Elizabeth: November 1587, 1-10

Pages 397-414

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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November 1587, 1-10

Sends Sir Richard Bingham to declare the state of affairs. His own worthiness and former services will sufficiently speak for him, but asks that his sojourn there may be no hindrance to her further goodness to him, "as he has been made half afraid of by the advertisements from some his good friends ; but he trusts wholly upon the Queen. Wishes she had many more of his sort, considering . . . what need she is like to have of them." Commits himself to her favour, except he has deserved the contrary when he would crave an end at God's hands.Dort, 1 November, "in my way toward Berges and Flushing." Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 1.]
Praying him to "hold still and fast" this gentleman [Bingham] in his good opinion, "for he is worthy, and the most sufficient man her Majesty hath for the wars. He is fully instructed touching the state of these countries ; her Majesty may yet save them if she will ; otherwise they are utterly undone, and herself in danger."Dort, 2 November. Holograph. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 3.]
Nov. 2/12. Act of authorization by his Excellency to the Council of State to examine, &c., certain remonstrances of the States General. Dordrecht, 12 November, 1587. French. 1 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 5.]
Sending greetings by "le Chevalier Bynghym." As to news, believes his honour knows more than he could tell him ; also, if his letters were intercepted, there are some who might not be well pleased to read the truth of what passes in this government ; and it would only serve to increase the hate by which he is already surrounded.Dort, 12 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 7.]
Nov. 3. Note of the Instructions to the Commissioners.
That we shall repair to Ostend.
We shall give knowledge to the Duke of Parma or to the King's Commissioners to what place we are come. We shall require them to send one with their commission to be perused by us and that we will also send some convenient person to them with our commission, before we meet. We shall inform them of the imperfection of their commission if any be. If they will grant the amendment thereof, we shall go forward and give them notice that upon the first motion of the Duke to hearken to a 'plat' and his offer that the King's Commissioners should meet with such as the Queen should send into any part of the Low Countries we are come to Ostend and here to treat with them of a peace ; and shall require them, by a discreet person, to come to Ostend, and shall tell them that after the Commission shall be viewed and a cessation of arms agreed upon, that then we will repair to Bourbrough, or to any place which shall be by conference to the Commissioners thought meet. When we are together at Ostend . . . we shall propose a cessation of arms, whereof there have already been speeches by Lord de Champagny and Richardot. Endd. as "Imperfect." 1 pp. [Flanders I. f. 411.]
Has often advertised his lordship of the wants of this place, hoping that he would further the speedy supply thereof. Has now been given to understand that the estate of the garrison is made known to the enemy by some of the burghers, and that the great preparations being made are intended against this town. Cannot write it for certainty, but it is to be feared. The bearer, Sir Richard Bingham will acquaint his lordship further hereof. Earnestly prays that two or three of her Majesty's ships may be sent to lie there, where they would be a great "safety" to the garrison and do her far better service than upon the coast of England.Vlisshing, 4 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 9.]
To the same effect as the preceding. Vlisshing, 4 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 11.]
Having been recalled by the Duke of Parma (as I informed your lordship from "Cales") after long discourse I succeeded in inducing him to write to the Queen, expressing his desire for the general quiet and to give her Majesty all satisfaction possible ; but (as he said to me) if the means to do this should be taken from him by procrastination, he will be deeply grieved at losing so good an opportunity ; and yet it only wants the deputies to set out at once for Berghes up Zoom to begin to treat ; and so soon as they send for me, I will go there, taking with me, for their satisfaction all those things of which your lordship's three letters of the 13th and 15th ult. make mention ; the Duke being ready to start any hour (his destination unknown) ; but it matters little even if he should go upon some enterprise, for it will not comport with his honour (as he has declared to me) to keep so many troops without making use of them ; but no sooner shall the deputies be arrived than he will make known his desire for peace, although he is so great a warrior. I will also take to Berghes the safe-conduct in like form to that from her Majesty. There need be no fear about Spain, or of the great preparations on that side, because a messenger will be sent thither in all haste to stay whatever the King may have in his mind to do. It will be seen that there is now a determination for peace, the Duke swearing to me the other day, on the faith of a gentleman, that he was put to shame over the time he had lost, but that if the deputies come at once, her Majesty shall be satisfied of his sincerity, and that, regardless of his own interests, his chief study is to give satisfaction to the world and to keep his promises. I expected to be myself the bearer but having met Edward Morris here at Ghent, I have sent him back at once to hasten the coming of the deputies ; after which, all will go very well. Her Majesty may rest assured that the good or ill of the business depends on the shortening or prolonging of the time. Meanwhile, I will go to let his Highness know how matters stand. But I pray you to expect of me no other reply, although I will not fail to write generally by every good opportunity.Ghent, 4 November, 1587. Add. Endd. by Burghley, as "sent from Gaunt by Morryce." Italian, 2 pp. [Flanders I. f. 365.]
