Elizabeth: July 1586, 1-15

Pages 36-53

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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July 1586, 1-15

July 3. Stafford to Walsingham.
Yesternight arrived Chemerault (Shemereaux), who was sent by the King to see if Montpensier would deal with the King of Navarre about a peace. Montpensier thereupon sent Counts Carravas and Denray (with whom went Chemerault) to that King; from whom they could get no answer but that he would first speak with Montpensier himself, and would meet him where he would appoint, or would come to Champigny to him himself. Which Montpensier is resolving himself of, and will then send Vray hither, who is looked for tomorrow or next day.
Verac (Verak), who was sent again (as I wrote to you) to Montmorency (Memorancy) came back the day before yesterday, and has seen by the way the Queen and the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé.
He got no answer from Montmorency but "that he was a most humble subject and servant unto the King, under the authority of the King of Navarre, to whom he had vowed and assured himself unto; that therefore he could answer nothing unto anything: that it was the King of Navarre whom he must address himself unto; that whatsoever he would do with him he would avow it and stand to it. And when Verac told him of these armies that are now setting up under Biron, Joyeuze and Espernon, he told him all that did nothing at all amaze him. And presently afore him, M. Chastillion departed with 2500 shot, and his younger brother with him; M. Chastillion to put himself into Milhaud (Milliaut) with 1000 shot, and his brother into Marenges with fifteen hundred; which be the two towns that Joyeuse should go presently to besiege. And to make him have the colder roast there, he hath cozened the old Marshal his father, having made a truce with him that they shall make their récolte (rekolte) quietly, so that he send all his forces presently out of Languedoc into Rouergues and Velay, which are the places that these two towns stand in, which he hath done; so that before Joyeuse come, his father's companies will have quite eaten all up, that they shall starve.
"Having left Montmorency, he came to the King of Navarre, of whom he could have no answer but that he desired nothing more than peace; that he brake not the peace nor made no wars to nobody, but only defended himself; that he showed enough how little he desired the ruin of France; that he could have had his reiters in a great while agone if he would; that in the respect of the ruin of the country, he would bring them in as late as he could, but that in the end, necessity had no law. And when he told him from the Queen Mother that she would employ herself anything she could for his good and for the good of the realm, he answered that it was time for her to begin; that she had long enough been adoing to ruin the realm of France, and particularly to undo him. At which answer, she is grown marvellously desperate, and knoweth not what to do, for neither with her son she is very well, nor the League trust her not, for not having better stuck to them now than she hath done.
"The King himself is animated and withal amazed at this stiff standing of the King of Navarre's to demand no peace; and was propounded yesterday to call back again M. de Joyeuze, which is not yet resolved, but most part think will be presently."
M. d'Epernon was yesterday going to horse, having taken leave of the King and everybody; and was going first to Boulogne (Bullen) to take possession there, and then into Provence, "where his forces were gone onward a good way," but the King has stayed him from going to Boulogne, and ordered the forces to stay where they are till they hear further. Nobody understands the meaning of the changeableness of their minds.
News comes to-day, though I cannot assure either myself or you of it, that Montmorency is in Provence, and master of some good places in it; that Oraison called him thither to help to oppose Vins, who, after the Grand Prior's death, by authority of the Parliament had gathered some forces together; and that Montmorency has defeated him and is master of a passage or two upon the river of Rhone. "This news troubleth them here greatly."
The King is also troubled for his edicts, which "marvellously stomach everybody. He standeth upon his reputation that he will not call them back again; that it would be a disgrace unto him; and yet he seeth that to no effect they will come. There is all means possible sought how to save his honour in calling back again that he hath done.
"There is an expedient found which the procurers have begun (how the others will follow I do not know) that they shall come and be humble suitors to the King to call it back, and offer him four thousand crowns among them all, and that the King shall take of them but two thousand, which was done yesterday, and the King hath promised to revoke it this next week; and so justice began yesterday again to be open; which hath ceased ever since this edict [was] published throughout all France. It is far from four or five hundred thousand crowns that they of Paris alone should have paid. This is called by the pasquilles here dancing in a net.
"The King was by the first President and others that are here of the chief in Paris for him put in such a fear of a mutiny very shortly in this town that upon Thursday last, as soon as they had been with him, he presently came with all his court from St Maur upon half an hour's warning, and is come and remaineth at the Louvre (Lover) here, they assuring him that his presence may do much.
"They of the town have been advertised (as indeed it is true), that it was propounded in the Council to disarm them, whereat they be greatly stirred, and I think do mean to keep themselves from it well enough. They were advertised withal that the King having disarmed them, meant to take out of their houses all silver 'vessel,' and all that [he] could make money of from them, and carry it to the mint and coin it for himself; but I do not think that to be true. Howbeit, if they were disarmed, it is hard trusting to their gentleness that rule now, they have done things so far without reason."
I have commanded this bearer to inform himself by the way of the preparation by sea, which still continues, though slowly enough.—[Paris], 3 July, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVI. 28.]
