Elizabeth: December 1587, 1-10

Pages 437-451

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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December 1587, 1-10

Mr. Hotman, now going over with the Earl of Leicester, he will both carry my letters, and tell you all that has happened since your departure. Notwithstanding the disgrace, I think you have been happier absent than you would have been here, where, after many words on both sides, some have finally lost their heads ; others go away and those who remain, remain in trouble, though not so great as you have seen, for many vexations between those of the country have been quenched by the proceedings of some. I except those of Utrecht, who since your time have made so ruinous a foundation of their state that their edifice can hardly hold firm if it be not changed, as one does at Easter ; that is to say that they put on new robes from top to toe. The resolutions against the peace are stronger than you have seen and many believe at heart that shortly the Queen will know that those who resist her are her servants. The enemy, by his great preparations in Spain and at Dunkirk will shortly decide the question. I will say nothing of divers private enterprises here made, save that, without God's aid, I had paid dearly for their rashness ; but God sheltered me from my enemies, whom I no longer fear more than dust, and private wrongs will never hinder me from doing my duty towards the crown of England, and this I hope to show by a dispatch which I am sending M. Walsingham. If I may hear from you, I pray you send your letters to M. de Buzenval. [Commends to Wilkes his daughter Magdaleine].Middelburgh, 11 December, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. by Wilkes. French. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 115.]
Dec. 1/11. Proposition offered to the States General by Mr. Herbert on this date, concerning the treaty of peace. Reminds them of the efforts of the King of Denmark and the proposals made by the Duke of Parma to her Majesty, who deferred conference thereupon until she had communicated with the States. For this she sent Lord Buckhurst, who, found that disorders were increasing and that their means for defence were inadequate. Whereupon she desired his lordship to communicate the Duke's overture. Since then she sent back the Earl of Leicester with a good force to oppose the enemy's designs. But owing to their disorders only loss and dishonour ensued, and she ordered the Earl to put before them the Duke's offer, and to propose that they should choose men to confer with her deputies on her assurance that if they could not obtain reasonable terms she would not forsake them. Having decided to enter upon the conference, she has long waited for their reply, and has ordered Herbert to urge them to make up their mind, and not precipitate the evil which threatens them ; for, she finds they will derive more profit than prejudice thereby. She expects that during the Treaty, they will live in harmony, and stand upon their guard, ready to resume the war, if the negotiations fail, when she promises to support them, hoping to receive a good and speedy reply. (fn. 1)
Endd. French. 2 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 117.]
His Highness is not yet returned, having gone to Antwerp, Signor Cosimo being left in the dark. The President says the same, but expects him tomorrow evening. M. de Champagney will also come, who had not yet been here. I have in the meanwhile twice dealt with the President at large, but my greatest difficulty is that I am not able to persuade them that peace is seriously intended and that the deputies will come, because of the many and various delays. From thence, they say has proceeded the great preparation made on all sides to serve them for any occasion (if peace be not now made). And as to the Spanish Armada, the President assures me (on the faith of a gentleman) that he has heard nothing of its coming at this time, and that yet it would be well that the deputies should arrive, either at Ostend or elsewhere, the road being everywhere open to them ; and that he knows for certain that they will not fail to treat with them, and to conclude a peace, if they are reasonable, and lose no more time in beginning, as once his Highness starts on some enterprise, he will not be able to abandon it with honour, even if he would. But it seems from what Signor Cosimo says that the Duke has written into Spain that there is still hope, therefore I beg earnestly that the deputies may embark at once ; that Morris may be sent back with his Highness' reply, which I will try to get favourable. I quite agree that before beginning to treat, the Duke should be asked what he knows about the Armada in Spain ; whether it be intended for England, &c. This may be done much better then than now, as also the agreement for a suspension of arms for the time of the conference. I am very pleased to hear from Morris that your lordship is so hopeful, and have told it to the Duke, who I know is surprised at the lack of confidence shown in him. I know him to be so high minded that if he did not mean to conclude the peace, he would say so plainly ; and that even yet (in spite of all preparations) if the deputies come in time, he will be all for an agreement ; but the fact is che nulla si crede, se nulla si vede.Bruges, 1st December, 1587, stilo antico. Postscript. Praying that her Majesty will rescue "il faille" from his misery. Add. Endd. Italian. 1 pp. [Flanders I. f. 374.]