"I think it my duty in this dangerous time to advertise you as often as I can how I find the state of things here." Since Sir Richard Bingham's departure there is little change, but the same cause remains for your Majesty's resolute consideration, whereon depends not only the cause of God and of these countries, but your own honour and security ; for I verily believe that without your prevention, the King of Spain will be ere long possessor of these provinces. Such practices as I have gathered, I have sent you, both in writing and by that gentleman's declaration. "There is no question but there be great treasons conspired here, as well to deliver the countries into the King's hands as to deprive your Majesty of all your interests and assurance here. It is carried under a quite contrary pretence, by such as make show wholly against the King of Spain, and to be only patriots of their country ; but the whole course of their doings being observed, then doth it lie plain open what their intents are." One of the chief bewrayers of this is their ingrate dealing towards your Majesty, which the wisest think is done of purpose to discourage you from further maintaining of this cause ; when they might the easier bring to pass the overthrow of this government. Many of deep judgment believe it to be "the plot laid and since wrought by 'St. Allagond,' upon his reconciliation with the Duke of Parma at the rendering up of Antwerp ; and that it cannot be possibly brought to pass without first dividing themselves from your Majesty, and after to settle such a government as lately and yet they are about ; which they may alter and change when they will." Of this your Majesty will be thoroughly informed by Sir Richard Bingham, who is persuaded that the purpose of these men is no other than to bring in the King of Spain. Therefore it behoveth you to look to the means for preventing these plots before it be too late, for it yet lies in you to redress all. * "And seeing it is only the expense of money, which is ordained for all princes and all others to preserve and maintain their estate, I doubt not but your Majesty in your high wisdom will not spare (as you have not done) to employ that, and those means which God hath given you, to the most benefit of his service and your own sure estate. For if I and many others be not much deceived, your Majesty must look for a most dangerous and most troublesome time whensoever the King of Spain shall again possess these countries absolutely, as he hath done and as now it is in working he shall do, without you, or rather in despite of you. Which thing being once accomplished, all the goods in England cannot redress it. "And now there is hope and possibility left whereby your Majesty may alter all yet, if you will. For I dare boldly give you this assurance, notwithstanding all the devices and practices to pluck men's hearts from you, that your Majesty may have them all faster than ever you had them, and more than ever you had. For all good sort that loveth their country and [are] desirous to be free from the Spanish tyranny, as well papists as protestants, do live in extreme fear at this hour both that your Majesty will leave them and their own chief rulers will betray them ; and yet they know the latter cannot be without the former ; for if your Majesty forsake them not, but will see them protected under your countenance, they fear not the other, but will, I am persuaded, 'or' long take a new course with their rulers, of which there be not above four or five that bear the stroke ; but they be pestilent and mischievous companions . . . and begun now more than ever before to be discovered of their treacherous intents. But no man dare speak or do till they may see what way your Majesty will take...for that side are left without a head, as it were, in the meanwhile. And yet I will not be idle to do all that in me shall lie to make this island of Walkeren assured, whatsoever fall out, when if it may be, your Majesty shall the less fear to make a good bargain for yourself when the worst shall come. The greatest and only lack will be money, whereof I am so well stored for my 'none' poor self, as I do protest by all duty I owe to your Majesty, I have spent not only all I brought over, but all I could get otherwise, either here or out of England ; and if I had twenty times more than I have, I will never but think all well spent in your Majesty's service. "I do find the Count Morryce hath been very jealous over Camphire ; and beside his garrisons, his chief instruments be there, as 'St. Allagond' and one Mallery, a very bad fellow ; and I am informed it is a place the enemy doth make account of to be at his devotion ; but I trust it will not fall out so. If it should, he had the very key into all Zeeland, and likewise to annoy greatly this town. Your Majesty, I hope, will consider that I cannot do now as I might the last year. They of this country have found means to draw all their soldiers in Holland and Zeeland from my commandment ; beside, all your English new forces and the old in the States' pay be all discharged, so that I have no bands to dispose of that be not already placed ; neither have I means to content or ruin the others as I know I could well do, to the settling and turning all things which way you will, if your pleasure may be so in time. For if your Majesty do intend to maintain this cause any longer there is no remedy but you must have all soldiers in all places at your disposition ; which once recovered, will always be held easily without your Majesty's further charge any more. But the first getting there now will be some charge, as Richard Bingham will declare unto you."Flushing, 5 October [sic]. Postscript. "I trust your Majesty doth remember to send some person of credit over with your pleasure to these men with all speed. Ortell is a bad instrument." Holograph. Add. 3 pp. Two seals with crest in garter. [Holland XIX. f. 13.]
