Elizabeth: February 1588, 1-15

Pages 500-517

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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February 1588, 1-15

Feb. 1. Buzanval to Walsingham.
Since giving his honour the letters asking permission to transport corn to Rochelle, he has not solicited him, hoping that matters would not be so pressing as they are seen to be by the last received from Paris, of the 29th of last month. For they more and more affirm the King's resolution for his journey into Poitou and there are no small menaces against Rochelle. Knows that the hopes conceived in their strong places of the great army of Germany had so lulled them to sleep that they had thought little of furnishing themselves or preparing for a siege. Prays him therefore to weigh well the present need and the importance of preserving Rochelle, which asks nothing without paying for it. She must needs furnish and provide for all their neighbouring places.
Is assured that his wisdom, showing him the smallness of the cost and the great help and safety which will result, will do him this pleasure.
Believes he will have heard of their great fear of the loss of Sedan and 'Jamays', and the cause thereof. God strikes sharply, yet little considering their deserts and folly.—London, 1 February, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. French. ¾ p. [France XVIII. 18.]
Feb. 1/11. J. Wrothr to Walsingham.
Sends by Mr. Jerome Baidone a letter which the ambassador at Constantinople desired him only to send by a sure conveyance.
Here is a great talk of the treaty of marriage (by Cardinal Farnese's means) between the Duke of Parma's eldest son and the Pope's sister's daughter. The house of Farnese will be greatly advanced thereby, for they will have the present Pope always at their disposition, and if Cardinal Farnese outlive him, "he is most like to obtain the long-desired Popedom, by the conjunction of such Cardinals' voices which are already, and like hereafter to be created," at the instance of those of his faction. The Princes of Italy will not very well like of the marriage, "except it be this Signoria, who may hope for some opportunity of fishing, the water being troubled. The Duke of Florence, by this match, doth see himself deprived of the very same means by the which, in all men's judgments, he hoped to bring the popedom into his own house.
"The Dukes of Ferrara and Urbino cannot but greatly mislike it, for by this affinity, they see the Pope's might greatly increased, as well by forces as by the assuring himself of a most valiant and fortunate captain, . . . and yet they may be better contented with this alliance than with that which otherwise was like to have ensued between the Pope and the house of Medicis; whose forces and riches, far exceeding those of the Duke of Parma, might also have caused to them the greater danger.
"In the like case is the King of Spain . . . . He cannot be well pleased with this marriage, being known that not only the Emperor Charles consented to the traiterous killing of this Duke of Parma's grandfather, fostered and maintained the murderer [and] thrust out this Duke's father of his estate; but that also this King hath always been a hinderer of the Cardinal Farnese, when as he hath been in election to be Pope; and possesseth the kingdom of Portugal, which, by right of succession, is thought to appertain unto the Duke of Parma's son, by reason of his mother; so that, these things considered, and having had experience of the Italians' disposition, naturally ambitious, enemies to the Spaniards, most desirous of revenge and cunning dissemblers of their hatred, the King cannot but expect some sinister sequel of this match; and yet, considering that the like affinity would otherwise have ensued between the Pope and the house of Medicis, it will be the more tolerably taken of him; wherefore I am of opinion that except he see some sure means of preventing both these matches, he will rather further this than hinder it.
"Notwithstanding, some means must be found by him of diverting their cogitations from setting Italy free of the government of strangers (to the which all other princes of these parts will be both instigators and helpers) by propounding unto that house other fair partitos, as well of helping them to be instated of the Dukedoms of Ferrara and Urbino, . . . as of greater matters; neither will he, peradventure, stick to put them in hope of the crown of England; the conquest of the which is already, by the Duke of Parma's opinion, thought to be most easy; but whether it be or no, the King, by nourish ing their humours and setting them awork about other enterprises, will, in the mean season, assure his estate and (may be) find means to consume and weaken them.
"If that France were in her flourishing estate, those of that country might hereby have a good opportunity of revenging the manifold Spanish injuries, for, as the French men were always defenders of the house of Farnese against Charles V., so they might be commodious helpers of increasing their estate with some of the Spanish dominions."
Here is great talk of Sir Francis Drake's going to sea, when, by his fame and forces, it is hoped he will so keep the King of Spain in suspense, and endommage him by some sudden invasion, that her Majesty will be free from being invaded at home, or at least not with such forces as would be much feared.
We hear that the King's navy daily diminishes by death of his men and decay of his ships, and the Venetian ambassador in Spain writes that they greatly fear an English invasion. (fn. 1) There is still talk of the King of Scots entering into the League, but you will know better than we "whether Spanish pistolets be current in Scotland or no."—Venice, 11 February, 1588.
Add. Endd. 2½ pp. [Venice I. 24.]
Feb. 3. Extract from a letter from Frankfort.
