Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 4, January-June 1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.
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March 1588, 6–10
Lord Willughby to Walsingham.
I have propounded to the States what I was commanded, and have delivered her Highness's letters to the two Counts and the Estates, but cannot draw them to any resolution or certain answer, “neither for Colonel Snoy or any other; but still put me off with delays (as I take it) until they have their wills of Medenblicke. They have written (as they say to their agents in England to declare the cause of their rigour against Snoy to her Majesty; which may, if you prevent it not, give them liberty to execute their wills, which would be but hard measure, when Snoy cannot come to answer (being shut up with their siege). I offered to go myself to Medenblike … but that they have shaken off, and continue in their accustomed shifts.”
To-day I have received a letter from the Lords, to whom, in my answer I make request to be warranted according to the words of my commission. In that, as in all other matters, I pray your furtherance whereof I have no doubt. I leave all things to Capt. Buck's report.—The Hague, 6 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. Seal of arms. [Holland XXII. f. 68.]
Lord Derby to Burghley.
Touching Burghley's thanks for kindness to his son. Finds many good parts in this young gent, and will be a father to him till their return. The business in hand is given in their letters to the Council. Asks for delivery of an enclosure. Ostend, 6 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Flanders II. f. 209.]
Sir James Croft to Burghley.
Parma's courtesies. Need of choosing some other place for the meeting. The choice rests between Antwerp, Bruges and St. Omer. The duke finds Bruges too much wasted by the great number of soldiers in quarters there. St. Omer is generally liked for its nearness to England, but himself considers Antwerp more convenient for the following reasons:
Understands the duke is marvellously offended that Holland and Zeeland will not agree to the colloquy and therefore will grant no surcease of arms except for those places where her Majesty commands. So it is not unlikely, if the two provinces are gotten by the supposed enemy that these forces might be converted against England. Fear and fair means may be used to bring them to yield to a reasonable treaty; which may easily be wrought at Antwerp, and is now more easy because the enemy, being it is thought, able to command the isle of Walkerlande, Holland will be more easily persuaded or compelled. Antwerp also will be very desirous to further peace to promote intercourse and trade, whereof if they taste the sweet they will never after assent to any war, a consideration that does not affect St. Omer. Ostend, 6 March, 1587.
A note asking that Lord Buckhurst or Harbart be sent, and Mr. Wolley to supply his place, in order to further the work. Also that her Majesty's resolution in these matters should be directed from herself or from those deputed by her, without making any other privy thereof, for every small scruple will disturb the whole camp.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1⅓ pp. [Flanders II. ff. 211, 212.]
The Peace Commissioners to the Privy Council.
At Dover we wrote to Lord Willoughby for his opinion touching the cessation of arms, which is not yet answered. After arriving here on the 26th Feb. we sent Mr. Spencer to the duke with the instructions enclosed. We enclose a memorial which we required Andreas de Lo to make of his proceedings. (fn. 1) Although we gathered that the duke did not incline to send the king's commissioners to the town we awaited Mr. Spencer's return to certify your lordships thereupon. He returned on the 3rd inst. and his report is enclosed. Within an hour there arrived the Secretary Granier with Capt. de la Haye, and was ceremoniously received by the commissioners. He announced in Italian that he was sent to welcome us and said his Highness would be glad if we would choose some more suitable place. He was very desirous to be a means to procure a common quiet. We decided to take advantage of the offer and without selecting a place to send some one (probably Dr. Rogers) to inform the duke of her Majesty's pleasure therein. In the morning we entertained him as before and informed him of this decision. We told him that her Majesty desired all diligence and that no time might be lost. He promised to do his best, assuring us of the duke's good will. He thought the duke would not be scrupulous about the place. He made no reply about the proffer of the choice of place to her Majesty, but seemed rather to allow it. After some pause he was asked if there were any commission granted in the king's behalf and in whose hands it is. He seemed to be utterly ignorant of any such matter, but thought it was with the duke. We told him certain horsemen had been seen of late not far from the town, and as none of the garrison here is allowed to go forth he was asked to take steps to prevent such inconveniences. He said he was sure that his Highness would give order therein to our satisfaction.