"I have written to my lords of the Council, yet will trouble you with a few lines, to let you understand in what great strength the Duke of Parma is at this present ; and yet the very certainty of his enterprise not known. But upon many presumptions I have conceived...that he hath some secret reconciliations and assurance among some of the States ; which, if it be so, then his preparations are assuredly for these parts of Zeeland ; Walkeren, Tergose and Syryksey and Berges up Zome ; for he hath at least 500 boats to carry a hundred men apiece ; many bridges and many scaling ladders. He hath ships for war, great and small 150 ; he hath made 6000 shirts for camissados ; he hath also 7000 pair of high and great boots to wade with. But he hath made store of one provision which I muse at ; for that cannot be for these parts ; and that is of saddles, bridles, stirrups, spurs, withal such furniture for 3000 horse ; which must needs be for some place whither he means to carry so many horse. Some tells me that there should be a Scottish embassy with him. I cannot think he will go into Scotland, specially this winter, and I hope matters be in better terms between her Majesty and the young King there ; if not, then is it to be considered, for that place is to be feared of all other, if it be not friendly disposed. Ireland I have suspected, but that provisions might rather come from Spain. England if they have any hope of friends there, I assure you my lord, horsemen is the only lack they should have ; and 3000 horse, such as he is able to bring, were a shrewd troop in any country with his footmen, being the best soldiers at this day in Christendom. It is good to doubt the worst, and to provide in time for it, wherein I would wish your lordship to remember two things in England. The one is that the order for keeping of able horses be strictly looked unto ; for I know by experience at musters that favour doth mar all, and when you shall have need, you shall find your horses scant, and the numbers not such as a few years past they were. The second is your muskets, that you may raise as many of them in all places as you can, for the enemy useth none other almost. And if we may provide every man to keep able horses, and to have good weapons, our people will not be beaten, I warrant you, being well led... Touching our opinion here, we verily think his forces be for those places I have before set down, and this place especial, for this is the place that sticks most in their stomach, and if he may quietly enter into this island, he would put it in hazard ; only our succour must be her Majesty's navy, and his only damage if he attempt these places must be her force by sea. For my part, whatsoever become of me after, I will see which way he will bestow himself before I remove hence, except to go see Berges ; and if he assail this place, here shall you hear of me, by God's grace. "Your lordship shall do well to move that all the coasts, especially Kent, Sussex and Essex may be put in present readiness, with all the shipping you can ; and that a good mass of victual and powder be also set in some magazine, either at Dover, Sandwich or Harwich, or in all three some ; for it is to be thought that it is either for these places or for some of her Majesty's dominions, for which soever your provisions and readiness can do but good. And if it be for these countries, if there be no treason among themselves, I fear no great harm, but I do fully resolve there is great treason among some of the chiefest, or else would he never attempt these places. Among other provisions I must remember one most necessary specially for Ostend, which is sea coal, which may be had from London. Thus my lord, I cease now my old suit to return home till I see how this place shall do..."
Flushing, 5 November.
Postscript. As for money, if her Majesty will not now spend and encourage her people and captains to serve, all will be lost. There is nothing that makes Englishmen cowards or traitors in war but want. For God's sake, spend money to save her, and not spare money to ruin her. Presume not too much upon your peace, and be too careless of your enemy. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 16.]
After your Excellency's departure from Dort, the Council of State wrote to the States of Holland, assembled at Delft not to break up their assembly, as they had charge in your name to impart somewhat to them. Next morning the Council went to the Hague, to resolve what should be handled with the said States, having given M. Valck commission to learn when they would appoint a time for it, or else "commit" some of their college to come to the Hague. "Whereupon the answer was there should be deputies committed to meet here, so as all matters will be done upon reports, and thereby the proceedings fall out the longer." At Delft are also Counts Maurice, Hohenlo and Solms. Yesterday afternoon certain deputies from the States of Holland, accompanied with Vosbergen of Zeeland, had audience of the council, and declared at large how it is certainly understood that the enemy makes marvellous great preparation of shipping in Antwerp, Gaunt, and other places, as also in foreign countries, "having some great enterprise in hand which it is to be doubted would fall out upon Zeeland or some quarter thereof ; and therefore was needful to provide in time whereby to oppose and resist all attempts, so to keep the country from invasion ; to which end, the Count Maurice as Admiral had, with the advice of the Count Hohenlo and the 'said' of Holland found good and resolved to send thither all the ships can be spared out of Holland and other places ; also the ships being at sea ; and for that it was necessary to have store of men to arm the said ships, desired the Council to further the same." And the said Counts having appointed all that could be spared out of their own garrisons to be levied, yet more were required, they desired that the soldiers in Meppe[n] should be ordered to march hitherward, and that Snoy should be required to send one of his companies from Medenblick, the others being more than enough (as they said) to keep the place. And that his company at Enckhuysen should be removed, "for causes which by the Council's letters your honour shall understand, together with the resolution taken upon the several points of the said States' declaration. There was great reasoning on both sides about the demands, and divers times repeated of the great care the Count Maurice and the States had for the conservation of this country (whereof the charge was committed to him) with regard of the reputation and service of your Excellency ; with many other words tending to their advantage, and insisting very hard to have the company out of Enchuysen, which was not yielded unto, but answered that your Excellency should be written unto about the same. In fine, answer being given unto the said deputies, they then asked the Council for the resolution taken, whereof they would make report to their superiors ; desiring most earnestly that that opinion might be had of the Count Maurice and the States in general and particular that they desire nothing more than the good and preservation of the country, with respect and care of the honour and reputation of her Majesty and your Excellency." The above will show you how the world goes here, and of all other things that shall pass, you shall be thoroughly advertised.The Haegh, 6 November, 1587. Signed by both. Add. Endd. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 18.]
