Elizabeth: June 1587, 21-25

Pages 123-130

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3, April-December 1587. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.

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June 1587, 21-25

Is moved by Sir John Noris to recommend the bearer, Mr. Lassells, who having lost his arm in the service "this last summer" means to petition her Majesty for some relief. Hears him much commended as a very honest gentleman and worthy of all favour, and so leaves him to his honour's goodness. Is sending a dispatch by Combes, as desired, otherwise would not have trusted him with a packet, he being there esteemed "both to be of no great understanding and also to spy on both sides." 21 June, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XV. f. 130.]
As the Earl of Leicester may sometimes have occasion to draw out into the field some of their bands, "being well trained and experienced, and to put in others, not so thoroughly trained" in their place, she desires them to follow such direction in that behalf as they shall receive from him, not doubting that he will have due regard of the safety of their towns. [Written as to Flushing only, but endorsed as being to both.] Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Holland XV. f. 132.]
When our cousin, the Earl of Leicester, was on the point of departure, (having taken leave of us) we received from you some answers taken from a letter which you wrote to him in about February last, containing some complaints on your part as to points on which you had wrongfully charged him. By the which, instead of acknowledging the wrong done to our said cousin, you persist in your first errors, more in words than in substance or truth. Which, rendering your fault less excusable, or rather increasing it, by the continuation of so strange and ungrateful behaviour towards him (or rather towards ourselves) might have given us just cause not to send him, had it not been for the great affection which we bear to the honest and well-affected people of those countries (of whose zeal and reciprocal affection we have had good proof), which has made us think more of their welfare than of the ingratitude and traverses of certain persons there. We expect therefore (when you have better considered of the whole matter) that you will not only make reparation for past wrong to our said cousin, but also will henceforth show him due respect, considering his rank and quality as our minister and that we know that (in spite of all discourtesies and ingratitudes) he will not spare to hazard, for the good of you all, either his life or his fortune, provided that on your part, you will use all means to render yourselves worthy thereof. Draft. Endd. with date. 1 p. Fr. [Ibid. XV. f. 134.] [Printed in Dutch by Bor, book xxii. f. 101d.]
We assure ourselves that Sluis has corn for six months for two thousand men, for the Admiral certifies us that he saw the ships enter with 89 lasts. Butter and cheese I fear they have none, for the two ships provided by Sir W. Russell came back, "upon an opinion that the haven was piled up." Of powder they have no great store. "By my letters to Mr. Secretary your lordship shall see what course they did appoint to take for the relief thereof ; but now the arrival of my lord of Leicester, which every day is expected, doth turn all to a new resolution, so as I think there will be small proceeding upon their former course." I beseech you to be a suitor to her Majesty for my revocation, for if my lord of Leicester and I should differ in things that appertain to me to deal in, and that my conscience tells me are best for her Majesty's service and the cause, I shall proceed that way ; and if my lord's conscience carry him another way, there will be hurt to the cause. And so I pray you further my return. "For my justification in all things ... I have no doubt at all."22 June, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XV. f. 135.]
"When the States General were with me about the transporting out of the victuals to the enemy, they hearing of the revocation of Sir J. Norreys did ask of me if it were so. I told them I thought surely it was, whereupon they told me that they were sure the Queen did greatly favour their cause, for by her great goodness they do well find it ... and were sure that if she knew what great hindrances their cause is like to sustain by the departure of Norreys, she would not revoke him. "There will be, I fear, great differences found betwixt him and he that succeeds him. It had been better bestowed upon a meaner man of more skill ; but I fear everything in this action is either carried on rather by destiny and fortune than by judgment. My lord of Leicester hath already written a most earnest letter to the Treasurer commanding him to make no payments to Norreys. The States General have held a council whether they shall go to my lord of Leicester into Zeeland, and are as yet resolved not to go, though I have earnestly persuaded them, and have persuaded the Council of State to go. They seemed afraid of Buys example." I beseech you, Sir, for the love of God to get me hence, for when my lord of Leicester comes, it will be worse than before ; for I am resolved to continue that which my conscience doth tell me is best for her Majesty's service and for the cause, and I fear there will be more offence than already, for if needs the troubles and disgrace of the world must come upon me, they could never come with more comfort to me than now, knowing that my conscience assureth me that I shall suffer them without cause. I honour, trust and love the Vice-Chamberlain so much as I beseech you move him to join with you to the Queen and let him know as much as I have still written to you, which is the plainness of my heart.The Haag, June 22, 1587. Postscript. "We hear that by a sally out of Sluis, 300 of their pioneers are slain, besides divers other ; and La Mot's leg broken with a shot. The expectation of my lord of Leicester's present arrival and Sir John Noris's revocation, I think will leave things here in a stay and to be conducted by some new order and resolution." Holograph, the words in italics deciphered. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. f. 137.]
