Elizabeth: April 1588, 1-5

Pages 239-265

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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April 1588, 1–5

April 1. Dr. John Rogers to the Queen. (fn. 1)
I have been to the Duke of Parma at Ghent, and had three colloquies with him, two at Ghent on March 26 and 17; the third on the 28th, while riding together five or six miles on the way to Bruges, a dolorous sight, that once flourishing country now partly drowned, and (except certain great cities) burned and desolate. After compliments, when, in speaking of her Majesty, his Alteza never failed to uncover; I said to him: that I prayed God would restore peace. In his Alteza's hands were the lives of thousands, and the destruction of cities, towns and countries … While listening, “his eyes moistured, sometine cast upward to heaven, most commonly full upon me (having a very large eye) sometime downward, well declared how his heart was affected. I told him that this part of my speech proceeded from me but as Dr. Rogers.
As touching the speech your Majesty commanded me to use, I said it consisted in two points of mislike, the one touching the demand that the treaty should begin at Ostend; the other, certain attempts by the King of Spain's forces against your Majesty. His Altezza being advertised thereof by Andrea de Loo, made no exception to Ostend, as shown by de Loo's letters, yet after their arrival, not only was exception made thereto, but delay used in three other points: 1. in not sending commissioners; 2. in not naming them; 3. in not showing their commission (the Master of Requests being specially sent to him to see it) not once the sight of your Majesty's commission demanded; whereat your Majesty marvelled, “commanding me to give his Altezza to understand that this manner of dealing might give just cause to your Majesty and the world to think l'intentione de questo inteso trattato de la pace tendevane ad altro fine che ne era pretendito, specifying the extraordinary preparation in Spain by sea, whereof … the like was never made by the Emperor Charles the Fifth”; adding that if he would balance the honour offered to the King of Spain in sending personages of so great honour over the sea, he would find that your Majesty could not see why any difficulty should be pretended as to Ostend, unless thereby to take occasion to break off the treaty.
Addressing myself there to the second point, he said he would first answer the first one; and so with great gravity said “Signor Rogers etc., you have propounded unto me speeches of two sorts The one as proceeding from D. Rogers; the other as ambassador. As touching the first point, I do verily give you my hearty thanks for your so godly etc. speeches; assuring you that, though I have always used the wars, the calamities by you alleged confirm my own disposition to have peace, and that this treaty shall take good and speedy end … Many other causes move me to desire peace …., my father and mother are dead; my son a young prince, my house needs my presence. I know how ticklish a thing is the fortune of war. The king my master is now stricken in years, his issue young, his dominions in trouble. His desire is to live and to leave his posterity in quietness. Generally the glory of God, the honour of both their Majesties and the good of these countries … and divers other like reasons forced him to peace; in so good sort as I have not heard the like of any of his Alteze's quality.” He confessed that they had offered the Queen the option of place but it was always meant that it should be a neutral place. He prayed me to show de Loo's letter to Richardot. He remembered one Pyne expressly affirming that the ambassadors would not go to Ostend but desired to repair to some place in the King's possession. To this I answered that your Majesty's commissioners would never renounce his Highness' special favour drawing them to Ostend, for any overture which Pyne could pretend. “Well, said the Duke…. I would it pleased Almighty God that her Majesty would do me that honour as not to will me to do anything which might purchase me infamia. I have (said he) written unto Spain touching the said Pyne his message, and what should I do? But, said he, I will consult with myself, and will do all I may do. And to come to the matter of the Commission; was it ever seen in the world (said his Alteza) that commissions should be viewed before there were aboccamento. As touching the naming of the Commissioners, it was apparent to all the country, and de Loo had signified the same unto you, that they were the Count Aremberghe, Champagny President Richardot, Procurador Fiscal, Doctor Maes, Secretary Garnier. The not sending of the Commissioners was not by his default, by by ours, who were in a place unto the which, without dishonour they could not repair …
“Considering the time of this colloquie to have been long … I prayed his Altezza to think that to prove, in treaty between princes, there was never commission viewed before aboccamento, would be overhard to be maintained; yea that I knew that the manner of treaty between some princes (specifying the Polonians with the Prissians, Lithuanians etc. (which I held for as great treaters as any in Christendom) in matters of weight seldom or never used abbocamento, unless not only the commission but also the Saulfe Conducte and place etc. were agreed upon ….; so verily, had I been acquainted with the matter in time, I could have prevented the loss of five or six weeks…. Also he might take it for a maxim that there was nullum jus foederum regibus prescriptum, whereby they were bound to any special form of dealing … Four points governed them, which govern all Princes: the glory of God, Honour, Security and Utility. Tended it not [to] the glory of God to cease effusion of Christian blood? Were it not honourable to be in quiet possession of the Provinces, the King now of many years having been without them? Were there any greater security than the dissolving of these great preparations; breeding justly mistrust to both the princes' realms? Were there any greater utility than that the King of Spain (his subjects having their accustomed traffic) might be restored to their ancient, flourishing state and wealth? All this to effectuate, your most gracious Majesty, to gain time, commanded us to repair to Ostend, and to make requisition of Commission, with overture to communicate ours, if the same should be demanded. All which speeches I prayed his Alteza to be spoken by D. Rogers, and per via de discorso.
The Commissioners named by De Loo …. were to us the Earl of Aremberghe, Champagny etc. … but not jure fœderum Commissioners, until the commission were seen…. And what dishonour were it to the King or to him to have entered into treaty at Ostend, which he implied to be the King's propria stanza….
His Alteza hearkened with great attention, and thanked me for my sincere and plain dealing; saying if I had been an instrument in this matter at the beginning, these matters would have been in other terms … wishing he were learned, to the intent he might the better have gone with me; adding he would send Richardot to accompany me at dinner; who should deal with me; and in very good sort taking leave of me, commended me to the Marquis del Guasto, Count Mansfeildt and others.
