October 1580, 21-31


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'Elizabeth: October 1580, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 14: 1579-1580 (1904), pp. 459-475. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=73464 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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October 1580, 21-31

If I did not know how highly you esteem virtue, and desire to employ yourself on behalf of those that practise it, preferring it to all the things which the generality of men admire, I should fear to importune you by writing of the miseries which are increasing upon M. de la Noue, one of your most affectionate friends, in this long captivity in which he is rigorously detained. But when I call to mind the friendship that you have always borne to him, and the foundation on which you have mutually built, namely, that of piety, religion, and virtue, assuring myself that such affection is indissoluble, and that no adversity can dissolve it, not only was the fear of being importunate removed, but I thought I should not do my duty if I did not write to you freely of the state in which he is, since you ought to know it inasmuch as between friends grief should be shared as well as joy. The disaster which threatens us is so great, that we almost despair of ever seeing him restored to liberty. Since I wrote to you from Cambray, after seeing him at Namur, they have moved him to Charlemont ; and I am informed that in a few days they mean to send him to Spain, which is in truth, to send him from this world to the other, for the feelings of the Council there are known in regard to those of M. de la Noue's sort. If he is not promptly succoured by his friends, he must inevitably fall into this disaster. The way to help him would be to keep some vessels in readiness on the route, under brave and well-disposed captains, assuring them that in the event of success they will be well rewarded for their trouble. If you would speak of this to the Queen and obtain her favour to that end, it would be what we could desire of your friendship for M. de la Noue. He is in extreme affliction, and I see no surer way than this. It will not be difficult, if the Queen intervenes. It will be pleasing to God and honourable to you, to save the life of a worthy man, who may yet do service to God's glory and the preservation of good people. Since then you have the power, and have always had a good will towards all who suffer in the cause of justice, surrounded as I am with insupportable griefs and thick darkness, after God I look to the expectation I have of your aid ; praying that when you represent to yourself the calamitous state of your friend, you will be moved to do all that your zeal for piety and justice may dictate.—Les Plessis [aux Tournelles], 22 Oct. 1580. (Signed) M. de Luré. Add. Endd. by L. Tomsom : From Madame de la Noue.— Means to relieve her husband. Fr. 2 pp. [France IV. 170.]
I have received both your letters of the 15th inst. and have taken order accordingly with George Leicester for my brother Carleil's debt of 100l. ; minding likewise to satisfy your request in the other concerning advertisements out of Spain as often as means and opportunity offer. At this instant we here understand very little of the proceedings in those countries, because all the letters that came by the last post were intercepted by la Motte. If hereafter I can 'learn out' anything touching those matters I will not fail to impart it. My wife finds this air very agreeable with her nature, and thanks you for having her in remembrance, imputing the chief cause both of my greater credit and her own estimation in those parts to the good countenance which we receive from you ; acknowledging also no less in behalf of her brother, whose estate is of late so greatly relieved and advanced by your means that she cannot but confess you to be a very loving father to them both. For my own part I must give you thanks as well for her as for myself, with assurance that my endeavours will never be wanting to do you what service I can.—Antwerp, 22 Oct. 1580. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 68.]
Your last was the 16th inst., since which I have received yours of the 15th, and thank you for them. As I wrote in my last, some Frenchmen, both foot and horse, have arrived beside Crêvecœur for the aid of the States, sent by Duke 'Dalenzon,' but they are not so many in number as I wrote, for by letters from Lille they write there are not above 500 of them in all ; but they write that more are marching after them, for which cause all the forces of the Malcontents in these parts are gone towards Cambray, where it seems they have already met with some blows, for the speech is here that the company of the Count of Egmont's horsemen are overthrown by them of Cambray and the aforesaid Frenchmen, and even so they write that many are slain on the other side. As for the States' forces in these parts, as yet they lie still and do nothing ; for it seems they will not stir till the Duke of Alençon come. Their trust is only in him, for surely there is a weak 'government' on the States' side ; God send it better. This week everything has been very still between the States and the Malcontents in these parts. Nothing has passed worth the writing ; but there is great speech of great matters that the Pope and that faction are preparing against England. Surely it seems that some great matter is in hand against the realm ; for speeches come from all places that England will have all the troubles this next summer. For Ireland they say the preparation is such in Spain, made by the Pope and his friends, that it is much feared he will put that country in hazard to be lost. Likewise there is great speech here of some alliance sought by the King of Spain to make with Scotland by way of marriage with the King of Scots ; so that there go strange speeches here, and all against England, 'whom' I trust God will defend and make strong to withstand all the enemies that shall come against 'them.' Surely all these speeches cannot rise upon presumptions, and therefore I pray they may be prevented in time. As yet no news or letters had come out of France from M. de Sainte-Aldegonde and the rest of the States' commissioners, at which there is great marvel. Some begin to mistrust the dealings of the French ; 'which if that' fail them, all is lost on the States' side unless her Majesty will help them. If the States are overthrown, it is feared it will not be good for England.—Bruges, 23 Oct. 1580. Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 69.]
