Elizabeth: August 1587, 21-25

Pages 258-272

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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August 1587, 21-25

Aug. 21. LEICESTER to the LORDS of the COUNCIL.
Sends the papers previously announced touching Sluys, by which he hopes they will see plainly that the town was lost by the fault of the country and especially the Admiralty. Asks them to acquaint H.M.Dort, 21 August, 1587. p. Sign. Endd. Add. [Ibid. XVII. f. 130.]
Enclosing :
1. "A brief report of the proceedings of his Excellency for the relief of the town of Sluyce, until the surrender thereof, 26 July, 1587." Giving the state of affairs at the Earl's arrival at Flushing ; the position of Parma's forces, and the steps taken by him to close all access to the town, both by land and water ; the preparation to make the attempt by water and the Admiral of Nassau's opposition thereto. His Excellency's plans, in consequence, for assailing in three ways, viz : by Isendyke, Cassand and Ostend, by land. For the first, after the taking of the sconce, there was no passage towards the town on the enemy's camp but upon the dykes ; already so fortified by the enemy that a very few could make head against a great army. On the Cassand side, no landing but by wading under fire of the enemy and over banks fortified by him. The only chance appeared to be by Ostend. Meanwhile, divers burghers of Flushing offered, if they had shipping, to enter the haven and relieve the town with men and munitions. Reasons for suspecting the coldness of the Admiral. Wholly at the devotion of the States. Small care had by the States of Sluys and Ostend or any other town in Flanders, which had been apparent long before. In 1586, when his Excellency wished to take forces into Flanders, the States persuaded him to go rather into Gueldres, etc. Reasons. 1. Fear that wealthy men, now settled in Holland, would return thither. 2. They find that the garrisons of Sluys, Axel and Ostend "exhausted much of their contributions." 3. Had conceived a jealousy that Flanders lying so near England, her Majesty would seize such places as were gained, and having such convenient ports near her realm, "might be able to rule them, and not to be ruled by them." The common people, however, say plainly that the victualling of the enemy has brought the States infinite gain, and that the enemy had assurance from them, before the siege, that they would not "impeach" them. Albeit, all the people say is not to be believed. Report of what assistance his Excellency had received for their relief. On his arrival, found strange effects wrought by the bad practices of his enemies, who fostered discords, and greatly hindered her Majesty's service. First tried to reduce that infected body to health, forgiving all injuries, and labouring only for the safety of the provinces. Called an assembly of the States at Middelburg, but waited for them in vain. Went to Bergen and Dort "to draw all into line" for the relief of Sluys ; putting his new men into the garrisons and calling together from the garrisons, far and near, 4000 of the old bands, ready for service. Meanwhile, took measures to ascertain what assistance he might expect. Of the 24,000 in their pay (besides 2000 horse) if he might have had 4000, would have assaulted the camp. But although Hollock had 6000 men in Brabant, could not get one band, and with great difficulty obtained the English who were with him. The burghers of Middelburg and Flushing willingly offered assistance, but this without any aid from the States. Only 30 English ensigns and 4 cornets, with the few country forces at her Majesty's charge. With these, his Excellency sent the Lord Marshal into Flanders. Col. Morgan appointed to join with the Admiral to enter the haven. Lord Marshal reached Ostend June 20 ; his Excellency June 22. On 24th, "we," marched towards the enemy, his Excellency returning to the fleet at the mouth of the haven, meaning to enter, prevent forces in 'Cassand' from succouring those in St. Anne's land, and put men and munitions into the town ; but did neither. "We" marched to Blankenburg Sluice, noon, July 24, where the enemy had made a strong sluice to close the passage, and came himself with a choice regiment to stay us, leaving "singular good opportunity" for the Admiral to enter the town. But his Excellency not being able "upon contrariety of wind" to reach the fleet, nothing was done ; and he seeing from the sea how impossible it was for us to pass, sent us orders to return to Ostend, embark and come to him at the Fleet. 25th, embarked at Ostend, 26th reached fleet. Found his Highness in consultation with Maurice, the Admiral and the sea captains, "who alleged many reasons why they had not entered the haven. His Highness plainly charged them that, in answer to the offer from Flushing, they had said they had the best pilots, captains and shipping, and would perform it themselves, "which they could not well deny and yet would not plainly confess." The same day, the town entered into parley and the Prince denying them no good conditions (save that of respite), the governors and commanders, utterly out of hope of aid "in respect of the discomfortable letters received from Count Maurice and his brother . . . and understanding that they were besieged as well by the King's pistolets as by his soldiers . . . the same night that our army arrived at the fleet, sent away a gentleman to his Excellency with notice of their agreement." His Excellency was furnished out of England with powder, munition and money, and needed only (for our money) to be provided with victuals and boats to land provisions and men on those flat coasts ; but could not get enough boats to disembark our little army, or waggons to carry two days victuals. "So that for this action I know not what the States could do more to make the world believe the common voice of the people (for their correspondence with the enemy and the desire to dispossess her Majesty, and possess the enemy of all the towns in Flanders) to be most true. Neither can I imagine what was possible for any General, for travail of his own body both by land and sea, or for contempt of all peril to his own person or by careful and patient providence . . . to do more than his Excellency hath done, whatsoever common opinion may conceive of it. Endd. with date, "August 1587." A brief report etc. 6 pp. [Holland XVII. f. 131.] Another copy of the same. [Ibid. f. 141.]
