92. Reply of the ESTATES to the Verbal Message from his HIGHNESS
presented by M. DE GROBBENDONCK on Aug. 8.
1. The Estates are greatly displeased that his Highness has
not thought fit to name the authors of the letters, that they might
be examined, and that if any foundation might appear for their
statements, rigorous proceedings might be taken against those
guilty of aiming at so execrable an action. However, as his Highness
savs that his withdrawal was not intended to cause annoyance
to the Estates, and that he means to observe the pacification, they
pray him to carry it out.
2. They beg him seriously to have regard to the mutual
correspondence between them, and thank him for his offer of free
3. As to this, the Estates hope that his Highness will consider
the first article of their resolution sent by Count Bossu and Adolf
de Meetkerke. It has never been seen that a Prince or Governor
had an army to guard him against his subjects ; or to take one
of foreigners as seems to be claimed would be directly contrary to
4. The Estates are content to make no new levies of troops
and disband those that they have, on condition of reciprocal
action on the part of his Highness, and the countermanding of
the commissions which it is understood are running in various
5. As to those whom the Estates have in custody, they shall
be let go as soon as the Germans are out of the country, on taking
an oath to guard his Highness and the Estates, to suffer no
attempts against them, and to maintain the pacification in good
faith, without fraud or malengien.
6. They humbly entreat his Highness to dismiss from his
household all foreigners and others notoriously suspected as
having opposed the intention of the Estates, and to take natural
subjects of the country ; so that both parties may negotiate in
conjunction for the carrying out of the pacification.—Done this
12th Aug. 1577.
Copy. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 17.]
93. DON JOHN TO THE STATES GENERAL.
Brought on behalf of his Highness to the States, and there read
the 7th of August, 1577.
The promise of the States
that there shall be no privately-appointed
governors in Brussels
or other towns where none have
been, to be carried out.
The States have no wish to
contravene the 2nd article of the
document of July 31.
All who wish to enter or leave
the town of Brussels to be
allowed to do so, taking with
them what they will, without
let, hindrance, or search.
From the pacification nothing
to the contrary was done until
the occasion given by the intercepted
letters and the withdrawal
All soldiers in the country, of
whatever nation, condition, or
quality, to obey me absolutely
as their Captain-General, and
not on any account to stir from
where they are without my
Will indubitably be carried
out, all occasions of distrust
being first removed.
The Count of Bossu or other
whom I shall nominate to the
government of Friesland to be
admitted without opposition.
The States understand that
the Count has resigned the
government of his own free will,
and they pray his Highness to
maintain the Baron de Ville
therein as a person agreeable to
the States General and those of
Friesland in particular.
All governors of towns, etc.,
noblemen or persons of whatever
quality whom I may summon, to
come to me, with security for
themselves and followers.
No difficulty about this as
soon as the distrust is removed.
Diligence to be used everywhere
to catch and punish the
persons who cause scandal to
This is and will be done.
and other persons who only do ill
offices to the disservice of God
and his Majesty to be incontinently
caused to leave Brussels,
and not to be allowed there any
more, among the States or elsewhere.
It is impossible without
violating the pacification to prevent
the agents of the Prince of
Orange from treating with the
Estates. However, if his Highness
will specify the ill offices in
question, enquiry shall be made
and justice done.
Five deputies of the States
assembled at Brussels to come
to Louvain, as offered by their
deputies ; where they will be in
Will be happy to do so, if his
Highness will come there too,
with his usual guard or that
accorded by the States. There
is no appearance of security
while his Highness remains in
the Castle of Namur.
The person who took a courier
from Spain with letters from his
Majesty to me, and those who
have dared to open and decipher
them, to come to me.
So long as the occasions for
distrust remain, his Highness
ought not to find anything
strange in this or similar acts.
The Estates refer to what they
The people of Brussels to
return each to the exercise of
his own business, as in the time
of the Emperor my father, and
to disarm as soon as the Germans
are dismissed. The same in all
towns not being frontier towns.
They will do so when the Germans
are withdrawn, and other
causes of distrust removed.
Seeing that the pacification is
daily contravened by the Prince
of Orange and by the Estates of
Holland and Zealand, his Highness
wishes this to be remedied,
and the Estates to aid to the
best of their power.
As to this Article and all
others to the xxth inclusive the
Estates refer to their reply of
July 31. Those touching the
Prince or the Estates of Holland
and Zealand shall be sent to
them for an answer.
And to that end to bid him
publish at once the agreement
between us and the said Estates,
and his Majesty's ratification
And to put a stop to sermons,
schools, and exercises of the
new sects in Harlem, Schoenhoven,
and other towns which
have been restored to him by the
pacification, and remove the
garrison which he has placed
contrary to the capitulation.