As soon as I heard here that Mr Rogers was taken and kept prisoner by Schenck I at once advertised those merchants of Nuremberg to whom I had before given order for payment of the £200 not to deliver any part of the said sum unless Mr Rogers was himself present ; to the end that during his imprisonment no benefit might be taken of those letters of credit which I gave him for that money at Nuremberg. Therefore, according to your letter of the 22nd, I do not look to have the £200 sent over as yet, till I hear further how the matter goes. By ships lately arrived from 'Porte Porta' in Portugal, news comes that King Antonio lies before that town with a force of 12,000 men, and is in great likelihood to 'take in the same.' By letters dated at Lisbon, Sep. 10, it is advertised that the city remains in the King of Spain's power, for the Duke of Alva entered forcibly with all his army. The soldiers sacked the suburbs and ten leagues round about, spoiling to the value of two millions and more ; which they of Lisbon think well employed, because by that means the city was saved. It is also reported thence that 5 ships have arrived from the Portugal Indies very richly laden. They bring 25,000 quintals of pepper, 3,500 of cloves, 200 of mace, and great store of other spices and pearl. On the 26th came certain merchants in a ship of Flushing from Caudado in Spain, who report that within seven leagues of 'St. Jacob's', at a barren place called Corroga, wherein is no trade, preparation is made of soldiers to be sent to Ireland, but the number is unknown.—Antwerp, 29 Oct. 1580. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 70.]
Oct. 29. 473. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
In my last, of the 22nd, I pointed out the little means that the Malcontents had for attacking and battering Ninove, where they were opposed by a French regiment and four Flemish companies under M. de Thian. Since then, after long deliberation and scouring the country they have decided to besiege and blockade Ninove, and to-day they have sent for 9 battering guns. If we may hope for any defence on the part of our soldiers, we look for it there. Meanwhile we are letting things drag to the utmost. We amuse ourselves by making up new unions from time to time. To this end the Prince of Orange is about to travel to Holland, followed by the Archduke and Estates, on Monday. They would have started already had there been means to pay the Archduke's creditors. The Breederaed was called together to that end, and will find 150,000 florins to content them. The rest will be paid by bills during his long stay at the Hague. It was not for nothing that that great meeting of nobles and reconciled States was held at Mons. Last Tuesday M. de Hèze was sentenced and beheaded. M. de la Noue's prosecution is launched (fulmine) and ready [sic] to give sentence ; put off, however, on the Prince of Parma's advice, till further orders come from the King of Spain. Subsequently to that the seige of Ninove was decided on, which makes me think they have some assurance that our aid from France will be slow in coming ; as indeed the facts testify, since the news that we have from a gentleman of M. de Laval, arrived to-day from France, bringing us letters in which we are assured there will be peace shortly. The short of it is that M. d'Alençon had gone to Cognac, whither the Queen Mother was to follow for the conclusion of it. Meanwhile M. d'Alençon would send 3,000 foot and some horse to Cambrai. There are not sufficient forces to retrieve our campaign, nor to oppose those of the enemy, who are making progress everywhere, as well in Friesland and Guelders as in Brabant and the Campen country. They are building forts three leagues from Breda. Meanwhile the people amuse themselves with a vain hope, and do nothing but grumble at the Estates and others who rule. So to give them some satisfaction, all the houses in Antwerp have been visited, and those of the council of the Chancery imprisoned, and others who had been promoted by the Spaniards. Some have been remanded, others compelled to go and live at Brussels and elsewhere. Restans in ore populi, this is the policy at present practised ; and other frivolities more pernicious than advantageous to the public weal. The Prince has had made an apology, not yet printed, in answer to the Ban against him, and other calumnies.—Oct. 29, 1580. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [Ibid. XIII. 71.]
Oct. 29. 474. The answer of the Spanish Ambassador to the speech delivered him by Mr Beale.
