505. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
I am come back, in hope, as I said in my last, that by directing
a small army we may divert the plans of our Malcontents ; who for
fear of the French had all hurried in the direction of Cambray to
hinder help from thence. A little combat took place there, by
which the French were pushed back to Valcourt to await reinforcements.
The Prince of Epinoy having long had designs on the town
of Condé in Hainault ventured, while they were occupied in those
parts, to assault it, and took it by surprise on Friday the 24th ult.
[sic ; Nov. 24 was Thursday]. The English from Tournay and
others entered by escalade without the loss of a single man. I know
not whether because there were too few people, or whether they
attended to the plunder before forcing a little country-house
(château de plaisance), or that there were very few people in the
town [sic], but the enemy having some cavalry near came to
the rescue ; which so alarmed our people, that abandoning that
important position they quitted it with their booty so disadvantageously
that about 80 were slain in the retreat, without the loss of
any officer. This event has delayed our plans and cooled our
phlegmatic friends. It is true that since the Council of War was
established they have set up a common war-purse, and with the
consent of the people one tallar will be levied on every barrel of
strong beer, which will be an incredible sum if it is managed as it
should be, and better than the moyens généraux, which nevertheless
remain as they were,—not reckoning the ecclesiastical property.
The Malcontents are spreading a report that the King of France
has written to the Prince of Parma that if the French advance
into the territory of his brother the Catholic king he gives them
leave to defeat them and pursue them four leagues into his
kingdom. This reassures them and removes their fear of the aid
of M. d'Alençon. They likewise proclaim the total defeat of Don
Antonio in Portugal; and further rejoice over the pitiful state of
Friesland, of which I will say nothing more, judging that Mr
Norris will report it in full.
You will probably have heard of the defeat and death of the King
of Poland by the Muscovite ; also the death of the Queen of Spain.
The king is already by common opinion remarried to the Queen
Mother, to make a good oille podride.
We have news, as to the certainty of which I have my fears, of
the release of M. de la Noue in exchange for certain Spaniards who
were or are prisoners at la Rochelle ; among them one called
Juan Bautista Taxis and the contador Navarete. I do not know if
it be they ; but I know for certain that they have taken the gentleman
in question from Tirlemont to Limburg beyond the Maas,
which cannot have been without some object (céremonie). The
report comes from Mons by the Countess of Egmont, who in
deep grief at the ignominious death of her brother de Hèze
presages his own life shortened and death in a few days to the
count her husband, who has no such apprehension or belief, so
stupid is he.
Meanwhile we await always the so much desired peace in France,
without which we look for no salvation here, but must provide new
means of defence.—Ghent, 3 Dec. 1580.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 77.]
506. GILPIN to WALSINGHAM.
The last two posts I have received no letters from you, nor all
this week could I do any good in the suit I have so long followed,
other than 'per' my last was signified. Ymans told me he understood
that Flanders had certainly passed their grant, but had no
particular advice of it. Junius protests that those of Brabant can
do no more till their commissioners are sent into Holland, where
they will do their uttermost endeavour to further the cause. But
I doubt, unless the Prince being there takes it to heart, that no
effect but delays will follow. Yet two provinces having passed their
grants, I would hope the others might be the sooner brought to
For news, the Prince being absent, I hear no certainty, for the
posts from all places follow his Court. By the last letters from the
Commissioners in France it is signified that Monsieur was still
with the King of Navarre, awaiting the deputies of the Reformed
Churches ; and they hoped that peace would be concluded. Which
finished, he would come directly into Picardy, and then gather his
forces to enter these countries.
The overthrow which was so certainly said to have been given
near Cambray is turned to uncertainty ; yet the Malcontents daily
direct all their forces to the frontiers.
Condé, which was taken by the States' men at Tournay, was
again abandoned next day, 'doubting' the enemy's forces, which
made that way, and possessed the place without resistance.
From Friesland we hear nothing.
