Elizabeth: November 1587, 21-30

Pages 427-437

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, 21-30

The wind doth still hold my former letters from passage, and I will not leave to advertise you as matters fall out ; which at this time shall be touching the want of money. The Treasurer comes to me this morning, and tells me he hath not to pay the lendings above this week, nor that neither, paying me that which is due ; and leaving as I do now the charge, your lordship doth think it reason that I be paid, specially for that I do protest before the majesty(?) of God, I have not in the world here left me so much money as will keep my house two days. And I have not only spent all I brought over with me but all my entertainment, and some money I took up at Amsterdam, which I am to pay myself in England. The merchants, as the Treasurer doth say, cannot lend a groat, what for the want of the not coming of their cloths and the debts in these countries owing them ; for the gathering in whereof many of the best of them are dispersed from hence. Wherefore my good lords, for God's sake and for all your poor countrymen's here, send with all haste, if but ten thousand pounds, to keep their lendings, and the poor men in life. And my lord, it cannot be too quickly done, and for the reckonings, the Treasurer and Muster master comes over to make them, but this necessity is true, as he tells me, and your lordship I trust will weigh it. The worst will fall out, I know, when I shall be gone hence, yet must I care for these men and her Majesty's honour. I hear nothing yet from Mr. Herbert, but if the States refuse to join with her Majesty, sure there is then some deep resolution among them for such ill as I have before feared. It is most certain that the Duke of Parma's provisions for the sea go forward ; they be not all for these places. It is more than time her Majesty had a good strong navy abroad. He prepares to ship at the least 10000 men, and by all probability for Scotland, for he hath workers of the King there about him, and the most secret intelligence runs upon that service. And her Majesty is above other things to set forth to the sea with all haste, and that her ships be thoroughly well manned, as well with soldiers as mariners. "This enterprise towards England makes me suspect the more these men's dealings here ; for if the enemy had not some assurance and intelligence with some of the chief doers here, he durst never divide his forces, nor hazard them in a foreign country. I have declared the causes at large of my suspicion by Sir Richard Bingham...And her Majesty must now prepare for home, and not make too light of her enemies abroad, who work their practices very substantially, which we were wont not much to care to prevent." I send to Brill two or three companies more, increase this garrison with three more ; leave in Berges eleven companies of foot and four of horse, and put into Ostend what are left, which will be ten companies, whereof there is seven already. Only one foot band and seven horse bands I have in 'Utrycke'; all her Majesty's forces else are reduced into these four places. I am in hope to assure Camphire and Armew for her Majesty, and there is no remedy but I must promise the captains her pay. There be three in Camphire and one in Armew, which, if it may be done, the whole isle is her Majesty's and the enemy disappointed greatly, for he can then have no footing here. The charge your lordships can consider neither to be great nor for any long time, but the assurance of this 'pece' for her money she looketh for will be somewhat worth the expenses this way. "I did out of North Holland write to you, my lord Treasurer, touching 'Medinbleke,' a place of great importance. Great practices are used, first to recover the governor, Monsieur Snoye, by fair means and corruption ; but would not be but he holds out yet. Now they fall of threatening him, and will stay the pay of his soldiers ; and presently the Count Morryce is gone to Enchuysen, being hard by, to practice him out of the place if he can. But I think the gentleman will hold his oath, till he hear from her Majesty. The haste that is made to rid her Majesty's people out of all quarters and the hard barbarous manner of dealing that they use to all that are known earnest instruments for her Majesty and the cause of Religion doth confirm in me that they have a determination to fetch the King of Spain again, and yet I verily think many of these men see it not, but [are] carried away by the bewitching persuasions of the head traitors, who beat into their heads daily and hourly the intention of her Majesty to leave them, that she is but a tickle stay for them, better to trust to themselves ; having some pleasing arguments for that purpose to lead the people that are the simpler sort, and have very great and royal entertainments to carry on the young imp (i.e. scion), the Count Moryce to be an earnest instrument to show openly his dislike of the peace and to serve all towns that they lay upon him to the liking of the common sort ; that he is a patriot ; that he is the image of his noble father, whose memory is yet great among the people (as good reason), dying in their cause, as they take it. So that under shadow of carrying a show to mislike with all treaty or speech of peace and to have these instruments to concur with all their doings, they take the very high way to bring in the enemy and overthrow this whole government. And nothing brings it sooner about than this open show of their mislike of peace, seeing in troth they prepare hitherto in deed little or nothing to defend a war, except some few boats, which you will hear shall be to no great purpose." 21 November. Postscript. "Sir William Pelham I fear cannot escape, yet if wind would serve will he be carried away, but I think not alive if he hold three days. Yet wish I him in England for his fancy sake. God comfort him." On dorso. Notes by Burghley of certain counties, (Notts, Rutland, Salop, Leices, Staffs, Derby, Chesh.), with numbers [of men?] from each ; total 6800. Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. "Earl of Leicester to the Lord Treasurer [after "Council" deleted]." 3 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 97.