Mr Wilkes had the same day been with him, and told him as much as I had done, and his answer to both is this : Touching Drake, he has information from the King, his Council of the Indies, and other good proofs, that Drake has spoiled his Majesty's subjects, which he holds to be so sure that it cannot be denied. The spoil is of great importance ; a great quantity of bullion and pearls taken in Mar del Sur, appertaining partly to the King, partly to his subjects. In fight Drake has cut off the hands of some of his Majesty's subjects ; cut the cables of some ships in Porto de Linoa ; and by the customs books there, and the certificates sent to Spain, and depositions viva voce, it can be proved he has spoiled divers, etc. That he is not altogether innocent appears by his doings six years ago, which matter was wrapped up in that of the arrests. Young Winter's report of his spoils done upon the Portugals on his way out, the 'interest' and right of which is now come to the king, is enough to prove his piracy, and to demand justice. Hereupon he has said that in honour and justice her Majesty is bound by 'league' to have him punished and restitution made, as he thinks she would. He knows she loves not troubles ; and it is very hard, for the enriching of Drake and some individuals, to hazard the impoverishing of many. A war is easily begun, but not so soon ended ; the event is doubtful. And yet sometimes 'wars have been moved upon less occasions.' He has not used any threatenings, but only said that if justice be not done, the king will have cause to be aggrieved. But he may do further as it pleases him. He has rather threatened that he should be sent home, 'with setting of her Majesty's ships to the sea,' with France which seeks amity here. But he is not moved with words. He has not spoken evil, nor charged any person about her Majesty. He is not so foolish. Touching Ireland, he says he told her two years since of 22,000 crowns sent with Stukeley, afterwards employed with James Fitzmorris. She told him of certain Spaniards landed in Ireland, and that they should be brought hither. Since he has heard nothing ; nor thinks that Julio &c. taken in the castle in Ireland was a Spaniard, for it is no Spanish name. If the Pope attempts anything, he must be answerable. His Majesty has nothing to do with it. Being in 'league' with him, he cannot deny him passage. And if they were Spaniards, it is not so much as has been done by the English in the Low Countries, the king's rebels being aided by them by land and sea, as he knows, who has served against them in the field. Her Majesty may dispose of the treasure, may do as she shall think good. Having demanded audience, being denied, and answered that in reason he ought to have no access, he desired a passport. Has written to the king, awaits an answer, and then shall do as he is commanded. For his 'particular' he has done good offices, and borne in some things which touched himself ; and sorry to be here now when things grow to such terms. The salving of these matters requires a wiser man than he is. If he would conceal the things others would not ; and it would be his discredit if he did not certify things as they were. The injuries are great, as Drake's, Mr Knollys, a ship of M. de la Motte, the case of one Venero, taken by a ship having a letter of marque from the Prince of Condé ; rescued beside the Isle of Wight by William Winter the younger, and yet restored to the pirate. And divers other outrages done upon the coast of Spain by the English, which he could recite if need were. Mem. in writing of R. Beale. Endd. 4 pp. [Spain I. 57.]
475. Later copy of above. Endd. 2½ pp. [Ibid I. 57a.]
Oct. 31. 476. ROGERS to the SECRETARIES.
No doubt you have heard by report that I have been taken by Colonel Schenk's reiters ; but in what manner, I cannot tell if you have been truly advertised. If I could before this have found the way to obtain paper and ink, you may be sure I would have certified you. On Oct. 6 I came to Arnhem from Utrecht, because the way by Nymegen was exposed to more evident danger. All the way from Utrecht to Arnhem and thence to Cleves, I was compelled to 'go strong,' accompanied by a dozen harquebusiers, for the avoiding of 'Freibuiters,' who lay in divers places, to spoil such as passed by. At Arnhem I understood that the king's soldiers under Count Renneberg lay about Dotekom, so that the right way, by 'Embrick' to Collen, was interrupted. Yet because the enemy did not always lie still in one place, I was advised at Arnhem, by those to whom the Prince had written on my behalf, to take my journey to Doesberg, which was not much out of my way ; and as Colonel Norris was there with his regiment, he would be able to conduct me further. Wherefore on the 7th I came to Doesberg, where I tarried a whole night ; but forasmuch as by Mr Norris's talk it appeared that the enemy with his whole camp was then in the way which I should take, I went back to Arnhem ; and there having consulted with Count John of Nassau's secretary, on the 9th I crossed the Rhine to come into the Duke of Cleve's country. Those of Arnhem to whom the Prince of Orange had written, recommended me to the 'droste,' as they term a governor there ; who sent one of his horsemen with me towards Tolhuis, likewise appertaining to the Duke. So on the 9th I came to Cleve, where the Chancery for the Dukedom is commonly resident. In this town was present Colonel Schenk ; who having a castle called Blienbeck, three leagues from Cleve, keeps his wife for more security in the town. I was heartily glad to be come to Cleve, because men persuaded me there that I was now out of all danger and past the territories of the King of Spain. Besides, my host at Cleves, and some of the Chancery, of whom I desired conduct to Xanten, affirmed that the way was safe ; because none were wont to molest the Duke of Cleve's country, but Colonel Schenk's reiters, of whom I might think myself assured, for the Colonel was still in the