Elizabeth: March 1589, 1-10

Pages 140-158

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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March 1589, 1–10

March 1. G. Gilpin to Lord Buckhurst.
Leaves more important news for Mr. Bodlye to write to Mr. Secretary. The General States still meet and proceed very slowly, unless those of Holland, especially the Advocate, are present. They inform the Council of State only of what they think fit. Those of Holland proceed independently in their provincial affairs and Count Maurice acts likewise for the wars, so that “the said Council are in government nomine sed non re.”
The deputies sent to help Count Moeurs at Uytrecht have done little to assure the town, “which groweth daily into more danger by the factions.” Mr. Bodly sends a copy of a petition (fn. 1) made by certain there for liberty to preach according to the Augsburg Confession. They offer to prove in a public disputation that theirs is the true faith, and “the Reformed a deformed in most points.” Like the golden ball cast among the gods by Envy, it may breed mischief. Soldiers should be put in to cleanse the town of the wicked before Parma appears before it. The prisoners are still detained. The Count asked the States of Uytrecht what should be done to satisfy her Majesty about them, especially Cleerhagen.
Count William writes from Freeslande that the enemy passes freely through the country, because “the villages sit under their safeguard” and the gentlemen, ‘grettmen,’ and those who usually sit in the Landstag every May 1, are addicted to peace. He thinks safeguards should be forbidden and that no one should sit in the Landstag who has not taken the oath to deny and reject the King of Spain. The General States agree in some measure, “limiting the time of a month to take such oath, and refuse the safeguards. How this will be digested is doubtful.” It will admit the Count to the Landstag and so strengthen his party. Also by abolishing the safeguards, etc., it will lead to enemy attacks, and these will bring the Count's men into the field and subject the country to spoliation.
How President Aysma is treated may be seen by the deputed States' letter to her Majesty, it “being passionate and foolish, answering in no part her highness' demand nor the interested party's request to have his matter handled by indifferent judges.” Thinks that this is a device to win time, weary out Aysma, and prevent her Majesty from writing again before their next general meeting, when further means of delay will be found.
Treasonable practices discovered in Bolsweert and Sneke. Some executed.
Men sent from that province and from Count Moeurs' governments to a rendezvous at Willemstadt. They are said to be for the defence of the islands of Zeeland, but some think they are to attempt either Geertrudebergh— “disliking of the government and disorder there”—or else Bolducq, Grave, or Steenberghen. They have boats of less than two feet draught, fit to carry cannon. Count Maurice is the chief director in these martial matters. He left this morning “with many instruments and engines of war; the Council being made privy to nothing.”
The States and Council of State have appointed deputies to consider Schenck's cause and his articles. He is still at his fort: no recent news of him.
Count Hohenlo expected daily: he was delayed by winds at Embden. No great joy at his coming.
Count Maurice's horse company from Heusden clean overthrown by two enemy companies and some footmen.
Count Oversteyn failed to take Dorsten, a town of the Bishop of Liege, against which Count Moeurs sent him. “The enemy seeketh to cut off his passage….”—The Haghe, 1 March, 1589, stilo angl.
Signed. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 92.]
March 1/11. Sir John Winghfelt to Count Maurice. (fn. 2)
Received his letter requiring him to be with his cavalry at Bergen-op-Zoom next Monday for some intended exploit. Consulted the horse captains, who opposed their going because (1) they were not bound to serve anyone except her Majesty's Lieutenant-General; (2) they have not been satisfied for their arrears during the last six months; and (3) especially because they fear an attack upon this town by the States. They would rather seek aid of the enemy than submit to the States, as they have written to his excellency.—Geertruydenberge, 11 March, 1589.
Copy. Endd. by Bodley and Burghley. French. ¾ p. [Holland XXXI. f. 119.]
March 1/11 Resolution of the States General that the Council of State shall determine cases about property received from the enemy by those who have deserted the service of these lands and have been taken prisoner: and also cases of treason, rebellion, sedition, mishandling of munitions, victuals, and other goods, coining, etc.: provided that the Council must take the States' advice about their sentence when the States are in session.
Copy. Endd. in later hand. Dutch. 2/3 p. [Holland XXXI. f. 123.]
March 1. Musters of the horsebands embarked at Rotterdam for England.
Sir Robert Sidney's, at Dewburgh, before the governor and chief burghers, by the Queen's officer only: 71 present, 19 absent: 55 embarked: 49 arrived. (fn. 3)
Sir John Burghe's, at Amersford, by the Queen's officer only: 52 present, 25 absent: 28 embarked: 35 arrived. (fn. 3)
Sir Christopher Blunte's, on the march from Berke to Vyana, by commissaries of both parts: 77 present, 13 absent: 57 embarked: 48 arrived. (fn. 3)
Captain Sherlye's, mustered as above: 70 present, 20 absent.
