Elizabeth: September 1587

Pages 367-383

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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September 1587

Sept. 2/12. De L'Aubespine Chasteauneuf to Walsingham.
Requesting a passport for M. du Chattes, governor of Dieppe, for exporting four hackneys out of this country. He is a very honest gentleman and will always repay his honour's courtesy in any way possible. Asks that the passport may be sent speedily, as the horses are already bought.—London, 12 September, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France XVII. 117.]
Sept. 8/18. The Abbe del Bene to Walsingham.
If I had not feared to do harm to her Majesty's business, in which I know you are so fully and continually employed, I should not have delayed so long to assure you of my devotion and faithful service, hoping to be favoured by some command from your honour. But Mr. 'Stafort's' insolent manner of procedure compels me to complain to you of the small respect he has had for the service of his Queen and sovereign mistress, since I have worked in this court, in relation to the business which I have treated of with him for the common cause of the King of Navarre and that of your Queen; he having tried to turn her mind against me; being very angry at certain letters which he says he has of mine written to M. Buzenval, in which I justified myself in regard of some calumnious imputations whereof he accused me. Wherefore I am constrained to trouble your Excellency with this discourse, and to pray you, (according to your usual kindness) to give credence to what M. de Buzenval shall say to you, on my behalf of the said business; and to take measures whereby silence may be imposed on M. Sta- fort to the end that he may not, by his indiscretion, make known to his and my common enemies the small account he takes of the service of the Queen his mistress; of whom, by the many favours received from her Majesty when I was in England with Monsignor, the King's brother, I have ever remained the humble and devoted slave; and might perhaps have been not entirely useless to her if I could have had good correspondence with M. Stafort, as I should have desired.
But I have run into too many dangers of life and honour by reason of confiding to him matters importing the service both of her Majesty and the common cause, which he has afterwards imparted to the chattering ladies of the court, and to suspected persons, with whom he was too intimate and familiar and of whom the King of Navarre himself was very distrustful. And to the end that your worship may know of what consequence it may be to her Majesty's person to have here an ambassador with whom her devoted servants may treat with more confidence, I am forced to speak openly to M. de Buzenval of an advertisement which, if I am not mistaken, imports very greatly the person of the Queen; and of which the said M. de Buzenval will give her a very certain account, according to what I have written to him. And if her Majesty will deign to write by your worship, commanding Mr. Stafort not to show himself displeased with what I have treated of with him, and which I cannot carry out without her Majesty's interest, I shall always be her most devoted servant; and shall be greatly obliged to you if, by this means, I may be freed from the trouble into which my honour has brought me.— Paris, 18 September, 1587. Your most devoted and affectionate Po. del Bene.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [France XVII. 118.]
Sept. 17. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send you a letter which was delivered to one Thibaulds, "that was Parry's man," to be given to Aldred. He promised to send it safely, but opened it, and three days after brought it to me, saying that a fair complexioned Italian, speaking good English, gave it him. I know the hand, and believe he either mistakes the man or makes believe he does so, which I rather think of the two. When I asked why he opened it, he said he would take none of those knaves' letters without seeing them. I fear he has some crotchet in his head, like his old master. "He is here sent by Sir Edward Hobbye to follow the cause of Buckley's man, that is condemned at Newhaven" [i.e. Havre].
I send you a book newly come hither out of the Low Countries. "I think shortly they will make killing of ones father, if he be an heretic, lawful," seeing they make such a treachery as Sir William Stanley's to be so.—Paris, 17 September, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVII. 119.]
Sept. 20. Instructions for Mr. Daniel Rogers, one of the clerks of her Majesty's Privy Council, sent to the King of Denmark.
Whereas it pleased the said King, about two years past, when he sent his Chancellor Ramelius as ambassador, to promise her Majesty that whereas some overture had been made the year before by certain ambassadors sent by the King of Scots, "under colour for a match with with one of the said King's daughters," he would not yield to them unless the King of Scots gave good assurance to live in friendship with her Majesty and to forbear to disturb her peaceable government, which promise he has hitherto honourably regarded; "and that specially of late (fn. 1) by yielding an answer of like effect unto certain other ambassadors of the said King of Scots, sent unto him, that renewed the former overture for the said match": her Majesty's pleasure is that Mr. Rogers shall signify to him that his princely and brotherly care, thus manifestly declared and continued, gives her just cause to think their band of friendship the greater, and to assure him that no prince shall be more ready to perform all good offices of thankfulness than herself.
Letting him understand that although she would be very glad the King of Scots should match in so noble and well affected a house, she cannot but think her self strangely used by him, for that, having sundry times promised to match nowhere without her advice and privity, he has now sought this match without giving her knowledge of this his intention, which he might have been sure she would gladly advance to the uttermost of her power.