We would fain have despatched him the same day but he lingered here and would not depart until the next morning.—Ostend, 6 March, 1587.
Signed by all the Commissioners. Add. Endd. 4¼ pp. [Ibid. f. 207.]
Draft for the same.
Endd.: The report of Granier's first coming to Ostend, 1585 (sic). 14 pp. [Ibid. f. 181.]
Mr. Spencer's Report to the Commissioners.
The duke was glad to hear of their arrival and welcome by Andrea de Loo. He was sorry that the spoiling of those parts prevented Dunkirk and Neuport yeilding better commodity to Mr. Controller. He thought the same of Ostend and wished the place might have been Antwerp. The king's commissioners would be ready to meet them, and he hoped for good success, in spite of evil offices. In the evening the duke sent to say that Garnier would return with him, with a message to their lordships.
Understood the commissioners were not yet assembled at Bruges.
Endd. 1 March, 1587. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 189.]
[Sir James Croft] to Leicester.
Beholding this straight and troubled haven, ruined and incommodious town and all the passages throughout the country broken, I marvel how your L. did so speedily convey the army hither and back again for the rescue of Sluis. I would her Maj. did know it…. My lords tarry here expecting a meeting and yet they do not hear whether any man will come to meet them. I go to learn the certainty that her Maj. may resolve upon somewhat. I have sent to Mr. Killigrew to understand the humours of men there. It is requisite that there were intelligence and conference between us and that my lords here should know what is done or meant there, whereof they are utterly ignorant, and so is not the enemy, we may be well assured.—Ostend, 6 March, 1587.
Unsigned. Endd. in later hand To th' Erle of Leceystre. ½ p. [Ibid. f. 214.]
Sir James Croft to Burghley.
Being uncertain whether his letters have been received or his proceedings accepted, asks to be informed if his letters have been delivered.—Ostend, 6 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley. ⅓ p. [Ibid. f. 221.]
Lord Willughby to Leicester.
Encloses letters received from Count Maurice.
I have laboured the States of Holland these three days, both for answers to my propositions and especially for retiring their forces from before Medenblick, but in spite of my importunity, and my alleging what indignity it was that her Majesty's motions should be so little respected, I could obtain nothing, save that they had informed her Majesty thereof by their Deputies, and would grow to some further course when Count Maurice arrived, whom they expect daily, “which argueth nothing but delay to seize the town by winning of time,” for desiring to go there myself, with the Chancellor or some other in my company, it would not be granted. Considering that the event of this action may either discourage or assure all who love her Majesty, I pray to have some speedy direction what course I shall follow.
I have further intelligence that all the garrisons would be easily won for her Majesty; “especially Gurtruidenburg, and Rotterdam seemeth very easy to be made ours.”
On Monday last, certain of the States of Holland came to me, with whom the conference enclosed passed, “Whereby may well appear their ingrate dispositions, which maketh me conceive they have gained a new master; which I suspect would be the Spaniard if they could find means, by restoring all, to make their service more acceptable.”
As they have, with their ships of war, closed the passage by sea to Medenblick, it were well, now her Highness' navy is abroad, and would not increase any charge, to send three or four of them thither, to open the sea.—The Hague, 7 March, 1587.
Postscript. If the Count and the States stand obstinate, and will not leave their persecution of Sonoy and Medenblick, “I beseech you, (if her Majesty please to have me use force to remove the siege) that I may receive good warrant and be appointed means to enable me to perform it, which I hope to dispatch quickly, if I receive full order.”
The soldiers of Berges and other places are ready to mutiny if their wants be not relieved. I send you a copy of my last proposition to the States; also copies of my letters to Sonoy, sent yesternight by a trumpet.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holland XXII. f. 70.]
Copy of the conference between Lord Willoughby and the States [of Holland].
Monday the 4 March certain of the States were deputed to come and answer a message which I sent them.
|The States Deputies.||My Lord.|
|We require that your lp. would give us your letters to Narden.||If you will withdraw your army from Meddenblik, it would be a good testimony of your beginning to please her M.|
|Will you ‘seasse’ over towns.||No, but defend certain persons whilst their causes may be heard, for you have published an act against order.|
As absolute master we may war and do what we list.
