Elizabeth: August 1587, 1-15

Pages 345-355

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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August 1587, 1-15

Aug. 1. Stafford to Walsingham.
There is nothing now to be hoped for from the matter with Soissons." Truly I am very sorry to write it, but there is so bad an undirect dealing that I am ashamed that ever I was any motioner for them "that gave so great hope and of whom so little effects have followed; but the baddest dealing of all is the unfaithful seeking to draw still more and more without intent of doing anything, . . . as you may see by a little billet sent to me from one of their own company at the arriving of the last from Montpensier, which they would have first hidden from me and then disguised quite contrary, and when that they themselves had sent unto him to advise him to come hither, which he will do within these ten or twelve days, and then, when they were determined to it to make a quarrel, [said] I had spoken of their coming to meet with me, which I neither spoke on nor thought on. But this is Florentine counsel, for by the Abbot of Albene and nobody else he is governed, who I am afraid will fall out the most untrue, unfaithful and unsufficient cunning man that liveth . . . which I have seen long, and yet, as you know, forborne ever to write of; but too plainly being discovered, I cannot hide it any longer. Notwithstanding all these dealings, I sent (as you may see by the copy enclosed) one of Soisson's own men to him with these instructions, who, though I know plainly answered that he would do nothing more than Montpensier, and made the same 'men' [qy. mean] answer to the gentlemen of the Religion that have long attended upon him, that he will not have one of the Religion in his company, yet by the Abbot's persuasion and advice came to me, disguised me the matter wholly, excused the light credit he gave to the report [that] was made unto him that I should tell anybody of our meeting, assured [me] he would do wonders; that he had had means from Montpensier and withal gave me a letter from the King of Navarre which I send you, whereof they have always one ready, desiring to have the money presently, to do some great effect.
"You may see what indirect dealing this is. I marvel the K. of Navarre could write that letter to me, and so I have written to him, as though her Majesty had written to him that she had commanded me to deliver it; but surely the poor prince is abused with these naughty, cunning people, and so are the poor gentlemen of the Religion here, whom they keep in hand still under hope of him till it be so late that they shall not be able to execute anything they had in hand, and shall be constrained for lack of other means to go with him and accompany him, who, if it be not of them of the Religion that they have delayed, shall have nobody in the world to accompany him to go with the King if the King doth go.
But yet to take away all colours that I know he is fully resolved to the contrary, I have offered them this (because they say that want only maketh them to do nothing) that seeing they are so greedy of this money, though it be against my express commandment, . . . that if they will deliver me sufficient caution in this town, that if her Majesty do not avow it me within one month after her disavow showed, that I shall be repaid both the rest of the money I do deliver now and that I have delivered afore, I would presently in a day's warning deliver them the money to do what they would withal; and because they should not think I would put them to seek cautions they could not find, I offered to take the Abbot of Albene himself and his mother with him bound; and that if they did effects worth it, I would write with all the earnestness I could to her Majesty to entreat her to be contented, which having received her will in, I would presently redeliver them their obligations. But that they would not hear of. The Abbot offered once himself to be bound, but I could not have taken him; but his mother I know hath it five times told ready. . . but they made an excuse upon that, that they would not have his mother acquainted with it." Then I offered that the money should be delivered by a burgess of this town, and I never named at all; with a writing between the Abbot and me to arrange the matter, "but they would not bite at it." Then he offered to be bound himself, but went away from it again; and "I could not have taken him, for he is a churchman and nothing to be recovered, but of his mother I knew well enough how to get it." In the end, they would fain have the money but do nothing worth it. I pray God there may come better desert, and if so, could even yet wish they had the money, "for if there be any hope of good for the King of Navarre's profit and the public cause (which, if they had been worth their ears, they might have advanced greatly), I would both wish and desire that they might be succoured."—Paris, 1 August, 1587.
I pray you, communicate this to M. Buzenval.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3¼ pp. [France XVII. 99.]
The King of Navarre to Stafford.
