134. COUNT BOSSU to ARCHDUKE MATTHIAS.
I heard yesterday by some of my spies that there was a strong
force both of cavalry and infantry in the neighbourhood of Aerschot.
For fuller information I sent a party to beat up the road as far as
the gates, but they brought back word that they had seen no one.
However, my advanced pickets who are posted pretty far from the
entrenchments soon afterwards saw nine or ten horsemen, and
presently as many as 11 or 12 cornets, with a strong force of
infantry, marching with a front of 90 or 100. These drove my
pickets in as far as a spot whither I had sent 500 or 600 Scottish
harquebusiers to support them. These however were forced to
change position and retired, covered by [à la faveur de] some reiters
and light horse, without many casualties. Emboldened by this,
the enemy charged our cornets, who stood the charge, and got
somewhat the better of them. But afterwards they rallied [tournèrent
tête] so smartly that they compelled the enemy to retire from the heath
to their own hedges. I sent some English under Colonel Norris, who
had only come into camp an hour before, and some Scots to line
the hedges running from the river to our entrenchments, the
enemy all the while sending up successive bodies of infantry to
force that side, but he could not get in. The action lasted from
8 A.M. to between 5 and 6 P.M. and the way the men did their duty
could not have been better. Norris, who had four horses killed
under him, and Bigant [Bingham], Cavendish's lieutenant-colonel,
who lost two brothers, behaved so that Cæsars could have done no
better. The others, Scots, French, and all, did no less well. Two
or three Italian and Spanish prisoners tell us that Don John and the
Prince of Parma were there in person, and some say that there were
12,000 foot and 6,000 horse. Others put the horse at 2,000 ; but
these latter only came from Italy three or four days ago. In short,
the action was well worth seeing, and according to our latest intelligence,
they have gone back the way they came.—From the camp by
Rymenam, 1 Aug. 1578. (Signed) Maximilian de Bossut.
Copy. Encl. in No. 135. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 1.]
135. DAVISON to [BURGHLEY].
My lords have no doubt advertised you of the conflict that
happened yesterday between the enemy and the States near
Rymenan, and of the 'value' which our countrymen showed, notwithstanding
that most of them were but newly come to the camp,
having marched all the night before. Yet as I think it will be a
pleasure to you to hear it confirmed by more than one testimony, I
have sent herewith a summary report of it as I have it by conference
with the Prince, together with such other news as we hear, since my
last by Spritwell.—Antwerp, 2 Aug. 1578.
Enclosed with follg. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 2.]
K. d. L. x.
136. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
The enemy presenting himself yesterday morning in 'battaile'
with 12,000 foot and 2,000 horse at least, in the face of the States'
camp at Rymenam sent forward some companies of Spaniards to
begin the skirmish ; who coming with a fury towards our
trenches as if to assault them, Mr [John] Norris, being arrived
not more than an hour, was sent forward against them, with certain
shot of his regiment seconded by some of the Scots. The skirmish
began hotly and was bravely maintained on either side from 9 in
the morning till 5 in the afternoon, our countrymen acquitting
themselves with very great 'value' and reputation, especially Mr.
Norris, Mr Bingham, and Mr Yorke, of whose well-doing the
general has rendered honourable testimony. Mr Norris had two
or three horses slain under him. Rowland Yorke likewise lost a
horse or two. Mr Bingham, though he had good keep in his own
person, lost his two brothers, who are much lamented. Others of
our nation are slain to the number of about forty, but of Captains
only Liggins ; and as many hurt, among whom we hear none of
name save Mr Sandes, my lord's brother, very dangerously shot
through the arm. The whole slaughter on this side is not estimated
at the outside at 200, whereas of the enemy 'what hurt
what slain' it is thought there are at least 400 or 500. In sum
they retired as fast as they came, having been of no men better
welcomed than of our countrymen.
Some think the enemy's attempt at this time was only to see what
countenance our camp would make and to discover their strength,
and that he intends to give them another camizado ere long, being
provoked thereto partly by his superiority in numbers and value to
the States, having 5,500 good horse and 15 or 16,000 foot, better
disciplined, better led, and better experienced than ours, who are
not above 10 or 11,000 foot and 8,000 horse in the field ; and partly
by necessity, because to delay battle till Casimir and the rest of the
States' forces are joined, could not but be to his disadvantage. Yet
our army being intrenched in a place naturally strong, some think
he will hardly be able to force them ; while unless he assail them in
their camp, Count Bossu does not seem minded to risk a battle, both
because he does not much trust his cavalry, and because he has not
the number of infantry he looks for. When Duke Casimir's supply
has joined them, they may boldly seek out the enemy [and present
him battle]. We hear that Casimir is marching hither, having
compounded with his reiters for the payment of their 'naughgelt'
within 16 days ; the want of which somewhat 'altered' them and
stayed their advance. It held undoubted that the enemy will
attempt either him or the States' other camp before they join, whatever
it cost him, if either or both offer him any manifest advantage.
La Noue arrived last Friday night. He has a 'jealous'
[doubtful] opinion of Monsieur's enterprise. There is a report that
between Calais and Boulogne there are 4,000 foot and 2,000 horse,
destined for some enterprise by way of Gravelines. Certain horse
and foot have entered Hainault for Alençon's service, but we do not
hear their number. Nothing is yet concluded here with his commissioners ;
the delay being to await the answer of the Emperor's
Ambassador now with Don John ; but in Hainault they are as
forward as here they are slow. The daily resort of the French to
[hovering of the Fr. about] Mons, and their intelligence in the
town make the state thereof much suspected.
