Elizabeth: March 1588, 26-31

Pages 221-239

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 4, January-June 1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

March 1588, 26–31

Mar. 26 The Queen to Lord Willoughby. (fn. 1)
Being informed that the town of Ostend is grown to be very weak by reason of the decay of its defences; and also that the enemy has drawn down great part of his forces that way, so as in one day's march, he may besiege the said town with 13,000 men; and considering how dishonourable it would be for her that the said town should be lost while in her hands;—she desires him to take 600 footmen of her bands where they may most easily be spared and send them to Ostend; having already given order that both victuals and money shall be there ready for them.
Copy. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 174.]
Draft for the above letter, corrected by Walsingham.
[In this, the number is given as a thousand, but the endorsement says: “reduced to 600.”]
1 p. [Ibid. f. 176.]
Mar. 26. Sir William Russell to Walsingham.
I have received your honour's letters of the 18th and 21st, “wherein I perceive the hard and miserable estate of Sonoy, and, in a manner, of all those that rely themselves on her Majesty; having been often told by those of Camphyre and Armue that they should receive nothing but words from England; the which I find now to be too true.
They being rather led to declare themselves for the safety of the country and for the good opinion they have conceived of me than for any great entertainment they looked for at her hands; and yet is their case at this present so hard, as if they were not very honest and well-affected in religion, it were greatly to be doubted that they would hearken to the enemy, who would give them and me more than all my friends in England are worth, to do the King their master that service I have done her Majesty; howsoever it shall please her and my lords to think of it.”
I would be glad of the cipher you wrote of; not daring to write what I know of this island.
I am sorry to be the instrument to bring those captains into so hard a state as to be paid neither by her Majesty nor the States; yet we will find means to satisfy them, and likewise to defend us from the malice of the Estates and Count Maurice.
As to our peace, you have been sufficiently advertised that the Duke of Parma intends nothing less, having no authority from the King, and being now ready to do some exploit either upon this island or Ostend. “This unhappy peace hath been the cause of all our dissensions, and of all the jealousies between the Estates and our nation … The time is now so dangerous as I know not whom to trust, and yet am I loth to condemn those whom I love; but the small regard her Majesty hath, both of this place and these countries maketh men careless.
“If Medenblick might have been relieved, or those of this island thankfully received of her Majesty, there had been no more doubt to have kept this island without any charges than the town of ‘Grinwhich’; but now will she put all in hazard, and utterly discredit our nation; the which the enemy looketh for.”
I beseech you, hasten over the pay. Every body is weary of our nation, “in respect of their long forbearing of their money, and the soldiers and captains half malcontents; myself being desirous to return if before my coming I might obtain something at her Majesty's hands … so as the world might perceive I return not in disgrace.”
I am most bound to your honour for the many favours you have done me since my coming to this troublesome government; never more so than it is at this hour.—Flushing, 26 March.
Holograph. Add. Endd. “26 March, 1587.” 3 pp. [Holland XXII. f. 178.]
Mar. 26. Valck to Lord Admiral Howard.
Extract. That he asks me to assure the Lord High Admiral of England that at the moment when his lordship weighed anchor before Rammekin, he was embarked to greet him on behalf of Count Maurice, and to assure him that the Count would do all that was possible in the matter of Medenblick, especially as they are now behaving well and the Count had sent MM. Bardesen and Maelson to offer them good conditions.
The Estates of Holland assemble next Monday to resolve about sending deputies upon the matter of the peace. My lords of Zeeland by their deputies are making strong representations to my lords of Holland to moderate the affairs of Medenblyck out of respect for her Majesty.
Endd. “An extract out of Valcke's letter”; and by Burghley “26 March, 1588. To the L. Admiral.” French. ¾ p. [Ibid. f. 180.]
Mar. 26. The Queen to the Commissioners.
Having been made acquainted with your letters to the Lords of our Privy Council of the 20th and 22nd inst., we find it strange that the duke of Parma … should still persist in refusing to send to Ostend, and therefore do think meet he should be let understand that we did not look that a prince, that carrieth the reputation to be a most religious observer of his promise, should stand upon so unnecessary difficulties to the hindrance of so good and holy a work, which might now have been finished if this delay, growing from himself, had not been the impediment.
Of the duke's promise to her Majesty you Mr. Controller can best testify whom we did make acquainted with the duke's letter, and therefore did look that you should have greatly insisted upon the same at the time of Granier's being with you. Besides the duke is to be put in remembrance, that it had been a more honourable course, since de Loo had been sent to acquaint him with the choice of Ostend, to have shown his misliking of the place before your going over, than now to stand upon so fruitless and vain a difficulty.
And therefore our pleasure is, in case the duke be not drawn to yield that the treaty do receive his beginning at Ostend, you shall withdraw to Vlissing and there remain until you receive further direction from us. And to the end that you may pass with more safety we have given order to the L. Admiral to send thither certain of our ships to waft you over whensoever he shall receive notice from you of the time of your embarquement.
Copy. Endd.pp. [Flanders II. f. 321.]
Draft for the same, with corrections.
pp. [Ibid. f. 323.]
Mar. 26. The Queen to the Earl of Derby and Lord Cobham.