town with his wife. Nevertheless next morning I desired the reiter whom the Drost of Hensen had sent with me to Cleves, to conduct me further. I was minded the same day, Oct. 10, to have gone as far as Meurs, which is a town belonging to the Count of Neuenahr, who desired me to visit him when passing towards Collen, and might have conducted me further if I had heard of any danger in the way. But when I thought myself 'most surest,' I came, against all expectation, into the greatest danger. I had left Calcar a little behind me on the left, and being come to the castle of Monderberg belonging to the Duke of Cleve, where the prince his son had lodged but two days before, eight reiters 'with a full gallop charged me,' being then accompanied by five of my own company and one of Col. Norris's soldiers, whom he sent after me that he might provide some horses at Collen for his cornet. As soon as they reached us, they bade us surrender, for we were Spaniards. I said I had no Spaniard in my company ; we were Englishmen, the rest being my servants, who were sent by the Queen of England to the Emperor and Electors, who were to meet at Nuremberg. The chief of the reiters, who ever since has been my keeper, answered that if it were so, we should have no hurt ; that they served the Duke of Cleve, who thought it well to appoint soldiers to assure passengers and keep his subjects indemnified. Meanwhile some of them chased my men, after whom I cried, they should not shoot ; for we were under and near the castle of Monderberg, and as the reiters said that they were the Duke's, and that they only desired to know who we were, I thought it good to make less resistance. Most of my men's pistols were shot off, Mr Norris's man cast from his horse and shot in two places. I do not know for certain what is become of him ; they make me believe he is not dead. One of my men, born in 'Mizen' and called Christopher, escaped to Xanten, the rest I brought together again. The reiters guarded them on both sides and wished us to go with them to prove what we were. "Thereof," quoth I "I need no great probation, for lo his [sic] my passport, signed and sealed with the Queen's hand and seal," which I drew out of my pocket. They answered, they did not understand Latin, and therefore we must go with them to their captain ; picking as it were quarrel 'unto' us, for that some my men had defended themselves. I replied in such sort as the time and place would suffer, and as any reasonable man might have been contented with. I asked where their captain was, if he was in the castle. They answered that he went thence in the morning, and was hard by, in another castle, where they meant to bring us. As we rode on, always they said we were near the captain. To be short, after we had ridden four hours, they brought us to the castle of Blyenbeck, three miles from Cleves, and not far from the river 'Mose,' and within 3 or 4 miles of Nymegen. Colonel Schenk 'pretends' the castle to be his by right ; but I heard at Arnhem that having been at law for it, he has lost his process, which was the cause of his revolt from the Prince, whom he served both in France and in the Low Countries. His castle is full of freebooters, and a company of rakehells, with whom I thank God I was but one night. Here we were searched to the very skin, and whatever money, writing, or thing of value we had, they took. When they saw letters to Duke Casimir, they threatened to bring me to the Prince of Parma. I gave them to understand that they could make no right prize of me, and desired them to bring me either to their colonel, or to the Prince of Parma. The next day, about evening, they bade me pull on my boots, saying they would bring me to the Prince ; and accompanied me with 16 horsemen, leading me now southward, now northward, so that I could not tell where I was. They meant to have ridden the whole night ; but at the passage of a bridge they found the falling bridges taken up. So as it was very cold they retired to a cottage, and there we sat by a fire the whole night. This was Oct. 11 ; at which time, about 9 o'clock, I marked an obscure comet, 'which as yet in these places is unobserved.' In the morning, Oct. 12, they brought me (as it appeared afterwards) through the Duke of Cleve's country, and by Greite we crossed the Rhine. Thence leaving Emmerich on the left, we went towards the camp, which lay before Dotecom, a town of Gelderland belonging to the States. But the same day, about two o'clock, they 'levyed' their siege, because they easily saw that for want of artillery they would not win the town. Here I must tell you that after it was known in Cleves that I was taken and carried to Blyenbeck, they of the Chancery came to apprehend Col. Schenk, who was still there with his wife ; saying that he had greatly injured the Duke their master, for his reiters had taken the Queen of England's ambassador in the midst of 'Cleveland,' and requiring him to see me restored forthwith. He swore they were none of his reiters and that he was sure I was not at Blyenbeck, and to avoid danger 'got him forth of the town,' and crossing the Rhine came to the camp which had removed from Dotecom. His reiters brought me to Anhalt (Anholt) a town belonging to the Baron of Anhalt, who holds it of the Empire. About evening Col. Schenk came, and caused me to be sent for. I supped with him, and afterwards lay in his chamber. Before supper he caused all the letters that were found in my trunk or about my men, to be brought to him. As they were ready to break the Queen's letters, I besought them to send them whole to the Prince of Parma ; protesting that there was nothing in them but a request to give credit to me. But I could not be heard ; they opened my letters in the presence of soldiers and rash heads, amongst whom was one half a lawyer, who said he knew me better than I was aware, and knew my dealing with the Estates for the coming down of Duke Casimir, to whom he affirmed I was sent again to levy new