Captain Morgan's, between Waganer and Rhenen, by the Queen's officers and burghers of both garrisons: 75 present, 15 absent: 42 embarked: 43 arrived. (fn. 3)
Captain Champernowne's footband, by the Queen's officers and deputies of the States of Utrecht, disallowing the States General's authority: 150 in list: 86 present, 49 absent: 74 arrived. (fn. 3)
Sir John Burghe's arrived on February 4 and embarked on the 13th, Blunte's on the 2nd and 12th, Morgan's on the 3rd and 14th, Sidney's on the 13th and 15th, Champernowne's on the 2nd and 14th. Sherley's had not arrived on February 28: the officers excuse themselves on the ground that they were not warned: the Gorkom burghers stayed their horses for satisfaction of their debts.
The States' commissaries would not stay to conclude the rolls. The books of warrants cannot be made up until the officers bring “good certificate of their absent from their garrisons.” Has appointed the officers to take to Digges their lists of absent, runaways, and such as were taken forcibly from them by the burghers.
The officers swear that fifty of Champernowne's company ran away or stayed behind at Utrecht. This being suspicious and unlikely, refers it to Digges. Will seek to learn the truth thereof.
The long delay in and around this town, of which the burghers and boors complained, was due to the unreadiness of the shipping, victual, etc., for which Sir Edward Norris' purveyors are to blame. Digges and Mr. Allen, being eye-witnesses, can judge of this. Means to be with him at Middelborowe, as instructed, in four or five days, bringing all particulars touching his charge. —Rotterdam, 1 March, 1588, stilo anglie.
Signed, John Sparhauk. Add. to James Digges. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 96.]
[March 1.] Answers to Ortell's propositions.
Propositions of February 2.
The preface. 1. Agree that the bands of the succours should be kept full, [with regard to the ordinary allowance of dead pays, added by Burghley]. This cannot always be conveniently done with English, so there should be no objection to the enrollment of other friendly strangers [not in the States' pay, added].
2. No measures can be taken against her Majesty's principal officers unless particular charges are made by the States.
1. Touching the surcharging of the cautionary towns. Her Majesty understands that no more fire or candle money is needed when the extra bands are there than when they are not. She should be able to reinforce the cautionary towns in times of danger, as Flushing was reinforced after the loss of Sluse. The service money for the extra bands' lodging, etc., should be fully answered by the increase in the town's imposts [and excises, added] which their presence brings. Think that the governors should forbear to demand service money for more officers than is usual in the States' garrisons, provided that the officers be lodged at reasonable prices, according to the Council's apostille to the demands made by Flushing in the Earl of Leicester's time, dated at the Haghe, 16 December, stylo Hollandiae.
2. The States have no cause to require the delivery of Ostend and Berghen into their hands. The Treaty allows her Majesty to garrison a town in the other Provinces with men drawn from the 5000. The two towns are particularly exposed to attack, and one of them has lately been defended chiefly by the English.
3 and 4. The garrison of Gertrudenbergh should be reduced to the States' obedience by all fair means. If, through nonpayment, etc., this cannot be done and if her Majesty do as the States require, the town may be lost or hazarded. Should await some better opportunity and means, and her Majesty would then do all she could for their assurance.
5. Will refer to her Majesty the proposal “for the changing of her Majesty's succours into a sum of money.” Think it a less safe course than the Treaty, “in respect of the assurance of her Majesty's cautionary towns and reimbursements.”
6 and 7. “We think it hard that her Majesty should be brought to yield a third of the whole charge, which is a thing that was never thought or agreed on.” Experience has shown that her Majesty's succours and the States' [ordinary, added] contributions could never by any means pay even the ordinary garrisons. Saw no means to furnish an army in the field for even two months, “much less for 5 or six as the article purporteth.”
8. As the sum demanded of her Majesty is to be employed by advice of the Council of State, they think the States' double sum should be employed with the advice and knowledge of her Majesty's assistants in the Council of State. If books are merely sent over half yearly to her Majesty, her money will be employed as the States please and she will get only accounts of how it has been spent.
9. The late treaty of peace should have given them no cause for mistrust; indeed, it showed her Majesty's goodwill towards them. Yet, to avoid future ‘miscontentments’ upon this and other matters, a further Treaty should be drawn up to establish perfect correspondency.
10. Commissioners should be appointed on both sides to view the accounts. Debts to the States for use of their magazines or for money advanced, should be answered, provided that they pay back all that her Majesty's officers have laid out for them. The English commissioners should deal also for the payment of all sums due by the States to Sir Thomas Sherley, Mr. Hurlestone, or to any English captains, victuallers, etc.
11. “Whenas they shall particularly set down what order they shall desire to have taken for the surety of traffic by the seas, the same may be particularly answered. In the mean time, upon any particular complaint in the Court of the Admiralty, there shall be order taken with the Judge for the speedy course of justice.”
12. Neither her Majesty nor her Council have condemned the States unheard, upon any complaint. Article 27 of the Treaty does not restrain her Majesty “so as nothing should be ordered by her Majesty out of those Provinces. For the said article is in the disjunctive—that such differences shall be remitted unto her Majesty, or unto her Governor-General to take order with the Council of Estate within the Provinces: whereby we gather that if her Majesty's Governor-General do take order, it must be done with the Council of Estate and within the United Provinces; but that it was not meant that her Majesty should be tied to such an inconvenience [as to come thither or to do nothing but there, added].”