July 4. Stafford to Walsingham.
We were all amazed at the sudden taking of Salettes, who has often been here from the King of Navarre, and was now here (secretly) to pursue the deliverance of his uncle, long since sent to the Bastille; and though he had no safeconduct from the King, had assurance that he might in safety follow his affairs. But the night before last, he was suddenly taken in his lodgings, carried to the Town House for the night, and next forenoon examined there and then carried to the "Bastillion," where he is shut up very closely.
Those here for the King of Navarre can learn no cause for it, but I am assured by good means "that it is upon an advertisement given to the French King . . . that there is a reconciliation sought to be made between Navarre and Guise; that Guise seeketh it greatly, and will do anything that can be desired at his [hands] for the surety of it; and that which maketh the French King the more to fear it is that he is advertised that Montmorency and Nevers are they that have taken in hand to manage this; that Guise offereth for the more confidence to be had unto him that he will be perpetually at Navarre's devotion, to put into Navarre's hand his eldest son for hostage, and his daughter into Montmorency's hand; that Navarre hath already been moved in it but that he hath not yet hearkened to it; but fearing lest Salettes should have some charge . . . to hearken to it, is the chief cause of his taking, to discover that. That the French King hath determined upon this to send the Queen Mother, under the colour of going to Chenonceau, to Navarre, and that she doth very willingly take the journey in hand, having a very great desire to creep in with Navarre, seeing the distrust that Guise and they are in of her." Those here for Navarre cannot believe this, but take my assurance that it was resolved on, upon that advertisement.
Guise's favourers have long harped upon this, and have motioned it to the Spanish ambassador, but now the French King is told that they go about it more firmly, and whereas formerly they "stood upon their tiptoes . . . to have Navarre and Guise to speak of it together as in equality, now Guise seeing that the French King loveth him not, and that their affairs go every day worse, doth offer to seek it not as companion but with duty, and to put in pledges for the assurance of that which he seeketh and offereth." I was told of this a fortnight since, but durst not send it, as I believed it not; but now that the King is advertised of it, I think it most necessary that you should be so, and send this bearer purposely to that effect, whom, as I have very great need of him, I pray you to send back with all speed.—Paris, 4 July, 1586.
Postscript. Even now, assured word is brought me that all the above written is most certain, and that Queen Mother will depart within eight or ten days. Also that she means to speak with me before her departure, "to be a means that her Majesty (as she thinketh that her Majesty will very willingly do that) will use her credit with the King of Navarre to unite him, Queen Mother and the French King, and break the other." Whether this resolution will hold better than all things else here, God knoweth, but I pray that I may have direction how to use myself in such a motion. I believe within ten days will be time enough, for I think Queen Mother will not deal with me till she be ready to depart, "and that she take it for ultimum remedium." Navarre's folks have now found that I was well advertised, for they send me word that they have the like advertisement. I have sent one to warn Count Soissons not to come hither yet,—who is abroad, taking his pleasure, and waiting for news from Montpensier— "for I know it was yesterday propounded in secret council to seize upon him, but not resolved; but naughty resolutions are commonly suddenly and too soon resolved upon here."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVI. 29.]
[Words in italics in cipher, partly deciphered.]
July 4. Horatio Palavicino to the Queen.
Now that I have returned from Saxony and Brandenburg, I offer your Majesty a relation of my journey, since, by reason of this other business, I cannot return to your royal presence. I will not repeat the answer of those princes to my proposals, as I am sending them to Mr. Secretary, but will tell you that the dispositions of these princes and the state of their affairs do not tend to such care of distant and foreign affairs as befits their importance or consequence to the common cause. Whence it comes that the recommendations bear little fruit, and those invited do not bestir themselves as much as is due to the dignity of the Prince who has invited them. For it must needs be held for certain that notwithstanding the ceremonious words of these princes, both as regards the common cause and that Prince who sends to treat with them, they do not take to heart matters outside Germany, or do anything among themselves by which they may give him counsel or aid without a general consultation and consent of their confederates, which would not be obtained without long delay and many difficulties. From which way of proceeding it is impossible to take any prompt or vigorous action for the aid of anyone. Much less then is it to be hoped that two, three or more princes should join either by themselves or with your Majesty or any other foreign prince for any cause outside Germany . . . insomuch that I cannot fail, as a loyal servant of your Majesty, to tell you that we cannot rely upon this, and that the best way of obtaining some result would be, by means of one of these same princes of Germany to persuade them to give authority to two amongst them to resolve and assist in foreign affairs, with a general engagement from all the others, for then those deputed might be treated with, and good resolutions and actions might easily be obtained; whereas on the other hand, sending to all these many principals and treating with them separately will never (as it seems to me) bring either fruit or satisfaction.
The Landgrave would be a proper person to propose such a plan to the rest, and then to administer it. The King of Denmark would also be good, not to administer it. because of his distance away, but to consult with and aid in obtaining it. And this might perchance have more effect than a league and would be much better liked, more secret, and less offensive to their laws. Your Majesty may however have the satisfaction of having written and sent to recommend the affairs of a very good King, whose cause is worthy of all aid; and I do not doubt of obtaining some reasonable result, in case this embassy shall return from France without obtaining satisfaction. . . .