The Germans in France have been all killed or broken, simply by their negligence and ill-government. Since then, other troops who went from hence with some Frenchmen, under the conduct, as is said, of the sons of the Dukes of Lorraine and Guise, have come before 'Montpelgardt' [Montbeliard], beyond Strasburg, near Suisse-Conté; have burnt and pillaged a number of villages, some of them belonging to the Canton of Berne, and have shown themselves in the neighbourhood of Zweburch [Zweibrücken]; whereupon all that quarter, and indeed the whole Pfalz has taken alarm, and all around the Rhine the people are fortifying themselves, and troops are being raised for defence of the country; i.e. 10000 horse and 40000 foot, to be ready by the 8th of March; towards which the Creytz [Circle] of the Rhine, now holding its meeting in this town, is to furnish a thousand horse and four or five thousand foot.
News is come that Duke Maximilian has had a great defeat in Poland, and that he himself with twelve of his chief men are taken prisoners. A rumour has come to Prague that he and some of his had escaped, yet it is feared that things are not going well for the Eastern Empire.
The Turk is making ready 70000 men to come into Hungary, and the Emperor has summoned all his nobles in those parts to hold Council thereupon.
My brother Balthazar has written to me of a marvellous battle between wild geese and ducks in the parts of Hungary, who came in such numbers that the rivers were filled with them. Two days after, at night, they rose into the air, fighting each other and there fell to the earth, dead, such numbers that it was impossible to count them.
We hear by letters from Holland that your affairs are going badly, which troubles us greatly. Let us know by the first chance how matters stand.
[Noted, at the top, as being translated from Flemish into French.]
Endd. "1588. Part of a letter from Frankfort, translated out of Dutch [sic] into French. 1¼ pp. [Germany, States V. 70.]
[There is another translation, varying in some points, amongst the Ancaster MSS. See Report on those Papers, p. 81.]
Feb. 3/13. Stephen Powle to Walsingham.
My last letter bore date January 30 [missing].
Rome, Jan. 30. The Cardinal Grand Master of Malta left here on Sunday with five hundred persons, and the title of Inquisitor General of Malta in addition to those he already had.
They write from Genoa that two of their galleys have arrived at the port of Vai from Spain, with 200,000 crowns belonging to private persons, and with four of the fuste [flat boats] taken in Corsica, and a hundred and thirty Turkish prisoners; having left the other three with those islanders.
In yesterday's consistory, the church of Cassano, in the Kingdom [of Naples] was settled for Monsignor Ludovici [i.e. Dr. Lewis] an Englishman, by the nomination of the King of Spain.
The lengthy and secret negotiation of the Catholic Ambassador with the chief Cardinals of the court is puzzling the brains of the curious, who cannot discover what is going on.
From Poland we learn that the Archbishop of Naples had retired into Isla, a strong castle, and—by virtue of a letter sent him from his Holiness, that he, desiring (as the common father) the quiet of the Christian commonwealth and of that Kingdom, and embracing both the princes elected to that crown, would have him, in his Holiness' name, interpose with those signori, and prevent the conflagrations and war which might ensue—has sent his secretary to the Archduke Maximilian, the Prince of Sweden, and the Grand Chancellor, asking them to assure him of a safe passage to treat with them, as his Holiness desires.
Venice, February 5. Letters from Spain of the last of December say that the forty English vessels which were about Cape St. Vincent, on the coast of Portugal, continued to do great harm, no vessel being able to pass without being captured, and had already taken booty above the value of 250,000 crowns. Also that the Catholic Armada was still in the port of Lisbon, and although they were making all possible haste, it was believed that at the earliest it could not set out before the beginning of May. It is confirmed to be very powerful and exceedingly well provided with soldiers and all needful things, and that all men believe it be intended for the enterprise of England.
(fn. 2) "How meanly they be furnished both for men, powder, bullet, sails, victuals and other necessaries, I advertised your honour in my last letters, so that this report is given forth to uphold Spain's greatness in the eye of the world.
"Although your honour have more particular intelligence from Constantinople than possibly may be had from Venice, nevertheless I have thought it my duty to acquaint you of such supposals as be bruited here."
It has been said that the Bailo (fn. 3) of England had presented a petition to the Grand Turk, reminding him that these had been already established agreements between his Highness and her Majesty by which she was bound to take up arms against the Catholic King, by sea and land, as she has done, going not only into the rivers of Spain and Portugal, but also on the way to the Indies; and on land, in Friesland, Gueldre and Flanders; so that the King now maintains two great armies; one under the Marquis Santa Croce and the other under the Duke of Parma, threatening to go against the realm of England:—and the Grand Signor having promised to turn his arms against Spain, now is the time when at least with a hundred gallies he should go into the Spanish rivers, in order to turn away his wicked purpose to disturb the Queen of England, by whom this Bailo expects to be recalled.
‡"They serve themselves by this report in two purposes. The one is to lessen in the opinion of the world her Majesty's forces, as unable of herself to stand against Spain without diverting his power by the mean of the Turk; the other to make her Majesty odious to the world by bringing into Europe the arms of infidels to work a private revenge upon Spain."
Prague, 19 January.
It is reported that the Archduke Maximilian, who was still at Crepizzo [Krepitz] with only 5000 men (horse and foot) was being advised to go to Velluno [Wielun], and there have himself crowned by his adherents, the coronation of the Prince of Sweden on the 27th of last month by the Cardinal Bathori (in the absence of the Bishop of Vilna) being confirmed, though he has not yet been given the sceptre or the royal sword; in favour of which prince it is said that greater Poland had set a tax of a thaler on all the men of thirty years of age and half a thaler on the young men of twenty; it being also said that the Grand Chancellor had given liberty to his men to go at their pleasure to ravage Silesia with fire and sword, where it was feared the forces and those of the Moravians (who were assembling to assist the cause of his Highness), would not be sufficient [to resist them]; the inhabitants of Bohemia not having made up their minds to support that enterprise.
