Elizabeth: April 1589, 1-10

Pages 193-211

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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April 1589, 1–10

April 1. [William Bruter] (fn. 1) to S[ir?] F. W[alsingham?]
Has been accused of writing to her Majesty and his honour. Was threatened with torture. Is now free and in high favour, amongst others with the Duke of Medina, who went on the felicissima jornada, and the Marquesses of Ayamontes and Gibraleon. Could, and if he has “sufficient furnishment” given him will, complain of his wrongs to the King himself, and obtain licence to trade freely in this country and thus continue his service to her Majesty. Juan Gomes de Medina, general of the hulks, spoke highly of his entertainment when cast away upon the Fair Isle in northern Scotland, and this will incline his Majesty to grant the writer's requests. Medina entertained the writer at Calis, where he dwells. He, the Duke, the Marquesses, and his judge, all offer to write in his favour. Needs only money.
Ayamontes speaks of their fear of the English army. Fears especially for the Algarves. Governors appointed over all the prrovinces, who note the men and arms available. Eight millions voted to the King. “They are not able to make no army by sea, I do insure your honour.” Will bring back sure information and leave one behind to report all things until his own return, thus performing his promise. Commends the bearer.—Lepe, 1 April, '89.
Signed with a horn. Add. “to S. F. W.” Endd. with a horn. Seal. 2½ pp. [France XIX. f. 97.]
April 1, last date. Thomas Bodley to Burghley.
Gertrudenbergh still besieged. “The first attempt that they without gave against it was on the water side, with fireworks and other artificial engines wherewith they had filled a ship, supposing by it to have cast down a great part of the wall and to have set many houses afire. But it proved in trial a weak device, scorned at by such as stood upon the walls, and that little harm that it did fell upon themselves.” After several days' and nights' battery, the Count of Solmes, Count Philip, Marshal Villiers, and others assaulted the breach, “coming to it with flat bottom boats. But they were forced to retire immediately, finding the resistance of the garrison very resolute and desperate, and the means to assault out of their boats full of cumber and disadvantage.” Villiers shot in the knee, but likely to recover quickly. The Vice-Admirals of Holland and Zeeland both wounded in the arms, and may have to have them cut off. A brother of Brederode's slain, and divers other captains slain or hurt, as are many of Count Maurice's guard and of the common soldiers.
“Upon the news of this repulse, this Council of State made request by their letters sent to the camp to the States' deputies there, that they would use my presence and assistance for effecting some accord: whereto they never made answer, nor, since the siege began, never writ hither to any of these assemblies for any advice. Nevertheless for a further discharge of my duty in this place, and for that it was a common speech of the people that Sir John Wingfild had intelligence with the enemy, I writ a letter to Sir John whereby I requested him to be advertised from him if any likelihood were left among those in the town that I might be an instrument of a good composition. I required him further in her Majesty's name to take a special care that the town might not fall into the enemy's possession. This letter I sent open to the camp, desiring it might be sent or suppressed as the Count and the rest should find most behooveful. Howbeit. they sent it immediately, and with much ado it was received, and the answer given, not by Sir John but by the rest: that they would have no further dealing with her Majesty or any of her ministers, for that my Lord Willughbie's proceedings were discovered sufficiently.” The reason for this answer is that Count Maurice, hoping to sow discord amongst them, sent to them an act of Willughbie's promising his best efforts to secure the town for the Count. This produced a sudden alteration and they began to disclaim all connection with Willughbie or the English. Sir John is said to be in custody. Bodley's letter therefore took no effect. They now continually answer the enemy's fires and have sent three to capitulate with him about yielding the town. Parma is said to be at Breda. The Count sent yesterday to the Council of State asking for Bodley to come to attempt some negotiation. Bodley replied that this should have been done before “when her Majesty's name was used and respected in the town,” but that, though it now seemed a desperate case, he would do as the Council should advise. After some consultation, the Council resolved that it was too late.
Fear, trouble, and confusion, among both the better sort and the common people. Some few cry out upon Sir John Wingfild and the English, but the majority blame the authors of this action, who are (as far as Bodley can learn) the Count, Barnevelt and Villiers, but especially Barnevelt. The delivery of Willughbie's act is generally condemned as dishonourable and ill-judged.
They seek to excuse themselves by saying that the town has long been practising with the enemy, that it is not very important, and that it was a dangerous example.
“In effect the state of these Provinces is weaker at this present than it hath been these many years, and unless by her Majesty's extraordinary assistance and counsel it be presently holpen, there is little appearance that they can hold it out long. The loss of this town of Gertrudenbergh, the absence of her Majesty's Lieutenant, the withdrawing of forces, and the imperfection of this government are great opportunities to draw the enemy onward and to dismay the people.” Is hampered and somewhat discouraged, by lack of knowledge of her Majesty's intention.— The Hage, 31 March, '89.
