Elizabeth: July 1587, 21-25

Pages 188-197

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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July 1587, 21-25

"Being by his Excellency's direction come hither with my company from Count Hohenlo, I received a letter dated in April from your honour," which has so much assured me of your favour that I must always be one of your most dutifully devoted. Since the enemy assailed us in our camp, nothing has been done of moment save the surrender of the fort by Bolduke, which is now razed. "The Count yet remaineth about the house of Hemart, in 'Bumblesward,' with the chief of his forces ; the rest, as he saith, attending in the garrisons thereabouts what the enemy will do, who are strongly on foot in Brabant." My company, under the conduct of Col. Morgan, is to enter the haven of Sluys, where if we have good success, I think the enemy will not continue his siege, for we have men, victuals and munition to strengthen the town against the uttermost of his force. Flushing, 21 July, 1587. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XVI. f. 135.]
Makes bold to "entertain" himself in his lordship's remembrance by sending him as much as his leisure would suffer him to "observe in writing," while he has been an actor therein. Thanks for favour to himself and wife.Myddelburgh, 22 July, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 137.]
July 22. Things meet to be considered of, under the good pleasure of his Excellency.
An open satisfaction of the Estates to his Excellency. To procure them to write to her Majesty to the like effect. A conference between Mr. Killegrew, R. Beale, two of the Council and two of the Estates, for answering their letters and making a book to be sent into England, with answers to all the accusations etc. The provisions for Sluise to proceed ; a further conference to be held touching the confirmation of his Excellency's authority. Instructions for the Council. Nomination of Counsellors. Meetkerk and others to be restored. Their patents to be from his Excellency. A roll to be made of the garrisons of captains displaced in his Excellency's absence, and the ordering thereof to be left to him. What manner of government to be left hereafter in case of his Excellency's absence or revocation. What placarts are to be imparted to the States before publication. An order for "paraphrasing things in Council," before his Excellency signs them. The finances (according to her Majesty's pleasure signified), to be levied and brought into a common treasure ; the disposition thereof, to be in his Excellency and his Council, but the custody to remain in such person as they shall choose. To understand how the 200,000 florins of their monthly contributions have been employed since his Excellency's departure ; seeing little service done and the bands badly paid. Whereas it was "pretended" that there was a contribution of 1,000,000 florins for a camp ; of which only 400,000 remain, to set down how the other 600,000 have been employed. Conference to be held touching the maintenance of the said camp. And to the intent her Majesty may be duly advertised how they be able to continue this war : To consider what number of men they have, of what nations and in whose pay ; what means they have to bear the charges, and how and when the money is to be had. Also what is the yearly charge of shipping and fortifications, and how maintained. Also further matters to be considered as to numbers, charges, equipment, furnishing of munitions and provision of money etc., etc., for an army of twelve or fourteen thousand men for four months. Endd. "22 July, 1587. Things meet to be done." 4 pp. [Holland XVI. f. 139.]
July 23. Instructions for Sir Richard Bingham, governor of one of the provinces [Connaught] in Ireland, sent into the Low Countries by her Majesty, to declare certain points to the States General, wherein she has just causes of offence against them. Her Majesty findeth that whereas Lord Buckhurst had charge to declare to them great disorders and errors in their government, whereby the enemy was strengthened and the United Provinces weakened, they have shown no disposition to amend the same ; and the country is now in evident danger. Also that though it was known long since that the enemy was preparing to besiege Ostend and Sluse, the States have never sent them either men, munition or victual, and if she had not herself furnished them out of England, Ostend would have been taken at the first approach. In like sort, she gave money to the Governor of Sluys, when he came to England to declare his wants, and the neglect of the States to give him either wages or victual, so that without help he could not keep the town a month longer. And even upon the sight of the approach of the Duke of Parma and his forces, they made ready no force to succour Sluys, either before the siege was planted or after. When her Majesty sent the Earl of Leicester over, andunderstanding that the States forces were not ready, sent above 5000 men of her own venture, "although some of the States' forces were assembled under Count Hollock where there was no service to be done," and the Earl prayed to have them join with him to succour Slusehe could not obtain it, "where they ought to have been afore-hand brought to the sea-side against the Earl's coming ; and they being advertised of these new succours levied to come with the Earl, and required to provide victual and armour for them, the Earl found nothing thereof in readiness . . . but that which is inexcusable and deeply must offend her Majesty, if it be true :. . . the States both mislike of these new succours, and though they have none of their own in readiness . . . refuse to have them paid with the money promised to maintain an army for this summer." If they do not presently change their course, "her Majesty being a prince that for their defence hath wasted a great number of valiant people and great masses of her treasure ; and seeing them so careless of their own security . . . will speedily enter into a consideration what shall be meetest for her to do that may tend to God's honour and to the weal of herself and her kingdoms ; and yet so to proceed therein as the world shall well see how honourably, christianly and neighbourly she hath employed her favours and succours for these countries and people, all which she understandeth have kindly and thankfully accepted of the same, saving their governors, representing the States General, or at least some of them that have gotten the power into their own hands." And having plainly informed them hereof, he is to send her word of their answers. Draft by Burghley. Endd. with date. 5 pp. [Holland XVI. f. 141.]