Now, turning to the affair for which I was sent into these parts, your Majesty may be pleased to know that I have again approached Duke Casimir, to see what he will resolve and proceed with him according to my instructions, always with due care that your Majesty's money shall not be spent without the desired result. You may be sure that everything is prepared on my part, and that if it fails to take effect, it will be wholly by reason of others. I shall stay here either until I have finished or shall receive your commands to the contrary, but I pray that I may not be kept here longer than is necessary.
It remains to give an account of the business of Genoa, upon which I am writing to the Lord Treasurer. The court of Spain demands two things of your Majesty; first reparation for the damage suffered from Signor Drake in the Indies, and secondly the quitting of Holland and Zeeland; very serious demands, yet which were likely to be made at the beginning of this design. And they will on the other hand secure peace to you and to your State, and the re-imbursement of all your expences here since 1576. I have desired the Lord Treasurer to write to me what I am to do, and will execute his orders with all possible diligence. Meanwhile I am trying to learn all that is being done in Italy in the way of naval preparations, and so far hear nothing which need give her Majesty any anxiety. Apparently in Spain they are all intent on chasing Drake out of the Indies, who if he is bravely supported by her Majesty, may feel assured that his foes will be in greater trouble than they have yet been, and that he will in the end obtain all that he designs.—Francfort, 4 July, 1586.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 3 pp. [Germany, States IV. 63.]
July 4. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
I wrote on the 26th of last month from a city called "Noamborgo," where I found a Flemish merchant going to Hamburg and from thence to London; and then told you of the tenor of the Elector of Brandenburg's answer, which I now send you, together with my proposal. It seems to me only a ceremonious answer, and not such as the importance of the cause demanded; which I attribute, not to any lack of good-will, for truly he appeared to me to be a very good prince, and well-inclined to the common cause, but to their way of managing their affairs, seeing that as they do not decide on any matter appertaining to themselves without the general consultation and consent of the other confederate German princes; so much the less can they determine matters far away and foreign, which, to tell the truth, they do not care about so much as they ought, and to all proposals have the trite and customary answer; viz. that they will treat of it with the rest, but cannot deliberate on it alone, and thus they exclude any foreign princes from intervening or joining in their deliberations. Moreover, they have set on foot in this French business a joint embassy, deputed by them all: and having gone so far that this is about to leave Germany for France, it was not possible successfully to attempt with any of them to revoke it, and still less, that in place thereof they should discuss a succour; therefore I did not demand it, but confined myself to asking—since it is very likely that it may not obtain a safe peace—that they would at least take counsel together to make such provision that at once, on learning the result thereof, they might proceed to a succour by arms of such strength as is fitting; showing how much it might assist the embassy if those in France learned that there was such a disposition in the Princes of Germany. And this appeared so reasonable that of themselves it was acknowledged to be very useful, and that they should accept the courteous invitation of her Majesty; but although they confess it in words, they do not put it into deeds. [Suggests the possibility of one or two princes treating on behalf of the rest; as in his letter to the Queen].
I arrived here on the 1st instant, and at once sent Zolcker to Duke Casimir to ask for audience; but the Duke was not at Heidelberg, having gone to one of his seats, four leagues distant, to receive the ambassadors going to France. I understand that he will not return before the 8th; but as soon as I know his pleasure I will go to him, tell him all that has happened, see in what disposition he is, and at once let you know what I have done. If it should be concluded, and I am free from the charge of this money, I should like to return home before the winter; if her Majesty does not wish me to follow the army, and if no other occasion of service presents itself.
I have been told by one worthy of credit that M. de la Verriere has left Dresden very dissatisfied with his treatment by the Duke, having had but one audience, although he pressed strongly for a second. He returned here, and left to go to the Bishop of Trier.
I have further letters from Italy that they are not assembling forces there, nor is there appearance of any other naval preparation than some merchant ships, which were stayed to serve the King; but the galliasses in Naples are slowly making ready.
They already knew of the successful proceedings of Sir Francis Drake, and named to me two ports, Las Onduras and Porto Cavallo, in which he had taken and burnt nineteen ships. The King was much disturbed by it, and chiefly accused the Council of the Indies at Seville as being the cause. Signor Giovanni Andrea was about to leave Genoa with a squadron of galleys, and it was supposed that he would go into Spain, but not certainly known.—Francfort, 4 July, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 2½ pp. [Germany, States IV. 64.] Enclosing:
1. An exhortation made to the Elector of Brandenburg in writing by Horatio Palavicino, giving at length the reasons which should move him to give some aid to the cause of religion in France.
Endd. "July 1586." Latin. 3 pp. [Germany, States IV. 64a.]
2. Reply in writing of John George, Marquis and Elector of Brandenburg, to the propositions of Sir Horatio Palavicino, ambassador of the Queen of England. Berlin (Colonia ad Suevum), 20 June, 1586.