The Prince to stop fortifying,
dismantle the forts he has made
at Sevenbergen and elsewhere,
and surrender the fort of
To restore churches and cloisters
to their state at the pacification
with their alienated
revenues, and place all other
subjects in the enjoyment of
To withdraw from the Canal
of Amsterdam the armed boats
that he has there, without
molestation to the inhabitants
by land or sea ; and the Estates
are required to see that they of
Amsterdam are allowed to enjoy
To restore at once the town of
Nieuport in Flanders, agreeably
to the capitulation.
The Prince's mandates against
those of the King's central
council in Holland resident at
Utrecht, to be quashed, and similarly
the declaration he has
made against those who follow
his Majesty's cause.
The King's receivers in Holland
who up to the pacification
rendered their accounts to his
Majesty's Chamber of accounts
at Utrecht, not to be compelled
to render them to that set up by
And if the Prince will not
satisfy these and his other obligations,
and thereby show his
obstinate rebellion and ill intention,
the Estates to join with his
Majesty and us in compelling
him to act as required by the
That in future I be obeyed as
other governors of the Blood
have been, without contravention
of the pacification.
The Estates have always had
the will to obey, and they ought
to be assured against all undertakings,
whether by his Highness
or others, contrary to the
pacification and the rights and
privileges of the country.
That the castle of Antwerp be
replaced in its former condition
for the King, and that the
soldiers whom I may appoint
shall enter into it ; and that M.
de Treslong and others who are
detained be sent to me.
The Estates beg his Highness
consider that to deprive the
Duke of Aerschot and the
Prince of Chimay of the command
of the castle, and commit
it to M. de Treslong who is not
qualified by right, and what is
more, by his secret proceedings
to introduce the Germans, is to
contravene the pacification and
the privileges of Brabant and
the union to which the said
Treslong has sworn, and he deserves
to be treated as in reason
and justice may be fitting.
If all this is done without delay
I too will comply with all
the heads of the pacification.
The Estates understand that
they have satisfied the pacification,
and shown due respect to
their Governor ; and they beg
him to govern with the advice of
the Council of State.
Done at Brussels in the
Assembly of the States General,
this 12th day of August, 1577.
Copy. Endd. [as No. 85]. Fr. 3 pp. Enclosure in Davison's
of 14th (No. 101). [Holl. and Fland. II. 23.]
94. FRANCISCO GIRALDI to WALSINGHAM.
I wish respectfully to inform you that this city is full of the
reception given by that tyrant the Shereef to her Majesty's
ambassador ; how he went to meet him, and honoured him with this
name by word of mouth, as has been more fully related to me by a
Portuguese who came in the ship which brought the news. Also the
thousands of stores and arms which that Ughens [Qy. Hawkins] has
taken in the galleon and in two other smaller vessels, which I am
certain was little to the taste of the King, my master.
As for the business of the ginger, I am sure that you will have it
at heart, with due regard to the authority and reputation of my
prince. There are several experienced doctors who go against the
opinion of the Judge of the Admiralty, whom I hold in suspicion in
all matters concerning my King ; and that you may see how much
reason we have, kindly, as a pure matter of courtesy, look at the
inclosed statement. For the rest, give credence to my secretary,
that you may not have the annoyance of a long letter.—Charterhouse.—9
Add. Endd. : Touching the matter of ginger, his replication and
dislike of the Judge of the Admiralty. Italian. 1 p. [Port. I. 3.]
K. d. L. ix.
(From an imperfect
copy in B. M.)
95. A REPORT of the State of Matters fallen out in ANTWERP
since DON JOHN's Withdrawal to NAMUR.