forces for use against the king. Withal he cast forth words against the Queen, as though the King of Spain had no other enemy ; that she had always fostered the rebellion in the Low Countries, and as she had formerly sent others to defend the Prince's quarrel, so now she had sent Col. Norris, who was the mortalest enemy they had. It appears that Col. Schenk would never have gone about to 'have taken' me, but because of an immortal [sic] hatred which he bears to Col. Norris, in whose 'klawes' he has been once or twice. And to say the truth, had not Col. Norris been in Gelderland, 'Over Isle' and Friesland, the Malcontents had compassed their purpose. In all those places, they who follow the king's side, fear the Englishmen as much as they did the Spaniards. But to return to my accusations. I answered the Colonel that he did not paint the Queen in her right colours. She had done nothing to the hurt of the King of Spain ; her cogitations were so Christian that she did not go about to offend any foreign prince. As for Duke Casimir's coming into the country, she consented to it the rather that otherwise by reason of the desperation of the States and the practices of the French, the Low Countries had fallen into the hands of the French. As for what I had to do at present in Germany, they had my instructions, "by which," quoth I, "you may easily perceive that the Queen goes about nothing against the King of Spain," and advised them to look diligently to what they did. They could make no just prize of me ; they had taken me against the law both of God and of man, and I required them either to set me at liberty, or to send me to the Prince of Parma. The colonel answered, he knew well what he had done. He bade me be of good cheer ; he would do no hurt to my body, but would make the Queen ransom me with 5,000 crowns. Then the 'demilawyer' conferred a little with the colonel ; and afterwards the colonel said, among my letters were two of the Prince of Orange's by which it appeared that the prince had 'opened' certain things to me, to declare to Duke Casimir. He required to know what those matters were ; asking withal, what letters I brought to the Prince of Orange, and what had been my negotiation with him. I told him that this time I had had no letters nor any charge to deal with the Prince ; I had only sent to him for a passport, and he knowing of my coming, required me to come to him. "At which time" quod I, "he asked me divers things, and declared to me the state of the countries ; also giving me to understand what letters he had received from the States' deputies sent into France to the Duke of Alençon" ; and that it was not in my power to hinder the prince from telling me what he listed. Then the colonel said he perceived well I must go to the rack if I would confess no more. I answered that I was sure the Duke [sic] of Parma would not deal so with me, and desired him to be contented with the truth. Then began my half-lawyer to say he was well acquainted with the Queen's agents' proceedings, and said he had been familiarly acquainted with Mr Davison 'as' he was ambassador in the Low Countries, who had told him of a league which her Majesty had made with the Protestants of Germany, and smilingly said he thought I had been employed thereabout, and began to speak secretly in the colonel's ear. Upon this I desired them, seeing they said they would send my letters to the Prince of Parma, that I might go also ; giving them to understand that whereas they had read divers letters among mine, written to the Prince of Condé, M. de 'la Gytry' and others in Germany, I was not to be charged with these, both being ignorant of their contents, and they not having been delivered to me, but to one of my men, who had received them at Antwerp. The colonel he was going from thence into Friesland, and was minded to go to the Prince of Parma on his way, and then would take both the letters and me with him. Meantime he said he would leave me at Breforde (Brevoort) a town within two miles of Anhault where I should be safe and well-treated. This was on Oct. 12. On the 13th he took me with him to Breforde, and there recommended me to the Baron of Anhault, to whom the place has been mortgaged by the king, who has courteously entertained me. On the 14th the colonel with 100 light horse, took his journey towards Groningen. I asked him for a passport for my men, that I might send them to my friends and advertise them what was become of me. He answered, they should tarry with me till he returned, which would be within four days. But promise was not kept with me, for he took them with him on the 14th, and as far as I can understand has left them at Oldezeel (Oldensaal), where three of them lie in fetters ; to wit, my brother Ambrose and one of the Knevetts, besides a 'Frize,' born about Groningen, whom I took at London to serve me in this journey. I have left with me the young lad whom I once sent to you from Frankfort. Before the colonel left Breforde, the men that took me played at dice for all that I had. Some had my chain, some my money, some my rings, and my apparel was distributed among them. What they have done with my five horses, pistols, and petronels, swords, &c., I cannot tell. Nor have they left me one farthing in my purse. I took six 'horse' with me out of England, upon good deliberation taken beforehand ; for setting down the greatness of the charges at which I should be, in hiring of wagons, which would be at the least 30 or 40 shillings a day. I found it best to take 'horse' with me. In sum, by their own confession, they have taken from me as much as came to 900 French crowns, and as they handled me, so they dealt with my poor servants, not leaving them so much as a shirt besides what they have on. I beseech the Almighty to comfort them. Now please understand that whereas Col. Schenk promised to return in four days, he did not come till the 20th ; and the 21st took his journey toward the Prince of Parma, taking all my 