Add. Endd. "Touching the support of France." Latin. 5½ pp. [Germany, States IV. 64b.]
July 4. Horatio Palavicino to Burghley.
I have written more than one letter to Mr. Secretary of my journey to Saxony, and so will not speak of it to your Lordship; and having now written to her Majesty the substance of what I can gather of the carriage of those princes, I refer you to her letter.
Although I do not think I have said anything which will be new to you, it will yet serve to confirm the fact that there is no change either in customs or nature here, and that you must take some new way for negotiating with them, if in the future, opportunity should arise. From Genoa I have had letters of the 29 of June, their style, and Lazaro Grimaldo writes that Gio. Andrea Doria had had a reply from that minister of the King of Spain to whom he had written of the practice known to your lordship, given by him on the 31 of May, at the time when they had just learned of the great damages done by Sir Francis Drake in the Indies, by which reply he showed that the mind of the King of Spain was very much disturbed (alteratissimo) by those news, and demanded two things; first, reparation for all these damages and secondly that Holland should be freely given up, saying that according to the answer, he should proceed with the King. For his own humour, he showed very good inclination to a peace, and especially by means of Doria; wherefore this latter is much stirred up and demands an answer to these points without delay, either in Genoa, if he shall not have departed with the galleys, or wherever he shall have gone. I see that he of Spain was not able to make greater demands, or rely further upon his credit, since on his part he does not offer or make any sign of offering anything for the security of her Majesty's State or for the re-imbursement of her charges. This may however be attributed to the coldness of the Spanish nature, which is very advantageous in every treaty, and I believe that if the Queen will resolve to declare herself further, they will be found much more tractable; of whose resolution I shall expect to be certified by your lordship, and also to be particularly instructed what I am to reply and solicit, when I shall act in accordance with your orders, with the utmost fidelity and diligence, praying you to send your letters to Sir E. Stafford in Paris, with orders to forward them by an express, by way of Sedan or any that he thinks better, or to give them to my men, who will send them by way of Zeeland; which however will not be so speedy or so safe as the other. Meanwhile I will reply to Grimaldo in general terms, and try to discover further the minds of the Spanish ministers, in order at once to inform you thereof. I pray that if this design do not go forward, and I, consequently, have nothing to do here, you will allow me to return before the winter; and that I may have orders what to do with these moneys, in case they are not employed during August in the service for which they were intended.—Francfort, 4 July, 1586.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1½ pp. [The words in italics are in cipher, partly deciphered.] [Germany, States IV. 65.]
July 5. John Douce to Walsingham.
Here are six ships well appointed and ready for sea, but no speech what course they shall take. At Newhaven, St. Malo's (Mallowes) and Rosco are twenty-five sails appointed for the same service, "the governor's ship of Calais (Caylles)" being one of them.
"It is bruited here that there were certain pieces of brass sent from Calais to Dieppe (Depe) for the furnishing of one of the ships that were intercepted by the Flushingers, for the which they make much ado.
"The governor of Dieppe is thought to be general in this navy; he is not yet come from the Court. All things are very silent here. There is not such ward at the gates as heretofore; yet here is much removing of armour and provision of wars in every place."
Here is much muttering amongst the Catholics of this secret preparation; some say for Scotland, and others for Brouage (Broadge), but I am persuaded that it is practised by the King of Spain and the Pope, they together with the Spanish ships to meet with Sir Francis Drake when he approaches these parts, if they be not prevented.
Today, M. de Gordan is looked for at Calais from the court, and M. "du Pernon" with him.
"A merchant that came from Liege (Ledge) said here that the late Bishop of "Collen" with his power had given the Bishop of Liege a great overthrow.—Dieppe, 5 July, 1586, "after our reckoning."
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 30.]
July 8/18. Lazaro Grimaldo to Horatio Palavicino.
A duplicate of his letter calendared under June 25, above, with addition of a second postscript, saying that he hopes the duplicate of the above has been received, but as a precaution sends this new copy. Has nothing to add save that the Prince has not yet departed. The galleys are careened and in order, but he believes they are waiting for advices from the King's Court.—Genoa, 18 July.
Add. Endd. Italian, 2¾ pp. [Germany, States IV. 66.]
July 9/19. The French King to Elizabeth.
Complaining that in spite of remonstrances on his part and promises on hers, her ships at sea have lately taken four or five vessels laden with corn belonging to his subjects; and amongst them the Serpente, owned by Fernande de Guintaurdoines, Sieur de Bretigny, residing at Rouen, which, in returning from the Belthe, an Eastland country [sic], laden with corn for Dieppe, was taken by her men of war in the Pas de Calais and carried into Flushing, where the corn was declared good prize; the ship being restored to the owner, but since again stayed without cause given, those of Flushing refusing to hear the Sieur de Bretigny's solicitor, although they knew well that he was French and a natural subject.
Finding this very strange and insupportable, he prays her to see justice done to the said Sieur de Bretigny and not constrain him to procure it by extraordinary means.—Paris, 19 July, 1586.