That is determined by yours.
You have made a governor of his Ex. for martial causes.
And you made him governor of the country; her Majesty me of her forces, two distinct offices.
|What will you make of the States.||Reverence them according to their own privileges, acts and contracts.|
|Will you refuse letters to Narden?||Aye, unless you give me answer for Medenblik, the one private, the other general for your good.|
|Then is the States' order little respected.||The queen's demand less,|
|The queen hath nought to do in these causes, nor my l. of Leicester.||If she were but a confederate she might desire “determinge” of debates, when Christian blood upon ambition is like to be ‘panilie’ spilt, much more because you have desired her to undertake. Besides his Ex. is your governor made by yourselves, till you orderly depose him you ought not to depose those which sware to him or do any act against him or his, without his assent.|
|We had his resignation.||But had he not your common assent?|
|Well if matters stand thus we must look to ourselves.||If her Highness be thus dealt withal, I must protest her pleasure not to digest these indignities, which I speak to avoid further inconveniences and extremities, if I be constrained to discharge my duty and service to her Maj. in assuring such as she hath specially recommended.|
|Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 51b.]|
“Collections out of the memoirs delivered by the Commissioners for the States”; in Burghley's handwriting.
It is said that though at the Earl of Leicester's coming from Holland, there was appointed a list of 23,900 footmen and 3000 horsemen to continue in pay for the defence of the provinces; comprehending therein the Queen's Majesty's army of 5000 foot and 3000 horse, yet they do now conclude that there cannot be less than 27,000 footmen, 3000 horse lances, 500 light horse.
[Calculations of the charges of the above troops; also the charges for governors, colonels, captains etc. for victuals and munitions; provision for an increase of the forces etc. amounting in all to 603,400l.]
Endd. “March 7, Memorial.” And with further memoranda by Burghley. 2½ pp. [Ibid. f. 72.]
“Substance of ‘Gronevelt's’ letters to the Earl of Leicester.”
20 February, stilo veteri.
“1. The pitiful state of them that be well affected to her Majesty at Utrecht and in the country adjoining.
“2. To have help with speed; otherwise they expect very shortly to be put to all extremity, and as it seemeth, present execution.
“3. The Spanish soldiers left in quietness, victualled by the Hollanders. Her Majesty's friends persecuted as enemies etc.
“4. The treacherous betraying of Scluse, the execution of Leyden, the late proceeding against Medenblick etc.; the present besieging of Sonoy; the delaying of Groenvelt's entertainment, manifest their rage, and their present enticing of his serjeant-major to accuse him to have been partaker of the conspiracy at Leyden, declare they seek his death.
“5. That they seek the lives of four that be at Utrecht.
“6. Three companies of his at Utrecht, two at Doesbrouck, without pay since the siege of Scluse; and two companies with him, who rest at your lordship's commandment for the service of her Majesty.
“7. Brissaulx and Hautain revolted to the States.
“8. The States threaten to disband them and four companies of horse, and so his whole regiment, without speedy redress by her Majesty's means.
“9. The death of [Rowland] Yorke; the attempt of killing Count Herman [of Berg] at Daventer.
“1. Thanks for the letter written by her Majesty to the Lord Willoughby in his behalf.
“2. Sale of their goods that be absent from Leyden; the imprisoning of a woman for uttering speech against their proceedings.
“3. That they stand on their defence until they receive a resolution from her Majesty.
“4. That ‘Bues’ seeketh to draw Narden to the States.
“5. The tumult of Huesden to be appeased.
“6. Schenck to have made an honourable agreement for the Prince Elector, and profitable for himself.
Endd. 1½ pp. [Holland XXII. f. 74.]
Sir James Croft to the Queen.