Although in the general letter we did insist upon the treaty being first begun at Ostend or else that you should depart to Flushing, yet in case you shall have no hope to draw the duke to yield thereunto, for that we would be loth that the treaty should quite break off or be drawn into an overgreat length by standing upon such like points of ceremonies … we are pleased to yield so far that the first meeting shall be out of the town of Ostend in some place of the confines between Oldenburghe and that town, for which purpose it is not to be doubted but the duke being affected to the peace as he pretendeth, will give order that some tents may be set up at a place that shall be by you found convenient for the meeting. But we charge you not to communicate this private direction to the other commissioners or any other so long as you shall see any cause to hope that the duke may be induced to yield.—Our manor of Greenwich, 26 March, 1588.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 327.]
Mar. 26. We should never have thought that the duke of Parma, having left us the choice of place, as a prince reputed to be a religious observer of his word, would so far forget himself as to give occasion to those who are curious censors of the behaviour of princes, to think that he has broken his promise to us in now refusing the place we have chosen, and indeed we see no reason why he should do so, considering the honour done to the king by sending our ambassadors across the sea and agreeing that the treaty shall be concluded in lands of his obedience, which would seem a sufficient reparation for the dishonour which it is pretended the king might receive in consenting to the treaty beginning at the place named, now in our hands, whom the king cannot yet repute as enemy, although some differences and mislikes have occurred between ourselves and him.
Draft, with corrections. Endd. “A clause to be signed by her Majesty inserted in a letter of the 26 March, 1588.” 1 p. French. [Flanders II. f. 329.]
Mar. 27. Document addressed to her Majesty by or on behalf of Col. Sonoy, being a detailed defence of his conduct, and accusations against the States and Count Maurice for their proceedings in his regard. Dated London, 27 March, 1588, stilo veteri. (fn. 2)
Endd. “Colonel Sonoy his answer to such matters as he is charged with by the States.” April, 1588. French. 16 very closely written pp. [Holland XXII. f. 182.]
Mar. 27. Lord Burgh to Burghley.
Nothing from “these parts” is worth advertisement but that the town of Brill “submitteth itself in all courses whereunto her Majesty shall direct them. The towns in Holland lately mutinied for pay from the States now will hearken to no conditions hence; they say they are for the English, whence they will be ordered…. I greatly suspect, as of that, so of others, that they are confederated in this dissumulation to get money out of England to pay the Dutch soldiers; for I cannot think that they will receive English garrison.
“The Prince of ‘Cimay’ was lately employed by the Duke of Parma to besiege ‘Bone,’ and to him is assembled the Duke of Guise with his forces. It was surprised by Captain ‘Shink,’ who substituted a governor to hold for Duke Casimir. It concerneth not these countries in any near consequence, therefore they endeavour not to relieve it.
“I would I were able to do your lordship any singular service, because your interest is especial over me, and your commandments are of more authority than any man's living…”—Briell, 27 March.
Holograph. Add, Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 201.]
Mar. 27. Walsingham to the Earl of Derby and Lord Cobham.
Her Majesty hath thought meet in case Dr. Rogers shall not prevail to draw the duke to assent to Ostend that then the duke should be charged with his promise, for that she thinketh herself touched in honour that he should stand with her in a matter of so small importance, and that it may appear that you have sufficient commission to charge the duke, her Highness hath caused the same to be set down in French and hath signed it with her own hand, whereof her pleasure is, notwithstanding, that your lps. shall not deliver any copy of the king's commissioners but only cause them to have a view thereof. Thus much I write by her Maj. express commandment. My poor advice notwithstanding is that in case your lps. shall find the duke disposed to take a good course in the treaty, you then forbear to make the commissioners acquainted with the writing, for that it is to be doubted greatly that it may breed some unnecessary dislike in him, which may hinder the good success of the treaty; and in such case it shall be meet that you do certify some cause why you forbear to acquaint the commissioners thereof.—Greenwich, 27 March, 1588.
In his own hand. There shall be present order taken for the sending over of two months' lendings for that garrison.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 331.]
Mar. 27. The Queen to Lord Cobham.
Instruction to agree to the first meeting being between Ostend and Ouldenburghe etc. as in the letter to himself and Derby.—Greenwich, 27 March, 1588.
Endd. “Minute from her Maj. to the L. Cobham.” 1 p. [Ibid. f. 333.]
Mar. 27. Robert Cecil to Burghley. (fn. 3)
On Wednesday 20th I went to Brill, my L. Willoughby having occasion to see Truxis, late bishop of Collen. I took it in my way to Masland Sluse, and saw him and spake with him. He is a very goodly gentleman well fashioned and of good speech, for which I must rather praise him than for loving a wife better than so great a fortune as he lost by her occasion. The house he lives in is called the castel of Hounsdick being of right the Conte of Arenbergh's inheritance. My lord Willoughby returning to the Hague I went by water to the Brill. On my brother's account most of the burghers and officers there strived to offer me one more courtesy than the other. The south west wind was so tempestuous that I was stayed for three days, and could not get any man to venture to go over the Flack which is but 4 Dutch miles from Helvotsluse to Bomeny in Ziericksea. My ld. Borough did use me well for your lp's. sake, to whom he acknowledgeth himself most deeply bound … he is a little troubled that only he is left out in the last commission and that Sir Wm. Russel and Sir W. Reade are made thereby counsellors and himself only excepted and that for want of one body's favour whom he never willingly offended.