Aug. 17/27. II. Colonel Grunevelt's relation touching the loss of Sluce.
Shown by Col. Grunevelt to the Council of State, the 27th August, at Dordrecht. M. de Grunevelt, colonel, and the rest of the captains of his regiment that were in garrison in Sluse, understanding that his Excellency is desirous to know of them all that hath passed during the siege of the town, have set down in writing what they know. The Prince of Parma came before it in firm hope to find the town unprovided with victuals and men, as in truth it was and if we had not, contrary to his hope and our expectation, been so well provided the first two days, both with men and victuals, we could not have kept the place a fortnight ; having been forced to quit the fort on the first attack, it being no ways fortified and too large for the few soldiers we had. Although the enemy's intention was to besiege Sluse, he first put himself before Ostend, believing, as it is supposed, that they of Sluys would have sent men to succour it, as at other times they had done, and so have left themselves the more unprovided. The besieged would have been much comforted if the third fleet had entered the haven, which at that time it might easily have done, there being as yet small hindrance in the channel. The enemy, seeing the town somewhat better provided than he expected, was very much troubled, yet desisted not from the pursuit of his design, and diligently took order therein on all sides. On the one hand he approached the fort with his trenches, and had his artillery brought by water from Bruges in flat boats, with other necessaries ; and on the other, had five or six pieces of artillery carried across the marsh towards Cassand. Two days later, we saw a great number of boats called gertwelders pass behind the castle, which he had brought from the other side of the trou de Coyide to Ter Hostede, while he did not fail diligently to drive piles into the great flat opposite Ter Hostede, which is inundated every tide, to prevent small boats crossing it, as may be seen by the map hereto annexed. The enemy continuing to approach, made it doubtful on which side he would attack us. We worked, however, on all sides, as was only too needful, as all know who have seen the fort. After working day and night for a month, he assailed us both on the south and west, and came so near on the south that he filled our ditches with smoke, and indeed came once to the assault, but was bravely repulsed. On the west (where the dyke is so much demolished) after suffering great loss from our fire, he devised to make his approach with a musket proof wagon which was pushed on in front when he entrenched himself. We tried to destroy it by our artillery, and that failing we made a sally in broad daylight, fastened a rope to it, and fighting in the enemy's trenches drew it up under our rampart and threw it into the Reigersvliet. He ceased not however diligently to draw near to us, having gained a high ground, under cover whereof he came even into our ditch and lodged himself in our rampart. We made a mine under the rampart, whereupon the enemy countermined and for more than a week we were at blows together, with push of pike and swords. In the end, he planted another battery towards St. Annes, which forced us from our first rampart, and we withdrew (after losing many men) into another, but all to no purpose, for that day he made so great a breach that three hundred men could mount abreast. The same day, two great flat boats with musket proof traverses came down and anchored under the breach, making a bridge across the Reigersvliet which, for want of a flank, we could not prevent, though he lost many men there. From this he could attack the fort from one end to the other, nevertheless, we fought at the breach in despite of his cannon (which troubled us greatly) from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, where the enemy left many of his feathers with the loss of many chiefs of mark, and notably the Sieur de Trepigny. We in the meantime, considering firstly the enemy's advantage over us ; secondly that we were enforced, in order to guard the fort on all sides, to employ all our men save some 120, left in the town, thirdly that the enemy might easily break the bridge of boats between the town and the fort and so shut us out of the town (as indeed he had proposed to do on the morrow) and that the town was a hundred times more important than the fort ; and