spoils that they have sustained already and may hereafter sustain by her Majesty's subjects, so they will then concur with us in the like care to do justice and yield speedy satisfaction to her Majesty's subjects . . . wherein if they should use any slackness, then might we have the better matter to excuse the refusal of such favour as they would look for at our hands.
"The ambassador hath earnestly persuaded in private sort the sending over of some personage of quality to acquaint the King with the late proceedings in the matter of the Queen of Scots, but he hath been let understand that by such there as are well-affected to the amity of both crowns the time was thought to serve very unaptly for that purpose; nevertheless, I would be glad to understand your particular opinion in it, and what choice you would wish to be made of any here to have that charge. For mine own part, I conceive that the sending will be to little purpose unless it be to persuade the King to carry a more watchful eye over those of the league, and not to let [them] have too much of the bridle, offering him her Majesty's support and assistance for the better enabling of him thereunto; which purpose I shall be the more willing and better instructed to further if I may receive your advice and opinion in that behalf."
Copy, endorsed with date. 2 pp. [France XVII. 65.]
May 8. La Huguerye to Walsingham.
I have received from Mr. Wilford the dispatch you sent me, with your letters, and the seal having been broken, have given them to Mr. 'Bournan,' to be closed up again.
I am extremely vexed to have lost so much time in doing nothing, and still more so that this dispatch will be very prejudicial to our affairs in general, and to the Queen's own service. I thank you warmly for the money which you desired Mr. Wilford to deliver to me. My prince's credit is so good that I have no need of it. As to what he prayed me on your behalf: to soften and temper this reply by my report as much as I can, I beg you to consider that though at this time I am a servant of her Majesty, I have a special tie of fidelity to the Prince who sent me, and can hide nothing from him without disloyalty, these being matters which fundamentally concern his honour and preservation; but I assure you that I will neither add to nor diminish anything whatever. I am also much obliged to you for your letters to Mr. 'Haal' [qy. Hall], for my safe crossing in his ship, and will consult with him as to my departure on the return of Mr. 'Bournan,' who tells me that you wish me to give you a statement (état) of that levy of reiters and lansquenets; as to which, although I am not so thoroughly informed as I could wish, I will willingly do my best to please you, as I will in all things wherein I have power to serve you, although it will be of little profit to you, as already great numbers of them, both horse and foot, have received many discontents from hence, which will be redoubled when this answer is made known to them; so entirely contrary to the hopes given them by your ambassador; and I believe you will find very few who will wish to engage themselves in this way.—London, 8 May, 1587.
Add. Endd. Fr 1 p. [Germany, States V. 47.]
May 10. M. de Quitry to Walsingham.
M. Palavicino will have told you what passed here up to his departure, since when we have delivered the money to our colonels, who are the Comte de Barby, Bouc[k], Clotten, Frederic 'fon' Verne, Barbisto, Denmartin [Dammartin], the entire force amounting to 8500 horse and 25000 foot, half of them Swiss; with twenty-four pieces of artillery, mostly field pieces, and all that is needful for them; the whole to be arrived in the enemy's country on July 1. This army will be very fine and strong, but will need the continuation of the liberality of the Queen your sovereign, to fulfil our promise to them; without which ruin and mutiny are certain. But with the aid of fifty thousand crowns, by the grace of God we shall ruin the League and chase it out of France, or shall speedily obtain a good and assured peace; and then will immediately send the army wherever her Majesty shall deem most fitting for her safety; for which we will freely employ our lives; having recovered the country and re-established the church of God in France by her aid and christian liberality. It is not then at so fair and important an opportunity that the Queen ought to grudge this sum, on which, according to our human speech, hangs the ruin of the Pope, of Spain and of their party, both in France and in the Low Countries, and therefore the repose of England. And seeing that this is a matter which your experience in affairs, your piety and your honesty make you both well-acquainted with and well disposed towards, I will say no more, assuring myself that you will do what you shall see to be best.—Ecrestion [qy. Eckerstein], 10 May, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. as sent by Mr. Palavicino. 1 p. [Germany, States V. 48.]
May 10. [Burghley] to Duke Casimir.
