Elizabeth: June 1587, 6-10

Pages 98-106

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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June 1587, 6-10

This morning, munitions and victuals were sent hence to Sluece, "but the enemy being very strong and having planted his ordnance on the dyke to keep the passage, beat the boats in such sort that they could not get in. Two ships of war went with them to guide them in were so beaten with their ordnance that they were driven aground, and the captains of them, being cowards, came out of their ships and left them to the enemy . . . a great loss, besides the dishonour. There was also lost some two hoys with corn ; but this night I trust there will be some other attempt to put in some munition. There was and is as great diligence used to supply the wants that are in the town as is possible. There is already sent in, I trust, victuals and munitions for two or three months. If in that time they may be succoured I trust the enemy shall get nothing . . . . It is credibly reported that the Prince hath sworn he will not rise from thence till such time as he hath the town, for he hath above thirty battering pieces and doth mean to batter it in three places." Sir Roger Williams has taken into it four ensigns ; viz : Baskerfeild, Harte, Udall and Vear, besides many gentlemen, and there are nine ensigns in the town, so that there are some 1700 men in all. . . . Master Blunt ("Blutte") went with the ships that were taken but is back here again. The lord send my lord of Leicester, and that quickly, or all will be naught.Flusching, 6 June, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XV. f. 39.]
June 7/17. Explanation of the letter of February 4, 1587, given by the States General.The Hague, 17 June, 1587. (fn. 1) Fr. 17 pp. [S.P. For. Archives, XC. p. 237.]
Desiring him to give 20l. (out of the 2000l. kept back of the last treasure sent into the Low Countries) to the bearer, Robert Arden, appointed to take charge of the victuals to be sent to Sluce.The Court at Greenwich, 7 June, 1587. Copy. p. [Holland XV. f. 41.]
"I have spoken at large this day with Do. Jos., who is marvellously informed of all the doings in the Low Countries, and of the particularities of Count Morryce and Hollock ; and he hath brought me a message from the Princess of Orange. "He telleth me plainly my lord of Buckhurst hath done the King of Spain better service there in these two months than Don Barnar : de Mand[oza] did him in seven year ; for he affirmeth for certain that he was the only cause of the liberty of victual to go to the enemy, and hath warranted to satisfy her Majesty, for it is enough, he said, that he can tell her Majesty it was the only ready way to make money for the States. By which act, the Prince is now greatly stored, for there went two hundred sail presently to Sass in Flanders, near Biervliett, which doth now maintain the Prince's army ; and daily goeth more, by which means shortly he will be better provided than either Holland and Zeeland. In troth the King of Spain hath got more good by this than ever he will bring with his peace to her Majesty. He telleth me other matters . . . which I have willed him to tell you also. It behoveth her Majesty to be sure of her counsellors. In deed this is a way both to force the States and her Majesty also to a peace, whether good or bad ; and there is no remedy but you must procure her Majesty's earnest letters to the States of Holland to stay this licence of victual or all will be marred ; and write also to some good towns, as Dort and Delph, of her mislike."7 June. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. f. 42.]
June 8/18. Letter from the States General to her Majesty. Inform her of the resolution taken on the 13th inst. N.S. to form a camp, with the appointment of the general and other officers. They have asked General Norris to act as Marshal because of his distinguished and faithful service for several years, his many good qualities, his knowledge of the country and people, his popularity with the soldiers and others, his acquaintance with the ruses and practices of the enemy and with what means the Low Countries conduct their affairs. Hearing of her intention to recall him beg her to consider the importance of his services and experience to the county and how greatly it would suffer from his withdrawal at this conjuncture.The Hague, 18 June, 1587. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [S.P. For. Arch. XC., p. 231.]