having considered carefully these reasons and many others, unanimously thought it best to abandon the said fort which we did at midnight, after withdrawing our artillery and other munitions of war, and setting fire to it. Whereby the enemy was cheated of his hope to entrap us all there and so win the town more cheaply. The next day the enemy bent all his artillery towards the town, and three days later seized the West dyke, adjoining the West port, where we had some men on guard as a forlorn hope. We endeavoured by a sudden sally from the Zuudtport to drive off the enemy, but he was too strong, and we had to retire, with great hazard to our men. The enemy being lodged within the dyke, battered from two in the night until the next evening, and that with such fury as the like had never been heard of in the wars of this country, for he fired more than thirty-nine times with twenty-four pieces. Presently after this, he set up a bridge of great boats across the channel, from the West dyke to the shore of the fort, which being done, though with the loss of more than forty of his bravest sailors, he put his camp in battle array to give the assualt, and we on the other hand, resolute to await them. But the Prince of Parma (having made four or five very brave attempts, which might well be called assaults) fearing too great loss of his men, changed his plan, thinking it better to batter down the West port, to make a way whereby to enter our rampart, which in the end they did, and which caused the loss of the town ; for there was no means on that side to entrench ourselves within it, it being so high and massive, and the ground within being a meadow, every winter covered with water. And apart from this, we had too few workmen to accomplish any work, and they, like the soldiers, more dead than alive from their continual labour, besides the utter lack of any sorts of tools. Yet we kept back the enemy for fifteen days within the port, fighting in the cellars thereof at sword's point, push of pike and with all other sorts of instruments the whole time. But his artillery, which murdered us in the cellars, gave us the worst of it, besides that he constantly renewed his men, which we could not do. Being within the rampart, he commanded the town, with his shot, and having already gained the Turnpike of the mill hill could go freely along the rampart, to a sluice named Verloren cost ; so that having at his command both the breach from Venusberg to beyond the West port and all the rampart to the Verloren cost he had quite a quarter of the town as much to his advantage as to ours ; besides that he was determined, while giving a general assault, at the same time to cause thirty or forty barks full of soldiers to come down from Reighersvliet to land between the port of St. Jan's dam and of the Muwendam, whereby he might very easily have entered the town by the breach he held there, as all our men were at the principal breach, not being able to furnish this point for lack of soldiers. Which being considered, of necessity we had to parley with the enemy, and above all from our extreme lack of powder, for we had not enough left for an hour's fight. The soldiers also were all demoralised, seeing so fine a fleet before them, and that it entered not to succour them ; for they had a wind better than they could desire, a tide at their will and fit for all their gallies and skuts ; on the other side, the channel open as in former days without hindrance, save that they had to pass at the mercy of five or six pieces of artillery and the harque-busses of the infantry upon the dyke of Cassant. Also that they would have met face to face the two ships of war anchored before the Hofstede. The above named colonel and captains have in this discourse voluntarily omitted many things to their great advantage and honour for it is neither seemly nor honourable to praise themselves ; but they refer themselves to the intercepted letters of the enemy, whereby may be sufficiently seen the part they have played and the hard fight which they have constantly engaged in with the enemy. Endd. French. 7 pp. [Holland XVII. f. 135.]
III. "Description of the river," etc., exhibited also by Colonel Grunevelt on the same date ; being a rough pen and ink map, with explanations in French. 1 sheet. [Ibid. XVII. f. 139.]
English translation of Grunevelt's "Relation." Endd. 6 pp. [Ibid. XVII. f. 145.]
Aug. 21. G. G[ILPIN] (fn. 1) to [WALSINGHAM ?]
