Elizabeth: March 1588, 21-25

Pages 212-221

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, 21–25

Mar. 21. Sir John Conway to Burghley.
I leave report of this treaty to the lords who best know the truth of it, “yet because your lordship shall hear the variety of imaginations, I make bold to let you understand that I licenced Captain Barney to have free conference with Grenier's secretary upon such points as my Lord Cobham thought good … Barney assured me that this man was so much his friend that he would discover his knowledge of anything. The questions were but two:—[First] whether this treaty of peace were faithfully intended and were likely to take good effect. His answer was: The lords here demanded of the Duke a sight of his commission from the King of Spain, and that he took in ill part. And as touching the event of the treaty, he was assured that all was intended but to gain time, until the Duke had got his boats out of the river, and all his forces be come and drawn to a head; all which, within eighteen or twenty days, would come to some pass, as he thought.
“His second question was whether the Duke meant to perform his large resolution to besiege this town, alleging his hope of liberty stood chiefly thereupon, if the treaty of peace should take no good effect. He did answer him that he verily thought the Duke would sit down before this town, so soon as this treaty of peace had end, for there was in hand such wonderful preparation for a siege as he hath not seen; and he judged it only for this place by reason the Duke holds on his purpose to come upon England, and by the way means to make clear this place if he can, to have his retreat sound and good.”
I do well fear this, and that he has secret knowledge of our distress of victual and how weak our forces are; for he will “skant” let a boat pass from England or Zeeland with any provision. I must instantly beseech you to have consideration of this place in due time, for I fear it will come too late if left to the end of the treaty.
“The Duke loses no time nor means to further all he pretends…. Your lordship knows what mischief delay worketh in these causes, and chiefly what inconvenience this place may take, to her Majesty's dishonour, if the opportunity of fit time be lost to relieve it.
“The King's forces are so near and strong, and his preparations so apt and wonderful to annoy this place; and our state so far unready and unfurnished of men and victual etc. that I fear the event if we have not our relief before this treaty ends. The Duke hath his boats in a readiness, laden already with stone and timber to sink and choke our haven … The best is for her Majesty to hold it with honour or to leave it with conditions of honour. Good my lord, pardon my importunity, and yield your honourable assistance now in this extremity to relieve this place. It was never so near danger as now and never weaker to defend itself.”
I have often prayed you to command all captains of this garrison to repair to their companies. “As a mild time may spare them, so the present time requires them. Many men cannot be directed or encouraged to fight well without our few commanders. I see the danger of the place and her Majesty's dishonour so imminent … as I am bound in duty to desire more help, both of wise head and willing hands.”
I send you a description of the King's forces in these parts by Capt. Barney, and a discourse of what he has heard “of this pretend[ed] journey bv the King of Spain upon England.”—Ostend, 21 March, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 149.]
Mar. 22.
State of the King of Spain's forces in the Low Countries.
Walloon regiments under Co. Egmont, Marquis of Renty, M. de Noyrcarmes, Ballanson, de Frezin, La Motte, Co. Octavio de Mansfeld 11920
20 old Walloon companies under no regiment.
7 Almaine regiments under Counts Arenberg, Barlamont, Mansfeld, d'Ikenberg, Don Juan Manriques, Don Hernando Gonzague, Baron de Billytch 14000
7 Spanish regiments under Mondragon, Don Juan d'Inigos, Pradilia, Bovadilia, Agilar, and two others 9400
2 other regiments, Irish under Stanley and Scots under Patten 1000
4 Italian regiments under Camillo Capuchoca, Don Gaston and 2 new regts. 3500
1 Burgonian regiment under the Marquis of Waronbec 1000
3 companies of Luxembergers 1500
Total 42320
Bands of ordonance under Co. Egmont, Co. Barlamont, D. of Archott, Prince of Cymay, Co. Mansfeld, Marquis of Haverech, Marq. de Renty, Co. of Hening, M. de Bayllen, M. de Moerbec, Co. de Bossute. 1100
Italians and Albanese under the duke, Marquis of Guasto, Co. Hochstrat, Nicolo Basta, Hannibal Gonzague, Apio, Conte Olivero Castiliano, Coradin, Don Ambrosio Mondragon, Marq. de Renty, Don Carolos de Luna, the Grand Prior of Hungary, at 60 in a company 600
8 comp. of ‘argoletters’ on horse, the prince's own, Co. Mansfeld, M. de Risburg, Carondelet, Contares, La Buse, George Basta 400
500 entretenudos, which are cast officers or pensioners 500
500 banditos sent from the pope with pardon and promise of restitution 500
Total 3100
Horse yet looked for.