Signed Henry; countersigned Pinart.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France XVI. 31.]
July 9/19. Lazaro Grimaldi to Horatio Palavicino.
Believes this will find him returned from Saxony. [Repeats the substance of his former letter, as to the Spanish King's indignation at the injuries and losses sustained from Sir Fras. Drake; the uselessness of mentioning the subject of a peace at such a time, and the good inclinations of the Spanish minister towards the design. Copies of his last letter sent, one direct to England, another as usual, by Lyons.]
The principal point (if I am not mistaken) is the restitution to the King of the parts occupied. If this be done, I hope by God's help, that we may carry on this important business, but otherwise I am confident that we shall labour in vain.
If the peace comes to pass, many good and very important results may be expected; [enumerates these at considerable length.] Therefore it is our duty to do our utmost to bring it to perfection, for which I am most ready, and Signor Fabritio no less so; and I promise myself the same from your honour, who being in great credit with the Queen and her chief ministers, will be able to do much in a matter so greatly for her service; for in my poor opinion, nothing can so establish her greatness and the quiet of her States as a good peace with King Philip. . . .
I know that Prince Doria is strongly inclined to this. He has great influence with the King, and I with him, and I know his intimacy and friendship with the minister to whom he has written. If there should be need for writing to the said minister in the Prince's absence, I hope I shall not be discredited with him, and that I shall not be otherwise than well reported of to the King. I cannot forbear to say this to your honour, as you know that while I lack entry to the said King, that to the ministers, even the chief ones, will not be closed to me.
The Prince has not yet departed. I believe that he is awaiting some message from the court. I pray for orders as to how I am to proceed when he is gone.—Genoa, xviiij July, 1586.
Add. to London. Endd. 18 [sic] July, 1586. Italian. 2 pp. [Germany, States IV. 67.]
July 13. Buzenval to Burghley.
I gladly address myself to you in public affairs, for you have more experience than all others, and as much affection as any. My last letters from M. de Guitry, of the 18 of June, oblige me to be troublesome to you once again in relation to our German affairs. I see that two things hold them back: the irresolution of Duke Casimir as regards the enterprise to France, and the lack of funds sufficient to make such an army as is necessary; the latter being perhaps largely the cause of the former.
Some days ago I showed her Majesty how near the King of Navarre was to his ruin if he were not aided by stranger forces; that all she had hitherto done would be in vain if aid were now wanting, and stated such great and special inconveniences which might accrue, that she was pleased to tell me that she would augment the sum rather than that the enemies of that King should triumph over his ruin, or force him to change his plans. Therefore I hold it for certain that this last difficulty will be promptly remedied, and for this reason, I do not desire to trouble you greatly, seeing that if we have the unhappiness to fail there, the remedy being out of our power, God will be witness of our innocence, and this public necessity will give a legitimate excuse for what may afterwards be done to the prejudice of the good cause by those who will know well how to avail themselves of his needs to advise the King of Navarre to things against his nature, his will, and the constancy of his past actions.
I return then to the first hindrance which will cause a fatal delay to the raising of the army, viz. the person of Duke Casimir. You know that no one has such interest in this army as has the King of Navarre and the churches of France. You know that those who prosecute the matter are persons of good affection, valour and understanding, and who have a great obligation to its advancement. Thus it seems to me that one should have great regard to what M. de Guitry requires of her Majesty, viz. that the Duke may be called upon by M. Palavicino to take in hand what he has promised touching the levy, and if he refuses, or shuffles, that M. Palavicino may treat with some other prince, according to the judgment and advice of the King of Navarre's ministers. For seeing the strong interest which they have that their master should be well served, it is to be presumed that they would chose him whom they deem the fittest for this affair. In short, you know that illic seritur, illic metitur.
It will be said that even if Duke Casimir does not march in person, it is expedient that he should lend his authority, contribute his means, and even give his word to answer for him who shall be the chief. We believe him to be so well affected that he will not refuse these things, and all means should be tried rather than that we should be deprived of them. But judge, my lord, how inconvenient it would be if a prince came forward who would and could undertake this affair on his own authority, without depending on that of Duke Casimir, and yet that the said Duke should hold us in suspense. For you know the jealousies there commonly are between princes, and the only way to bring to a resolution him whom you desire is to show him that he can be dispensed with.
In the year 1569, the late Elector Palatine was prayed to allow us to have Duke Casimir, his son. This good prince refused, judging the affairs of France to be so low that he did not think they could be raised by his son's presence. The Sieur de Francourt (Franckourt) then agent for the late Prince of Condé in Germany, did not lose courage; sought the Duke of Deuxponts, then not on good terms with his cousin the Elector, and suggested to him to undertake the journey, which he did without the aid of the Elector, and with such good fortune that although on the German frontier we had the late M. d' Aumale with a French and German army and then the late Nemours joined to him, yet the said Duke passed everywhere, and in the end this army gave us the peace. Wherefore the Sieur de Guitry prays that the King of Navarre may not be deprived of liberty to choose what prince is fitting for his affairs, but rather that the inconvenience which may happen from this restriction in M. Palavicino's instructions may be removed.