Perceiving by your letters that her Majesty has conceived another mislike of me, for that when Villiers was called before the Council of State to answer to a charge of the Earl of Leicester viz. that he had informed me of a secret grief of Count Hollock, who was persuaded that the said Earl, when there, had sought to practise against his life ; to which Villiers protested that he had told me no such thing, which he might with good colour do as he had said it to Dr. Clarke, to be by him discovered to me ; and all this well known both to me and Mr. Wilkes, we both being present, yet did not I discover his cunning, nor charged him to say whether he had given such advertisements to Dr. Clarke, but suffered him to pass away" without answering :There is no truth in this ; "for neither was it delivered by Villiers with charge that I should know it, nor Mr. Clarke till those letters did at any time deliver it to me, neither was I present when Villiers was called before the Council of State . . . nor yet was Villiers let pass until a full answer was by him made touching the speech that passed bwtwixt Dr. Clerke and him," as both Clarke and Villiers have declared both by word and writing as by copies herewith sent to you may plainly appear. Immediately on receiving her Majesty's letters on that behalf, I repaired to the Council and demanded that they should "bolt out the author of that slander . . . and send for the said Villiers to answer thereunto ; and where l myself also with earnest care . . . did labour to search out the bottom thereof ; and went myself to Delft about that business, only having dealt so far therein as that by discovering so much as I have done, I have purchased myself no small envy and mislike of some. The notes of all which I have sent unto her Majesty. Lo, for my reward thus am I recompensed."The Hague, 22 June, 1587. Copy, with note by Buckhurst, 1 p. [Holland XV. f. 139.]
1. Paper endorsed by Buckhurst "Villiers' declaration of his speech to Dr. Clarke" ; stating :First, that he had never either there or in England had the honour of speaking to the ambassador until last Thursday, June 2. Secondly. That he had never taken such commission from anyone, or spoken of such commission. And as to his having communicated with one of the Councillors as to the means of removing some suspicions that might remain, which he did confidentially, he refers himself to what the said Councillor has declared to the States and also as to whether he has ever sought anything save the service of her Majesty and the country.The Hague, 5 June, 1587. Copy. Fr. p. [Ibid. XV. f. 140.]
2. "Mr. Dr. Clerke's declaration touching Villiers' speeches used unto him. Copy endorsed by Buckhurst. "The effect of what passed between M. de Villiers and me, Barth : Clerk, touching the pretended discontent of Count Hohenlo." The said Villiers, coming to my house at the Hague about April 12, said in effect : That he feared the reconciliation of Count Hohenlo was not so sound as I took it to be ; for he had been persuaded that his Excellency intended to have him killed ; and that, as he understood, the said Count had so said. I said I was right sorry to hear it, but I assured myself it was most untrue and hoped the Count had no such thought ; and if he had, "I nothing feared it, considering his open nature, together with his noble promise at the time of his reconciliation ; viz. that in respect of the common cause he was content to set aside all private quarrels, and to be commanded by my Lord of Leicester, and by the meanest gentleman that should be sent from her Majesty. "M. de Villiers replied that he had understood from good place that the Count Hohenlo had so said, and that therefore he thought good to offer it to my consideration .... I answered that I made no reckoning of it, . . . yet would I think further of it as occasion served." And so Villiers departed with Mr. Wilkes, who came in during our speech but spake no word. Considering what mischief it might breed to my lord of Leicester, and consequently to the service, if Count Hohenlo had any such impression in his head ; and not knowing how far it might extend against me, if M. de Villiers should affirm he gave me warning thereof, I imparted it to Mr. Atye (having then credence to deal here for my lord of Leicester) first taking his promise not to speak of it assuring him it should never come out of my mouth until I had found out the certainty of it. Which I so truly observed (Villiers, from whom I should have drawn the truth, being gone into Zeeland) that I would not even confer with Mr. Wilkes of it. My lord of Buckhurst and I were then about to go to appease the differences at Utrecht and the controversies of Friesland, but I never once mentioned it to him, "to whom the world knoweth, I durst have committed my life." After our return to the Hague, finding that Villiers was daily expected out of Zeeland, I did not write, but awaited his return, "being heartily sorry that this matter should thus break forth unseasonably ; which may utterly hinder the knowledge of the truth." 22 May, 1587. 1 pp. [Holland XV. f. 142.]