5000 reiters under the duke of Austria, 1000 under the K. of Hungary's nephew, 1000 with the duke of Brunswick 7000
Footmen yet looked for.
3 regiments of Almains 6000, 3 regts. of Spaniards, 3000 Italians and 2000 11000
Total 18000
Grand Total 53320 foot, 10100 horse.
Besides divers noble men and gentlemen out of Spain and Italy with their trains and besides his forces in Friesland and his garrisons in the frontier towns.
Endd. with date.pp. [Flanders II. f. 310.]
Enclosure. A note by Captain Ed: de Barney of what he has “heard discoursed of this journey pretended for England.”
First, they hope that the King's army arriving in England, and striking a sudden terror into all hearts, “they shall not fail of some bent already to their pitch,” to spread it abroad as greater than it is, and “to forge some colourable matter, either for religion or to great suppression, or some one feigned thing” to stir up a mutiny and gain a party in the country.
I take it that Stoquer and Rollestone can discover their instruments.
Secondly, I hear this has been debated of before the King of Spain, and many probable reasons set down by Charles Arundel when he was there. They have great expectation of the Earl of Arundel, as they had of the Earl of Northumberland before his death.
“Thirdly, they pretend the rebelling of some one notable place … as the Tower, some frontier town or port, … just at the arrival of the King's army; to the end that the terror of the one and invasion of the other,” will amaze the wits of her Majesty's forces and give them no time to ‘respire'; while the Prince, marching on in all diligence with his army, shall find the whole country at his mercy, et ville gagnee sans coup ferir.
“I have heard great discoursing of Sir Owen Hopton, lieutenant of the Tower,” whether he be practiseable, what living he is of, whether he were much indebted or malcontent, and might be worked upon by money and assurances of advancement; but could never hear what was concluded.
Endd.Martii, 1587.” 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 248.]
Mar. 22. Lord Derby to Burghley.
Dr. Rogers cannot be despatched to the duke before Monday as he cannot be furnished with horses earlier. My lord governor has written to my lord Steward of the enemy's intention towards this place. In case the letter is lost I let you know that M. Garnier's secretary at his master's desire, was permitted to see one Capt. Barney, a prisoner here. Barney asked what he thought the king intended by the treaty of peace whose answer was that the duke seemed to take great offence that we should stand upon demand of sight of his commissions and that the duke thinks but to use this treaty for his advantage of time until his boats be gotten out of the rivers, his forces here all in a readiness and others come which he looketh for, all which matters he thought would be fully prepared within 18 or 20 days wonderfully strong, immediately whereupon some beleaguering must be gone in hand which he assures himself was for this time and therefore bade Barney be of good comfort…. I hold it not amiss to signify this and to pray your lp. to take special care that we may have 2 or 3 of her Majesty's pinnaces attending here.—Ostend, 22 March, 1587.
Encloses copy of a letter from Andrea de Loo together with the answer returned.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1⅓ pp. [Flanders II. f. 308.]
Mar. 22./April 1. Andrea de Loo to the Commissioners.
Wrote two days ago. As his Highness has not come wrote urging him to send his deputies to get the business started, as no doubt he will. But while he does everything possible, the other side must do the same. He has to advise the king of what is done and says that Ostend is not suitable. What more can he do without prejudicing the honour of his king? He has said repeatedly that he is shamed by the delays. 22 months have gone in treating of nothing but this, ample time for a resolution. Has been commanded by the duke to write clearly that if her Majesty does not see fit to send very soon to make this agreement, which he desires so greatly, he will be very sorry and meanwhile he must see to his own affairs. It is clear what evils will ensue if the war is prosecuted when peace may be had. The opportunity is favourable owing to the duke's regard for the queen, instead of the hazard of war with its ruin and bloodshed. Begs them to agree to meet just once either between Ostend and Nieuport or Ostend and Bruges, to which the duke has agreed though he said Antwerp was more convenient. Once they met they would find every satisfaction. Begs them to leave that uncomfortable place, full of soldiers so improper for treating an accord, indeed the duke said it should be in some place without a garrison. Once they have begun they will find the difficulties smoothed the way being fully prepared. Personally sees no difficulty; all the mischief consists in delay, as once the spring comes for this great army to take the field the duke will not allow the season to pass and let himself be fed with mere words. Asks that his clear writing may not be taken ill. His Highness would like to be able to send word to Spain as soon as may be, that the colloquy has begun with signs of an approaching agreement. Begs them to forward this divine peace.—Bruges, 1 April, 1588, stilo novo, having forgotten the old.