June 8/18. Letter from the States General to his Excellency. Satisfaction at his return. Owing to the siege of Sluys they have been obliged to anticipate arrangements for making a camp, appointing Count Maurice general, Count Hohenlo lieutenant and General Norris marshal with other appointments. Hope he will take it in good part. The Provinces have advanced about 500,000 florins by way of extraordinary contributions for the payment of the troops now serving and for the reiters etc. levied by the Count of Moeurs. The provinces will do their duty in furnishing their contributions for the rest of the year. Expectation of help in money and men from the queen with request that no fresh levies at the charge of the country be made by Alex. Dyer or any other.The Hague, 18 June, 1587. Copy. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid., p. 232.]
Acknowledging his letter of May 31 O.S. and expressing their pleasure at hearing that her Majesty had determined to send him over shortly. According to his desire, they have spoken with the States General concerning the taking means to join some forces with those expected from her Majesty and hope they will write to her of their willingness to do what the state of their affairs allows. For themselves, they have not as yet any means at their disposition, not having been able to come to an agreement with the provinces, which must be left to his Excellency at his coming, as they have asked the ambassador to inform him. Will at all times do their duty for the good of those countries, having given order, together with the States General, for the provision of victuals, munition and soldiers for Sluys and will send more with all possible diligence, taking such care for the succour of the place as its importance requires. The States Generalhearing of the siege of the town and seeing that time pressed and that the coming of his Excellency was uncertain ; also that there were not means to oppose against the designs of the enemy, and that he expects to take the town [of Sluys], so that the people begin to murmur, and some towns declare that they will not contribute if they do not see ways used to make head against the enemyhave found it expedient, to erect a camp of as many horse and foot as can possibly be obtained in the country, leaving the towns and strong places furnished with garrisons. And in order to put all in order, and that discipline may be established and maintained, (which would not be possible without a chief to command all) ; in order also to do away with all emulations and jealousies, the States General have likewise advised that Count Maurice shall be established as chief and general of the said camp provisionally only during his lordship's absence and without any prejudice to his authority ; the plan being to enter first into Brabant and there spoil the harvest, by which means it is hoped to deprive the enemy of the means to continue the siege of Sluys and other places, or at least to divert him from them. In the same manner, the principal officers for the conduct of the war are also appointed : viz. Count Hohenlohe as lieut.-general of the army ; Count Moeurs, general of the cavalry, General Norris, marshal of the camp, but all only provisionally, while awaiting his Excellency's arrival, who will then be able to dispose of all things as he thinks best for the service of her Majesty and the good of the country. The Hague, 18 June, 1587. French. 1 pp. [Holland XV. f. 45.]
"This morning I received letters from Mr. Secretary, whereby I understand her Majesty's resolution for my revocation, for the which I do give your honour [sic] most humble thanks." I shall put myself in readiness to leave on receipt of her Majesty's order, and pray that the Auditor and Muster-Master may be enjoined to make up my accounts, and the Treasurer to pay what is due to me for my entertainment, officers and companies, that I may discharge my credit, largely employed for relief of my soldiers in their necessity, "which I am sure the most malicious will confess I have always kept in greater numbers than I had allowance for, and in better sort than their pay would maintain them." As certain captains fear my lord's displeasure in respect of having long served under me, and, as is said have been threatened, I pray that I may bring them away with me, and that they may have their accounts and payments. I think they will be only three or four, for I will not disfurnish her Majesty's service without great cause. Two days ago, certain from the States General and Council of State were sent to propose two points to me : First that having concluded to form a camp, they earnestly desired me to be High Marshal of it, and second (after some compliments) they entreated that they might write to her Majesty to alter or defer her resolution to revoke me. To the first, I deferred giving present order as "it might prejudice the authority of the contract that he which commandeth her Majesty's forces should hold so low a place," and I must first communicate with my lord of Buckhurst. "To the other, that as yet I had received no such advice from England, but that I doubted not but that if her Majesty did command me to any other place, her Highness would be pleased to send thither other sufficient commanders, and that I was wholly to obey her Majesty's pleasure." I hear that they have notwithstanding, sent their letters, but have no desire that they should take any effect, for "it were not only inconvenient but unsuitable that I should remain here with my lord's disfavour, and, remembering how subject I am to the sinister constructions of my envious evil-willers, I must assure your honour that I was nothing acquainted with this proposition, and desire nothing more than to be revoked. All the forces we can make are to be assembled on Friday next by Huesden, where I do not think there will be in all above 4000 able foot and 1600 horse. Of English we shall be very few, both from the weakness of our companies, and that we dare not take out our garrisons lest they should not suffer us to come in again, as we had proof at Utrecht, "and yet for all the garrisons it standeth in tickle terms." I mean to be at the assembly, and to omit nothing that may be necessary before my lord's arrival, which should be hastened, as many disorders need remedy, "and we here will wash our hands of any disgrace that shall happen."The Haghe, 8 June, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland XV. f. 47.]