Propositions of 15 February, 1589.
1. Partly answered in (11), above. Her Majesty also wishes that the trade to Spain should be forborne for a few months until the result of Sir John Norrevs and Sir Francis Drake's enterprise is seen. Trade would hardly be safe while so many men of war he upon the coast of Spain. The Prince of Orange, with the States' consent, formerly made a like inhibition, and her Majesty is restraining her own subjects from this traffic.
2. “It is to be considered how it may stand with the treaties between her Majesty and other princes to exact such convoys” and licences as the States demand. For the States to enjoy the whole commodity thereof and her Majesty to get no benefit or ease of her charge, were a thing not indifferent.
4. Answered in (3) and (4) above (propositions of Feb. 2).
5. Answered in (1) and (12) above (propositions of Feb. 2).
6. The Judge and officers of the Admiralty should be dealt with to give them speedy justice.
7. If the particular points of the apostilles of April 13 which have not been observed were set down, the Lieutenant and others could be more particularly dealt withal. “Nevertheless, the same shall be recommended unto them again.”
8. Thought reasonable: answered in (2) above (propositions of Feb. 2).
Notes concerning the apostilles of April 13.
1. The States should pay the officers of the camp in the field, according to the Council's order [taken when the Earl of Leycester went to England, added].
2 and 3. Lord Borrough, Mr. Bodley, and Mr. Gilpin, to confer with the States' commissioners for the performance hereof. The rest many be answered as in article 10 of propositions of February 2.
4. It is contrary to the Contract that her Majesty's Lieutenant-General should direct only the forces in her Majesty's pay.
5. These extraordinaries “grew when the Earl of Leycester, by their own act of delation of government, had authority to dispose of their finances both by sea and land for their services. And whereas it is said that they are contented to allow such sums as have been issued with the advice of the Council, it is to be considered that the 11 of August and 9 of September, 1586, it was resolved by act of Council that in the absence of the Councillors Leoninus and Killegrey, [at the first time appointed to sign such warrants, and then employed for other services, added], the payments of the camp should be made by the deputies of the receiver, by provision, upon the warrants of the said Earl [alone, added], signed by one of the Secretaries of the Estate.”
6. As foreign levies secured the Vellowe and Betuwe, and 20 places more, for the States, they should answer the charge.
“Notes touching the propositions delivered to Sir John Norreys, knight.” (fn. 4)
Delivered by States of Holland, not by States General. Preface injurious to such as served her Majesty there, as it alleges that her Majesty and her Council were always wrongly informed of their affairs.
1. Such a declaration not needed. Might prejudice her Majesty, as did her declaration upon Leycester's return thither. She would be the less regarded and her cautionary towns in more danger.
2. Answered in (1) of propositions of February 2.
3. Garrisons to be paid by Queen when possible.
4. Already answered that commissioners shall be appointed.
5. The town of Brill to be paid from April 13 to December 3 by the Treasurer, who has deferred the payment on pretence “of a debt owing by the States unto him.” He is to seek his debt of the States through the commissioners, and is not to stay this payment or defalk it.
6. Think the oath should be taken according to article 30 of the Contract. Think, however (as was answered by the Council to the States of Holland's writing of 30 August, 1587), that another oath to the particular Governors or their Lieutenants should not be given. The multiplying of oaths breeds confusion and contempt, which the Treaty seeks to remedy, e.g. article 19, upon equality of government. Leycester allowed, in addition to the general oath, an oath to keep faithfully the town wherein they were garrisoned for the States General and the Lieutenant General and to attempt nothing to the town's prejudice. Yet the garrison remained at the command of the Lieutenant-General and Council of State.
7. Answered before.
8. It is injurious to those serving her Majesty in those countries, and a great abridgement of her authority, to prescribe how her officers there should advertise her or behave themselves. The States are free to advertise their agent in England of anything that her officers may be likely to omit, and the agent has never been called in question or restrained.
9. Answered before. As it is as yet uncertain whether Gertrudenbergh belongs to Brabant or to Holland, and as her Majesty has not possession of it, she cannot restore it to Holland.
10. No commissions of the States General or Council of State ought to be obeyed unless issued with the consent of the Lieutenant-General of her Majesty's forces, as the Contract lays down.
11. It is very injurious to her Majesty to suggest that by her favour to anyone she has stirred dissensions and injured the countries.
12. Touching reprisals and arrests, and especially William Colston's affair, her Majesty thinks they have no cause to take any offence. The injustice done by the officers of their admiralty in the cautionary towns was notorious, and their own officers gave sentence for restitution to be made to Colston, notwithstanding that the admiralty claimed sovereignty and not to permit any appeals. As they failed to secure execution of justice for Colstan, her Majesty had to recompense him here. Twenty such examples might be added. Everything has been done according to an agreement made with the assent of an especial person sent hither by the Estates.
13. Her Majesty's expenses, in men and money, in performing the Treaty are notorious. What will be done when the time comes for them in turn to perform their obligations, is as yet uncertain: “and therefore they are on the surer hand and have as yet no just occasion to complain.”
