August 1579, 1-15


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'Elizabeth: August 1579, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 14: 1579-1580 (1904), pp. 30-43. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=73431 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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August 1579, 1-15

Aug. 1. 28. 'Instructions given to Doine, sent by Marshal Bellegarde to Queen Mother.'
Marshal Bellegarde, having received from Signor Marco de Corton [Marquis of Curton] letters from Queen Mother of the 26th June last, (in which after expressing her fear lest under the pretext of his private quarrel with M. Charles Birague he might be intending to do what was prejudicial to the repose of the realm, she commanded him to meet her at some place on the frontier of Dauphiné, without any company which might cause suspicion), would not fail to send M. Doine [Donine] at once in his name, with orders to thank her for the honour done him by her remembrance of him, as well as for the continuance of her wonted favour and protection discovered in her letters aforesaid, which he regarded as the greatest good that could befal him, never having had aught so much at heart as to show himself her faithful and obliged subject. And to the end that any doubt she had of his sincerity might be cleared up, and that she might not think that his said private quarrel could move him to anything contrary to the service he owed to the king, and at the same time might understand the indignity which he has received and the plots against his honour and his life and against the towns and castles of Carmagnola and Ravel which he is holding, under the name of her son and his uncle, M. Doine will first beseech her Majesty to consider the insolences and malignities which the Marshal is assured she well knows have been going on for five years past, to banish him from the King's favour and hers, and of the ill offices that have been done him through envy of his fortune and his loyalty in all matters wherein he has been employed in the service of the Crown. These artifices have been exercised to render him odious, and cause him to be esteemed unworthy to serve in great and honourable charges wherein their Majesties employed him, both by cutting off of the resources destined for him, or by means of chatter among his subordinates. On the least occasion presenting itself to his enemies, they purposed to deprive him of their Majesties' favour, whether the occasion arose in his military command, or in the management of affairs entrusted to him in some province, especially in Provence and Dauphiné for the execution of the edict of peace. Insomuch that all the letters he wrote to the king were treated with disdain, and he had only ambiguous answers full of distrust and little to the purpose ; as though he had been guilty of rebellion in saying frankly and truly what he thought. Let her Majesty also be pleased to remember whether by the duty he has done since he has borne arms in the service of the king and his predecessors at the peril of his life, exposing himself to danger in every possible way, he has earned the marks and merits of office and honour which the king has been pleased to grant him, without its being possible to reproach him with having risen by any other means than such valour as may be looked for in a nobleman ; and whether his long and perilous services which have left him almost helpless and crippled have made him worthy of their Majesties' favour. Let his enemies not cease to put any malignant interpretation they please on everything belonging to him ; as it seems that they can mention something besides the bishopric granted by the king to his kinsman, worth 4,000 francs of income. Yet the Marshal has never measured his services against their Majesties' liberality, having desired nothing save to satisfy them, and thinking it a favour to be treated by them in the payment for his offices and salaries in the manner adopted with the least of his officers. Wherefore, the king having when he was at Court been pleased to order several times that he should receive the satisfaction that appertained to him, whereas for the last four years he has received nothing, their Majesties' will, as he promises himself, pardon him if seeing himself subjected to these indignities which he has in order to maintain his office with honour to himself and them incurred from the ministers of their finances, who have not obeyed nor made satisfaction, by reason of the intelligence they have with his enemies ; being very sure that none of them will let a year pass without being very well paid [sic]. Further, if there is question of verifying the services which have been cast in his teeth, and for which some, in order to tax him with ingratitude, say that he lay under great obligation, he is ready for every rigour if it be found from the Livres des Épargnes or the Chamber of