And further, letting him know that her Majesty also thinks herself greatly beholding to him for his care to mediate an accord between herself and the King of Spain, and the more so that it grew altogether from himself, of his brotherly good will; a proceeding so loving and friendly, and like to a Christian King, as neither a father or a brother could perform greater, and which is accounted by her as a most sound proof of his princely love to her.
Mr. Rogers shall further declare to his Majesty that whereas not long since she wrote that the treaty with Spain was likely to proceed about the end of this month, and that she would be glad for him to send his commissioners to Emden, where they should receive safe conduct to go into the Low Countries from herself and the Earl of Leicester; and would herself ask the Duke of Parma to send them a like safe-conduct (which she has performed); she has since been informed by the said Earl of Leicester that the States (being the principal parties to be provided for in the said treaty), were not so inclinable thereto as reason and necessity required, some of the ringleaders there, for their private ends dissuading the people (who otherwise are disposed to do anything to gain a safe peace) against it; wherefore she fears the treaty cannot proceed so quickly as was looked for; and desires Rogers to pray his Majesty to excuse her for the delay (which is by no fault of her own) and to postpone the sending of his ambassadors, or if already sent, to direct them to stay at Emden some small time, until she can advertise him of the time of meeting.
He is to let the King know that (she doubts) the greatest difficulty will be in the point of religion; "for the use thereof to be granted to the people, without permission whereof there can be no fruit of peace, specially where their consciences shall be in bondage"; wherein she prays him "to direct his ambassadors, at their coming to the place of colloquy to urge the Duke's commissioners with all earnestness to assent thereunto, considering that it hath been a thing in a sort already yielded unto at the treaty of Gaunt (called the Pacification of Gaunt), and also in other their treaties held at 'Cullen' [Cologne]," and which was yielded to by the Emperors Charles the fifth and Ferdinand and two Kings of France, wherein when the King of Spain made some difficulty, the matter being propounded to the University of Louvain and others of the Catholic clergy was by them thought fit to be granted, for preservation of the common peace. But if the Duke will not assent thereto, she prays his Majesty not only to join with her in assisting the Low Countries, but to do his best endeavour to persuade the Princes of Germany to concur in the action, which would work very good effects for a sound peace, which greatly concerns the cause of religion throughout Christendom; and especially themselves, for if the King of Spain could once plant the popish Inquisition in those countries, they would not themselves long retain either liberty of conscience or their present freedom, "considering what the House of Austria aspireth unto."
He shall also recommend to his Majesty the King of Navarre's case, which, if not upheld by the Princes of the Religion (although they think the fire far enough from them, and therefore have not that care for the said King which both policy and Christianity require) "they will find themselves deceived, for that the drift of the league, which is now avowed publicly by the Pope, the King of Spain and the princes of Italy, reacheth further than the overthrow of the said King of Navarre, or of the Religion in France," as is shown by the King of Spain having caused the Duke of Parma to send forces to the Duke of Guise and his confederates; which action ought to move all true professors of the Gospel to unite in maintaining the King of Navarre, "a prince that for his piety, courage and wisdom ought not to be abandoned in the defence of so good a cause," as he seems to be by the German princes; for Duke Casimir informs her that no one of them has contributed anything towards the army now sent into France, which all well affected men find strange, considering the mass of treasure collected by the Pope for suppressing the gospel throughout Christendom; of which intent, both in the Pope, King of Spain and the rest of the League, Rogers shall receive advertisements from Mr. Secretary.
And he shall move the King of Denmark (in case he will have some care of the King of Navarre) to send special ministers to the protestant princes of Germany to yield the said King some support, as it is not unknown how chargeable this cause hath been to herself, "for maintenance of the army now entered into France out of Germany, who standeth now between them and their harms and whose overthrow cannot but be the beginning of their danger, whatsoever they conceive to the contrary."
Lastly, there having been some spoils committed upon certain of the said King's subjects, for which her Majesty has been very sorry, and caused all due satisfaction to be yielded, Rogers shall pray him to consider how hard it is to restrain men of war from outrages by sea and land, in times of hosility between princes and civil wars, and not to withdraw his love in respect thereof; assuring him that all care shall be taken both for satisfying those already spoiled and preventing the like in future. For the answering of which grievance, the Judge of the Admiralty will deliver to him both the complaints of that King's subjects and a declaration how the same may be answered in course of justice.
Draft. Endd. 11 pp. [Denmark I. 99.]
Sept. 22. Daniel Rogers to [The Lord Chancellor?]
I doubt not but your lordship has understood that the latter part of my Instructions for Denmark concerns piracies committed upon the King's subjects; for the better knowledge of which matters my lord Treasurer thought good that I should have delivered to me out of the Admiralty Court certain examinations and proofs. In considering of which point, I cannot but be glad that Mr. John Killigrew came to the court, from whom I have learned "how the matter for which he was sent for, at the complaint of the Danes, now three weeks past, may well be answered and the King satisfied."