There is a notable beginning of a new fortification about the town done by the States, whom my lord hath earnestly and long importuned till they began it, which is so forward now as it will be ended by the next summer. On Sunday last the stormy weather ceased and Sir W. Drury went back to the Hagh and I took my journey towards Flushing. The water is often very rough between the islands and there are none but little scutes to pass in, ready to turn their keel upwards, which made me stay for a settled weather. I hope to-morrow morning to be at Ostend and to find some letters to assure me of your lp's. good health.—Vlissing, 27 March, 1588.
Postscript. Sir W. Russel hath used me kindly and hath let me have 20 musketeers to man my hoy, though I hope my passport from the duke will be a sufficient security.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Flanders II. f. 335.]
Mar. 27. The Queen to the Commissioners.
Whereas from your letters of the 24th we perceive that there is a doubt among yourselves about the mention of Berghen op Zome in your commission, and we cannot but marvel that the same was not foreseen by you, the Master of Requests, to whom the examination of the commission was committed, to remove all doubts and ambiguities; we find words following prope Berghen op Zoom sufficient, as we conceive to authorise you to proceed in the treaty and to satisfy the commissioners, e.g. seu alio quocunque loco communi consensu dict. Comm. nostrorum et hujusmodi Comm. dicti char. fratris nri. Regis Hisp. nominando, we see no cause, if they mean sincerely why any such exception should be taken.
[A paragraph deleted, giving them power to replace Berghen by any other town they think meet.]
If the commissioners insist on any nice construction of the words to draw the treaty into length, upon knowledge from you we will send you a new commission, reformed in that point, and in the mean time the treaty may proceed.
With regard to hostages we think it very meet that you insist upon that point as a matter always accustomed where persons of such quality as you have been employed. If the duke yield, you shall see the hostages safely kept at Ostend until you receive further direction for the sending of them into the realm, where they shall receive such usage as is agreeable to their qualities.
Forasmuch as we learn that the town of Ostend is very much decayed by the breaking in of the sea into the lower town and by great ruins in the fortifications, we have thought meet to send over Sir John Norris to take a view of the said decays and to bring us a true and perfect report, to the end we may take such order for the strengthening of the place as we shall think meet in case the treaty should not take place, as this manner of proceeding of the duke's giveth us just cause to doubt what the issue will be. We have also given order to the L. Admiral or the sending over very shortly of two of our pinnaces to be used as occasion shall fall out and assuring you that we have that perfect care of you that we would be loth anything should be omitted on our behalf that may work your surety.
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. 3⅓ pp. [Ibid. f. 337.]
Two other copies of the same.
[Ibid. ff. 341, 343.]
Mar. 28. Lord Wyllughby to Walsingham.
Assuring him that her Majesty's letters shall in all things be obeyed, and his honour's directions (so far as his own power will stretch) put in execution, whereof he “cannot yet advertise any full success, save that some hope is conceived of good event, being in hand with Count Maurice and the States General, which shall accordingly be followed with perfection….”—The Hague, 28 March, 1588.
Postscript. Has sent the Lord Steward copies of the answer he has received from the States General, and of his proposition to Count Maurice about Snoye.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holland XXII f. 203.]
Mar. 28. The Same to Burghley.
Is so troubled with extreme cold, though somewhat in mending that he prays excuse for brief writing. Cannot omit to remind him of the soldiers' wants, doubting not but that his lordship will speedily procure means to ease their necessities, seeing that it is now almost half a year since October 11 last, when the warrants for full pay were due.—The Hague, 28 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. f. 205.]
Mar. 28. Sir William Russell to Burghley.
Understands that the enemy has a practice against this town, which he believes can only come to perfection by mutiny amongst the soldiers, owing to their great wants. The Duke of Parma has already caused great store of small boats and ‘playtes’ to be brought to Sluyce, and it is certainly advertised that his forces are ready, and all necessaries provided. Urges the speedy sending over of pay, three months' victuals, and other needful things which he has long since asked for.
Sends his lordship Mr. Robert ‘Cissell's’ letter, who lately departed hence and is now safely arrived at Ostend.—Flushing, 28 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 207.]
Mar. 28./April 7. The Captains of Camphere to Walsingham.
Seeing the increase of faction, and desiring only to live and die in the service of her Majesty, whom they will ever be the very faithful and obedient servants, they send the bearer, the Sieur Blauvet to confer with his honour on the state of their town and of the island; whom they pray to give all credit to the said M. Blauvet, and to lend them a helping hand in persuading her Majesty to embrace the cause of this island, seeing that the public welfare and the preservation of the state depend thereon.—Camphere, 7 April, 1588.
Signed by all four. French. ½ p. [Ibid. f. 209.]
Mar. 28. J. Ortell to Burghley.