Recommending the bearer, Nicholas Dethicke, "alias Windsor," one of her Majesty's heralds, who has carefully discharged his duty and is now returning home. Asks that his service may be made known to the lords of the Council.Flushing, 22 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. "In favour of Windsor [sic], a herald." p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 99.]
I hope myself to be one of the next messengers. All things here are as ill as a man may look for, and no doubts, some great treason on hand, which will break out, but with the overthrow of all here. God Almighty defend his church and people afflicted in these countries. The Duke of Parma hath, no doubts, some business upon our coasts or Scotland. I have written my mind to her Majesty and my lord Treasurer. I will haste me the more to venture my life for her Majesty in England. "Ye are likely to lose your good friend Sir William Pelham. He would fain go over, and not able to stir, as the physicians say, without present danger of life. His heart is broken very lately and I have no hope of his continuance, he is so weak and yet no fever. He fell suddenly into this agony and disease upon Wednesday last. God comfort him, for he was a sound, earnest man. He hath taken this morning a medicine. It yet proveth well ; God send it to take good effect, and keep you as well as I would be myself. Haste, haste, at Flushing." 22 November. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. Seal with crest in garter. [Holland XIX. f. 101.]
Since the Lord General's coming, has earnestly solicited him concerning the wants of this place, who has in some sort taken order for them. Prays that care may be taken for the pay of the garrison, lest the soldiers should mutiny, or yield to some secret practice. Also that two or three ships may be sent to lie off and on there till they know "what will become of the Prince's great preparations," to assure the place and keep clear the passage of those narrow seas. And as upon the Lord General's departure it is much to be feared "that the Estates and those of Holland will work some treacherous practice with the enemy as touching the giving over of some towns," which, if it happened would prevent provisions passing from Holland, he beseeches his honour that vituals may be sent from England to serve the garrison for four or six months."Vlishing," 22 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. with memo of the 3 above demands. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 102.]
Hearing that he is going into England, they pray him so to commend the state of these countries to her Majesty that she may continue her favour and affection to them. And as they hope the States General will, upon their assembly (which is daily expected) send some deputies to her, they also pray that his Excellency will aid the said deputies, that they may have favourable audience and obtain from her Majesty so good and fruitful a resolution as is very needful to them in this conjuncture. The delay in the assembling of the States General (by reason of the absence of the deputies from the other provinces) is the cause why they have not been able to send some deputies of their college to confer with his Excellency touching the state of the country ; but they have asked the deputies of the Council of State to make their excuses to him.Delft, 3 December, 1587. Signed by C. Aerssens. Copy. French. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 104.]
Nov. 24./Dec. 4. JOHN GILES to WALSINGHAM.