"Parce que je say au vray que mon cousyn quy est perdela et byen fere [sic] de sorte que ceus de quy vous dependes en auront contentement, Je vous prye, dautant que vous m'aymes et que vous afectyonnes les bonnes yntansyons des dessusdyts, parachever ce qu'yls vous avoyent ordonne et dont [yls] mont assuré par leurs lettres. Vous feres un bon euvre [que] tous les gens de byen estimeront, et dont je me [sen] tyray partyculyerement tenu a vous, comme s'yl estoyt fet a moy mesmes. Fetes au reste estat certeyn de l'amytye de Vostre afectyonne et plus assure amy, Henry.
Holograph. Undated. Injured by damp. ½ p. [France XVII. 99a.]
[Printed in the Supplement to Lettres Missives de Henri IV., (Vol. IX. p. 305).
Aug. 1. Stafford to Walsingham.
I have sent you the truth of how things have passed here, which you may use as you see cause. "As bad people as there be, and as great cause as I have, I am 'lofte' to hurt anybody. But in truth there is nothing here but art and cunning, and I pray God that there be truth and faithfulness to them that they profess to. Truly I am afraid of that. I would to God I might be deceived, for else I would think bareness and need maketh them to do they care not what, to get [something]; for truly they are all so bare here that for one that was to be sent in haste to the King of Navarre yesterday, all their credits could not get a small thing to send him away withal. I was fain in the end to lend it them of my money or else he could not have gone. Truly for my part, any thing I have in the world or can get shall not want to serve the King of Navarre withal, and love him so well as I will impute the unkind dealing I have had not to him but to the false reports of his bad ministers here, that have been glad to engage any body's reputation to cover their own naughtiness and insufficiency. But I will never deal with some of them, neither hot nor cold.
"I have sent you a couple of books of M. de la Noue's doing, come even now newly. I pray you that one of them may be fair bound and given to her Majesty, for so I have promised the gentleman. You will take pleasure in the reading it, for the style and the matter, and the love you bear to the man, who by a letter he hath written hither very plainly to the Abbot, is greatly perplexed for that he hath written of him into those parts; but surely, Sir, the Abbot's tongue and his pen spareth nobody that cometh into his head, and that cannot or will not be governed according to his broiling humour. I pray God the King of Navarre wish not he had never meddled with his matters."—Paris, 1 August, 1587.
Postscript. "They give out here today a great practice against the Queen by Jesuits taken in England; that her Majesty is dangerously sick; that Sir Francis Drake is dead; that the passages be stayed in England."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1¾ pp. [France XVII. 100.]
Aug. 1. Richd. Saltonstal and Dr. Fletcher to Walsingham.
The bearer, Mr. Tirrell, being in these parts about the matter of religion, came to us of himself, and confessed his name, profession and fault; viz. that after favours received in England, "being once in hand before, he had broken away and revolted again: that since that time he had grown daily into a greater dislike of himself and of popery" and that he had resolved to return home and offer himself to your honour, whether for punishment or for mercy. He seems utterly to have renounced the gross parts of popery, and I [sic] believe his conversion and desire further to be informed in the truth "is not in hypocrisy, but in very truth." Whether you will be pleased to be a means for him to be drawn forward with love and compassion rather than beaten back with rigour, I leave to your godly discretion.