Draft. Add. Endd. (but these probably belong to the last, which
seems to be the covering letter). 1¼ p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 3.]
137. DAVISON to WILSON.
Practically identical with that to Burghley, No. 136.
Draft. ⅓ p. [Ibid. VIII. 4.]
138. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
I would not fail to advise you of what has 'succeeded' since my
last between the two camps, the matter being such as you will take
pleasure to hear in respect of the well-doing of our countrymen, who
have fully repaired the fault committed by some of them a day or
two before at Lierre. [The rest practically identical with the report
to Burghley, No. 136. The chief variants are indicated in square
Rough draft. 12/3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 5.]
K. d. L. x.
139. COBHAM to BURGHLEY.
My collega having occasion to despatch this bearer, I have thought
good to accompany that dispatch with some news come this morning
from the camp, by a letter from the general to the Prince. The
effect is that Don John in person with the Prince of Parma came
about 8 A.M. with 2,000 horse and 10,000 foot and began the
skirmish, wherein our nation and the Scots did greatly show their
'wallew' and so valiantly maintained the action that the enemy
was repulsed and followed about a mile. [Other information as
already given.] To be plain, I hear no great commendation of the
reiters.—Antwerp, 2 Aug.
Add. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. VIII. 6.]
K. d. L. x.
140. WALSINGHAM to BURGBLEY.
The discourse I send you written in favour of the French plainly
discovers their intention. There is none to bridle them and keep
their designs within limits but the Queen. She being minded to
have no further dealings in the cause, it is evident what will become
of the matter. My lord and I have discharged our duties to her
Majesty and your Lordship's so plainly in this matter, that whatever
becomes of the cause I hope we shall be found faultless.—Antwerp,
3 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. VIII. 7.]
K. d. L. x.
141. WILSON to WALSINGHAM.
The bird was never more desirous of fair weather than we are
glad to hear from you, since your being at Mons with Monsieur.
To-day M. Bacqueville and the French Ambassador had a long
audience of her Majesty, together and severally. Upon your
report the chief of this matter depends ; so that if you find no sound
dealing the French may go as they came, whereas otherwise their
will be good ear given and perhaps some matter of consequence will
follow. It is high time for us to be sure of somebody abroad, lest
being forsaken of all we be too weak to withstand the meanest, if we
should be tried. If I may believe words, I surely never saw such a
disposition nor a better mind, if all things are as sincerely meant
there on Monsieur's behalf. But you are not to discover any such
thing to him, but only to know his disposition in all things, and so
to make report when you have understood the bottom of all things
on his behalf by your own good means.
The Scottish Ambassador has had audience, and his dispatch,
which I send herewith for your consideration. He desired aid and
relief for the King his master, but my Lords could not deal therein,
referring him to her Majesty ; and so far was he from getting any
relief that he himself went away without any reward. So Alexander
Hay, and the lord of Clisse (Cleish) master of the household to the
King, were served in the same manner. Hope is given that the King
shall not want aid hereafter. His authority is allowed and a promise
made to assist it against all who seek to impugn it. Meantime the
Earl of 'Mountrosse,' being commanded to keep his lodging at
Stirling, secretly made his escape, and went to the Lords Argyle,
Athol, Herries, and Maxwell, together with Drumquhassel and others
having in their possession Edinburgh and Dumbarton ; and are
putting themselves in arms to withstand those that will set upon
them.—Long Melford, 3 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 8.]
142. COUNT BOSSU to the PRINCE OF ORANGE.
The enemy's rearguard passed yesterday through Aerschot on its
return to Louvain and Tielmont whence it came. According to
various agreeing reports which I have, they have made more haste
about returning than about coming. In the villages where Don John
thought to lodge, our light cavalry have seen quarters marked for
Pallacio and Octavio Gonzaga, Counts Barlaymont, Roeulx,
Faulquemberg, and others ; and the number of dead reported to me
from Aerschot and elsewhere exceeds what I had supposed. Some
say that over 1,000 fell, others that there are wells and ditches full
of dead, hidden by them on the retreat. Count Hannibal and other
captains, whose names I do not know, are named as having fallen.
The Burgundian infantry were grumbling, saying they had been led
to the shambles. On Thursday I sent a trumpet to Aerschot to take
a prisoner there. He saw Don John pass with all his camp, which
apart from the Italian and Burgundian cornets, counted 9 'vanes'
of reiters, 36 ensigns of Spanish infantry, 10 Burgundian, 15 German
and Walloon, with five pieces of artillery. In sum, the lot not
having fallen on their side as they expected, they have been received
and nipped (pinccz) in such fashion that as I think, and as we
continue to be advertised, they will brag no longer.—From the Camp
at Rymenam, 3 Aug. 1578.
Copy, in hand of L. Tojnson, and endd. by him : For Mr Secretary.
½ p. Fr [Ibid. VIII. 9.]
143. DUKE CASIMIR to the QUEEN.
Your Majesty's satisfaction at learning the advance of my troops
into this country increases my longing to perform some noteworthy
exploit, in order that the country may feel the effects of my coming
for which it hoped, and that you may have greater cause for satisfaction.