Has of late besought the Privy Council to stay the arrest obtained by one William Colston of Bristol, until he had advertised the Estates his masters and received their directions; hoping that their Lordships would so do, in consideration of the ancient intercourse and amity between the countries, “by the which expressly is ordained that no reprisals or arrests ought to be admitted before due and sufficient insinuation be given. As of these heavy conjunctions, when the enemy on all sides prepareth so strongly, and that the country's necessity rather requireth present relief and comfort than at every man's particular pleasure and suit to be overwhelmed.” Yet it seems that their honours have granted a warrant of arrest to John Polliver upon those of Enchuysen, which is already put in execution, although they are from time to time continual victuallers into this realm, as the Company of Fishmongers and records of the London Custom House can verify. Those of the Low Countries never took this course, though they have, within these few years, been endommaged by her Majesty's subjects more than 100,000l. sterling, almost without any redress. Humbly beseeches his lordship to consider of this, that such inconveniences may once for all be extinguished.—London, 28 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 211.]
Mar. 28. Arthur Blunt to Walsingham.
Within four days after being dispatched by your honour, I arrived at the Hague, only staying on my way to deliver your letter to the governor of Flushing, who offered me all furtherance in what I should need from his friendship.
“For the short time I have been here, I only learn that upon publication of her Majesty's pleasure for Sonnoy, Deventer and the rest of that faction, the States General with the Count Maurice are become much more calm, and it is very like, Sir, if her Majesty's ministers do not show over too much flexibility, such composition may be made for all parties, as we ourselves would desire; and I pray God this course now in hand prove so sound as the other was likely to have given our nation sure footing, that we might at all times have made our own peace; but it is now too late to call again that is past.
“The delivery up of the Earl of Leicester's commission is published too soon I fear for that may ensue of Gertrudenbergh, for they absolutely refuse the Count Hollock for their governor, and there is great danger, except the matter be the better handled, that it be put into as ill a man's hands as they were before, or become altogether enemy, especially Gertrudenbergh, to whom Marchal Villars is named here for a governor, but I have told the Council of State what is thought of him and he may do much to the remedying of that, sith the receiving of it to her Majesty's use must be the means to establish there an officer.”
The provinces will probably shortly accord with each other, not being able to stand out of themselves, and being deceived of the expectation of her Majesty's assistance; and if so “I see not how you may expect they should condescend [that] her Majesty should make peace for them, whom I believe you shall find are as jealous that by means thereof they should lose their liberty, as all this while they have showed themselves religious in maintaining the gospel and disclaiming from any sovereign superiority.
“Fair weather is now made to the Lord Willoughby by Count Maurice. I fear it is because the States General find him tractable, and have yet somewhat to work by him. I hear some little speech of a purpose they have, after a good ‘atonement’ made, to put men into the field; young soldiers, desirous of honour, may be too forward in that point; and when all your men are spoiled, I doubt not but these people hereafter would say they need not our men, but our money.
“In truth sir … if the peace go not forward, we are but a weak Council of Wars on this side to guide a great army.”
I pray you, give me some light how you would have me deal, and rest assured I will serve you accordingly …—The Hague, 28 March. [The signature is cancelled, but can be read.]
Holograph. The words in italics deciphered. Add. Endd. 2 pp. Seal of arms. [Holland XXII. f. 213.]
Decipher by Beale, of the cipher passages.
¾ p. [Ibid. f. 215.]
Mar. 28. Schedule endorsed by Burghley “Sir Thomas Sherley's receipts from the 7 of January, 1587, until the 28 of March, 1588. With his payments from 7 December, 1587.”
Money received by virtue of Privy Seals. 61,063l. 8s. 6d.
Payments and imprests to divers officers, captains, etc. 60,636l. 13s.d.
Remaining 426l. 15s.d.
pp. [Ibid. f. 216.]
Mar. 28. Dr. Dale to Burghley.
It is a great satisfaction to us that it hath pleased her Majesty to be careful of us in this town in omnem eventum. We shall know within two days, as Dr. Rogers thinketh, what will become of this controversy on the place of meeting. We are put in hope of satisfaction and have sent to Andreas de Loo to know whether they come as commissioners or as messengers, as Garnier did. It falleth out indeed by Dr. Rogers' report that the duke hath no special commission from the king, but for that we are armed in our instructions. For the cessation of arms my L. Willoughby is backward and the States will be precisely assured in liberty of religion beforehand.
As touching the place of remove for my part I shall sleep the better lying in a town in her Majesty's possession. The long trial of your lp's. good favour causeth me to write boldly about all things.—Ostend, 29 March, 1588.
Postscript. It seemeth that Dr. Rogers did use some broader speeches to the duke than was contained in my letter to H.M., whereby the duke might either deny his former speeches unto me or mislike of the report of them. And therefore I have written the express words in my letter to H.M. which are nothing so open as de Loo did write to my ll., nor much more than Garnier did speak here.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Flanders II. f. 345.]
Mar. 29. The Queen to Lord Willoughby.
[Endorsed with the following note of contents by Lawrence Tompson.]
“Six hundred men to be sent with speed to Flushing, for the aid of Ostend, in case of necessity.
“Solicit [the States for] the provisions of that town and Bergen to be sufficiently looked unto.
“To take order with the States for more men for Ostend, and repair of the decays there made by the sea.
“Put the number of ships in a readiness, decreed on by treaty.”
Copy. 2 pp. [Holland XXII. f. 219.]
Copy of the first two clauses of the above.
1 p. [Ibid. f. 221.]