For our proceedings here, we find that the Hamburgers and other Hanse towns are all in confederacy not to yield us any privileges "till her Majesty have performed her decree or promise of Nonsuch, which they allege not to be done as yet; forasmuch as divers new impositions are not yet remitted, which by information from the Alderman of the Stilliard they recite in particular, as that of Sir Walter Rawley's licence; the grant to Mr. Beale for steel; a new exaction (as they say) by the Customer of Hull etc. Whereunto we answer them that her Majesty already having dealt so largely and princelike with them . . . it is very unreasonable they should stand in these terms, and require all or more of her before themselves have performed any one thing on their parts again; specially seeing it had been their parts to have yielded first to her before anything granted on her part to them. Notwithstanding, she hath had that further regard to satisfy them in all reasonable sort (as appeareth by a clause of her decree) as that she promiseth to refer it to a commission . . . But finding them not satisfied with this and like reasons, we are forced now to drive it to a conditional conclusion; viz.: they to ratify our former privileges for a certain time. In the meanwhile (we tell them) her Majesty may be pleased to consider of their further grievances concerning these particulars, not by our means (which cannot nor dare not undertake any such matter) but solicited by their own letters." And in case she do not satisfy them within the time limited in this conditional contract, then they may resume their privileges so granted for our Residency. This may serve our turns for a year or two, when we may hope for some better events to give us the advantage which they now have. Their reason for standing so wholly upon the consent of the rest of the Hanses (contrary to the promise of their letters) is their fear of the King of Denmark, who will not compound matters between them "without flat resigning to him their criminal jurisdiction and best part of their territory. And therefore of late hath sent back their commissioners (which they sent to him about the redeeming of this claim . . .) with nothing else but absolute threatenings if they yield not out of hand." He has ordered a castle to be built in Holst, at the mouth of their river, to check their trade and has now sent forth of the Sound eight tall ships, which they fear are to go against them. But I believe they are sent for Scotland with the King's daughter. "1. Because I hear of certain that were at the Danish court when the Scottish ambassador departed thence of late that the marriage is agreed upon and concluded, notwithstanding the report cast abroad here that the treaty brake off because the Scottish King will not render the Orcades; which seemeth nothing else but a very cloak to cast over the lady to convey her in more secret [wise]. 2. The Danish ships set forth with the Scottish, all in one day, the one in the forenoon, the other in the afternoon. 3. The wind not serving them, they were forced to ride about this coast, the Scottish barks about the Holy Island [Heligoland], the Danish, four within the Ems, and four within the Weser, not far off the one from the other, and so with some dissimulation kept company together. 4. Certain of them went up into the Weser . . . near to the Bishop of Bream [Bremen] who is nephew to the King, as may be supposed that the lady being aboard might have better opportunity to refresh herself on land. 5. The wind coming about and serving their turns, I hear it reported that they were met all sailing together the day before the date of this letter towards the north-west."
This perplexity with the King of Denmark makes the Hamburgers join fast with the other Hanse towns, especially the nearest, Lubeck, Bream and Lunburg, which are the better content to join with Hamburg, as "they doubt their own case if so strong and absolute a neighbour as the King of Denmark should come so near to them and be possessed of one of their chief towns." We hope your honour has received our letter sent by way of Middelburg, and that you will favour our petition for the helping of this treaty.—Hamburg, 1 August, 1587.
Postscript. We are promised a copy of the Alderman of the Stilliard's letter, which we will send you.
Signed by both. Add. Endd. with short note of contents by Laurence Tomson. 2¼ pp. Seal of arms. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 62.]
Aug. 2/12. Mazino del Bene to Walsingham.
This comes only to refresh your honour's memory of me, and to pray that you will keep me in her Majesty's good graces and your own.
What news there is this bearer will tell you by word of mouth, and he also carries letters to those who will impart it to you; though I do not think you will receive any satisfaction therefrom, for we are sailing in a great tempest, without hope of being able to gain the port where only we may be safe, which is that of peace, if God at this time of his grace do not put thereto his holy hand; fortifying our King with better counsel than that which he has employed up to the present; for which I supplicate him with all my heart that he will preserve his and our kingdom from all evil.—Paris, 12 August 1587.
Add. Endd. Italian. ¾ p. [France XVII. 101.]
Aug. 10. Stafford to Walsingham.
I was very sorry that your letters confirmed the rendering of Sluse, before reported by the Spanish ambassador but not believed here, and that they who should have more care of their own good, "for the which her Majesty so liberally both spendeth her money and hazardeth her subjects" are, by their slackness and inconstancy, the causes of so great a loss and dishonour. I pray that they may so amend their old faults that they may not be brought to ruin hereafter.