Has received no answer of his letters but presumes once more to write these few lines, to accompany the packet of M. de Villiers, by which he will see that Count Maurice holds prisoner a young Roman gentleman of the Colonna family, come into Brabant with the last Italian and Spanish companies. "By my lord of Leicester's order, has been with him in Ter Veere, and talked with him. Among the rest, he said that in April last, his uncle, the Cardinal Marco Antonio di Colonna at dinner, with his uncle Prospero di Colonna in Rome, said that that morning, it was concluded in Council of the Cardinals that by consent of the Pope the King of Spain should give his daughter in marriage to the King of Scots, and assist the said King to establish him King in England, upon conditions that the said King of Scots dying without lawful heirs of his body, the succession of the crown of England, Ireland and Scotland should fall upon the King of Spain and his heirs. That the King of Scots had promised entry in his realm unto the forces of the King of Spain which are to be led by sea, by the Marquis Santa Cruz, and by land by the Duke of Parma ; that already there was contributed eight millions of gold by those of the League, whereof the French King and the Venetians are, though with great difficulty ; that thereupon Prospero di Colonna was to go presently to Spain, with sundry other discourses which I assure myself M. de Villers has set down. Count Maurice intended to have sent over this prisoner, that her Majesty might the better know what he can say, and offered him to Sir Robert Sidney, but his Excellency wished only to send the signed depositions, and to keep Colonna here till her Majesty's pleasure be known. When in Ter Veere, M. de Villiers discoursed with Le Sieur of the hard opinion her Majesty and my lord of Leicester have of him, and specially is grieved that certain soldiers of this garrison offered to take him prisoner, some days past, as he was going to Middelburgh, the history whereof you may hear from M. de Captoy [i.e. Capetot], agent for the King of Navarre in these parts, now going for England, as he was then with M. de Villiers. Abstains from writing of that person or of this Estate knowing that he is sufficiently informed by others. His Excellency departing hence, leaves Le Sieur to serve here according to his instructions. Asks for continued favour and good offices with his Excellency and her Majesty's Council. Recommends the bearer, Mr. Hotman.Flushing, 3 December, 1587, stylo Anglo. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 123.]
Dec. 3. Warrant from the Earl of Leicester for the allowance of twenty dead pays to Sir John Conway knight, governor of Ostend and Captain of 150 footmen, he having no other entertainment of her Majesty than the ordinary pay of a captain, and having made humble suit for some increase thereof in respect of the charges incident in his place.Flushing, 3 December, 1587. Copy. Signed. Endd. p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 125.]
Mr. Killigrew, on the 28th of "this present November" imparted to him certain articles sent by his lordship, showing her Majesty's dislike that the accounts of the year ending the 11th of October last were not yet sent over. Sends enclosed, briefly, the causes why it was not possible sooner to conclude the checks, and the reason why they are so much diminished, but knows no cause why she might not from time to time have received a perfect account of all treasure disbursed, and for the whole year also, if the Treasurer and Auditor had made perfect books of all other payments and defalcations concerning their charge. The cheques were long ago cessed by him and "moderated and determined" by his Excellency, save only Sir John Norries and some few others, left to be determined in England. Is sure that for fear of his checks, the captains have maintained their bands far stronger than otherwise they would have done, and for full numbers he may only say "few bands in Christendom comparable to them ; if for training and good usage at their captains' hands there were no fault." Whereby he has heaped upon himself so great hatred of many captains that without the comfort of her Majesty's favour for his faithful services, he should think himself of all men the most unfortunate. Vlissinge, 3 December, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 127.]
"The occasions why the checks were not determined till October, 1587." Delay of the States in sending their muster-masters. Disobedience of the captains in not sending their books or coming themselves. Complaints of the captains of his severe dealings with them, who after he and his commissaries had by great travail discovered many frauds and abuses, joined together in appealing to his Excellency, who, finding indeed that it was not possible for them to maintain their bands without certain allowances, "did mitigate or pardon the checks," and also, upon testimonies shown by the captains of horse, of horses slain and lost in service, remitted between three and four thousand pounds in the checks of the horse bands, besides his own and the Lord Marshal's band, which in consideration of their losses and charges in making them strong again, his Excellency passed without checks. So that the checks remaining as now moderated will be very small ; there not remaining much above three thousand pounds. Allowances to the captains of the lately levied bands the uttermost penny they could possibly demand "so that if their soldiers were not very well paid and contented, they are without all colour of excuse." The common soldiers generally (a very few bands excepted) "are marvellous badly clothed and thereby for cold only may perish and run away to the enemy," which might be remedied if, instead of some part of the treasure there were sent over pieces of broadcloth and kersey for clothing the bands ; whereby English commodities might be vented ; treasure not so much exhausted, and many lives saved. It is lamentable and very strange to hear how officers, soldiers, victuallers and creditors all complain for want of payment, a thing his Excellency also much marvels at, but now it is to be hoped that the Auditor and Treasurer will present their accounts in such manner as the reason may be seen of the inconvenience relieved. 1 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 128.]