Accounts that he has ever received a penny in his own name, or to his use. On the contrary he has involved his own property and pledged his own possessions for the king, at the request of S. Sisto [? S. Stà=his Holiness] of Avignon, who made him employ 200,000 francs in victuals, munitions, and other necessaries for the entertainment during four or five months of the army commanded by him in Languedoc in 1577. This has never been repaid, and has cost him already more than 20,000 crowns in interest and gifts to persons whom he will name at the proper time and place. He is bold to make this retort on the subject before him, not to show dissatisfaction with their Majesties, knowing well that they always bear good will to him, but to teach these speculators, who play the good servant, and conceal their own faults of administration, and are always talking and putting forward in writing their own merits, and the benefits that he has received in the past, to make him seem ungrateful and odious. Coming to the legitimate ground of the Marshal's distrust, M. Doine shall say to her Majesty that he well knows how badly he has been handled for 4 or 5 years past, and how the indignities which he has suffered have proceeded from the calumnies of his enemies in regard to what they have falsely caused to be believed ; how he had strait intelligence with the Duke of Savoy and did only what he wished, how he handed over the fortresses to him, with many other lies. Thus their Majesties, easily deceived by their confidence in those who under the guise of loyalty and truth feed them with lies, have held the Marshal in suspicion as a sheep that has remained outside the fold pursuing his own fortunes, without being aware till very late of the conspiracy. And when this did not kindle as great a flame as his enemies hoped, having learnt in the same year 1577 that the king wished to honour the Marshal with the government of Provence, they withdrew him from this purpose through the friendship he had for the Count of Escars ; and seeing that this was not enough to divest their Majesties' good intention they imagined a new fiction and brought it against certain gentlemen who had formerly served the king under his command, and some of his friends, charging them with having laid a plot against the city of Avignon, namely to give it to the Duke of Savoy, as if it was likely that his Highness would set up any claim against the Holy See, or that the Marshal would assent to such a wicked design. But it was an invention to render him odious and suspected in Provence and make their Majesties distrust him. And some of these gentlemen having been imprisoned at Avignon, where they have been for the last year, they have offered to bring forward his friends aforesaid to prove the truth of the matter, if judges not open to suspicion be given them ; which the ministers of his Holiness were content to do, as appears from letters which the Marshal holds, to use some day by way of evidence in an emergency that may arrive. Nor was this machination enough ; his enemies were resolved to employ arms and make him retire when he was residing at Tarascon, by the method of which the king was informed through M. de la Valette his nephew ; promising themselves that when he was dead they could easily seize the towns and castles of Carmagnola and Ravel by favour of the commission issued to the late Andrew Birague consisting of letters and patents in blank, which they then had in their possession, dated 6 Nov. 1577 ; while the Marshal was making ready to employ himself in carrying out the peace in Provence and Dauphiné. This will appear from the copies which M. Doine will lay before his Majesty, the originals remaining in the hands of the Marshal. Writings of Charles Birague were found in the presence of 100 gentlemen in the castle of Saluces, with much else in his own hand, and that of Marius Birague and their adherents, showing their intention to possess themselves of the said fortresses, and make a state of their own this side the mountains, with the privity of foreign princes ; as may be seen from their designs guided especially by the said Marius Birague and specified in many letters, especially one to Charles from the Court, the day after the departure of M. de Lussan for Piedmont, which the Marshal keeps 'preciously' as evidence of their malignity. Finding this road insecure and lengthy, they tried another under the guise of friendship with him, proposing to secure the government of Provence to him, with the intervention of M. Charles Birague if he would hand over to them the government of Carmagnola and Ravel ; promising to procure his resignation. This made him more suspicious of their bad faith, knowing on the other side that by the advertisements of the said Charles they were bringing to the king's ear rumours that the fortresses were not very secure for the king, being in the hands of the Duke of Savoy's subjects ; particularly