Elizabeth: February 1589, 21-25

Pages 119-125

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 23, January-July 1589. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1950.

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February 1589, 21–25

Feb. 21. Licence from the Queen for Sir Henry Norris, knight, captain of a footband in the Low Countries, to be absent from his charge in the said Low Countries for so long as his service under Sir John No[rris] and Sir Fr. Drake shall last. He shall suffer no prejudice in respect of his charge of the said footband.—Signed and sealed under the signet, at Westminster, 21 February, 31 Eliz. Draft, corrected. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXXI. f. 61.]
Feb. 21./March 3. Colonel J. Back to Walsingham.
Wrote last in answer to a letter from him, which he received very late. Desires answer upon his request to be taken into the Queen's pay. Still has a good number of horse. Knows no one but Walsingham to whom he may appeal, now Leicester and Sidney are dead. Desires him to address his reply to Colonel Morgan at Bergen.—Culenbourg, 3 March, 1589.
Postscript. Deventer badly wounded, and nearly slain, in prison.
Holograph. Add. Endd. with note of contents. French, ¾ p. [Holland XXXI. f. 62.]
Feb. 21. Bodley's declaration upon the States General's instructions to the Council of State.
Upon the departure from the United Provinces of the late Earl of Leicester, her Majesty appointed Willughby as her Lieutenant and Governor-General, intending him to have all the authority which belongs to that office according to the Treaty.
After Leicester's resignation the Councillors of State considered themselves discharged. Thereupon a new régime was set up and a project of instructions framed for the Council of State. Willughby in June protested at these, as containing many matters contrary to the Treaty. The States' reply was unsatisfactory. Her Majesty's Council examined the instructions and found them repugnant to the Treaty in many points.
Articles 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, and 24 give to the said Lieutenant and Council of State unrestricted authority to govern the countries provided they do not infringe their rights, privileges, etc. Further instructions than this are really unnecessary, for the able and experienced native Councillors are in a majority, and so can always carry any vote. No one denies that the States General are the absolute governors and can give instructions to their servants; but, having contracted with her Majesty to give her Lieutenant and the Council of State a certain authority, they ought not to give any other law to the said Council so long as the Treaty remains in force, unless they first obtain her Majesty's assent. Until her assent is given, her Councillors here cannot be bound by oath to any other instructions, but only to the Treaty. If individual Councillors are thought incapable or unreliable they should be changed, but the authority of the Council is based upon the Treaty.
Article 19 of the Treaty gives the Lieutenant, with the Council of State, certain authority over other governors, etc. pour eviter l'égalité. Her Majesty understands from this that the Lieutenant should have the same pre-eminence as former Governors-General or heads of the Council of State have enjoyed, signing all important despatches and so forth. If he is made a simple member, how will they avoid the aforesaid égalité? The Lieutenant and Council are inseparable, and should remain together as far as possible.
Her Majesty considers that according to the Treaty the Lieutenant and Council of State should have full control of martial causes, entertaining and discharging and commissioning all officers by land and sea, making despatches of commissions and instructions, changing garrisons, provisioning places, ordering officers for musters, artillery, victuals, etc., receiving secret intelligences, and supervising and authorising all the actions of provincial governors or councils, admiralties, and towns, in so far as they concern the war by land or sea. They should be acquainted with all licences and convoys and the rates thereof: they are sworn to follow no other vocation than that of their state, whereas other councils and assemblies are composed mainly of merchants.
By the Treaty the Lieutenant and Council of State are to employ the public funds against the enemy. Her Majesty considers that the money granted by the Provinces should therefore be at the disposal of the Lieutenant and Council, who, making good account for its use, should pay the soldiers and sailors through the Treasurer and Receiver-General. When need arises, they ought not to have to write to the provincial councils asking them to make the necessary payments. This makes the Receiver-General a cipher and the Council beggars, apparently unworthy to be trusted with the management of the money. The Receiver hardly allowed enough money to pay a messenger. Captains, etc., who have the Council's warrant for their pay have to solicit the Provinces for their money and to wait until they can conveniently pay: and even then they have to take other warrants to the particular receivers of quarters or of towns before actually receiving their money. This brings the public authority into contempt and hinders the public service. All this her Majesty regards as contrary to the Treaty and injurious to the service. Requires them to lay aside the objections alleged in their reply to Willughby, which her Majesty thinks impertinent, coming from the assisted party to their helper. That the authority of her Lieutenant ought not to be limited to the command of her succours is proved by the act giving the government to Leicester, etc., as well as by the Treaty. Her Majesty by her letters sent by Henaige did not mean to blame the States for offering the government to Leicester; her complaint was that her vassal and servant had proceeded therein without her knowledge and assent. Desires them to reform the instructions into conformity with the Treaty, whereupon her Majesty will promptly give order on her part for the full observation of the said Treaty and so by mutual consent all things may be redressed.—The Hague, 21 February, '88, stylo Angl.