Your lordship encourages my just excuse of mine own wants, "with a favourable construction of modesty." I pray God that I may discharge my duty and not deceive your honourable opinion of my unworthy self. "I am called from my desired sheepfold and am ready to use my weak sling ; and since I must obey in this weighty charge, I humbly beseech your lordship pardon me to set down such remembrances as I can bethink me to be necessary. "Your lordship knoweth that in so troublesome an estate the humours of some men will be ready both to speak and judge diversely. I beseech you therefore, whatsoever reports shall come, to suspend your opinion of me until I shall come to due trial." Likewise that, as the Treasurer, Mustermaster and Auditor are now in England, you will take order that all accounts may be cleared at my entrance into the place. And, as the charges for intelligences will grow great, I beseech you to set down some course therein ; "that it may always be paid by advice of some Counsel who may witness my proceedings. For though I have been an ill-husband for myself (yet not spent any way so much as in her Majesty's service), "I hope care which made me spend mine own, to witness my duty and obedience, shall make me care to preserve her Majesty's treasure in the best sort that I may." "And although I could be contented to serve her Majesty for nothing, if it were not to the utter ruining of myself and my house (God having already blessed me with many children) yet I doubt not but her Majesty will have consideration of the great charges that of necessity appertain to the great place I hold ; my estate being much better before, in that I had the benefit of a government to assist me, and that now being taken from me, have nothing more than the bare entertainment of a Colonel-general." But this your lordship knows as well as myself, and (as I perceive by my cousin Hall's letters) are ready to help me with loan of your own money ; an honourable kindness which I desire to deserve by some extraordinary service. For the rest, I refer you to the report of this bearer and of Colman, late secretary to Sir William Pelham.Berghen op Zom, 4 December, 1587. (fn. 2) Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 130.]
On the 1st instant, I wrote to your lordship of the delay in his Highness' coming ; but it is now said that he will certainly this evening be at Ghent, on his way hither. M. de Champagney has arrived, with the great nobility of these countries. He holds that it will not be possible for the Duke to concede the suspension of arms, because of the uncertainty regarding the armata of Spain but I find that he would have had the deputies (to remove suspicion of wishing to prolong the time), while feigning to go to Berghes, come to Ostend, as if driven there by the wind ; and being arrived, a time and some place near might be appointed for the treaty ; and meanwhile, both sides to remain as they are ; the Duke, he says, being much vexed by the constant putting forward of new points when it is quite clear that he wishes to come to an agreement, but they deprive him of the means and that when they are at Ostend, they may ask what they wish and he considers the safe conduct which they have quite sufficient for that place. They will write at once into Spain about the negotiations and the peace, if God wills it, but in the present state of affairs the Duke cannot in honour grant a cessation of arms as he might do if they were actually treating. We must trust the Prince who is so noble that he would not on any account have the deputies come if he had not the most perfect intention to come to an agreement. The President said the same ; both he and Signor Cosimo urged the sending of the deputies, for if her Majesty does nothing, it will injure her reputation, and they will be grieved to see the negotiation endangered. May God dispose all for the best, for I know not what more can be done. It breaks my heart to see that my word may not suffice ; your lordship knows that for months past I have been urging you to shorten the time, and not let matters go to an extreme and ruin all. I do my best, although I fear much that it will be of no good. We must await the Duke's reply, which will be given on his return ; M. de Champagney will lend a hand, and we must trust the Duke.Bruges, 4 December, 1587. Postscript. I send you a note of what has happened lately in France, according to the news they have here. Add. Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [Flanders I. f. 376.]