Sending forth lately fifty soldiers to take some of the enemy and boors of the country, to learn how these new forces lie and what is their intended service ; in the fury, they put some of them to the sword, and demanded of the rest whom they took such questions as I gave in charge to two officers. They confessed the bringing down of these forces next adjoining this place, and the trebled increase of their accustomed number in every place is intended for a surprise of this place, when they shall see their aptest time. I am advertised that they have within this garrison, from some false hearted, intelligence and direction how they shall proceed there. "Thomas Trent remaineth imprisoned at Bruges for his charges, at 3s. 6d. a day. In this time of his restraint, he hath very honestly and dutifully behaved himself. Several times I have received from him advertisements of the enemy's purposes and proceedings, which I have sent always to his Excellency." The man now sends me word that he has lately got acquainted with a Boor who fetches letters from some in this garrison, and has of late delivered one of the letters into Trent's hands, and promised him that he would do me all the service in his power. The substance of the letter Trent hath is this :"One of this garrison writeth to Lamotte in French the strength and weakness of the islands of Tergoes, Tertole and Walkeren ; the manner and strength of our new fort on Newport side, and how a surprise may be made of this town ; and further names which are parties to the cause. He set down several marks, whereby, as Trent writeth, it is easy to conjecture the persons." The letter itself he will bring when he is delivered, having now written in a secret manner by which it could not pass. I think the time long till Trent has his liberty, that I may know the traitors here, and they have their due reward. I doubt not then but to prevent their purpose, but now I cannot put men forth upon any service "but it is to be doubted they will give advertisement, which they may do in two hours, and cause our men to be overthrown." There is one Barley, a merchant staple of England dwelling in Bridges who desires my passport to fetch four boats from Dover to Sluce, and in consideration thereof, would pay 20l. for Trent. The other ten, I will most gladly give, to have his liberty, if it may please your lordships that I may take this course. As touching the Prince's great preparations by sea, I could have advertised your lordships long since that it is intended for Scotland and for the islands of these countries. I did, with that speed I might, advertise Sir William Russell to be heedful of his charge. This place receives many intelligences by land, and often through storms by water which I can neither send in due time to your lordships nor his Excellency, by reason we have no boat belonging to this place that dares put to sea through fear of being taken. "We are now besieged in the hardest kind. Our liberty is much less by water than by land...notwithstanding all these forces, and yet are they very strong near adjoining, and this garrison never so weak, neither in companies nor fortifications. The place is weaker by five hundred men than it was six months past, by the decay of our Merchants Adventurers. Of our companies here is three withdrawn, and the enemy hath next adjoining trebled his accustomed forces upon us." Our hope and comfort is that the cause being God's and the war her Majesty's, he will, from love to her, protect those who serve her faithfully, for I see no reason that either the strength of the place or the companies now here can assure its safety against any strong attempt. If I may say my opinion, I think it would be much better for her Majesty to hold it with such strength as might assure it against all dangers, or else rather to surrender it by honourable conditions than to suffer the loss with any touch of her honour through want of foresight or by any other defect. "There must be some speedy care had of it, or else the seas will win it. It is a special cause which makes the enemy forbear to adventure the loss of many men in attempting it, because he is fully persuaded that the sea will free this place of us before this winter and spring tides have finished their course, and truly in ourselves we do much fear it. But we do not yield to despair ; we work all we may daily in the defence of it, both soldiers and burghers. And I trouble your lordships this much in the cause by reason of the States' inconstant proceedings with her Majesty and his Excellency, so as I see our help must come from her Majesty ; wherein I hope your lordships will favour and further us ; and thereupon we rely." I lately sent one Sawell to his Excellency, whom I took here, going towards the Prince of Parma at Sluce ; (fn. 1) and hearing that he has sent to your lordships, I think good to let you know of what mind and manner I found him. He told me he had a brother and sister dwelling in Sluce and was going to them, but there proved no such man, woman or house in the town as he spake of. Then he prayed me to ask him no more, for he was not to discover himself to me in such services as he was employed "by some of the lords" of the privy Council. "I told him I was well pleased to forbear to search the knowledge of any your lordships' secrets or services, and that nevertheless, he should answer me to other particular questions." These he refused to answer, or made frivolous answers, far from the matter, and when I insisted, "upon his knees he desired pardon...for he had taken a solemn oath not to discover their secrets which had put him in trust." I found about him a book entitled Brittania Guillelmi Candeni [sic] the several maps of all the havens and sea-coasts northward. He confesses he had cards of all England, Ireland and Scotland, but forgot them in the ship when he landed. He had a purse which I send herewith with divers superstitious and vain tokens from sundry papists in England to some of their sort in France, and these countries, with two or three small notes in paper, the one answering the Lord Pagett ; the others he would not confess. That for Lord Pagett was delivered to him by one of Lady Pagett's men, brought to him by one