The withdrawal of Don John to Namur under cloak of going to
greet the Princess of Vendôme (who had aforetime served as cover
to the unhappy day of St. Bartholomew), and the fact that under
the pretext of desiring to be honourably accompanied [Marginal
note : The Q. of Navarre made a state to entrap all the nobility of
the Low Countries] when receiving a lady of such quality he
thought to take with him all the chief persons of the country,
made the Estates suspect some secret understanding, since
they thought the reason inadequate enough, and heard too
that she was accompanied by people who had done ill-service in
France. [Marginal note : The said Q. was accompanied with the
chiefest murderers.] The distrust increased when they heard from
the Prince of Orange of the letters intercepted on the borders of Burgundy
[Qy. Bordeaux], the originals of which they have since seen,
in which it was said that nothing would bring the country back to
its allegiance save fire and blood. Don John, knowing the dismay
likely to follow the publication of these letters, and seeing his
design discovered, resolved to seize most of the frontier towns,
that he might make more use of France, and actually took possession
of Namur. His success has not been so good elsewhere. And
to give some colour to his sudden withdrawal (involving as it did
a rupture with the Estates), he attributed it to some information
given him by two letters, stating that there was a plan to seize
his person ; copies of which he sent to the Estates. They contained
however no details ; nor have the Estates succeeded in
getting any notice taken of their urgent requests to know the
name of the senders or the writers, though when Don John left
Mechlin it was agreed between them that he was to give no credit
to any anonymous or vague denunciations. Finally he openly
declared that he would come to no terms unless the Estates would
take up arms against the Prince of Orange and the Estates of
Holland and Zealand, a thing directly contrary to the pacification,
Holland and Zealand having submitted themselves to the decision
of the States-General, who ought to be assembled before everything.
This point gave the members of the Estates cause to look
more closely to themselves, especially when they heard that Don
John, contrary to his promise, instead of treating with the German
colonels as to their retirement from the country, had formed a
new league with them ; that the command of the citadel of
Antwerp, which with the assent of the Estates was given to the
Duke of Aerschot, had been secretly taken from him and given
to M. de Tourlon, who was at Brabant, while similar practices
had been adopted with regard to other fortresses ; and that he had
sent in pursuit of the Duke and the Marquis of Havrech (who
seeing his goings-on had handsomely withdrawn from him) with
forty horses, in such haste that the best of them were foundered.
Informed of this, and also that Tourlon had orders to keep up
correspondence with the German colonels Fronsberg and Fugger,
and to introduce the four murderous companies of Captain
Cornelius van Eynde into the city (as he openly declared to the
legal gentlemen of Antwerp) the Estates directed M. de Champagny
with his people to hinder the entry of the Germans. At
the same time they treated secretly, through their agents, with
the three captains in the citadel who remained loyal to the
Estates, and wished to adhere to the general union, especially
with M. de Bours, with a view to turning out the fourth company,
that of Captain Merueille, which was in communication with
Tourlon ; and in order that the whole might be better ordered,
certain persons deputed thereto made good cheer with the elder
soldiers, representing to them at the same time the wrong that
Don John did to the Estates ; and made such an impression on
sundry corporals and old soldiers that when Tourlon would pay
them a month's wages on the part of Don John, they would only
take it as an instalment of the ancient debt. The enterprise had
been put off till the morning of August 2, because Champagny's
companies had gone a long way in search of Van Eynde's Germans,
who had been supposed to be nearer at hand ; but M.
de Bours was compelled to undertake it a day sooner, having
heard from Tourlon—whom he managed so cleverly that he even
got sight of more than a score of the letters which he was hourly
receiving from Don John, with promises to make his house the
first in the country—that he was that night going to let in some
German companies to secure the citadel, and turn out the discontented
soldiers. Accordingly on Aug. 1, at 7 in the evening,
Merueille's company being on guard at the gate, he got up a
quarrel between his own men and them, and under colour of
separating them went in among them with a few who were in
his confidence. Then pretending that Merueille's company were
in the wrong, he ordered his own men to charge them, and turn
them out of the citadel. So said, so done, the bridges were
straightway drawn up, and M. de Tourlon was put under arrest.
All night long M. de Bours was occupied in strengthening his position,
and making his people sign a paper of fealty to the Estates,
which the agents had brought, together with promises of pay. At
three o'clock on the morrow he fired three guns in sign of joy,
whereby the Germans garrisoning the city were put in such a fright,
colonels, captains, officers, and soldiers alike, that leaving their
kits behind they went at full gallop, as one may say, into the
new town, where they made some show of entrenching themselves,
and sent commissioners to open negotiations. This was granted
by the magistrates, wishing to spare the burghers, who had been
deprived of their arms by the Spaniards, and were otherwise disorganized ;
and certain articles were drawn up to the effect that
the Germans should go out, and be paid a sum of 20,000 florins
in money and 10,000 in cloth, that their baggage should be sent
after them, and that they should swear not to serve against the
Estates again. There was a good deal of going to and fro over
this, perhaps to gain time, both sides looking for help from without.