On the 5th instant a courier brought letters from Themistocles to the States and Council dated the last of May, signifying that he will be here speedily, bringing from her Majesty what will satisfy them all ; and appointing them to meet him at Dordrecht, where he has given order for preparing his lodging. It seemed strange to Lord Buckhurst and the rest of us that before we could draw from the States their answer to her Majesty's letters of the 3rd of May, upon which it appeared she intended to ground her resolution both as to the succours and Themistocles' return, this hasty promise should arrive. "But even as the said letters were delivered unto us, sitting in Council (the Counts Maurice, Niewenar and Hohenlo and certain deputies of the States General being then present) we were entered into consultation upon two propositions delivered unto us by the States General ; whereof the first was to let us understand that the States, in respect of the manifold disorders and confusions of the State for lack of government, as well in the matter of the policy as of the men of war and the military discipline, by reason of the absence of the Governor-general ; and that now the enemy was come into the field with a strong army and had besieged the town of Sluce, they could no longer defer to take order for the safety and defence of their state, and therefore they had thought it requisite to have an army into the field to resist the designs of the enemies, and that the Count Maurice should be established as general of the field to command over all the men of war ; and that under him should be likewise appointed the other chiefest officers of the army ; so to continue by provision until the return of his Excellency or some other to be sent from her Majesty. "The second proposition was that the matter of the policy and civil government should remain with the Council of State as it had done sithence the departure of his Excellency ; but in other sort, removing and cassing all such acts as had been made by his said Excellency in diminution or restriction of the authority formerly given by the States General to the Council. "These two propositions, delivered by the States, were put in deliberation by the Chancellor Leoninus (the States being desired to withdraw themselves) and every man's opinion and suffrage demanded. My lord Buckhurst was the first whose opinion was required, who very discreetly answered that it was a matter whereunto he could say nothing, as not being authorized from her Majesty to intermeddle himself so far with their government, and therefore desired to be excused, leaving to themselves to take such order for their own preservation as they should think most convenient, and might not be repugnant to the contract made with her Majesty. "Sir John Norrys and myself desired in like sort to be excused for our opinions and voices therein, and so refused to speak either with or against, although we were extremely pressed by the whole Council thereunto. In the end, the election of the Count Maurice was by the rest assented unto and concluded. "The letters were hereupon delivered and read, which gave some stay of any further proceeding until the next meeting in the afternoon, where, after my lord ambassador had ended some conference with the Council and States General, it was eftsoons urged by Barnevelt, in the name of the States, that the resolution taken in the morning concerning the election of Count Maurice might take place, alleging that although it had seemed to them by his Excellency's letters that her Majesty had resolved upon his speedy return, yet forasmuch as the counsels and resolutions of princes are often subject to change and alteration upon new occasion, they did not think it fit that their late purpose concerning the Count Maurice should receive any interruption ; so that now the Count is appointed General of all the forces, et quid sequitur nescimus. "Touching the second proposition, it is also concluded by the States that the several acts made by his Excellency to abridge the authority of the Council shall be cassed." And now I pray your honour to procure my speedy recall, for if her Majesty will not call me home I shall hazard her displeasure by returning without leave, being resolutely determined not to stay here after his Excellency's arrival. I have received sure advertisement of his implacable hatred towards me, and how he has brought me out of her Majesty's favour, therefore it behoves me to have regard to myself, and I mean not "to be dandled with any love days or reconciliations."8 June, 1587. Copy. 2 pp. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 112.]