As you wrote that Sir Francis Drake should presently go forth. I advertise you with all diligence "what the King's agent in Spain hath advertised hither of the 24th of July, that the Marquis of Santa Crux is gone out with a hundred and ten sail of ships of all sorts, and very near twelve thousand men embarked upon them."
I also send you a copy of a letter to M. Fonteynes, the governor [sic] of Brittany, from a man he has at St. Lukques, "that thereupon you may so consider of the furnishing of Sir Francis Drake that he may (as I hope) return with his own honour, the good of her Majesty and our country and the confusion of the King of Spain.
"The King hath not been here this good while, but is shut up and [sic at] bois de Vincennes, and will be yet this sennight, so that nothing here is done. They promise at his return that I shall have audience and satisfaction of all things with contentment.
"The King of Navarre . . . is besieging of Tonnay-Charente (Tonnecharente) and is now stronger than M. de Joyeuze, his forces coming daily to him and the other going daily from him, who doth daily send to the King for further supply or else to come home; but neither the King hasteth to send any nor will give him leave to come away.
"Some think the King of Navarre besiegeth Tonnay-Charente to provoke M. de Joyeuze to come to succour it, and so to have his revenge on him; others think it is to annoy him with that, while he with few passeth on his way to pass somewhere the river of Loyre to meet with his strangers, which I would he had already done and joined them, because his presence with them is very needful. But there is hazard in all things, and particular[ly] in this going with small company, though there be yet nowhere any forces together, and that the river of Loyre without a bridge is passable in a number of places.
"All the Council almost are at their houses hereabouts, the King being away. At their coming home I will easily find whether the ambassador spoke of that which you writ to me of his own head, or whether they desire it here yet; and whether if her Majesty should do it, it would be well taken to do any good effect.
"They have word here that the Reiters do march to enter towards Burgundy ward."—Paris, 10 August, 1587.
Postscript. "If my lord of Leicester do not find some means to keep the Prince of Parma [a] work with all his forces, surely it is thought he will send most of his horsemen upon the frontier either to back him, or into the country to help him; which will be of great importance for them of the League, both for some bad effect for them of the League [sic], and chiefliest for their reputation, which is no small matter at this time."
Holograph. Add. Endd ! 2 pp. [France XVII. 102.]
John Hawarde to Stafford.
The letters your honour procured from the King being delivered on Wednesday the 29th [n.s.], we were next day resolutely answered by the Due de Mercure that we should have no restitution until those in Brittany taken by Englishmen have had their release in England.
One M. de Lisonnett, Governor of Canquernaw [Concarneau] in Brittany has arrested our ship; "the report is he hath lost four pieces of ordnance, which according to the Duke's rate amounts to 2000 crowns soll: for here his pleasure standeth for a law. He hath delivered one of the three ships conditionally, giving his bond that he should bring him 3000 weight of gunpowder; so that the accord made by your honour between their Majesties is made but a jest by the governor, nothing being obtained of him without extreme expences or else unreasonable conditions."
The ship whereof I made report to you arrived here before my coming, and was ransacked by the Bretons, the men hurt and our goods spoiled. "Here is neither King obeyed nor our country beloved."—Nantes, 30 July [n.s.], 1587.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVII. 102a.]
Aug. 12. Buzanval to Walsingham.
According to your advice, I am resolved to go on Monday or Tuesday at the latest to the Court, and pray you to tell me to whom I ought to apply, in order to gain access to her Majesty. If you have anything from Paris that confirms my request, I pray you inform me of it. The King of Navarre, by his letter of August 18 [n.s.] urges me strongly to get the aid for the reiters and says all will be topsy turvy (sans dessus dessous) if the Queen does not take pity on this affair.— London, 12 August.
Postscript. They write of the defeat of some company of M. de Joyeuse.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [France XVII. 103.]
Aug. 12/22. Declaration of the Senate of Hamburg on this date for the continuance of the English Merchants Adventurers' trade there until Easter, 1588.