Postscript. “It is now written that the enemy is in earnest parle with those of Gertrudenbergh, and hath gotten the possession of those forts without the town which Count Maurice had made, who is departed with some part of his forces towards Williamstat and Tertoll, where the enemy's coming is also feared.” News from intelligencers in Brabant that Schincke practises with the enemy. The promises made to him by the States are so small, and so slowly performed, “as I doubt in the end it will fall heavily upon them.” A similar report about Capt. Salisbury of Berghen-up-Some. BodJey warned Sir Thomas Morgan and asked that Salisbury be sent to justify himself before the Council of State, which has continually suspected him.—April 1.
Signed. Add. Endd. by Burghley as “received 9 April.” Seal of arms. 42/3 pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 1.]
[April 1/11] (fn. 2) [Bernardino de Mendoza] to [the King of Spain].
Jacobo de Arbelais [Mayenne] asked his advice upon a letter (copy enclosed [not found]) from the Pope's Legate. Told him that all which the Legate wrote was a cunning of the King to gain time and prevent the joining of the Union's forces: advised him so to refuse that the Legate would not be stung into advertising his Holiness. The Legate must not be allowed to accord matters, for after the Blois affair he went to see the King and the heretics at Tours.
Jacobo visited Mendoza at midnight and told him that they had decided to write to his Holiness and send to him Dean Brison: encloses a copy of his instructions. (fn. 3) Jacobo spoke of his devotion to the King of Spain, and complained that the Duke quom, who after Blois promised him 400 horse, was not fully supporting him. Jacobo saw, when he dealt with that Duke's ambassador, that the Duke would not declare himself, but desired pledges before he gave them aid: so they refused his reduced offer of 200 horse. Memoransi will support the heretics and the King. Mme. de Memorancy has sent to offer Jacobo all possible service.
Mendoza's opinions about the proceedings of the Duke quom and his ambassador with Jacobo. The ambassador had told Mendoza nothing. Jacobo said that he leaves this city at eight. He has enough money, with 1,200 thousand pistolets of those which he found in the Treasurer's house, to pay his army for two months. He hopes that after that his Majesty will advance a good sum out of the promised 300 thousand crowns. He asked Mendoza to urge this and to move the Duke of Parma to send the promised 300 horse, now ready at Lusembourghe, to hinder Tintaville and the heretic forces sent into Champagne by la Nuo from Sedan and Jametz. Jacobo, as it is, must leave 2,000 harquebusiers and 200 horse in Champagne. Has sent to Parma hereupon: urges that money be sent, for it is very necessary to keep the Union at the beginning firm and free from talk of any agreement. The Duke of Parma sent one to ask the governor of Newhaven how many warships he could set forth. Has not heard from Parma since the third of last month, nor had any answer about the seneschal of Montlymarte, whom Jacobo sent to him. Refers to the purser Guido for the governor of Newhaven's purpose to detain the galleass: also about Diepe.
M. d'Aumalle heard that Jacobo had sent commission to get the 23 thousand pistolets that Parma gave them at first: he sent one of his gentlemen to get them “and so doth keep all …” [breaks off.]
Incomplete. Translation, generally obscure, often unintelligible. No date, signature, add., or endt. 4 pp. [Spain III. f. 56.]
April 1/11. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King of Spain.
Affairs of the League. Aumâle “not a man of government.” Conversation with Jacobo. Waited to see if any advices came from England.—Paris, 11 April, 1589.
Translation, obscure and with blanks. Endd. 2/3 p. [Spain III. f. 48.]
April 1/11. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King of Spain. (fn. 4)
Sends David to Escobar at Tours, thence to Plymouth to report about the fleet there, and thence to London, with Don Antonio if he does not go with the fleet. Sampson cannot return to England, and an intelligencer in London is desirable, even if Antonio goes with the fleet. Sends David's cipher for the Archduke.—Paris, 11 April, 1589.
Translation. Endd. 12/3 pp. [Spain III. f. 46.]
April 2. Don Antonio to Burghley.
Asks, upon his departure, for his lordship's continued favour.— Plymouth, second of April, 1589.
Signed Rey. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. French. ½ p. [Portugal II. f. 57.]
April 3. List of pikes, blackbills, shovels, nails, timber, muskets, candles, etc., needed at Ostend. Total, 472l. 12s.
Endd. 2/3 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 3.]
April 4. William Milward to Walsingham.
Sailed on the night of March 30 and reached Stoade on the night of April 2 after a very fair passage. Has effected nothing yet, as the chief merchants and factors are not back from Franckforde.
The Emperor has ordered the chapter of Breame to command Stoade to expel the Merchant Adventurers. This is at the suit of Hamborough in the name of the Hanses. No danger likely to ensue from it. So long as Hamborow has such free traffic with England, Stoade and Embden will be disturbed and England will not find that vent for cloths which she would have were Hamborow restrained.
Many ships almost ready at Lubeck and Hamborow, laden with corn and all manner of munitions for the King of Spain.—Stoade, 4 April, 1589.
Postscript. Writes similarly to the Lord High Treasurer. Will not forget to provide his honour with four coach horses.
Add. Endd. Words in italics in cipher, deciphered. ¾ p. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns III. f. 59.]