Postscript. Asks for a copy of the letter, not having had time to make one, together with the copies promised by Lord Cobham of the English translation, of the articles and of his letter to the duke.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Italian. 3 pp. [Flanders II. f. 312.]
Mar. 22. Lord Cobham to Burghley.
I am very sorry that your lp. is troubled with pain but more I am grieved that there should be any causes to unquiet your mind…. Mr. Rogers is to go to the duke to deliver her Majesty's good pleasure. I have prayed him … not to aggravate things for I have heard that a message delivered in milder sort though in substance quick hath done good and been well taken. Mr. Controller and Dr. Dale are greatly grieved for your pain, which letteth your answering their letters. I sent my servant Williams to follow my particular causes, as may appear by a letter I wrote to you touching Southtfryth. My wife writes that her Majesty has referred her suit to your lp. I pray that it may receive your favourable precedence and expedition.
The D. draweth his forces to these parts both horse and foot. Sir W. Stoonsley's companies are come to Tornehot. It were very necessary that her Majesty would appoint two or three of her ships to remain upon this coast, that if the D. upon Dr. Roger's speeches be not moved to alter his mind, and if he then do attempt the town we may safely retire ourselves. The lack of horses will hinder Dr. Rogers’ going. By Mr. Crofts’ your lp. shall know what Granyer did negotiate with us. I do daily look for my friend Mr. Cecil's return out of Zeeland. We thought it good to require Andrea de Loo to go to M. Graynyer to deal with the duke upon the matter of our safe conduct. He writeth that he stayeth at Bruges expecting the D's. coming, and by his letter urges us to yield to that we may not.—Ostend, 22 March.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 314.]
Mar. 23. Etienne Le Sieur to those of Gueldes, Utrecht and Overyssel.
It having pleased Monsignor de Willebey, Lieutenant and Governor-General of her Majesty's forces in this country, to send him with letters to credence both to the Comte de Moeurs and to the States of the three provinces under his government; where having arrived about three days ago, and being informed that they would be this day assembled, he has deferred unto now the presentation of the said letters or the declaration by word of mouth of what he was charged with by his lordship; which is in effect:—
That as her Majesty has nothing more at heart than the preservation of these provinces in happy union and intercourse with each other, whereby their strength may be the greater, not only for defence of their frontiers, but also to attack and overcome their enemies, provided that opportunity be presented, for the maintenance of the true Christian religion and preservation of the rights and privileges of the said countries;—So on the other hand, nothing has been so ill pleasing to her as to hear of the dissensions amongst them, which, if not remedied will, in the end bring about the ruin of their whole state.
And as, on the solicitation of the deputies of the States General in 1585, she granted certain aid of men of war both horse and foot, for the better defence of their country against all the attempts of the enemy, and also to make head against them, as has been happily done under the command of the Earl of Leicester, her Lieutenant and Governor General of the United Provinces:— So by the treaty then made, it was expressly agreed that for the knowledge and direction of all affairs concerning the government, both as regards the war and the maintenance of the State, her Governor should have authority with the Council of State to command and give order in all things. All which was duly observed until February last, when the period of the service of the said Council expired, without being continued or others put in their place; whereby their office is vacant, and consequently, the treaty not observed as it ought to be, and many difficulties have resulted, and it is to be feared that more will follow….