On the 12th of last month, I wrote to your honour from Antwerp, since which time "with great diligence night and day the Prince is setting forth his army," as I saw with mine own eyes at my departure yesterday. On the last of November "according to the Pope's style," he suddenly sent for the rest of his army, 8000 men, which lay at Turnhout. On the 3rd of the present, they marched through Antwerp, "very brave soldiers and among them Sir William Standly was the leader of his companies, which were between eight and nine hundred men, the most part Irish and Scots and the rest English ; but as I heard an Italian captain report, the companies of Standly are the best that they make account of ; and these in all haste and with great expedition went all for Flanders, towards Bruges, where the Prince is...and all his Council come from Brussels to him. From all places of Brabant, Hennegow and Artois...all the old soldiers and captains are taken out, both upon the forts which lay on the river of Antwerp as from all other places ; and in all places new garrisons of Dutches, Italians and Spaniards, which are new come within this month, very poor and unprovided men, but will soon be made fat." On the 23rd of last month a convoy of 1000 brave horsemen from Italy arrived at Brussels, bringing a great mass of money in specie from the 'Fowlckers' of Germany, and incontinent marched into Flanders. On the 24th there marched between Gaunt and Iper 10000 new Italian and Dutch soldiers, very well appointed, sent by the Pope to the Prince, "as the chief shield of the Sainte League." These men, as I hear, die very fast, not being able to abide the hardness of the country like the Spaniards. Divers new companies are come out of Hennegow and Artoys, about 40000 footmen and 3000 horsemen, who as yet have no set camp, but lie scattered. This army the Prince gathers together with all expedition, and it seems that very shortly he will do some great exploit, but to what place is not known. The like preparations have never been seen. For lights there are great number of torches so tempered that no water can put them out ; also little mills to grind corn. All over the country great store of biscuit is baked and oxen salted, so as they make account to victual 20000 men for nine or ten months. There is provided great number of saddles and boots for horsemen, also three hundred pairs of red crimsom velvet shoes, and in every cloister, "great quantity of roses made of silk, white and red, which, as is said, shall be 'daggs' for divers of his gentlemen. Divers expect his going for England by reason of these roses. There is delivered to the Prince by John Angel Vergannen ten hundred-weight of Venice gold and silver to embroider his apparel withal. The covering to his 'moyles' [mules] is most gorgeously embroidered with gold and silver...There is delivered to him by the Italian merchants at least 670 pieces of velvets to apparel him and his train. Every captain hath received a gift of the Prince to make himself brave, and for Captain Coradine, an Italian who hath one cornet of horse, I have seen with my eyes a saddle, with the trappings of his horse and his 'keete' and rapier and dagger, which cost 3500 French crowns...and all the rest of his chief captains make themselves marvellous costly and brave. All their lances are painted of divers colours, blue and white and green and white and most part all blood as there is as great preparation for a triumph as for wars. "Yorke is at Deventer and there remains lieutenant-governor. A great number of English priests come to Antwerp from all places. The commandment [is] given to all the churches and cloisters to read daily the litany for the prosperity of the Prince in his enterprise. "Also the certain report is that after the Prince's departure the Count Mansfeld shall be Lieutenant and shall give all kind of passports, for the Prince will not meddle further than with martial affairs. For certain there was at Brussels great strife between some of the Council and the Prince, and in long time [they] would not consent nor agree unto this enterprise...but the Prince with much ado did threaten the Council and forced them to agree to it." Since the Prince's being at Bruges, there is come a post from Spain "to advertise that the Marquis de 'Sante Crooes' was arrived in 'Gallisse' with 200 sails of ships, and that the army of the King which was come out of the Indies with all the forces he can make is also arriving and with all expedition comes into 'Gallisse'...And the common report at Antwerp is that with all [their] force