Venice. They write from Milan that his Catholic Majesty had accepted the articles between the League and the Swiss, and had given order to the Duke of Terranuova, governor of that city, that they should be concluded; his Majesty having bestowed upon them 28000 crowns and agreed to pay them the provisions contained in the said articles.
We hear from Florence that the other day, the Cardinal Grand Duke having gone to a little island in the river Arno to fish, the fisherman in setting the net, upset the boat, and threw the Grand Duke and some gentlemen who were with him into the water; but they were all saved, and the Grand Duke himself was rescued without any injury whatever by a negro of his, a very notable swimmer.
Rome, February 6. It is said that Cardinal Joyeuse has prayed the most Christian King to let him return into France for some months, to arrange the affairs of his house, now in confusion upon the death of his brother; and his Majesty agreeing to this, has sent order to Cardinal Lenoncourt to remain here for the protection of that kingdom.
On Monday, Cardinal Farnese had a long audience of the Pope on the subject of the marriage of the Prince Ranutio with the grand-niece of his Holiness.
It is said that the Greek Patriarch who has arrived here tried to obtain letters of recommendation from his Holiness to the most Christian King, that his Majesty would aid him to obtain from the Ottoman the restoration of the possession of his church.
Also, that Don Pietro de Medici has been detained in Spain by the Catholic King, together with Signor Prospero Colonna, to serve him in these times of war.
Venice, February 12. Letters from Constantinople of the 16th of last month say that the Persian wars continue more [hotly] than ever (the peace which was treated of having taken no effect), and that the Grand Turk was making a great army to send thither under the Grand Vizier in person. Of the fleet nothing more was spoken; yet preparations of all sorts were being made in the Arsenal.
The air of Florence being said not to agree with the Grand Duke, he means to spend most of his time in Pisa and in Sienna, where he has bought a palace.
Advices from Piacenza say that the Prince was preparing carnival feasts and jousts for the reception of the natural son of Spain, who was going into Flanders.
The post from Lyons has brought news that they had advices from Geneva that his Majesty was making many preparations against them and that the Due de Mayne was to go as chief of that war.
From Prague we hear that the agent of the Duke of Ferrara has left that city with the investiture of Modena and Reggio for his Highness, who was to pay his Imperial Majesty 300,000 crowns. The Duke of Arscot [Aerschot] had arrived at the court, to take, in the name of the Catholic King, the investiture of certain provinces and cities, feofs of the Empire.
The Hungarians, as it is said, are willing to send 4000 men, horse and foot, paid for a year, in aid of Maximilian. In Silesia the men of war are being mustered, and the footmen in the States of Saxony and Brandenburg; other forces being expected, both horse and foot. The Diet was shortly to be held at Prague, to resolve what aid in money should be given to Maximilian; for whose enterprise they are further soliciting the Muscovite; hoping that his affairs will go on well.
Velluno [Wielun] from the camp of Maximilian, January 20. Yesterday we were in fear of an attack by the forces of the Grand Chancellor, which were seen in great strength within three leagues from here; whereupon his Highness assembled his men, although very few; but since then the others have made no further movement. For greater security, Maximilian is making a very deep entrenchment, capable of holding more than two hundred persons. Every day a good number of troops are expected from Germany, Hungary and other provinces in aid of his Highness; as also the arrival of the Bishop of Olmetz and the ambassador of Lithuania. As to victuals, thank God, they are not lacking, and at a fair price.
(fn. 4) "After I had written thus far I received letters from Padua and Mantua. In the one I understood that Sboroschi (fn. 5) was arrived there, and coming hither today, but in secret, to procure men of the Signory for Maximilian; but it is thought his labour will not have much success, "because this Signory will not offend the Turk, who is all that he may for the Swede. The most that he may hope for is to have some fuorusciti [outlaws], and that underhand, from hence. From Mantua, I am advertized . . . that Don Ippolito Gonzaga is to have the charge of 2000 foot forthwith to depart to the aid of Maximilian; Florence will contribute money, and Ferrara, as above is written, hath sent 300000 crowns to the Emperor for the investiture of Modena and Reggio. Besides, he will aid his brother with more money. So that all the credit the Emperor hath in Italy shall be employed for the recovery of the almost lost kingdom of Polonia . . . Charles of Styria sendeth 600 lances; Ferdinand of Tyrol 400; besides certain companies of foot; and the Duke of Bavaria will further him with as many as, his own brother's necessity being satisfied, he may conveniently spare."
The reason why the Emperor hath invested the Duke of Ferrara, having so long denied him, is partly to procure money and men to furnish his brother and himself in this action of Polonia, "partly also to show his discontentment with the Pope, who hath denied his brother's ambassadors the loan of money this last summer, with this answer: that it was not his office to give wood to nourish the fires in any of his children's countries. For he knew hereby he should greatly offend the Pope, that had denied Ferrara this last summer; likewise the investiture of Ferrara in the person of Don Cesare d'Este.