On the covering sheet of the above enclosures, Buckhurst has written :
"22 June. My letter to Mr. Secretary touching my proceeding in Villiers' cause, and how much therein I was wronged. "The 6 point. His winking at Villiers' cunning answer to the matter he was charged with, touching the Count Hollok's grief against the Earl of Lester."
June [22.] Paper endorsed by Burghley's clerk : "Payments to servitors [sic] out of the remain of 2000l. and by virtue of the warrant of 4000l. From the remain of 2000l.
To the four captains appointed by Sir Roger Williams for levying 600 men. 600l.
To every captain 20l. and for the lieutenants 10l. 300l.
For furnishing their soldiers with swords 180l.
For provision of victuals for Sluce 210l. 8s. 4d.
By virtue of the privy seal of 4000l. dated 5 June. List of captains and their counties (as under June 9 above) 180l. paid to all except five, whose companies consisted of two hundred men, and therefore were given 230l. 1 pp. [Holland XV. f. 145.]
June 22. Another list, in form of a schedule, with some further details. Endd. with date. 3 pp. [Ibid XV. f. 147.]
I have received your letter telling me her Majesty's pleasure touching the 3000 soldiers prested and paid for their going over, upon the advertisement of my lord Buckhurst of the States' unwillingness to entertain more than their 32,000 foot and 5000 horse and their late levy of Almains :that if I find it so, I should with speed signify it to her, that these men may be stayed, if they must be at her charge. For mine own part, I desire nothing more than to satisfy her Majesty as a loyal and honest servant, and will do what she commands, "but good my lord, remember the conference which passed the last day I saw you at Greenwich, when I and Mr. Secretary Walsingham attended you to speak with Caron, Ortell and Burgrave ; how necessary it appeared to us all it was that these 3000 men should be entertained, not only by reason of the extremity of the siege of Sluys, but for the doubt of the speedy support to come from the States, chiefly their new levy of Almains, which support I have great cause to doubt of, not only through my late experience this last year, but by the information of divers grave and honest men, who have told me that 'mo' than once, twice or thrice they have been in like sort served by the like levies ; and let them say what they will, these kind of levies, except done in some absolute prince's name, they seldom come to any better pass. And that was the cause which moved me to allow better of the King of Denmark's offer than of the States' device." Last year, after the States had made large offers to the captains and Reitmasters, not one would contract with them till they had my hand that it would be an acceptable service to her Majesty, "which I did in some sort affirm, but I thank God, in no sort to bind her Majesty, for if I had, she had heard of it 'or' now." And unless they use her Majesty's name, which I think they cannot, "except her ambassador doth it," they will not get these companies they look for. Thus, if her Majesty would have this service go forward, she must trust to her own forces. "It is an old proverb and a true, better one bird in the hand than a hundred in the wood. Better ... for her Majesty to have 3000 of her own ready than to trust upon 10,000 of such as are uncertain. There doth depend upon this present service almost the whole fortune of that her Majesty is to look for or desire. Let the Prince of Parma prevail in this matter of Sluys, and I warrant it will not only turn the hope of the peace, but breed an intolerable charge of war, both to herself and these countries. "Therefore again I wish your lordship to consider of this case and to confer thoroughly with her Majesty, whose great wisdom I assure myself will resolve upon that which shall, in all apparency, be best for her own and her friends' safety . . . and what she shall expressly command, I will obey. And yet do hope of pardon and gracious acceptation to speak in time that I think in duty and conscience I am bound to. For the other matters of the payments and advertisements, I will not fail, upon my arrival, to use my best endeavour to satisfy her Majesty." Am now at Sittingbourne, "ready to take horse towards Margate this 24 of June, and as it pleaseth God it is my birthday." Postscript. "If there be any stay made of the soldiers, I leave you to judge what may follow. As for the payment, it must by hook or crook lie upon the States, howsoever the present shall be, wherein I will do the best to preserve us the best from the worst." Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland XV. f. 149.]