Griffe of the White Friars. "The bones, flesh and sinews which are in the purse, he said were of traitors, martyrs as he termed them, which lately had suffered in England, and were sent to Mr. Charles Arundel and others of his sect." He begged that he might keep them, saying they were highly sanctified and things wherewith there had been great conjurations made by one Grear and others. No doubt he had some special intelligence or service to do the Prince of Parma, for when I sent a man to the Prince's camp, "the Prince made great enquiry if there were one stayed here coming towards him, and made as right a description of the man as might be. And no doubt if [your] lordships put him to some terror, he can and will discover to you divers hollow hearted papists which give hence advertisements, and of some in England which are acquainted with the Prince's purposes towards Scotland and elsewhere." It is thought that the success of the King of Navarre against the King of France will much alter these. The loss of the Admiral and so many of account greatly appals the Spaniards here. "I received the news from Rome the third day after...and presented La Motte therewith at the governor of Newport's marriage. It marred much [their] triumph because I yielded them reason to believe it. They will presently do something by sea. They have kept our messengers this eight days and will suffer none to come in Newport or Bridges to enquire of them ; and it is only, as I am advertised, because we shall not see their preparation of shipping. They have prepared a great number of great barrels to float them together to cross a strait or a haven ; and to Gaunt is lately come very great store of powder, great shot, and furniture for horsemen. It is looked every day when the Prince will withdraw his forces which he laid upon the country and in his strengths hereabout, but as yet they stir not..."Ostend, 6 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 20.]
Trusts Sir Richard Bingham has told them of the want of money. What he brought over is almost all issued and gone, and he has no more than will make lendings for a month. Prays that within that time more may be sent, or they will be utterly overthrown, and "will fall into arms with the towns for meat," as they cannot have credit for one stiver. Being so long without pay has utterly discredited them. Looks for no pay until there be a full account made to her Majesty, "both what hath been paid and what she oweth unto the soldiers," which shall be done with all possible speed, after the books of muster be had out of the muster-master's hands, and then he doubts not she shall see an orderly declaration of the expense of her treasure ; but in the meantime begs that fourteen or fifteen thousand pounds may be sent to supply lendings, without there is no possibility for them to live ; for their merchants will not lend 200l. "if the whole state should stand upon it."Flushing, 6 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 23.]
To the same effect as the preceding. Makes bold to write this particular letter to his lordship, knowing that he looks most honourably and carefully upon this cause and her Majesty's subjects who are engaged in it.Flushing, 6 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. Seal of arms. [Ibid XIX. f. 25].
Will not reiterate what he has written to their lordships, but begs his honour "to be a good mean for the speedy dispatch of money," without which they will all assuredly perish. He is a principal patron of this action. In the name of them all, beseeches him either to labour their revocation or that they may be supplied as is meet for the poor subjects of so noble a prince as they serve.Flushing, 6 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 27.]
I trust God has restored you to better health than when you wrote last. My letters were ready yesterday when my cousin Herbert with Ortell arrived, whereupon I waited to peruse his letters and to confer with him ; but finding no cause to stay my messenger, I have despatched him, and touching our proceedings upon this arrival will write again very shortly. In the mean time, I see our enemies have dealt more like politic men than we have ; I mean you there ; for it was always agreed heretofore among us that there was no way to make a good peace but by a strong war. I was so made believe also at my coming away, for which purpose I was sent with four or five thousand men ; but that persuasion I see was soon altered, and I fear [we] shall be drawn to yield to all demands, and not to dare stand upon any. "Now is the difference put in experience, for we see the Prince of Parma did not weaken himself to trust upon a peace, but has increased his forces in the highest degree whilst we talked of peace, that if we broke off, he might either compel us to his peace, or [be] beforehand with us by the readiness of his forces. This was told and foretold, but yet no ear given nor care taken, but must fall into the providence of God, having neglected his means, which were wonderful. I have written and sent to Sir Ric. Bingham as much as I can say, but to pray to God to defend and preserve her Majesty, and to direct her yet to take the best course for her safety. For surely you shall find the Prince meaneth no peace. I see money doth undo all ; the care to keep it, and not upon just cause to spend it. Her Majesty doth still blame me for the expence of her troops here, which doth make me weary of my life, for I see it is the cause of lack of her favour ; but her Majesty will rue the sparing counsel at such times."7 November. Postscript. Even as I ended, intercepted letters were brought me, "of the Duke of Parma's great providence in preparing himself during the parley of peace ; showeth his forces, what they are ; that Leicester's forcesfor so he calleth meare all withdrawn, and bids his friend be sure shortly to be [in] England in quiet. It is one Preston, one of Stanley's company to one Grene, a priest. He writes very lewdly of our state...but his matter is probable, and better for her Majesty than a million pounds that she had done as the Duke of Parma hath done ; both for her honour and profit. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 32].