'writings' with him, as he had promised, and I besought him. He would not suffer me to write to the prince, d'Assonleville, Rassenghem or any of his counsellors, but said he would deal with him himself ; declaring to me in a rage, in the presence of half a dozen, that if the Prince of Parma should command me to be set at liberty, rather than I should get away free, he would thrust me through. Yet at his very departure he bade me be of good cheer ; his meaning was but to have money for my ransom. But what account I should make of him I cannot tell ; he seems to me to be led by such furies. Meanwhile nothing grieves me so much as that there is no man to speak for me in the Prince of Parma's Court, and that I have neither leave nor means to send thither. And I am so narrowly looked to, that I can have neither pen, ink, nor paper, and am unable to do anything apart ; and were it not that my keeper were drunk at this time with Rhenish must, it had been impossible for me to have written this to you. Since the time the Colonel departed, I have heard nothing from him ; but yesterday came to this town Colonel Norris's trumpeter, with letters from Col. Norris and Mr Carlill, as I have learned secretly. The Drost of the castle tells me that my countrymen would gladly know where I was. They have let the trumpeter go away again ; but he [sic] that brought him hither from 'Deusburge,' which is about 12 English miles from hence, they have put in prison. I have written thus particularly that you may know the truth, for I doubt not but that they who took me will invent divers things to make me a good prize. It remains that I beseech you to tender my case and to move her Majesty to send letters to the Duchess and Prince of Parma for my speedy delivery. It is now 14 years since my lord of Rycott, then being ambassador in France, desired me to come to him and remain with him. If another man had taken that trouble, both for the advancement of God's glory and for her Majesty's service, which I then took for three years, I would have judged him worthy of great recompense. Since then I have been sundry times with others that have been employed in her Majesty's service, as Mr Secretary Wilson, Sir Edward Horsey, Sir William Winter can testify ; and I have been employed myself now six years in matters of great importance, and many a dangerous journey have I made. In 'pursuing' my liberty, her Majesty shall animate your spirits to travail with more earnestness for her affairs ; and our Saviour, whose glory I fervently desire to be advanced, will reward you in travailing for my liberty. I beseech you not to regard the vain reports which some that envy me (whose virtue and godliness is only in their words) will cast forth against me ; and though I did not take my journey so discreetly as I might have done, I think, under your correction, if the Queen wrote for me to the Duchess and Prince of Parma, and dealt effectually with the ambassador Mendoza, and sent the letters to Mr Gilpin—it is but two days' journey from Antwerp to 'Mounts'—they would command Schenk to set me at liberty and restore the things taken from me. I was threatened to be sent into Spain, and before I am set free they will make me pay 'unreasonable' for my charges, unless by your care my liberty be earnestly 'procured.' I trusted so to have used myself in this journey for the obtaining of such matters as were commended to me, that both her Majesty and you should have perceived what my ability (to speak modestly) had been. Now my estate is such that I am to try my friends, among whom I beseech that I may find you the chiefest.—From Bredeforde, the last town of Gelderland, towards Westphalia, last of Oct. 1580. Add. (seals). Endd. by Walsingham. 12 pp. [Germ. States II. 6.]
(1) "The examination of Petro Mendia, a Spaniard born in Bilbowe, taken this last of October." Ad primum articlum dixit that the six ships which 'came for' Ireland were of 'Sanct Andro's,' and there victualled and manned. 2. Two of the ships were separated from the fleet in a storm, and he hears that one of them is returned to the place whence the first came ; but being asked where the other is, says he knows not. 3. Four of them came home from Ireland on Oct. 4. 4. Dr Sanders returned in one of them, accompanied by one bishop and two friars. 5. The 20th of November they looked for the coming of six sail more for Ireland, but how they are funished he knows not. 6. Out of the four ships were landed 400 soldiers, of whom 50 were Italians who are brave and lusty, and 350 Spaniards, very poor and miserable, and most of them sick and diseased. 7. Their colonel and captain-general is an Italian, named Signor 'Cornellia.' 8. There were four captains whose names he does not know. One is dead. 9. Their great artillery in the fort is 8 cast pieces, 3 of brass, 5 of 'yorne.' They have 300 calivers and 200 pikes. 10. The Irish have desired to be furnished by the colonel of the Spaniards, but he would never give them credit with any of his munition, as this Spaniard confesses. 11. Their bread is scarce, for much of it had 'taken wet.' They have 59 jars of oil, and of wine but one butt. 12. He says an offer was made by their general to Sir John 'of' Desmond to have had the leading of 100 Spaniards ; with whom they utterly refused to go, affirming that their general should sooner kill them. 13. Being asked if he ever saw the Earl of Desmond with their general or in the fort, or Sir John his brother, he confesses he knows neither of them, nor ever saw them to his knowledge. 14. Being asked if the Earl is fled with Dr Sanders, he knows not. 15. Not long since their general practised with some of them to have manned their boat one night, and come privily to cut the cable at the 'hawste' of the Queen's ship ; which they never dared. 16. The French ship was manned with 50 shot, with very good watch kept in her. 17. Asked what treasure the general has in his custody, he says he is well furnished, but knows not the exact sum.