Decipher of the above by Philips, who has written below: “this is the decipher of the letter of Mr. Milward you sent, which I have delivered to my Lord Treasurer.” Discusses various points about the cipher characters added, he assumes, by Walsingham after he (Philips) had made it. “I think Thomas Edmondes can best remember what other names you put in, for he prayed me to make the alphabet….”—22 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns III. f. 61.]
April 4/14 The Magistrates of Flushing to the Queen.
Desire recompence for certain shipmasters of this town arrested last November at Dartmouth, into which they were driven by contrary winds while on their way to various French ports, and released only after giving sureties to Sir John Gilbert, vice-admiral of Devon, not to trade into Spain. They did not go to Spain and returned hither on March 2. Their loss 3,000l. sterling. Desire that Flushing ships, having passport from the governor or his lieutenant and themselves, may trade freely into France. Will be careful in granting such passports.—Flushing, 14 April, 1589.
Signed, A. Oillarts. Add. Endd. with note of contents. French. 1¼ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 76.]
April 4. Note of timber, bullets, match, and straw sent to Ostend by the States of Zeeland. Their commissary, Rysewyck, saw a northwest wind with a spring tide take away the recently repaired rampire on Bridges side two days ago. An enemy attack likely. Rysewyck promised much, but there is “nothing as yet against the sea.”
In Conway's hand. Endd. ½ p. [Holland XXXII. f. 5.]
April 5/15 Gourdan to [Walsingham?]
Thanks him for the greyhounds which will put some sense into the heads of the Leaguers, his too near neighbours.—Calais, 15 April.
Holograph. Covering sheet not found, French. ½ p. [France XIX. f. 99.]
April 5. The Queen to the States General.
Norris hoped last December to get 3 or 4000 men, in their pay, to go on the Portugal voyage. They would not grant so many, but they allowed him to take 2,000 foot and 600 horse from her forces there. They promised to pay the charges of as many more, should reinforcements be required to resist the enemy's attempts during these forces' absence. On this condition she agreed to withdraw 1000 foot and 600 horse, 1000 less than they had granted: for these she advanced five months' pay to Norris.
The enemy has taken advantage of their absence to besiege Ostend, whence Norris drew 300 footmen. To save it, she has promptly levied 1500 men (500 less than they promised for the voyage). Sir Thomas Wilford takes them over. Requests them, according to their promise to Norris, to repay the extraordinary charge, which she has undertaken reluctantly and solely because they seemed unlikely to send forces thither in time. The recent example of Sluys, lost through their failure to send in time forces to assist those sent by her, should move them not only to repay the charge but also to send forces to Ostend as well.—Westminster, 5 April, 1589.
Signed, Elizabeth R. Add. Endd. “A letter, signed by her Majesty, to the States General, that should have been sent but was stayed … upon the advertisements of the retreat of the enemy.” Mark of seal. French. 1½ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 15.]
Copy of the above.
Endd. with note of contents, and, in a different hand, “this letter was signed, and stayed upon the news of the retreat of the enemy.” French. 12/3 pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 6.]
Another copy of the above, corrected.
Undated. Not endd. French. 1½ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 127.]
English draft of the same.
Corrected by Burghley. 2 pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 17.]
April 5/15. The Princess of Orange to Walsingham.
Sends letters of M. de la Noue. Has asked the Count of Nassau, her step-son, to get the prisoners here to move their relations in Spain once more. If those in England did so too, something might be done for poor M. de Telygny, who ought not to be wasting his days in prison. La Noue trusts chiefly to Walsingham to achieve this.—Middelburg, 15 April.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 2/3 [Holland XXXII. f. 11.]
April 5. G. Gilpin to Burghley.
Thanks him for his favour, shown in his letter to Bodley, and also towards his late father.
Refers to Bodley's letters for news. Does all he can to assist him. This state needs “a present reformation and that an authority were established to have commandment and direction in all things, especially concerning the matters of state and wars, and that at a pinch, when the enemy is preparing to come upon them with main force and they unprovided to oppose thereagainst as were needful, that they might be somewhat assisted. And do not know for the time a better remedy than that the treaty might be maintained (fn. 5); the plaints wherein the States think it violated to be satisfied in reason; and they in like sort urged to yield to that which by Mr. Bodley hath been in her Majesty's name (fn. 5) required of them in writing, whereto as yet they have not answered; that the Lord General might be returned, provided and seconded as the place requireth; and all disorders, whereof complaint is made, redressed.” This would keep the people in heart, especially those on the frontiers who have only their walled towns and some small contributions levied on themselves wherewith to defend themselves. Were they to feel that her Majesty had deserted them, they would fall into some alteration dangerous to the whole of the United Provinces.—The Haghe, 5 April, 1589, st. An.
Signed. Add. Endd. with note of contents. 1¼ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 9.]
April 5. Capt. Nicholas Erington to Walsingham.
Gettringhen-bargyn lost to the enemy. Count Maurice's violent course blamed. The country round will be lost. The Duke will probably attempt some place hereabouts, or else seek to bring Dorthe, etc., to contribution.