Rough draft of second clause.
Endd.pp. [Ibid. f. 222.]
“A clause to be added in her Majesty's letter … for moving the States to set forth certain ships to join with her Majesty's” as the King of Spain's navy by all credible advertisements is appointed to set forth in May. [i.e. the 4th clause in the above note.]
Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 224.]
Draft of 1st clause, given as if a separate letter.
½ p. [Ibid. f. 226.]
Mar. 29. Sir William Russell to the Earl of Leicester.
Stating that the news of his resignation of the government greatly dismayed them of Camphere and Armewe; they “seeming to conceive that they be freed thereby of the oath they took, and yet altogether unwilling, and by no means (as they protest) will yield to fall into the States' hands, but will continue this their course.” Beseeches his lordship to write and assure them of the Queen's and his own “good regard and care, which is and shall be continued towards them, so that they may be encouraged.”
Neither captain nor burghers of Armewe have received any letter from her Majesty or his lordship, having been dealt with only by himself, and the captain would not receive any money until they were throughly resolved by letters of her Majesty's pleasure and his lordship's regard of them. Urges that her Majesty be solicited to write, for “although there is no great doubt but that they will stand sure, yet … there is no great certainty thereof.” Has sent the bearer, Blavott, to attend his lordship.—Flushing, 29 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 227.]
Mar. 29. Sir William Russell to Walsingham.
To the same effect as to the Earl of Leicester. Prays him to procure her Majesty's letters to those of Camphere. Has distributed to them most of the money sent but desires some order for those of Armewe, “or at the least to be in readiness if either of these places should be driven to any necessity.”
The Duke of Parma lies with his forces and boats at Sluyce, and is looked for to come into this island or to this town; wherefore I pray you to send the three months' victual and pay for this poor garrison.—Flushing, 29 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 229.]
Mar. 29. The Queen to Sir John Conway.
Understanding the weak and decayed state of Ostend, she is sending the bearer, Sir John Norreys, to confer with him of what is needful for the better good of the same.
Desires him therefore to join with Sir John in the view and consideration thereof, and to impart to him anything necessary to be done for its safety and better defence, and generally to communicate to him anything else that may concern and further her service, both there and in any other place.
In the meantime, 600 men are appointed to be sent to Flushing, to be ready to repair to Ostend when he shall send for them, and she has ordered victuals to be sent both for these men and for the rest of the garrison.
[A final paragraph as to satisfaction for the townsmen is crossed out, and noted in the margin as being in the letter to Sir William Russel.]
Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 233.]
Mar. 30. The Queen to Sir William Russell.
Understanding the weak state of Ostend, she has written to Lord Willoughby to send 600 men to Flushing to be ready to repair to Ostend when the governor shall require them. As his lordship may think meet to appoint some part of these out of Flushing garrison, she desires Sir William to follow his lordship's directions therein, so that the number exceed not 200 men. Has given order for the sending over of victuals for the said supply of men. And as she hears “of the discontentment that is as well among the townsmen who have been content to furnish the soldiers of sundry their necessities upon trust as among the soldiers, for want of pay,” she will shortly give order for the satisfaction of both the one and the other.—March 30.
Copy. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. f. 234.]
Other drafts for the above two letters.
Endd.p. [Ibid. ff. 235, 236.]
Mar. 30. Draft by Beale, corrected by Walsingham, for her Majesty's letter to Lord Willoughby, below.
Endd. 3 pp. [Ibid. f. 242.]
Mar. 30. The Queen to Lord Willoughby.
Although glad to hear of the good will of the people and martial men of those countries, as appears by his letters touching the commons of Dordrecht and the soldiers of Gertruydenbergh, “yet considering the mischief and inconvenience that is like to grow thereby, as giving cause to the States General and others to think that the mislike had of them grows by the practice of some of her ministers, and is allowed by herself,” she thinks it meet she should be cleared thereof, “for that her intent was never other than to have the people of those countries kept in unity and concord amongst themselves.”
Wherefore she desires him to notify this to them; and first to signify to them of Dordrecht, that as she was glad to hear of their great good-will and affection towards her, so could she “have best liked that they had forborne to have manifested the same by their late oath … for that it is to be doubted that the same will confirm the dangerous jealousy which is conceived by some there, through the malicious practices of certain evil affected persons”; as though she meant to get possession of their towns and then deliver them to the enemy. Whereof the contrary may appear by her refusal to accept those daily offered to her. For the soldiers serving her in Gertrudenbergh, as they should be let to understand how thankfully she accepts their love and devotion, she could yet have wished (for the above causes) that they had forborne at this time to make demonstration thereof, “when nothing ought to be more cared for than good union and concord among themselves, having so great and potent an enemy ready to assail them”; and therefore he may let them know that in respect of their said love and devotion, she has given him special direction “to deal most effectually with the States to yield unto them present contentment touching their pay; as also with the Count Hollock and the captains to remit and forget any such wrong as they may conceive hath been done unto them by the said soldiers.” And the like course he shall hold with others in like sort affected towards her; that it may be known how desirous and careful she is to remove and avoid all causes which might continue or increase jealousies and countenance disunion, and that union may be re-established among them.