Sets down what he conjectures is likely to follow of this treaty. The duke undertakes to be mediator. The place of meeting he understands to be at or near Ostend. The place is very unfit and the country round so wasted that there is little or nothing to be had and that is taken by the garrisons round about, which are so numerous that the commissioners are more sure under their safe conduct than by the strength of the town, if the duke had a mind to attempt it. The necessities likely to ensue will demonstrate what is to be done in a matter of so great moment. It is reported that one of the sons of the Archduke Ferdinand or another of that house is ready with 5000 foot and 1000 horse to come to these parts when called for, and all other princes and states stand with ears and eyes open to expect the event of this colloquy. It offers H.M. an occasion of the greatest fame and honour, for a spark kindled in the Low Countries doth extend into all Europe and further. Finds that the duke means to enlarge the surcease of arms to those places of Zeland and Holland or elsewhere where H.M. is now in possession, and such other as are content to yield in correspondency with H.M. in the treaty, and also generally between all H.M.'s dominions and those of the king of Spain.—Ostend, 7 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. Marked ‘answered’ by Burghley. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 215.]
Copy of the same.
[Ibid. f. 217.]
The same to Walsingham.
Glad to learn he is well enough to attend at Court, having understood that the secretary intended to repair to his house in the country for a season.—Ostend, 7 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ⅓ p. [Ibid. f. 219.]
H. Killigrew to Walsingham.
According to her Majesty's letters of Feb. 1 and 14, received on the 27th, I have laboured to procure the States' resolution to the points contained there. The enclosed proposition in French I delivered in their assembly, now only those of Holland and Friesland, the rest having retired home. In which respect, those of Holland and Friesland “desire pardon for their answer” until the rest return; wherefore I have sent the said proposition to the other provinces, some in French, others in Latin, (together with a letter directed to them) as “many of them towards Guelders and Frizeland understand not the French so well”; copies of which I enclose. (fn. 2) I have also caused Mr. Gilpin to translate it into Dutch, and have imparted it, as commanded, to sundry towns.
For what I can learn they [the States] continue for the most part in their former mind, signified to Mr. Herbert, not to send any commissioners, or to join in the treaty of peace, “imputing all these mutinies to the speech thereof,” the soldiers fearing that if peace were concluded they should find but slender satisfaction at the States' hands. Yet this mischief might have been prevented if they had listened to the advice of the Council of State, to give the garrisons a month's pay. For the mutinies and other martial affairs I refer you to my lord Governor's advertisements; “who acquitteth himself very honourably in his charge.”
For matters of state, the Council ten days ago discharged themselves, “and are retired, some one way some another, only M. Brederode and the Chancellor of Gueldres remaining here, who nevertheless refuse to deal as Councillors, so that the door is shut up without assembly. The States say they will establish it again, whereunto I have exhorted them, but perceive as yet small likelihood,” and am therefore going to withdraw for eight or ten days to Dordrecht.
The wisest think that since the beginning of these troubles they were never in so dangerous a state as now, and that all will grow worse and worse. Yet those of Holland, Friseland and Zeeland are resolved to hold out to the end, notwithstanding the alteration in the minds of the generality, “especially because they are persuaded her Majesty hath been unthankfully dealt withal, albeit they say they have and will maintain the treaty in all points,” though I am not persuaded either of their will or ability to do so. Most part of the provinces and people, fearing her Majesty's withdrawal, desire my lord of Leicester more than ever before, but I fear all too late.
I can but pray that her Majesty may have a sure peace or “send over some sufficient man with power to re-unite the provinces and salve up these great divisions.”—The Hague, 8 March, 1588. Signed.
Postscript in his own hand. This messenger departs suddenly, but by Stephens, (fn. 3) my lord of Leicester's man I will write to his lordship and others of my lords more at large.
Add. Endd. 2½ pp. [Holland XXII. f. 76.]
Dr. Dale to the Commissioners.
Relates his journey by Odenboroughe to Bruges, where M. de la Motte met them, who brought them to the English house to Dr. Chambres. The streets are full of people. The echevins came later to welcome them. The country begins to be tilled a little on this side Oudenboroughe and about Bruges; the rest waste. The report that the duke had cut a river from Gaunt to the Sluice is nothing but that he did open and close the old passage and ditches. The country by Oldenboroughe and thence to Newport was “ruined chiefly by the king's own army, partly when Monsieur was here and partly when they did win it away from the States.” La Mothe fetched them to supper. Going towards Gaunt this morning.—Bruges, 8 March, 1587.