I received yours of 28 Oct. at Delft the 23 November, the same day that Mr. Herbert arrived out of Zeland, where he had been about a fortnight with his Excellency ; who sent me letters to repair to him at Flushing, where "I acquainted him with the instructions enclosed in your lordship's letter ; and also to the Treasurer, Mustermaster and Auditor," from whom, at their return, I hope you will receive better satisfaction than heretofore. I trust they cannot say but that they have always found me ready to assist them. I hoped to have waited upon his Excellency home, and excused my long silence by his oft intelligences ; but as he wishes me to return into Holland for a time, I shall be void of excuse unless I give your Lordship some advertisements of our proceedings here. When I took my leave at Greenwich, "I said I was not ignorant I was to enter a labyrinth, which hath proved too true," and whereas I promised to send your Lordship some plot or estate of war for the defence of these provinces, I have liked none well enough to put it into your hands. Mr. Beale had a project with him, but weak and imperfect, who can report to you all that passed before his departure, and what has fallen out since, his Excellency will impart to you. During his absence in North Holland, on Oct. 17 "I advertised Mr. Secretary Walsingham of some material alteration I observed upon the motion I made unto them, to send commissioners to join with her Majesty towards a treaty ; since which time there hath been no matter of moment handled ; for the General States soon after departed each to their principals, and were not this last week returned with authorized answers ; which is the Ambassador's stay...who therefore hath expected hitherto in vain their coming to him for the settling of some good order in the government. Upon his Lordship's revocation into England, they are likely to follow him and, as I can learn, to use all means against the treaty, which they persuade themselves will be so prejudicial unto them as that of both, they are resolved rather to force themselves to hold out even to the last town, than to yield to a peace. Their reasons, I doubt not, they will deliver to my Lord Ambassador, and, as I hear, send them by some of their own unto her Majesty. The diffidence grown between them and my lord sprang now from this fountain and hath been crookedly nourished. And yet if his lordship do remain, I think verily there would grow a good reconciliation, some things being condescended unto by his lordship, expecially for the advancement of the Count Maurice, whom the best of them and those of greatest credit and authority do marvellously tender for the love and honour they bare unto his father. My lord, in my judgement, hath carried himself very honourably among them, while they have in no measure answered, but rather the contrary, which might have tried any man, yea the most patient of those which have borne rule under a monarch." I will only add "that now their greatest preparations is by water, where already they are too strong for the enemy, and are purposed to increase their navy daily, both for the river and the main."Vlisshing, 5 December, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 132.]
"I thought to have attended upon my lord home and by mouth to have answered to what in duty I ought. . .Mr. Bele and I did not dissent nor differ in our service ; but what he did, I did, and what I said, he affirmed." His Excellency wishes me to return to the Ambassador, but I hope this may be no hindrance to my revocation, which I beseech you to hasten, as you love me. What has followed since mine of Oct. 17, my lord will acquaint you with.Flushing, this [5?] of December. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 134.]
Dec. 6/16. JOOS DE ZOETE, [Lord of Villiers], to WALSINGHAM.
Having got out of my long prison with the promise to procure the release of Jan de Castille, your prisoner, I applied to the earl of Leicester, who, without my ever having done him any service, has used his interest to obtain him for me. I hope, Sir, that you will not disapprove, and for this benefit I shall ever remain your most obliged servant. And as I have all my life vowed humble service to my country, my release will give me the means of continuing it towards her Majesty, who has taken the protection thereof.Flushing, the 16th Dec. Holograph. Add. Endd. "From M. Villiers. That Jehan de Castillia may be delivered in exchange for him." French. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 136.]
"After my last letters were written, my Lord General, preparing himself to go aboard, acquainted me at that instant that he thought it not convenient to deliver me my letters patents and would transport them home with him. I was ready (as it became me) to obey and believe him, and truly persuading myself he did it not without great care and providence, to prevent the cavilling of the miscontented party ; nevertheless, I require that if I must serve her Majesty here, I may have her sufficient authorizing ; otherwise I shall rather choose to commend myself to the mercy of her Majesty and your honourable censures at home, by my return, than by my being here to hinder her Majesty's services and undo myself ; where it is likely that in such a case else some more sufficient than myself would be chosen. I confess that my lord general hath laid upon me more honourable and large authority than I am worthy of ; but as my stay in these parts is only upon her Majesty's commandment, so I require that either my authority may come from thence, or else my leave to leave all and come home. I beseech your lordship pardon this scribbled letter, for every man's haste aboard has made me in this rude manner to commend myself and my suit unto you. . ."Flushing, December. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 138.]