Carmagnola, which they wished it to be inferred his Highness had a mind to alienate, in complicity with the Marshal. This information, with their former doings, and especially the conspiracy against his life, and the shame which he had received when M. de Suze arrived in Provence, in spite of the orders which he had from the king to take steps to meet the disorder there, made him think that his service was not acceptable ; and it may be that through his friendship in the past for M. d'Escars and his faction, he was accused of favouring him, and that for that reason he had retired to this side of the mountains, where feigning to await his Majesty's command to go to him, he has watched the designs of the Biragues, and contrived with the help of God, that by the very means of Marius Birague, sent to him from the king last February, he discovered the whole affair. That is, when the Marshal at his arrival had given him the best greeting in his power without showing the presentiment he had of their malign intentions, and had received the king's letter containing the order about the advice of Charles Birague to have an eye to the Spaniards' designs and to the security of Carmagnola as the Marshal might deem necessary, he came into certain knowledge how they had succeeded in prosecuting their malicious designs quite contrary to the tenor of the letter ; and how the king had resolved to send the Marshal's son to let him know the suspicions he had of him ; but he referred everything to him through his son, as was confirmed by M. de Guergny, grounding these suspicions on his intelligence with the Duke of Savoy. But notwithstanding the reference made by the king, Cardinal Birague his uncle, in friendship, as he said, to the Marshal, had bidden him to tell him frankly of this extreme suspicion of him as a favourite with the Duke of Savoy ; whence distrust had arisen throughout France, where it was openly said there was intelligence between them, because he kept la Volviera, a captain of the Duke's, as his lieutenant at Carmagnola, and that for this cause only his Majesty's love for him, and desire for his services as governor in Provence and elsewhere had cooled. Hereupon the Marshal firmly believed that it was a practice of the Biragues to bring about a change in the guardianship of Carmagnola, the more easily to come into occupation of it, as he well knew they had formerly tried to do ; and they would have effected it, but for the resistance and vigilance of Volviera. After the discourse aforesaid, Marius went back to Saluces ; and when he was about to return to the Court, he first went to Carmagnola to get the answer to his Majesty's letter ; and upon this pretext, being lodged at the White Cross with the Master of the Requests, he sent for M. de Bodissot, to whom discovering some fine practice between himself and Charles Birague three years ago to murder the Marshal and take the fortresses, Marius told him of his Majesty's distrust of the Marshal, adding that everyone was certain he was of the faction of the Guises and du Maine, who were taking up arms in Burgundy and Champagne. M. d'Escars would join them. In short it was necessary to note his doings and to give information of them to his Majesty, as he knew for certain that he had intelligence with the Duke of Savoy ; and to this end he gave him an 'alphabet' in his own hand, to write whatever the Marshal did, so as to make the king suspect the integrity and honour of the Dukes of Savoy, Guise, and Maine, of the King of Navarre, of the Marshal, and many others ; as appears by his own original, which the Marshal sent to the king by M. de la Valette ; which alphabet came into his hands not long after from M. Bodissot, who of his own free will, being a man of honour, told him all the particulars. And when Marius was returned to Saluces he sent the Marshal another letter from the king which he had got out of him [? gli avea trattenuta]. This contained what he had said as to the distrust of Volviera as a subject of the Duke ; and further, that the king had heard that the soldiers in the castle were not his subjects and ordered that steps should be taken to change them. Upon which the Marshal wrote to the king that the soldiers were all French, his natural subjects, and that what had been reported was all a lie ; answering for Volviera's fidelity on the strength of long acquaintance with him, especially on his journey into Poland. At the same time he offered to dismiss him if he was not acceptable to his Majesty. After seeing [sic ; qy.] this answer, he sent his letter to Marius Birague, that he and Charles might read and begin to be aware that they with their artifices and inventions were half found out. Meanwhile he called together the French captains, and having begun the letter which the king had written to him concerning the Spaniards' designs, and learnt from them that their companies were reduced to 26 men, quartered at Carmagnola and