Copy. Endd. 2 pp. [Flanders II. f. 223.]
The Captains of Camphire to the Queen.
Thanking her for her kind courtesy and assuring her of their fidelity. Pray her not to permit them to be put under the charge of Count Maurice or any of his adherents, but that Sir William Russel may be made Colonel and Chef de guerre for this island of Walcheren and be provided at once with sufficient patent for the said authority. Also that, for preservation of the isle and country, he may have three or four commissions for captains of the country, to be employed for the service of her Majesty and the good of this land.
They are advised of the siege of Medenblick, and that the governor there is in great danger, cannon being planted before it, and many men having been killed in sorties.—Flushing, 19 March, 1588, stilo novo.
Signed: Ambroise le Ducq; Van der Ende; Carsellis Pallant; Pieter de Coster. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 78.]
Lord Cobham to Walsingham.
The Master of the Requests left yesterday with an escort. Not known where he will find the duke. Mr. Cecil accompanied him. Yesterday they despatched their ordinary post by Neuport and Dunkirk. Hope to hear often from him.—Ostend, 9 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Flanders II. f. 225.]
Morgan Colman, servant of Lord Willoughby, to Burghley.
[Assurances of his gratitude and desire to do his lordship service.]
According to my promise, I have observed “the common carriage of these causes, which I beseech your lordship to receive to your secret self.”
I find the state of these provinces most desperate, and ready to fall into utter ruin; torn with dissension, and disunion appearing in all their towns; “besides such emulation and ambitious desire of rule amongst some few; … the common cause neglected and her Majesty's contemned …” How this weakens them and strengthens the enemy your lordship can best judge. The garrisons in their frontier towns are revolted, and readier to accept the enemy than to follow such uncertain, divided masters.
I would not be tedious; yet, “having observed amongst my lord's memorial a secret note, whereby he seemed to persuade some intention he had conceived about Bergen-up-Zome and Ostend, and, as appeareth, touched the same unto your lordship, I could not bridle my zeal for the good of my country … nor forbear to show your lordship whereby it seemeth the service might be furthered….”
If the discontentment in Gertruydenberg, Naerden, Huesden and Medenblick were laid hold on, and they borne up under her Majesty's countenance; and if “the well-affected soldiers of this country were interlarded with others in those places, who may without charge to her Majesty be maintained with the contribution of itself,” she would be freed from any show of meddling, and yet assured of those places as refuges for those devoted to her service here. Moreover (as my lord's note importeth) she might leave Ostend to the States' defence, and thereby “reinforce her strength nearer together and preserve them from the danger of a siege (which the enemy, I am informed, upon the first occasion will attempt) wherein if he prevail (as undoubtedly he would) in respect her Majesty would be loath to supply them, because it belongs unto the States, and they not willing to succour it because we possess it, the dishonour would fall on our side. Your lordship is wise to consider how smally the place importeth us, unless it were to have a place to invade by, and that, I am persuaded, is not her Majesty's purpose.
Likewise Bergen-up-Zome, a place I confess of more moment, yet not of great regard to keep our men in. [Margin. “If the enemy attempt this, as it is said he will, I cannot see how it will be relieved so long as we hold it”] who might be drawn to places nearer, where they would be more ready for occasions and at less charge to her Majesty; while if the town were in the guard of such of the country as be well-affected, “it would make her Majesty strong in the midst of their divisions, [and] present a most pleasing show, when the people (who are informed and made believe that her Majesty seeketh to possess their frontier towns) shall see that her Highness forsaketh such as she might have kept.”
For Sonoy, it is most necessary to use force (if need be) to succour him.
“I know your love is great unto my lord … and am most glad I follow a nobleman so well conditioned, (fn. 4) in whom I find a wonderful hope to prove a man most fit for his country; and what pity were it such a one … should be discouraged.”
“I pity the state in which I found him; having no means scarce to provide to furnish his ordinary diet, his plate and jewels being before at pawn.” How unseemly this is for one in so great employment, your lordship knows.