The enemy gained the fort before Sluse, yet it cost him dear, with very little loss on our side. His Excellency came to Flushing on the 14th and next evening sent my lord Marshal and myself, with such forces as were ready towards Ostend, but wind and weather being contrary we were forced to return. "We purposed then to have attempted Issendonck fort, with the strangers' aid and help of some English, and to have landed the rest of our company at Ostend, but being not able anyways to get conveniently to shore, we returned, more willing than able to annoy the enemy." At Flushing we received news from Sluse of two breaches made and assailed, "but most valiantly defended, the one by Sir Roger Williams, Capt. Huntley and Capt. Baskerville, the other by my cousin Francis Vere, with those Dutch captains besides, of great valour. Another place being undermined, was defended by Captain Uvedale and a lieutenant to a Dutch captain, Captain Mederek, who, as men nothing dismayed with so great and continual batteries and assaults, repelled the enemy's force with great commendation of courage and wisdom . . . They are day and night most forcibly expugned on all sides. Divers gentlemen without companies there have most valiantly defended themselves, as Capt. Skot, Lieut. Merick, Mr. Sellinger, Mr. George, and one Foulkes, a cousin to my Lord Zouch, all voluntary aiders of their friends and countrymen. "His Excellency, understanding the imminent peril increasing through lack of men, munition and victuals, hastened us again to Ostend the 19 of this present month. Many difficulties were found, as well for all wants appertaining to an army, as bad and dangerous passages, letting our purpose to pass over land to Sluse, a thing determined by his Excellency in Council ; that we should march by Blankenburgh and a strong fort of the enemy's, and so going by St. Anne's land, should assault them on that side, whilst the Vice-Admiral and Col. Morgan, with some companies both Dutch and English, should on the other side attempt to enter the river. "His Excellency's arrival here yesterday did much rejoice us, where he hath all this day used the best means ... to set us forward. . . . To-morrow, by God's grace, we march to join with the enemy."Ostend, 23 July, 1587. Postscript in his own hand. "Advertisement is come that Sluse hath given forth his last despairing signals, if it be not speedily succoured. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XVI. f. 144.]
Albeit little has or could be done since my last letters, much has been intended, and shall, by God's help be accomplished very shortly, his lordship having with continual travail drawn the best means he can together, though not what he expected before he left England. The forces he left here are not only weakened beyond expectation, but were detained from him until Wednesday and Thursday last ; "and then not above {blank left] English and a few Scotsmen (and those, as the report is given out, have used lewd speeches, saying that they desired to serve against the English as well as against the Spaniards, to revenge their Queen. All other nations the Count of Hohenlo doth keep away still, and remaineth himself at Husden, without any intent to come, so far as I can learn." His Excellency goes forward with his purpose to succour the Escluse, a place "environed with Bruges, Audenburgh and other towns and forts," to which the enemy can retire or from which he may draw meansyet which he means to try to aid "both by shipping to pass to th' Escluse by the haven, with fire works, besides men of war, which service he meaneth himself to behold ; and to commit the conduction of it to Col. Morgan ; and by land" ; having transported most of his forces to Ostend, he arrived himself last night, and they march to-morrow morning, when he returns towards Escluse haven ; leaving the Lord Marshal, governor of Flushing general of the cavalry ; Lord Willoughby, colonel general of the infantry ; Sir Wm. Read, lieut. colonel general ; Mr. Wilford, sergeant-major, with other lords, knights and gentlemen to command the service. God give them good success, for all men go willing and well-minded into this service. Your servant Mr. Nedame, Mr. Bromley, Sir Rich. Dier and some of the cannoneers came with his Excellency. This morning he appointed certain foot under Capt. Litleton to take a fort called Brenning, three miles from here towards Bruges, which at the first discovery of his approach was fired and abandoned. The enemy continually batter and often assault with great fury, but have been repulsed with loss of their bravest men, at one time sending 13 'skewts' with hurt men to Bruges ; such is the fidelity and valour of those within the town.Ostend, 23 July, 1587. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XVI. f. 146.]