Sir John Wingfeilde and his lady are said to be prisoners at Breddawe “for that he would not yield the town with consent.”
The people are greatly offended with the States for attacking the place. The States say that it was treating with the enemy in February: but “they would never have abiden such a breach and an assault as was given, and when they offered composition to the States by their ministers they could not be heard….”
“They fill the people's ears, that all such places that are kept in her Majesty's name will take the like effect, so that our nation are become odious amongst them.” Someone of countenance should be sent over to “bridle a further mischief.”
This town stands in good terms and the inhabitants are well disposed.
Siege of Ostende threatened of late, but the enemy drew off towards Breban. “Bargen-up-Zon is doubted to be attempted this spring time. The enemy will lose no time now that they have Gettringe-bargan and the English forces gone towards the west parts. I cannot perceive but this island must be made assured. The town of Midlebrugh doth hold a hard hand against our nation. The end will discover these doubts….”— Vlishinge, 5 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 13.]
April 5/15 J. Wroth to Walsingham.
Encloses a letter received yesterday from her Majesty's agent [in Turkey].
No decision made yet at Rome about France. The King of Spain labours to uphold the League, offering the Pope many fair partitos for his kindred, and, perchance, a part of France or Italy. The King of France, this Signoria, and the Duke of Florence are believed to point out on the other side how dangerous an example it would be to deprive the Most Christian King for punishing traitors who were notoriously in league with strangers against him; and that the Spaniard has long encouraged these garboils under a cloak of religion, knowing that the French crown is the only ‘conterpease’ of the Spanish monarchy. They show that to further the Spaniard's greatness would be to overthrow the Catholic religion and the see of Rome, which is best preserved by dividing Christendom among many petty princes all requiring Papal favour against their neighbours. If Catholic princes see the Pope furthering the Spaniard's intent, they will be obliged to seek the Lutherans' aid, which will bring all Christendom in danger of infection by “so plausible a religion.” It would be difficult for the Spaniard to fulfil his promises to the Pope of a share in France or Italy, and if he did overthrow the French King and the Italian princes there would be no means of holding him to his word. If, on the other hand, the Pope will join them against the Spaniard, it would, they say, be easy for him to obtain parts of Naples or Milan, where the Spaniard is hated. Once in the Pope's possession, he would be easily able to keep them owing to the jealousies between the Italian princes, who would never allow one to grow great upon the spoils of another. There is some hope that the Pope will be persuaded by such arguments, especially as he has of late not only married his niece's daughter to the Duke of Florence's nephew but also appointed as his nuncio in Florence the Bishop of Vicenza, a Venetian of the house of Priuli, not hitherto of any credit at Rome. This makes the Spaniards fear that something is in hand with which he will trust only a Venetian. The Duke of Savoy increases his forces, possibly for a progress on the confines of France.
M. de Gondie and the Florentine ambassador are still here and have frequent secret audience with these Signors, who have set 4,000 pioneers to work at Brescia and 3,000 at Bergamo. Cardinal Cananie expected to-night: he is a Ferrarese and greatly trusted by that Duke.
Sea and land preparations in Naples go forward very slowly. The Spaniard doubtless suspects the Italian princes and dare not trust the Pope. The Duke of Terrenova, governor of Milan, is said to be going to Rome to confirm the Pope's goodwill with fresh promises. He is expected here to-night, under colour of going to Madonna di Laureto, to try to “lull these fellows asleep,” though these Signors are unlikely to be deceived.
News from Spain that the King, fearing some tumult in Portinghale, goes towards the confines, having already moved certain families thence into Castile and others from Castile thither. His affairs do not stand well there and if her Majesty seizes this chance of molesting him, “she will thereby procure the security of her own estate and of the rest of Christendom.”
An ambassador from the League has arrived in Spain, offering to make the King their chief head and to give him certain towns as pledge for the repayment of his expenses.—Venice, 15 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd.pp. [Venice I. f. 64.]
April 5, last date. French Advertisements.
April 4 o.s.. St. Omers. “La Mote was general of the forces brought to Ostend, and with him Sir William Standlaye, by whom it is thought they were drawn thither. Their stay was but three days, their forces were 6000.” Ostend proved too well fortified and manned, so they marched towards Bredawe. La Motte is now at Grevelinge and Stanlaye at Brudgis.
April 5, o.s., Calis. An attempted surprise of Bullin by the Leaguers repulsed last night: sixty slain.
April 5, o.s., St. Omers. Secret intelligence from Parma's camp that he sends forces to Scotland, drawing them together under pretence of attacking Ostend or strengthening his coast towns.
Endd. ¾ p. [Newsletters IX. f. 94.]
April 6. A letter from Stoad to Mr. Brooke, merchant, of London.
70 hulks of 400 tons and upwards lading at Lubeck and Hamborowe with corn, cordage, ordnance, powder, copper, etc. for Spain. They go in company around Ireland. Three other ships of Goatland go also, laden by Duke Carolus, the King of Sweden's brother, with 1000 pieces of copper ordnance purchased by a factor of the King of Spain. Many horsemen taken up in these parts for the League, though none for the French King.