(2) "A note of all such officers and others as are no 'Laborers' in the Swiftsure."
In the steward's room, 5 ; cook room, 5 ; carpenters and caulkers, 3 ; swabbers, 3 ; stockfish-beaters, 4 ; Sugans [qu. surgeons], 2 ; armourers, 2 ; boys, 12 ; shipkeepers, 9 ; gunners, 20. Of the captain's retinue :—Of soldiers in his livery, 30. Of our whole number of eight score, there ran away at Chatham and Harwich, 10. These numbers all together come to 105, "so have I that doth rest neat" of labourers or sailors, their officers comprised, but 45. To advertise your honour how she has heretofore been manned : Sir William Gorge had in her 240, Mr Nicholas Gorge 220, Mr York last 200 ; so that he that had least, and in the summer too, had 50 more than I have, and 40 more than we were allowed. Reason would that in winter we should have more, for in foul weather and long nights men will forsake their labour, and therefore more are required to give them relief and 'spell.' I do not write this from any doubt I have of performing with reason as much as may be looked for ; but what I could and would have done if I had been thoroughly manned, I 'leave to write.' And so wishing that you did but see these poor men, how they have been over-laboured, and held with foul weather on the 'tow' side and with the enemy on the other, who spares no powder nor shot.
(3) The confession of the Frenchman whom the Spaniards took by the way, who with seven of his fellows were [sic] flying away from the said Spaniards, and were met by Mr Clinton and examined by Mr Bingham the 19 Oct. 1580. 1. They were of 'New Haven,' and were homeward 'bowne' from Newfoundland, laden with 55 or 56 thousand fish, in a ship of 180 tons, manned by 30 men and 2 boys. Their captain's name was Craim [?] of the aforesaide town. On their course they were met by these Spaniards four days before their arriving here ; and at their taking the captain and 3 or 4 more were slain. 2. He heard them say they were from St. Andero's, with 5 ships and a small galliot. 3. As to what number of men, he heard 1,000, of which 250 with a great part of their ammunition was lacking or lost in two of their ships that were put from them in foul weather. He says they had since heard these were taken by the Rochellers. 4. As to how many they landed, he says about 800 in the other ships, and further, that they were poor 'Byswynes' [bisoños] and could not use their pieces, or very few of them, but that there were among them 80 Italians who were proper men. 5. Of the chief leaders and officers that came with them, he says there came in the great ship of 400 tons a bishop-friar, that had the name of the Pope's nuncio, and in the same ship an Italian of good years who was their colonel, and was called Signor Cornelio, with 3 or 4 friars and divers captains, of whom one was hurt at Feonod [?] Castle, whereof he died. 6. He says they had great store of bread and wine and oil ; but much of it went from them in two ships that they lost. Of 'harkcebuce' or calivers they had four or five chests full, of pikes good store, of 'close pieces' five, the highest a saker ; of chamber pieces seven or eight. 7. As to when the ships went 'for' Spain, he says Oct. 3 ; in which there went away of soldiers sick and malcontent with their entertainment and country, whom the colonel could not stay, 250 at least. Whether their spiritual men were 'here' or with the earl he could not tell, but in the country they were. 8. The rest of his fellows were prisoners in the fortress, but were forced to labour with the rest. 9. Asked whether they looked for any aid from Spain, he says they expect 4 or 5 sail from Biscay, with a supply of men and munition ; and he had heard them talk of far greater power to come. Add. to Walsingham. Endd. : The examination of Petro Mendia. 5½ pp. [Spain I. 58.]
? Oct. 478. [WALSINGHAM] to [? COBHAM].