“The 27th day, his Alteza gave me the second audience, who, after more cheerful and familiar embracing me, said: Signor Ruggieri, you spake yesterday of a second point, which I pray you to deliver me, libramente e sinceremente; whereof being heartily glad, I said … her Majesty had heard of certain words from himself as also from Richardot, importing some doubt of attempts by the King of Spain's forces against her as she might gather thereby, they went about belike to terrify her; commanding me to give him to know that she dealt not in her government so weakly or imprudently, with any such trascuragine, but that she was provided for anything that might be attempted against her by the said King; as also right well furnished (in case he should not show himself desirous of peace) to offend him. His Alteza (with a sad countenance) demanded who should make the same relation, saying per il honore de cavaliero he had much abused him … adding thereto that they that knew him well could not do less than report that his manner was (though he might have cause to the contrary) never to let any word pass him that might offend any prince; and, he said, I speak it realmente y verdaderamente; (which words he only spake in Spanish) I know not of any intention of the King of Spain against her Majesty or her realms. At which words singularly rejoicing I certified his Alteza I held myself for the man nost satisfied in the world, that I might write unto your Majesty that I had heard his Alteza upon his honour use those words. He said, per il honore mio, é vero quanto che tocca a questo particolare; saying that he had thought, and thinketh so honourably of your Majesty, as after the King his master, he would serve your Majesty afore any other prince in Christendom…. True it was, he said, he had heard che quel Drake having committed many outrages, he had understood the King had armed certain ships against him and them of his sort, but not of any attempt against her Majesty or England. His Alteza instanted me again to know who had made such relation; saying there had been none with him save Dr. Dale, … [and] that he had received good satisfaction of him. I answered that Mr. Dale era persona honorata; of good years, learned and well experimented; but that it might be that having misunderstood some of his Alteza's words; thinking that his allegiance to your Majesty depended upon the declaration thereof, had made such relation; assuring his Alteza otherwise that I had heard the said Dr. Dale report, upon his return from his Alteza, very honourably etc. I am very sorry, said his Alteza, that any should procure me to be offended in matter so greatly importing me as this is; but knowing the accustomed virtues wherewith your Majesty was endowed, he assured himself that his protestation would fully satisfy your Majesty; wishing, as your Majesty had begun so holy a work, so now your ambassadors would abbocarsi, and make unions and renew the treaties between the crown of England and the house of Burgundy, and restore the ancient traffic etc. Adding thereunto that there was never such time as the present discoursing that his mother, the Duchess of Parma, had left the country in flourishing estate to the Duke of Alva; who, how he had discharged that government [we] knew by this time by God's judgments; whereof he said he would no further speak, for the quarrel that had been between the houses of Parma and Alva. The Commandador Requesens era bono homo, ma che poco intendeva del fatto suo. Don John de Austria (whose soul he said he doubted not was in heaven), for that he was young and poor, [was] not able to attain his designs; inducing by degrees that God had never offered so great hope of an assured peace as presently, through your Majesty, might be accomplished; with which words seeming to conclude this conference … I prayed his Alteza … to have his resolution touching the beginning of the Treaty at Ostend, in which your Majesty found yourself so touched in honour as if the same (whereof I, seeing his Alteza's singular forwardness I nothing doubted) were not performed, we were no less (I spake it soubriant) than commanded to repair to your Majesty's presence: whereto he answered: I sent yesterday Richardot unto you; hath he not contented you? I answered his Alteza, no; and that I was by your Majesty sent unto his Alteza and not to Richardot; and that the matter was of such importance as I was to pray that he would, to all his graces and favours add this one; in sending commissioners to Ostend. Where his Alteza, embracing me, said most heartily: Signor Ambassador, restatene contento; haveretene satisfactione; where, taking his so great courtesy in advantage … I said; per farne una bona conclusione, [that] the Dunkirkers, had offered certain outrages to certain your Majesty's subjects at seas, near unto the coast of Norfolk; in which case his Alteza giving order, there was never any ambassador departed more bound to him, nor more resolute to speak honour of his Alteza accordingly. To which he said: Signor Ambassr. datene una memoria to Secretary Garnier, and all you require shall be despatched assuredly; saying, to-morrow we will keep company together to Bruges; and so, heartily embracing me, said: a bon viaggio.
“The 28th day of March in the morning, his Alteza sent Secretary Garnier unto me, certifying that he was ready to take horse towards Brughes, not being sure whether he took the way by Damm, and so to Scluse; intending to see his navy and other preparations of war; leaving to me my choice whether I would accompany the Duke or take the way that the train went. And forsomuch as the Duke himself said we should keep company together to Bruges, I resolved to overtake him … and finding him accompanied only with the Marquis of Guasto … he turned towards me, and after salutations, he said: Signor ambassador, thinking upon the matters we last handled, I find, if needless difficulties be cut off, the treating of these matters … will be very short; … for the treaties between the crown of England and the House of Burgundy … are ready made, and lack nothing but renovation … And touching the Hollanders and Zeelanders and their complices, they may say Decimo domum tractavimus anno; yea, I think their treaties are older, and their articles have been so carefully by them couched as, in that behalf there would be no cause of stay; and as for such towns of the king's as your Majesty hath in possession he thought there would be no difficulty in the delivery thereof; having ever assured himself that your Majesty never meant to empatronize yourself either of these countries generally or of any towns thereof particularly.
For the matter of the Hollanders and Zeelanders; for that Secretary Garnier once had said that the Duke, he thought, would not suffer them to enter into the treaty … I said Che no spiace a vostra Alteza if the Hollanders and Zeelanders etc. shall be willing to enter into the treaty your Alteza would well like thereof. … Holding up his arm, he cast his hand abroad, saying, Entrino, trattino, conchiudino. In the name of Almighty God, I have been always well disposed to peace, and now more than ever; in such sort as I assure you, had I many rivers of blood in my body, I could even with the loss of my life be content to pour it forth to have peace made at this time.”
On March 29 Secretary Garnier certified me on behalf of his Highness, of the Duke's great contentment touching the peace in general and himself in particular, desiring me earnestly to continue my devoirs and to commend him humbly to your Majesty praying you to accept his willing service; for that next to the king his master, there was no prince in Christendom to whom he wished so much honour; and “protesting before God that touching the present particular he was guiltless thereof, and most glad to be wholly at your Majesty's devotion.”
I could with more ease have written briefly but I assured myself it was my duty to report the same as it happened largely.—Ostende, 1 April, 1588.
Signed. Endd. 13½ pp. [Flanders III. f. 4.]
April 1. Copy of the same in extremely small, close writing.
Endd.pp. [Ibid. f. 12.]
April 1. “Brief remembrance presented to the Lord Cobham by Edward Morris, the 1st of April, 1588.”
Being sent by the Commissioners with letters to Andreas de Loo, saying “that where the said de Loo had written and Mr. Doctor Rogers reported that the Duke would send hither certain persons to treat with the Lords, these letters required de Loo to under stand and advertise the quality of the said persons and the numbers of their followers, to the end they might be received with due respect on both sides: I left Ostend on March 31, and between the town and the enemy's fort two miles distant, met divers troops of the enemy, who offered me no manner of injury.
At Oldenburg I learnt that de Loo was newly departed thence, whereat I marvelled, as the Lords had written to him to come to Ostend. At Bruges, I was brought to M. de la Mote, who (after asking what ships had lately arrived at Ostend, “speeches that speed might be made in the negotiation of peace, and earnest protestation of his good will) licensed me to go to De Lo; whom I found so sick that I despaired to have any dispatch from him … and knowing that the matters were but ordinary, I requested M. de la Motte to procure my despatch; he very willingly moved the Duke therein, and told me that the Duke greatly desired expedition, and that Richardot and Meze should come on the morrow to Ostend as Commissioners for him, to satisfy the lords. And for the commission …. they should have very ample authority, but that the Duke would not break the general order, which [was] not to show their commission until the Commissioners came all together. He added also his own opinion, saying it was a small matter now that the Commissioners for the Duke have been at Ostend, to set up some tents near the town, and the Commissioners to come from the one side from Oudenburg, and for her Majesty from Ostende, and bestow every day four or five hours in communication and after return to their lodging again.
“In the mean time, Andreas de Loo was somewhat recovered, and spake with the Duke, and received answer not much differing from that which M. de la Motte had said; and receiving the said de Loo's letters to your lordship I departed; and coming by the lodging of M. Richardot, I alighted, and told him your lordship did expect that they should bring their commission with them to Ostend … whereto he answered that he would fully satisfy your lordships on the morrow touching that point. Thus much for the matter of the letters.
There follow the touching some other accidents in this journey.
“At the same time I was told by Edward Crippes that there was 300 hoyes lying between ‘Dam[m]e’ and ‘Scluse,’ newly arrived; whereto I answered that one of the Queen's ships would clatter them altogether. An Englishman who hath served long at Dunkirk, standing by, said there would be remedy provided for that, for these hoys should be full of soldiers, and they should have other ships, men of war, to defend them; with which while the Queen's ships were buckling, the hoyes being swift of sail should land their men. I remember this to your lordship … as a proof of the malice which our countrymen bear against their natural mother.
“The said Crippes told me further that the preparations on that side, both by sea and land, were very great; and that there came fresh supplies of soldiers every day, and that certain Jesuits were come from Rome and Raymes to accompany the fleet into England.