Endd. ¼ p. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns III. f. 63.]
[About April 6.] (fn. 6) Richard Geste's report of Spanish preparations.
2 new great galleons at Lishborn, ready two months ago. 4 ‘galley asses’ strongly manned in a creek three leagues from Lishborn. Three small ships at Villa de Condee. A galleon and some small Flemish ships at Port a Portingall. One galleon,, and another making, at Reive Athewe. At St. Andere “two great galleons that took three English ships and one Fleming.”
Signed. Endd. “April 1589 [1590 crossed out. Examination of Richard Gest….” ⅓ p. [Spain III. f. 58.]
April 7/17. Ottywell Smyth to Walsingham.
Wrote last by Mr. Morsyte, sending letters from Roanne. Those of Roanne have taken Harcarte castle, killing some and bringing away the rest as prisoners with Mme. de Newbarke and those taken at Newbarke. The castle yielded easily because a maid put water into the powder. They now talk of besieging this town, but some six hundred horsemen, besides foot, have gone forth hence and are daily reinforced, as many gentlemen that were for the League are now for the King. They have taken two castles, so that only one holds for the League between here and Roanne, and they have gone to besiege that. “They begin to make wars in good earnest since the truce was broken,” this town against Newhaven and Roanne.
This governor wants 60 horsemen's corslets, 50 lances, 2,000 pounds of powder, and two or three good trumpeters, whom he will pay well. The Duke of Monpansyere has reduced all the towns across the river in Basse Normandy, except Fallayse which he is besieging. He will next attack Homflyte, whose burghers flee to Newhaven, and then Roanne. M. Pyere Corte has gone against him with 300 horse and 600 footmen. “If he come within this fifteen days, we shall see how all this country will govern themselves for they be as cruel one against another as though they were Turks or ‘barbares’ … nothing but killing and robbing one another. If God do not help, all this country will be spoiled for ever.”
De Maine prepares his army at Etampes: it is still quite small.
The King's army is by Marines and does little. The great galleass left Newhaven on Saturday. That governor sets out ships, and has already sent to sea a small galley and two small barques, which seize those going to Caenne. If some of her Majesty's pinnaces went up and down between Newhaven and Caenne, they would take these Newhaven boats. If this passage is stopped, it will be impossible to go from hence to the French court, for the land way is already impossible.
The gentlemen of this town have been within two leagues of Roanne and defeated Fontaine Martell's company, taking some sixty horsemen.
John Welles was brought prisoner to Roanne last Thursday, and all his letters taken. He is likely to be very ill handled. Heard this from an Englishman at Roanne. No letters can now be sent this way to the French court: they should go by sea to Caenne, if they can escape the Newhaven ships. This governor was to set forth ships to take the Leaguers, but Smyth sees no preparations yet, and there are only three good ships here, since the rest have gone with corn, etc., for Spain.
Sends letters received to-day from Roanne. Desires to know if he is to stay here longer.—Dyepe, 17 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal. 1⅓ pp. [France XIX. f. 100.]
April 7. Thomas Bodley to Walsingham.
[Sir Thomas Morgan?] (fn. 7) often asks his help against the captains with him. This Council said that [Sir William Drury?] (fn. 7) has a strong party in the town which will always practise against [Morgan?] unless they are spoken to from home. Walsingham will doubtless take steps to reform this, if his health allows. The enemy waits to profit by such “domestical discords.” The Lord Treasurer doubtless informs his honour about Gertrudenbergh, etc. Hopes for his speedy recovery.—The Hage, 7 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 2/3 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 19.]
April 7. Sir Thomas Morgan to Walsingham.
Wrote last by his servant. Has previously written about Capt. Salisburie: will send a man to give Walsingham a full account of his disobedience and of the strong suspicion there is of his allegiance, of which the Council of State and Bodley informed Morgan.
Gertruden Berghen still stands doubtful. Count Charles Mannsfeld is in the town urging them to serve the King. Sir John Wingefeld and his lady are at Bredae, either as prisoners or as hostages for Mannsfeld. The Prince means to visit Bergen again. Forces have come to him from Flanders, their ensigns being laid up in Anwarpe castle. Fireslott, lieutenant of the Lord General's troop, (fn. 8) lives as companion to the Duke of Parma.—Berges, 7 April, 1589.
Postscript. Now hears certainly that “Gertruden Berghen is gone.” The horsemen are sent from the town to Bredae, and the foot to Seven Berghen. Desires the return of those captains of Berges-up-Zoom which are in England. Seven Berghen is lost.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 21.]
[April 7.] “The matters of the Low Countries.”
“What were best to be done with Ostend, whether to be kept by the Queen's charges, as with the portion of her auxiliary army: (2) or to commit it to the charge of the States: (3) or to abandon it and withdraw the men and ordnance: (4) or to ruin both the haven and town?“
“That instructions be made to be sent to Lord Borogh, Mr. Bodeley, and Gilpyn, to make accounts and ‘decomptes,’ with the States for debts claimed interchangeably on her Majesty's part and the States'. For which purpose some is to be sent for the charge of Mr. Hudleston's time and 1 for Sir Tho. Shyrley.”