I have made choice of your servant Constable to carry this packet to her Majesty and my lords. I would God there had been occasion to have placed him here, for he is forward, honest and painful ; further and favour him if you can. I have now read your letter, having stayed him on hearing of Mr. Herbert's coming into the harbour. What a treaty this is for peace ; that we must treat altogether disarmed and weakened, the King having made his forces stronger than ever, and yet we will presume of good conditions. It grieveth me to the heart, but I fear you all will smart as well. I pray God her Majesty feel it not, she meaneth well and sincerely to have peace, but God knows this is not the way. Well, God Almighty defend us, but look for a sharp war or a miserable peace only for a time to undo others and ourselves after." (fn. 2) 7 November. Postscript. "I pray you tell my lord Chancellor he is a very churl ; for I have not heard one word of long time from him." Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 34.]
The wants of the soldiers are great and the place unfurnished of all necessaries ; the enemy is very strong and threatens it. He could never take a better time for his purpose, for if he land in this island, Middelburgh will open him the gates, and it is thought Camver and Hermew will do the like. I believe there will be discovered the greatest treason both of the States and their followers, as ever was seen ; for they take the very course to give the country to the enemy. For they provide for no place, but daily send the enemy victuals and all things else that he hath need of, and our nation most odious unto them. I would there might be some more care taken of this place...I have let to write unto your honour many times because I had nothing to write but such news as was displeasing... "I understand there hath been some good tongues that doth mis-speak of my doings here, saying that I am too great a favourer of the burghers of this town and also of the Spaniards." I pray you, keep your old opinion of me and not give ear to slanderous reports. "I have lived fifty and three years, and never was touched with any dishonest part, and now being preferred to this place by your honour, I have sought nothing but to get credit...for I am as very a beggar as I was before. If it would please you to call me home and to employ me in Ireland now, I should think myself most bound unto your honour, for that I grow in years and would be glad to have some resting place in my old age."Flushing, 7 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 36.]
Copy of the letter sent to the States General, being a translation from that first drawn up in English, of which the following is a draft. Fr. 3 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 38.]
Although she has at sundry times informed them of her great cause for discontent with their strange and most ungrateful proceedings ; their violations of their contracts and ill-behaviour to her lieutenant, yet, having other occasion to write to them, she cannot forbear to touch upon a few points, being such as the whole world seeth, as well as herself.
1. As regards the treaty of peace, their impudent untruths ; alleging that she had already concluded on a treaty with the King of Spain, before any motion was made to them, and without regard to their surety or liberty in religion ; matters utterly false, either for anything done in act or intended in thought" by her ; and upon which they have heaped malicious slanders against her cousin and lieutenant, their Governor, "who hath hazarded his life, spent his substance, left his natal country, absented himself from [herself] and lost his time" only for their service, falsely reporting that he came thither the last time after he knew that she had secretly concluded upon a peace, to suppress some of their towns and deliver them to the King of Spain, and so compel them to agree to a peace, with sundry other such untruths. It is most strange that any person having any sense could imagine that he whom she sent over with new forces to join with theirs to relieve Sluse from the enemy should seek to surprise any of their towns (when themselves had aforetime offered her the sovereignty of the whole country and all the towns without exception) ; for accomplishing of which service to relieve Sluse, "there was done and attempted by him and the small number of [her] own people as much as could be with wit or force," and on their part, as much done to the manifest impediment thereof, yea to the loss of the town, by treachery, as could be possibly imagined. Furthermore, her people "who have long served them with adventure of their lives, have been after many months' serving cassed without due payment and wasted with famine" ; and how the numbers lately sent over to increase their forces are denied any kind of payment by them, and so forced to resort [home] in most miserable sort ; and yet what great sums have been issued for their services by her treasurers and are still unpaid, is to themselves best known and worst answered. But omitting these things until she may receive better answer by John Herbert, one of her Council, lately sent to them ; her special cause of sending at this time is to inform them that she has ordered the Earl of Leicester to return home, having greater cause to use his service there than it seems he can profit either her or them where he is, by reason of their disordered government "and willfulness in obeying of him" as their governor. Yet she cannot be void of compassion of their estate, and the pitiful condition of the great multitude of the good kind and godly people, subject to the miseries which their government is like to bring upon them, for which cause she will leave such forces for defence of these countries as was covenanted by her, until she see how long they may be profitable to them. In the mean time, she earnestly advises them to make their garrisons as strong as they should be to withstand the attempts of the enemy's forces, now greatly increased by land and sea ; and which they are the more to fear from the diminution of their own, and their ill payment ; whereof, notwithstanding their unkind usage, she cannot but warn them, and charge them to reform their errors, which tend so apparently to their danger ; and for her part, if she shall treat of any peace, she will omit to care for them and for their countries as for her own. Partly in the hand of Burghley's clerk, corrected by his lordship, and partly in Burghley's own hand, the last page being re-written by him. 4 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 40.]
Nov. 8. "Sir Richard Byngham's report of three points sent from the Earl of Leicester." Her Majesty may take her choice of three ways to deal with the States of the Low Countries.