I regret much that to my infinite vexation I have been
detained so long at Zutphen without a chance of doing anything,
awaiting the money ordered by you for the first payment to my
people ; wherein the States-General have shown themselves like
themselves, slow and irresolute. They left me squatting for a
month, at great loss of time and money, near a town of the enemy's
called Deventer, which my army, for which there was at the time
no other use, were very anxious to take, if I had had the necessary
artillery and ammunition, for which they often asked in vain.
Your ambassadors have told me that they are resolved to leave
Antwerp and return to England in 6 or 10 days, and will not have
an opportunity of seeing me, as I should have greatly wished, in
order that they might report to you more certainly upon my troops,
and that I might declare to them my constant desire to please you,
and hear what I ought to undertake for your service. Now that I
am afoot, and have the means of showing practically how desirous
I am to satisfy you, I find myself, I may say, deserted in midcareer.
I am certain that your Majesty, having given me assurance
by the mouth of your ambassadors, and by letter, will not desert
me, but will aid me with your resources. Herein you will effect
your promise, your aid being now more necessary than ever, as I
am sure you will hear from your ambassadors, to whom I have made
a special declaration of what is needed for the present..
As concerns the lords and gentlemen of this country, with whom
you wish me to be on good terms, I hope so to comport myself
towards them, whenever occasion may arise, that they may be
content. And whereas you so carefully commend to me the Marquis
of Havrech, I will by all possible means let him see how anxious
I am to obey you. It is of itself very necessary that I should maintain
good intercourse and friendship with all ; so that being united
in a good understanding, all things may be guided to a good issue.—
Doesburg, 4 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Germ. States I. 70.]
144. DUKE CASIMIR to the AMBASSADORS.
I have received your letters of the 26th ult., and learnt both your
negotiations with the States and the instructions given to Mr Sommers
when sent to the Duke of Anjou. It is easy to see therefrom
the integrity and excellence of the Queen's affection. But when you
write that your early departure will prevent you from seeing me, I
am much distressed, having always hoped to have the advantage of
communicating with you as to the state of affairs and explaining my
intentions, and my desire to verse her Majesty. Were I not convinced
that urgent affairs compel your return just as I am approaching
you, I would pray you afresh to find some good means to bring
about an interview between us. I would fall in with it so far as the
claims of my army might permit. I am leaving this and starting
for Emmerich to arrange for the passage [of the Rhine] which will
be a little difficult. When my force has crossed I shall advance as
long as I can.
I am writing to the Queen and beg you to forward the letter.
For the rest I have directed my Councillor Zuleger to communicate
with you more in detail.—Doesborgh, 4 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1¼ p. Fr. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 10.]
145. POULET to BURGHLEY.
Encloses copy of letter sent 'by this bearer' to Wilson.
'The great doings are now removed from hence into the Low
Countries, from whence your Lordship must look for great advertisements.'
Add. Endd. 10ll. Enclosure missing. [France II. 62.]
K. d. L. x.
146. DON JOHN to the AMBASSADORS.
The Emperor's ambassador has delivered me your letter of July 31,
in which you assure me that the Queen has a steadfast desire to
see the troubles of these countries pacified and the people brought
back to the obedience of their lawful sovereign ; and that she has
accordingly sent you to the Estates to induce them to accommodate
themselves thereto. This is a commendable office, both having
some matter in common with all potentates to conserve themselves
and also for the good will the king has ever borne her ; wherein it
is more than reasonable 'the said Lady' do shew the like correspondence
and that you employ yourselves therein the best you
may. I cannot but be well satisfied, wishing nothing more than to
see these countries in peace ; being come for that only end without
pretending any other thing whatsoever. I shall always be glad to
give ear to it, whenever the Estates will so conduct themselves that
I may have hope of attaining to it. To which 'you will do well to
induce them, and no longer to abide in the calamities of this war,
but procure to live quietly.'
As for your coming to me, all such as have come to me from
the Queen have been always welcome, as you will be when you
take the trouble to do ; albeit at present I know not whether
it will not be superfluous to waste so much time which you may
bestow better in bringing the Estates to reason. For my part I
have always been so inclined that way that no persuasion is
needed with me, as the ambassador can witness by my answer to
the intercession which he has presented to me on behalf of the
Emperor.—Hakendover near Tirlemont, 6 Aug. 1578.
Copy. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 1¼ p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 11.]
147. English translation of the above, written and endd. by
L. Tomson. 1¼ p. [Ibid. VIII. 12.]
K. d. L. x. 696.
148. The EARL OF SUSSEX to WALSINGHAM.
I received to-day your letter of the 29th ult., and also another
written after Mr Sommers' arrival ; so that I have received two
from you since I wrote to you. The cause was that I was told
nothing of the sending of any messenger since the receipt of your
letters, though I now understand that one or two have been sent
without my knowledge, for which I am sorry, and pray you to
impute the fault to others and not to me.
I saw your letter to the Council, and as I was glad you
should repair to Monsieur upon the offer made by him, so I
think the causes of your stay to be reasonable, and that you did
as I should have done in your place. And truly, Mr Secretary,
I do and will say that in all matters you have dealt with as great
discretion, considering the dangers of the case and the uncertainty
of those with whom you deal, as any man ever did or could do.