July 23. Brief notes, by Burghley "out of Sir Thos. Sherley's accounts," of moneys received from Mr. Huddilston, the burgers of Brill etc. ; and prested, allowed for porterage, checks etc. Endd. with date by Burghley's clerk. p. [Holland XVI. f. 148.]
July 23. Notes by Burghley "upon the view of Mr. Huddilston's account, coming to 152,918l. 15s." of payments to Sir John Norris, the muster-master ; the Earl of Leicester ; Mr. Digges etc., etc. Also of the refusal of the States to pay moneys for which they are responsible, as to the garrisons of Flushing and Brill. With list of persons and matters for which "the account is in debt." Endd. as the preceding. 3 pp. [Ibid. XVI. f. 150.]
"Because my heart doth best know with what great faith and duty I have in this negotiation served her Majesty, my grief is the greater to be thus deprived from her sight and presence so long." [Asks his good offices to be restored to her princely face and presence.] "I have also written to her Majesty, and sent her a true declaration of my proceedings with my lord of Lester, the copy of which I herewith send to your lordship, which is the sincere truth, whatsoever otherwise be informed."24 July, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 152.]
"A true Declaration of the proceedings of the Lord Buckhurst and Dr. Clerk with the Earl of Leicester, as well at the Hague as at Middelburghe, in the service of her Majesty. "The said Earl sent his servant Web to the Lord Buckhurst at the Hague, requiring him to solicit the States for the provision of arms and victual . . . which the said Lord moved and had promise of performance from the States ..." The Earl also required the said Lord to move the States and Council of State to go to him at Middelburg. He procured the Council to depart thither immediately, and the States answered that when they were all asembled, they would consult and either come themselves or send deputies. The Earl also desired the said Lord to repair to him at Middelburg, which he "promised and performed." Of all which proceedings he advertised the Earl by a letter of which he can show a copy. At Middelburg, he, with Dr. Clerk, went to the Earl who desired him to declare all that he had negotiated with the States and Council of State since his coming over ; to which he answered "that this demand was so general and so large as was not in his power at that present to perform, for neither could he upon so short warning remember it, nor, as he thought, a whole day would scarce suffice to declare it," but if the Earl would demand in particular anything for the service of her Majesty, he would say as much as he would therein. Whereupon the Earl took a paper in which he had set down divers matters, and Lord Buckhurst and Dr. Clerk answered them so far as was in their knowledge. One of which was, to declare the effect of his negotiation, at his charging the States on his first arrival and their answers ; to which the said Lord replied. "That those matters being such as did chiefly concern the private quarrels of the said Earl, he thought it therefore not indifferent to make him judge in his own cause ; but for that the said Earl had most injustly urged her Majesty's displeasure for those matters against him, he would therefore most humbly submit the hearing thereof either to her Majesty or else to such other as her Majesty should please to appoint." "Yet to avoid all colour of quarrel from the said Earl" and that her Majesty's service might in no sort suffer hindrance, he imparted to Mr. Beale and Mr. Killigrew "the whole course of their said negociation with the States at their first arrival ; in which three hours and more was spent, and whereof Mr. Beale took notes in writing." Thus, by answering the particular commands of the Earl in the forenoon, and by showing the whole negotiation to Mr. Beale and Mr. Killigrew in the afternoon, we satisfied all that could be required so far as was in our power. And that this is the perfect truth, we have hereto put our hands, and are ready to confirm the same with our sacred oath, assuring ourselves that whatever Mr. Beale and Mr. Killigrew have written to please the Earl, they will never, upon their oath, deny any part of it. Signed by Buckhurst and Clerk. Endd. with date by Burghley's clerk. 2 pp. [Holland XVI. f. 153.] [With general covering sheet, addressed (by Buckhurst) to Lord Burghley and endorsed by his clerk.]