Wherefore he prays them, seeing how nearly the matter touches themselves and their estate, to appoint Counsellors to attend at a Council of State in conformity with the treaty with her Majesty; in whose name there shall also assist at the said Council her Lieutenant General and two English Counsellors, and forasmuch as at present she has there her Lieutenant and one of her Counsellors, who in default of such an assembly cannot fulfil their charges, and therefore she may declare that the chief point of the said treaty is not observed.
Also they may think that the late jealousies and suspicions arisen between the several provinces, towns and persons will in the end cause the utter ruin of these provinces, if a remedy be not found by the mediation of some more absolute authority than is or can be that of the governors of the several provinces, wherefore her Majesty may be constrained to cease her assistance and recall her forces, to the great prejudice of the common cause.
Thus in Lord Willoughby's name, he urgently desires them in friendly union with the other provinces, to make such provision for their towns and strong places, that no disorder may ensue, assuring them that his Lordship is making the like demand to the States of the other provinces, doing all he possibly can to re-establish all of them in good and perfect union; to the end that after the establishment of a Council of State, all private differences may be ended; assuring them that nothing will be more pleasing to her Majesty, and give her more cause not only to continue her gracious and heroic favour, both in the matter of her succours and otherwise towards the United Provinces but to increase it, holding the welfare and prosperity of their state as dearly as that of her own kingdom. Prays for a speedy answer, with which to return to Lord Willoughby. —Utrecht, 23 March, 1588, stilo antiquo.
Copy. Endd. “Mr. Stephens’ proposition to those of Gueldres, Utrecht and Overyssell, in the Lord General's name.” French. 3 pp. [Holland XXII. f. 151.]
Mar. 24./April 3. “Copie de la responce faicte par les Estats Generaulx sur la Remonstrance de Monsieur le Baron de Wullughby de ce que par sa Majesté luy a esté pourposé le 12 de Feburier, stil. ang.In another hand “anno 1588.” (fn. 1)
Endd. Dutch. 10 pp. [Ibid. f. 155.]
Mar. [24]. “The substance of the States’ answer to the Lord Willoughby's propositions.”
Lord ‘Willicby’ proposed four points on behalf of her Majesty. Touching: 1, Colonel Sonoy; 2, the banished men of Leyden; 3, the agreement between the provinces of Holland and Utrecht; 4, the reduction or transformation of certain of her Majesty's horse into foot.
To the first article they replied (after several allegations against Sonoy, as written to her Majesty) that in spite of these they were willing that some offer should be framed by Count Maurice and the said Lord ‘Willichby’ with the advice of the States, which should be sent to the said Sonoy and his men.
To which Lord Willichby replied by another writing, demanding that the matter should be committed to himself, as desired by her Majesty. To which the States had not yet replied.
On the second point, the States refer themselves, for answer, to what they have already written to her Majesty, adding that they were causing a little book to be published in justification of the execution done at the said Leyden, which they will send to his Excellency.
On the 3rd point they say that the provinces of Holland and Utrecht were united by the Emperor Charles in the year ‘34, and that the Estates would be entirely united if it were not for certain individuals, against whom they have demanded redress.
To the 4th, they say they cannot reply, as it is an article of the treaty with her Majesty, on which the opinion of each of the provinces must be obtained. (fn. 2)
Endd. with date 23 March. French.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 161.]
Mar. 24. “Sums of money due to officers and captains (serving her Majesty in Vlishing and Brill), 11 October, 1587, as the same are set down in the account of Sir Thos. Sherley, her Majesty's treasurer at wars.”
Robert Manchester; Edward Germaine; Edward Burneham; William Thomas and James Spencer, master gunners, and other inferior gunners. Total 101l. 3s. 10d.
Sir William Russell; Maurice Dennyce, Richard Wingefeild, Avery Randall, Sir Robert Sidney, William Browne, Francis Darcie, Thomas Maria Wingefeild, Degory Hender, Nicholas Errington, Richard Harte, Francis Littleton. Total 8541l. 19s.d.
Grand total, 8643l. 2s. 11½d.
Officers. The Lord Burghe; Richard Payne, Andreas Bassana, George Gibbes and Thomas, master gunners, and other inferior gunners. Total 270l. 6s. 4d.
The Lord Burghe, Sir John Burghe, Sir Henry Norris, Captains Brett, Vavasour and Hill. Total 6901l. 3s. 11d.