We have been informed that very lately there have been suffered to pass, by licence of the States, out of Holland and Zeeland, two hundred vessels laden with several sorts of victuals, to a place called Sas in Flanders, held by the enemy, "whereby he has been enabled to lay siege to the town of Sluce, which otherwise he could not conveniently have done," which tending greatly to the prejudice of the common cause, we have written both to the Council of State and to certain towns where we understand the victuals were laden, signifying our dislike of this manner of dealing. "And as we doubt not but that you have of yourself put them in mind of the great mischief that might grow to themselves by such permissions ; and of the just offence that we might conceive of such a kind of dealing, tending to private profit without regard of the common causeor else we should think that you had greatly failed in your duty and the trust that we repose in you for the advancement of our service so is it our pleasure that you should accompany these our letters with speeches of your own to the same effect ; pressing them earnestly that some present order may be taken for the stay thereof, for that we cannot otherwise but repute them both to be negligent and over-careless of their own well-doing, and unmindful of the advice we have heretofore given them in this behalf." Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 1 pp. [Holland XV. f. 94.]
June 9. "Names of captains to be appointed to take charge of the men to be levied, and the places for their embarquement."
Lyme or Poole. Captain John Lea, Dorset, 150 ; Capt. Robert Hitchcocke, Wilts, 150 ; Capt. Alex. Dyer, Somerset, 150 ; Capt. Huntley, Gloucester, 200.
Sandwich or Dover. Captain Younge ; Capt. Hovenden, Kent, 300 ; Capt. Morgan Sussex, 150.
London. Sir Robert Sidney, Surrey, 150 ; Capt. Wm. Grey, Bucks, 150 ; Capt. Nowell, Northampton, 200 ; Capt. Moore, Bedford, 150 ; Capt. Pettye, (fn. 2) Oxon, 150 ; Capt. Tanner, (fn. 3) Berks, 200 ; Capt. Cheston, (fn. 4) Capt. Cosbye, Essex, 300 ; Capt. Swanne, (fn. 5) Hartford, 150 ; Capt. Thos. Knevett, Middlesex, 150 ; Sir H. Goodyer, Warwick, 150.
Yarmouth. Capt. Carlesse, Suffolk, 150 ; Capt. Shelton, Norfolk, 150 ; Capt. North, Cambridge and Ely, 150.
Hull. Captain Lathom, Capt. Catlin, York, 400 ; Capt. Smythe, Capt. Powle, Lincoln, 300.
London. Captains Goring, Barton, Sampson, White ; London, 600.
Summa, 4,600.
[On the covering page, in another hand, is the following list] : Sir W. Pelham ; Sir W. Read ; Capt. Erington ; Col. Morgan ; Captains Bruenton, Wilson, Banister, Tanner, Sampson, Barton ; Peu, Goring ; Hinder ; Petty ; Latham. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. f. 49.]
Recommending the bearer [qy. Etienne Le Sieur], better known to his honour than to himself, but who seems to him to have good parts and worthy to be esteemed. He has suffered great adversity by his long durance with the enemy, and any help given him to recover his great losses "will be done to one that may be used for the good service of her Majesty, and so he may well deserve it."10 June, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. p. [Holland XV. f. 69.]