I do not doubt that if Duke Casimir had seen a sufficient sum, he would already have begun the levy. But the money from France has not been sent him, and I know from a good source that he expected more from this quarter than has been offered him. If that from France has not come in time, it is not the fault of the King of Navarre.
For it is hard for him who has the enemy quartered upon him to reckon on anything. He loses today a house which yesterday he thought was well assured to him. One must have one's state secure in order to give order to such affairs, and war is a gulf which devours always, but trebly when it is in one's midst. When the King of Navarre shall have failed in faith, in steadfastness to his party, and in his word to his friends, then there will be reason to complain of him. If his ministers have represented his affairs as better than they believe them, it has been from fear of discouraging both the Prince whom they served and those with whom they were treating in his name. If our means are not great, the common enemies are the cause, who take them from us; and if we must perish by our poverty, we are already half lost. At least courage will never have been wanting to us, and I believe will never be wanting to the King of Navarre. Although it is a vexation to see himself coldly succoured by his friends, it will not cause him to change his design; for do not think but that he believes that he brings as much at least as all other princes in this party, seeing that he risks the hope of succeeding to the finest kingdom in Christendom in order to uphold the common cause of the Religion.
But it is not my intention to demand impossibilities from her Majesty, for my dispatches these last six months to the King of Navarre show that I have exaggerated the charges which she bears for the common cause. But consider, I pray you, how vexatious it will be to the King to learn the means that are employed, by haggling with him as to accommodating him with the four vessels which he asks from her Majesty, and what his opinion will be of greater matters from these small ones. I do not say this without cause. May God avert the evil which I foresee from it. But without the speedy coming of an army from Germany, I do not see that we can put any reliance upon affairs in France, and that it will be vain to employ great means to raise them up again, when, for lack of ordinary ones, they have been cast down to the ground.—London, 13 July.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Fr. 3 pp. [France XVI. 32.]
July 14. Buzenval to Burghley.
Since writing my letter, I have received by way of Sedan a duplicate of the Sieur de Guitry's letter of June 19, in which he again urges me to give him an answer concerning the article of which I wrote to you in the Sieur Palavicino's Instructions. I beg you to untie this knot. The money from Languedoc and Dauphiny ought to arrive at Strasburg at the Fair of St. John. (fn. 1) We can no longer reckon upon that from Xaintonge and La Rochelle, for the war has consumed it all. A little help from her Majesty might do such good not only to France but to the neighbouring countries as I know not if a million might redeem it later.
May it please you with your great judgment to consider the present opportunity. The King is sending Messieurs de Joyeuse and Epernon with all the forces of France to the frontiers furthest removed from the road of the army of Germany, and is giving even his own body-guard to Epernon. Think then what resistance the German army will meet with on the frontier, where M. de Guise remains alone. Auxonne, the chief and strongest city of Burgundy, promises to stand for the King of Navarre if our army marches. The Catholic princes will fulfil what they have promised, and the cost of what has been defrayed on their behalf will be repaid. In short we cannot but hope presently for a good peace, to the confusion of our enemies, the settling of your affairs in the Low Countries, and the repayment of what is due to you. And what is more, you will assure to this state the friendship of a prince who will never fail it, and to whom I declare to you upon my honour, the King of Spain has offered fifty thousand crowns a month, and four in advance, provided that he would give up his religion and unite with him to ruin the rest of Christendom. If in one year the Queen will have expended a hundred thousand crowns to preserve this Prince to the good party, I believe that at the end of the year a hundred will be worth a thousand. And I pray you to consider that it is not force or necessity which constrains the King of Navarre to remain constant in the religion which he professes and that he could forsake it with as much pleasure and satisfaction, as the world counts it, as he has trouble, vexation and sorrow by persevering in it.
I send you the last letter I have received from M. de Marsillyere, the said King's secretary of state, whom he sent to the court to confer with the Swiss ambassadors, in order not to hide from you anything in our affairs.—London, 14 July.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. Fr. 1½ pp. [France XVI. 33.]
July 14. Stafford to Walsingham.
The King and Queen mother "being going away," the one to the "bains" in Bourbonnois, the other to the King of Navarre, I went yesterday to perform compliments and take leave. I complained to the King of a book which is again printed and published here of the execution of Campion and other priests, and the Queen's cruelty. The King has had the criers [over authors erased] and them that sold them put in prison, and told me that he would not suffer anything that might touch her Majesty to be published here.
The Queen Mother told me that she was going to the King of Navarre to treat of a peace, which she hoped should take good effect if her Majesty would show that affection to France and perform those good offices she was wont to do, "in advising the King of Navarre to be obedient to the King's will, that there might be but one religion in France. I answered that I was sure her Majesty would aid and assist her all she could for the making of a firm and sure peace, being a thing which she greatly desired for the general quiet of all Christendom and for her own private interest."