Diamer. They had been ruined and scattered by the bad management of Charles Birague after their return from France, and then it was becoming compulsory for them to furl their colours and withdraw. The Marshal being all the more convinced about those artifices, and that all the intention of the Biragues was merely to get the fortresses into their hands ; since in order to facilitate the practice they were continuing to seek opportunities to kill him, and to make his death acceptable to the people under other falsehoods which they fabricated, until they had got rid of the French companies on account of the resistance they expected to receive from them ; sent for a good number of infantry from Provence and Languedoc, and quartered these in the aforesaid town for their security to hinder the designs of the Spaniards, if they turned out to be what Birague pretended, and also to be beforehand with his pernicious conspiracies ; as he has shown more at large through M. de la Valette his nephew. Thus Birague came to be discovered, and the Marshal humbly and instantly craves justice against him, Marius, and others. He sees further that Marius followed the Court for three months without the wrong done by him in using the Marshal's name in connexion with such a conspiracy being in any way signified ; and that the influence of the Cardinal and his adherents with the king was such that his dispatches by M. de la Valette were suppressed. Giving no reply to the grievances contained in them, nor any sign of being acquainted with them they went about with their patents, sealed and sent of without any hearing of the Marshal or mention of his grievances, to proclaim him in the Marquisate of Saluces as a rebel to the king. At this, desperation so wrought on him that he was for his own honour and safety constrained to take up arms against Birague the consequences of which all have seen. Upon which, his distrus continuing, and not knowing where to turn, seeing the perseverance of his enemies, although he is sure such is not the intention of the king, he has united with many other of the king's subjects of either religion, similarly distrustful, to preserve himself with them, until God grants him to see his Majesty (of whose good will he has no doubt whatever) separated from those who by their personal ambition and avarice are the cause of his subjects' troubles ; and that it may take place with the public safety of his subjects. The Marshal aims at nothing but what is beneficial and pacific, by the stablishing of the Catholics through universal union as it was before, together with the preservation of all their goods to those of the Religion, as promised in the edict of pacification ; especially in Provence, Dauphiné, Lyonnois, and Auvergne. And what the Marshal has done has not been as those malicious say, to remove himself from obedience to his king, nor to betake himself to the Spaniards, against whom he has done more than his detractors will ever be able to do. But these are the limits of their tricks, which have so little likelihood in them that, say what they will, the Marshal believes that his Majesty will place no faith in their calumnies, nor remove him from his charge, and from purpose of faithful service to the Crown. He protests that if one of his eyes had seen such defect in him he would pluck it out, and that he will show effectively that he is a good Frenchman and a subject of the King of France, not of Spain as his enemies go spreading abroad. And whereas they continue their plots against him, and he is informed of their practices, and the levies of men wherewith they have taken from him the possession of Tarascon which the king had given him, thus showing all manner of distrust, notwithstanding that the Queen was well received there ; M. Doine shall beg her Majesty, if the Marshal has not gone to meet her in Dauphiné as she wished, to believe that it was because he did not dare to go unaccompanied by his friends for his safety, and he did not like to go with a company lest he should contravene her commands and cause suspicion of his intentions, which will always be bent upon her service. But having heard that she was on the way to the Duke, he would have gone to meet her at Turin, to pray him and the Duke of Maine to explain his reasons to her and testify to his devotion towards the Crown ; as he hopes will be known, offering to obey all her orders, consistently, however, with justice and the security of his life from his enemies. Lastly he begs her to honour him by balancing his long and faithful services, his name and his quality and preferring them to these foreign harpies, authors in part of our miseries, who infest the realm and suck the blood of all France ; and to keep him under her protection as a faithful servant.—Carmagnola, 1 Aug. 1579. Endd. (with Walsingham's mark) :—Instructions given to Doine sent by the Mal. of Bellegarde to the Queen Mother. Ital. 10¾ pp. [France III. 32.]