"This morning I had conference with one . . . that advised me that the 19th of the last month there were seen forty English sail within the Straits of Gibraltar; as some imagine to meet with an appointed Turk from the Grand Signor, and by joining their forces together, to give him a port in Spain. And (because no man of our nation is better known) they suppose it is Sir Francis Drake. We here know nothing thereof, because it is eight weeks since any letters were received, by the way of Cologne, by any English man." I send you the reports of the Prince of Parma's intents.
Antwerp, Jan. 23.—The Duke of Parma has taken the veteran soldiers from all these garrisons (replacing them by those lately arrived) to join his army of 30000 foot and 7000 horse, with which (it is said) he is on the 15th of next month to repair into Scotland, where he is expected by that King on one side and the Marquis Ste. Croce with his armada on the other side, to fall upon the English Queen at the same time in two places; who is bravely making preparations for the defence of her kingdom.
Preslavia [Breslau] Jan. 21. The nobility of Greater Poland are very ill-satisfied with Maximilian for not leaving the kingdom, and have resolved to chase him out by force.
Venice (later news). It is said that the Persian has married a sister of the King of Tartary, and was going with 20000 horse towards Babylon, to recover that city for his brother-inlaw, who was also marching thither with a powerful army on the other side, intending to join together to drive the Turks out of Tauris.
They write from Prague that the Grand Chancellor, having sent a great band of soldiers to expel Maximilian from the kingdom, he routed the Poles, killing three hundred of them; their chief withdrawing with the remainder, in very ill condition.
That in many places of Germany and Hungary they were gathering forces in great haste for his Highness, wishing to follow up the victory, and, with the aid of the Lithuanians, to besiege the new King in Cracovia.
Augsburg, Feb. 6. The French who were reported to have returned into France are now said to be in the country of Mumbelgardo [qy. Monbeliard] spoiling it and oppressing it more than any Turks, for they violate virgins and do all sorts of injuries, carrying away men and beasts; but it is believed that at the arrival there of 15000 Swiss and 3000 horse sent hurriedly by the Landgrave, with 6000 foot from the Duke of Wirtemberg, they will be chased out of that country. Just now comes news that the French have been surrounded by the Swiss, so that they cannot withdraw.
I pray God to bless you in this world with increase of honour and after this life with perpetual happiness.—Venice, 13 February, stilo novo, 1588.
Endd. 7¼ pp. [Newsletters, LXXXI. 6.]
[Occurences in Italian; remarks in English.]
Feb. 6/16. News from Madrid.
The King has these last days had the gout, and some fever, but is now recovered. The despatch of this armada is expected very shortly. Don Alonso di Leyva is come by the post from Lisbon, and has given a particular account of the armada; since which his Majesty has sent thither the Conde di Lifontes, general of the cavalry of Milan, desiring that by all means the said armada should set out next month; having intelligence that Drake is at sea with a large fleet.
Every day soldiers march from Spain into Portugal, to supply the place of those dead or escaped. They are provisioning the ships for eight months, and many knights and gentlemen are going as adventurers; amongst them the Duke of Francavella, the Prince of Ascoli and others. His Majesty has declared a Council of War where the Marques of Santa Croce shall make ten knights. They are expecting the galleys of Genoa, with which there will go into Italy nearly two millions of gold (from the King and private persons) for Flanders, where, and in Lisbon, the President of the royal revenue has assured me that his Majesty is now spending nearly seven hundred thousand crowns a month; a thing truly almost incredible.
Endd. with date. Italian. 1 p. [Newsletters XC., 39.]
Feb. 9. Copy of the petition from the English Baily to the Sultan,
It pleased Almighty God that I should be the chief instrument in bringing about the most sacred treaty between my mistress, the Queen of England, and your Imperial Majesty. And I undertook this work (now some eight years ago) the more loyally and willingly, because I hoped that all the idolaters (our common enemies) would be utterly exterminated by the mighty power which has been granted to your Highness. So, when four years ago I received from your councillors a solemn oath that if my mistress, who was then living in complete peace with the Spaniard (who is the head of all the idolaters) were to go to war with him on that side, your Majesty on this side would also do the same, I never ceased my prayers and entreaties to her, until she threw over her ancient treaty with the Spaniard, and made fierce war upon him by land and sea.
Now the war has gone on for three years with good success to my mistress; and although the Spaniard has, at various times, asked for peace from her, upon disadvantageous conditions, she has never granted it; because I have on every occasion dissuaded her by representing in my letters that your Highness, in accordance with the old promise, is making ready to use your terrible power against the Spaniard, without further delay.
But now at last my mistress, having waited so long for this, is beginning to have doubts of my trustworthiness, since I have many enemies who are assuring her that your Highness is unwilling to do what I say. So I am daily expecting letters of recall from her, and when I go home, I expect to be beheaded. What a reward for my great labours and faithfulness to your Highness!