“To consider how the States may be satisfied in their demand to have the supernumerary sold[iers] out of Flushyng and Brill, for whose pay the States refuse to be debtors to her Majesty.”
“To consider how the Lord General may have authority to command the numbers that are extraordinary in Flushyng and Brill, as parcel of the auxiliary army: and yet as long as they remain in the towns to be corrected by the governors of the towns for any offences committed in the towns.”
In Burghley's hand, and endd. by him with date. 1p. [Holland XXXII. f. 41].
April 7/17. Placart of the States General against Geertruidenberg. (fn. 9)
Treason of the governor, captains, and garrison in delivering the town to the Prince of Parma. Although they were used as well as, nay, better than, any others in the States' service, yet on 10 March, 1588, they disarmed the burghers and behaved in disorderly fashion, seeking to cover their disorders with her Majesty's name and using letters from Willoughby and Russell as their authority. They would treat only with Willoughby would not admit deputies or letters from the States, and changed all their colours, ensigns, etc. To avoid further mischief, the States and Count Maurice agreed that Willoughby should treat with the town, on condition that it remained under the government of Holland. The garrison's articles, and Willoughby's apostilles of 9 May, 1588, were strange, and their daily seizures of ships gave little hope of a firm agreement. However, Willoughby promised in writing to hold the town for Count Maurice and to restore it to him when required. Sir John Winckfelt made a like promise. Thereupon the Count promised them 20 months' pay (200,000 florins). The soldiers' commissaries said that if he would not pay them so much, there were others who would. The money was brought before the town about July 24. The delivery of it was extorted just as was the promise, the soldiers saying that if the States would not pay it without changing one article of their propositions, there were others who would. Agreement signed, upon Willoughby's promise to reduce all the horsemen into one cornet and all the footmen into one company, to put them under good and peaceable officers, to get them to take the oath, and to have them paid properly from the contributions of Brabant as the Council of State should appoint.
These promises were broken once the money was paid. There were two cornets and two foot companies established, the officers were traitors, the oath taken was inadequate, and for the payment of the troops the contributions of the town and of other places in Holland were seized. Moreover, the pay was made so irregularly that some received far more than their due, the country being thereby charged with 16,000 florins more. The garrison refused to send as much powder to England as they were asked to send for use against the Spanish fleet. They refused also to return the artillery lent to them by Dordrecht. They spoiled those of Holland and Zeeland upon the rivers, despising the States' passports, and threatening to hang the traders. They have made repartitions of their pay and given a very large allowance to Winckfelt, without order from the States or Council of State. In fact, since the July settlement their disorders have grown worse.
Last November the Count and the States of Holland asked Willoughby to perform his promise. Opportunity was provided for this by the absence of 100 of the garrison at Bergen, the frequent absences of the horsemen on forays, the fact that the burghers were armed and that the Count had many troops at hand. Moreover, Sir John Norris had brought her Majesty's disavowal of the garrison and her authority to seek to draw the soldiers out of the town. He offered to aid Willoughby therein. Soon afterwards, however, the said 100 men were sent back to Geertruidenberg by Willoughby, who met Winckfelt, his brother-in-law, at Dordrecht. Winckfelt returned to Geertruidenberg and he and the officers there, English and others, promptly disarmed the burghers. They wrote to Willoughby on November 17, stilo anglico, that they had done this for their own safety, and that they had not consulted him because they understood that he had promised to deliver the town to the States. They would die rather than restore the arms.
Thereupon, it was thought good to acquaint her Majesty and Norris with these proceedings. The garrison refused to send any forces to Norris for his service or to assist in the relief of Wachtendonk. Finally, Winckfelt wrote to Count Maurice that rather than obey him or the States, they would seek help of the enemy. Mutineers from other places were welcomed into the garrison. Great banquets. The magistrates were threatened in January, and ordered to secure fresh payment of the garrison for the six months ending in February. The Council of State sent two commissaries to learn what sums had been appropriated by the garrison since July, but could get no answer. They demanded a month's pay every 32 days, instead of every 48 as others are paid. Winckfelt demanded pay for bis cornet above his ordinary allowances. They threatened to pay themselves by seizing ships passing the Biesbosch, if pay were not sent to them, as they demanded, in four or five days.
Seeing the dangers of these proceedings and that Willoughby, Norris, and Bodley, did nothing to stay them, and, moreover, that Willoughby was returning to England, the States required him to perform his promise. He replied that he could not, and that he thought that the garrison should have been brought to obedience before any money was given it. News came that on February 2 the garrison was treating with the enemy. It was resolved to make every effort to bring them to reason. As it was useless to deal without some appearance of force. Count Maurice brought a good number of soldiers and boats before the town. He sent a drum with friendly letters telling the garrison of the treasonable negotiations and of the threats of Winckfelt and the others against himself. He urged them to return to their obedience. They might vield upon good terms: the alternatives to yielding now were to suffer extreme measures from the countries, or to yield to the enemy. Winckfelt and the others answered that they would rather yield to the enemy than to the Count and States, and at once began to fire upon the Count's forces. Further attempts to treat were made, but they refused to receive the Count's letters and those of the magistrates of Dordrecht were torn up, unread, by Winckfelt. Their treason was soon made evident by the bonfires of Breda and intercepted letters of the Duke of Parma and the governor of Breda, which showed that all their previous actions had been for the enemy's service.