1. To concur in this plot of theirs, viz : to acknowledge their sovereignty over these countries, to allow of Count Maurice to be their governor over Holland and Zeeland and to yield them, as she hath done, her aid and succour of five thousand footmen and a thousand horsemen.
2. "To send some man of good credit thither to declare her Majesty's dislike of their doings, in particular towards herself and her people ; to make known to them the occasion that moved her chiefly to make the motion to treat of a peace ; to declare unto them how unkindly she hath been dealt withal many ways and that she doubts not but these people...will see due punishment done on them which have so dishonourably used her. And withal, her Majesty must presently disburse 20,000l. to be put into the Governor's hands, to win such as for lack of payment on this side be drawn away ; and then no doubt but within one whole month after her Majesty's pleasure known, every thing shall be done as she shall desire to have it :
3 and lastly : To make know by all ways that the injuries offered her by the States causes her to withdraw her succours, "and if they be able to redeem their terms they shall have them ; otherwise she will deal no further with them...This is the last and most desperate, for as soon as this sentence is once pronounced, they be all lost." Endd. and dated by Burghley. [Holland XIX. f. 42]
Nov. 8. "Sir Richard Bingham's memorial."
"The names of such as are best affected to her Majesty."
Colonels Snae, Skynck, Clearehage, Tourlowne, Gronyngvell and his brother, young Medkyrke, Col. Backes and his two brothers, Col. Fremynge, Count "Mures," Baron of Creange, and Baron Hassackes.
Of the Council of State, I know but these that do come to his lordship ; viz. Vaulte, Berderpons, Meanynge, Tealinge, Bredrowe and the Burgomaster and Scowte of Utrick, viz. Deventer and Trillo.
Those that are of the faction with Count Morryce.
Barnuvell, Advocate of Holland and a dweller in Rotterdam. Villeres, the preacher ; St. Hallagonde ; Paul Buse of Leiden ; Brasserd of Delf ; Rorda and Cominga of Friesland ; Dr. Malse, alias Dr. Frauncis, pensioner of 'Inckhuysen' ; Nevell, pensioner of Delfe ; Vandar Mayer ; Silla, pensioner of Amsterdam ; Banck of Tergo ; Maunemaker, treasurer of Zeland, and one Vanboroughe of Zeland, with some others.
Underwritten, with a cross above each name :
St. Allagonde, Barnevell, Brasserd, Nevell and Silla.
On the covering sheet, in Burghley's hand.
To congregate captains. To make war. To make laws. To make knights. To give arms. To hear and determine. To punish by death. Warrants to the Treasurer. Endd. by Burghley. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 43.]
Hourly understands of the Duke of Parma's great preparations by land and sea, and thinks of no places more likely to be assailed than Ostend, 'Bergess up Zoom,' Flushing or the 'Ter Goess' ; and knowing his care to strengthen 'Berghes' both with men and victual, without which it is untenable, and also that being himself at Flushing, he will omit nothing for the surety thereof : she therefore "having ever since the Sluss was lost an opinion confirmed by all men of judgment that the keeping of Ostend being the only place upon that sea coast without succour of any other...but coasted on all parts with the forts of the enemy, should be not only expence of treasure and victual and charge of men that might serve some other town, but also of itself unable to abide any strong siege and not be succoured by sea :Therefore thinks it were better to be abandoned before it should be besieged," and remits the consideration hereof to him and the advice of such as he shall think fit, that if they judge it for the service of the country they may devise how to have her people safely brought away, with all things of value, and then to ruin the town and destroy the haven by making breaches to let in the sea. But before so doing, he is to acquaint the States secretly with his reasons for it ; and if they shall think otherwise, "then to will them forthwith to send both men and victual thither with some meet person to take the charge thereof" ; which if they will not do, to let them know that her Majesty means not to hazard the lives of her people nor waste her treasure. Sends this in all haste, as it is likely that the town will be besieged, and then must either be given over to her dishonour, or won by the enemy with such great loss as she would be very sorry for. Draft by Burghley, and endd. by him with date. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 45.]
Is assured his lordship is informed by the great preparations of the enemy, but must put him in mind thereof, as it is certainly known to be their intention to attempt something against this place or the island round about it. Earnestly prays him to procure pay for the garrison lest, through their great wants they should be corrupted, and also to provide other needful supplies. Doubts not but that he has had order taken for sending over two or three of the Queen's ships ; and beseeches him to further the removing of the Company of English merchants from Middelburg to this town, which would be a good security to the garrison. Vlishings, 8 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. Seal of arms. [Ibid. XIX. f. 49.]
Nov. 8. The Same to Walsingham.
To the same effect as the preceding.Vlisshing, 8 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 51.]
On behalf of Captain Cheston "whose experience in the wars is justly to be recommended." Sends commendations to my lady and Lady Sydney.Vlishinge, 8 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 53.]