I am leaving Bruges, having completed the disbanding of the chapeaux bonnets [?] called French in these days. After long and wearisome discussions, with the aid of M. de la Noue, I agreed to a month-and-a-half's pay in full discharge of their dues. As regarded dismissing or retaining those who shall seem good, or volunteer, it was settled that 8 companies shall be retained. This will be the entire number of French, and will be under 33 ensigns. That is our housekeeping and management, eating up all our substance, paying 38,000 florins a month for 800 men. I know in what quarter this is connived at. Meanwhile, as you shall hear more fully from Antwerp, the enemy has advanced, by favour of the Mechliners who have declared themselves through the insolent infamy of a harebrained youth, M. de Bours, who has been advanced by the States for the service of others with no merit of his own, on the plea that he was the author (which he was not) of the surrender of Antwerp Castle, whereby he has reaped the labour of another. In return for this benefit he had admitted Spaniards in small numbers into the town, with M. de Licques from Artois, and has favoured them to such a point that in order to injure Brussels and ruin their town and river he has supplied boats, pontoons, victuals, men and munitions to demolish the locks at Zas, which cost them 1,400,000 florins to put up. They have filled two of them with earth, that wagons may cross to the aid of the Mechliners, who from of old have been jealous of Brussels by reason of the making of that canal, which was injurious to them. The enemy being desirous to have Vilvorde has to that end abandoned Willebroek, and begun to make attempts on the former place, where there are only 3 companies, who were in Mechlin and mutinied for want of pay. They would not admit 6 companies of Mr Norris's regiment, which will result in their ruin. The Brussels people have sent to all the towns in the Union, to know if in the event of their sustaining a siege they will receive the same kind of succour that Maestricht did. Antwerp has replied that it will put forth all its power ; Bruges and Ghent give the same assurance. Meantime it is deplorable to see the ruin set on foot by such a small number, not more than 1,500 horse and two regiments of Walloon and Burgundian infantry, joined with M. d'Egmont (infelix puer). The rest of the army will not march till they see if these carry Vilvorde. Count Mansfeldt may arrive any day. He aims at executing his rage on Brussels. If I were at Antwerp I would have told you the articles of peace given out by his Highness, brought by M. de Melroy. They are as agreeable to the people as was the declaration of the Mechliners. As they will be sent to you from Antwerp, I need say no more. I may tell you that certain deputies whose names I do not know have been sent to M. d' Alençon. Many have been brought to his devotion by necessity, others by promises, an infinite number by imagination. If I am to support this cause on her Majesty's behalf I should like to know, as I said in my last letter ; in order that I may praise (congratule) her good will and yours. M. de la Motte has sent, by an Englishman whose name I could not find out, letters of credence to Colonel Balfour ; asking him to take the side of his Catholic Majesty and hold Bruges on his behalf, and assuring him that he shall remain governor of it for ever and receive the finest recompense king ever made. This matter is still secret, and we hope to base some stratagem upon it if opportunity is given to those who can take advantage of it. These are the enemy's continual practices, and we have not the judgment to make use of them to our profit, which is the cause of our ruin.—Bruges, 3 August 1579. Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 21.]
By the last post I received a packet with letters from your master. I have answered him by this bearer, and pray you to see it delivered to him. Your friend Rossel is still in Flanders, but expected daily. No doubt you will hear from him after his arrival. Your letter by Mr Evaunce I have received, and another from Dr Bailey, with copies of the ordinances, of the bond, of the transport, and a procuration to me to deal therein. Since their receipt and after conference with Mr Evaunce, I have caused a supplication to be made by a lawyer, and have declared my commission to one of the lords of this town. I find small comfort from his answer, unless we are content to yield to the reduction, which I do not mean to do. Next Monday I am to present your request, with the copies aforesaid, and to solicit a speedy answer, which had, you shall hear further ; and make full account I will for your sake do what lies in me. For such news as we have, I refer to what I send to Mr Secretary, to which I am sure you will be made privy. Mr Travers, Mr Longsten and myself commend ourselves heartily to you.—Antwerp, 9 Aug. 1579. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XII. 22.]
Aug. 9. 31. FREMIN to DAVISON.