Champagny's company was not far off, and a message had
been sent to it as well as to the Prince of Orange's ship. The
others could send no intelligence either to Bergen or to the troops
of M. d'Hierges, since the Duke of Aerschot's carbineers, who
were near the town, had had orders sent them in haste to stop anyone
going to the open country—by which means two or three of
the Germans' letters came into their hands. Other messengers
were sent to Bergen and Breda to put about that the Germans had
been driven out of Antwerp, and most of them killed, in order
that the others might not come headlong to their aid. Meantime
they made their adherents spread a rumour in the town that
M. d'Hierges was coming with 30 ensigns, and that the Germans
from Bergen and Breda were coming to their aid ; whereat the
burgess was sufficiently astonished and perplexed. Thus the day
passed, and the people, finding themselves more stalwart after
dinner than before, got so excited that they could hardly be
restrained from falling upon them ; seeing which the German
commissioners, who were going to and from negotiating, were
surprised enough, and their fear was increased by the commissioners
for the town strongly advising them to withdraw : for the
people being so angry and so numerous, if any attack were made
it would be to their disadvantage. At this moment the Prince's
ships came in sight in the river ; there were only 6 or 7 men-of-war,
and these had only sailors on board, but the Vice Admiral
fired 2 or 3 shots across the canal towards the House of Easterlings
where the Germans were posted, aimed so well that four of them
were knocked down by one shot. The populace being massed
about the defences of the Germans, took heart, and began to storm
them, whereby the Germans were so frightened that they suddenly
quitted the town à val de route, leaving most of their arms
behind. Since then a box of Carl Fugger's has been found, full
of wicked plots made immediately after the pacification, "tending
to the destruction of the nobility, and making a conquest of the
country." [Tomson's summary.] However, the Estates have
removed the castle of Ghent, and others of the strongest fortresses
in the country ; and they of Kampen, Deventer, and Twoll, as
reported here yesterday by Dr. Leoninus and M. Saventhen, declare
their wish to hold to the union with the States, "and in case
the States should fail them, to canton themselves with Holland
and Zealand, Guelderland and Friesland." But, thank God, the
resolution of the States-General is such that they will spare
nothing to maintain the union, even as one can clearly see the
fraud that is being used, and the intention that there is to ruin
this country in general ; the Duke of Guise thinking to surprise
St. Omer, Gravelines, and Douai, Mondragon Louvain, and
Hierges Namur.—Aug. 12, 1577.
This post comes a report from M. de Hèze of the surrender of
Bergen-op-Zoom, and the imprisonment of Colonel Fugger, and
similar news is hourly awaited from Tholen, Breda, and Bois-le-Duc.
Endorsement and marginal summary in L. Tomson's hand. Fr.
8 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 18.]
96. DON JOHN to the ESTATES.
It is ten days since the Emperor's deputies went to you, followed
by M. de Grobbendonck, all fully apprised in writing, the
latter especially, of my intention to keep the country in tranquillity,
and charged to lay before you sundry points tending to
this end, entirely just, moderate, and reasonable. I am the more
surprised to have had as yet no answer from you, and I ask you
to consider them well, and especially how much meeter it is for
the country and its subjects to form resolutions for their good and
tranquillity than to undertake a fresh war, which God is my witness
I abhor more than anything in the world ; all the more when
I consider, as you must do, how cruel and bloody it will be. So
that on my part for the affection I bear to the country nothing
that is just and reasonable will be omitted wherein I think I can
be of service to achieve [peace] ; not seeing what I can do more
than, as I have told you by M. de Grobbendonck, agree, if I am
not a governor to your taste, to your sending to entreat the King
to send some other person here who shall content you better.
Once more I pray to weigh matters and take them by the right
end, and take such resolution as may tend to peace and quietness ;
letting me hear as soon as possible, that I may know what line
to take, which will be according as you dictate. Peace and war
are in your hands. If you prefer the latter, there will be no one
in the world, not even several among you, who will not judge
that you are fighing against your King, and putting him under
the necessity of taking up arms in defence of the service of God,
and the obedience due, and solemnly promised, by you to himself.
I again pray you to give orders that the letters recently come
from Spain may be sent to me. I am quite content that they
be sent open.—From the Castle of Namur, 13 Aug. 1577.
(Signed) Jehan ; (countersigned) Berty.
Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. II. 19.]
97. Another copy of the same.
"Received the 18th August towards evening."
Fr. 2½ pp. [Ibid. II. 20.]
98. A third copy of the same.
Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Ibid. II. 21.]
99. POULET to WALSINGHAM.
Enclose copy showing expedition that has been made in the
case of English merchants, who desire the restitution of the money
consigned, to be restored to the liberty of the free fairs, and to
have information touching the weight of their "Ballotts." I
exhibited their complaints to the King, and perchance some good
At the end of my last audience with the King and Queen Mother
I was a suitor for four English prisoners condemned to the galleys,
whose offence was only that they had boarded a French bark by
command of their captain, who was immediately separated from
them by foul weather, so that the Frenchmen carried them
prisoners into France. They were simple men and only common
mariners, and had not robbed any French goods. The King
answered that upon information of the circumstances he would
give me his reasonable answer.