From Ghent I wrote to your lordship on the 4th instant by Edward Morris, sending the letter from the Duke to her Majesty, and praying you to have the deputies dispatched as soon as possible. On Sunday I arrived here, and went at once to the Duke, reading him the letter signed by your lordship and the Controller and Secretary ; to which his Highness replied as follows : "If they desire to treat, why do they not come? They have no reason to distrust me, as I might rather distrust them, for having played with me all this time." When I began to show him that those of Holland were the cause of the delay, he interrupted me, saying "My Andrea, they deceive you" ; to which I replied that if so, they were deceiving themselves. "Well" then said the Duke, if we are to do anything, it must be done quickly. On which replying : But how can that be, now that your Highness is going away? As to that (he replied), it makes no matter at all (ne piu ne meno) ; with similar remarks. And it being already late : Go (he said) and take some rest, and to-morrow, we will deal in this more at large. But he was so occupied with divers lords and officials, who were with him all the next day [Margin in Burghley's hand, 7 Nov.] that it was not until yesterday, early before he mounted his horse, that he sent for me to his chamber, and said : What is it, my Andrea? If they are in earnest, all will be well. What more can I say? We are not going to do evil, if it is possible to do good. When I replied that his Highness was not accustomed to do evil, he drew me into another room, because of the company there, and said to me in presence of the Lord President, whom he sent for : Write, my Andrea, that when they are willing to send, I am willing to treat ; but that they must not delay so long that my hands will be tied, as for a year and a half they have given me nothing but words. And it makes no difference (he added) that I am going away, if there is a disposition for an agreement, it being usual enough to make a good peace with arms in the hand, to which I shall always be most ready to lend an ear ; but otherwise, I shall have no option but to do as I did at l'Escluse. I asked if I might write that if the deputies come at once, his Highness would be willing to treat, in accordance with the first resolution? Write it (he replied) moreover you have my letters to the same effect ; and for no other reason, M. de Champagney is going with me, and the President, to be together if there shall be anything to do ; saying once more : But they must make haste, and not treat me as they have done in the past. When I said the delay was due to its attempt to persuade the United Provinces, the Duke replied : That is no excuse, for they might have treated with me and at the same time sent into Holland and get them to look well into their own situation. With this, he went towards Ghent, and on to Bruges, to await the fleet, as is believed, and which, it is openly said here, is to go for England, together with the Spanish one ; which indeed appears easy enough to believe. It is plain also, that you stand upon your guard, and it only remains to pray God to inspire both sides with a true desire for peace. Meanwhile, as a neutral, I advise you to send the deputies at once, when I am assured that matters will come to a good conclusion, being certain that his Highness will desire to avoid the bloodshed which, as many times he has said to me, must ensue if peace be not presently made ; reminding me of the power of the King of Spain, and that it is not well for the Queen his sister to remain at war with him without other cause. Nor does it seem fitting for the Duke to say where the King, or he himself will go with their forces, and as little so for me to move it to his Highness, it being enough that he agrees to treat, and desires there may be no delay from his zeal for the public cause, and because otherwise, he plainly says, he will be forced to do what he is ordered, and will not be to blame for the evil which will follow. Also, it would not be becoming to make bold now to touch on the suspension of arms to the Duke, seeing that he has done it all this time. But in God's name, let the deputies come, and then his Highness will not be averse to any just demand. M. de Champagney will be willing to get the safe conduct altered and I will take it to Berghes ; for to say the truth, I have not the courage to move him therein, while matters are in their present state, it having been already amended as your lordship required. [Further arguments for sending the deputies.] I send with this the true copy of his Highness's letter, in case the orginal should miscarry, and shall expect the same of that which her Majesty writes to the Duke ; who has given orders all along the coast of Flanders for the deputies, if they should arrive ; and the best would be for them to come to Bruges, to the Duke himself. To shorten the time, you must not forget to send over her Majesty's safe-conduct for these deputies here.Brussels, 8 November, 1587, stilo antico. Postscript. Once more recommending Martin de la Faille to his lordship's kindness. Add. Endd. Italian. 3 pp. [Flanders I. f. 367.]
[Nov. 10?] Revocation of the Earl of Leicester from the Low Countries. Copy. Endd. Latin. 1 sheet. [Holland XIX. f. 55.]
[Nov. 10.] Commission for the Lord Willoughby to be her Majesty's Lieutenant and Captain General in the Low Countries. (fn. 3)
Copy. Endd. Latin. 9 pp. [Ibid. f. 56.]
Nov. 10. Another copy of the Same.
Endd. "A copy of the Lord Willoughby's first commission for the Low Countries, in the end whereof is a proviso that he should do nothing without the counsel and assent of Sir William Pelham Knight. Teste, 10 November : Ao. 29, 1587." 5 pp. [Ibid. f. 62.]


  • 1. John Weldon alias Saville. See p. 349 above and note.
  • 2. This paragraph printed by Motley : United Netherlands, II., p. 312.
  • 3. Printed in Rymer : Fdera, Ed. 1715, Vol. xvi., pp. 13-15.