So Count Maurice resolved to begin his siege and to seek to secure the town before the enemy's forces came up. His failure was partly due to bad weather, partly to a feigned offer by the garrison to treat, when the breach had been made. The delay was followed by four days very bad weather which prevented further operations. His excellency resolved thereupon to lose this town rather than endanger his army and the country by pressing on with a siege no. longer practicable. By the advice of certain of Holland, he made a last attempt by letters to move the soldiers of the garrison against their traitorous officers, but the officers had won them to their treasons, the soldiers having agreed for 15 months' pay. They remain in the enemy's service, and only two of these devoted servants of her Majesty have refused to serve her great enemies.
For these reasons the States have declared traitors the governor, captains, officers, and soldiers, who were in the town at the time of its betrayal, named below: (fn. 10) to be punished without further sentence. Fifty livres, of 40 gros the livre, reward for each soldier captured and 100 livres for each officer. Their goods forfeit, one-third to the discoverer, another third to the officer and the poor where execution is done, and the rest for the profit of the common cause.
They forbid any by word or writing to speak ill of the proceedings of Count Maurice and the States of Holland in this matter, upon pain of being tried as abettors of these traitors and enemies of the public good.—Published at the Hague, 17 April, 1589.
Copy. Endd. Marginal notes of contents by Burghley. French. 11¼ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 34.]
Another copy of the above.
Endd. French. 11⅓ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 27.].
English ‘abridgement’ of the above.
Marginal notes of contents by Burghley. Endd. “Englished.” 4¼ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 23.]
April 7/17. last date. Letters from Bernardino de Mendoza to the Duke of Parma. (fn. 11)
15 April, 1589 [N.S.]. The vice-seneschal de Montlimart asked for Mendoza's recommendation to M. de Meyne. Understands that he goes to inform Parma of Colonel Fifer's levies for the League and of the King's levy of 1200 from the heretical Swiss cantons. He also wants 23 thousand pistolets, part of what Parma owes them, to be put ready at Bisanson for continuing Fifer's entertainment and increasing the League's forces: 9 thousand men are to be levied. Mayne would be very grateful for this help, as he told Mendoza at his parting: he will seek no accord, but rather to suppress the King.
Dissensions and particular ambitions will make the Union of the towns difficult to accomplish without plenty of money. Has written to the King of de Mayne's request for a great sum and desires Parma to support it.
17 April, 1589 [N.S.] After entertaining the vice seneschal of Montlimart he received a small letter from the Duke de Meyne, “in the which he tells that he found himself in the greatest danger that might be in the world, having almost executed the King.” The landsknechts which Parma sent were but 1800 strong and mostly unarmed ‘baggage-people,’ whereas he expected them a month before and 4000 strong. He could then have made the King leave Towers and given him no time to garrison Blois, where there is an important bridge over the Loyre. Desires that the landsknechts be hastened and be as strong as possible. Evil spirits sow suspicion that help is withheld until they are so weakened that they must “take themselves to his Majesty.” Danger of discouraging Meyne and the Union of the towns. Desires Parma to send all possible succour with the utmost speed, “that they may not faint in the beginning; for upon this depends the good of the Catholic religion and consequently the whole estate of his Majesty…. There is no other way to repair this time or season but in helping them quickly….”
17 April, 1589 [N.S.]. Has just received two letters from Parma. Has met de Meyne twice, who said that he had turned back the vice-seneschal de Montelimar and sent at his charge one who is now here. Meyne is very well content with Parma's last sending.
Translations, often obscure. Endd. 32/3 pp. [Spain III. f. 50.]
April 8. Stafford to Walsingham.
Has just landed. Was so beaten at sea that he was never more sick in his life and has to get his man to write this. Sends the bearer to announce his arrival, provide horses, and deliver copies of two letters from the King of Navarre, sent to M. du Pin just as Stafford was leaving. Hopes to be at court in five or six days and will bring a note of the accord between the King and the King of Navarre, who was to be given the passage over the Loire last Tuesday.
The Spanish ambassador is gone from court, without leave, to Paris. The King means not to receive him any more. The letters show the Legate's proceedings and the King's answer.
Will bring other papers, which are still on board ship, and will tell things which may not be written.—Dartmouth, 8 April. 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½p. [France XIX. f. 95.]
April 8. Sir Thomas Knollys to Walsingham.