Prays him to procure him access to her Majesty. Hears that Mr. Beale and Mr. Kiligrew have written that he refused to deliver matter to his lordship for her Majesty's service. What he did, he has set down and sent to her under Mr. Clerk's hand and his own, to which they will be sworn. Is sure that Mr. Beale and Mr. Killigrew "will not swear to the impeaching of any part of it."24 July, 1587. Postscript. Sends him a copy of what he sent to her Majesty. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 156.]
Copy of his "True Declaration" as above. [Ibid. f. 157.]
[July 24?] Paper endorsed. "Sir John Norryce. Out of the Earl's reply to Wylke's accusation."
Reply. Art. 1. That the States in their apostiles concerning the sum of 20,885l. 10s. 2d. part of the treasure disbursed to their use, charge Sir John Norrice with receipt of the same, as repaid into his hands. That he, having a warrant for payment, with a note for defalcation of certain sums, "cut or tore off that piece . . . that contained the defalcation." Reply, Art. 4. "That the spoil committed by the Hollanders . . . about Utrecht the last winter was much furthered." by him. That the muster-master found that Sir John had received full satisfaction as regards the above sum of 20,885l. 10s. 2d. p. [Holland XVI. f. 172.]
On Saturday, July 22, passing along by Sluise to go to Flushing, we met with his Excellency coming towards Ostend ; whither, the day before, he had drawn most of the English companies, proposing, through South Ameland to attempt the relief of Sluys. The Duke has passed most of his forces out of Cassand to join with the rest, "to attend their coming." In the short time I have been here, I find that the evil offices done to nourish the dislike between his Excellency, Count Hohenlo and the States have wrought such wavering in the hearts of the best-affected that they will hardly be recovered again. "They seek to make wonderful profit of these overtures lately made about the peace, a thing altogether unpleasant to this people, . . . and have not heen ashamed to write letters into divers towns of Holland and Zeeland that her Majesty had only sent his Excellency here that under colour of prosecuting a war, he might work the minds of this people to agree to peace," which has wrought such effects, that he can get no help from the States of the country save some supplies which Vlissing and Midleburg have given. Thus they have to issue out the treasure which should have served till Michaelmas, or else abandon Sluce, and consequently the whole cause. For the Prince of Parma resolves "that either he must have Sluce or Sluce must have all Flanders." This morning are marched from hence, under the conduct of the Lord Marshal [etc.] about 4000 foot and 400 horse, "well appointed, and as resolute men as ever came into field.... It pitieth many honest minds to see so many brave gentlemen and willing soldiers to engage themselves with so great a disadvantage against an experimented enemy ; who . . . hath drawn to him about 9000 foot and well near 3000 good horse. And yet so far doth this malice prevail in the minds of this men here, as neither the recovery of a place . . . the loss whereof is the loss of all their towns in Flanders, nor the redeeming of so many gentlemen of desert, which have hazarded their lives for their defence, neither the cause, which is their own, could move them, or draw Count Hollock to suffer any of their forces to come hither . . . " They hoped here that her Majesty would have sent them further supplies, "but seeing it fell out contrary, they are gone as men desirous to rescue their countrymen by this last and extreme remedy, which could no longer be deferred." Last night, Col. Morgan went with fire vessels and other instruments, and a thousand or twelve hundred men to attempt to break the bridge, and this afternoon his Excellency is going to Sluce haven to learn the result. Yesterday afternoon, some of our men under Capt. Littleton, marching towards Blankenburg, took a fort which the enemy had abandoned, and went to assail another, not far off. H.E. hath sent pioneers and ordnance thither to keep and fortify it. According to your orders, I informed his Excellency "how unpleasant matters of charge would be to her Majesty, though they were accompanied with never so good success," and would help the ill-affected to make her weary of the burden of the war ; wherefore he must husband her money and draw it out at length. He protested that not a penny was unnecessarily expended ; but that of the last money there was not 3000l. left ; and the 3000l. given to his Excellency was used for this action and supplying of the men last sent over, so that they had been forced to send to the auditor and under-treasurer for more. I let Sir Thos. Sherley understand the need of husbanding what was left, lest her Majesty should weary of so great a charge. [Details of information given by Sherley of the way in which the money had been employed, and of his own observations as to the captains' dislike of the presentsystem of imprests].Aboard his Excellency's ship before Blankenburg, 24 July, 1587. Add. Endd. 3 closely written pp. [Holland XVI. f. 174.]