Since writing on the 1st instant, his Excellency has willed my Lord Governor to send some into England, to receive such order for provision of victual and munition as it shall please your honour to take for supply of this garrison ; desiring him to set down what he thinks needful. But, in my judgment, we cannot here "deliver any proportion certain," because the whole stands upon her Majesty's course with the States ; "with whom if she agree to continue her assistance in the wars, so long we shall need no store of victuals, for on the sudden we can have out of the island to serve plentifully. The people will be better pleased to have a vent of these commodities, and the soldier, having his lendings, will be better content to provide his own victual fresh with change as he shall be able, than to have one certainty to be forced on him, wherein the victualler, to make his gain, will not care to discontent both the one and the other. But if her Majesty conclude a peace without them, and do not fully assure them that she will not deliver the cautionary towns to the enemy, wherewith, as well as with the withdrawing of her assistance, they are not a little terrified, then shall we need to have greater supply." In my opinion the victualling of the garrison can never be so well done out of England as here ; which will so content both soldiers and people that if her Majesty be pleased to keep the town, "I doubt not but the inhabitants (so as they may be eased of their excise and imposts) will easily be wrought to be contented, though the wealthiest magistrates, that depend upon the States and affect their own government under the name of liberty, will with all their power 'repugne' against it. And withal, I assure myself that one year's revenues of the town and island being bestowed in fortification, that it will defend and defray itself against any force of Christendom. But this course is dangerous and inconvenient in the course her Majesty hath held, and is not to be attempted unless she grow careless to hold longer correspondence with the States. "If proportions be needful, that for Flushing will serve for both. . .In the meantime, my Lord Governor, for his better assurance, hath gotten the magistrates of this town anew to swear their fidelity to her Majesty ; the copy of their oath I have sent hereinclosed ; at the taking whereof they made a frank and voluntary protestation, that so as her Majesty would not leave them to the enemy, they would most willingly adventure both life and fortune with her, even against the States."Briell, 6 December, 1587. Postscript. The Governor's secretary has brought him a cannon, demi-cannon and culverin from Flushing at his own charges, otherwise he could not have had any. "His Excellency hath further given order for one company of men more and 400 bullets for the great ordnance, but my lord must likewise be at the charges to fetch them. But no one penny of money for the soldiers, so as both they and their creditors here are greatly discontented. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. very closely written. [Holland XIX. f. 140.]
Enclosing :
The oath above mentioned : viz. to fulfil and keep all the articles agreed on between her Majesty and the States concerning this town and garrison, and not to suffer anything that may tend to the dispossessing of her Majesty's interest therein until she be satisfied for all the moneys she "hath or shall disburse" in the cause of these countries. p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 141.]
Dec. 6. Resolution of the deputies of Oestergoe, Westergoe, Sevenwolden and the towns, now assembled at Leeuwarden, touching the entering into a Christian and sure peace :That they have received from several deputies copies of two letters written by the Earl of Leicester on behalf of the Queen of England to the States General ; one of 15 October, and the other, brought by Mr. Ortell of 17 November, both last past concerning the said negotiation for a peace ; and seeing the good inclination borne by her Majesty of England to these lands, they have thought good that, on behalf of the Province of Friesland, before the resolution be brought into the States General, that their deputies at Breda shall agree to go forward in treating for a christian peace on honourable and safe conditions. And the deputies of Westergoe have and do authorize Dr. Sixtus van Dekenna and Godtschalk Hiddema to conclude with the States General touching the same. Leeuwaerden, 6 December, 1587, stilo veteri. Signed by Ulbe van Ailwa, Sydert van Botnia and Scelte van Douma, deputies. Copy. Flemish. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 143.]
I have been silent this long while, knowing that your honour is fully advertised of all things by order of his Excellency, and not wishing to trouble you in the midst of your weighty affairs. But I have been forced by several letters to crave you for some relief, by preferment or otherwise, and last year to this end had one of my servants to lie there on purpose to be a suitor to your honour ; who thenas since by your lettersput me in good hope that although her Majesty would not be drawn into further charge, yet upon his Excellency's return hither, you would devise some means for me, which as yet I have not felt, your favour having been hindered by my evil hap. But I trust the Lord will provide the better for me, and doubt not thereof so long as I may enjoy your honour's good-will. "And whatsoever may have been said, written, or reported to your honour of me or my dealing, I will prove and maintain the same to have been good and honest and for her Majesty's service" ; and whenever it shall please you to advance me into any service, I doubt not but to discharge it to contentment. I have troubled Mr. Beale to be a means for me to your honour, and beseech you to continue your favour to me.Delft, 6 December, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 145.]