I received yours of the 2nd on the 9th instant, "signifying her Majesty's resolution for the return of my lord of Leicester and the revocation of Sir John Norrys ; which as it seemeth, had been already advertised out of England from others, and specially from Ortell to the States ; to whom the return of his Excellency is in no proportion so agreable as the revocation of the other is grievous, upon whose value and wisdom only they seem to have reposed and settled their hope of good fortune and victory against the Spaniards. But ... it were not good to urge the alteration of her Majesty's purpose therein, lest it might hinder my lord's speedy return, whereupon . . . the whole fortune of these countries doth depend ; and may impeach her Majesty's liberality now presently intended for the better defence of the cause." I fear his lordship will construe the States' request for the stay of Sir John to proceed from a device to hinder his own coming, and lay it to my charge, as he does all things done here which run not with his liking, whereof I protest I am utterly innocent ; but as his imputations are too heavy for me to bear, I beseech you to procure that I may be in England before he comes away, to lay some foundation of my defence in his presence, wherein I hope not only to show how I am wronged, but to satisfy her Majesty, who, to my great grief, I hear is highly incensed against me at his instigation.The Hague, 10 June, 1587. Postscript. My colleague [Dr. Clarke] entreats your honour to remember your promise touching his revocation also, and the appointment of some other in his place ; as he accounts that his absence will be his undoing. Copy. 1 pp. [S.P. For. Archives XCI., p. 115.]
Prays him, in view of his own speedy return, to assure the well-affectioned of her Majesty's intention to succour the country. And if, on the part of Lord Buckhurst or any other there has been an attempt to persuade them that her Majesty had resolved to treat of peace with the King of Spain, and desired to have the approbation of the people of the country thereupon, he shall say to them plainly that his lordship has had no such charge, and that her Majesty has not engaged (n'a est) in any treaty, but has only tried to sound him as to what conditions he would give the said countries in case of an accord. As to which, not having perceived any assurance, she is proceeding to do what she believes will serve for defence thereof, as appears by the army sent out under Drake towards the Spains, and his own return with a good number of men entertained by her Majesty, in addition to her ordinary succours. He shall also communicate to those who have charge over the people and whom he thinks may be of service, that his Excellency is returning in confidence that henceforward they will forbear all the difficulties of the past and will yield to him such legitimate authority as is fitting for administrating the sovereignty of the countries, without opposition and countermining by the States, as in the past ; being content to retain what they claim to have had under the governors of the Emperor and the King and no more during his own government, since he does not wish to do anything of importance without the consent of the Council, which will be legitimately composed of people of the country. He shall also say that such is the intention of her Majesty as shown in her Instructions, by which she commands him to return if he cannot obtain from the States the authority needful in order not to be governor in appearance and on paper only. Of which things he desires that the honest people may be advertised, in order that they may take timely care that nothing happen to their prejudice and ruin against their good will and opinion. Greenwich, 10 June, 1587. (fn. 5) Copy. French. 1 p. [Holland XV. f. 71.]
Another copy of the same [Ibid. f. 73].
June 10. Summary memorial of the State of the War, drawn up with her Majesty's ambassador in presence of Counts Maurice and Hohenlo and General 'Noritz,' with Counsellors Clerck and Wilkes, in the Assembly of the States General, for the whole year 1587, both for the garrisons of the towns and frontier places and for the entertainment of a camp of 5000 horses ; 12,000 foot ; 1000 pioneers and all necessary things. Which number will be taken partly out of the garrisons, and partly newly levied. The whole expense of which army is estimated to bebesides the ordinary succours of her Majesty and the third part which the country is still answerable for ; the charges of the war by sea and what the Provinces pay for the service of the garrisons etc. 390,000l. Endd. Fr. 7 pp. [Ibid. XIX., f. 256.]
June 11/21. Reply of the States-General to Lord Buckhurst's request to have further elucidation of the States' complaints in regard to his Excellency's letter from London of Jan. 3 last, English Style, expressing their desire to respect and honour him and to conform to her Majesty's good pleasure. Fifteen articles.The Hague, 21 June, 1587. Fr. 5 pp. [S.P. For. Archives XC., p. 259.]


  • 1. The Dutch text is given by Bor. ;
  • 2. These names have a small o before them.
  • 3. The latter portion printed in extenso by Motley, United Netherlands, ii. pp. 242-3, with some inaccuracies, the date is given as 15 June.
  • 4. See Japikse ; Resolutien, Vol. V., pp. 635-8, where the date is given.
  • 5. Buckhurst apparently refers to this paper in his letter to the Queen of the 13th June. Cabala pt. II., p.