I last wrote to you on the 19th ult. Affairs here are not in the state they should be. They are 'after treating' with the Malcontents, to which end deputies left this town last Friday. They are four from Brussels, Théron being one, and are to fix a place where a meeting can be held. Thither the Marquis will be sent with some others to effect some good agreement if possible ; the Prince of Parma not having kept promise according to the agreement he made with the provinces of Artois and Hainault, and thinking by his practices and intelligencies to embark them in a war that he might have occasion to remain, and having search made for proofs of this, which is the reason why he has undertaken nothing since the capture af Maestricht, to watch the tragedy ; being content to hinder with his cavalry the revolt of the towns in Guelders. Meanwhile he has begun the game with M. de Bours, and the garrison of Louvain, which is completely allied with the Spaniard, and has solicited the chiefs of the Malcontents to follow the same course, and make war jointly on the Prince of Orange and the united provinces. His Excellency is to go to Ghent if the journey is not broken off, to repair Imbize's mistakes. Brussels is in good case, and provided the Spaniards and Malcontents do not join, they will do nothing at Brussels. The said Malcontents are two leagues from it to hinder the secession if they can. M. de Sainte-Aldegonde started last Friday for Utrecht to represent his Excellency at the conclusion of the assembly. We shall also see what resolution the provinces will take on the articles proposed by the Imperial Commissioners. Many things will be seen at the end ; as also whether the truce will be agreed to. I am sending you such books as have lately come out ; please give copies to Mr Killegrew with my compliments. There are many obstacles on both sides to this peace. The Duke of Lorraine has forbidden his subjects in the district of Bar to practise any religion but the Roman. Those who will not obey are to leave his country, one year being allowed them to sell their property.—Antwerp, 9 Aug. 1579. P.S.—I have a brother over there, of whom I have spoken to you. He is the most debauched person to be found. I should be much displeased if he were to address any of my friends, for he does not deserve to have anything done for him. He needs misery and poverty to teach him. For his own good, take no notice of him. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 23.]
Aug. 11. 32. DON MANRIQUE DE AYAMONTE to the COUNCIL of the town of AYAMONTE.
By a letter from his Majesty dated Aug. 2, written to me as being in charge of this marquisate during the absence of the Marquis my brother, I am informed of the grounds on which his Majesty bases his claim to the Crown of Portugal ; namely that he is nearest of kin to the present king, his uncle Don Henry being legitimate, and older than any of the pretenders to the succession. The Duke of Savoy is younger ; Don Antonio is illegitimate ; the Duchess of Braganza is a woman ; Rainuccio Farnese is a degree further off. His Majesty wished me to explain this matter to all the vassals of this state in order that they may tell it to their neighbours of the kingdom of Portugal. If they become his subjects they will gain great advantages in the way of trade with the Islands and other lands belonging to him. He has not urged his claim without taking the opinion of divers learned men. Now he is letting his case be known by many servants whom he has in Portugal. It is so clear, that the king his uncle will understand it, and he wishes all men in the kingdom, down to the least, to do the same.—Seville, 11 Aug. 1579. Signed for Don Manrique, Juan de la Rya. Copy. Endd. Sp. 1 p. [Spain I. 23.]
Aug. 11. 33. English translation of the above. Endd. 1½ pp. [Spain I. 23a.]
Aug. 14. 34. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
Bellegarde will not be entreated to come to Queen Mother, though nothing has been omitted, mediation of friends, great promises, safe-conducts, and what else could be devised ; and now the Marquisate of Saluces is thought to be lost beyond redemption. It is believed that the Duke of Savoy has conferred with Queen Mother at Grenoble. I have seen a note of some contraventions of the last edict, but forbear to send them, because I am promised the true note verified in this late conference at Montauban, from the King of Navarre shortly. De la Rocque, agent here for the King of Navarre, has not yet received the particulars of the conference ; where no doubt it is resolved that the towns promised by the treaty of Nérac to be delivered this month and next shall be reserved till other conditions are better performed by the Catholics. To this purpose the deputies of those of the Religion are expected here shortly, to make complaint of their griefs to the king. The king of Navarre has returned to Nérac, and it is said that the Prince of Condé and the Viscount of 'Touraine' are gone to Rochelle. Some think one of them means to make a further voyage. It is advertised from Rome and Florence that the Spanish 'army' will be ready to hoist sail before the end of this month, and that their enterprise is in Africa. The Marquis of 'the Holy Cross' (so some call him), general of the galleys in Spain, is already gone to Spain with some galleys. You may see the substance of what passed between the French and the Cantons of Berne and Soleure touching the town of Geneva, by this abstract of a letter from M. de Bèze. The clergy have made great instance to the king to publish the Council [sic] of Trent ; whereunto the king has answered that he can be 'so content' with these qualifications : first, that the king's authority be preserved in all perfection ; secondly, that the privileges and liberties of the Church of France be in no way altered or diminished ; lastly, that the edicts of pacification be observed with all integrity. Yet he has deferred his final answer till he has heard the opinion of the King of Navarre therein. Let me trouble you with the letter enclosed, though there is no matter in it worthy of you. News comes from England that Fitzmorris is arrived in Ireland with many Spaniards. I could not permit this convenient messenger to depart without these few lines.—Paris, 14 Aug. 1579. P.S.—I am now in great hope of my recall, and do not doubt of your furtherance. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [France III. 33.]