The day my Lord General departed, I enquired what treasure was left, thinking myself bound to answer for its employment so long as I had this charge. "I found no more remaining in Kennett the treasurer's man's hands than 1400l., which sum is not sufficient to maintain the weekly lendings of this garrison of Flushing above one month. At Barghen they were put to 'provand' seven or eight days since, which is supposed also will not last above one fortnight at the uttermost. I do take Ostend to be in the like estate, whither I have sent to know the certainty thereof. If these places want both meat and money, your lordship can well conceive what mutinies, what treasons (whereunto our people of slight causes are readily given) lastly, what famine and death, to the reproach of us both at home and abroad, as also the utter ruin of the army, will follow. "They have counts, reckonings and warrants signed and sealed, but no money paid, and the poor creatures are in great want of all necessaries if they be not supplied." I beseech your lordship, with what speed you may, to cause some treasure to be sent over," without which we are not able to live, much less to war, if we should be called thereunto according to the contract, or rather to the occasions hanging strongly over us, which may suddenly light on us. I humbly beseech your lordship pardon me that I solicit a matter no more acceptable, which truly I do not willingly but of necessity ; and I hope you shall see the effects of my care hereafter." I hope your lordship will not forget my other letter touching my own estate, now Bargen is out of my hands.Flushing, 8 December, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 147.]
I shall write nothing in relation to the proposals of Odo Colona, for you will understand them by reading the summary I send you but I assure you he is a young man of lively and ready wit who speaks well and has been well brought up, although showing by his writings that he knows hardly anything beyond the court of Rome and his acquaintance with the good houses of Italy. He has seemed to some of mine, older and more experienced than myself, that there was reason in what he said, and that I ought to advertise her Majesty thereof, both from the nature of what he says, and to let her know that when occasion offers, I am her very affectionate servant, which it is fitting to my quality and house to show by deeds and not by words. And in this intention, I am here in this army, assembled by my diligence from all places of my government, with intent, if God does me that grace, to withstand the power of the greatest enemies of her Majesty's and of all Christendom ; which are the King of Spain and the Prince of Parma, who, with all my heart I desire to meet in person, when I hope, by God's aid to make him understand that he is not so good a soldier where he finds resistance as when ill-advised men give victories into his hands, and help him by their cowardice to take so many fine towns. I pray you to maintain me in her Majesty's good graces and to continue to me the friendship which you bore to my father, for I hope God will give me grace to follow him in constancy and firm resolution. In the fleet near Biervliet, 9 December, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. In Pierre de Villiers' hand-writing. French. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 149.]
Examination of Odo Colonna.
Taken on the Brussels road with a passport of his captain who is in garrison at Grave, to go to Brussels, and brought to Rotterdam to be examined. Re-examined at Camfer. Son of the late Mutio Colonna, nephew of Prospero and of Cardinal Marc Antonio. Left Rome from fear of the pope who is the worst since Boniface, and because he had slain a knight of Malta. Did not make himself known to Parma because their houses are not friendly. 12 to 15,000 foot and 500 horse have left for Netherlands, almost all Italians banished from Naples and Rome, the levy made in the pope's name, Spinelli maitre de camp. On arriving most have been distributed in garrison and the old soldiers, as well Spanish as Italian drawn out to be employed on the enterprise of the Prince of Parma. Before they left a large number of Italians was sent to Sardinia, no Germans ; but the Archduke Ferdinand charged to send Germans to Netherlands, does not know how many. Heard that army of Parma and the Marquis of Santa Cruz would consist of 60,000 men. When asked the intention of this army he would only inform the Prince of Orange. Brought to the chamber of the Count of Nassau told him that he knew from his uncle, the Cardinal, that the pope had made a league against the Queen of England for which he had held three consistories. The pope was chief, and there were also the king of Spain, the dukes of Florence, Savoy, Ferrara, Urbino, Mantua and other Italian potentates, the House of Austria and other Germans. The Venetians wished to stand out, but had at last agreed to give money. The king of France, after several refusals, only entered when the pope threatened to excommunicate him. The king of Scotland will enter on condition that the king of Spain has him crowned king of England and will give him his daughter in marriage. The Prince of Parma to conduct the war by land and Santa Cruz by sea. The Spaniards boast that they will destroy the English fleet if they meet it. When objected that he took no account of the king of Scotland being of the religion he mocked saying that kings do everything for advantage. Told that the Queen looked for peace and the Prince of Parma was willing to treat, he said she might do what she pleased but she could see if these preparations were for peace. Told that the king of Spain himself had written about it to the king of Denmark he replied that the king of Spain might do this to deceive but the war would still go forward in the name of the pope and of the Grand Master of Malta. He knew from his uncle that the funds of which the pope was assured, derived from the said princes and the clergy of Italy whom he had compelled, amounted to 8 millions. Asked what he wished to do, said he was content to remain in that country where the pope had no power and not leave it until the pope died. On the advice of the earl of Leicester he was sent prisoner to Vuillemstad. Endd. The confession of Odo Colonna. 3 pp. Also in Villiers' hand. French. [Holland XIX. f. 151.]