Your lordship is pleased to say (as Mr. Secretary told me) that order should be taken to allow 1000l. per annum for intelligences etc., but nothing is yet heard thereof; “which causeth my lord to imagine (as I fear) that I made it of myself. And for his old warrants, due before the 11th of last October, he hopeth that Mr. Stubbs is satisfied.
“I have, amongst these matters of weight, lighted upon certain toys which are more pretty than costly, which I am bold to present your lordship,” praying you to accept them, not according to their value, but for the dutiful affection wherewith I send them.—The Hague, 10 March, 1587.
Add. Endd. 3 closely written pp. [Holland XXII. f. 80.]
“Requests of Sir John Norrys [to the Lords of the Council] touching allowance of his entertainment … Touching his checks by Mr. Digges.”
1. For ten Scots who, having received full pay from him for seventeen months, and having mostly been horsed and armed by himself, were, on their discharge “put clean out of pay,” whereby the whole pay which they had received fell upon himself.
[Apostile in margin.] “To be allowed the entertainment, in respect of the sufficiency of the men and the long continuance of their service.”
2. Mr. Digges pretending to check the thirty persons who came over with him, “as men not sufficiently licenced by due passport”—prays them to consider that it has not been usual to bar any captain from taking with him such persons as were to attend upon himself; and for their passport to draw them out of the company, he presumes he had power to grant it; presuming that Lord Willowbie had men of his own to place in their rooms and that he himself would presently be employed in Ireland, wherefore he chose the greater number.
Apostile. “To be allowed their pay until the time of their departure.”
¾ p. [Ibid. f. 82.]
Certain notes touching Sir John Norreys' warrants.
The Lord Willowbie received his commission in England the 10th of June, 1587. I received her Majesty's letters for my revocation the 24th of the same month. I embarked myself the 6th of July following.
Apostile. To be allowed his entertainment for himself until the time of the receipt of her Majesty's letters; being the 24th of June.
No order sent to me or to any officer of my foot company for their delivery to Lord Willowbie until July 11; nor likewise for delivery of my horse company until July 16; both companies being entertained at my charge until the times mentioned, though the warrants for all these entertainments are passed unto me but unto the 14th of June.
Apostile. To be allowed the entertainment of his two bands … until the last of June, with condition that if the Lord Willowbie can allege any sufficient matter why the said allowance should not be made … Sir John Norreys doth promise to make repayment of so much of the said sums as by their lordships shall be thought meet.
Prays his lordship [sic] to take order herein according to his wisdom, and that he may be as favourably dealt with as others have been in like case.
Endd. with date. ¾ p. [Holland XXII. f. 83.]
|Mar. 10.||“Imprests to captains upon their debt before 11 October, .”|
|Horsebands. 8 names.||Total. 340l.|
|Footbands. 41 names.||Total. 1910l.|
|Sum total. 2210l.||[sic.]|
|To Mr. Digges, mustermaster. 50l.|
Signed by Sherley. Dated by Burghley and endorsed by him with sum total, 2260l., (including payment to Digges). But the total of the footbands and the sum total are both incorrect.
1¼ pp. [Ibid. f. 84.]
Another copy of the same (apparently made from the previous ones as the same mistakes occur) Captain Vere's name is omitted.
Signed by Walsingham. Endd. “March 5” [sic]. [Ibid. f. 85.]
Lord Cobham to Walsingham.
Acknowledges letters of the 28th Feb. and 4th and 6th March, the last brought by one Goring, a servant of the Lord Admiral, containing three letters of Sir Edw. Stafford, which he returns. Instead of the news out of Spain mentioned by Walsingham he received only a copy of a thing written by himself. Forwards copy of Dr. Dale's letter from Bruges.
It is said here that there are 16 chests of treasure come to Dunkirk out of Spain since our coming hither.
This morning Sir Thomas Sherley's man came with the relief for this town, but before then was fain to disburse 153l. to satisfy the captains and contain the soldiers.—Ostend, 10 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 230.]
Robert Cecil to Burghley.