I have received on shipboard letters from Mr. Killigrew, telling me that letters have come from Cologne to divers of the Estates and Council of State, "touching the new treaty of peace between her Majesty and the King of Spain, which [bree]deth a great perplexity in these people." Also that Hollock has ordered the assembly of the States of Zeeland at Middlebourgh, and will be there with them. I have written to Mr. Killigrew and Mr. Beale to know the truth and reason of it, for I mean not to see my own authority countermined. He writes further that the States General, having promised 10,000l. sterling for relief of Sluys, are sending to all the towns to know what munitions, victuals etc. are already taken up and mean to reckon this in the above sum, so that of money I am like to have none or very little from them." On sea board," before Sluyse, 25 July. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 176.]
July 25. THE SAME to THE SAME.
Recommending the bearer of the present packet, Lewis, servant to Sir Philip Butler, a very proper man, who has served long in that country and can make good report of the state of things there.From ship board before Sluyse, 25 July, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. [Ibid. XVI. f. 178.]
Until now, we could not well certify to you what has been done since the coming home of the Lord of Buckhurst, Sir John Norryce and Thomas Wilkes, for when they arrived, her Majesty was here at Theobalds, and Norryce and Wilkes, coming hither, were forbidden to come into her presence or remain in the court. They were both charged with such things as we thought mete, and we not being satisfied with their answer, Mr. Norryce was commanded to depart till her Majesty's pleasure was further known, and Wilkes was committed a prisoner, to make a better answer in writing if he could. Within two or three days he sent "a long writing, discoursing matters of more length than of substance" wherewith her Majesty was not satisfied, and he was made close prisoner in the Fleet, where he yet is. A few days after, Lord Buckhurst, having as he sent us word, been here a fortnight, "made means" to come to the court, but was commanded to keep his house, and we went to London, "to charge them all with their several contempts," it not being thought meet for them to come near the court. We spent two days in hearing their answers to what we charged them with, and then commanded them to set these down in writing, which we offered to show to her Majesty, but she is still so offended that she will not hear them. We cannot tell whether, in many things their answers are true, and doubt it, and therefore cannot clearly judge them. "But generally, we do think them all to have committed offence, in not coming to your lordship, to have imparted to you their knowledge of the state of the affairs wherein they had been in divers sorts employed, and yet they have laboured much in words to excuse the same." We are to deal with them again, but having the opportunity by my Lord Admiral, who was present at the examination, we thought good to refer you to his report for the circumstances of our round dealing with them. We send you copies of their answers, and desire you, as your leisure may serve, to cause some notes to be sent us of what your lordship "shall find them to have answered insufficiently or otherwise than the truth is, for so . . . we may be the more able to burden them with the weight of their faults." "We end with assurance to your lordship that we have and will have a due respect to your honour and the place that you hold, not only in these particular actions, but in everything else that may concern your lordship ; for so we clearly do see that your great travails and adventures . . . about the recovery of the afflicted town of Sluse and the valiant soldiers there doth deserve both honour, love and devotion."25 July, 1587. Draft, in Burghley's hand. Endd. with date by his clerk. Added by himself "Signed by the Lord Chancellor ; Lord Treasurer ; Lord Admiral ; Lord Chamberlain and Lord Cobham." 3 pp. [Holland XVI. f. 180.]