they will fall into Scotland and Ireland." At Antwerp are twenty ships good for the river. The Great Alexander, the Prince's godson, is there, but cannot be ready till Easter, when others, now on the stocks, will also be ready. Seven or eight great ships of war too large to be carried up the river, will remain before Antwerp, while the rest are carried up to Ghent and so to Sasse ; for at Gaunt Castle five or six thousand men are at work cutting out the ground so that he can bring all his shipping to Sasse, and near to Sasse he does the like. Also he breaks down all the bridges for their passing. He has in readiness 700 'playts' [flat-bottomed boats], "which he plants as full of great ordnance as he can pack them...that no ship shall be able to come near them. And on every playt is made two bridges, on every side one, to land men withal. From Deest, Arskot [Aerschot], Mechelen, Gaunt, Doway, 'Anwarpe' and out of all small rivers, all the boats are arrested and must go to Gaunt. There are no mariners in the whole countrythough they have no skill and do but row up and down a river[but] they are forced to serve." Five hundred mariners are arrived from Bremen at Dunkirk where are thirty ships of war ready to take the seas, and at Sluys and Newporte they are making but what they can. They brag of great things, and make account to be shortly in Holland and Zeeland. Their meaning seems to be to put their plats over with soldiers into the land of Tergoes, a thing easy to be done, considering that these parts have neither money nor men to defend their cause, and it is "but a small count" to pass over the river of Antwerp between Flanders and Tergoes. Counts Hollock and Morrice are come thither with a thousand soldiers and forty ships of war to await the enemy. "I doubt that with this light moon he means to give the attempt," yet divers think he will go to besiege 'Cameryke' and so into France, as chief of the Sainte League to aid that King. I hope to return to Antwerp tomorrow, and if a peace come not shall go to Stoden, for I lose 40l. a year in Antwerp upon houses which I maintained in hope of a peace, and which now go to ruin. I hope to return hither within three weeks. I found here your two letters which I delivered, the one to his Excellency and the other to Lord Willoughby, who said they would answer them. Martin Lafalli is still a prisoner, but in a chamber, and would make some ransom, but awaits her Majesty's letters. "Whether he deserves them I doubt, for I find at Antwerp that 'Cottelles' gives secret advice to one Joyes van Hart and John Borne which dwell in Lafalli's house. I understand by a secret friend that there comes daily letters to 'Calles' for them and from them to Richard Dot and Dassonveell [Christofle Assonnavile]. I have long doubted of this, for they have always secret news out of England, and "those of his house are the most partial that lives against England and the Religion. If I had speech with your honour, I could say something of the writing of 'Cottelles' to Martin's brother. I perceive that Andres de Loo, Martin Lafalli and 'Cotels' and Borne have the best news from time to time out of England...I am sorry to see Martin so partial, for in the prison he fell out with his brother for religion, and spoke proud words which I may not write." I could not but let your honour know of their dealings, but if it were known that I wrote of them, it would do me great harm. "I would Martin were well used and let him pay for it. Your honour hath showed him great favour with Cottels, by secret letters. Deserves not to have them ; they are dangerous people... Andreas de Loo is at 'Breeges' [Bruges], attending the coming of the commissioners out of England ; whereupon Martin doth stay for making ransom ; for he hath bragged to his brother and to me of strange matters..."They long greatly in Antwerp to hear of the departure of his Excellency from hence, which now I find here will fall out true. I am sorry to see the dealing of the States towards him. God grant some better order, or I doubt they will all smart for it."Mydelborowe, 4 December, 1587 stilo novo. Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 105.]
"At this present instant, it hath pleased God to call Sir William Pellam out of this mortal life, who lay sick seven days. His Excellency I think will depart hence with three or four days. He stayeth for the coming of the States, which he looketh for daily. The enemy groweth strong, and we do nothing to prevent him..."Flushing, 24 November, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 107.]