It rests with God to dispose her heart as shall please Him, for
she is sufficiently informed by you ; and the case will be hard with
the Queen and with England if ever the French possess or the
Spaniards tyrannize in the Low Countries. Whoever shall think
by device to put over matters for a time for the benefit of her
person, though it may be hurtful to England, and thereby divide
her good from the good of the realm and so her ill from the ill of
the realm shall in the end deceive both. It is good to put over time
when it brings good effect, but when it only overthrows all things,
it is the 'dangerost' matter that may be ; and therefore to do it in
this matter, whereby in short time either the Spanish or the French
shall have their will of the Low Countries is the 'dangerost' matter
for the Queen and England, in my opinion, that may be.
Bacqueville here affirms that both in the case of the Low Countries
and also for himself, her Majesty may dispose of Monsieur at
her pleasure ; and surely I think if she will make him her
husband she may do so. Otherwise I cannot think she can do
anything with him to hinder his pretences any way and specially in
this enterprise. When you speak with him you will best find his
meaning by his own speech ; but for my own part if her Majesty
reject his offer, and he be out of hope to make her his wife and to be
great thereby, he will perform no word that he shall speak that may
hinder his greatness otherwise. If I err, I am sorry ; but that is my
opinion which I deliver plainly to you, not without fear that while we
hope to dally with him in talk of marriage thereby to stay his other
actions, he will give fair words and proceed in deed to his best
advantage.—Bury, 6 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. by L. Tomson : Like proceedings here. Dislike dissuading
marriage upon these grounds. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl.
K. d. L. x. 678.
149. LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
I am sorry to see both our 'travells' fall out to no better effect,
good Mr Secretary ; it grieves me I cannot say how much that I am
neither able to satisfaction your expectation as I would, nor yet take
comfort in our proceedings here. I find no small alteration in her
Majesty's disposition since we were at Oatlands and Windsor,
towards the state of those countries. It is strange how loth she is
to come to any manner of dealing, especially to be at any charges.
To come somewhat nearer, these particularities appear. First,
touching Monsieur's coming thither, she is afraid of it, but will
allow no better remedy than to seem to mislike him for it, and to
persuade him, as you will hear from her, to retire and not proceed
in that enterprise ; grounding this hope that her persuasions will
have sufficient authority, because he has sent to her by Bacqueville
here and confirmed it by Bussy there to you, that he will do nothing
but as she appoints, and what he commands she will do. This
persuades her so sufficiently, that she doubts not he will simply
return as he came. If she mete that recompense for his
labour that his ministers sue for here [Walsingham's mark in
margin] there were some cause for her to presume of his conformity ;
but not perceiving any such reward likely to come from
here, for aught I see yet, I fear he will be too wise to
lose an entrance of so great a fortune, toward for him and the Crown
of France. So I do not only fear that her Majesty will little prevail
by this kind of persuasion to withdraw Monsieur simply without
further assurance of as good a bargain, but cause unkindness to grow
between them by dealing in this bare sort with him. Whether he
may justly say that he was allowed by her to come where he is, you
know better than I ; but so I have heard, and so his ministers
affirm. Thus you see what 'cace' she is like to run into ; yet I can
assure you she is as well dealt with and as plainly, and as many
dangers laid before her (by some) that must needs fall upon her and
her state by this manner of proceeding, as can be uttered. God of
His mercy assist her ; without whose upholding I fear great peril is
The other particular was this. When my nephew Ph. was to take
his leave and receive his dispatch, among other small comforts he
should have brought to the Prince, he was specially commanded by
her Majesty to tell Duke Casimir that she marvelled not a little, and
was offended with him for giving out that his coming was by her
means, and that she misliked any such speeches, and prayed her
name might not be so abused, since she did not command him to
come, but the States had entertained him and they should maintain
his coming ; with such other small encouragement to that prince,
whose cause of coming you and I and almost all men know. Yet
this earnestly has she commanded Ph. to say to him, writing such a
letter besides of cold comfort that when I heard of both, I did all I
could to stay him at home ; and with much ado I think I shall,
seeing I know not what he should do there but bring discouragement
to all her best friends. For my part I had rather he perished in
the sea than that he should be instrument of it.
Lastly, touching yourself. I wrote in my last what I lately
heard ; the only fault she finds with you is that you did not yourself
go to conference with Monsieur, and with that she was much
offended, for upon hope to hear from you she 'prolonged' these men's
answers here, and thought to direct them upon your advertisements.
As far as I can gather, she thinks that Monsieur coming
thither is rather to have the better means to stop over thither than
otherwise ; and with such a mind of his it seems she could be well
pleased, for then she would be out of doubt his enterprise had not
so deep a foundation as is now feared. I suppose she is persuaded
that he is more affected than your advertisement lets her hope ; and
I doubt, it is my 'wonne conceat' that she thinks you are not
willing to have the matter go forward [Walsingham's mark in
margin], and that you are too hard in believing his sincerity therein.