“For the better bringing to pass whereof” she purposes shortly to send her servant Sir John Norris with her full mind “for the compounding of all variances, and procuring anything that may be to the general good of them all.”
Copy. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 244.]
Mar. 30. Walsingham to Mr. Killigrew.
Her Majesty understanding by late letters “that the States do hold the government there to be still in my lord of Leicester, she doth think a neglect of duty to be either in me for not sending away of my lord's resignation … which I sent you long since by Page's servant, or else in you for so long slowing to open and communicate the same with the States; and therefore I pray you to send me word when you received the said resignation, and how you have dealt therein.
“Her Majesty is not best pleased with the revolt of the towns unto her, both in respect that they would be an increase of her charges … as also for that thereby they do manifest their disunion unto the world.”
She therefore thinks fit that you and Lord Willoughbie do by all good means endeavour to compound the controversies and partialities, by dealing with the several governors to bring them to a good reconciliation. “Also she would like that the States were put in comfort and persuaded that she doth not conceive so hard an opinion of them as is given out; whereby they may [be] kept from those desperate courses that they are headlong fallen into and that they may be brought to continue such love and service as heretofore they have pleased to bear unto her.
“Lastly her Majesty doth look to be speedily advertised from you what hope you have to procure pay at the States' hands for the garrisons of Camphire and Armyn, according to the direction sent you … to deal with the said States therein; who neither can nor ought to attempt any excuse for that matter, unless they be wilfully bent to shake off her Majesty.”—From the Court, 30 March, 1588.
Signed; also corrections in Walsingham's own hand. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 246.]
Mar. 30. Robert Cecil to Burghley.
Having passed through Flanders I spent some days at Antwerp and took note of the shipping. For Antwerp I was an eye witness of all between the town and Lillo sconce, the number being in all 21 ready to come forth [details as in letter of March 19]. At Sluys and upon the new cut dyke there are above 160 ships, most flat bottomed, well ordonanced and ready to carry the new drawn down soldiers to execute any exploit upon the islands. Of these it is thought Tergos shall be the first. There be nevertheless that think Bomeny shall be attempted first. At my coming from Briel I took occasion to see it and found it very prenable thought the States have some few soldiers there.
The fire work that now was at Dunkirk was talked of so long at Antwerp, and there so well known as the understanding thereof gave sufficient means to provide for any great harm to come thereby. In my opinion immediately upon the breaking of this long protracted colloquy either Berghen up Zoome or Ostend shall be assieged. This in Flanders is likest, as the greatest troops are in these parts quartered and the very town already blockaded up saving to the seaward, where they are not out of hope by planting their battery under a suspicious sandhill near the Estport, to command the haven easily.
The speech of the Armado of Spain continueth still, yet it is hindered for coming forth by want of corn and mariners whereof from Dansk they have had some late proportion. The regiment of Sir Wm. Stanley is so exceeding dissolute as the duke intendeth often to dissolve the bands and to send Sir Wm. into Spain where he is promised an incomiendo. It doth not a little trouble the malicious spirits here that the Q. treateth of peace with her sword in her hand, who do not only stir up all wicked practises but even triumph as if the victory was already gotten.
[Reports suit of Wiseman, an Essex gentleman, who had long served the K. of Spain, for leave to come home]. Tressam would have spoken with me but it fitted not … to deal with persons so disloyal without warrant.
For the peace … I see it not begun, and so cannot so soon receive any profitable end. If it do either may we thank the K. of Spain's weakness or fear the consequence.
[Sends two boxes of Italian conserved plums, especiall good for to cool thirst in any distemper … they shall do no harm if they do not much of the contrary.]
Yorke's miserable end terrifies Sir Wm. Stanley lest his pension may be stayed by the like good turn his fellow received of the Spaniards for his service.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Flanders II. f. 347.]
Mar. 30. Lord Derby to Walsingham.
Yester evening Dr. Rogers returned from the duke who is now come to Bruges. Some greater likelihood than hath been now appeared that better success will follow our labours than was made account, howbeit the duke's full resolution … were referred to be delivered to us by Richardot and some other, whom we expect within two days. Mr. Rogers' proceedings are in hand to be set down and shall come towards your lps. of the Council to-morrow or the next day; but before the duke have sent hither no great certainty can be discovered.—Ostend, 30 March, 1587.
Postscript in his own hand. Since writing we stayed this bearer till 1 April for Mr. Rogers' letters but the wind and tempest calleth him now away, nevertheless within these two days we will write at large, for this day Richardot cometh.—1 April.
Signed. Add. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. f. 349.]
Mar. 31. [The Commissioners to the Queen.]
Will act according to her instructions sent privately, but if matters fall out no worse than is indicated by Dr. Rogers' report they will not have cause to use them, but will proceed to the treaty according to their first instructions. They hope in a day or two to yield her further knowledge.—Ostend, 31 March, 1588.
Draft, corrected. Endd. 31 March, 1588. [Ibid. f. 351.]
Mar. 31./April 10. De Loo to [the Commissioners].