The 6th of this month M. Lansac and M. Pinart were sent to
me from the King and Queen Mother to inform me that the
prisoners were given to me. They were also to inform me of the
expedition given in the causes of the English merchants, saying
that they did not doubt I would report it so that French merchants
might find the same justice in England. Hereupon we
grew into long talk of the present state of our countries, wherein
I concluded with them that for one pirate in England they had
ten in France, and that at this present all their havens were full
of rovers and thieves, which was faintly denied.
The Duke of Nevers is come hither, and his army marches
toward Brouage. The King is very resolute in this matter of
Brouage, wherein he spares neither men nor money.
The King of Navarre is repaired to Bergerac, where the
Deputies for the religion are assembled, and began on the 5th of
this month to discuss conditions of peace with the King's deputies.
The King offers the edict of 1570 ; the King of Navarre requires
the last edict with some qualifications.
There is great bruit here of new trouble in Flanders.
Arnold, secretary to M. 'Malvasière,' arrived here on the 11th.
He gives out secretly that her Majesty is arming all her ships.
It is said that La Noue, Laverdin, and Turenne are coming to
help Brouage ; and even now it is given out that Monsieur and
the Duke of Nevers will go to Angoulême or Cognac on the 16th
of this month.—Poitiers, Aug. 13.
P.S.—Marans is said to be taken by those of Rochelle. Mr.
Bickner hath promised to convey this from Rouen.
Add. Endd. pp. 2½. [France I. 15.] Enclosing :
The complaints of the English merchants, with replies (No. 84).
[Ibid. I. 15a.]
100. LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
I received your packet yesterday in my 'coch,' departing from the
French ambassador at Newington. He sent very earnestly to speak
with me yesterday, and as I was loth to come to any part of London
because of the plague, and my brother going from Wanstead, I
would fain have excused myself. But he was so earnest to speak
with me, and passing through Newington, his 'mastership' was at
Acerbo's house. He kept me 2 long hours, as Drake could tell
you. He read me 3 or 4 letters, very long, some from the King and
some from Queen Mother, stating what had passed between Mr.
Paulett and themselves, his assurances to the King of her Majesty's
sincere intentions towards him, and her promise in keeping and
observing all points of their last treaty, at Blois as I remember.
For his part he promises in all kingly vows the like performance
towards her Majesty. To the charge in regard to Fitzmorris and
La Roche the King seems to answer very earnestly that he will not
aid Fitzmorris, and that La Roche dare not attempt anything against
her Majesty, being assured, if he does, that he will not return to
France again. He charges the ambassador to let her Majesty
understand that he has intercepted letters of the Prince of Condé
and others, telling their friends in France that her Majesty had
promised them succour, and that 'Cassamyer' should have relief
of money, and that certainly he would come in with his reiters.
He bids him press the Queen to know what he shall trust unto,
for he knows that Casimir can do nothing without her money.
If her Majesty assure him that she will not aid them, he will so
trust upon it. This last I know is a hard point, not here to be
dealt withal, with her Majesty, and needs great advice and consideration
how to answer the ambassador, who means to come
on Thursday if he can. Her Majesty you know stands much upon
her word, and when he shall press her thereto, as I know he will,
I fear it will trouble her. He and I did much debate touching
his master's amity, and of her Majesty's great causes given her
both by his master and others to look to some assured and certain
amity in deed, so that I did nothing doubt but God had offered
her very good means, and such that if it please her she need care
neither for French king nor King of Spain ; but yet left him in
hope that her Majesty was so good a princess as if she be not
driven for lack of their amity in deed she would be loth to seek
or receive others. It would I thought have been better thought
on and believed if at other times, when upon more indifferent
terms, his master would have considered this much, that her
Majesty might have seen it had only proceeded of a good desire
of his friendship. I told him I would leave it to her Majesty's
own consideration, whose disposition I knew to be such in desire
to observe all true friendship with the princes she was in league
And if anything have cast her behindhand, having so many
advantages offered her, it was this gracious and princely respect
of hers to hold her friendship and promises too much with some
of her neighbours.