Mr. Killigrew seems to have been hardly dealt with, having been twice sent for by a messenger upon the Danes' new complaints, and yet will be found innocent. I have not believed his relation only, but have seen and read the order set down by the commissioners appointed to examine the matter and the award of the Judge of the Admiralty, all testifying to his innocence. It appears "that the Danes have their trust in the rentmasters of the Sound, who favouring them, may have procured them the King's letters, and give them counsel . . . to repair homewards if they should not have speedy justice here; and that upon their return he would stay as much English goods as might fully requite their damage," but I hope I shall satisfy the King, expecially in regard to Mr. Killigrew. The complainant against him is called Cnut Marquartsen, who going with corn for Normandy was twice spoiled:—"First in June last by one Thomas Ewyne nigh the Isle of Wight; which Ewyne is in prison and my Lord Admiral mindeth to do justice upon him"; the second time by a Scot, Captain Elliphant [i.e. Oliphant] who had commission from the King of Navarre and would have carried him to Rochelle and made him good prize for intending to victual the King of Navarre's enemies; but coming into Falmouth haven, and asking harbourage of the Killigrews, was saluted by Peter Killigrew (uncle to John) who, going aboard, found the Danes in great misery, and they prayed him to intercede for them; the captain was won by his intercession, and the Danes agreed that the captain might have part of the corn, and they part, whereupon the corn was sold in Cornwall to the profit of them all, and also of the country, which lacked it. The Killigrews' profit "was by the advantage of the bushel . . . being greater there at Falmouth than in other places"; but John being pressed by the commissioners to say what they had gained, and confessing it truly, was awarded to pay it to the Danes, so that the Killigrews got nothing, and the Danes, by their means, got their liberties the sooner, and part of what the corn was sold for, which otherwise they had been frustrate of. Their commissioners set down an order which the Danes then accepted, but to which they will not now stand.
On Sunday next, (fn. 2) the matter is to come before your lordship and the rest of the Council, wherefore I write this to give you better knowledge thereof, and to satisfy Mr. John Killigrew, who desired me to certify you of what I had found to be the truth.
"The other Danes, complaining against Pitts and Mr. Edward Seymour, have more just cause for so doing, which matter I wish I could so well answer unto the King as the former."— London, 22 September, 1587.
Endd. by Burghley. 1½ pp. [Denmark I. 100.]
Sept. 22. "The report of Mr. Frederick Goose of the Court of Denmark" on this date.
On July 7, the Marquis of Santa Cruz departed out of the river of Lisbon with 57 ships, whereof the Vice-admiral was cast away within two miles of Lisbon.
Their strength of men, captains and soldiers, Spaniards, Portugals, and 'Dutchmen,' was 10000, bravely appointed, besides mariners and gunners.
Item. Two men were taken out of every strange ship then in Lisbon, to serve in the fleet.
Item. August 3, there came from 'St. Lucas' to Lisbon thirtyfive great ships laden with victuals, "for a new supply of service, as they say, for England," as soon as the Marquis should return from his present service.
At Naples, there are ready seven great galiasses and 9 great argosies.
Also the King's officers in High Dutchland had provided 30,000 soldiers, but the King of Denmark wrote to the Dukes of Germany not to let any soldiers pass to serve the King of Spain, and so they were stayed. The reason is said to be that this King means to marry his daughter to the King of Scots.
The King is coming to winter in Lisbon, in order "to furnish his forces for England or Ireland. They have no want but mariners; and they mean to come first into Biscay and there ship their soldiers," because the passage is shorter from Biscay, either for England or Ireland.
Item. When the Marquis went to sea, "he said to the Cardinal [Archduke], if the King's Majesty would spare him at home, for that he was an old man, he would give half the land he had. The Cardinal answered he must go. The Marquis asked what his wife and children should do. The Cardinal bade him take them with him, for the King must be served."
Endd. "22 September, 1587. News and reports of Spain. ¾ p. [Newsletters XC., 35.]
Sept. 24./Oct. 4. Masino del Bene to Walsingham.
On the 25th of last month, the Comte de Soissons passed the Loire to go to join the King of Navarre, while his brother [el fratello, i.e. the Prince de Conti] remained here, so seriously ill that he is since reported to be dead. The Vicomte de Turenne was come to join him with three hundred horse and as many mounted harquebusiers, and passing this way and learning that the governor of Brittany [the Duc de Mercœur] was expected at Saumur, he betook himself thither, but for all the haste that he could make, he did not arrive in time, the governor being already lodged there. But being advertised that his baggage was not with him, and that it was coming with an escort of about forty horse, the Vicomte went to meet it and finding it about a league from thence, without much resistance took the whole of it, leaving the owners nothing but the horses which they had between their legs. This capture is of great importance, for besides a considerable number of serviceable horses there is said to be a large sum of ready money and the Duke's jewels, which it is supposed he was bringing here to pawn, and that both the one and the other were to be used for their cause . . .