I beseech your Majesty, by Almighty God, to spare my innocence. If you are not willing to send the whole of your terrible forces against the idolater, at least send sixty or eighty triremes to do him some hurt; and send them to those parts from which he has withdrawn his usual garrisons to fight against my mistress. Those districts are bare of troops, and it would be easy to depopulate them, and subject them to your Empire. I pray you to take thought for your own glory and the increase of your Empire.
For my Queen, at my request and your highness' bidding is now pressing the Spaniard so hard that he cannot breathe; and I fear that if this opportunity be allowed to pass, God (who created you a man of vigour, and greatest of all the princes of the world, for the destruction of idolaters) will be angry with you for despising his command: a command which my mistress, although a woman and by sex unwarlike, is vigorously carrying out. Moreover, the whole world will accuse you of gross ingratitude, if you desert, in her great need, your most faithful fellow ruler; who by trusting in your friendship and promise, has placed her life and Empire in such great peril, that greater in this world there cannot be. For it is now the Spaniard's intent, since she has refused him peace, to ruin her utterly, relying on receiving very great help from the Pope and all other idolaters. And afterwards, when no further obstacle remains in his way in Christendom, he intends to launch his irresistable forces upon your highness and your Empire, so that he may be the sole monarch. For that he can and will do this, the Pope (who is believed by them to be a God on earth) never ceases to persuade him by his lying prophets.
If, on the other hand, your Highness, in concert with my mistress, will wisely and bravely, without delay, send a warfleet to sea—to which course you are surely urged by God Almighty, your own pledged faith, the opportuneness of the occasion, the reputation of the glorious Ottoman race, and consideration for the safety of your Empire—then will the proud Spaniard and the false Pope, with all their followers be not only hurled down from their hope of victory, but will receive full punishment for their temerity. God only protects his own, and by your means he will so punish these idolators that the survivors will be converted to worship the true God with us. And upon us, who fight for his glory, he will heap victory and all other good things.
Endorsed with date "9 February, 1587, stilo Anglico. Latin. 1 closely written page. [Turkey I. 47.]
Feb. 10. Stafford to Burghley.
"I have written to Mr. Secretary of the audience I had of the King upon the despatch that your lordship sent me. And how he desired me to stay two or three days, that he might speak with his mother afore he gave me answer; which is the cause I stay John Wells for that.
"My asking audience upon your lordship's direction, upon some word of the Ambassador's to the Queen, was by the advice of Epernon, and the King's own consent. It is determined that after that I have answer by the Queen Mother's advice, and dispatched John Wells, I shall speak with the King privately. If it were not for Queen Mother's 'artificious' dealing, and favouring the League here underhand, and the ambassador's [i.e. Chasteauneuf's] evil meaning, without judgment or wit, I would hope to do some good effect for the public, but they two hinder all; yet I hope to do, at the least one thing . . ., to assure that the King shall not hearken to anything against her Majesty, and impeach any else in France that will.
"I [have] written to Mr. Secretary in a letter in cipher—I cannot tell whether he will show it—of the coming of one Montaigne (fn. 6) here from the King of Navarre, sent with Matignon's son: and how all the King of Navarre's servants here are jealous of his coming, being neither addressed to them nor knowing any tittle of the cause, and besides (to your lordship I may write it) . . . they suspect it the more because he is a great favourite of the Countess of Bishe, who they say governeth the King of Navarre as she listeth, and is a very dangerous woman; and who marreth the King of Navarre's reputation throughout all the world; for he is altogether assotted, as they say, upon her. They fear, and so do I too, that he is come to treat with [sic] some private matter with the King, unknown to all of them of the Religion; for sure no man knoweth anything of it, and think that neither du Plessis, Vicomte Turenne nor any affected in religion are anything acquainted with it. Besides, the man is a Catholic, a very sufficient man; was once Mayor of Bordeaux, and one that would not take a charge to bring anything to the King that should not please him. Nor the Marshal Matignon would not have taken upon him to have given him to conduct to his own son, without he had been very sure his commission should please and not displease the King. I did not write in my long letter by Mr. 'Hacklytt' without purpose that I feared the King of Navarre would be constrained either willingly or against his will to content the King; which I would fain not have done without the Queen's knowledge, and she had in some kind still an oar in their boat.
"I have sent your Lordship that which you asked about the English on this side the seas as exactly as I can; for the other of them that have been and are of the King of Navarre's party I have sought to have it from themselves here, because I would have it exactly, and they have promised it me, but because they delay it, I am afraid they are 'loft' to do [it] because they think it will make no great show. But if by the next they do not keep promise with me, I will set it down of myself, as well as I can."—Paris, 10 February, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 2 pp. [France XVIII. 19.]
Feb. 10. Geoffrey le Brumen to Walsingham.
I have received two letters from M. Semelier, secretary to M. de la Noue, of the 3rd and 6th instant from Paris, in which he tells me that he had received mine for his master and has sent the contracts as you commanded. He writes also that M. de la Noue left Geneva on Jan. 14 for Sedan, but he was not yet sure of his arrival. This makes me doubt whether he will be able to make the journey hither; in which case he will not be able himself to solicit his son's deliverance. M. Semelier says moreover that Madame the Princess [of Orange] and M. de Villiers had requested my lord of Leicester to leave them the nephew of M. de Champagni, since Don Jean de Castille had been taken from them, but not being able to obtain this, consented that he should be brought here, under good promises by his Excellency. Although they have not perhaps been free to speak of this, I may tell you of it, and the more freely seeing that you have shown so singular an affection for M. de la Noue that you have not only liberally paid 500l. sterling for him, but have also delivered the prisoner into the hands of the Princess. And this I have made plain to a servant of his Excellency, saying that if he wished to do so much pleasure to M. de la Noue as he said, he should rather follow your example and give up his prisoner in order to put him with the other, but on the contrary, they have taken away from him a certainty, and only promised him an uncertainty in exchange.