35. Enclosure in the above ; Bèze and the treaty with the Cantons.
His Majesty following the steps of his ancestors, to maintain the leagues with Switzerland, and being called upon by the Cantons of Berne and Soleure, receives the country lately acquired by the lords of Berne into the perpetual peace of the leagues, with all privileges. Advertised by them of the consequence of preserving the city of Geneva in its present state, he comprises it also at their request in the same perpetual peace, without exemption from tolls. If it is attacked by anyone soever and is in need of a garrison, he agrees to send 5 ensigns, numbering 1,500 men, and to this end has deposited 2 months' pay with Soleure. If their army is required for the same purpose he promises to supply 15,000 crowns per month. He will not hinder any of his subjects who may wish to do so from coming to their aid.—In return he asks as follows :— (1) Those of Geneva will allow passage to French going to aid the Leagues, or into Italy ; provided that they go à la file, and pay reasonably, after due notice to the lords of Geneva. (2) They shall show due respect to his Majesty, and (3) shall not receive the enemies of his Crown. Answer has been given by us to the lords of Berne, who alone make the request ; they are thanked for their good will towards this place, as always ; His Majesty's offers are accepted ; As for the first point he asks in return, free passage on those conditions has never been refused. As to the second and third, there is no intention whatever of doing anything against religion, nor holding those for enemies who have withdrawn or shall withdraw on account of religion. Our neighbour understanding this has put off for over a month the arbitration agreed upon with those of this place about the ancient differences. Time will disclose the rest. Pray be sure that all has been well and duly debated, and believe that no one will find occasion for offence herein. There is good hope of the Evangelical Cantons joining in this treaty. God bless it all. Copy. Fr. 1¼ pp. [France III. 33a.]
Before Aug. 15. 36. "BRIEF DECLARATION why the present coming of the PRINCE of ORANGE to Ghent is not found convenient."
First, because the present magistrature is not acceptable to him, and he will want to change it after his fancy, in order then to make what he pleases of this town, which might cause great harm and bloodshed. Secondly, because he will want to bring back the Religions-vreede according to the oath which he has taken to preserve the Roman religion ; and thus daily attempts will be made by the Catholics, and the city will be so damaged that it will not be able to help itself in this great necessity from the Church property, but the people will be every day more burdened. Thirdly, because he will want to come as Lieutenant-general, and so keep this city under the power of the Court, from which they have undergone such burdens, in order to take away its sovereignty and freedom which now is fallen en poictrine [?], and belongs to it of right. Fourthly, under cover of reforming things in this country (which the Court has brought into this miserable state) to compel the city to consent to receive the Duke of Alençon, as he has practised the like at Bruges ; whereby this city would fall from the liberty in which it now lives into an intolerable servitude, and pass from the tyranny of the Spaniards to that of the French, which is much prouder, more cruel and more intolerable. Fifthly, because no profit can be expected from his coming, as appeared when he was last present, whereby there accrued to the city only great dishonour and expense ; which is still more to be feared now that he would come to take vengeance on those who have loved the freedom and good of this city rather than compliance with his aims, which are quite contrary to those of this city. For it appears that in private and in public he has always spoken evil of this city, so as to alienate all its people ; having without reason accused it to those in the union of Utrecht, to the end they should not be admitted thereto. Sixthly, because he will bring his French council and a good guard of soldiers, and so Frenchmen and all sorts of foreigners will enter under cover of having business with him ; yea, all those who have been ordered out of this city for its greater security will return. It is also to be feared that before he leaves the place he will put in the Scots and the French, who are now at Rouselaar and thereabouts, and could be here in a day. Seventhly, because it is to be feared that the Prince being here the enemy will forsake everything else to shut him up in this city, as they could not do at Antwerp, and