We remembered the holy league made among other princes
which must else tend to her prejudice, and yet I trusted there
was a more holy league indeed left in store for her, which, if she
would hearken unto, she need not care for any other combination
of men against her ; for God be thanked there was as good a party
in Christendom left as the Papists were, and if there be no remedy
they must be as fast knit together as the rest are. This troubled
him much, and I see that one of his chief matters is to clear his
master of the league. As for his great desire to deal with me, the
cause was this. In his letters both from the King and Queen Mother
he is specially desired to commend this amity first to me, hoping
I will be a good means and instrument therein in respect of the
goodwill they have to me, and for the honour they have done me
in wishing me next their own house that I should have matched
here with her Majesty. These fair remembrances they put me in,
and this latter he showed me in a private ticket of Queen Mother's
Tuesday morning, 13 Aug. 1577.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France I. 16.]
K. d. L. ix.
101. DAVISON to WALSINGHAM.
Arriving at Antwerp on the 10th, I was compelled, for want
of a house, to remain there the next day. Yesterday being the
12th [sic] I came hither ; and having informed M. de Hèze, the
Governor, of my coming, he signified the same to the Estates,
who this day gave me audience, where I accomplished the particulars
of my charge as well as I could, and was by their President
heartily welcomed in a solemn speech, acknowledging their great
obligation to her Majesty. Therewith I told them how her
Majesty, presuming that I should have found things in another
state among them than I do, had specially commanded me to
recommend to his Highness the observation of their treaties, and
particularly that of Ghent ; but finding that charge frustrated by
this new division, I could say nothing but what they already
understood, which was that, as she hath ever had their cause in
special recommendation, and ready to do any good office that
might advance the quiet and liberty of their country, and if his
Highness contrary to the often and great protestation he hath
made both to her Majesty and to them, should go about to supplant
and overthrow the one and the other, her Highness would
not abandon them ; though, as I told them, she had had great
cause to think badly of them, as well for the breach of their day
for repayment of the men she lent them, as for the raising of new
impositions upon her merchants trading hither, a matter whereof
I wished they should consider, whereto replying nothing but that
in general they have before alleged, we rose from the board ; and
having saluted the Duke of Aerschot and such others as I know,
took my leave, being conducted home by Count Egmont, whose
young courage I did not forget to prick forward, as I have done
else with as many as I know to affect the liberty of their country,
nourishing by all the vehement persuasion I can the diffidence
which they have of Son Altèze, and persuading by all the arguments
I may that the greatest courtesy and humanity they can
expect from him is that which fire and sword shall yield them.
And I do not 'let to say' my opinion of the States' proceedings,
who, knowing that Don John makes all the preparation he can,
should show so great a slackness, as if they had to do with an
enemy utterly contemptible. Wishing they would understand
how invincible an enemy necessity is, and how that to prevent or
divert wars was ever a special practice of the best 'politiques' ;
thinking hardly of the resolution which they seem to have taken
to make no offensive war, but only to keep their towns and give
him scope to overcome the whole country with fire and sword.
This course I take with such as I find for it, and as I may hear,
and then insinuate the Prince of Orange into their good opinions.
But herein, as I find men affected in religion or in fashion, I
temper my persuasion, putting them in good comfort that if their
State should need her Majesty's help, she would not be slack to
do all that with her honour she might.
For other particulars and first for the cause of this new and
sudden alteration, I shall not need long discourse, as well because
I think you have fully understood the same, what between M.
de Famars and de Fremyn now in England, as for that in a little
discourse in French which I herewith send you you may at
large see the same.
I cannot learn but that the Estates resolve on war, but they seem
to propose only a defensive war, which in the opinion of the wisest
will turn them to prejudice. The provision they make is only
domestic, not extending as yet to use the help of any stranger,
scarcely of the Prince of Orange, so strong a party does he find
against him in their deliberations where often major pars vicit
The general state of the country is better than I looked for,
since the recovering of the castle of Antwerp into the hands of
the Estates. The town of "Barrow up Som," which was occupied
by Almains and at Don John's devotion, is also yielded up with
their Colonel 'Fowker,' who being with his company expelled the
town of Antwerp by the burgesses retired thither, where he now
remains their prisoner. The other towns where Almain garrisons
lie, as Bois-le-duc, Tholen, and Breda, are also in a good way of
composition ; which if the States cannot speedily bring them to,
they provide to force them, for before Bois-le-Duc lie certain companies
of the Prince's men, and towards Tholen and Breda is gone
M. de Champagny with his regiment, followed by certain companies
of M. de Hèze. In the west of the country there is general
provision making but as if they held their enemy in contempt.
Articles have been presented on the part of his Highness, of
which I send a copy with the apostilles of the States on them.