Well you are wise enough, and can see what leads you to think one
thing or another. My only advice is that you observe all offices
that way, in not only seeking the very bottom of his intention, but in
making all your reasons plain to her Majesty, whether for or against ;
and that nothing proceed from you to him to discourage him, nor yet
to herself to show without plain cause that you mistrust his affection
or mislike the match. You know her disposition as well as I ; yet
I cannot but use frankness with you, and in your absence I will
deal as faithfully as I would myself be dealt withal. And lest in
this last advice, 'it may seem nice to you such kind of direction,' I hope
you conceive my meaning, which is that I would have you as
much as you may avoid her Majesty's suspicion that you doubt
Monsieur's love to her, or that you had devotion enough in you to
further her marriage ; though I promise I think she has little enough
herself to it. Yet what she would have others think and do, you
have cause to know ; which makes me now only remind you to
eschew blame as much as may be.
It may be I do not give you light enough on our doings as much
as you would wish ; but I assure you, you have as much as I can
learn, for our conference with her Majesty about affairs, more than
by necessity is urged, is both seldom and slender. She is more
often troubled with her 'rume' and pain in her face than she was
wont, yet, thank God, this week she has been very well, and thereby
has been perhaps the more loth to trouble herself. For the
matter now in hand of her marriage, no man can tell what to say,
as yet she has 'imparted with' no man, at least not with me, nor
for aught I can learn with any other. In much haste, her Majesty
ready to horseback.—Bury, 1 Aug. [sic : but the Court was not then at
P.S.—Your man Williams arrived yesterday. Thank you
for all your letters. I am glad our nation gets reputation again.
Add. Endd. (also with Aug. 1). 5 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 14.]
150. LEICESTER to DAVISON.
I had so little to write that I did not think good to use my own
hand ; and again the Queen being ready to remove and ride abroad
as I had done my letter to Lord Cobham and Mr Secretary, I could
stay no longer. I send, therefore, only my hearty commendations
and thanks.—From the Court, 7 Aug. 1598.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 15.]
K. d. L. x. 698
151. The QUEEN to WALSINGHAM.
Whereas by your last letter you have declared your conference
with Bussy d' Amboise, and shown some reason for your stay from
repairing to Monsieur, as we wished you to do, though we find
nothing to mislike in your report of Bussy's long speeches on behalf
of his master, both for assurance that he will content us in all his
actions and specially in continuing his former suit to marry us, we
yet do not see that you followed that course which you knew before
your departure was our special meaning for the direction of
Monsieur's actions in this enterprise, and which now upon his
sudden coming with preparations for so great forces to follow is
specially needful that we may 'understand what we may indeed be
assured of, and not be abused with general offers of good will, yea,
of marriage, and in the meantime, to win such advantage there by
entering into such a possession of that country, as may prove
neither good for that country nor for us.'
Therefore, as you knew, when it was thought that Monsieur
had left his former enterprise of aiding the States, we were with
good reason moved to wish the renewing of his treaty with them
so that they might have his aid to do them good against the
Spaniards, but not to acquire to himself the possession of those
countries, and therefore gave his servant Du Vraye answer that if
Monsieur would so deal with the States to give them only such aid
as we or our ministers on that side by conference with the States
should think meet, we could not mislike of his renewing his former
treaty with the States ; which kind of answer of ours we hear he
interprets as the cause of his coming thither. But considering he
does not acquaint us with his special intent and scope, how far he
means to extend this aid and forces (which as we hear are to be
greater than the States have need of, or at least than they ask for)
it is necessary that you press him and his ministers to know his
resolution and move him to agree, for the avoiding of sinister interpretations,
to let you, our Ministers there, confer with the States,
and come to some resolution with his ministers, with what numbers
and on what conditions it shall seem to all parties reasonable,
sufficient, and honourable that the Low Countries be aided by him,
only to be delivered from the tyranny of the Spaniards, and not
under colour of receiving his aid to become subjects to him. This
is what you know we have come to desire, and therefore our meaning
is, and was, that you should not only by dealing with him and
his ministers get knowledge of his intentions, but do your uttermost
to procure him to proceed no further.
You may assure Monsieur if his desire be indeed, as his Ministers
here pretend, to please us and prefer our advice and request before
all others, by this only course he may make account of our good
will and readiness to assist him in all actions tending to his safety
and honour as in times past.
And, to conclude, we require you to keep their course with him,
and if you find any other intention to advertise us of it with all
speed ; for we have cause to be perplexed at this time, through the
doubt whether all these fair offices to us may prove rather an
entertainment of us to win time for his private advantage in
acquiring those countries ; which it behoves us by all good means
You shall further understand that 'Backvile,' Monsieur's Ambassador
here, declares that his master will in this be wholly ruled by
us, either to prosecute it as we will, or to desist if we will. Which
how we may believe is doubtful, and therefore we would have you
confer with such of the States as you think meet and learn of them
what they think meetest ; that is whether their own forces with
Casimir's shall seem sufficient without his assistance, and whether
they could be content that he were persuaded to desist from his
enterprise. And if they so will, you shall tell them that you have
some good ground to assay Monsieur and move him thereto ; and so
you shall deal with Monsieur, and declare to him what we are informed
by his servant M. Bacqueville, and move him, in respect of
the jealousy that the world has of these actions of giving aid where
it is not required, adding such other reasons as you think meet,
without moving him to mislike such a motion, but by reason of the
offer made by his ministers here. But if you hear from the States
that they cannot without his assistance withstand the Spanish
forces, then on learning in what manner they would have his aid
you shall so deal with him and use all convenient persuasions in
our name, whereby we shall prove how much we may trust his large
offers to be wholly ruled by us.