June 25. Instruction for what Mr. Killigrew is to put before Counts Maurice and Hohenlo in the name of her Majesty. He is to show them that in regard of many indignities to the Earl of Leicester, both during his residence there and since, she might rightfully have refused to send him again, but that her pity for their calamities did not permit her to abandon the many good patriots who had always shown themselves well-affectioned to herself and her kingdom ; notwithstanding the faults and disorders committed by those led by their passions and private interests. That she has particular reason for dissatisfaction with themselves, seeing that the Earl of Leicester having given them bothby letters patent confirmed by the States General and Council of Statehonourable charges, worthy of seigneurs of their rank and quality, they yet, immediately after his departure, as if in contempt, resigned the said patents and had others drawn up in the name of the States General, whereby her Majesty conceives that her honour was greatly touched, seeing that the Earl represented her own person. And as if to render this strange mode of proceeding more manifest to the world, they have tried to constrain some governors of towns, natives of the country and well-affected to herself and the Earl, to do the like, and on their refusal, have sought to deprive them of their governments without any just reason ; and whom they would gladly have confirmed therein if the said governors would have consented to receive new patents and take fresh oath to themselves. Moreover they wished also to demand a fresh oath from all captains and soldiers in the States' pay, although they had already taken it to the States and the Earl of Leicester, showing plainly that they desired to deprive the said Earl of his government, if the generality had not withstood it by their zeal and affection. And to Count Maurice alone, he is to show that the Brill having, by consent of the States-General, been put as caution into her Majesty's hands, to be governored by such of her own people as she shall appoint, he has yet taken upon him to have a placard published there by the burgomaster or one of the chief burghers, to the effect that by the change of his patent, his government of Holland, Zeeland, Frise etc., was renewed, without informing the lieut-governor (the governor being absent) ; an indignity whereby her Majesty esteems her honour to have been so touched that she demands fitting reparation. Also that her Majesty having seen the complaints presented by him to the Lord Buckhurst against the Earl of Leicester, finds them so unfounded and trivial that it seems to her that he must rather have conceived them himself than received them from others. And shall say to him that it grieves her infinitely, from the affection which she bore to his late father, that he should let his youth be abused by mischievous instruments, and so be in danger of being lost himself and hazarding the cause. In like manner he shall remonstrate with Count Hohenlo concerning the complaints which he also has presented ; that her Majesty has reason to be seriously displeased with him ; for one thing of which he complains is that the Earl of Leicester has introduced English garrisons into certain places which the late Prince of Orange had committed to his charge, whereas she believed that he had so much affection for her and her nation that he would rather have thought it an honour that they should be employed under him. Also he shall tell him that she finds it very strange that a person of such judgment and experience should for such slight matters forsake his respect and good feeling for the Earl of Leicester ; but imputes this to certain evil instruments, who try to cause division between the chiefs, in order to ruin the cause. And he shall exhort them both to lend no further ear to these dangerous councils and sinister persuasions, but determine in future to show the Earl the honour and respect due to him as the minister of her Majesty, sent expressly for the good of the country, and as one for whom she has always had an extraordinary esteem ; and to whom they are under great obligation for the honourable treatment they have always received from him, and his favourable mention of them to her Majesty, which merits gratitude and the like acknowledgment on their part, the true way in which to preserve themselves in her Majesty's good graces ; who will make the effects thereof appear to them to their entire satisfaction whenever occasion shall present itself. And he shall also say to Count Maurice that her Majesty finds it more than strange that Sir W. Russell, being called to the government of Flushing and isle of Walcheren, in like manner and as amply as was the late Sir Philip Sydney, is not yet established therein with the same rule and entire control, which she reputes a great indignity to herself on the part of Count Maurice, from whom she expected quite different behaviour, he having more reason to strengthen her authority than to curtail it. Wherefore she demands a prompt and complete establishment of Sir William Russell in his government as aforesaid. Endd. Copy. 4 pp. Fr. [Holland XV. f. 153.]