My last was written from Zeeland, after his Excellency's departure. Having spent some days at Bergen op Zoom, where he set out an enterprise against the enemy [expedition to Hoogstraten described], he arrived here last Sunday, (fn. 2) and has mostly kept his chamber, writing dispatches for England. The Council of State and States General left Middelburg three days after him, some few coming hither, the rest going into their own parts, to report to their superiors and then return hither with powers to treat with his Excellency concerning the government and the war. They do not, however seem to be hurrying themselves. The Council of State is partly here but can do little until they know his Excellency's wishes. He has had conferences with several, both counsellors and others, sending them hither and thither ; thus the Sieur Valck has two or three times been to the Hague, as also Messrs. Killigrew, Leoninus and Bardesius, both to hasten the resolution for setting up an army, and about the matters of Count Hohenlo and of the peace, concerning which letters have come by Mr. Blunt and also advertisements from the enemy's country, saying even that the commissioners from England were already arrived or daily expected at Brussels. This greatly perplexes all men, and helps the States to draw the people to their side. On Friday morning his Excellency summoned those of the Council who are here to his chamber, being only Mr. Beale, Bardesius and de Bie, and declared to them what was written on behalf of her Majesty touching the said peace and the causes which has moved them to it ; after which Bardesius left for the Hague, to impart these news and assure them that his Excellency would reply very seriously to her Majesty, urging her at least to delay the sending of the commissioners until she heard from the States. His Excellency's stay in this town breeds jealousies, the States not knowing why he does not go on to the Hague, the place of residence of their governors and princes in all times. It only causes delay and looks as if he doubted them or fears for his person, some saying it is not fitting he should show distrust or jealousy, but should proceed courageously, putting himself in the midst of the people who love him ; and that it comes of listening to flatterers and not to his discreet counsellors and servants. Count Maurice came hither from Zeeland, and after saluting his Excellency, went to Delff and thence to the Hague, where he amuses himself with fowling and hunting. Count Hohenlo was at Delff, where he was visited by the Count de Moeurs, who then came to his Excellency, while Hohenlo passed close to this town going by water to Gorcum and Bommel, where the Scots who were mutinous surrendered and are marched towards Utrecht to join the other troops who are going to meet the German reyters and lanzknechts. Now, Count Hohenlo has withdrawn to the quarter of Heusden and Geertruydenberg, still not being disposed to have anything to do with his Excellency, notwithstanding the efforts of the Elector of Cologne and Paul Buys. The country of Utrecht remains in the same impoverished terms, the frontier towns ill-furnished with necessaries and filled with badly paid soldiers, expecting the enemy ; and Gueldres and part of Over Yssell in like case, so that if the enemy should attack and carry some chief fortress, all the rest will follow. Utrecht is still divided and the Count of Moeurs awaiting the opportunity to take his revenge. The time for changing the magistrates is approaching, when there may probably be some disturbance. In Frise, more solito, Count William, supported by the States' deputies, rules everything ; those of Haerlingen having lately refused to receive three companies sent by his Excellency instead of the two then in garrison and the like being done by those of Naerden and Sevenbergen, whither Col. Morgan's company was sent to take the place of the Baron de Crange, departing for his own country, but Hohenlo flatly refused to accept him. The towns of Holland are on pretty good terms, and have almost everywhere soldiers on Wartgeld or in pay, ready to give aid to the towns in case of uprisings. Those of Delff have put some of these in billets outside the town, suspecting them to be seditious. There is here at the court a great train of English lords and gentlemen waiting for employment, and meanwhile spending their money, to the profit of the inhabitants of the town. To-day certain deputies of the States of Holland have arrived and had audience, but I do not hear that they did much save compliment his Excellency's arrival. It is a grief to all honest men to see how things proceed. Jealousies and discontents increase, time and opportunity are being lost, and I see no reason for better hope in the future. For it is difficult to govern a state only by conferences and private devices with people who do not understand the issues, leaving the Council, who by long experience know all that may ensue, and are bound by oath to give sound advice for the service of the governor and their country. I have heard that since his Excellency's last coming over, he has never proposed, and still less negotiated, anything in Council for redressing of faults in government, or seeking to put order for the better conduct of affairs henceforward ; to remove suspicions, restore his authority, provide for the preservation of the country and give contentment to whom it is due. He has talked with certain of the councillors apart, but no resolution has been taken ; also to converse thus in private of what touches them all in general causes distrust and other inconveniences too long to write. Honest men hope with all their heart that things will now go in another fashion and the service of her Majesty and the country be maintained for the greatest good of both.Dort, 21 August, 1587. Postscript. It is said that the States of Holland, after congratulating his Excellency, put before him a Remonstrance, containing certain points drawn up in presence of the deputies of the other provinces, which are in effect those of which I once sent you some brief notes, (fn. 3) with others added. As soon as I can obtain a copy, I will send it. His Excellency is naturally not pleased, and has put the articles into the hands of his Council, to advise a fitting reply. Copy. Endd. "G.G. State of things and proceedings in the Low Countries." Fr. 4 pp. closely written. [Holland XVII. f. 149.]