“One James Eaton (of whom I have told my Lord Treasurer heretofore) requested me to be a suitor in his behalf to my said lord, to grant him safe-conduct to come into England, and he hath (as he saith) great means to serve her Majesty. He showed me the Duke's licence to him for his going into France for two months, and by colour thereof he will go to Callis” and there await his Lordship's pleasure; to whom I pray that this and anything else material in this letter may be made known.
As for this Duke's preparations, Eaton told me, “that no doubt he intended some great attempt; and that Sir William Stanley and Sir Philip Mockett had heard the Duke say it was for England, …. and he was sure … he would not remove his forces out of this country until he had gotten the town of Ostend, which otherwise would serve to put an army into the country whereof he is yet but newly possessed, and therefore he (Eaton) wished the town might be strongly provided for; and when I told him … that the Serjeant-Major was removed, he rejoiced, saying that he meant to betray the town. He wished Colonel Morgan might be made much of, and that no trust should be given to Jaques, sometime Sir William Stanley's lieutenant.
Owen showed me a letter from a Mr. Pattison to Mr. ‘Stannope,’ of the Privy Chamber, and now it appeareth that a man of Mr. Roper's …. sent the same or a copy thereof to the Duke of Parma….
“The same Owen told me that Dr. Rogers had said to the Duke that he had commission above all the lords in this matter of treaty; and he said he knew so much would be signified by Richardot to the lords; but these speeches be the less to be believed by cause they proceed for one who is very ill affected to his country.”
Probably a copy. Endd. 2 very closely written pp. [Flanders III. f. 20.]
April 1/11. The Council of State of Zeeland to the Queen.
Thanks for appointing Lord Willoughby and Mr. Killigrew to hear and compound the controversy among them. Hope that upon their report, she will conceive that they are not blame-worthy, and protest the continuance of their dutiful affection towards her. Desire that some of her ships may be appointed for the guard of their coast until better order be taken by the generalty for common defence; as the enemy is already advancing against them, to their great danger.—Middelburg, April 11, 1588. Signed by Rychert and Roels.
French. 2 pp. Add. Endd. with note of contents. [Holland XXIII. f. 3.]
April 2. Arthur Champernowne to Walsingham.
It is certainly thought by divers that if his Excellency had for some little time differed the resignation of his commission, all the country and towns would have so revolted against the authority of the States, that they should have had no more credit and government given them by the people than had pleased her Majesty.”
The towns which had seemed most affected to them began to more deeply consider of their affairs: “the departure of his Excellency, the mutinies of sundry places, the discontentment of divers their commanders and great towns, draw the States to use such extraordinary means to redress and prevent further inconveniences, as they discovered their dealings so far unto the people, as the most part of them could see that it was most necessary … that the power of the States should be abolished, and the whole government and authority of her Majesty and his Excellency erected.” But then came his Excellency's resignation, which so dashed the proceedings that all well affected to her Majesty and to him were utterly discouraged; and the States, with their adherents, begin to raise their heads.
“The chief mutineers of Gerttruydenberg may be thus wrought to send unto the States, that if they do not procure them some English governor, or some other sent unto them from her Majesty they will presently compound with the enemy; whereon the States shall be driven to request her to accept of the place; themselves entertaining the garrison.
“I know certain captains, unto whom the States are far in debt, that will procure means to get into Nardin … with the States' consent, where once entered [they] will keep the place.” The contributions of the country shall pay their soldiers and yet secretly [they] will keep and hold it to her Majesty's use, requiring of her only two month's imprest for their companies.
“The treasurer presumes so far on the passions of such horse and foot companies as lies in these quarters, as every two months or six weeks, he makes us fast fifteen days,” or else shamefully beg lendings of the towns where we lie, which sometimes we get, and other whiles not; he employing the money for private matters. He makes us follow the popish fastings, and yet the most part of my men are Christian Welshmen, who take no delight in such lean ceremonies.
“We sometimes doubt whether 'tis thought that we are here for her Majesty's service; because, in respect of the garrisons of Flushing and Brill we are often left a la desperado.—Utrecht, 2 April, 1588.
Holograph.p. Add. Endd. [Holland XXIII. f. 5.]
[April 2/12.] Substance of a placard made by the States upon the Earl of Leicester's resignation. (fn. 2)
That the States hold him free of his charge of general governor and have remitted the general government to the Council of State to the end that all causes touching the common defence may be administered according to the treaty with her Majesty by Lord Willoughby, general of her forces, the governors and deputies of the several Provinces and the queen's two counsellors. As they are assured that her Majesty desires no further interest in those counties than the maintenance of the treaty, and that it is against her will that any schisms should be made in her name, they command every one, of whatever nation or condition to refrain from proposing any change or novelty in the state of the country, upon pain of being proceeded against and punished as troublers of the common quietness, without any respect of persons.
pp. [Ibid. f. 103.]
April 2. The Privy Council to Sir Thos. Shirley knight.
Concerning victuals taken for the use of the English soldiers in Bergen op Zoom, Ostend and other places. (fn. 3)
Copy. 1 p. [Ibid. f. 7.]
[April 2.] “Copy of the accord [between Lord Willughby and Count Maurice] for [Colonel] Snoy.”
“Imprimis, oblivion for all matters past, so that the said colonel, [the] captains and soldiers at Medenblick, and all others which have taken part with them, shall not be molested by the States or any other for that cause.
Whereas, by the Earl of Leicester's Act of Dec. 27 last, resigning the government the aforesaid colonel, captains etc. are no more bound by their oath to him “although they remain bound to the United Provinces, yet it is left to them whether they will continue in the service of this country or not; with promise that if they so continue, they shall be entertained as aforetime they were accustomed to be treated.
And if they will depart out of service, they shall have “an honourable and absolute passport to remain both within and without the United Provinces with all liberty and freenesa….” And for past service they shall be paid in ready money immediately after the accepting and performing of this offer.
And as, in respect of what passed in Medenblick, “the griefs between the colonels, captains and soldiers there … and the inhabitants of that town will not so soon be forgotten, and that thereby might fall out some disquietness” the said colonels, captains and soldiers shall first be sent and employed in some other town or fortress.
The aforesaid articles, having been debated of and considered were this afternoon passed (fn. 4); but as the last article “contrairieth the desire of her Majesty and the charge given me [Lord Willughby] in favour of the said Col. Snoy and his men (from which I cannot digress): but would be glad his Highness might be satisfied … my request is that this article be altered, and in lieu thereof resolved that the said Snoy shall be continued in his charge in Medenblick … with a competent number for the garrison; and to take his commission from Count Maurice, with oath of obedience and fidelity to the said Count, the States and country,” and that a good agreement of friendship be made between him and his and the said burghers; and both parties be tied to perform and keep the same.
“Ending these with my earnest desire that presently … this may be found good and accorded … And that afterwards, without further loss of time, may be proceeded to other matters importing the unity, conservation and service of the same, and to perform that which by all men is with good reason expected of us.”
“And whereas, by the States General, the Council of State, the States of Holland and his Excellency, upon the redress of the state of the country the 29th of January last past, is resolved and ordained that the town of Medenblick should be only kept with a garrison of 150 men of the Colonel's own company; therefore the Captains Cristall and Wolfwinckle, with ensigns and soldiers and any other soldiers above the number of 150 men, shall depart to such garrison as shall be ordained; and the said Colonel with the said 150 men shall remain there and command, so as he receive commission of his said Excellency … taking his oath of fidelity as aforesaid with promise that he shall not keep nor bring into the said town above the number aforesaid … without the consent and commandment of his said Excellency; which being performed, the soldiers that lie before the said town shall depart.
“And then his Excellency and his lordship shall go into the said town of Medenblick, to the end they may establish a good union and accord between the soldiers that remain there and the burgers; and set all due order as they shall find thereto to apertain. Provided that all the points aforesaid … shall not extend to any prejudice of the treaty made between her Majesty and the United Provinces.”