Draft, corrected by Burghley and another. Endd. with date, and by Burghley, as “not delivered.” 172/3 pp. [Treaty Papers XXXIV. f. 90.]
March 2. The Privy Council to [Sir Thomas Sherley]. (fn. 5) 1500 footmen and 600 horse from the Low Countries are to go with Norreys to Spain for five months beginning March 10. Her Majesty allows, since December 3, weekly imprests of 24l. 6s. (4l. 6s. thereof in victuals) to each footband and 30l. to each horseband: also 280l. 16s. 8d. for winter apparel and 187l. 18s. 4d. for summer apparel to each footband. Certain merchants authorised, since October 12, to advance credit to the horsebands up to the amount of their full pay: the merchants to be paid every six months. Imprests, credits, etc., to be defalked.
Imprests for twenty-two weeks—5,346l. for the 1500 foot and 3,960l. for the 600 horse—and the sums for apparel to be paid by [Sherley] to Sir John Norreys. He shall pay the merchants the sum due for the six horsebands on June 24, provided it does not exceed 3,432l., over and above their weekly imprests. Sir Thomas Knollis' horseband being broken, [Sherley] shall deliver its pay to Norreys for his horseband, now taken into her Majesty's pay. If Norreys needs to use his credit before [Sherley] has received these sums, [Sherley] shall make no difficulty.
If Norreys replaces any horsebands by foot, lendings, etc., shall continue as if they were horse companies.—The Court, 2 March, 1588.
Minute. Original signed by Jo. Cant, Chr. Hatton, H. Derby, H. Hunsdon, T. Buckhurst, James Croft, Fra. Walsingham, J. Wolley. Endd.pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 100.]
Another copy of the above.
Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 102.]
March 2. Thomas Bodley to Burghley.
Wrote last eight days ago [letter not found]. The Duke of Parma is said to have assembled the States at Bruxels, “and mustereth daily at Andwerp and Malines.”
Count Maurice has gone to meet certain forces at Williamstat, and then goes, it is said, to Zeeland. He has flat bottomed boats at Delf and Roterodame. His plans are kept very secret, but he probably means to surprise Steenbergen, Gertrudenbergh, or Hertogenbosche. His horse company at Hoesden clean overthrown by two enemy companies. Complaints about Gertrudenbergh are so numerous and frequent that some attempt against that place is expected. Wrote of “Masses and Popish preachings” taking place in private houses in Utrecht and the villages around. Now encloses a translation of a petition of certain burghers to be allowed to worship freely according to the Confession of Ausburgh. The manner of the petition argues great simplicity in the petitioners. Probably an enemy practice. Cannot say what course will be taken to suppress it, for it has only just come to the Council of State. Utrecht very divided, and little hope of agreement, despite the efforts of deputies from hence. Count Hollocke expected: little talk of his future entertainment.—The Hage, 2 March, '88.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1⅓ pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 98.]
Petition to the Scout, Burgomasters, Sheriffs, and Council, of Utrecht.
Those who “exercise and love the Religion according unto the Confession of Augsburgh,” increase daily “as the dew from the Lord,” etc. (Micha 5). They must not hide the light, which God has lighted, under a bushel, etc. (Math. 10). They therefore desire the magistrate to grant them a fit and convenient place wherein they may exercise the true religion. The Augsburghe Confession has been tried like gold in the fire, and was found in 1530 conformable to the Holy Scriptures. It has been preserved by God and has “fought against the enemies and other evil sects.” It is received by the princes, towns, and villages of the Empire, where it has brought a most religious peace. “The Reformed yet in many points is deformed and unclean.” The “heavy and long continuing burdens” of religions proved false in many points should not remain in force. So they desire to be allowed freely to exercise the true religion, to appoint their preachers, and to answer in public disputation those who are of a false opinion.—The burghers “desirous of the Christian Confession of Augsberg.”
Translation. Endd. 1588, with note of contents. 1½ pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 94.]
[March 2.] The States' complaints of English reprisals and seizures upon their shipping.
The Waterhound, of the Briell, returning from Nantes with wine, taken by a ship of Sir Walter Rawley and sent into Plymouth in 1585. Master and pilot 33 weeks captives, “in the journey to Wigantekoy.” Rawley promised always to be a well wilier to the States and their inhabitants, so they, to prevent the affair coming to her Majesty's knowledge, “were contented at his request to leave him freely both ship and goods,” themselves compensating the ‘honours’ [owners] to the extent of over 1000l. sterling.
Yet Rawley's ship the Roebuck has now taken into Plymouth the Angel Gabriel, 340 tons, of Holland, returning from Spain. Goods worth over 1000l. sterling taken out of her, on the ground that they were Spanish and that the ship had served in the late Spanish Armada. This is denied. The master is ready to find sureties, provided that he is released and allowed to go to Holland, and that Rawley also gives sureties not only for the goods but also for costs, charges, and damages. [Margin, different hand: Rawley summoned before the Council to answer hereupon: the captain of his ship and five of the crew ought also to be summoned.]