The time being very dangerous, and divers of this country apt upon small occasion to put treachery in practice ; and withal seeing that ever since my coming the soldiers have been without any pay, the ready means to breed mutinies and treacheries, I pray you to procure that the companies of this garrison may be paid what is already due and care taken for their satisfaction hereafter, in order more safely to keep this place. Also that certain companies may be set down to continue here, without removing those here now, being a necessary proportion for the place, and that they may not be drawn forth hereafter, as divers old companies have been of late, and others brought in their rooms, which the burghers greatly mislike. The garrison being now much larger than it was, the burghers are unwilling to provide them more lodgings at their own charges, but are very willing to do so if her Majesty will make some allowance for it, which I earnestly pray may be done.Vlisshinge, 21 August, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. Seal of arms. [Holland XVII. f. 153.]
To the same effect as the preceding. Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. Seal of arms. [Ibid. XVII. f. 155.]
Anxious to hear of the safe arrival of his letters of the 14th and 15th, as many people are robbed daily in all parts. Has not heard from him this month. Begs that the good prince may not be disappointed about her Majesty's deputies, whose embarcation was promised immediately upon receipt of the safe-conduct. The Duke counts upon this ; his zeal for the public good and regard for the Queen, having led him to go as far as seemed proper. God grant he have not cause to think that he is being mocked (as it seems when from more than one place it is written that he must expect no other). De Loo combats these insults while the Duke, quietly, awaits the result. Yesterday President Richardot, the Sieur Morianzar (one of the two secretaries of the Council of State) and Secretary Cosimo, all expressed satisfaction that the deputies were about to arrive ; saying that upon the firm hope given the Duke had withdrawn from the campaign, in order to apply himself to this treaty and to give her Majesty the satisfaction of a voluntary cessation of arms, thus entertaining the troops at great expence without their doing anything. But if no news came of the deputies, he would be forced to change his mind, especially as the new troops are arriving in great numbers, which will make it needful to set about endeavouring to get provisions in some place or other (from Holland seeming the most likely). De Loo merely answered that news of the embarkation of the commissioners was hourly expected, and that the Duke would shortly be convinced of her Majesty's sincerity. On the other hand, M. de Champagney (who of all here has from the beginning supported this business) is also puzzled by the long delay, and has lately been more reserved than usual, suspecting deceit. Points out the sorry figure he will cut, with his fine promises, unless finis coronet opus. But he will always hope against hope, not fearing aught save the harm which may be caused by delay, and that the Duke may have his anger aroused, whereby the last state might easily be worse than the first. Begs him so to deal with the Queen that she may make an end of this matter ; she holding now in her hand the happiness or misery of Christendom, by accepting or leaving the very honourable peace which the good Duke desires to conclude. Of the Earl of Leicester there is no news here as yet.Brussels, 31 August, 1587, stilo vecchio. Add. Endd. by Burghley's secretary. Italian and Latin. 2 pp. [Flanders I. f. 323.]
Complaining that their soldiers run away daily to the enemy, who gives them passport, wherewith they go to Calais and so into England, especially to Harwich, Sandwich, Dover and Rye. Has written to Lord Cobham and these towns, for the matter is like to grow to great inconvenience (the number increasing daily), and prays their lordships to send their letters to the said towns for the apprehension of such as shall arrive there ; and that one or two of them being executed as an example, the rest may be sent back to him.Dorte, 22 August, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. p. [Holland XVII. f. 157.]
Aug. 22. G. G[ILPIN] to [WALSINGHAM ?]