In reply to their letter of 30 March old style, Pres. Richardot and Dr. Maes will leave for Ostend to-morrow, to come as commissioners, so the President told him, for the treaty of peace. M. de Champaigny if he had been well, would have offered to come, from his zeal for the work and his desire to salute them, having himself carried in a litter to Bruges. The duke told de Loo that morning that he greatly regretted the loss of time, as the season called him to other things and he feared the delay would do harm, and he prays God to bring about a good accord which the duke desires above all things. M. de Champaigny and Richardot said the same, and that the duke will see that the king observes all that is agreed upon.—Bruges, Palm Sunday, 1588.
Postscript. The affair of Dunkirk in burning the ships has seemed strange, but the duke put everything aside with his customary prudence.
Copy. Endd. 30 March being Palm Sunday. Italian. 11/8 pp. [Flanders II. f. 353.]
Mar. 31./April 10. Advertisements from Antwerp.
That the Prince of Condé is poisoned is held here for certain and two others with him. It is reported that his wife, one of her gentlewomen and her page are taken.
“Her Majesty may well look to herself, for there is very much havelled about it … Almighty God will preserve her, for she hath been a refuge to many during these troubles.”
It is also here held for certain that though men speak of peace, the Prince's meaning is bent to war, “for there is no man so simple but he can well consider that a warrior seeketh no peace.” There are here as great preparations as if war did but begin. If we be not delivered from it, all will go to wrack. Many householders here only stay to see if there shall be a peace, and, if not, will forthwith depart, as they will if peace be concluded without the granting of liberty of conscience; for it is known here that the other party “be without pity or compassion, as men of old have seen well enough.”—Antwerp, April 10, 1588, stylo novo.
¾ p. [Newsletters I. f. 153.]
March. Cobham to Walsingham.
By our general letter you will see what has passed and what is now in action. Upon the return of the Mr. of the Requests from the Duke (fn. 4) it will appear where and when we shall meet or not at all.
De Loo's letters were not so hot to call us over as now we find coldness in proceeding. Although the wind hath been good to come out of England yet there is neither money nor apparel come for the garrison, which is a great grief to us … I heartily pray you help it speedily lest some inconvenience should fall.—Ostend,— March, 1587.
Postscript. Our houses are sought to be robbed every night.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. ½ p. [Flanders II. f. 339.]
March. Lord Willoughby's reckoning of his entertainment as Colonel and General, June 15–Dec. 7, [1587] at 4l. a day 700l.
From Dec. 7 to March 16, [1587–8] at 6l. a day 600l.
With dates of payment of the money, and marginal note of the proofs of receipt thereof, by Lord Burghley.
Endd. by Burghley “Feb. [sic] 1587.” ¾ p. [Holland XXII. f. 249.]
March. March 1587. A note of what money is due unto the garrisons of Vlishing and Briell for their full pay until the 12th of October last.
“The sum of 14,784l. 13s. 3d. ob. will pay the two garrisons up to 11th of October, 1587.
Endd. March, 1587. 3 lines. [Holland XVIII. f. 267.]
Draft of a letter from the Queen to Lord Willoughby for Captain John Price to have the first captaincy of horse or foot that falls vacant, in consideration of his good service.
Endd. March, 1587. Much corrected. 1 p. [Holland XXII. f. 253.]
“Remembrances for the present assistant in Council to deal with the States in matters of musters.”
1. That they should, as agreed, establish resident commissaries in the garrisons to join with those of her Majesty in passing the musters.
And also authorize some officer to join with her overseer of musters, to examine the muster rolls, make up the accounts and determine the checks. Perfect abstracts to be kept “and their debt upon rembursement to be answered without cavilling.”
An Act to be made that on an assigned day the States shall bring in their debts, to be defalked upon the pay of her Majesty's bands etc., with condition that no others shall be challenged hereafter.
That the overseer may present in Council “such matters as he shall have” for advancement of the service, and receive apostiles to his demands, or at least testimonials of his requests.
That all serjeant-majors and provost-marshals shall certify their checks and fines, and their entertainments to be paid out of the same.
That the ordinances of musters established by the Earl of Leicester and the States, and by printed placarts ordered to be observed, be continued in force; or if altered, this to be done speedily and published again by proclamation.
Finally: “As since the Annunciation last, there is an alteration of establishment and new rates of payments” that these be communicated to the States and their consent had, before warrants for full pay shall pass upon it.
Endd. by Burghley “Jas. Digges' rem[embrance].” 1½ pp. [Ibid. f. 170.]
[March.] Request from the magistrates of Ostend to her Majesty's Commissioners to the Low Countries.
Being told that a treaty for a good and firm peace was to be set on foot between her Majesty and the King of Spain, in the person of the Duke of Parma, they address themselves to their lordships; giving them to know that during these troubles and cruel wars, the town of Ostend, from lack of money and other means has suffered many evils and dangers, and is falling and must further fall into ruin and decay with the dykes, sluices and other things necessary in times of peace; they having no means whatever to provide against or obviate the danger, unless by some other way, order be taken and remedy provided. Wherefore they very humbly pray their lordships that they will be pleased (in the said treaty) to remember the poor estate of their said town, and that amongst the articles there may be one for the repair of their sluices, dykes and ‘chatheyes’; and other works serving for protection against the inundations of the sea. And that from henceforward the town may enjoy the profits and receipts arising from their general and their private means, and of the taxes upon wine, beer and other beverages imposed and raised in their town, or to be imposed and raised there, for the space of ten or twelve years for the accomplishment of the said works, they rendering due account for the same. Which will bring about the return of all their burghers to the town, and re-establish their fishing. Thus the town will be restored to its former state and their lordships will do a very laudable act, and worthy of perpetual remembrance.