Endd. “Copy of the accord for Snoy.” On two sheets 1⅓, ¾, ¾ pp. [Holland XXIII. ff. 18, 19.]
April 3/13. The States General to the Lords of the Council.
Concerning the state of her Majesty's forces. They have heard by a dispatch made by her Majesty's orders, that it is her good pleasure to provide for their wants; but as the effectuating depends on other matters, and they cannot be left in suspense, seeing that delay would bring ruin to the country, which already falls into great confusion thereby from day to day: they humbly pray her Majesty and their Excellencies to give them a final and favourable resolution on the following points:—
Firstly. That they may have the whole number of troops promised, both of horse and foot; that the garrisons of the strong places may be assured against the effort of the common enemies, and other towns and fortresses be garrisoned; and that the said forces may be employed by ordinance of the Governor General and Council of State, without contradiction.
Secondly. That it will please her Majesty that examination be made in what manner and quantity the victuals have been dispensed in Bergen-op-Zoom and Ostend; and good order be taken therein for the future.
Thirdly. That she will cause the moneys disbursed from the treasuries of the country for the towns of Brill and Flushing to be repaid; and give order for the future that they may be entertained without expense to the country.
Fourthly. That as they draw away in her name the troops in pay of the country from the service thereof, and entice them into mutinies and disorders, as (amongst other places) at Medemblicq, Naerden and Gurtruydenberg, to the ruin of the country; which they are confident is done against her Majesty's intentions:—that she will be pleased to order the Governor General of her succours; the governors of Flushing and the Brill and all others her officers and subjects to take such good order that such things shall not be done in her name, and that what has been already done shall be repaired and punished as is fitting; which ought the rather to be done for that the enemies having seen this practice have suborned some who, sheltering themselves under the mantle of being well-affected to her Majesty, have undertaken to yield the towns and fortresses in which they hold garrison into the hands of the enemy, as of late has clearly appeared to the Baron of Willoughby, governor-general of the succours of her Majesty, in regard to the towns of Naerden and Willemstadt, and, as it is to be feared, of several others.
As regarding the accounts of what is claimed to have been disbursed for these countries, they will make no difficulty as to passing them, and of allowing to the charge of the country what has been paid by ordinances of the Council of State or for the service of the same in their absence, without their ordinance; provided that it shall first be shown that the country was bound for the said debts.
But this cannot be understood of the stranger troops, who were brought into these provinces without consent of the States-General; as it was expressly provided to the contrary in the treaties made with her Majesty. We are however, willing to repay, with the money of the ordinary succour of her Majesty, after the war is ended what they shall be found answerable for.
Humbly praying her Majesty that she will be pleased to be satisfied with this and will advise them what is best to do; in order that they may herein give all reasonable satisfaction to her Majesty, their lordships and his Excellency.
Praying them very humbly, in regard of the estate of these countries, to use their accustomed benevolence and discretion, and not to judge of their actions to their prejudice without hearing them, and the rather that the ruin and loss of these countries will only be profitable to the common enemies.—La Haye, in Holland, 13 April, 1588. Signed, Kamminga; countersigned, Aerssens.
Add. Endd. French.pp. close writing. [Holland XXIII. f.9.]
April 4. Lord Willoughby to the Lords of the Council.
Concerning the state of Bergues.
I am certainly informed “that the enemy assembleth strong head about ‘Andwarpe,’ with full purpose, about the midst (if not sooner) of next May, to sit down before Berges. How dishonourable it would be to our nation (after Sluce) to receive a second touch by the loss thereof, I leave to your lordships' wisdoms.
To withstand the brunt of such a siege … and maintain the guard of the place, and to warrant her Majesty's horse and soldiers there, it will require some royal provision to be speedily made, to make up 3000 foot and 600 horse, furnished with all needful necessaries for such a purpose. If any expectation be had that the States will relieve it; there is no hope thereof so long as our men possess it. And Ostend, so far as I can learn, is in worse rather than in better terms.
“My poor opinion is … that it were more safe for our men and for the place, more honour to our nation and more pleasing here, if the town were left wholly to the guard of the States; and our soldiers, being drawn thence, might be ready to attempt any needful service, and be in strength to answer all occasions.
“I am most humbly to beseech your lordships to make some stay in granting Sir John such pay for them as he desireth for the companies delivered by him to me, until I have made proof in what weak state and at what time I received them….
Recommends Gilpin to their favourable regard who has very long served in matters of the estate here; whose sufficiency and diligence are well known; without some good regard for his maintenance he must of very necessity abandon this service. Asks that care may be had to the contentment of the soldiers, with a full pay, as may ease their extreme wants and encourage them to serve.—At Hague, 4 April, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. with short note of contents.pp. of very small close writing. [Ibid. f. 12.]
April 4. Lord Willoughby to Burghley.
Ever since I wrote last, I have been troubled with the ague, which prevents me from writing with my own hand; “yet have I not left to prosecute the deliverance of Snoy, nor omitted to persuade a reunion; which I hope is now come almost to a full and good conclusion.
“This morning, had not my sickness hindered me, I had accompanied Count ‘Mauris’ to Medenblick, to end all matters; but being unable to go myself, I have sent with the Count Mr. Killigrew, Sir William Read and the Serjeant Major and if I feel myself anything strong, will follow after.
“I have been bold to inform their lordships of the state of Berges, which, when your lordship shall see, I doubt not but you will please so carefully to regard as the necessity to avoid her Majesty's dishonour may be respected.
“I humbly thank your lordship for making stay in the matter which concerneth the companies of horse and foot delivered by Sir John Norris unto me,” and pray for your continuing favour therein. I hope within these few days to advertise more particularly the success of our proceedings.—The Hague, 4 April, 1588.
Postscript. I thank your lordship humbly for favouring Captain Corsie, and pray you to grant him licence for 100 tuns of beer. “Your lordship knoweth his estate; no man better.”
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland XXIII. f. 14.]
April 4. Lord Willoughby to Walsingham.
Since Acton's departure, “I have earnestly followed a course with Count Mauris and the States, according as I was from her Majesty commanded; and after sundry meetings we have accorded, according [to] the copy enclosed (fn. 5).
[Concerning Count Maurice's journey to Medemblick, his own sickness etc., as in previous letter.]
I have written to the Lords about Berges, and hope you will further what you may “the respect of honour to our soldiers there.”
For Mr. Gilpin, you know his good parts, and I leave him to your good favour, which for my sake I pray may be enlarged towards him.—The Hague, 4 April, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. f. 16.]
April 4. Sir William Russell to Burghley.
“By reason of the uncertain and cold course is taken for the towns and people well affected towards her Majesty in this dangerous time, now the enemy hath such forces and great preparations, causeth them of Camphere and Armuye to be doubtful of the assurance of her Majesty's regard and favour towards them; but chiefly Armuye, for that they have not as yet received any message from her Majesty, nor other means of encouragement but such as hath by me been used privately of myself. The town of Gitten Berge will no more be commanded by the Estates. If her Majesty do reject them, they will revolt to the enemy.
“Upon the certain intelligence of the Duke of Parma his forces coming already to Sluyce and Isendyke with shipping, small boats and other sufficient provision for his whole army, and pretending it against this town, or else for the present landing of his forces in this island, I perceive such coldness and backwardness in the Estates, albeit we look for the enemy's coming even hourly, yet I see no disposition they have to defend this island; either in sending strength of shipping hither, or any companies of horses or foot, to annoy and hinder them at their first landing.”