I have written divers letters, yet not so many as I would have done if I had found better opportunity. I pray you to send me a word of answer, to direct my course to effectuate good service. 120 [qy. himself] writes presently to your lordship a long letter of what has passed here since his last, which he does in French that, if you should show it, it may not be known from whom it came, unless 108 [qy. Walsingham] thought good to reveal it, which he trusts will not be done, for it would be his utter undoing, there being many espials abroad who care not what they do to any, so they may fare the better. 120 cometh as little to the court as he can, not being employed there, and also being suspected to be a friend to Buckhurst, Norreys and Wilkes, "who are here beloved and spoken of as by my former I signified. The peace is imputed to Buck[hurst's] doing, and Leicester with many protestations excuseth himself, saying never to have known thereof till these last letters. "This peace makes many dumps, and I can hear none that once seem to be glad, unless they be papists. I understand that the States' remonstrance doth much disquiet Leicester, and, as I hear by Webbe, there is persuasions used by Lord North, Sir W. Pelham, Atie and others to depart home and leave all . . . Deventer and Sonoy are here. It is thought that Count Moeurs puts some enterprise in practice to assure himself of Utrecht, by getting in two companies of horsemen, but we hope it is not so. "I spake on Monday last with Barnevelt, who continueth one man in opinion, resolution, and otherwise. 120 doth fear, and so do many others of more judgment, that if there be not other ways followed for matters here, all the travail taken this winter will come to nothing . . ."Dort, 22 August, 1587. "120 entreateth most earnestly to have but three or four lines from 108. Lord Willoughby is still at his government ; Sir W. Russel departed hence discontented. "Lord North is coming over with the next dispatch, and is scant well-pleased because he is not preferred to some chief place, having stood in hope either of general of the horse or governor of Flushing, the latter being disliked of all [that] heard it and hath done no good to Leicester in this conjuncture, that such a thing was spoken of ; for he is a man odious in a manner generally, but it is hoped that will be nothing. "Burgrave is still very busy, to the disliking of many, being 'joined' amongst other griefs that there are men still about his Excellency that do evil offices, requesting they may be remedied." Endd. "22 August, 1587. G. G. state of things . . . in the Low Countries." Copy. 2 pp. [Holland XVII. f. 159.]
Aug. 22. G. G[ILPIN] to WILKES.
I was very glad to learn from yours of July 30 of your continued affection for me, and assure you of the same on my part. Although I have not written of late, I am sure that what I have written to the lord whom we both love well has been known to you. Pray tell me what you think of our regime here, which goes on more solito, having never been in worse terms than now, for what you and your friends so well upheld last winter is being lost, and where my lord Buckhurst, seconded by you and others had brought the States to promise that on the coming of his Excellency all should be put again into the same state as before his departure, and that what had passed in opposition to his authority was only provisional ; now the said States, instead of re-instating him in this authority have shown that their intentions are quite contrary ; and those of Holland, being come hither on Saturday last to congratulate his arrival, exhibited to him certain remonstrances drawn up by them, (fn. 4) aided by some of the deputies of other provices, which, as I hear (for I was not present because of my sickness) contained divers restrictions of the absolute authority which he had last year, beginning with the pretext that if he were to have such authority, he might raise so great an army that the country would not be able to maintain them. [Particulars of articles.] These articles cause much perturbation and have been put into the hands of the Council of State, to deliberate thereupon. Yesterday the States of Holland appeared before the said Council, there being present Marshal Pelham and my lord North on behalf of his Excellency. What passed I do not yet know. These two gentlemen, and almost all others of our nation talk only of departing, and urge his Excellency to do the same. I do not know Messrs. Killigrew and Beale's opinion, but I know they both fear that matters will go from bad to worse. These are the results of what I have always said to you, and if her Majesty does not lend her hand to the business in good earnest, I leave you to judge what will happen, seeing these people resolute not even to hear of a peace, as a thing tending to the ruin of their state, not knowing what trust they can place in the enemy, which causes all (who are not papists) to be perplexed beyond belief, and will greatly alienate the hearts of the well-affected from our side. The preparations for a camp this year are coldly spoken of and also that the Reystres are ready to march and some troops already gone to meet them, but it is to be doubted that very little will be done this summer. The suspicions, misunderstandings, jealousies and discontents are too great, and while we are employed to relieve the Escluse ubi oleum et operam perdidimus, time flies, moneys are spent, the soldiers are weakened and the captains not enriched and now will begin to break ; means failing, having no credit and the towns not wishing to receive garrisons unless by necessity. These are the fruits of our war. Count Maurice remains at the Hague, passing his time in lordly pleasures. Count William does the like in Frise. The Count de Moeurs at Utrecht makes ready to go to meet the reistres, and meanwhile seeks to possess himself wholly of that town. The Baron of Hoghsaxe is in Overyssel, his Excellency having confirmed his commission. The Count Hollock hurries up and down the country from one place to another, without changing his resolution. The Count Solms remains in Zeeland and Count Philip in Gorcum. And we continue here at court with the nobles and gentlemen of our nation, but none other except the Elector of Cologne and Colonel Schenck with a few of their followers, such as Bacx, Clerhaghen etc. This, in brief is the state of our affairs. What follows, I will not fail to impart to you. As regards the postscript of my friend's letter, so far as I remember it, it is merely that I make no account of people for their greatness but only for their virtue, and that I love an honest gentleman as much as a lord. Compliments. Dort, 22 August, 1587, stilo veteri. Signed "Celuy qui Cognasses." Endd. as the preceding. Fr. 3 pp. [Holland XVII. f. 161.]