Undated. Endd. French.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 255.]
March. “The heads of Instructions for Sir J. N[orreys].
To repair presently to Ostend, to view the state of the town and to consider whether the same be guardable or not; with what numbers and with what charges the bulwarks decayed may be make so.
To confer with the governor what proportions of victuals and munitions were necessary.
To inform himself of the disorders of the garrison and to give his advice both for the due punishment of some of the authors of the said disorders and for the establishing of some good discipline, as the like may not ensue.
To advertise after the view taken his opinion and proceeding concerning the points above written.
Then to repair with all diligence unto the Lord Willowbye, to inform himself of the state of that country and to confer with him how the factions and partialities reigning there may be re[formed?].”
In Walsingham's hand. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid, f. 231.]
end of.]
“A brief of the States' proceedings touching the matter of peace and the causes of their irresolution.”
First, by reason of their general union, they can agree to no peace without consent of all the provinces.
At their forsaking of the King of Spain, they made a solemn promise among themselves, never to enter into any treaty of peace with the said King.
The 15 October last, the proposition of the treaty was sent them by the Earl of Leicester, and by them sent to the States of each province, to consider upon it and send their deputies to the general assembly on November 16 following.
It was December before the deputies came together, and the resolutions of the different provinces were so various that no final resolution could be taken.
“Yet, because they would do somewhat, they took the resolution of the most voices within six days after the Assembly, and sent Monsieur Loosen and Casenbroet with it into England.”
The General States were to continue the Assembly until these deputies' return; but some of the States withdrew themselves without consent of the rest.
“The States of the three contributing provinces” the next day after the arrival of their deputies, March 25, heard their report and advertised the States of the provinces thereof, advising them to consider her Majesty's answer, and take further resolution thereupon in a new Assembly. Mr. Killigrew's proposition was likewise sent to them.
Hereupon, the said States have appointed an Assembly of their nobles and towns, and do deliberate of the matter as its importance requires; “but it is no avail if in so weighty a matter, being contrary to their general union and solemn oath and promises, it be hard to bring to one opinion first the nobles, then the towns and lastly the provinces.
Without date, endorsement or covering sheet.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 173.]
Brief memorial of the proceedings of the United Provinces in deliberating and resolving concerning the proposed treaty of peace.
[A detailed statement of which the above is a summary.]
Endd. by Killigrew. Some reasons why they be so long before they answer some kind of propositions, 1587; which they have given me in manner for excuse of their long delays to answer mine. Dutch.pp. [Ibid. f. 237.]
March. Occurrents from Antwerp.
Here is certain news that the Prince is bound again for Flanders, as to Ghent and Bruges, and, (it is thought) to do some exploit, for secretly he has sought to get the principal mariners from this town and sent them to Dunkirk. He has some practice in hand with boats, and seeks the strongest mariners to row. All his companies lie still about Ecclo and Bruges, “and undo the whole country, and are in such misery as the like hath not been seen.” Those that lie here upon the dyke, as at Callo and Ordam, receive no money and cry out for it, and I have seen some hanged and drowned from desperation. They have also daily advertisement in what necessity those of Bergues are, and how unprovided, and the soldiers in Flushing cry out for lack of pay. All the Italian footmen in Flanders are consumed in misery, and Stanley's men diminish daily.
At Dunkirk are 40 tall ships ready “to take seas.” Champagny and Count Aremberg are here, awaiting the coming of commissioners out of England. A post to-day brings news “that the nobles of England are coming,” bringing with them six fair geldings to give to the prince.
The whole country is joyful at the coming of the commissioners, both nobles and commons, for “unless a parley come or some exploit done, his army will mar all.” He means to do some exploit shortly and suddenly.
“The Germans are like ‘mooffes’ with great shame gone out of France, and for certain the Guisers have followed them till within a small day's journey of Strasburg, and have besieged a town in the Grave of Würtemberg's country called Mompell Gatton,” about ten miles from Strasbourg, have burnt twenty or thirty villages, spoiled and burnt the town, and killed the inhabitants, yet remaining thereabouts.
“So as through the most part of Germany there is preparation for wars.”
By reason of the passing up and down, there is great amity showed between the governors and those of particular towns in Holland. In our English house here is come to lodge the bastard son of the Duke of Florence, “which is done of spite, yet he says when the commissioners come over, he will remove.”
I wish the strangers in London understood our entertainment, for theirs is too good there, having every week their posts by way of Calais, and maintaining their trade and Bourse in this town.
Endd. “Occurrents from Antwerp.” 1½ pp. [Newsletters I. f. 152.]


  • 1. Printed. Bertie: Five Generations of a Loyal House, p. 174.
  • 2. The Dutch text given in full in Bor: Nederlantsche Oorlogen, bk. xxiv., ff. 48–52.
  • 3. The bulk of this letter printed in Algernon Cecil: Life of Robert Cecil, pp. 36–7.
  • 4. Dale was back at Ostend on the 14th March.