And this morning, the Queen being at table with the QueenMother, said that her brother had thereby lost a hundred thousand crowns . . . .
This being accomplished he [Turenne] returned with the booty and went to join the Count [de Soissons], whom he had not yet seen, and they re-crossed the river, he first and then the Count with his men, who are reported to be 600 good horse and 2000 foot.
It is said that the King of Navarre has sent M. de la Force, son-in-law of Marshal Biron, to the King with a very humble letter, but what his Majesty has replied is not yet known.
The King of Navarre has withdrawn towards Lodun [Loudun] and will, as is said, await thereabouts the coming of the young prince [Soissons], after which he will go towards the Limosin to meet the Marshal de Montmorenci, and all together may join the reiters, whose tarrying in Lorraine may cause them great inconvenience and danger, from which these wish to free them; seeing that the League will shortly have a good number of horsemen, who are coming to them from Italy, and that the 4000 reiters whom the King is raising will be in array; some of them being already in France. Wherefore I am in great fear that before ours are ready they may be defeated; and that theirs may join together, and so, by having a little patience and putting themselves into a fertile country which may afford them sustenance, may await what the army of the King shall do. I think that shortly the country will be theirs.
They say that he has given M. de Joyeuse 500 horse to go straight to the King of Navarre and that his Majesty this evening will sleep at Blois, and that he will come here.
I thank your Excellency infinitely for your protection of the poor German dweller at Marseilles; and pray you to do the like for the letter which I have written to her Majesty, and which you will find full of ill passages.—Paris, 4 October, 1587.
Add. Endd. Italian, 2¼ pp. [France XVII. 120.]
Sept. Copy of a long Latin letter from the Abbe del Bene to M. de Buzenval, with comments by Stafford (in French in the margin).
As the messenger is a Roman Englishman, sound in the faith and trustworthy, I will forthwith answer fully, so that you may exclaim: we are being beaten, yet blow for blow we wear out the enemy.1
[Margin, by Stafford.] 1. This shows that it is not the first time that there have been these fine discourses between you and him.
As to our prodigal, I fear you will find the same cabbage dished up which has been so frequently distasteful.2 He is believe me, no man but a monster; a portent born to be mischievous to England and France alike; and who might be a very poison and pest to our friendship.
[Margin] 2. This is the true description of the Abbé himself; both of his form and his manners, as all the world knows and sees. I know not what he means by the great evil that I am to these two countries, unless it be an evil to maintain them in amity, as I have it in charge to do; and that he is vexed that having tried to persuade me, first by himself and afterwards by the young de Reux, his confidant, to let a breach be made between the King and her Majesty, upon the business of the Queen of Scots and the stay of the ships, I made it apparent to him that he was a blockhead to think (as he said) that the Queen would then aid their business more effectually, but that, on the contrary, having broken both with this King and the King of Spain, she would have nothing more to do with it.
A pest to our friendship, I say, yours and mine, for to you he writes the dreams of a sick man about me3, and to me, by intermediaries, he insinuates that you are extremely offended with me.
[Margin] 3. This is an impudent lie.
For being very ill-natured, as Suetonius says4 homo cui veriter penuque vasa heusque nunquam satiari possunt, he dreads our reporting to one another by writing all his inept, insipid, ungracious, false, detestable and abominable thoughts and deeds, past master as he is and prince in Veneris patratione.
[Margin]. 4. He here shows himself a fine painter, to be able to depict himself so well in a few words for what all the world knows him to be, and you, M. de Buzenval, in particular, perfectly.
5As to that Cantabrian crow [Thomas Morgan], I ask how has he the impudence to traduce me, saying that it was by my information that he was taken, though he himself knows that he was warned from me by his fellow-countryman, Morlan, to be on his guard a fortnight before he was committed to prison; 6but unless I am mistaken both our rascal, almost mad with jealousy, and Vergne, his intimate and too familiar friend, nimis imo uxoris plusquam par est, uno in lectulo erudito ambo gemilli etcetra, as Catullus [has it], although the father-in-law [qy. stepfather] of that little harlot, tamen etiam amarius in eo stuprator, with equal fury and fierceness of jealousy, turned against the luckless Cantabrian, put him in prison and meant to undo him, if a God out of a machine, (fn. 3) that is to say, a kinsman who has been found to be virgula divina in the Cardinal's house, had not with very great [expense?] redeemed the Cantabrian from the galleys.