And considering it may seem strange to move him to desist
totally from his enterprise in which he has been at so great charges,
if the States think it meet so to be and you take upon yourself so
to do, it will be requisite before you deal with him, to obtain from
the States that some honourable recompense be made to him, either
in money down, or with bonds, or with some towns as pledges ;
and thereupon he may with more reason be moved to desist, which if
he will not do, we may conceive that he has some further intention,
and that we have no cause to give credit to his ambassador's
speeches. This latter point, of moving him to desist, we know has
great difficulty, nor would we think of it, but that Bacqueville
constantly delivers it from his master.
Although you may conceive that we have misliked some past of
your proceeding, since the issue of it answers not our expectation,
or at least our desire, and Lord Cobham and you may be in your
minds somewhat grieved therewith ; yet being well assured of both
your good wills and faithful meaning, we would not that you
should dismay yourselves, or 'take conseit of grief,' but continue
your endeavours either to procure peace, as hitherto you have done,
or to devise how the aid of France may be tempered to do the
States good against the Spaniards, which we see by many
tokens very doubtful, though Bacqueville uses assured speeches of
Monsieur's intention to the contrary. And you, Walsingham, shall
at your return know what we have misliked in your actions ; at
which time we will not refuse, like a good mistress, to hear your
answer with our accustomed favour.
Draft ; all but last par. in Burghley's hand. Endd. : 8 August
1578. M. of the Queen's Majesty's letter to Mr Secretary Walsingham.
4 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VIII., 16.]
152. Copy of above in a clerk's hand. Endd. : 8 Aug. 1578.
Copy of the Queen's Majesty's letter to [the Lord Cobham and :
erased] Mr Secretary Walsingham, her ambassador in the Low
Countries. Sent from Bury, by Thomas Gurley, the Lord Cobham's
servant. 22/3 pp. [Ibid. VIII. 17.]
K. d. L. x. 701.
153. BURGHLEY to WALSINGHAM.
About 8 o'clock this morning I finished and delivered my letter to
Lord Cobham's man who was ready to depart from hence to the sea
at Harwich. I could not then tell what her Majesty wished to have
done with a letter which she caused me to write in all haste on
Thursday night, and yet seemed to have no regard of it all yesterday.
Now, being about 3 o'clock, she calls for me with some misliking that
the letter was not dispatched. I answered that without signing it
could neither go nor ride ; which I spoke merrily, but in earnest I
told her I had no liking to the latter part of the letter, to move
Monsieur to depart, as a thing dishonourable and unreasonable
without other motive than bare words.
My Lord of Leicester, being by her, and Mr Wilson were well of
my opinion, but I perceive 'Backvile' and 'Malvesyre' have more
credit in this point ; and so she signed the letter, but commanded a
sentence to be added, the last, with which make Lord Cobham
acquainted, to comfort him. And truly though she added that she
would talk with you when you return, this was spoken with no anger
at all, nor would I have you or Lord Cobham take any 'greve' to
discourage your spirits, for however the event of things may be, no
more can be required of you but your faithful and 'painful travells.'
I speak not of the cost of your residence there, which must be
excessive for many respects ; and indeed I told her with some weight
that the whole world would condemn her if the Low Countries were
joined to France which by helping the States she might have stayed,
and in the end pleasured the King of Spain against his will by
restoring his countries.
While I was writing, yours of the 3rd arrive, with a printed device
dedicated to Sainte-Aldegonde ; who I think devised it himself except
by looking into a few lines of it I take the author to be of less
wisdom. What to judge of it I cannot yet tell ; only the title shows
what course it is likely that country will take. If that follows I
wish the Prince of Orange may retain the Islands, and the Archduke
Brabant or Gueldres. The more divisions of the Spanish coat, the
better for us ; but I rather wish than expect this.—From the Court
in the house of Bury ; where we find the people very sound, saving
in some part affected with the bransyk [brainsick] heresy of the
papistical family of love.
P.S.—Pray let Mr Davison understand how thankfully I take
his frequent advertisements, and ask him to continue.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 18.]
K. d. L. x. 703.
154. WILSON to WALSINGHAM.
Excuse me at this present that I do not write with my own hand,
being presently at no good leisure to write at such length as I would.
It will not be long before I dispatch another to you, by whom you
shall hear more. Meantime, all things here go meetly well ; and if
you will have a little patience I trust you will have no cause to
repent of your labour in this journey.
This bearer, M. de Cuissy, is come lately with Bacqueville. He
has been commended to us by Sir Amyas Poulet, and is well
accounted of by her Majesty, and esteemed one to be trusted.
I write thus much of the gentleman, because I know not if you have
heard anything of him.—From the Court of St. Edmund's Bury, 8
Add. In a clerk's hand. Endd. by L. Tomson, (E : [Walsingham's mark] :) and
later. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 21.]
K. d. L. x. 792.
155. WILSON to WALSINGHAM.
Though you will hear by the Queen's letter what her
pleasure is for my Lord and you to do in this most dangerous world,
yet I thought good to send you something myself, specially touching
her Majesty's judgement of your service. I must say that I do not
know any such misliking conceived as you are informed. The
bonds, and the not going to Monsieur all this time have been the
chief causes of discontent ; all your other dealings and conferences
taken in very good part, and all my Lords standing in defence, with
one word of your discreet and wise dealings. Only they wished you
had sooner spoken to Monsieur, which I wish you would do without
further delay, if you have not already ; the rather because M. de
Quyssy is dispatched just now from hence to Monsieur to know his
resolution in all things.