Count Lalaing has taken steps at Antwerp both for keeping
guard by the burgesses, and for the fortifying that part of the
town wall which is between St. George's gate and the castle. When
it is finished, the burgesses hope to go roundly in hand with the
rasing of that part of the castle which looks toward the town.
Meanwhile the castle is held by the companies of M. de Bours.
His Highness meanwhile is levying all the forces he can. In
the judgement of some wise men he would hardly so far overshoot
himself unless he had great hope of intelligence with foreign
neighbours, especially the French, by whom he had intended an
enterprise upon St. Omer, Gravelines, Douai, and other places on
the frontier, which if the Estates had not prevented, would have
been of dangerous consequence.
I have this day despatched one Whitechurch, a gentleman that
came over with me, to his Highness with her Majesty's letter and
my excuse for staying here. Upon his return I shall be able to
give better advertisement.
I did not forget to dispatch one to the Prince, and look every
day for some answer from his Excellency.—Brussels, 14 Aug. 1577.
P.S.—I send some particulars which St. Aldegonde and Taffin
negotiated with the States.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 22.]
102. Draft of the above, without the P.S. 3 pp. [Ibid. II. 24.]
K. d. L. ix.
103. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
I find the difference between his Highness and the States so
far advanced that I see not by what means the vehemence of this
flame can be quenched. He continues about Namur, which he
fortifies, and levies all the forces he can, leaving secret intelligence
both in France and Germany. But his untimely discovery
of himself ere his matters were ripe, with his loss of Antwerp
and prevention in the exploit intended upon the towns of St.
Omer, Gravelines, Douai, and other places by the French, is no
little maim and stop to his purpose. The Estates seem to resolve
upon a war only defensive, and so to give him leave to begin the
game. They have now recovered the town of Bergen-op-Zoom,
and now what between the Prince's force that lie before Bois-le-duc
and the regiments of MM. de Champagny and de Hèze,
lying about Breda and Tholen, they expect like good news of those
towns. In Antwerp the burgesses are busily fortifying. Thence
according to your instruction I wrote to the Prince by an express
messenger, to whom, besides other particulars you gave me in
charge, I have signified the great care you have of him in especial.
I have sent a gentleman to his Highness with her Majesty's
letters, and with a letter of my own, signifying to him the cause
of my coming and the reasons of my stay here to remove the
suspicion which he might conceive of my sending hither. You
may imagine with what content I begin this troublesome service
in respect of the difficulties of the affairs of his Highness, who is
like, if he go through with this war, to find his hand no less full
than such as have preceded him. His finances will not furnish
for a long war. If the States hold together in one resolution,
he should find it a desperate enterprise ; but though I hear there
are divers of good counsel among them, yet their advice will yield
the less profit, when the execution shall proceed negligently and
unwisely, a matter not without reason to be feared.
I do all that the little time will suffer me to nourish where I
know it may do good the untowardness to peace ; which as it is
to be desired and embraced when it may be had with variety and
without increase of danger, so where it is like to bring forth
effects clean contrary, and under the name of peace hath a more
pernicious and dangerous war as a pestilent poison under the
name of a medicine, it is no sort to be accepted ; but as I find here
many sound and honest compatriots with whom this persuasion
works its effect, so I observe that the greatest part, as men secure,
do set all at six and seven. And for the Prince I see that the
greatest number of the States, partly fearing by his growing great
to receive a change of their religion, and partly by the emulation
between his house and the house of Croy, which is not without a
great faction, have a slow disposition either to follow his advice
or to use his help.—Brussels, Aug. 14, 1577.
Draft. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 25.]
104. DON JOHN to the EMPRESS.
Copy of a letter, translated from Spanish into French, written to
the Empress by his Highness' own hand.
Affairs here leave me so little freedom that they hardly ever
permit me to do that which I desire ; and I have known of no
propitious person by whom I could write. Now however, taking
advantage of the return of Peter Divre (fn. 1) , who promises to give this
into your Majesty's hands, I will report as much as I can of my
Divre will tell you more fully of my state, inasmuch as affairs
here have come to such a pass with the Estates that if I had
delayed to place my person in safety, Religion and his Majesty's
obedience would have perished altogether. For in truth, here
they will neither recognise their God nor obey their King, but
claim liberty in all things, in such wise that it is pitiful to see
how they go on, and the shamelessness, and the little respect with
which they repay his Majesty for the favours he has done them,
and me for the labour, the indignities, the dangers which I have
undergone for these folk. Little profit has been the good which
has been done to these evil men. In short, they love and obey
in all points the most perverse and tyrannical heretic and rebel
in the world, that is this damnable Prince of Orange, and on the
contrary abhor and dishonour the name and commands of their
natural prince and lord, without fear of God, or respect or shame
Yet there are a few who are resolved to do their duty in the
service of Our Lord and of his Majesty, like honourable noblemen
and cavaliers. With them I have withdrawn to this castle,
whence I do all that is possible, with the aid of the Imperial
deputies, to make both sides lay down their arms, and recognise
their obligations. But their own conscience accusing them, they
distrust me, and seek only to deserve that God and men may
league together for their ruin. God knows how I desire to avoid
these extremities, but I know not how else I can act towards men
so obstinate in their rebellion. And as they seem to think that
fortune is now smiling on them, they grow proud, and do not
remember that there is a morrow when their chastisement will
come. Meanwhile I am half besieged, yet not losing so much time
as these people force me to gain.