Moreover, you may bethink yourself that M. de Champagni has done better services as to the said Spanish prisoner than ever before or since, and his nephew, somewhat simple and young as they esteem him, may serve as a secret ambassador. . . .
You would be out of danger if he were at Ramekins or Flushing and M. de la Noue more assured of his solicitation. I know that M. de la Noue would harbour no doubt of his Excellency's word, but all things are liable to accident. I pray you tell me what you would have me say to him of it, as the Seigneur 'de Shommees' [qy. John Somers] whom you know to be a trustworthy man, intends to start tomorrow or Monday at the latest, by whom I will write; and also if you like, give him your orders; it may be to go to the Havre, as he did before by your command.—London, 10 February, 1588.
Add. Endd. French. 2¾ pp. [France XVIII. 20.]
Feb. 10/20. Stephen Powle to Walsingham.
My last letter bore date the 13th of this present. The next day came the news of the taking Maximilian prisoner, confirmed by this week's letters from Prague, here underwritten.
Prague, Feb. 2. Letters sent four days ago by way of Vienna will have given an account of the action between King Maximilian and the Grand Chancellor and of the unhappy imprisonment of that good prince, which is now confirmed.
The particulars are written diversely, but they all come to this:—That King Maximilian having learnt while in Poland that the Grand Chancellor was coming towards him, retired to the borders of Silesia, where, hearing that the Chancellor had also come, he resolved to fight. That he had ill fortune is not surprising, since they say he had not more than two thousand men, (fn. 7) and the enemy eight thousand. He then retired into a place called Triezen [margin, "vero Petschino"] (fn. 8) whence he might have escaped that day (the 24th of January) or in the night, but would not, believing that the Chancellor had no artillery; but he was very well provided therewith, and the place being very weak, and defended by few men, his Majesty was obliged to surrender. They relate that seeing him a prisoner, the Grand Chancellor lamented the ill fortune of so good a prince, appearing to be very sorry for it, and the rather that he had been deceived by factious people. It is said that his Majesty was put into a coach and sent towards Cracovia, but as a prince and very honourably. No one has a word to say against him, he having always shown a good heart and fought most bravely. The chiefs of his army are not killed, but are also prisoners.
"The taking of Maximilian will slacken the forwardness of those princes that were bent to aid him either with men or money, so that neither Mantua's foot under the conduct of Don Ippolito Gonzaga nor the lances of Ferdinand of Tirol or Charles of Stiria will be sent toward Poland till they see some other end of his troubles."
Rome, Feb. 13. The Jewish ambassadors have obtained from his Holiness exhortatory letters to all the Catholic potentates who have forces at sea not to molest vessels of the Jews or others carrying their merchandise, provided they are going to places of the faithful.
There is going about here an advertisement in print of his Catholic Majesty's preparations for his fleet.
"Sundry such pamphlets at these be, I do not trouble your honour with, because they be published rather for the gain of mountebanks than for any show of likelihood of truth they contain in them."
[Rome, cont.] In yesterday's consistory the church of Gaunt in Flanders was given, on the nomination of the Catholic King to the Bishop Lyndano, (fn. 9) an Englishman; and another in the Indies, and the pallium to M. di Torres, Archbishop of Monreale.
"I cannot learn by any inquiry what this Englishman is, or whether the name be mistaken in writing or not."
[Rome, cont.] Cardinal Farnese has been again much troubled by the gout, together with an indisposition of the head and sickness. The doctors begin to doubt whether he will live many days.
Venice, Feb. 20.
Letters of the 6th of last month from Constantinople say that on the 4th, by reason of the mistress of a janissary of the Venetian Bailo being insulted by a janissary of the French ambassador in the street, the households of these ministers came to blows and the French secretary was wounded; whereupon this ambassador demanded that the Bailo should punish those who had done the deed. The Bailo claimed first to understand how the accident had happened, upon which the ambassador put his men in arms, followed by all the artificers [artistes] of the nation, seeming as if he would attack the Bailo's house; but the mariners of the Venetian ships assembled in such numbers that the others were compelled to retire. On which, the Bassa sent a Chiaus to each party by order of the Grand Signor, to the end that they should keep the peace in his country; but the Bailo had great difficulty in quieting the Candiots [Cretans] who wished to pursue the matter further.
Letters from Madrid of the 10th of last month report that the Catholic Armada will not go out before spring, it being resolved to follow the advice of the Marques Sta. Croce, who said it was much better to give this little time to the Queen of England to make ready, than by hurrying too much to put themselves in manifest peril of losing the whole armada at sea, by sailing in the rigour of winter; wherefore they are putting the soldiers into places on the river Tagus; the other men, newly raised in Andalusia were almost all ready to march.