if it so falls out, he will take the opportunity to put a garrison here at his pleasure, and so burden it more than ever. Eighthly, because the Prince cannot help this city with money or men ; while as to his advice, if the city wants it would be as easy to send to Antwerp, and cheaper than to let him come here with all these inconveniences. Ninthly, touching what those who so desire his coming say, that it will help the other members to come to an agreement, it may be said with truth that such an agreement would serve only to the enslavement of this city, and its subjection to the Duke of Alençon, to which it in no way wishes to agree. Also to bring it into subjection to the Court, from which it has much reason to disjoin itself. Also to lay a burden on the inhabitants without their being able to help themselves from the Church property. In short this agreement among themselves which the Prince will call for will enable him to reduce us to servitude, and protect us no more than he has hitherto done ; in spite of his promise that if we would maintain the religions-vreede, he would make the Walloons quit the country in four or five days. But if this city stands forward in defence of their [sic] liberty, it will come to pass that as it is, thank God, the means which has prevented the Walloons from doing more than plunder the poor peasants under the threat of burning their houses, so it will set an example to draw the other members to a desire of their liberty, and afterwards to an agreement that shall be honourable and profitable to the whole country. Wherefore it is needful that the inhabitants of this city keep quiet, trusting to the foresight of their magistrates, who will not desert them, but will stake their own lives and goods if they will follow their advice ; and they may be assured that they shall have good succour for the defence of this city and the whole country, having good and certain means to this end if the magistrature is not corrupted by the coming of the Prince. And whereas some say that people ought to have a good chief, true it is that the country needs a Marshal to conduct the war ; but for this the Prince is not fitted, having always kept in the towns, whereby has come great damage, as has been seen in all the fine camps which we had so far away in the country. If others say that when the Prince is here he will be kept well bridled and will not be able to do as has been said, this is unfounded. If he has when absent been able to create such discord, whereby the city is in danger of ruin, what will he do when present! And if the city will then perforce have to oppose such practices, think only if it is not better to anticipate such a danger and disgrace by an amicable letter asking him to postpone his coming to a more convenient season. And whereas some evil-disposed persons are seeking to make the people of little courage, saying that Holland and Zealand will leave us if we do not let the Prince enter, it may be believed for certain, imprimis that having included the city of Ghent in their treaty against his wish and advice, they will not leave us, seeing how important it is to them ; and, moreover, it is the less likely that they will leave this city, which seeks only pure religion and to defend its liberty against tyrants, since the union of Utrecht was made to guard those two points. In the third place, those of the union have no pleasure in the Duke of Alençon's coming, knowing him as they do, and they will not desert us, knowing that we are labouring to prevent them no less than ourselves from falling under his tyranny. The inhabitants will not therefore let themselves be frightened with such talk, but be sure that those of the union of Utrecht are ready to aid us with all their power, according to their oath. But if the Prince's coming be found necessary to redress the affairs of this country, as they say, for which reason many people desire it, it would seem better advised to request him to go to Bruges, where he is desired. This would be at once more convenient, seeing that with the Scottish garrison there and at his command, he would need less assurance, while fit persons could be sent there to him from this city to treat with him of all matters causing him actual or possible anxiety. And his Excellency (who seeks only to redress the country's affairs) will be equally content. Otherwise he must be harbouring some ulterior design in coming, which in time will be manifest to the hurt of this city. Copy. (It appears to have been printed in its Flemish form.) Endd. by (?) L. Cave ; and dated 'Sptb. ? 1577,' this being afterwards erased. Fr. 3½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 24.]