The poor success of the wars here gives small encouragement to speak or write of it. In the opinion of most, the death of my sweet master [Sydney] was the cause of all our disgraces since. The treachery of Deventer and now the loss of Sluce has brought our nation almost into contempt, yet his Excellency has done all that became a diligent, careful and wise general, and no doubt would have prevented it, had he not been most crossly dealt with by some of those for whom we fight. He has been here almost this fortnight, but needs a whole summer "to heal up the winter patchery." Twelve companies under Mr. Robert Sydney have been brought here from Bergen, and it is said we shall go into Arnhem, but have yet no order to march. The Count of Moeurs has brought, as I hear, some companies of horse into Utrecht, when has been some muttering, now partly appeased. I hear his Excellency will be there ere long. Most of the States have been here with him but Count Hollock utterly refused to come. "Many of the old captains find themselves aggrieved at the miserableness of our wars here, and their complaints discourage all. If it were not for that fools find hope and fair words, we should grow into despair, for they think a beaten man shall not be rewarded though he have deserved well. They wish her Majesty would have a rounder war with them ; then would they think to win renown."Dort, 22 August, 1587. Add. Endd. 1 pp. Seal of arms. [Holland XVII. f. 163.]
Acknowledging his sundry favours. At Dort, has heard a bruit of his honour's going on the embassage to France ; offers to attend him.Dortrike, 22 August, 1587. Postscript. Asks for grant of his office of Receivership to his deputy, Mr. George Sutterton. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVII. f. 167.]
Has been to Amsterdam and provided the maps his honour desired for his gallery at the Savoy. Sir William Drury has asked to be allowed to have them, but will send them over by the first messenger. Will provide anything the country yields that his honour wants.Dortrecht, 23 August, 1587. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XVII. f. 165.]
Sends back his servant Clayton, whom he would willingly have preferred to some place of service as requested ; but he knows, and his honour will understand how things have gone here, and that they are liker to dismiss a great many than to prefer any. Therefore thinks it better to send him back than to let him spend his time and money there to little purpose.Dorte, 23 August, 1587. Postscript. "I have given him and others the best help I can since they came over. Your strait accounts do allow no liberality to these professions." Holograph. Add. Endd. "From the Earl of Leicester. Lancelot." p. [Ibid. XVII. f. 169.]
Her Majesty being informed of the weakness of the bands in those parts, has given order to Lord Willoughby for the abatements of weekly imprests there, whereof he sends the copy enclosed, as well as of the lords' letters to himself. Prays him to hold such course in the disbursing of her Majesty's treasure in that garrison as may stand with her order and pleasure.London, 23 August, 1587. Postscript. Asks him to keep these copies private to himself, as it is not fit they should be "viewed and discanted by everybody." Signed. Add. Endd. "The Lords of her Majesty's Council." But neither enclosure is now with the letter. p. [Holland XVII. f. 171.]