In Portugal, they had captured a spy sent by Don Antonio, but he having been at once taken to Lisbon, no particulars were known. The English corsairs are always in those seas. The Cardinal of Seville was making ready to come to Rome, intending to start at the beginning of February.
From Lucerne, a town of the Swiss, they write that upon their return home, such discord had arisen between the Swiss Catholics and Lutherans who had been in France that everywhere they were in arms, and it was doubted that they would come to blows, chiefly because the Lutherans complained that the Catholics had broken the agreements between them, and in consequence they had been ill-treated in France. To remedy so great disorder, it was thought expedient to call an assembly at Lucerne, wherein deputies from all the cantons, Catholic and Lutheran should take part, in order to quiet these disturbances, and also to make new agreements, ordaining that in future, in wars where both served, neither party should go against the other, to remove all occasion of disputes between them.
Prague, Feb. 2. The Lithuanians having declared in favour of King Sigismund, now elected and crowned King of Poland, the King Maximilian withdrew from Veluno into Silesia to the city of Petschino, ten leagues from Wratislavia, towards which the Grand Chancellor started at once with 8000 harquebusiers horse and foot, in order to besiege it (fn. 10); but Maximilian, being ill counselled, put himself into the open field with only 4000 fighting men, near to Petschino, awaiting the enemy; who, having arrived on the 24th of last month, with fifteen pieces of artillery attacked the Austrians, who, bringing their great guns into play against the assaulters, slaughtered so many that the Germans were in hopes of victory, but being at last overwhelmed by greater forces, were defeated, with the loss of 4000 men on the two sides; and Maximilian having withdrawn to Petschino and being besieged by the Poles, after three assaults and the loss of six hundred more men surrendered himself, together with the city, on the following day to the Grand Chancellor; who saluted him, consoling him [by saying] that he was worthy not only of the crown of Poland but of a greater sceptre, and instancing the house of 'Sboroschi', who had been introduced into this kingdom with as little ground for election. Being placed in the Chancellor's own coach, he was conducted to Cracovia together with some of his chief lords; which accident has greatly troubled the mind of the Emperor. After this victory the Chancellor sent three thousand soldiers to lay waste Silesia with fire and sword; there being very great doubt whether that province may not fall under the obedience of the crown of Poland as it was formerly for many years.
From Venice, 20 February, stilo novo, 1588.
Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Newsletters LXXXI. 7.]
[Advertisements in Italian; comments in English.]
Feb. 11/21. M. de L'Aubespine Chasteauneuf to the Lord Treasurer and Walsingham.
In accordance with my request to you at our last meeting for the Sieur Antonio Davegua, you dispatched your orders to the Judge of the Admiralty, and since, more expressly to 'Gaspart Suifth' [Jasper Swift], sergeant of the said Admiralty, to restore to the said Sieur Davegua thirty nine cases of sugar and 370 cwts. of bresil (fn. 11) which belong to him, as you saw by the papers that have been put into Mr. Bournant's [Burnham's] hands. I thought that the effect had followed, and that agreeably to the favour it pleased her Majesty to show him, for which I am greatly obliged to you.
Yet I have learned that the said Judge has received a new order to give sentence between the English merchants and the Austrelins [Easterlings] and that the said Swift has received verbal commands from you, M. de Walsingham, by the said Bournant, to stay the delivery of the said goods for three or four days, which would much delay the matter.
Wherefore, gentlemen, I pray you to repeat your very express orders to the said Swift to deliver the said goods without delay, that the said Sieur Davegua may enjoy her Majesty's liberality; which I shall look upon as done to myself. It does not concern the merchants, either Austrelins or English, whether the goods be delivered before the sentence be given, as the said Sieur Davegua has sufficiently proved that they belong to him and were in the ship when it was taken. For in the same ship were 270 cases of sugar, and the Austrelins only claimed 160, all the rest belonging clearly to the Portuguese; and the delivery, being made by express command of the said Admiralty without consent or intervention of the said merchants, is prejudicial to no one.
Therefore I pray you to repeat your new orders to Swift and to desire the said Judge to take off the order made by him, to the prejudice of the said delivery, Mr. 'Bournam' having spoken on your behalf with the said Sieur Davegua to allow it to him in money, to which he yielded, as I do also; provided that what you ordain be honourably and certainly executed, as he desires that the matter may remain secret, and be no longer delayed, seeing that he cannot prosecute it at law, as you know.— London, 21 February, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. French. 2 pp. [France XVIII. 21.]
Feb. 11/21. Advertisements from Dieppe.
The Duke de Maine arrived at Paris about ten days ago and is expected presently at Rouen.
The French King is still at 'Bloyes'; "unto whom divers of the nobility resort, especially of the House of Bourbon; but he doth little."
The Duke of Guise's mother is released from prison, to the end (as is thought) that she might mediate.
The King has removed his forces from before Orleans and they of the town have taken the Marshal of Retz prisoner.
The papists of 'Dolphine' have concluded a peace with the protestants of the province for four years.
The chief President of 'Roan' is gone to Newhaven, as it is thought to draw the governor to the King's party.