Heard when at Bergen-up-Zone from the governor and captains of the [? this] town that they needed men and munition, the enemy being strong about them. So he repaired hither. Finds the town wonderfully weak owing to the damage done by the sea. The soldiers are few and altogether overwatched. Not more than a third of the burghers remain who were here when he left. Sir John Conwaye offers to resign the government to Knollys, at whose hands he received it. Has been here in garrison about four years and commanded the place for about a year and a half. Desires Walsingham's favour to obtain for him this government. Desires it because of his late alliance in this country and his zeal to serve her Majesty.—Osteand, 8 April, 1589.
Holograph. Add. Endd. with note of contents. 1 p. [Holland XXXII. f. 43.]
April 9. Buzanval to Walsingham.
Sends a letter from the Princess of Orange, who writes of the unhappy accident of Saynt Getrudenberghe and fears the results of the folly of those who undertook this siege. She wishes someone were sent over in Roussel's place, not from any dislike of Roussel but because, through no fault of his. many misunderstandings have arisen between those people and him. Buzanval, though he greatly honours Roussel, agrees, for one grants many things to children and fools to make them wise, and these people must be treated in that way.
News from Calais of an abortive Leaguish plot at Boulogne.
M. de Civille writes from Scotland that the Queen should beware of the Papist factions there.
Sends a letter from M. de la Noue.
Hears Walsingham has news from Dieppe: desires to be informed thereof by this bearer.—London, 9 April. 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. French. 1 p. [France XIX. f. 102.]
April 9. J. Ortell to Burghley.
His grief at “these most unhappy accidents lately fallen in Holland.” Fears that the States may “be driven to some extraordinary course,” rather than allow themselves to be gradually consumed by a small fire. General confusion and mis-intelligence may follow unless a person “qualified and well reputed for sufficiency and integrity” be sent to appease all griefs and to send home true reports of the movers of these inconveniences.—London, “in haste,” 9 April. 1589.
Postscript. on annexed slip of paper. Encloses a letter from the town of Flushinge, to which he desires present answer, as they sent it by express messenger.Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1¼ pp. [Holland XXXII. f. 47.]
April 9. J. Ortell to Mr. Secretary Woolley.
Encloses the letter from Flushing to her Majesty. Desires that they may be speedily satisfied, for “this most unhappy accident lately fallen in Holland … doth cause a marvellous alteration among the States and commons, not only in respect of their great and irrecoverable loss, but also of the House of Nassau who in their particular and almost to their undoing are losers of above 8,000l. sterling a year….”—London, 9 April, 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holland XXXII. f. 45.]
April 10. Wyllughby to Burghley.
Desires that the muster-master may have an imprest of 76l. 10s., the sum saved by his care in the checks upon the 1,515l. issued to the Treasurer at Wars for two months' pay of the horse companies lately ‘cassed.’ The muster-master has made frequent chargeable journeys into England and from garrison to garrison, and had to attend long at the Haigh about the affairs of his office. He has had only half pay in monthly imprests during the last year, whereas other officers by a late order receive the whole. Wyllughby, owing to former restraints by the Council in such matters, feels his authority inadequate to warrant the payment of this imprest. The muster-master already has a warrant for his full pay, upon which far more than this sum is due.—“From my house at the Barbican,” 10 April, 1589.
Signed. Add. Endd. with note of contents. ¾ p. [Holland XXXII. f. 50.]
April 10. St. Omers' Advertisements.
Tresshame made captain of a Walloon foot company, “thought to lie on the frontiers of France.” The Duke intends some special service under his personal leadership. Soldiers daily cashiered and taken for France, either to help the Leaguers or for want of contentment where they are, so many being in pay and so long unemployed.
The camp of 6,000, missing their purpose at Ostend, went toward Gittern van Berghen, with which Count Maurice deals so cruelly that the enemy hopes to secure its capitulation. The Duke has sent 12 to the town and they 12 to him. He will grant any terms to gain a place so important “for impeaching those of Holland and Zeeland and recovering Dortrighte,” besides the entrance which it gives into other countries.
No shipping preparing in Flanders except the usual freebooters, who do much damage between Calais, Dover, and North Foreland.
Endd. 2/3 p. [Newsletters IX. f. 95.]


  • 1. William Bruter's letter in H.M.C., Hatfield MSS., III. 459, shows that he was also the writer of this: he was in London in July, ibid., p. 426. The letter in ibid., p. 403, dated at Kronborg and signed with this same horn, belongs clearly to 1590 not to 1589.
  • 2. See H.M.C., Hatfield MSS., III. 86–7.
  • 3. Calendared above, pp. 179–80.
  • 4. Calendared in Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, IV. 529–30.
  • 5. Passages in italics underlined.
  • 6. He was examined on that day—Domestic Calendar, 1581–90, p. 588–9.
  • 7. Cipher symbols, neither of which occurs in the key to Bodley's cipher which is among the State Papers.
  • 8. Willoughby had discharged him on March 1/11—H.M.C, Ancaster MSS., p.
  • 9. Dutch text in Bor, Nederlantasche Oorloghen, XXVI. ff. 10–12.
  • 10. See the list printed in Bor, XXVI. ff. 12–14.
  • 11. See, too, H.M.C., Hatfield MSS., III, 88.