Wherefore, as the mariners of this town, and those of such ships of war as are here are so well-affected that if three or four of her Majesty's ships were here to join with them they would then do any service, either to stop the enemy's first coming forth … or else hinder them so much otherwise [that] they should not be able to land their people without great danger; … I beseech your lordship to further the sending hither of those ships forthwith, “and also victuals both for this place and the Ramekins castle, which is altogether unprovided.”
Also, as the soldiers are discontented for want of pay and the burgers both of this town and Middelburg cry out on the companies for the great sums are due to them, I pray you to hasten pay away, lest in this dangerous time, now the enemy's coming is greatly expected, there should be some secret practice wrought to corrupt them.
Lastly I beg that match and lead for the small shot may be sent, as this place standeth greatly in need thereof.—Flushing, 4 April, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXIII. f. 20.]
April 4. Sir William Russell to Walsingham.
To much the same effect as his letter to Burghley.—Flushing, April 4, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. with epitome of contents.pp. [Ibid. f. 22.]
April 4. William Borlas to Walsingham.
Announcing his marriage to a woman, very honest and virtuous.
Asks for his influence to obtain the 100l. due of the entertainment the Queen gives him, for he must not, for his credit's sake, look into his wife's bags so soon.
Understands that one goes about to seek his place, by the Earl of Leicester's secretary's means. Prays his honour not to see him so injured, “that hath served her Majesty so faithfully and painfully” as the Lord General and Lord Governor can certify. [On the “cessation of arms” between the States and Medenblick.]
“The Prince of Parma draweth down all his forces of flat-bottomed boats towards the Sluse. It is thought certainly that he meaneth to come on to this island.”—Flushing, 4 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. f. 24.]
April 4/14. The States General to the Queen. (fn. 6)
On March 25 (the day after the arrival of Messieurs de Loosen and Casembrot, commissioners from the United Provinces, here at the Hague, we heard their report of the reply your Majesty was pleased to make to them, and to give them in writing; concerning that which they had in charge to put before you. And that same day we sent a copy thereof to each of the provinces, that they might come the more speedily to a resolution as to what your Majesty desires; whose answers we expect daily, with a firm hope that they will be pleasing to your Majesty.
We have also been informed, on the 1st of this month by Mr. Killigrew, Counsellor on behalf of your Majesty in the Council of State of these countries, of a letter signed by his Excellency at London on the 17th of December last, whereby he declares his resolve to give up his charge of Governor and Captain-General of these United Provinces; being commanded by your Majesty to remain in England for your service in the affairs of the realm.
Which is the cause of our not having sooner established order as to the direction of the common defence etc. seeing the reservavation his Excellency made—when he accepted the said government—of the homage which he owed to your Majesty by the publication of a proclamation (as it is the custom to do in a matter of such importance) wherein are inserted some principal points of the said treaty; to the end that the inhabitants of the country being thereby duly informed, may the better order themselves pursuant thereto; assuring ourselves that your Majesty will be so much the better satisfied, that in this, as in all our other actions, we have had, and ever shall have no regard save to the honour of God, the service of your Majesty and the general welfare of all the United Provinces. Ask for continuance of her favours.—The Hague, 14 April, 1588. Signed Egmont. Counter-signed, Aerssens.
Add. Endd. French. 2 pp. [Holland XXIII. f. 26.]
April 4. Andrea de Loo to Burghley.
Is going to-morrow to Ostend; hoping that the signors there will find themselves well satisfied in all things; his Highness desiring no other than to serve the Queen in such sort as to avoid blame. And her Majesty may rest assured that he has no intent to deceive her; expressing the wish that she may gain great glory by this holy work of settling all controversy between the Low Countries and the King of Spain, and between the two crowns of Spain and England. And if his lordship can bring about this thing he may see, in his old age, a great public peace; striking the iron while it is hot to gain his end. But it must needs be done quickly (the Duke speaking no otherwise) time is wanting, and he himself is still indisposed.—Bruges, 4 April, 1588, stilo Anglico.
Prays that his compatriot Faille may liberate himself, by payment of ransom at his lordship's good discretion.
Add. Endd. Seal. Italian. 1 p. [Flanders III. f. 27.]
April 5. Copy of a paper put before the States General by Lord Willughby at his hotel on this date. (fn. 7)
Her Majesty has told you of an article whereby the Estates undertake to equip certain ships to join with hers, in case of need to be employed in accordance with an offer made by the late Prince of Orange and the Estates General to her servant Edward Dyer, and since confirmed by the Estates; and as her Majesty is advertised that the naval army of the King of Spain is ordered to set out in the month of May, she has commanded me to treat with you, that you may not fail to provide these ships, properly furnished in all respects ready to sail with hers before the end of this present April, for the common defence against any sudden enterprise of the said King, either against her Majesty or your own State. And whereas formerly the Isle of Wight was named as the place of rendezvous, her good pleasure now is that they shall assemble in the Downs, as the most convenient place, giving me charge to ask for a speedy answer.
And as her Majesty is warned that the enemy has some designs upon Ostend, which is very ill provided, and also weakened by the great breaches made by the sea, she desires you to take order for re-stocking the storehouse, re-enforcing the troops and repairing the defences; as otherwise she cannot maintain the place. Nor does she hope much better of the town of Bergues, unless your honours shall provide better therefor.—The Hague, 5 April, 1588, English style.
And as her Majesty has been informed that some who are well-affectioned to her, are proceeding with certain actions of great consequence, although she takes their devotion in very good part,—yet, to prevent disorder and dissension, and lest the States-General and others should think that such action has been procured by her ministers, and approved by herself—she has commanded me to let you understand that her intention and desire has never been other than to maintain the people in good union and accord amongst themselves.
Endd. to the same effect as headline. French. 2 pp. closely written. [Holland XXIII. f. 28.]
April 5. The Queen to the States General. (fn. 8)
“For Colonel Sonoy. Exhorteth them to union and to withdraw their power from before Medenbligh. Appoints the Lord Will[ughby] and Mr. Kill[igrew] to attend them. Letter so endorsed.
Draft. Fr.
2⅓ pp. [Ibid. f. 30.]
Draft of a letter devised by M. de Metekerk to be written from the Queen to the States.
[In the same hand and in nearly the same terms as the above.] Endd. Fr.pp. [Holland XXII. f. 251.]
April 5. The Queen to Lord Willoughby.
“Whereas in our former letters we directed you, in dealing with the States for Col. Sonoy to procure that after the ending and appeasing of all matters of controversy between them, they would be content to continue him as well in the government of Medenblick as also of the regiment in his charge; as by their own letters heretofore directed unto us it seemed they were willing to do: forasmuch as we find since, by the report of one Mustard, of late sent hither form the said colonel to us, that he is rather desirous to quit that service absolutely and to withdraw himself out of the country—so as he may obtain their passport and allowance of such sums as he shall prove to be due unto him for his former services:—we do therefore think meet (in case that before the coming of these letters to you, you shall not have made agreement with the States for him …) that you should now forbear to stand upon the said point of the continuance of him in his said charge, unless it shall fall out that upon some mutual agreement … he shall be content so to do, but rather urge our mediation for him in such sort as is contained in another letter that we have now again written unto the States in his behalf, whereof you shall herewith receive a copy for your better direction.
Rough draft, dated in endorsement.pp. [Holland XXIII. f. 32.]
April 5. The Queen to Colonel Snoy. (fn. 9)
Sieur Mustard will tell him of her readiness to do all good offices for him and that she has written another letter to the States General in his favour to the effect that he has no desire to turn Count Maurice out of his government of North Holland to make himself master there, or to separate the town of Medemblick from Holland; and to exhort them to a good and perfect reconciliation; promising that he will be very ready to agree thereto. Also praying them, in conclusion, to raise the siege, and to grant him a commission from themselves; or else that he should put the town into their hands, on condition of their giving him a favourable discharge and passport, with reasonable satisfaction for what is due to him. Assuring them that if they will not agree, she will have cause very seriously to resent it.