"The great Spanish galliasse which was driven into Newhaven is drawn aland to be rigged and sent home into Spain, and will be ready within ten or twelve days.
"M. Milleray and M. Pinart hold both for the League. Those of 'Roan' have written to them of 'Diep' to become of the union with them."
A ship is arrived at Dieppe which came from Lisbon a month since, whose men report that the King of Spain is preparing a new navy with all speed; but say plainly it cannot be ready these two years, "if it shall be of such strength as it is given forth there."
Endd. ¾ p. [Newsletters IX. 35.]
Feb. 15. Stafford to Burghley.
"I have sent to Mr. Secretary the answer that Pinard brought me from the King. Also in another letter, in cipher, I have written unto him how the King, afore my letter was ended, desired me to send away the bearer, and that the King would speak with me within a day or two privately, and that I should advertise her Majesty so. I do think the King meaneth somewhat, for he desireth by no means to have it known. If no other good come of it, I mean to sound him to the bottom, and I think he shall not be so close but I will discover somewhat more than of custom of him. But I do not think but Wednesday next will be past first. If it be sooner, you shall hear from me sooner, for I will despatch the next day.
"I have sent your lordship that which you requested, as they themselves have set it down. I dare assure you they have forgotten nobody that they can say is of any quality. That in the last side, I added myself, of them that are on this side the Loire, which they had forgotten. All those that are marked with crosses have sworn or promised, but I do think if there were an eminent good cause, they would dispense with their oaths, for they say promises have not been kept with them. A great many Catholics also, which I do not put down, that I think, if the reiters had succeeded well, had declared themselves, but have now pulled in their horns."—Paris, 15 February, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [France XVIII. 22.]
[List of the chief men of the King of Navarre's party.]
Languedoc:—Messrs. de Memorency; Chastillon; Andelot; and Gremian, governor of Aiguesmortes.
Dauphiné:— (fn. 12) Messrs. de Desdiguieres; Gouvernet; Morges; Ponet [? Ponat]; Blacon[s]; Mombrun.
Poictou et Xaintonge:—The Prince de Condé; Messrs. de la Tremouille; St. Gelais (now they say dead); la Boulaye, governor of Fontenay; Montanfie[r]; Bessons; Charbonière; Fors; la Rochefoucaut; St. Mesme; Plassac, governor of Pons; du Plessis Gete [i.e. Gête], governor of La Grenasche [i.e. Garnache].
Gascony:—The Vicomtes de Turenne, Jourdan, Paulin, Meherin, Meille; and Lavedan; Messrs. de Tarride, governor of Montauban; Pangeas; Savaillan, governor of Mas; Vivans, governor of Caumont; l'Estele, governor of Clerac; Barons de Salagnac and Savignac; Messrs. de Chouppes; Belsunsé, governor of Peinirol [Puymirol]; Fonterailles, governor of Leitour; Favas; Pilles; Bresole; Badefou and Beaupré.
With the King of Navarre:—The Contes de Soissons and Montgomery, governor of Castres (here they say dead); Messrs. de la Forse; Miucens and Ste. Colombe; the Barons de la Rocherenac and Loubie; Messrs. de Roni [Rosny]; Dangeo; Fouquerolles; la Rochechifart; Lons; du Faur; du Plessis; Messrs. de Guitry; Beauvois and [Beauvoir] La Nocle (fn. 13); Messrs. de Maligni; Badomville; Ste. Marie; Lorges (they say here, dead); Beguole; La Roche.
On this side the Loire. The Prince de Conty; Messrs. de la Noue; d'Arson, governor of the town of Sedan; Nüe, governor of the castle; Shelandre, governor of Jametz; Mouy; Lieramont; La Coudre de Rambouillet; Villernon; Blosset; l'Urbigny; des Effars; de Tignonville; Cormont; Villeneuve; Marivaut; Morinville; Columbiers.
An infinite number of the noblesse in Normandy; haute and basse Brittany; Beausse; Perche and Maine, who have for the most part promised or signed not to bear arms.
French. 2½ pp. [France XVIII. 22a.]


  • 1. See Lippomano's dispatches to the Senate, Dec. 1587 et seq., especially one of Jan. 10–20: in Cal. S.P. Venice, 1581–91.
  • 2. This and the next paragraph are in English.
  • 3. Usually, this term was confined to the minister from Venice itself.
  • 4. This paragraph is in English.
  • 5. In English. †Christopher Zborowski.
  • 6. Michel Montaigne, author of the Essays.
  • 7. Another account [see p. 514 below] says 4000.
  • 8. Pitchen.
  • 9. He was not an Englishman. Gam gives "Vanderlind" as his true name. Had previously been Bishop of Ruremond. Appointed to Ghent on the nomination of the King of Spain (Eubel, iii, 217) as here stated.
  • 10. This is another account of the battle described on p 512 but evidently by a different writer.
  • 11. Qy. Brazil-wood.
  • 12. Except where the rank is specified, all are entered simply as M. de; in nearly all cases, only the signorial title being given. Cross references to the family names will be found in the Index.
  • 13. These three are noted in the margin as at Geneva. Beauvois and La Nocle are put on separate lines, but possibly only Beauvoir La Nocle is meant.