Asks him to order his release. He has been detained in prison six months contrary to justice. He has done all that he promised. He went on parole to Col. Mondragon and obtained the release of 13 soldiers of Capt. Bacas, paying 1600 florins, although they were deserters. Was asked to approach his Highness for the release of Telini. Did his utmost but his Highness said he would not do it for twenty captains like himself. Flexeligas, 3 Sept., 1587. Add. Endd. 2 pp. Sp. [Ibid. XVII. f. 177.]
Aug. 24./Sept. 3. THE SAME TO DE LOPEZ.
Asks him to speak a word in his favour to the Secretary to whom he is writing, asking for his liberty. Flexeligas, 3 Sept., 1587. Add. Endd. 2 pp. Sp. [Ibid. XVII. f. 179.]
"Albeit I forbare in my other letter to answer one part of yours, which concerned a certain resolution for a revenge, you do very well to think of it as a matter that most deeply toucheth her Majesty and the whole realm ; and as you have thought of some means to prevent it, so let not the matter overpass too much opportunity. I would I might confer with your lordship but an hour therein ; for I have conceived in my 'none' opinion the only mean that must prevent it, and I see occasion hath offered all commodity fit for the same. I trust my stay shall not be long here, and I had rather be employed in that matter than this . . . "We hear here that the King of Scots and Denmark are through for a marriage. It shall be well done of her Majesty to be careful to recover that young prince to her disposition and betimes, lest it be too late, and there is no prince that so greatly can harm her ; no not the King of Spain with all his revenges he would seek. This prince, as the world goeth, is the only person she is to look to ; and she may I think now yet deal well enough with him. God send it that she may."Dort, 24 August. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVII. f. 173.]
The bearer, not having found the advancement he desired, is at his own request returning homeward. I doubt not but that from his Excellency you will shortly hear what our certain conclusion will be, "and then by my Lord North's repairing over, all shall be delivered you. "And truly, Sir, I know not what is meant by hastening on so sudden a peace, which cannot succeed no way profitable for us ; being made when the enemy is in so great strength as he may make his own conditions. And sure it falleth out most unprofitable for our friends who, being in arms to uphold God's cause, shall see us give them over. But God's good purposes must take place, and so I am persuaded to leave it . . ."Dort, 24 August, 1587. Postscript. The bearer hopes for your good favour. Signed. Add. Endd. "Clayton." 1 p. [Holland XVII. f. 175.]
Aug. 25./Sept. 4. Headed in French. Exhibited to his Excellency by Councillor Valcke and the Pensionary of Dordrecht in the presence of Councillors Killigrew and Beale the 4th September, 1587. Signed, D. Burchgrave, president. On the 2nd Sept., 1587, we Jacob Valcke and Joost van Menyn, as ordered by his Excellency, informed the States of Holland how yesterday H.E. at Dordrecht said he had received letters from the queen expressing her astonishment that she had not heard what the States have decided to do. She is prepared to continue her succour so long as the Provinces have the means to defend themselves. But if their means are not sufficient even with her succour, as would appear from various considerations, and as H.M. cannot increase her ordinary succour, H.E. asks the States to consider whether it is not better to make peace upon reasonable terms, and whether the States would wish H.M. to treat or would hope to get better terms by treating alone with the Prince of Parma. H.E. asked for an answer before Thursday. (fn. 5) The States of Holland reply that the acts of the States since 1572 show their determination to continue the struggle under the leadership of the Prince of Orange, to a successful conclusion ; to which end they have employed all possible means, and since the treaty with H.M. the contributions from Holland alone have amounted to some 500,000l. apart from provisions, munitions of war and other necessaries supplied. The States are resolved to continue this course in the confidence that by so doing, and with the help of H.M. their land may be preserved. With regard to the peace negotiations with Spain, they desire to know her Majesty's intention and will then resolve in accordance with the requirements of religion and the liberty of the land. The Hague the 2nd September, 1587. Copy. Dutch. 7 pp. [Ibid. XVII. f. 181.]


  • 1. In the hand used by Gilpin in writing French, as is the letter to Wilkes below.
  • 2. i.e. on Sunday the 13th August, old style.
  • 3. On Sunday 20/30 August. See page 257 above.
  • 4. The Remonstrance of Sunday 20/30 August. See page 257 above.
  • 5. The full text to this point is given by Bor : Ned. Oorloghen, bk. xxiii, f. 23.