Asks him to show himself ready to agree to reason, to the end that these discords and differences may be the sooner appeased.
Copy, undated. Endd. "1588, 5 April." 1¾ pp. [Ibid. f. 34.]
April 5. William Thomas to the Lord Treasurer.
Seven months ago I wrote “to make known to your honour of the carelessness and security of the magistrates and inhabitants of this town of ‘Vlasshen’ … in not repairing of their ordnance and platforms, with the fortifying of their walls and debased places to any purpose …
“If the enemy do come, it will be greatly wished that it had been better seen unto”; which hath been always wished in their affairs in those countries when the time hath been past remedy, which I fear if it be not that by your honour's wisdom order be taken with speed. “Our dikes about the town are neither so broad nor so deep but the enemy hath provision plentiful for passage; and as for our walls to the landward, he shall not need to bring the cannon, for in most places they are saltable already. There is such lack of earth in the town that the ramparts or other places could not be strengthened.
In the same letter I petitioned for some reasonable proportion of powder and other munitions to remain here to answer any sudden occasion, that we should not have to trust to the provision of the town. Three months past, the Lord Governor sent one that is a dweller here to certify what munitions were in readiness in the town. He said that he saw 10,000 weight of powder; but at my lord ambassador's being here last, I had occasion to go into the house where it lies, and there was no more than four hundred. Also it was reported that in the storehouse there were fifty-five ‘pieces’ of cast iron, all which pieces are unserviceable and not to be made account of. And that in the said house were twenty-six pieces of brass, but broken and unserviceable. If there might be order procured to have them changed for bigger pieces [it would be well] for we shall stand in great need of ten demi culverins for the furnishing of our walls to the landward, for we have no pieces there of any great force.
“The lord governor here has understanding of all these wants; and he hath both written and spoken, but yet nothing goeth forward. If your honour would write to him to be earnest to have things repaired; and that by your honour's good wisdom we might be supplied with what we cannot get here, out of England, [it would be well].—In ‘Flosshen,’ 5 April, 1588.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXIII. f. 36.]
April 5. “The substance of the speeches that passed unto Dr. Dale from the Duke of Parma and Richardot, touching his doubt of the King of Spain's intention by these preparations. 5 April. Sent when Dr. Rogers' letters came.”
In the margin. Mr. Robert Cecil was present.
Endd. 1 p. [Flanders III. f. 29.]
April 5. The Earl of Derby and Lord Cobham to Walsingham.
“We had good hope, upon Mr. Roger's speeches, that we should be thoroughly satisfied by those that should come from the Duke of Parma unto us. We find now that these two; viz.: President Richardot and John Baptista Maes, procureurfiscal of Brabant, came as commissioners to treat de loco et tempore only, and not de principali negotio (in their company there was a secretary called Du Praet). Of this we took hold, and asked them whether they had brought their commission; they answered that they had not brought it. It was said unto them that the commission made Commissioners, and so proceeded into long discourse, as it doth appear by our general letters. So we concluded that as Dr. Rogers had informed the Duke that if he would not begin the treaty here at Oostende, her Majesty's pleasure was that we should retire ourselves, they seemed to be sorry, and said that they would inform his Altesse of our answer. Finding that this point would be stood upon, and breed delays in respect of the indignity of the place, as they called it; and doubting how the King would take it, that his Commissioners should come to Oostende, when as the Duke by former letters to the King had made mention to the contrary, we propounded this unto them, that if the Duke or they as Commissioners would ratify and yield this treaty now had at Oostend to be the first entry and sitting, then we would nominate a place. Whereupon we prayed them to consider, and that we might have their answer the next morning; for that then it was somewhat late, and so we arose.
“The next morning we renewed our former speeches. They answered that they would inform his Alteza of it, and doubted nothing but that they would procure his allowance of it. Then said we; conditionally that this be done, we will name you a place which is here hard by this town and Audenborgh; they not greatly refused but said that it was mal a propos, considering the flowing and ebbing on that side of the town, and that Bridges was six leagues off, and at Audenborghe there is no lodging. But [it] seemed that the other side would better content them … by reason of [the] nearness of Newport, where they mean to lie; and that there is fair and ready way for them to come and us to go, that have no horses. They have promises to set up tents, whereunto we did condescend conditionally as before; which was thought by us better to allow of than otherwise, knowing their natures and disposition. Our hope is that her Majesty, of her wonted favour, will graciously accept of this our doings, if this course take good effect, whereof there is some hope, having kept in silence the last direction….” Oostende, 5 April, 1588.
Signed by Derby and Cobham. Add. Endd. Seal of arms.pp. [Flanders III. f. 30.]
April 5. Lord Cobham to Burghley.
[The first page to the same effect as the preceding letter.]
“The day of our next treaty is on Wednesday or Thursday next. May it therefore please your lordship that afore that time we may know her Highness' pleasure whether we shall go next … What opinion is conceived of St. Omers, your lordship by our last general letter doth understand. Wynox Burghe was so spoiled by the French, and Borborgh but a burgage, that the President, Richardotto, told us plainly that they were not fit places for them and us, with their and our train. Besides, this last attempt for burning of the ships at Dunkirk hath brought jealousy upon us. It were very expedient to cause such attempts by sea and by land to surcease, or else to revoke us home. It is here bruited that Sir Francis Drake goeth presently forth to the seas with a great navy. How that agrees with a treaty of peace … I refer to your honourable consideration.” When our commissions are perused, and it is seen that the place is appointed by Berghen-op-Zoom, I fear me they will make exception. Also I fear me that cessation of arms will hardly be granted, and then the treaty cannot with safety be followed.
“My Lord Willoughby wrote unto us that if the cessation of arms be once named there, it would make them all to branle. And that he thought the States would send some of their deputies to join us, and that they mean to propound the exercise of religion; which being denied, they will treat no longer.” I send advertisements given me by Morris, at his return from Bridges. (fn. 10) Roper's man is at Lambeth, in the Lady Catesby's house. His name is Thomas Browne. He should be apprehended and examined; great matters may be found out. Andre de Loo has promised to bring your letter and discourse for me to see, when next he comes hither.—Oostende, April 5, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 2 pp. [Flanders III. f. 32.]
April 5. Dr. John Rogers to Burghley.
His journey to Ghent and colloquies with the Duke which he reported to the Queen.
The letters were sent in the pinnace, Charles, on the 1st of April; Henry Petman, the master.
Short abstract of those letters.
“The lords and we all here expect every hour the Duke's letters, or at the leastwise the Commissioners' letters touching the Duke's ratification of the place and time for the second session, upon the confines of Ostend, which time the said Commissioners specified should be the 11th or 12th of this present April; whereof … your lordship shall be advertised forthwith.”—Ostend, 5 April, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd.pp. closely written [Ibid. f. 34.]
April 5. Sir James Croft to Burghley.
Our proceedings here are sufficiently set forth in the letter to the Queen, and in a particular one from me written with my lords' consent, expressing some things omitted at our conference with the King's Commissioners, “as also some speeches passed between Richardot and me before he came into this town; besides the substance of the speeches passed between him and me in private; wherein I would to God I had been employed at our first arrival here, for within an hour's conference we did cut off all scruples and causes of diffidence; yea, and both then and after, we fell into consideration what was to be done for speedy ending of this treaty. And we both did conceive it to be reasonable that the old treaties between the crown of England and the house of Burgundy should be renewed; and if any part were now to be amended or altered, the same to be considered in sort as should be found good for both parties.