Headed by Burghley “Mr. Bodeley, 21 Febr., 1588.” Marginal notes of contents, in English. Endd. French. 5½ pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 59.]
Another copy of the above.
French. 8½ pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 63.]
Feb. 21. Bodley's answer to the States General's reply.
[1] (fn. 1) Finds many points in their reply of January 30 [rectius 28], o.s., very strange.
[2] Omits to deal further for those so often recommended by her Majesty, who pleaded, not their rights, but for favour towards them. Greater heed due to her intercession. The States are ill-informed in describing these men as propertyless strangers, for they are joined with them in the same union, were officers in their native towns, and lost their goods for the cause's sake.
[3] The relation of her Majesty's Governor-General and Councillors here to the States, is altogether different from that of councillors of other realms to their kings. They are not subject to the States as their sovereign, but only to her Majesty; at whose command they serve the States, not as their masters, but as the friends of their sovereign.
As these Councillors for her Majesty have to see that the Treaty is observed, desires them not to take amiss his exceptions against the instructions.
[4] Is ready to be instructed about their privileges, but these have nothing to do with the interpretation of the Treaty. All her Majesty's servants serving here in her pay are bound by the Treaty, not by the countries' privileges. Debates upon matters concerning her Majesty's service and at which her Councillors are present, ought to be conducted in a language that all can understand. If he himself commits any error as the result of the use of the vulgar tongue, he holds himself sufficiently excused. Maintains his previous statement about the sieur Vooght's report.
[5] They have no just cause to allege that her Majesty's ministers seek to guide these countries from afar off and contrary to their natural course. Those ministers are fully aware of the means supplied by the licences in former wars. They can only ascribe the extraordinary statements of the States General to the instigation of ambitious and factious men, eager to pursue their private ends to the ruin of the public. This common traffic with the enemy is notorious and disliked by everyone, even by the majority of the inhabitants of these countries. As regards the traffic with Spain, her Majesty's resolution has been sufficiently indicated.—The Hague, 21 February, 1588, stylo Angl.
Headed by Burghley “Mr. Bodeley, 21 Febr., 1588.” Marginal notes of contents, in English. Endd. French. 3¼ pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 69.]
Feb. 21. Bodley's answer to the States General's reply.
[1] (fn. 2) " Feels bound to answer their reply of January 30 [rectius 28], o.s.
[2] If they have not in all points enjoyed the full fruits of her Majesty's assistance, they have none the less received very great benefits and she has in a manner diverted the war from them to herself.
[3] Does not wish to discuss whether the Treaty allows her Majesty to reinforce her cautionary towns from her succours, because she means to satisfy their requests upon this head, unless their ingratitude and quibbling over words change her intention. Her obligations under the Treaty were undertaken out of pure compassion for their desperate estate and at their earnest and repeated entreaty. Cannot see that her Majesty's assistance is at their command and not at hers. Would like to know what towns are six times as populous as Flushing. Her Majesty's troops will be governed according to the Treaty; this would be easier if the States also observed it in regard to the authority of the Governor-General and Council of State. Her Majesty will give no ear to evil instruments and desires the States not to do so.
[4] If the apostilles promise the repayment of imprests made to men in her Majesty's pay, doubtless it will be done; but a general reckoning should be made between her Majesty and the States at the same time. Will advertise her Majesty of these matters.
[5] Hears order is given for the Briele imprests to be paid from her Majesty's treasure; if order is not yet given, will solicit it. Her Majesty's apostilles of 18 March, 1587, deal fully with the question of the extraordinary levies. Protests at their allegation of treason, which should be brought instead against a mob of savages, more detestable to her Majesty even than they are to the States.
[6] Previous notice of musters always given to a general. Faults due to lack of proper procedure herein.
[7] Will inform her Majesty of their desire to have the default of the horsemen supplied in money.
[8] It is unreasonable and hardly honourable not to inform the General of the times of musters. He is a person worthy of trust. In England and Ireland the general is always informed, and no harm results. They should conform to English custom herein. Some of the States' commissaries' reports of the captains, etc., are unjustifiably harsh. As the Treaty does not prescribe any definite course in matters of musters, the States should move her Majesty to perfect it in this point.
[9] Will inform her Majesty of their refusal to moderate the excises and impositions on her subjects.
[10] Admonishes them, if they desire the continuance of her Majesty's favour, to account better of her assistance and to deal more favourably with her ministers and subjects. Benefits of her help. Dangers of treating soldiers harshly.—The Hague, 21 February, 1588, stylo Angliae.