Such is the state of affairs here, as Divre will tell you. He wishes
to stay awhile at Court, till it is clear what resolution has to be
taken here. Whenever he returns I will entertain him and do
what I can for him, in obedience to your Majesty's command,
even though I have to exceed the orders given by the King my
I have lately received a letter from your Majesty as to giving
orders for the payment of what is due to you here. In order, no
doubt, that I might have good cause to lament my ill-luck all
round, this was handed to me just when it was impossible for me
to attend to it promptly. I said so to the person who delivered
me the letter, of whom I have since heard nothing. I wish he
would come to see me, that we might discuss ways and means.
In one way or another your Majesty shall be accommodated.
The greatest danger will be in regard to the time, for I will take
care that there is none touching the security. Even if I should not
be able to find the bearer of the letter, I beg your Majesty to
command whom you will to address himself to me, and I will
employ myself in your service, unless war or some fresh turn of
affairs should be stronger than my power.—The Castle of Namur,
14 Aug. 1577.
Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 26.]
105. Another copy of the same. [Ibid. II. 27.]
106. Another copy of the same. [Ibid. II. 28.]
107. Articles of capitulation of Brouage as accepted by the
Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [France I. 17.]
108. Another copy of the same.
Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. I. 18.]
109. LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
Have had long conference with her Majesty this night touching
French affairs, and laid before her again the dangers 'so oft put into
her head to follow through this slack dealing with her friends.' I
hope yet God doth move her heart to consider her own and country's
wealth. She is pleased you send for Plessis, and as of yourself
understand what dispatch he has made to the King of Navarre, and
if he have not sent any yet, to persuade him to stay till he hear
further, and that you send some inkling that her Majesty expresses
more care of them than when he was here.—At midnight, this
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France I. 19.]
110. The ESTATES to DON JOHN.
Just before receiving your Highness' letter we had decided on
our reply to the message written and verbally delivered to us by
M. de Grobbendonck, not having been able sooner to come to a
resolution owing to the need for mature deliberation. Our only
wish is to live in peace under the authority of the King, and in
the observance of our holy faith, by the ways and means stated
in the pacification of Ghent and the perpetual Edict. We are
aware how much more expedient it is for the country to take the
means tending to peace than to fall back into new wars, but when
we consider that while we have dismissed nearly all our troops,
your Highness has, before departing towards Namur, and since
the treaty between them and the Estates, given fresh assurances
to the Germans and has retained strangers and others ill-affected
to the country, who we understand serve your Highness as a
secret council, as well by the letters of Señor Escovedo at various
times intercepted as by those which your Highness wrote lately
to Colonel Charles Fugger, some by the hand of J. B. de Tassis,
telling him that you were awaiting the "total remedy" of his
Majesty—your Highness can judge if we have just occasion to
persuade ourselves that you wish honestly to maintain the pacification,
and if we are really free to choose peace or war, and are
not rather constrained to look to our own defence, if only by a
good peace we might see all causes of distrust finally extirpated.
It is not our business to lay down the law to your Highness, still
less to dictate whether you ought to be on the side of peace or
war. The pacification so solemnly sworn to, shows more clearly
than enough the road you ought to take. This we intend to
maintain, and by no means to make war on the King our lord.
The union sworn to by us will never contravene it, unless we
are forced by your Highness. If you take up arms it will be
the ruin of our religion, as the case of Holland and Zealand, to
our great regret, clearly shows.
We send your Highness those letters which we have succeeded
in deciphering, hoping to send the rest when we have the means
—Brussels, Aug. 15, 1577.
Copy. Add. in Wilson's hand to Walsingham. Endd. by L.
Tomson : Copies of letters from the States to Don Juan, and from
Don Juan to the States. Sent to Mr. D. Wilson : of the 10th and
13th of Aug. 1577. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. II. 29.]