On Thursday Dr. Dale passed from Ostend towards Bruges. At Odenburch he had to alight often to avoid the deep dykes growing by the great breach of the sea at Ostend, which will in time drown both towns and country. The garrison at Odenburch is above 3000. At Bruges Dr. Dale was met by La Motte and well entreated. His wife is a fair gentlewoman of discreet and modest behaviour and yet not unwilling sometime to hear herself speak. His sister, a proper gentlewoman, is a nun of the order of Mownts. On Friday his lp. set forward towards Gaunt where he arrived at 5 o'clock at night after a most miserable passage through foul lanes and woods, where freebooters were at hand but descried our convoy and so saved themselves in the woods. At Bruges I found your lp's. name written in the chamber where I was lodged. Near Gaunt M. Grenier met his lp., and later President Richardotte came to his lodging to appoint him audience. There is in all their mouths nothing but desire and hope of peace, especially the natives of the country, whose misery is incredible, both without the town, where all things are wasted and even in the great cities, where they are for the most part poor beggars. The burgomasters with weeping eyes came to his lp. and expressing their great desire to have quiet presented him certain pots of wine. To whom was answered that her Majesty had vouchsafed to make this overture out of compassion for their estates, which if it took not the desired effect she was not to be thought behind therein. Whereto they all agreed.
On Saturday morning his lp. was conducted to the duke's bedchamber, where he was with the Marquis of Gwasta, the Marquis of Renty, the Prince of Arenberg, Count Nicolas, the D. of Nagerets' son, a Spaniard, Sig. Cosmo, the President Richardotte. Small and mean was the furniture of the chamber, a sign that peace is the mother of all honour and state. The duke heard Mr. Dale's message with attention and replied sometime in French, sometime in Italian, alleging that his French was imperfect, as indeed it is. That done the gentlemen there were presented and it pleased him to question me about her Majesty, as there was no prince whom he desired more to do service unto, and he hoped that it might be his fortune to see her before his return into his own country. He did not desire thus as the servant of one unable to maintain war or as one that feared any harm that might befall him, but only that he grew weary to behold the miserable estate of these people, through their own folly. He though whoever could do the best offices therein should do pium et sanctissimum opus, being right glad that the Queen was not behind him in the zeal thereof. He promised me every courtesy as son to one who always served his sovereign with sincerity. I answered that I knew her Majesty esteemed him as a prince of great honour and virtue, and no man should have cause but to think her M. most zealously affected to bring all things to a perfect peace. He likewise saluted Mr. Crofts, Mr. Spencer and Mr. Pyne. Mr. Dale was carried home by Pres. Richardotte and after followed the Prince of Arenberg, who dined with him. The next morning being Sunday, the duke again sent for him. The particulars I leave to Mr. Dale's relation, who in my judgment discharged the matter discreetly, as he could not decline from his instructions, specifying Ostend, which the duke only appointed as a port to land in, holding it a dishonourable place to send his deputies to a town of the king's occupée par vous autres messieurs, as he said. He would have been content with any neutral place her Majesty might choose. He had ample power and authority from the king as upon the meeting should plainly appear, till which time he desired not sight of them. M. Richardotte in his conference with Mr. Dale wished above all things expedition, to prevent any accident out of Spain or in England to hinder it, saying it had served his master well if it had begun 2 months since.—Gant, 10 March, 1587. (fn. 5)
Postscript. He that gave up Deventer was at both days of our coming, in the ante-chamber talking with one Mocket an Englishman that hath been long on this side married. He was appareled but meanly and à l'Espagnole. I looked on him wisely, whereupon he pulled his hat down over his eyes, wherein he did well for the putting of it off would hardly have cost me mine. The report is he shall have an incomiendo of Malta with which I think he is fain to be contented, for it is reported that the duke is already weary of the mutiny of his disordered soldiers, but himself he maketh good account of. At Antwerp I may hear more of the store of shipping that is talked of than here where men's eyes are curiously fixed upon us.
To-morrow I take my journey toward Antwerp, returning by Berges ap Zoom and Vlissing to Ostend. Because I attended Mr. Dale here, who parteth to-morrow, I mean to wait on him out of town and then my cosen Spencer and I will go to Antwerp. I will tarry so little in any place as I hope to be in Ostend before the colloquy.
Signed. Endd. by Burghley. 5 pp. [Flanders II. f. 227.]