I have received letters from 'Bridges,' whereby I understand that
la Motte is like to be French. It were most necessary to know
speedily ; and if you know a fit man to deal with him as from the
Queen and to know his full intention, I wish you would use him at
once, and I know the Queen would like it very well. In my opinion
the welfare of all Flanders depends on la Motte's dealings, who being
'won French,' as I greatly fear, God knows what universal harm
will follow. If I knew any here that would and could do good
service with him, I would certainly send him ; but I cannot find any
able man except Mr Wilkes and he is far from the Court. I have
thought of Hearle, but he will fill our heads here with such variety
of uncertain truths that I dare not venture upon him.—From the
Court at Bury, 8 Aug. 1578.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson : Dislike from whence :
service well accepted. La Motte feared Fre : send. 1 p. [Holl. and
Fl. VIII. 19.]
156. THE AMBASSADORS to MONSIEUR.
Your Highness will receive by M. Bussy d'Amboise full information
as to our proceedings in the matter of the negotiation of
himself and your other Deputies with the Estates. And forasmuch
as he may chance to say that he found us a little difficult on
certain points we have thought good to advertise you that we were
moved to act thus inasmuch as her Majesty's intérest was so far
involved that we could not agree to them without forgetting our
duty and faith towards her. We doubt not that when you are particularly
informed on this point you will judge of it as we desire.
We shall be always at your very humble service in all that we can,
saving the loyalty which we owe to her Majesty, whenever you
please to honour us with your commands.—Antwerp, 8 Aug.
Draft in hand of L. Tomson, and endd. by him : M. to Monsieur
touching the Lords' dealing with his ministers and certain differences
between them. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 20.]
K. d. L. x. 706.
157. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
I wrote in my last of the enemy's attempt on the States' camp
and of his repulse. We hear since that he has retired with his
whole force between Louvain and Tillemont ; finding his loss
greater than it was at first estimated by 600 or 700 men, amongst
them divers of mark whose names we cannot yet learn. To this is
added the loss of Aerschot, surprised yesterday by the Viscount of
Ghent with 1,000 horse and 2 or 3,000 foot. On his offering to
assault one part of the town, and drawing the garrison to the
defence of that, the gates on the other side were opened by the
burghers to some of his company, who entering the town put the
garrison to the sword. The taking of this town, though its
strength is unimportant, is of some moment to the States, for their
reputation and for its convenient situation which will avail for
annoying the other towns of the enemy on the same river.
Duke Casimir advances very slowly, and has not yet passed the
The French Commissioners are to depart to-day, half hopeless of
doing good with the Estates, who have put off answering till they
hear from the provinces, having no authority to conclude without
their assent. Their [the French] forces are said to be increased in
Hainault to 1,000 horse and 4,000 foot ; the rest following à la file.
The States of that province have written an answer to the request
of those of the religion utterly protesting against them, as you
may see by the copy herewith.
Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. bis.]
K. d. L. x. 711.
158. WILSON to DAVISON.
You must bear with me if I am short. This messenger is sent in
all post haste, for good purpose as I trust, whereof you will receive
knowledge by Mr Secretary. Do you continue your writing and I
doubt not but in the end you shall receive the reward of your
labours. We are here betwixt hope and fear, carried as occasions are
offered. If good meaning were known, consultation were needless.
Credulity does harm to a good nature, when cunning dealing is used
under cover of love and friendship. God grant the fraud may be
discovered and truth take place with victory.—Thetford, 9 Aug.
Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. VIII. 22.]
K. d. L. x. 708
159. THE QUEEN to the AMBASSADORS.
As by our letter sent yesterday to you, Walsingham, we directed
you to deal with M. d'Anjou to understand directly how he meant
to proceed in his enterprise, so we are still more and more moved
'to doubt of his doings to prove very dangerous,' if he be not
dissuaded by us or otherwise, to seek under pretence of aiding the
States to become Lord of the countries, or, which may be as evil in
the end, incline to the side of the King of Spain, the danger of either
of which our Crown and State cannot endure. Therefore if you find
any likelihood of either of these, we would have you consider how,
though late, it might be withstood, 'with our intermeddling therein,
by speedy sending over of 10,000 to 12,000 men or by yielding to
the Estates the advancement of the money that may be levied by
the bond of £100,000.' And herein we would have the minds of
the principal men of the States speedily understood, whether, if they
had such an aid of men and money, a stay and 'empechement'
would be made to Monsieur's aspiring to the seignory of those
countries, or for his revolting to the Spaniards. And as this matter
must not be opened to the States as a thing now offered by us and
proceeding from a present fear for our own estate to be endangered
by Monsieur's actions, because they will then make us answer most
to their own advantage and to our excessive charges, as throwing
the whole burden of the war upon us, our pleasure is that you,
knowing we are minded rather to give aid with men or money than
that Monsieur should attain the seignory of those countries or join
with the Spaniards against the States, shall by some indirect means,
as by renewing speech with them about the stay of the bonds,
how it is only for lack of better assurance, or by such other means as
you shall think meet, assay the States whether if they have, as
speedily as the distance will allow, a force of 10,000 to 12,000 men,
or a further sum of money upon the bond, Monsieur might not be stayed
from attaining to the seignory of the countries, or abusing the States
and joining the Spaniards. If you find the States agree to this, and
willing to accept this aid, and that in the mean time it is probable
that delays may be used towards Monsieur, till our forces can arrive,
you shall request them to give you but time to advertise us, which
you shall promise to do speedily ; your action being taken on your
own consideration of the extremity to which you see affairs are going
for lack of our aid, 'which' you may say you hope, upon your
advertisement of the imminent perils you see likely to follow by
Monsieur, you will be able to induce us to assent to such 'resolvable'
aid as shall serve their purpose. At least you may assure them
they shall have a resolute answer as speedily as a messenger can
come and return.