Qy. copy. Latin. 2 pp. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns II. 63.]
Three other copies of the same; one of them being endorsed by Walsingham's clerk, "February, 1587[-8], when perhaps the copy was made. [Ibid. II. 64–66.]
Aug. 12/22. "Abstract of the Council of Hamborough's decree of the 22 of Aug. '87."
"Granteth our merchants free exercise of traffic for the bringing in of their cloths, and the transporting thence any their commodities; so that they contain themselves within the suburbs of the city of Hamborough."
[On the same sheet are abstracts of Count Edzard of Embden's letter of Oct. 23, and the Senate of Hamburg's letter of Nov. 7. See under these dates.]
¼ p. [Ibid. II. 72 II.]
Aug. 13. Stafford to Walsingham.
The bearer, Touston [or Tonston] Walton, has asked him for passport, which he has given, on condition that the said Walton shall present himself to his honour. He confesses he has offended by coming over without licence, but does not seem to have misbehaved himself in any way while there.—Paris, 13 August, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [France XVII. 104.]
Aug. 14. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send this bearer in haste, "upon this accident that yesternight, after the Pope's nuncio had audience, presently the King, even at his going to Bois de Vincennes to M. d'Espernon's marriage, commanded the chevalier du Guet, the keeper of the Bastillo to set Morgan at liberty; the most sudden thing that ever I saw, for upon his [former] audience, that he so earnestly pressed it, that the Pope desired it as a particular favour from the King, the King flatly refused it him. But yesterday upon his audience, and the grant that he brought unto the King from the Pope for the selling of 50000 crowns' worth of the ecclesiastical livings, pressing that again, the King granted it and hath put it in execution, as I am very credibly informed, being very earnestly required it by St. Goard, his ambassador there, who hath assured it him that the Pope did desire it with so great earnestness, that if he did grant it, the Pope would not refuse him any reasonable thing.
"I have presently sent to ask audience, but I do not look for it of a day or two, for the King is not here; and to speak to Brulard of it, Pinard not being here, it were as good speak to a stock; but at my audience, I will deal as roundly with the King as ever any ambassador dealt with prince."
I thought fit to let you know this, "and whereas Nau's friends do look for his delivery presently, to desire that if you think it so good, at the least you do not make any haste in [it] till you hear further, for if the King be resolved in it, and upon my audience do not put him up again, that to have him [Nau] out, somewhat may be done by his friends' means for the having of Morgan, which is a thing neither unlikely nor unpossible.
"And also to put you in remembrance to send me those extracts of all those Morgan's and Paget's letters that touch anybody on this side, private or public person, signed and avowed with Nau's and Cowrle's [Curl's] hands. I do hope, without her Majesty's meddling in it, to have means found that Morgan shall never do great hurt to any body again.
"I pray you tell Mr. Waade that the man that did promise to him to give warning of Morgan's going out (who he is I know not) did send me a writing not long agone . . . there was no hope of it, which I knew well enough then to be true, but I marvel now I heard nothing of it from him.
"Gilbert Gifford this morning used a speech to one that he met, as though they would have it thought that Morgan was let out by her Majesty's consent underhand . . . to pick out some matter of him for her service. The said Gifford's going into Spain is stayed.
"I have sent you a packet sent me even now from Nawe's (fn. 1) friends in answer of the letters from him to them you sent me in your packet. It is above a sennight agone that they should have sent me the answer, but it came not [till] now, so that I think if Morgan had not been delivered, I had had no answer at all. I know not what the meaning of it is; but if you do not deliver Nawe till you hear further, they will, I think, think of the matter.
"News is come even now of the taking of Montelimar in 'Dolfine' by M. de la Valette by surprise. The castle yet holdeth and some think it will [be] succoured by M. Chastillion, who is not yet passed, and Ediguieres [Lesdiguieres] with him, but it is doubted, because M. de la Valette hath put himself between them [and] the Swissers that were to join with them, and is very strong in the field."—14 August, 1587.