The Malcontents have, it is credibly said, taken 13 ships or great
boats coming down the Rhine from Cologne, very richly laden with
Italians' goods, in value £100,000 ; so that it will greatly impair
and hinder the trade to this town.
This week the 'magistrate' of this town was altered, and new
made, whereto none are called or elected but such as are known
of the Reformed Religion ; two excepted, who are indifferent.—
Antwerp, 4 Dec. 1580.
Add. End. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. XIII. 78.]
507. SIMIER to BURGHLEY.
Mr Stafford having done me the honour to see me in passing, I
wanted to recall myself to your kindness, and beseech you to take
account of my service and maintain me in her Majesty's good
graces. Mr Stafford will tell you the state of my affairs, and my
desire to justify myself at all points.—Bourgueil, 8 Dec. 1580.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley, 13 ll. [France IV. 183.]
508. COBHAM to the QUEEN.
On the 5th inst. the king sent M. Pinart to me, to enquire
whether according to the 'purpose' Queen Mother had 'passed'
with me at 'Chantillowe,' which was afterwards communicated to
me by himself at Dolleinville, I meant to confer on the treaty,
because the king's meaning was to accomplish his intention towards
your Majesty, which he has signified lately by his ambassador and
by me ; desiring to finish the treaty before the departure of the
commissioners for England, that they might have it ratified by you
when they are at your Court.
To which speech of the Secretary I answered that ever since
your Majesty's last power was received by me, I remained ready to
hearken, at the king's further pleasure, touching the entrance into
this negotiation, having come to this town at the time appointed by
him, before any of the other ambassadors.
To this M. Pinart said the king would presently take order
herein ; 'showing me in the way of conference' that M. Mauvissière
had lately written that your Majesty desired the coming of the commissioners.
Likewise that his Highness has written by Secretary
Villeroy to request that the commissioners might repair to your
realm ; upon which occasion he had sent Marshal de Cossé, who
was expected here within a few days.
Since the arrival here of the articles agreed on by Monsieur and
the King of Navarre, which were sent by Villeroy, the king makes
great difficulty about having M. de Leusac [sic], captain of la Reole,
removed from his government, being a matter included in the articles
of treaty, which may breed some longer stay in the ratification
of it ; therefore Villeroy does not return to Monsieur until the king
receives answer to a dispatch sent by a courier touching that point.
The king seems to take in very good part his Highness's dealing
in these matters of pacification, having been well satisfied with a
letter which he lately sent, full of duty and affection towards him.
Howbeit, he remains of constant opinion not to give aid to his
enterprises until peace in the realm be not only made, but clearly
and fully established ; being altogether unwilling to abide that any,
of what quality or estate soever, shall have power to command any
of his towns or rule in any of his provinces unless at his devotion.
His mind therein is so well known to his Highness that he is
inclined to satisfy the king fully therein ; purposing as I hear not to
return from Guyenne until he has established affairs there to the
king's liking, whereby he may induce him the rather to be favourable
to him in his designs, which are principally the marriage with
yourself, and the enterprise of the Low Countries.
The king shows in his late speeches that he likes your Majesty's
alliance. Queen Mother has lately in secret conference highly
commended you for your wise and peaceable government, wherein
she thought you are the happiest princess living. Besides she
esteems you to be by nature not desirous of revenge, but merciful
in shedding blood ; not ambitious of other princes' states, nor yet
grievous to your subjects by impositions and taxations ; compassing
all your affairs with the counsel of your counsellors. Which I
hope she spoke as unfeignedly as it may be truly reported of your
Maldonado the Spanish secretary lately, after discoursing to the
king and provincial personages of the Court on the defeat and death
of Don Antonio, which is not altogether believed here, declared that
the King of Spain had sent to you to treat of marriage, with
renewing of his old love. It is not accepted here for a verity.