Remember in communicating this that if we shall be persuaded to
send men or give credit for money, we ought to have some maritime
towns for gages meet for us to be kept to be a respondent therefore.
We send with haste, and request you to answer with all the haste
you can ; for if we perceive that it will be needful to divert the
peril of Monsieur, and he cannot be otherwise refrained or tempered,
we will not fail to aid them with men or money, and we doubt not
but to cause a force of 10,000 or 12,000 men to be arrayed and
transported in time to serve the purpose.—Bury, 9 Aug. 1578.
Copy in hand of L. Tomson. Endd. by him ; and in another
hand : Sent from Thetford by Walter Williams, servant to Mr
Secr. Walsingham. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 23.]
K. d. L. x. 710
160. WILSON to WALSINGHAM.
I am glad to see the readiness of our Sovereign now at length to
consider of prevention against danger to be feared. Yesterday we
consulted how to devise for present safety, and I not being present
to-day when the resolution was delivered, her Majesty, as you see,
commanded the Lord Treasurer to write in haste to you, that you
might with offer of money and men deliver the Estates from
suspected usurpation. I am glad to understand of this test to do
good, which I pray God be not offered over late, and that the credit
of it be not decayed and lost before these advertisements come.
Temporizing has been heretofore thought good policy, but I fear
that the loss of occasion offered may 'not' turn to our ruin hereafter.
The sword is drawn by others, and they ready to execute their designs.
God grant our later counsels may be received with credit, to the
benefit of public welfare and the advancement of God's glory.
There was never so dangerous a time as this, and temporizing will
no longer serve. God grant a resolution may turn now at length
to the profit of our country.
You are to do as you are directed, and discharging your conscience,
as I am well assured you do, to God and man, you need not be
troubled with reports.—Thetford, 9 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 24.]
K. d. L. x. 710.
161. BURGHLEY to the AMBASSADORS.
You may both think it strange to receive a letter from her
Majesty written by me in such haste. There was no leisure to
re-write it ; such was her care to make haste therewith, that upon
consultation with Lord Leicester, myself, and Mr Vice-Chamberlain,
she concluded upon the matter of the letter. She is greatly perplexed
to think that the Low Countries may become French ; and
while she is in fear of this, she seems ready to hazard any expense.
It is now determined that if upon your answer necessity shall
induce her to send forces, Lord Leicester will come over without
delay and the army shall follow. Nevertheless, though this is at
present earnestly meant, I can assure nothing, but only this, that
I am uncertain of much. I pray you both pardon me ; the letter
from the Queen was written in haste while she was making ready
to horse.—Bury, 9 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 25.]
K. d. L. x. 712.
162. SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS to WALSINGHAM.
I thought you had been with Monsieur at Mons, because it seemed
to be much desired here, but for what good purpose I know not.
Some think it were better for the Low Countries to be vanquished
by the Spaniards than by the French ; but I am not one of those,
for if the Spaniards should be victors, we should be sure to have
both France and Spain against us. But it cannot be without
danger to her Majesty if the Low Countries be subdued either to
the French or to the Spaniards' tyranny, and her aid in time would
easily have preserved the Low Countries from both. Now she would
aid them to save them from the French ; but whether it be too late
or not, God knows. I do not know whether such as were not
forward to aid the States when Don John was victor at Namur,
and such as feared to bring her Majesty into a war by aiding
the States against the Spaniards have now changed their
opinion upon this new 'accident' of Colonel Norris fronting
the Spaniards with his regiment so manfully and skilfully beyond
expectation. But I do perceive, however it grows, that her Majesty
is suddenly minded without scruple to offer aid afresh to the States
both of men and money ; and I like very well thereof, although so
long as the Spaniards were victors and were not fronted with so
long, so hot, and so orderly a skirmish as they have now been by
Colonel Norris, her Majesty would neither be drawn, nor perhaps so
wholly counselled to offer aid. But now it is somewhat apparent
the Spaniards are no such devils ; but that if the French upon this
fronting of our regiment of Englishmen, uncountenanced by her
Majesty, shall with authority of the States join against the
Spaniards, they are like enough to drive Don John out of the Low
Countries, and withall to take such a footing there as they will not
forego again for any friendship to the King of Spain.
If my Lord Cobham and you do not interpose your good countenances
to persuade our English captains to accept John Norris for
their only Colonel, whereby our regiment may acknowledge our
special commands over them, I fear that disdainful contention may
bring them to ruin, which were great pity.—10 Aug. 1578.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. VIII. 26.]