In August and November, 1586, Sir Walter Lucen's ships spoiled 3 fishing boats and another, all of Holland, off the Scottish coast. Goods worth over 2,850l. sterling taken, and some of the men murdered and buried in the sands near the Isle of Wight, “not as Christians, but as dogs.” No redress yet, despite complaints and letters from the States. “One of them, named John Jacobson Decker, died for mere thought and pensiveness of heart, crying out to his last hour against Sir Walter Lucen.” Yet Lucen gave satisfaction for a Danish ship spoiled by the same people at about the same time. Despite his promises made before the Lord High Admiral, Lucen will never appear before indifferent judges unless compelled by the Queen or Council's express command. [Margin, as before: About the beginning of December last, the Lord Admiral and Ortell took order for it to be heard and decided. Ortell knows what has since been done.]
The Ruby, 120 tons, belonging to Cornells Lenson of Vlusshinge, coming from Brazil with sugar belonging to Lenson, Adam Haulser, and company, was taken into Plymouth in November, 1587, by the Merchant Royal, Captain Robert Flick. After long suit made, and over twenty letters and certificates sent by the States General and particular, judicial sentence at last was obtained. The condemned party ignored it, and “forcibly broke up the locks and doors of the warehouses in the evening, took out and conveyed away the said goods at their own will and pleasure,” hoping to weary the other party by delays and fresh suits. All of the goods now in esse should be restored at once, or else the case should be dealt with by the Privy Council. [Margin, as before: “The examination of this cause is already referred by her Majesty's commission under her Great Seal to Mr. Dr. Dale, Mr. Dr. Pharond,” and others.]
The same is required concerning Nicholas Hendrickson's ship, the White Dog, of Home, laden with goods from Brazil belonging to the said Haulsher and others of Holland and Zeeland, taken by the Centurion of London. [Margin, as before: “Sentence hath passed against Hulscher in this cause, et iam transiit in rem judicatam, if he will use no appeal; but if he will, then is he to blame to use this complaint.”]
Several other inhabitants of the United Provinces trading to Spain (“from whence they would as willingly save their own as any of this nation”), have touched at or been driven by weather into English ports. Instead of receiving help, they “are daily in divers ports of this kingdom spoiled and abused as open enemies, under colour of frivolous objections that they be laden with Spaniards' goods. So that everybody almost is and will be his own judge, misusing and tormenting the poor men in sundry sorts according to their own will and pleasure; keeping them whole months together imprisoned at shipboard, not suffering them to come a-land to make their complaints where it belongeth until they have enforced them to give a general acquittance. And though good and sufficient sureties be offered, yet can the same not serve for their release, but the poor men are driven, to their singular grief and undoing, to see their goods robbed and embezzled by night and undue times. Unto others are dags and daggers set upon their breasts to enforce them to confess of their moneys, goods, and jewels, and sometimes through fear and torments, against their will and conscience, were constrained to say that which served best the offenders' turn. And to the end they should not complain of such outrages, they are depainted and set out to be Spaniards and laden with Spaniards' goods,—not that the truth is such, but only to procure your honours to detest their cause and to give the less ear unto their just complaints.”
“… There can scarce escape any ship without the danger of those that go to sea in warlike manner, whether they have passport from hence or not.” The result may be lamentable. Desires that remedy, for the present and the future, may be taken, and especially that the ships of Holland and Zeeland detained in English ports be forthwith released. Also desires public order to be given forbidding such ships or goods to be detained, and that the publications of March 1585 about letters of reprisals, as well as the 15th, 16th, and 17th, articles of the said intercourse, may be observed.
Endd. “Complaints exhibited to the LL. by Mr. Ortell, 2 March, 1588, and conferred of between him and me, 6 March.” 5 pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 104.]
March 4/14 A. de la Chatte to Walsingham.
Thanks him for his care of this town, where the League has done nothing. M. de Mayne has withdrawn to Paris, leaving Rouen in great disorder. Desires his honour's continued favour.—Dieppe, 14 March.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. ⅓ p. [France XIX. f. 77.]
March 4/14 Edmund Palmer to Walsingham.