Sir,—The cold and delayed kind of proceeding, both in the Duke of Anjou in sending succour into Flanders, and in the King touching the treaty of peace, ministers to many in this age, so full of dark practices and cunning devices, just cause to suspect wrong measure. Great expectation there is of the issue of the meeting at Nérac ; whereof if no good effects follow, the fraud, if there be any, cannot long be kept secret. The hope of their sincerity has made us build our surety altogether that way ; and therefore if it fall out otherwise our danger will be the greater, since we have neglected other helps. So long as the House of Guise enjoys the King's care (in my private opinion) I never 'look' that her Majesty shall enjoy any sound amity that way. And truly we are now reduced to such terms that there is nothing but patience and prayer left us ; which if we would heartily offer, I would take more comfort of it than of all the leagues that are grounded and depend upon the arms of man. In our days we have seen that God has then wrought most mightily for us, when in the eye of the world we seemed altogether given over for a prey to our enemies. And therefore though our own sins and unthankfulness give just cause for fear, yet when I consider how dear His own glory is to Him, I doubt not but he will consume in the end the conspiracies and conspirers. Draft ; many corrections in Walsingham's hand. 1 p. [France IV. 171.]
? Oct. 479. [? STAFFORD'S] speech to the KING OF NAVARRE.
When the Queen my mistress dispatched me to you, her Highness having heard from M. de Buhy [Buy], who had been sent to her, that Monsieur was about to treat for peace in France, bade me offer him all her credit and resources to aid in furthering it. To this effect I was to do whatever he might command me, either by letters addressed to you, sir, or by any other means he might direct as the best and most expedient. Luck would that I should find him here, instead of at Tours where I thought he was, assembled with your Majesty and this honourable company to that end. I am as glad as possible, hoping to be able to report the completion of the affair, which will be of profit to Christendom generally, and will give her Majesty as much satisfaction as anything could do. On my first arrival I told his Highness my instructions, and said what I could to confirm him in his good will to so holy a work ; whereto I found him as well disposed as I could have wished. At his request, in the name of my mistress, I have made bold already once or twice to speak to you on the subject, but being at this moment on the point of sending a dispatch to the Queen, I venture once more to beg your Majesty to hear me in the presence of these gentlemen who have always accompanied you and been ready to share your fortunes ; in order that knowing your answer, I may impart it to her who has long been awaiting news from me, and enlighten her as to the hope I see of a good issue to the affair. Before you answer, I will ask you to take in good part my presumption, as it might be imputed to me, in advising a prince so well-advised, to take good heed of the times in which we are, the great number of our enemies, the means they have to hurt us, and the means which we may have of hindering them. I use the word 'we,' because this business touches you, and us, and all the honest people in Christendom. In the first place, sir, the great enemy of all honest people in the world is the Pope and all that depends on him ; and the greatest darling [minion] that the Pope has ever had for his aggrandisement is the King of Spain, whom we can see growing as we look, till he becomes formidable to all his neighbours. You see the means that he has always used to hurt us have been, under colour of defending the Catholic Religion and as a pretext to embroil the whole world, calumnies cast against those of the Religion of being disturbers of the public quiet, and the corruption which the King of Spain has effected through his greatness and wealth, the divisions which he has thus caused in France and the Low Countries, where the success has been such that a good man's heart bleeds when he thinks of it. Even in our country he has tried to do the same, but the grace of God has preserved us hitherto ; which for our faults begins now to diminish owing to the trouble which he and his holy father have raised up for us in Ireland, which I fear is the beginning of a smoke, and in danger of making a greater flame if God do not help us, and we do not take in time the means He has given us to remedy it. The means which we have is a general peace and union, and that can be confirmed only by this particular peace ; which if it depends in the least upon you, you will give occasion to your enemies to calumniate you, to your friends who are interested in it to wish you ill, to your own country to curse you, and to all Christendom to reproach you, if any evil befall them through the aggrandisement of him who is becoming so great. The only way to remedy this is peace in France, which being made without loss of time, God will grant that, as this realm was the first to recognise Him as God alone, so when united it will hold the balance for itself and its neighbours, and hinder them from being crushed by their common foe, and will finally by the grace of God succeed in becoming the sole instrument to make Him known in His purity to the ruin of His enemies. What I say, sir, is not to doubt your good will towards peace, which has been so often proved, but to pray you to lose no time, which is the one thing that cannot be recovered. If the enemy gains it, as he seeks to do, he gets what he wants, and will fortify himself so that it will afterwards be hard to dislodge him. You will look to this for the sake of your duty to God, professing the religion that you do ; for the friendship you owe to your friends, in return for the aid they have always been willing to give you ; for your neighbours, by not hindering the succour promised them and prepared for them ; for your country, in showing that you are religious, a Frenchman, a prince of the blood of France, preserving by peace the innocent from ever suffering, blood from being shed and your country from being ruined ; for your servants by giving them release from their labours ; for Christendom, by gaining such good for it ; and lastly for yourself, by saving yourself from the calumnies your enemies always seek to lay on you. I have made bold to point this out to your Majesty, and pray you to take it in good part, as from the envoy of her who loves you as her own son. For my own part I am always ready to risk my life in your service. Endd. : paroles de Staf. au Roi de Navarre. Fr. 2⅓ pp. [France IV. 172.]