[Margin]. 5. An ordinary device to cover a premeditated illdeed; and daily practised by the Abbé. 6. This jealousy (of which he speaks) in himself and no other, is the sole cause of his great ill-will towards Salettes. For la Vergne, he is his father-in-law [qy. step-father], as he says; my very familiar friend of long standing, an honest and brave man, for whom my wife makes good cheer, by my desire, as she does for all my friends; a man who has been and still is a servitor of the King of Navarre, and would have been altogether of his household, but that, having immediately upon the death of Monsieur, his master, offered himself, by the Vicomte of Turenne, and by my letters to the Prince of Condé, and by his own letters, he received no reply, from the ill impression which this wicked man gave of him to them, merely from the ill-will he bore him, for that he [La Vergne], had warned his daughter-in-law [qy. step-daughter] from the beginning to beware of him as a common debaucher of girls, and known for such by all; to whose evil company we cannot but attribute her ruin, she being before, a girl as well esteemed for her good conduct as any at the court.
Such7, believe me is the state of affairs. I also surmise that in a few days these fine lovers will make an end of the imprudent and abandoned Cantabrian, who is always bewailing himself in the lap of his harlot, and both struggling with poverty; for the Admiral thinks no more of the harlot. So may you in jealousy of those two exclaim8: whore and whoremonger, sonin-law and father-in-law, you have lost everything; and certainly all those words of Catullus are to the purpose.
[Margin]. 7. If he never tells you any thing more true than this, believe him not, for I protest to God, I never had one thought thereof, nor would have, if only for my friendship to her father-in-law (?), for I shall never try to dishonour what belongs to one of my friends, and the chief cause why I saw her was to find what she knew of the principal people at this court. And for what touches Salettes, I refer myself to a copy I send you of what was written by his hand, and also to the probability of the thing, for I have much communication with Mademoiselle de Montpensier (from whom I am assured the Abbot never stirs to this hour) and with the Cardinal de Bourbon; who has had them examined, chiefly upon their intelligences with me, as you will see by what Sallettes has written thereof, which is the truth.
8. On the contrary, you have more reason to cry "O brutal impudence and wicked soul" of the Abbe; who might have ruined all the affairs of our mistress by his wicked passions if he had not had to do with more than honest men.
But now let us make a throw as to the tricks of this rascal9, who was so befogged by the King that though I warned him, by Captain Mazino [del Bene] that Morgan, that most heinous conspirator against his Queen, was soon to be set at liberty, he only laughed, and declared that he had assurances to the contrary from the King.
[Margin]. 9. The letter from Captain Mazin, his cousin (of which I send you a copy) witnesses the truth, viz. that it was he who warned me of it, but without mentioning the Abbé. That was on the Monday, and he was let out the Sunday evening before.
Oh crafty ambassador10 [further abusive epithets and accusations against Stafford.]11
[Margin]. 10. A confession voluntary and true.
11. This is true of the affairs of the Abbé. You and all the world know it. For the rest, so shameful that any other than a most impudent man would have blushed to have written such a thing, and for myself, I do not think either this or any of his villanies worthy of an answer.
But what subterfuges will this perfidious rascal now try on with 7 12[i.e. the Comte de Soissons], whose breast is seething with a generous and honourable purpose, as the satirist says, which this man wished to conceal. The deed of daring which he undertook, he is about to execute forthwith, and is now ready for action, with his lisping brother [Conti], and both will soon be on horseback.
[Margin]. 12. This is false. I have always told the truth to that Prince, whom this bad man never wished me to see, so that his eyes might be always dazzled by him, and that he should not learn from me the truth of his rogueries; and this has gone on for eight months.
13By the evil arts of his secretary, the iniquitous Deury, 5 [qy. Montpensier] was withdrawn from their sworn league, and is hastening to the King's army, in command of the vanguard: that by means of his numerous additional forces, the way may be impeded for the junction of the King [of Navarre's] forces with their lord, who, they say, is making for Bourges, to effect a junction with his foreign army, which, in my opinion, is wasting too much time in pillaging Lorraine. I fear lest, in the meantime, the army of the League may become better equipped, and provided with Spanish, Italian and French auxiliary forces, and that the King, who will play the part of general in his army, will collect great forces from all sides, both at home and abroad, so that they must needs fight with a double army, composed partly of confederate, partly of royal forces.
[Margin]. 13. He confesses by this what he has wished to hide from me, but on the contrary has always announced that the Prince would presently take horse, and on this ground sent to me, demanding the money without delay, in order to cheat me of it; and, whatever good face he puts on it, Deury was put with M. de Montpensier by Simier's persuasion and his consent, for they have themselves said to me that they only spread the reports against him in order that he should not be suspected of holding intelligence with them, if an evil result followed. Judge then of their good intentions by the fruits.
14But to return to our rascal, what excuse will he have to offer his mistress for the many lies with which he has tried to dazzle her eyes; unable as he will have to own himself to Soissons to perform any of his promises. Assuredly, unless he had borrowed a great sum of money from the usurers,15 after he had learned that no more hope was to be placed in the empty and delusive promises of this spendthrift, he would not have been able to meet his engagements. I would have you see to it that the rascal's mistress does not frustrate the hope which she gave him of help on her part; otherwise, this youth of invincible spirit—who, prodigal of life and fortune, has set public before private advantage, so that he disappointed his mother, his master and all his kinsfolk; and among them his uncle, from whom he was in receipt of 3000 aurei a year—would be destitute of help on the part of every one.