The Abbot of "Guadaigny" is sent to tell the King of Navarre of the Queen's determination, and to see if he will be content to talk with her. Their departure is stayed till Saturday for want of money. "How long that let will last I cannot tell."
The German ambassadors are at Metz, and the King has sent one to them who is looked for here tonight. "I know not what shall become of them, the King going now away, unless he will have them to stay here till his coming back, which will be in September, as many guess.
"M. d'Espernon departs tomorrow towards Provence, his army being gone before. M. de Joyeuze is still at Mollins, from whence they say he will not part towards Auvergne these fifteen days." It is thought that the King goes to the bains only to see these two, and many think he will bring them back with him. Montmorency is in Provence, and it is thought he will join Oraison and Vins, the chief of the two factions, together and get them all to his obedience, so as there will be very bad entry into the country for M. d'Espernon. The Marshal of Biron is with his army at the siege of Marans, where he hath done little good, but hath been hurt in the hand, and two of his fingers struck off.
"The Duke of Maine is at the siege of Castillion, from whence there came a gentleman before yesterday who said that twelve days before his coming away they had done nothing; they within the town made so many sallies out upon them as they were not able to make their approaches or plant a gabion.
"The Duke of Guise hath greatly pressed the King for the besieging of Auxonne. He hath sent forces thither which the Baron of Senecey (Sennesay) and Tavannes shall command. The King is advertised that it will hold for the King of Navarre, and that many of the Religion that were in Geneva have put themselves into it, for the defence of it."
The King is advertised from his ambassador in Spain that Mr. Drake has been in Nova Hispania and there sacked three or four towns and forts. They publicly preach a crusade in Spain against her Majesty and her realm as against heretics, and that King has sent to the Pope and princes of Italy to complain of the wrongs she has done him and crave their aid. It is not thought the Pope will disburse any money therein.
The Spanish party here brag that within three months her Majesty will be assailed in her own realm, and that a great army is preparing for it, which I cannot believe, the time being so short; yet I think there is some enterprise in hand, for all the shipping he could get in Italy is made ready and gone into Spain.
The Spanish ambassador brags not a little of the ill-success of those two towns that were lost in Flanders and has since given out that 2500 of our men have been defeated and slain. These things are better known to you than to us, but I send you a copy of a letter sent hither by the King's agent from Brussels of such things as have passed there. "The Spanish nation is so well-beloved here, as I see no man rejoice at their good fortune."
The governor of Dieppe was with me yesterday to show me in what fear the fishermen there were, not daring to continue their ordinary fishing, for her Majesty's men of war, and desiring me to get order taken for their security, else the poor men will be undone. I told him they need not fear those that were at sea for her Majesty, seeing it is not her pleasure they should be any way troubled or hindered in their traffic. He made particular complaint for a ship of Dieppe laden with corn, which was taken by an English man of war, and carried into Flushing, where the corn was sold, as appears by the complaint I send herewith. I told him that for matters of Flanders I could answer nothing; but as an Englishman was charged with it, I would write to you, who I was sure would do anything you could to satisfy them.—Paris, 14 July, 1586.
Postscript in his own hand. It is even now brought me word (whether true or no I know not) that the King has sent word to the ambassadors of Germany not to come into France till the 10th of September, when he will be here again, ready to receive them. I send you "a new knavish book yesterday only published abroad."
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVI. 34.]
July 14. De Laubespine Chasteauneuf (fn. 2) to Walsingham.
Praying him to write to the Mayor of Bridgwater (Brushwater) to allow the restoration and removal of certain merchandises belonging to Nicolas Moirant, merchant of Rouen, they having been seized and pillaged by one William Nicolas. And that he will order the said Mayor to oblige the said Nicolas to make good to Moirant five pipes of vin sec which he has drunk or sold: also half of a gold chain and what he retains from the pilot of the ship which contained the merchandise.
(2) To give a passport to Nicolas Blondet for carrying over dogs for the King and two hackneys.
(3) To direct Mr. Beale (Beels) to draw up a letter of assistance from the lords of the Council upon a commission of the Admiralty which has been granted to a merchant of St. Malo for the recovery of a ship belonging to him, taken by an English man of war.
(4) To "Monsieur de Ralle" for the wines.
Endd. "The French ambassador's memorial, 14 July, 1586." Fr. 1 p. [France XVI. 35.]
July 15. Stafford to Burghley.
I pray you pardon me if "for weariness of writing and very extremity of heat" I refer you to my letters to Mr. Secretary, to whom I have written at large.
I send you the copy of a letter sent from the King's agent at Brussels, by which "your lordship shall see he is no fool that writ it. I am sorry to see things go so evil there as they do. I pray God we have not pulled on more with one finger than we can put off with both our hands." But I see nobody but is sorry of any good fortune to the Spaniards, which makes me hope that if a good peace were made here, instead of troubles in France, there might be more troubles for the King of Spain; for if the King's disposition might be brought to it, "every body here generally is marvellously bent in hate that way. But for my part I doubt a peace will be long amaking, considering her disposition that is employed in it."