Grand total, 7171l. 10s.d.
Sum total
, 15,814l 13s. 3d.
“Whereof imprested out of the last warrant to both the garrisons:—1030l.
“So remaineth to the discharge of the said garrisons for a full pay, 11 October, 1587:—14,784l. 13s. 3d.
Examined by Edm. Hunte.
Endd. with date March 25. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 165.]
Mar. 24. Lord Cobham to Burghley.
This day Dr. Rogers has taken his journey for Bruges where if he do not find the D. he is to go to Gaunt. What will be the sequel thereof God knoweth. Our lack of horses and wagons is supplied by order from La Mothe who doeth it willingly but not so readily as if the doing were in our power. I pray you to see to it that we may be provided for. If we proceed so far that our commission is to be seen and collated, the beginning of our colloquy must be prope Bergen up Zoom. What may grow upon that your lp. may judge. The packet contains the letters of Andrea de Loo, sent since his going hence with Graynyer, by which you may perceive how the D. doth insist not to come hither but prope Ostend. It were well that the matter be well digested and thought of. Mr. Cicell is not returned as yet. The wind has been so great and contrary. I pray that we may have answer speedily and plainly what we have to do, but with safety. Berghyn up Zoon is the place named in our commission, which they know very well; but if her Majesty do mean to revoke us I pray you let us have ships sent. There is daily conference between La Mothe and Sir Wm. Standly and his company is come near hande.—Ostend, 24 March.
Holograph. Signed. Add. Seal of Arms. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 316.]
Mar. 24. The Commissioners to the Privy Council.
Whereas Dr. Rogers is commanded to repair to the Duke of Parma to declare her Majesty's mislike of his dealing about Ostend, and, in specifying attempts against her by the Spanish, forasmuch as we find ourselves unsatisfied if the duke should agree to come to Ostend and afterwards the place of meeting agreed to be on the confines, considering the increase of the forces in these parts and that Sir Wm. Stanley is of late come to Torhott hard to Audembourg, as also if the same meeting shall be at St. Omer, Berghen Wynox or Borborgh, it may please your lps. to consider whether for our security it were not convenient that hostages should be demanded, the rather for that the duke hath made difficulty to show his commission and the same is generally used, especially for that Mr. Champagnie in his letter to Mr. Comptroller of the 6th April did write that it behoved to give sufficient hostages for the safety of the deputies.
Further, as Dr. Rogers, if the duke persists in his refusal to come to Ostend, is to let him know that her Majesty's pleasure is we shall presently withdraw, we ask that order may be taken for this. We move your lps. in this behalf to prevent the inconvenience may fall unto us in case the duke should discontentedly break off and gain time before Dr. Rogers’ return, for it is to be thought they will not in Holy week enter into the treaty. Further as regards the places specified, we hold St. Omer utterly evil affected in religion and not well given to the peace, in respect of the commodity they have in these wars, neither well minded toward the state of England. And whereas in our commission prope Berghen up Zoom is specified as the place of meeting we are to move your lps. to know what is to be answered when this is seen, it being a thing not in our power to alter. We have sent your lps. two letters of Andrea de Loo written since his departure with Secretary Graneer.
The captains appointed to come hither to their charges are not come, saving Mr. Thomas Knollis, neither do we hear anything of the pinnaces, for which we have earnestly written often times. The lack of horses and wagons doth hinder much our despatches into the land.—Ostend, 24 March, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Flanders II. f. 318.]
Mar. 25. “The new establishment for her Majesty's forces in the Low Countries, to continue during her Majesty's pleasure, and to take beginning from the 25 day of March, 1588.
For the officers of the field and the garrison towns; and the horsebands and the footbands; together with extraordinaries etc.
Sum total, 125,389l. 13s. 4d.
With note of former charges, showing the reductions now made.
In the handwriting by Burghley's clerk, with addition by himself. No endorsement. 4 pp. [Holland XXII. f. 167.]


  • 1. Printed in Bor: Nederlantsche Oorlogen, Bk. xxiv. f. 54. The date is given as 4 April, and this is confirmed by Japikse: Resolutien der Staten Generaal, Vol. vi., p. 65.
  • 2. Printed. Bertie: Five Generations of a Loyal House, p. 524.