[Margin]. 14. I refer myself therein to the Queen and those of her Council how false this is: how I have always kept silence when I could write nothing pleasing; and how afterwards, when I was compelled to write, I did so very modestly, considering their actions as I saw them, which I never imputed to the young prince, of whom none has ever had better hope than I, and should still have if it were not for the pernicious advice which he [the Abbé] gives him, and which I fear will ruin him altogether.
15. I have never promised them aught save what I had commandment for, and this I have never kept from them; but have rather exceeded it, for which I am sorry; because I see that there will not be a single town which he can assure, and upon which the enterprises have been executed for which they drew the money from me. Thus it is the Abbé who has cheated me, for it is he who assured me; seeing moreover that M. de Montpensier (upon whom was the chief reliance) will not do anything at all, as they themselves say.
16And as I understand the matter, this rascal is trying so to arrange that all this money of the Queen's may be turned to his own account, and granted to him for the discharge, as he says, of debts contracted here; and this I know, because Palavicini, who is surety for this Captain Mazino, bids him hope that payment may be made out of it. This cannot be done without greatly discrediting the Queen,17 seeing that she ought rather to ruin this rascal than reward such misdeeds with benefactions.18 But if this illustrious youth [Soissons] be disappointed of his hope, assuredly there will come a day when he will be wiser, perchance in consequence of having the administration of the province of Picardy; as, if peace be made, he will certainly be able to curry favour with this rascal's mistress, by services and proofs of a grateful mind. All his hope is in himself alone,19 for this rascal would fain obtain the money instead of him.
[Margin]. 16. How false this is, the Queen, Lord Treasurer and Mr. Walsingham are witness; and that I have never, personally or by writing, directly or indirectly, proposed such a thing: as also Mazin can testify.
17. In this he shows the good mind of a prelate; but the Queen has men of honour to advise her, and does good when and as she pleases, to acknowledge her servants' faithful services.
18. The satisfaction which the Queen has been pleased to give to him [Soissons] was not from fear of his threats, nor from hope of anything if he should have this government [of Picardy] (which he will not), although it is one of the unworthy, spiteful deeds of this prelate to demand it for this young prince, in order to keep him on bad terms with his brother, (fn. 4) who will never quit it, and if he did, the King would not give it to him. They have done all they could to get it, but have not succeeded.
19. M. de Buzenval, you know well if ever in my life I have written to you upon this subject.
Mark the evil and foolish mind of the man, of all men the worst and wickedest,20 who has created many perils here for me, out of the discussions I had with him on matters of business, touching your public affairs and his own.21
If I should ever be his friend or well-wisher, may I forfeit God's love for ever.
[Margin]. 20. Very false, for I hold all that comes from him to be so artful, shuffling and imperfect, that I should be ashamed for it to be thought that I gave any heed to it; and protest before God that I never opened my mouth to him on the matter.
21. I am in this the first proposer, as you know, and shall never profess otherwise; wherein he again shows himself a deceiver, for the very day after he had written this letter, he sent to offer me his faithful service, and does so daily, by M. de la Court.
22Your lord [the King of Navarre] to whom this rascal has written much futile stuff, hates him worse than dog or snake, and means not to answer him; nay he told the messenger who gave him the letters that it was by his doing (i.e. this rascal's) that all his affairs in France and England had been made of no account.
[Margin]. 22. It is true, and you know what was in the letter, for I sent you a copy. The King of Navarre has never sent me an answer, wherefore I can never serve him again with all my heart, as I have done for his own sake, for I merited one. Whether it be true that he said that to the messenger, I refer myself to the Queen and the Lords of her Council as to what they heard from thence. I am astonished at it, as you have told me otherwise, knowing (as you do) that I have deserved well. For what comes from here, I refer myself to all honest men: how I employed myself therein with zeal, not sparing my own purse, then or now.
Is the fellow mad or raving? 23And does he now vent his insanity on you and me? 24Let us at last away with him, and the mists wherewith he darkens minds and counsel . . .
[Margin]. 23. The testimony which I send, signed by an honest man of the Religion, and which will be signed by Morlan, (fn. 5) who returns six days hence from the King of Navarre, will show that he has lied, and that I have done you more right than I had cause given me to do; the which I send you not as an excuse, but to show his impudence.
24. It is his own practise to walk in the mists, like an illdoer; I keep the high-way, like an honest man.
We25 have now reached the critical phase of the disease. In all parts of the country there is disturbance, and every thing tends downwards in this realm.
[Margin]. 25. The matter shows his own confession.