Postscript. The news of the armies' of Spain's departure is confirmed. If you send me the extracts of Morgan's and Paget's letters, signed and acknowledged by Courle and Nau it may be Morgan will ere long wish himself in the Bastille again.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVII. 105.]
Aug. 14. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send you the copy of an advertisement sent me two days ago from one very near the King, and who never yet sent me anything false. I never heard afore of any intention of Count Soissons to enterprise anything at this time, but one who is acquainted with those matters has confessed that he "meant this day or tomorrow to go to his brother, the Prince 'Cownty' [Conti] and together to join and have some practice in hand for the King of Navarre's service. I wondered when I heard of it, and more that the King knew of it; for surely there is somewhat in it if they go forward with it now the King knoweth it; besides, since, I know it of more than half a dozen; 'then' [sic] none of them are belonging to them. Some think that they will do nothing but assemble the most they can together and so come unto the King, and then dispute with M. Mompensier the leading of the avantgarde, as of the elder house afore him. I know that is put into their heads by them that would be glad to have a division between Mompensier and them; which they have already begun to brew by a message that the Count hath sent by Du Perron to that effect: that he and his brother will dispute the advantgarde with him, and have place afore him, seeing he cometh to the King, which they would have yielded to him if he had kept his first promise for the King of Navarre.
"I am afraid that will breed small good blood, considering the man's humour . . . [also] that there is so much ambition put into [the] young man's head, and his elder brother's (fn. 2) imperfections so much preached to him, that seeking to have by his defaults greater authority than the other will yield to, there will be jarring between the two brothers." I pray you communicate this to M. de Buzenval.—Paris, 14 August, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1¾ pp. [France XVII. 106.]
The above-mentioned advertisement.
Beware what answer you make, for they will shortly ask you why you mix us up in it, by moving the Comte de Soissons to do what he is doing. They have assured the master today that he will see something stirring in this coming week, and that you have given him the means for it. I can assure you that the master [the King, inserted by Stafford] mocks at it, either as having people to guard him of whom he is assured, or as desiring that he and his may do their duty otherwise than they do; which I know certainly he would desire very greatly; and that he is sending to you only to satisfy the importunity of the little man [inserted, M. Villeroy] and others who press him for it, not that he is troubled as to whether you have done it; for he would wish that they should do more than they are doing; and was angry yesterday, seeing that he knows there are disturbances amongst them which there should not be, from the incapacity of those who meddle in their affairs.
I know not if the Mother, who arrived yesterday evening very late, has discovered anything of this, but I can assure you that the master is very certain that she hides nothing from him; and even of those who profess the contrary (sic). I pray God that you do not one day find true what I sent you word from St. Jermain. I pray you, take advantage of it, and speak of it to no one, as you did of what I lately told you, that you know we were reproached for after our last audience. If it were not for your own service and some affection which I have for the public good, I should never move a step in it, knowing how incapable and unfaithful are the men who meddle in their affairs.
Copy, without signature or date. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. 106a.]
Aug. 14. Stafford to Walsingham.
Has opened his packet to put in these lines, to tell him that "a very particular gentleman in M. Joyeuse's army" sends news "that all his cavalry hath left him, and all his gentlemen were a leaving of him, but that he is retired to Nyort and hath with importunity retained them about him, upon assurance that he will retire himself within four days in post hither, if the King within that time send him not new forces. The King of Navarre is stronger a great deal than he now; but hath made a great loss in Guienne of the three brothers of Gurson (fn. 3) which were killed all in one day by the companies of M. Matignon."— 14 August, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVII. 107.]


  • 1. Stafford spelt the name indifferently "Nau" and "Nawe."
  • 2. Cf. p. 378 below.
  • 3. Louis (Comte de Gurson), Gaston and Francois de Foix, sons of the Marquis de Trans. This seems to settle the date of their death. See D'Aubigné, Histoire Universelle (ed. de Ruble) Vol. vii., p. 82 footnote.