“After we entered into consideration for surseance of arms; as whether the same should extend to Holland and Zeeland; namely to such towns as her Majesty holdeth there, and to all other that will follow her Majesty's direction for deputies to come from thence to this treaty; and consequently to extend to all the dominions belonging to her Majesty and the King of Spain. This passed between Richardot and me by way of discourse, wherein it may like your lordship to procure her Majesty's pleasure, what course my lords and the rest should hold.”
Finding also that merchants' causes were like to come in question; our merchants should be in a readiness to come over.
“And yet it seemeth that these matters were more meeter to be ended in England than on this side; for giving place to matters of more weight, as compounding the matters of Holland and Zeeland … being the chief ground of these troubles; and I cannot but insist that Antwerp is now the meetest place for the colloquy; seeing that our chief care and labour must be for ending of all things concerning the Low Countries…”—Ostend, 5 April, 1588.
P.S. My letters to her Majesty shall come by the next messenger.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1 p. [Flanders III. f. 36.]
April 5. Dr. Valentine Dale to Burghley.
“I hope we have gained the point of honour for her Majesty; in that they have not only been here as Commissioners, but also are contented the next meeting shall be near this town, before the remove to any other. Your lordship doth see it hath been handled with as much policy as we could devise, and surely, for my part, I was in great perplexity, considering the earnest invective of Richardot against the place. If the matter of cessation of arms may proceed, by God's goodness viceremus. God send your lordship good health for our further direction.—Ostend, 5 April, 1588.
Signed. Add.. Endd. ¼ p. [Ibid. f. 38.]
April 5. Lord Cobham to Burghley.
Since my last letter, I have spoken to Andrea de Loo, who showed me a copy of yours of 6 March, 1586; “but for the discourse that your lordship made unto him upon the lacks that you did find in the Duke of Parma's letters to her Majesty, and in the letters from M. de Champagny to Mr. Controller, he said unto me that he had it not here, but at his return to Brugys, he would seek for it. We do hourly look for our answer of our former letters, and to know what her Majesty's good pleasure is for the next place of meeting; and if the cessation of arms will not be granted, whether we shall return. It were very necessary that it were known unto us, for the D[uke] prepares daily and draws his forces to the maritime places with all diligence. The Cardinal Alleyn is looked for; who has sent divers of his prelates, English, French and Scottish, to prepare his way, and to persuade these enterprises for England. It is very necessary that the state of this town was considered, and whether it were necessary for her Majesty to keep it. If otherwise, with what honourable terms she may leave it, and we retire with honour and credit, and not to be forgotten as forlorn persons, where our honour and credit may come in question. I understand that Morrys is sent over to know her Majesty's good pleasure touching a voyage. Your lordship can judge what is fit to be done. The causes has been moved to us this day; advices has been given not to perform it afore he have answer out of England. How it will prevail it is doubtful, for will does commonly take place afore reason. There be here in this town two prisoners; the one called Pygott, the other Captain Barney … He serving the States, went away to the Duke with certain companies; but since her Majesty entered [in] to the action he hath borne no arms, but remains as a ‘penyoner’ [sic]. He is married; by reason hereof he may, and as I think will do such service as no other can do more.” If he might be put to ransom, I am persuaded that good will come of it. “The other, named, Pecok, a martial man and of good conduct; in good estate and has good friends and allies in London, who will find good sureties for his truth and loyalty … and desires to be tried per legem Angliae for anything that he hath done against her Majesty. I pray you favour this their request.
My lord of Derby's ague continues still. I have sent for Dr. Coldwell, the Dean of Rochester, to come over unto us if here we do remain …”—Ostend, 5 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal of arms.pp. [Flanders III. f. 40.]
April 5. Robert Cecil to his father, Lord Burghley.
My last letter, by my servant, Roger Houghton, was scarce begun when the captain of the Charles sent to have him aboard; “whereupon I scribbled up my letter, and sent away the bearer thereof. I beseech your lordship to pardon me, both for the disordered writing and undigested matter” [Wrote another, on the chance of getting it aboard, but failed. As it contains more than the other, he now sends it.]
I also send hereinclosed “an extract out of the Calendery journal I do keep for mine own private exercise and remembrance hereafter, whereby your lordship may perceive the five weeks' negotiation.
“The President Richardotte familiarly to me, a little before he uttered the speech of Dunkirk to the Lords, as they were drawn aside to talk of the matter by themselves, he standing in the chamber, asked me what we heard of the burning of the ships at Dunkirk. I answered him it was a thing whereof we only had heard a flying tale that there should be committed by the States such a foolish attempt: other knowledge the lords had none of it; to whom he straight answered he knew we here must needs know of it; for that the same men that did it came hither by and by to this town, where they were succoured; or else had they been taken; so as your lordship may perceive that in their twenty-four hours abode in this town, some forward person had been busy to tell them thereof; which gave them the more vehement suspicion of that whereto there needed small addition; themselves being sufficiently jealous before.
“The Duke himself willed Richardotte to speak unto me for a hound and a brace of English greyhounds. Your lordship would wonder how fond he is of English dogs. I could not but in good manners promise him to provide them … inasmuch as at Gant he begged a dog of Pyne, which he gave him though he was little worth…
“M. la Motte sent me a cast of hawks when he sent my Lord Cobham his three hawks. There is no five days but I receive from him one courteous message or another; with sometimes a pheasant or a hare; which we can here requite them no way more to their contentment at Bruges than with five or six hundred oysters; which, since their lordships' arrival, are daily to be bought in the town.
“My lord of Derby's two chaplains have seasoned this town better with sermons than it had been before with prayers of a year's space; whereby the gentlemen here are benefited; to whom they also minister a general communion amongst us, that live here in a town of garrison this good time, where all sin is rifest.
My lord of Derby Jiath had a sore touch of the stone; whose keeping his chamber makes me often go a begging to my Lord Cobham's table … From Ostend, 5th of April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal. 2 pp. [Flanders III. f. 42.]
April 5. The Commissioners to the Lords of the Council.
On the 1st inst., about four in the afternoon, President Richardot and Mr. Jean Baptista Maes, president fiscal, arrived here with one de Praet, a secretary of State; “who said they came as Commissioners. “At nine of the clock the next morning, we assembled ourselves in the house of me, the Earl of Derby, and used them in their degree as commissioners, having always special regard of her Majesty's honour.
“When we had placed ourselves, President Richardot said they were sent hither by his Alteza; first to salute us; secondly to declare what good affection his Alteza hath unto peace, and thirdly to satisfy us in certain difficulties … touching the place and time of meeting; wherein his Alteza was always very desirous to yield all honour unto her Majesty … But as for this town of Ostend, it was a place where the meeting should be infamous to his Altezza; because it hath been taken from the King his master by her Majesty … and they might with much more honour have come into England…. [Wherefore] he had plainly declared unto us, Dr. Dale and Dr. Rogers, at Gandt, that he could not yield to have any meeting at this town, and was desirous that we should name any place, as might stand with the honour of the King.”
It was answered that his Altesse had been informed, that the choice of place was in reason to be given to her Majesty, and that she had given us express commandment to stand upon this town for the first meeting; “therefore we thought it not reasonable to call that matter in question again. And although she has a garrison here, she has openly declared “that she keepeth it not with purpose to hold it from the King to her own use, but only for her own defence… “Wherefore, setting aside these arguments, we prayed them to go forward with collating of their commission, and other things appertaining to the treaty.
“Hereunto Richardot replied that the place of meeting was first intended to be a place neuter, as at Emden, Hamburgh, Colleyn, in Gueldres or Clieveland.”
Afterwards, for her Majesty's convenience in sending letters and messages, Bergen op Zoom, Winox Berghen, Burbourgh or St. Omers were spoken of; but Ostend was never thought of or agreed upon and what jealousies and suspicions might arise therefrom.