For the King—having learned that the King of Navarre is away, making a junction with his foreign forces—forthwith sprang to horse, and tomorrow will set forth for Gien, where he is collecting an army, both to oppose the junction of the Catholic princes which he anticipates with the King of Navarre, and the march which this King thinks to make by Bourges. And so it is to be feared that the King of Navarre (whose great deeds of the last few days I send you) may involve himself and his fortunes in very great hazard by this his extreme delay and the siege of Lavardin, and meanwhile lose the opportunity of extricating himself and joining his foreign troops, who seem to tarry unduly in Lorraine, wasting it with fire and sword. I also apprehend some secret negotiation of Duke Casimir, by la Huguerie, with the Duke of Lorraine, for Casimir himself would fain have been leader of that expeditionary force into Lorraine. The 26Duke of Bouillon has been appointed sole commander, not without great delay in the assembly of the army.
The Queen should mention this to Casimir, and demand from him performance of his promises, for your affairs depend upon his, by the conjunction of this foreign army with that of Navarre; otherwise they will be in very sorry plight. Meanwhile, the army is losing time, doing nothing, and a new pay-day draws nigh. Ponder the matter, and requite with love my very loving zeal for your service.—11 September, 1587.
[Margin]. 26. M. de Bouillon is well rewarded for all his charges and losses for the cause, and the daily hazard of his life; but I am very glad, since I am a victim to the pen of so venerable a person, that I have the honour of M. de Bouillon's company; a most virtuous nobleman, as we know from M. de la Noue and M. de Clervant; whom also he has not spared. according to his passions; and whoever does not submit to these must be anathema, if Monsieur is to be believed.
Pray excuse my writing so hastily that I scarce know what I say.27 A cause of the utmost importance to me is being adjudicated today, so forgive me if I write French, Latin, or whatever comes into the pen, and fish out of it what you can, in this supreme crisis of anxiety.
As regards English affairs, unless those in Flanders receive serious attention, they will lose the rest; for a great force of infantry is hastening from Italy. Allen, made Cardinal, is deputed legate to Flanders; that being thus near, he may disturb the said English affairs. All the Pope's apparatus of means and devices is being directed against the Queen. May they be wise in time, and not like the Phrygians, too late. Farewell.
[Margin]. 27. The fine windy style in which he writes, shows that this is not a lie.
Memo. by Stafford.
This is a true copy of the letter written by the hand of the Abbé d'Albene, as I will certify upon my honour and my life.
I leave it to all people of judgment to judge, simply by reading this letter, how impudent, lying and full of all villainy is this fellow, and how unworthy to keep company with honest men, much less to have knowledge of their affairs, whether they treat of Religion or of honour, considering his atheistic, mischief-making, violent, false and disloyal spirit, unworthy ever to have cognizance of anything save patasseries and such ordure.
Copy, in Stafford's own hand-writing. Latin. 7 pp. France XVII., 121.
[This letter is alluded to in a letter from Stafford to Burghley, written on Jan. 8, 1587–8 (see under that date below) where he quotes the first paragraph, and says that it was written on Sept. 18, 1587, came into his hands on the 19th and was sent by him to Walsingham on the 20th. He is mistaken in the first point, as the letter is clearly dated Sept. 11 (i.e. Sept. 1 o.s.). But he is probably correct in the two other dates. See also the Abbe's letter to Walsingham of Sept. 8 [o.s.] above. Stafford's letter to Buzenval must have been written some days later, as he had had time to write to Mazin del Bene, Salletes and Megnier and to receive their answers. This copy was no doubt sent to Burghley].
a. (fn. 6) Mazin del Bene to [Stafford].
My letter to you was written in haste and a little anger. Now I write at leisure and more calmly; telling you in the first place that it was the Abbé d'Albene who gave me the information about Morgan, and having asked me what you had said, I told him you were greatly astonished, and said that the last discourses you had had with the King on this matter were quite different, and you could not think whence the alteration came; and this I have repeated to himself today. As to the other point, speaking of those to whom this was attributed, I said that they had written me a word thereupon, from which I saw that if this was not used as intended, they might perhaps accommodate you with it, (fn. 7) and that my friend wrote that this might disoblige the party for whom he was surety; but so far from saying that you had sought it, I told him for certain that you knew nothing of it save by what I said to you.
If this offends you, I am sorry, and assure you that in talking familiarly with him in these terms, I never thought of vexing you, and am ill-pleased that my kinsman should turn my words to the offending of persons whom I love and honour greatly and to whom I confess myself obliged. This, upon my honour is the simple truth of the matter. If you think I have done you wrong, tell me, and I will make amends, even with my blood, for nothing could distress me more than to know that you were displeased with me.
b. E. [i.e. Stafford] to [Mazin del Bene?]