[Concerning Soissons and Montpensier, as to Walsingham, below.]—Paris, 15 July, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 36.]
July 15. Stafford to Walsingham.
"The King and Queen Mother are both gone away this morning. The Queen Mother giveth out everywhere that she will no doubt make a peace afore she come again, but truly I think she doth mean nothing less than that; for first (?) she taketh with her nobody but them that be disagreeable unto that party, not so much as women, only I think Pinard is the man that favoureth the League least, and one Pontcarré (Poncarre) that is come alate from thence, whom the King had sent thither, and was taken prisoner by the way and released by the King of Navarre; but his going with her was by the King's express commandment, who would needs have it so, but she would by no means have had him with her.
"She giveth out that the Edict shall never be spoken of; that the King of Navarre shall obey the King's commandments and come to the court; that there shall be no need to demand any sureties for him, that being near the King and the next to the crown, that will assure him enough."
The course of things is here so changeable that nobody can give any judgment of it; for all, seeing the King's proceedings would think him to detest the League above anything in the world, "yet he giveth them forces to do what they desire of him; but indeed he handleth the matter so that they work no great effect." And much as he professes to do against the King of Navarre, I see no great effect yet, but fear these armies may still all light upon him and shut him up somewhere. There will be time yet to do him harm enough if he be not succoured.
Queen Mother having had me told underhand that she desired to speak with me, afterwards said "it were too base a thing that she should intreat a strange prince to be a mediator between a subject of the King and her, to speak with her, for she feareth lest the King of Navarre will not speak with her; but if I would of myself move her Majesty to send either one from thence, or command me to send one to the King of Navarre to induce him to see her and to speak of a peace, it was a thing that she should be ever beholding for to her Majesty; but when I would needs know of him that moved me to it if it would be taken as coldly at her Majesty's hand as her often motion for a peace, she commanded him to come again next day, but he hath been there three next day[s] still hard by her elbow and in her eye, and she never said word to him; and I know that she hath said that it might be her Majesty, under colour of that course, would send to a contrary effect."
I dare take upon me to tell you truly the intent of the Queen's going (for as for the King, I am persuaded he desires nothing more than a peace, but will have it asked at his hands). First, hearing of the levy of the reiters, she would fain say to the King of Navarre, "that that running abroad, the peace may be given, and by that means either break off or slow the coming of strange forces." The other is to speak with Montpensier, whom she makes sure (though I hope not) to draw from the King of Navarre and that party, and bring him to the court with her, having a devise in her head "to put him in a hope that he is next to the belly and may rightlier claim a pretence than any, which every body will further him [in], being of that house and a Catholic; and if he can be drawn from them, then she thinketh the King of Navarre must come upon his knees"
Another is to entreat the King of Navarre to be reconciled to his wife, the thing which by all devices she is determined to bring to pass. To show her desire to gratify that King, she yesterday had "Chony," the Queen of Navarre's secretary, whom the King of Navarre hated, put into the "Bastilion," and if she sees that it cannot be brought to pass, "then hath she determined—what fair show soever she hath all this while made to the Duke of Nemours—to propound to the King of Navarre the making away of his wife and the marriage of the Princess of Lorraine." Whether that be to cozen him or to creep in with him, I think only she knows, but that these be her devices I dare warrant you upon my life. What hope of good is to come, these foundations being laid, I leave to you to judge.
Salettes and his uncle were both put out of the Bastillion by the King's command yesterday, as soon as he heard that the Queen was against it. Salettes was examined while there about two things; one (as I wrote you before), the reconciliation of the King of Navarre and House of Guise, "which the King is still fed withal," and the other "about the Queen of Navarre, whether the King of Navarre knew certainly whether she had a child since she was at Carlat."—Paris, 15 July, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2¼ pp. [France XVI. 37.]
[The words in italics are in cipher, deciphered.]
July 15. Stafford to Walsingham.
Soissons would fain have had somewhat of me for an enterprise, "but I have dealt plainly with him that without Montpensier nothing could be done; and withal I keep him in a quartern ague that the Queen hath two or three times sent to me, for to have the money sent again, because she is advertised that Montpensier will not stir; and have made as much be known underhand to Montpensier. . . . I pray you, if any of theirs there do speak of it to your honour, let them have also an ague given them from you. I know it will do great good and no harm to keep them in life."
I pray you send back this my servant when you may, for he stands me in great stead. "He is but a goose, and quite unlearned, not so much as read, and therefore I keep him in my chamber." Tupper has many things to do for me and I need him greatly. These two I desire you to dispatch first. The others may take better leisure, but I desire to have Shapwith and "Hacklytt" when you shall see cause. My wife's man I think is already on the way. I pray you to be as good to poor Aldred as you may.—Paris, 15 July, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVI. 38.]
[The words in italics, in cipher, deciphered.]


  • 1. i.e. August 29, the Festival of the beheading of St. John Baptist.
  • 2. This is how he always signs his name.