“And hereupon, he named the late practice to have burnt the ships at Dunkirk; but we interrupted him shortly, and purged us of all knowledge thereof; and that it was done by some desirous to disturb this treaty, far against our wills.
[Then followed a long speech from Mr. Controller, to the following effect]:—That her Majesty's dealings in these countries have always been most honourable and constant, for that she entered into the actions “never for her own profit, but first for conscience sake, for matter of Religion which her Majesty doth profess and maintain; not fanatically or erroneously, but with all sincerity; being a religion reformed as near as may be found or devised to agree with the primitive and apostolic church. Afterwards for her own safety, seeing these countries to fall to division; either to be a prey to some stranger or to come into the hands of such ministers as might prove dangerous neighbours unto her Majesty. For the succour of her ancient allies and defence of herself only … she took upon her to assist the afflicted members of this country. And when motion was made unto her of a Treaty for Peace, upon the assurance of the Duke's security, she was content to hearken unto it, and hath stood most firmly and constantly therein, contrary to the persuasion of divers that have conceived great doubt upon the preparations that have been made, both in these countries and in Spain.
“And hath always been contented with such places as have been named and thought most meet … for which purpose she findeth none more so than this town….
“And now for them to stand upon a ceremony, to the hindrance of so good a work, all the world must needs say they do overmuch forget themselves; for that this treaty cannot turn to so much good unto any as unto the King and his subjects.
“To this also was added by me, Dr. Rogers; That there were four points specially to be noted out of the speeches passed; whereof two concerned her Majesty, and other two the said Commissioners.” The two concerning her Majesty consisted in the safe-conduct, and the letters touching their coming to Ostend. The two concerning the Commissioners were “first in that they say they were commissioned; secondly in that they came tractaturi de loco et tempore tractandi. By the two points that concerned her Majesty, it might appear to the world that she had dealt honorificentissime et providentia tanta quanta posset fieri maxima, “for that, though in possession of Ostend she would not send her ambassadors thither before the safe-conduct of the Duke warranted her; and charged them to write to de Loo to certify the Duke of their repair thither; “against which place the said Duke was so far from alleging the exception of the now specified infamia that he rather expressly approved it; first by commanding de Loo to give their lordships la ben venuta da parte sua; secondly by his letters to all the governors of the maritime towns to receive their lordships with all honour … lastly by his earnest desire that they should make all expedition—Providenter, for that her Majesty's circumspect dealing in furthering this treaty was apparent, as well in making choice of Ostend … as also in the requisition of the reciprocal view of commissions, her Majesty intending thereby to shorten the treaty. And touching the two points concerning them; viz.: that they were commissioners and that they came tracturi de loco et tempore; for the first, id non constate nobis; which point (had the commissions been viewed) had not needed to have been spoken of. And that they came tractaturi de loco tempore, the same we heard gladly, but yet that the same tractatus did depend upon the commission.
“Richardot hereunto answered nothing, but confessed that he permed the safe-conduct himself, and that for honour sake and her Majesty he had added the words in alio loco quocunque in Belgia; but said mens nostra fuit ut tractaretur in loco subdito Regi Hisp: aut in loco neutrali; and that they came now tractaturi de loco et tempore, sed non de negotio principali. And as touching the Commission they would show the same at the next meeting; whereunto it was replied by me, Rogers, that it was a maxim in government that affairs of princes were not to be measured mentibus aut voluntatibus scribentium sed verbis scriptis.
And as to the show of their commission … if the same had heretofore been performed; such difficulties as may be found in the same should before that time have been removed.”
After dinner we sent to them to know whether they were contented that the treaty “should have his beginning in this place by this conference for the first entry and sitting; for so for our parts we took it; to which they said they would make answer at our meeting again in the afternoon. And so assembling … Richardot said that they had advised upon the matter; … wherein they did not know the mind of his Alteza … yet that they would know his pleasure, so be that we would name what place we would choose for the next meeting; and would either return again themselves or send answer by writing in a day or two.
“We said we would name them the place so that we might first be satisfied whether they would take this answer for the first entry and session of the treaty. And after some long debate, we deferred our resolution upon this point until the next meeting. At which time … renewing our former speeches with this condition … that [if] the Duke would declare his meaning to be that the colloquy had between us, her Majesty's commissioners on the one side, and President Richardot and Procurer Maes on the other side, had at Ostend the second day of April, 1588, should be taken to be the beginning of this treaty … we would name the place of the next meeting.
“Which protestation they said they would signify to his Alteza, and doubted not to procure his confirmation thereof, and to send it us in writing the next day, either the Duke's hand or their own. Whereupon we named a place near to this town, wherewith they were contented. And upon debate of the inconvenience which might happen by the sea coming in between this town and Oudenberg … we resolved upon Newport side, and agreed that they should send us tents; and the meeting to be either Wednesday or Thursday after Easter Day …. if the Duke shall allow and ratify our protestation and condition. And they to bring their Commission and in the mean time to send the double thereof, and to come full furnished to enter roundly into the Treaty without any further delay….
“At our next meeting, they will urge us to name the town … for the continuance of the treaty; wherein it may please your lordships to send us direction … for that by conference with them we learn that Winnox Berghen utterly wasted; as Oudenburgh and other places hereabouts are. And that Burburgh is not a place sufficient for their train and ours. As touching St. Omers, we have heretofore written our opinions that it is utterly discommodious and dangerous.
“And further; if at our next meeting they shall not condescend to the cessation of arms, what we shall do,” praying for her Majesty's resolution against the time aforesaid; “as we assure ourselves they will take advantage upon the sight of our commission with these words; prope Bergen op Zoom: a place indeed very convenient for the States to join with us if they will… At Ostend, fifth of April, 1588.”
Signed by the five commissioners. Add. Endd.pp. very close writing. [Flanders III. f. 44.]
April 5/15. Richardot and J. Baptista Maes to the English Commissioners.
At our return to this place, we have made report to the Duke of all that passed between your lordships and ourselves. And although we should have been more than justified in persisting, by the terms of the safe-conduct which we had from her Majesty, whereof we enclose a copy, and by which you will see that there was no question either of Bergen or Ostend, but only of some place near; yet in order no longer to delay this business, his Highness is willing that by our communication of Tuesday and Wednesday last, the preliminary difficulties shall be removed and so prepare the way to enter upon the chief negotiation. For the confirmation of which, all we deputies from hence will not fail, God aiding us, to be between Nieuport and Ostend next Thursday or Friday; where the tents shall be set up, according to your desire; for us to meet, exhibit our powers on both sides and decide together what is proper for the progress of the principal business.—Bruges, 15 April, 1588.
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Flanders III. f. 122.]


  • 1. Considerable portions of this dispatch printed by Motley: United Netherlands Vol. ii. pp. 256–63.
  • 2. See Japikse: Resolutien der Staten Generaal, Vol. vi., p. 221. The full Dutch text in Bor: Nederlantsche Oorlogen, Bk. xxiv. ff. 55d, 56.
  • 3. Text in Acts of the Privy Council, N.S., Vol. xvi., p. 14, but dated April 1.
  • 4. See Hist. MSS. Comm.: Report on the Ancaster Papers, p. 115, under date April 2.
  • 5. At p. 247 above.
  • 6. See Japikse: Resolutien der Staten Generaal Vol. vi. pp. 65–6.
  • 7. The full text in French in Japikse: Resolutien der Staten Generaal, Vol. vi., pp. 67–8.
  • 8. Printed, Hist. MSS. Comm.: Report on MSS. of the Earl of Ancaster, p. 117.
  • 9. Dutch text in Bor; Nederlantsche Oorlogen, Bk. xxiv., f. 52.
  • 10. At p. 244 above.