I send you an extract of a letter which has fallen into my hands from the Abbé d'Albene, where you are mentioned in two places. I pray you to write me the truth of it. I do not demand it as a friend, but as to a Christian, who would speak the truth even for a Turk.
c. Mazin del Bene to [Stafford].
As to Morgan, so far from saying that when I told you of the report that he was to be set free you laughed at it, I said you were greatly astonished [to the same effect as his previous letter]. For the rest, I confess that (as I told you) I have had some little hint from England that since the opportunity had passed by, it might be that her Majesty would allow you to employ what you know of for your convenience; but I never said in any way whatever that you had procured it, but spoke with all due discretion and respect, and pursuant to some talk which the Abbé and I had together on this matter, I said (as his letter imports) that they had written to me of it so slightly from England that only with great difficulty could any conjecture be made thereupon.
I am vexed that my kinsman put forward my discourse to the disadvantage of those whom I love and esteem greatly. He stayed here a long time after I had said what I thought of it— to pacify me, which is the cause of my detaining your servant so long. If you think I have done anything amiss, pardon me, and believe that I have only done what I have told you of, and possibly still less.
d. E. [i.e. Stafford] to M. de Salletes.
I send you an extract of part of a letter fallen into my hands, written by the Abbé del Bene to Buzenval, and as it touches you, and is a thing of which you can better speak than any other, I demand, for the clearing of my honour and reputation, which are so greatly concerned therein, that, being as you are, a man of honour, you will favour me by telling me what is the truth of it.—E.
e. M. de Sallettes to Stafford.
I should think it would be sufficient for all who know him, to say that the Abbe d'Albene wrote the above; and that among honest men, no account is to be made of what he says or writes.
But since you wish me to reply, I will tell you what I do and must believe. It was he and Simiers, his companion, who had me taken, when they could not find means to kill me. I know it was they alone, both from the questions put to me (for which none but the Abbe d'Elbene could have given the instructions), and because he came to my prison to solicit against me; at one time giving out that I had been found guilty of a speech against the King's honour; and at another incensing my judge, nay, even my gaoler, telling him that if he did not take care of me, I should certainly escape, as I had tried to do from the Bastile. That was put into the Vade en [sic] pace of the monks.
I forgot to say to you that the first questions put to me were all about you:—as, whether I had spoken with you; if I had caused a packet to be delivered to you from my master [the King of Navarre] to send to your mistress; if I had not written to you; if I had not seen your choche [qy. coche] where I was taken, and the like things. You may easily recognize the author of this inquisition! The advertisement which he gave me is enough to convict him either of having betrayed me or lied to me. He had me informed that Simier had a plot with Madame de Montpensier to carry me off in a coach and put me into the hands of the League. Morlans brought the message, who will testify to the truth. If it was you and M. de Lavergne who had me taken, he does wrong to his great friend. If it was he, he lies in now accusing you of it. It is true he advertised me of it, but it was with the design of purging himself of the crime of treason if I should escape. In fine, in all the artifices of this priest, you will find either treachery or falsehood.
So far for what concerns you. I shall answer nothing in what relates to myself. If I held him to be a man of honour, I should give him the lie for what he said; but being known for a marplot and a notorious liar, I may let him go for what he is worth, and advise you to do the same. He is an unquiet soul, who cannot keep himself from troubling heaven and earth. You know him. I know him. Let him go on, and you will see that he will be acknowledged by all as the Abbé of imposture and discord. He has done all he could to prejudice me with my master, but God has granted that his enmity has been taken by that master as a sign of my fidelity. Be satisfied that all good and honest men will witness for you quite otherwise than this priest. For myself, having, as he says, escaped hanging, I believe I can testify for you without being challenged, and convict him by what he himself formerly said to me. I understand that he now denies having written this. You may judge that his conscience condemns him.
f. Certificate by J. Megnier.
I testify to all men that, commonly frequenting the house of the English ambassador, I have never heard him speak of M. de Buzenval otherwise than as a man of honour; and although I myself have many times warned him of a sinister report which came from England from the said Buzenval and which touched the said ambassador, he has never ceased to say to me that he [Buzenval] was an honest man, and could only speak or write according to the information given him by others; and since then have always heard him speak very honourably of the said Buzenval. And for his saying or writing the contrary, I dare affirm before God that it is a pure calumny and imposture. And this I sign with my own hand.
[Each of the above documents is certified by Stafford as a true copy.]
French, 4½ pp. in all. [France XVII. 121, a-f.]


  • 1. The words in italics are insertions or corrections by Burghley.
  • 2. The Council met on Sunday, Sept. 24, but there is no entry of this business in the Register.
  • 3. This quotation is in Greek.
  • 4. The Prince de Condé.
  • 5. the Sieur de Morlans, one of the King of Navarre's chief counsellors.
  • 6. These letters are copied by Stafford as above; but the true order would seem to be b, c, a.
  • 7. i.e. the money kept in readiness for Count Soissons.