Wrote last, on 28 September, '88 [letter not found], of the Spanish Armada's arrival, the Duke being at Santander with 46 sail, 30 being good ships, the rest pinnaces. The Duke was “commanded home unto his house,” and one of his council imprisoned in the castle of Burgus “for saying unto the Duke that he should not fight, but follow his order that the King had given him.” Admiral Juan Martinez de Recalde has arrived at the Groyne with 2 pinnaces and a great ship, “and there, by the diseased people that he brought, was set on fire the hospital and wholly burnt.” Recalde died 10 days after his arrival. Captain Miguel de Oqueyndo reached the Passage with 9 ships, and died within 6 days. His ship, of one thousand tons, blown up at the Passage. A hospital near San Sabastyanes was appointed for his sick men, but it was wholly burned. All the ships at the Passage and Santander are made ready again, but have no mariners. They may go to waft home the Indies fleet. “The King hath given order for great store of shipping to be made in these parts, Byskeye, and about St. Tander, as also small galliots.” The General of Fuenterabya, by the King's orders, 8 days ago embargoed 70 ships of this town riding in the Passage ready to go to the Newfoundland fishing. All are ships of a hundred to 250 tons, the French victualled for eight months. The Spaniard may get the ships and victuals, but he will not get men. if they do not go to the fishing, “this country is wholly destroyed. The Spaniards' hearts are as strong as ever they were, but their power is greatly abated—far more than men do make account of. They are in such a taking that they cannot tell what for to do. There is not one man of countenance in all Spain to whom the King might put in place for matters of the sea, for that them whom his trust was in, are all dead and drowned this last journey.” Great lamentation from Don Alonso de Leyva, with whom were all the nobles. They think he is in Ireland. Some 30 days past a Walterforde ship arrived at San Sabastian with 40 butts of dried ‘hacke’ and 600 tanned hides. The merchants are Piers Stronge and Francis Woodlacke, and they pretend that their ship is of Gallowe. Stronge's brother a bishop in Castile. The justices examined them: they said that three thousand five hundred Spaniards were in the north-west of Ireland, assisted by an Irish lord, Worlock Jamed, with many men. Thereupon Strong and Woodlacke were set free and Woodlacke at once rode to Madrid with his news; he has not yet returned. Palmer met Strong here and blamed him for carrying victuals and leather to the Spaniards. Strong said little, but on returning to San Sabastianes he sent to say that he would get Palmer burned should he take him in Spain. “I cannot imagine what the cause should be of his coming hither from St. Sabastyanes by land; and so he went to Bayonna and presently returned back again. I do judge with myself that her Majesty hath forbidden them to trade into Spain any more, and so, in their country entering their goods for Bayona in France, do come their way and under this colour they do go into Spain and afterwards for a piece of money get out of Bayona some false testimony that they did discharge there and lade back again, and not in Spain.” A flyboat of Dyvellen arrived here four days ago, and would not go into Spain, but discharged here and received testimonials thereof. An Irish priest, Sir James, has been living at S. Sabastyanes for the last 2 years: he “is a gossip unto one of the Stronges.” He receives letters from many places and Piers Stronge is a carrier of them, for ‘they’ are twice or thrice a year at St. Sabastyanes and Bilbo. Another Irish bark, laden with dried ‘hack,’ was at Bilbo 2 months ago. “It is given out in Spain that Sir Francis Dracke is bound forth with 150 sail of ships, and that Don Antonio, King of Portingall, goes with him; and that he goes for Lyxborne, which makes all Castylle in a great fear, and the King hath sent thither many companies of soldiers, as into other places of Portingall. for mariners, the country of Spain is wholly destroyed, and the country never so bare of money.” Were the Indies fleet cut off, Spain would be ruined: “it is lamentable to hear the complaints that the poor of the sea-coast do use for want of traffick….”—[Dated at head] St. Jean de Lus, 14 March, 1589, stilla espanya.
Holograph. Add. “… by the way of Foye.” Endd.pp. [Spain III. f. 41.]
March 5/15 Du Pin to Walsingham.
Commending M. Devreux, now going to England for the Portugal voyage. The King of Navarre's high opinion of him. Du Pin's desire to serve Walsingham and Devreux.—La Rochelle, 15 March, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. “15 March, 1589/90 [sic] … Mr. Devereux.” ¾ p. [France XIX. f. 80.]
March 5/15 Ottywell Smyth to Walsingham.
Sent a packet of letters yesterday to the mayor of Rye for his honour. Three Scotsmen have since arrived—Patrick Setoune, sometime captain of the French King's guards, George Carr, and Master Crounsthankes. Setoune was well received at Paris by the Duke de Maine: he will say that he goes about the French King's affairs. All three are great Leaguers and go to England as spies. One married the Bishop Rosse's bastard. Thinks they carry no writings. Has warned the mayor of Rye. Lord Gray warned Smyth about them: he refused them passport. The Bishop Rosse invited Gray to dinner and asked him, for the Duke de Maine, whither the great army in England was bound. Gray told him that he did not know.
The premier president of Roanne is expected here to-morrow from Newhaven. Walsingham should write urging him to encourage this governor's loyalty lest he be carried away by the persuasions of his cousin, the governor of Newhaven. Two captains, brothers, in Roanne have slain each other about the command of a fort there. Another is to be hanged for a 30 years old crime against a priest. Hopes the town will revolt against their cruelty, for they imprison all merchants so as to extort money from them.
Five or six great ships leave with corn for Spain within eight days.—Dyepe, 15 March, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal. 1 p. [France XIX. f. 78.]
March 6. Hans Visher to the Queen.