Sending the copy of a discourse containing his opinion of the intended peace with Spain, which he thought to present to her Majesty but forbore, for reasons with which he will acquaint his lordship hereafter ; who will see by the said discourse "with what dangers not only the peace itself but the very mention and treating thereof will be accompanied. But sith her Majesty seemeth to have resolved, to have a peace, as a lady unapt for many respects to prosecute a war against so mighty a monarch as the Spanish King," he sets down, not as a Counsellor, but as a private subject what he thinks will be the surest course for her Majesty to take in attaining thereto. First it is to be considered why the Spanish King, being so resolved on war, should offer peace. It cannot be imagined that such huge preparations are against the Turk, France or Italy ; nor against Germany, the Hanse towns, Denmark or Sweden [Reasons against the probability of his wishing to attack any of these, in favour of his desire to punish England for her proceedings in the Indies, aid to the Low Countries and late hostile attempt upon Spain itself.] Likewise : that there is no better way for him to hurt the English, unprovided of defence, than by treating of a peace to lull them into their accustomed security. Also, he can only command the narrow seas if he recover Holland and Zeeland, with all their shipping ; and what means so easy as a peace ? Even if he sincerely seeks peace for his own quiet, her Majesty must so provide for the safety of her State, as that the peace shall give no advantage to a reconciled enemy to deal her a greater blow after than before it is concluded. But if all these reasons may not divert her from it, let her seek it alone, and not draw the United Provinces into it ; who for some years, without her assistance, will be able to defend themselves (as in his other discourse is alleged). But that she shall restore to them the cautionary and other towns held by the English, continue in good amity with them, permit them free trade in her dominions, suffer no annoyance of arrests to be made upon them for arrears of debt due to herself or her subjects while they continue their defence against Spain, for if that fail, and the Spaniard become possessor of these countries, England will never be quiet. The security of England depends also upon the "success" of the wars in France. If the King of Navarre prevail, England will be the more assured, and Spain dangerously threatened. This peace will greatly benefit the King in that behalf, as the Low Countries being pacified, all his forces there can go to aid the Guises. Care must therefore be taken, in concluding the peace that the Duke of Parma be restrained from sending succours into France. For the manner of their [the Earl and his fellow commissioners'] treating of this peace, he can say little not knowing what conditions her Majesty requires or Spain will give ; but he beseeches them to beware that they be not deceived by the cunning Spaniard ; it being "proper to our nation to be over-reached by their neighbours in all their treaties, because they come short of the cunning of other nations." They cannot be too jealous or suspicious of the Spaniards ; who "love not England, nor desire peace for the good of this land." Fears that the employment of his lordship and the rest in this service may turn to their notable prejudice for if they make a peace and it prove dangerous to the State, the imperfections thereof will be laid to their charge ; while if they return re infecta and no peace ensue, that also will be laid to their insufficiencies, so that whichever way it fall out, they will have no thanks for their labour. Advises his lordship to signify to her Majesty his doubts of the issue of their voyage, and to entreat either to be dismissed from it, or that she "will be pleased to conster the best" of his services on his return, assuring her that if he find danger like to follow from the peace to herself or her country, he will not for his life be an instrument to further it. Praying also that they may from time to time certify the dangers and doubts they may meet with, and receive directions from her Majesty's sacred hand. This is as much as time will allow him to write, does he does only to obey his lordship and show his willingness to do him service ; beseeching him to keep it to himself, knowing that he [Wilkes] has so great an enemy [i.e. Leicester] as heavy construction might be made thereof to his disadvantages. "From my poor house in Wiltshire" etc. (fn. 2)
Copy, endorsed with date. 5 pp. [Flanders I. f. 395.]
Nov. Draft of the above, with corrections ; datedNovember, 1587. Endd. 5 pp. [Ibid. I. f. 400.]
Nov. 29./Dec. 9. Promise signed by Ambroise le Ducq, H. Vanden Ende and Pieter de Coster, to be faithful and loyal to the Queen of England, and to his Excellency, lieutenant-general of her forces, governor and captain general of the United Provinces, according to their oath to defend and hold the town of Ter Veren against all attempts of the enemy, as much as in them lies. And they promise further that none of them will leave the said town either with or without their companies ; nor will admit any others, on commandment from any whatsoever, without the knowledge and decree of her Majesty or his ExcellencyThe town of Campher, 9, December, 1587. Endd. "The Captains of Camphire[s] promise unto the Lord Steward." French. p. [Holland XIX. f. 109.]
Beseeching him to solicit the wants of their garrison, that it may be sufficiently provided, so that, if anything fall out in this dangerous time, they may the better defend the place. In his last, prayed him to move her Majesty to send them four or five months' victuals, which would greatly assure the town if the "passage of Holland" should be taken from them. Earnestly entreats that he may be freed from this place, and as there is likelihood of some stirring in Scotland, that he may be employed that way, being very desirous to bestow his time in that action, if it happen. As Sir William Pellam is dead, asks for his office of Lieutenant of the Ordnance.Vlishing, 29 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 111.]
To the same effect, and almost in the same words as the preceeding. Vlisshing, 29 November, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 113.]