Marginal notes of contents, in English. French. 3¾ pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 72.]
Another copy of the above.
French. 6¼ pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 75.]
Feb. 22. Sir Thomas Morgan to Walsingham.
Hears daily that the Prince, whose forces grow very strong here, means to besiege Berghes or Ostend.
Would be glad if his kinsman, Captain Matthew Morgan, might “return into these parts, with some advancement either of horse or foot.”
Hopes for his continued favour. Cannot get order from the General for his pay as Lieutenant.—Berghes, 22 February, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland XXXI. f. 64.]
Feb. 22. Walsingham to M. de Gourdan.
Hears that the enemy begins his approaches before Boulogne and will next attack Gourdan. Sends the bearer to inform him that her Majesty will assist him. Owing to her many other occasions, her Majesty may not be able to send him all the help that he would wish, but nevertheless, should the enemy establish himself before Calais, she will send troops, etc., enough to break the enemy's designs. Assures Gourdan of his own good offices.— London, twenty second of February, 1588.
Copy. French. 1½ pp. [Foreign Entry Books, Misc.,CLXII. p. 130.]
Feb. 24. J. L[obetius?] to Walsingham.
Has not heard from him for a great while. Does not write of affairs in France, as Walsingham is sufficiently informed of them. The Pope refuses absolution to the King. They write from Italy that, sua beatitudine, he is ready to absolve the King if he ask it humbly and promise to make perpetual war on the heretics, and to receive the Council of Trent and the Inquisition. These are gli novellanti di Roma. His Majesty has sent M. de Sancy, of the house of Harlays, as ambassador extraordinary to Switzerland to levy soldiers and give bond for what is due to them. Conspiracy against Lausanne: two plotters executed at Berne and two at Lausanne, while the rest are prisoners or fugitives. The Duke of Savoy sought to excuse himself for it, but they have sent a courier to demand a categorical answer, and the Bernese seem inclined to war. The Duke has returned from Piedmont to Savoy, leaving Piedmont and the Marquisate of Saluzzo well provided. News from Geneva and Lyons that in Dauphiné those of both religions have made an accord, which they have sent for the King's approval. No news of any levies in Germany, save some said to be made underhand by the Duke of Wurtemberg and the Count of Montbelliard. The Duke of Lorraine has held his Estates. Decisions unknown. Some urged him to forsake the League and be neutral, but others who depend upon the war for their livelihood dissuaded this. The truce with Sedan expired. The Princes Palatine have met to discuss the buying back of Pfalzbourg. The Duke of Lorraine is said to have prolonged the term of this for 8 months.
Their affairs in Poland seem unlikely to succeed. The Poles brave them and the Archduke Maximilian is still a prisoner.
M. Sturmius very ill and can hardly speak. The doctors have little hope of him. His death would be a great loss.
If Sturmius should die, desires to offer his own services to her Majesty and to be entertained by her in his place. Walsingham has long known him (the writer) and others are acquainted with him. Is no longer bound to the Imperial towns.—Strasbourg, 24 February, 1589.
Holograph. Signed J. L. Add. Seal. French. 1 p. [Germany, States V. f. 205.]
Feb. 24. Sir Francis Vere to Walsingham. (fn. 3) "
Since his coming over, he has been appointed Sergeant-Major by the Lord General, who at first delayed the appointment— probably for fear his youth would make him unacceptable at home,—but upon hearing of Walsingham's goodwill to him at once gave him the office. Thanks Walsingham, and will do all possible good offices between him and Willoughby, as he has previously done. When last in England saw that through Walsingham's good offices Willoughby's suits were happily dispatched. Willoughby was very grateful when he told him of this, and said he hoped that his eldest son and Walsingham's grandchild, Lady Sidney's daughter, might be matched. The boy “for his birth, years, and living [is] so fit that England at this present yieldeth not a more honourable choice.” Fears Willoughby's quarrel with Vere's cousin Thomas Maria Wyngfeld, whom Walsingham apparently favours, may cause a fresh difference. Will therefore inform him aright of how justly Wyngfeld deserved punishment. Sir William Russell and Wyngfeld came to Berghen when the stratagem at the north fort was in good forwardness. When the action was over, the prisoners, among them Don Juan de Mendoça the younger whom Wyngfeld took, were bestowed by Willoughby, with the consent of the captains in the fort, upon Grymstone and Readhead. Wyngfeld disliked this, but a council of war ruled against him. He has now appealed to certain lords of the Council. Willoughby heard of this and when he was at Vlishing called upon Wyngfeld to answer before the governor and captains of that garrison. “He confessed to have written and done my lord wrong, which he offered to witness under his hand; which my lord accepted, desiring rather to repair his honour with the lords than to proceed any while in rigour against my cousin.” Afterwards Wyngfeld refused to perform his promise effectually, writing his confession “in such slight sort as might no ways satisfy my lord” who pressed for a more substantial writing. Wyngfeld then left the town, and Willoughby therefore deprived him of his company. Most here, and Vere too, consider this justly done.—Midde[lborough?], 24 February.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 52/3 pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 66.]


  • 1. Numbers in square brackets are in different ink.
  • 2. Numbers in square brackets in different ink.
  • 3. Abstract, with some quotation, in Bertie, pp. 243–5, 251–2.