Offers his services to discover mines in her dominions. Was employed by the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, Frederic III. Sank and worked one deep silver mine, another chalybim and iron mine, and a third copper, lead, and silver mine, as appears by the enclosed drawings [not found]. Was commissioned by the Administrator John Casimir in 1588 to mine a gold vein in the Upper Palatinate (plans 1–4 [not found]), 80 fathoms [ulnarum] deep. Has been employed also by Duke Adolphus of Saxony, the younger Dukes of Saxony, the princes of Weimar and Coburg, and by the Fuggers. Other men had failed to bring the Coburg princes' enterprises to a successful issue, yet Visher, when he was called in, found a rich vein, which is now being worked. Might well succeed likewise in England where others have failed. The death of the Elector Frederic and the war stirred up by the Pope have prevented him from offering his services before. Might now bring her Majesty great help in her struggle against the Pope and the King of Spain, and in her defence of the true religion, of which Visher is an adherent. Offers his services not so much in the hope of gain as from a desire to assist God's Reformed Church. John Casimir will readily grant him passport. Would travel by way of Hamburg and Holland with her Majesty's agent John Paul.—Heidelberg, 4 nones March, 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. Latin. 5 pp. [Germany, States, V. f. 206.]
March 6/16 Sir John Winghfelt to Count Maurice. (fn. 6)
His excellency's letter of to-day requires this garrison to yield up the town, and accuses Winghfelt of being a stranger seeking his private gain instead of the public weal. Will prove the falsity of this with his sword. Now recognises none but her Majesty.—Geertrudenberge, 16 [March], 1589.Copy. Endd., and with date added by Burghley. French. ½ p. [Holland XXXI. f. 149.]
March 8. [Willoughby] to Count Maurice. (fn. 7)
Is astounded to learn of the sudden and determined siege of Gertrudenberghe. Expected that the Count would have informed him before taking such action, if only to allow him to secure the honourable withdrawal of his brother[-in-law] and sister. Desires that both may be allowed to come safely to this town. That he may leave these Countries contentedly, desires an answer by this bearer.—Flushing, 8 March, 1589, sti. vet.
Copy. Endd. as “per Berry.” French. ½ p. [Holland XXXI. f. 108.]
March 9. Thomas Bodley to Burghley.
Has written twice since February 21.
Count Maurice, the Count of Solmes, certain of the States, and Marshal Villiers, with some 200 boats and 4000 soldiers, approached Gertrudenbergh on the evening of the 4th. Next morning the men were landed, and an attempt was made to cut the dyke towards Bridawe and to build a fort on the point of the dyke, called Stelhoven. A slight skirmish. The enemy, who is very strong around there, will seek to buy the town from the garrison: has before offered 60 months' pay. The garrison likely to accept rather than yield to the States. Has talked with two from the town who say that the soldiers will put out the burghers, so as to husband their provision, and in the last resort are resolved “either to call in the enemy or to fight it out to the uttermost.”
Has several times offered, in Council and to Barnevelt, to assist the States to the utmost to carry out any plan they might suggest by which “her Majesty might redress their griefs in that town.” However, they prefer this violent proceeding, for they suspect “that all is done in Gertrudenbergh with her Majesty's good liking” and so they put no trust in her ministers, but grow to dislike the English more and more.—The Hage, 9 March, '88.
Postcript.“His reasons were such shifts, as they were scorned of all.” He sent copies of two letters from Sir John Wingfilde [calendared above, pp. 142 and 154], and of two others from the other captains, to him; also of his letter to them. Encloses copies of Wingfilde's. The others were in Dutch, containing no matter of worth, the Count's being tedious and the captains' “very rudely written.”
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XXXI. f. 110.]
March 9. G. Gilpin to [H. Killigrew].
Has written by his (Gilpin's) boy and Mascal, who are weatherbound at the Briel and Flusshinge. No Schevelinge boats have gone over since then. Takes the opportunity to send by this bearer.
Count Maurice came into the Council and asked to have some deputed to deal with him touching an important and secret piece of service. He then went straight to the boats. The Council thereupon wrote to him excusing themselves from granting his request; as they were not and would not be made privy to the enterprise, they could give no advice upon it. This morning letters came from him, “excusing the matter as if he himself knew not certainly at his departure whither to bend the enterprise”: that this was not the purpose of which he spoke to them, but that he had taken an opportunity to turn aside to reduce the place [Geertruidenberg] to their obedience. The Council cannot resolve whether or not to send the deputies he again asks for. They will probably be ruled by the advice of the General States, who were likewise ignorant of this enterprise. “The setters on of this enterprise are they of Holland, and especially the man you know, who is with the Count and directeth all, though not liked of all.”
It is reasonable to bring the unruly to order, but it should be done viis et modis convenientibus. Siege costly and uncertain, and this dealing is contrary to the Treaty. It invites an enemy attack, either upon the forces there, or upon other important towns now denuded of troops (some have but 30 men to watch at night). It is costly and may mean the ill payment and discontentment of other garrisons, as well as murmurings among the people, who have to pay for these levies. Doubts if such a force will be got together again if the Count's men are beaten.
The Count left here on Saturday morning, March 1, and went to the rendezvous at Willemstadt. About four in the afternoon on Tuesday he cast anchor, with his 200 boats, before Geertrudenbergh. He landed troops and began to make forts on the south and east banks or dykes, so as to close the only land passages. The forts are linked to one another by a trench, which could hardly be held if the enemy appeared in force. A fort is also being made over the river on the north: pieces of battery may be placed there, for the town is weak on that side. The besieged compel the burghers to work on the fortifications and have shut up the magistrates in the town-house. They made an uneventful sally on the first night.