Nov. "Remembrances exhibited by the Commissioners to be sent into the Low Countries." Whether the place of meeting shall be Ostend or Oudenburgh, and there to have place of shifting...if there be cause, to some more convenient place. Whether the King's Commissioners shall have precedence of them, although they come only by commission from the Duke of Parma "as commissionated by the King." "Whether her Majesty's Commissioners shall make the entry of the cause or they." And shall require the sight of their commission before showing their own "or else do it without ceremony." Whether there must not be a surcease of arms, both by land and sea, insisted upon by the Commissioners before they begin to treat. And if it be granted, to have instructions in what manner and places and for what time it shall continue, "and how her Majesty shall assure herself that the States will either admit or keep the same." Whether they must require to see the Duke's authority from the King before beginning to treat. Whether it be necessary for the Queen to have the States to join with her in treaty. Whether the Duke will admit them to join, and will join with them "as principal contrahentes." If not, whether he will admit them "as suppliants or remonstranciers, and to open their griefs themselves," and if neither, whether it be meet for her Majesty to have them present to inform her Commissioners of their doleances. Whether the States can send them in time ; and in the mean while whether the Commissioners shall proceed in her Majesty's own causes. Whether her Commissioners "shall propound the motives for articles to be made first, or to require them to propose." Whether it be convenient to have answer from the States before the Commissioners meet. Whether the Commissioners shall first proceed in the causes for the United Provinces or with her Majesty's. Whether she "will only treat that the ancient leagues between the crown of England and the house of Burgundy may be ratified and confirmed rather than to do nothing." Whether she will comprise those of the United Provinces in the treaty, and "in what sort, whether they do require it or not." "Whether their demands [shall] be considered upon, and what likelihood there is that the King of Spain will grant them." "Whether the Pacification of Ghent is to be confirmed with the amplifications, and the agreement of free religion following, and the request proposed by the States at 'Colloine' and how much thereof." "Whether her Majesty may, with her honour and safety, enter into a treaty with the King of Spain, without the Estates' consent and liking." Whether she may not settle "the unkindness between her realms and Spain, and other the King's dominions ; whereby a free trade may be had between either of their subjects ; her Highness being careful for the well-doing of the United Provinces, though they neglect their own estate. "For that the Commissioners have small skill and experience (as I take it) in cause of treaties, it were very necessary that all points, as well for manner as for matter, were particularly set down." Endd. by Burghley's clerk : "Nov. 1587. Remembrances exhibited by the Commissioners, to be sent into the Low Countries." 3 pp. [Flanders I. f. 398.]
[1587 Nov.?] Memorandum of the numbers and disposition of the regiments of Col. Soney and Col. Grunevelt. With further note that it is very necessary to take care that the actions of those who have supported the quarrel of her Majesty and her lieutenant shall be approved, and they not allowed to suffer because of it ; also that the banishments, confiscations and other sentences pronounced by those of Leyden against good patriots and those well affectioned to the Religion and her Majesty shall be revoked, and those condemned entirely re-instated, who otherwise will be in great danger of their lives, and discouragement of all honest men to do any service. Endd. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 265.]
[1587 Nov.?] "Petition of Gerard Johnson and others condemned as parties and actors in the matter of Leyden. "Are condemned to perpetual banishment and loss of goods which are already put to sale, and therefore desire that it would please her Majesty to be a mean unto the States of Holland to revoke the sentence given against them by those of Leyden, or otherwise to restore them again to their country and former good name of credit, with possession of their goods and satisfaction for their charges, losses and hindrances. "That the heads of Colonel Cosmo and Jaques Valmer may be taken away from the gates where they stand. "That the widow of the said Valmer, being charged with eight children may be in some reasonable sort relieved and maintained." Endd. "The humble petition of the banished men of Leyden." p. [Ibid. XVIII. f. 344.]


  • 1. This name inserted (in different ink) by Leicester, in the address. In the letter he sometimes addresses both, sometimes only the treasurer.
  • 2. There is another copy of this in S. P. Dom., Eliz. (CCV, 50), to which is annexed a discourse to the queen against the treaty, dated in August ; no doubt that alluded to in the above paper.