Although the bearer, M. de la Huguerie, your servant and counsellor is so competent to give you himself an account of his negotiation that there is no need to write to your Excellency, yet from the respect I bear you and in answer to your letters, I cannot but send this to assure you of the duty which I owe you and to testify my sorrow that such is the difficulty of the present time as to prevent what he has so effectually solicited in your name. At this hour, her Majesty is so assailed on all sides by the papists of Christendom (i.e. those of Rome) by the practices and conspiracies of Spain and of the Low Countries, by most powerful forces both by land and sea, against this kingdom; from Scotland by continual suspicions by reason of conspiracies brewed by the Guisards, and at her own doors by papist traitors, that in truth, she is compelled more than ever before, to seek from her loyal subjects the means wherewith to provide money for defence, both by land and sea, in her own realm, in Ireland and elsewhere; so that never since the beginning of her reign, has she so heavily charged her people with loans and subsidies as she has done this year. And in this, your Excellency cannot be ignorant if you please to think thereon, that not any one in Christendom (your Excellency alone excepted) has given her any aid or contribution to her charges. Wherein truly she has cause to rejoice, as otherwise (if the goodness of her cause were not her consolation) she might well despair of any good issue. Nevertheless I hope—seeing that her Majesty and your Excellency already put forth all your strength and means solely from zeal for God's glory—that this same God, for love of his cause and the gospel of his son, will rouse from their sleep the Princes of the Empire and others who bear the glorious titles of Professors of the Gospel, to aid you also, there being no cause or occasion so great as this for the employment of their riches, acquired during so long a peace in the Empire as in all the ages the like has never been seen.
And thus, with all humility and offers of service, I commend your Excellency to the care of Almighty God.—
Draft by Maynard, Burghley's clerk, corrected by Burghley himself. Endd. with date. Fr. 2 pp. [Germany, States V. 49.]
May 10/20. De Laubespine Chasteauneuf to Burghley.
I do not know from whence this alteration may come which I see in the handling of affairs between our princes, assuring you that there is none on our part. I wish I could speak with you, but since your health does not permit it, I will say that since our agreement at Croydon on the 29th of April, your style, I have received letters from the King my master upon which I should wish to speak with you and the other commissioners of her Majesty, but as that cannot be, this letter must supply the place, giving you to understand that on April 15 the Queen sent des Trappes back to me, whereof I advertised the King and at the same time prayed him to send me power to grant the release of the ships, in order to re-establish the trade, upon the solicitation made to me here. It happened that the Queen sent for me to Croydon before I received a reply from the King, yet seeing her good will towards him by what she was pleased to say to me there, on coming away from the audience, without waiting for the King's reply, I agreed with you for the opening of the ports, and the release of the ships stayed since the 1st of January, together with liberty of traffic, upon your promise that Francois le Pape should be paid and no more of our ships stayed. That being agreed, I sent two couriers to the King, des Trappes and another, who only left here on May 4, Mr. Walsingham having sent me their passport on the 3rd, so that the King was not informed of our resolution until the 8th. Yet his Majesty, by his letters of the 1st, in reply to mine of April 15, tells me that he has commanded the ports to be opened, and for the re-establishment of traffic has sent me power and commission to negotiate it with you, on such conditions as I shall think good, and others also which he desires, viz. that justice be done to his subjects. This is how we stand, so that Mr. Stafford, who wrote on the 4th, does not know of the King's order to me. Now, inasmuch as the King will have seen that what I agreed to at Croydon conforms with the power given me by his letter of the 1st, I doubt not but that he will release your ships in France; therefore I pray you to let me know if on this side you will accomplish what we agreed upon at Croydon, offering on my part to sign and perform it, or if you wish the arrests to continue, that I may advertise the King thereof. And I assure you, whatever Mr. Stafford writes, that the King has not thought of refusing him audience; but I have heard that owing to the absence of Messrs. de Belliévre and Pinart, who are gone with the Queen, and because of the feast of Pentecost, during which the King is accustomed to go into retreat, the said audience has been delayed until after the festival. I see by my letters that the King is well inclined to continue more than ever his friendship with her Majesty, yea truly to knit it afresh. I pray you on your part to aid it and not to let these little difficulties grow and increase. For myself, I have found the Queen very well disposed, so that our two princes having this good will, it seems to me that if there is any default, the blame will fall on us, their ministers, and for my part I will do my utmost to preserve this friendship.— London, 20 May, 1587.