Count Solms, Marshal Villers, Famas, and others, with the Count. “There goeth a speech that by this the forts are in defence on both sides,” the boors having risen from hatred of the garrison. The Count sent a letter to the garrison of the town, offering to content them if they would desert the strangers and turbulent fellows who caused the disorders. After a consultation, Sir John Winckfielde and the captains wrote back that they would hold the town for the Queen alone: they would seek other means of assistance rather than yield to the false and deceiving States. Wingefielde wrote also, challenging any who accused him of intending treason.
No further news. The Count hopes they will fall into quarrels now they can no longer ride out to spoil the countryside. They lack drink, victual, and forage, though they have plenty of rye, and also of powder. The common soldiers are bitter against the States, and if they hold out 3 or 4 weeks, or if the enemy attacks, the States' troops must break. The States were not so bent even against Medemblick as they are against this place.
The enemy gathers forces at Breda and reinforces Rosendael and Calmthout. Also he makes a rendezvous and prepares “a ship-bridge” at Deventer. Count William writes that he fears an attack upon his government of Friesland. He wants his forces back, and urges some course other than this defensive war. He is to be answered after Count Maurice and those with him have given their advice.
The governor, the States General's deputies, and the States of Uytrecht have as yet concluded nothing touching the safety of that province. They have refused the petition of those of the Confession of Ausbourgh and referred any further suit to the States General, meanwhile forbidding them to hold any meetings or conventicles. Deventer said to be hurt by his gaoler. Clerhaeghen set free, but stayed by his creditors.
“The frontier places, especially Lochum, is slenderly provided of necessaries. Schenck is at his Sconce, and nothing here fully determined in his matter, only 5500 gildrens sent him to pay his men there. I doubt we shall one of these days sustain some sudden great loss, they of Gelderland and others disliking that the men are drawn out of the garrisons to besiege their own people.”
Information sent hence to Count Maurice of an intended enemy attack upon Bargues, Tertoele, Tergoes, or other place of importance. He replied that he would see those places adequately provided.
Dislike of English molesting of these Countries' ships. Hears that some of the Queen's ships that were in Zeeland boarded some of the “passages boats that go with goods upon licence to the Sasse, so that they of Zeeland took pepper in the nose and sware they would be avenged.” Wishes these men were more grateful, or that her Highness would take some other course with them, easing her charge without giving them over.
Knows not how to advise about Geertrudenbergh. If the Queen deals therein without the States' invitation they will be very jealous; if nothing is done, danger is to be expected. Probably the mean course is best, that is, that order be sent to her Majesty's ministers here “to offer from her Majesty their service, if they so like it; and if not, yet to let them understand his [sic] Highness' opinion and pleasure….”—The Haeghe, 9 March, 1588, stilo Angliae.
Postscript. The Council of State have now communicated Count Maurice's letters to the States General. Meynartson and Valcke to be sent to him to-morrow morning.
Holograph. Not add. Endd. by Killigrew. 5 pp. and 2 ll. [Holland XXXI. f. 112.]
March 9/19 Don Alonso de Çayas to Walsingham.
Has waited until some action was taken about other prisoners before taking advantage of his offer of favour. The Council's action has made the time now ripe. Begs his excellency to consider his poverty and need, so that orders may be given which he can fulfil. Marco Antonio Mexia offered him 500 ducats but said that the Council thought that too little. Is so poor that he sees no means of obtaining liberty without his excellency's favour. Gabriel de Çayas is willing to help, but he can offer little and is so old that he may be dead before he can assist the writer. Will have less to pay with, the longer he is kept here as he has explained to Mr. Richard Drake.—19 March, 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. Spanish. 1 p. [Spain III. f. 43].
March 10. Capt. Nicholas Errington to Walsingham.
No news touching this place since the governor left. Must leave the Lord General to report the sudden preparation towards Ketternnbarg and the conditions and dealings of the States. Rumours that these cautionary towns will be taken from her Majesty if they succeed against Kettrenberge.
Can answer for the safety of this town, whose inhabitants are well affected to her Majesty. Desires the speedy sending over of a governor; and of the absent captains also, there being but two here. Unless he is “shortly untied of this charge,” he must crave warrant to the Treasurer for an imprest, even if it be upon his entertainment and has to be repaid.—Vlishing, 10 March, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. 2/3 p. [Holland XXXI. f. 115.]


  • 1. Below, p. 148.
  • 2. Enclosed in Bodley's of March 9, below, p. 154; Dutch version in Bor, XXVI. f. 5.
  • 3. Numbers arrived added by Burghley.
  • 4. See Calendar, XXII. 327–9.
  • 5. Printed in extenso in Acts of the Privy Council, N.S., XVII. 103–5.
  • 6. Enclosed in Bodley's of the 9th, below. Dutch translation in Bor, XXVI. f. 6.
  • 7. Dutch text in Bor, XXVI. f. 6.