Having heard that her Majesty of England has been pleased to inform the States General of the good and maternal affection with which she embraces these afflicted provinces, accompanied by a proposal to procure for us, a good, firm and christian peace with the King of Spain and thus to deliver these provinces. And as, thereupon, the illustrious lord, Guillaume Loys, Comte de Nassau, Governor and Captain-general, together with the States deputed by this country, has found it expedient to assemble these States and to put before them the above :
We, being assembled to the same end in the town of Leeuwarden, and having discussed the good offer of her Majesty, have deputed Dr. Sixtus a Dekema and Godschalk de Hiddama, to go with all diligence to the town of Delft, to the assembly of the States General of the United Provinces, to labour with the said States, and to take such good and sound resolution as they shall find fitting for a good, Christian and assured peace, with preservation of the true, evangelical religion, and maintainance of the ancient privileges, rights, usages and customs of our country, and pray your noble lordship, that our said commissioners and deputies, in what they are charged withal by us, may be received with all favour and graciously heard, and that it may please you to assist them by your authority.Leeuwarden, 9 December, 1587, stilo antiquo. Signed by Sydert van Botnya, Ulbe van Aylva and Schelte van Douma. Add. Endd. French. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 153.]
Since my last, here has been with the Lord General Marshal Vilyers, "who hath obtained of him Don John di Castillia presently to be delivered, repaying your money ; whereupon I told his lordship that I could not let him go till such time as I heard from your honour and likewise from the Princess of Orange ; the which answer he took in very evil part, being much offended that I should doubt of his word ; saying he would see you satisfied and that the Princess was content ; but as yet the prisoner remaineth in my hands, and shall, till such time as I have your money and that the Princess be content. "I have so often troubled your honour for a full pay for this garrison and other wants, as I am loft to write any more, but rather humbly to beseech her Majesty that she would wholly discharge me of this troublesome place ; having dealt to that effect with the Lord General, who hath promised me not only in that, but also to deal most effectually with her Majesty for Sir William Pelham's offices, with many good words, but if your honour do not stand my honourable friend in it, I am afraid I shall go without. . ."Flushing, 10 December. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 155.]
Dec. 10. DE LOO to BURGHLEY.
His Highness is gone to Brussels, but M. de Champagney said the Duke might take it amiss, if I followed him to see what he was doing there ; all his household and his Council being still here. Therefore I have written to him what I thought needful, and hourly expect his answer, with which Morris will at once return, both of us being in great anxiety. M. de Champagney thinks that the deputies ought to come first, and when at Ostend or elsewhere, they will certainly have whatever safe-conduct they ask, and suspension of arms will also be granted then, since he is sure the Duke desires to make peace, unless prevented by delays. I have frequently written that if the King shows himself determined to make war in good earnest, then there will be no other remedy, and to that end, preparation must be made ; but I cannot persuade myself that there is any real intention of it here. The Duke is vexed by the suspicion which there seems to be of him, he having given orders all along the coast that if the deputies should arrive in any place, they are to be received with every courtesy. When Morris departs, I shall go with him, to satisfy, by word of mouth, what scruples may remain.Bruges, 10 December, 1587, stilo antico. Add. Endd. by Burghley as received on Dec. 26. Italian. 1 pp. [Flanders I. f. 378.]


  • 1. The full text in Dutch given by Bor : Nederlandsche Oorloghen, Bk. XXIII. f. 91a.
  • 2. A considerable portion of this letter is printed. Bertie : Five Generations of a Loyal House, pp. 148-9.