Holograph. Fr. 1¾ pp. [France XVII. 66.]
May 12/22. Sigismund, Prince of Sweden to Elizabeth.
Albeit he has given this his faithful servant Joachim Scheel (whom he is sending with one of his ships into Spain) his letters-patents, by which, he is assured, the said Scheel will be secured from all manner of injustice, yet having learnt that in the previous year war was begun between her Majesty and the King of Spain, and as yet no peace arranged, he esteems it not unfitting to salute her by these, his own letters, in order in very friendly and loving manner to pray her to give orders to all her maritime servants, admirals, captains etc. employed against Spain, that his said servant be not hindered or in any way delayed in his said voyage, seeing that he carries with him no wares which might serve for the arming or strengthening of her Majesty's enemies, but only wood, poles, ships'-masts, staves, pitch and such things, saving only some tormentes (fn. 4) and balls, which have been delivered to him for defence of his ship against pirates and others, and which, fortune favouring him, he will bring back with him.
If therefore he be forced by contrary winds into any harbour of her Majesty, his highness is assured that under her protection, he and his ship and goods will be safe from all harm and injury.—The castle of Wadstena, 22 May, 1587.
Add. Endd. "22 May, 1587, the P. of Sweden" which has been altered to "The K. of Poland, Sigismund." Latin. ¾ sheet. [Sweden I. 17.]
[Sigismund was not proclaimed King of Poland until August 9.]
May 14/24. J. Pounsford to Sir Charles Danvers, at the [Abbey of the?] Misericordia, in Venice.
Has not written by these last ordinaries, not having anything worth telling; and what he now sends may have been already sent by another; viz. of the succour which the princes and provinces of Germany are giving to the Emperor for his army this year against the Turk, without any cost to him, unless he wishes to keep his army throughout the year, or if certain necessities should arise, in which case he must needs go to his own purse. The list is as it has been given to the writer by a person in authority.
Haute Saxony, Basse Saxony and Franconia, each 1000 horse. The three parties of the free nobles, together 900 horse. Silesia, 1500 horse; 500 foot; and for a levy of Haiducks (that is Hungarian infantry), 50,000 thalers. Moravia, 1000 horse and 2000 foot.
The kingdom of Bohemia, 900,000 thalers for a levy of Walloons, footmen, cuirassiers and mounted arquibusiers.
The Marquisate of Lusatia, 50000 livres.
The country about the Rhine, 120,000 florins.
Westfalia, 600 horse. Bavaria, 3000 foot. Suevia [Schwabia], 4000 foot. The Comté de Tirol, 4000 foot. Haute and Basse Hungary, horse and foot, 20,000. Austria, horse and foot, 6000.
The Pope gives a succour of 8000 footmen.
There are also a hundred horse, Walloons, French, Italians and Spaniards, under a captain called Don Lopes. These are already at Comar.
None of these are ready save 1500 foot, which set out at the beginning of this month and have arrived at 'Strigoine,' conducted by one Colonel Pets (?)
The peasants and vinegrowers of Austria have been defeated; some of the chief ones, in the first heat of passion put to death; the others carried away prisoners. Nothing further has happened until now.—Vienna, 24 May, 1587.
Postscript, on a slip of paper. Since the writing of this letter, certain news is come that our people have taken Tatta, between Comar and Strigonie. (fn. 5)
Add. to "II signor Carlo Danvers, Cavalliere Inghlese, A la Misericordia, in corso di Muti, Venetia. French, 1 p. [Germany, Empire, I., 64.]


  • 1. To eager, obs. to irritate or provoke. Cf. aigrir.
  • 2. This supports the idea that Huguerye was dating old style, as by new style May 5 would be Tuesday, and it was very unlikely that Leicester would keep him waiting so long for the letters. By old style the 5th was Friday.
  • 3. The only Council held at Croydon was on April 31; that of May 7 was at Nonsuch.
  • 4. Engines for discharging missiles.
  • 5. Modern Dotis, Komorn and Gran.