I have sent the Secretaries certain letters of M. Pinart to me
with copies of mine in answer to be shown to you. They concern
the commission you last sent me for entrance into the treaty ; which
it seems was looked to have been in Latin, according to the form
used before in the like cases. Notwithstanding, when I showed to
M. Pinart that the instructions were signed in your Majesty's hand,
it appeared that the king would sign the like power to those who
were to confer with me. So consequently within a day or two to
enter into conference of the affairs ; which I thought good to advertise
to your Majesty.—Blois, 10 Dec. 1580.
Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 2½ pp. [France IV. 184.]
509. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
At my last conference at Olinville I had signified to the king and
Queen Mother how the Queen my mistress after receiving the
earnest demonstration and desire which they had commanded
M. Mauvissière to declare to her in shew of their good will, had
also resolved to show herself grateful, liking well their purposes ;
whereon it had pleased her to empower me to enter into conference
with such as they should appoint.
But as they were then upon departing, they 'referred' me until
their coming to this town ; having since, on the 5th inst. sent
M. Pinart to me, with show of his Majesty's determination to enter
presently into the negotiation of those causes. I offered to be ready
at their pleasure.
The same night, after leaving me, he wrote to me for the copy of
my commission. I enclose his letter with my answer.
The next day, with his letter of the 6th, he sent me the copy
of a commission in Latin, bearing date 25 May, 1572, which
authorised the Earl of Lincoln, Sir Thomas Smith, and Sir [sic]
Francis Walsingham to take King Charles IX's oath for the confirmation
of a treaty passed in April of the year before. But not
being satisfied, he wrote me a letter on the 7th, which I likewise
Whereon I repaired to his chamber, certifying that her Majesty
had given me a commission, which I showed him signed with her
hand ; wherewith he was somewhat satisfied, though he said the
customs had been to have such commissions in Latin. Therewith
he opened a book in which were written divers commissions of
treaties between the Kings of England and France ; and 'namely'
that before-mentioned. So it seems they look for the like manner
of proceeding, if such may be her pleasure. Meantime he
'pretended' to me the king would give the like to some of his
Council, who should confer of these affairs.
It seemed by M. Pinart's speeches to me that the king meant to
prepare for sending the commissioners to her Majesty, upon what
his Highness had written earnestly to him ; for which purpose
Marshal Cossé is on his journey hitherward.
In the last conference M. Pinart had with me, yesterday, he
declared that the king intended to send him to her Majesty. He
seemed very willing to take that journey in hand ; though he
doubted it could not conveniently be done, since Secretary Villeroy
had to return to Guyenne for the 'effectuing' of the pacification,
whereby M. Brulart would be 'overcharged to dispatch' meantime
alone all the affairs of the state.
It appears from Pinart that the king and queen will not be
persuaded to remove M. Lussac [d'Ussac], governor of la Réole, from
his charge, because both the Catholics and those of the Religion
within the town are content with his government and beseech the
king that he may continue ; fearing that if they come under the
government of the Viscount of Turenne they might be drawn into
trouble for the private quarrel he has with some gentlemen of that
country. This is alleged for the excuse of his Majesty's will therein.
The king offers nevertheless to give them in exchange some town of
like quality thereabouts which may be to the King of Navarre's liking.
But this may breed some alteration and staggering in the negotiations
for peace, because the King and Queen of Navarre so far
'shew to like' the viscount, that Monsieur has, as they say, been
persuaded to give him the place of chief gentleman of his chamber ;
which is not accepted, because the government of Anjou was not
bestowed therewith. Monsieur intends not to depart from those
places till peace is established, and is not looked for by his ministers
here till he comes to take leave of the king for his journey into
either England or Flanders.
As for the enterprise of Flanders, it is thought it will be entertained
till winter be past, as M. Villiers, late captain of Bouchain,
who passed through this town in post on the 6th, reported, returning
from Monsieur with some order for his Highness's affairs. He
purposes to send one to Cambray to let them know that he has
commanded Balagny to enter that place, if he may, with 500 shot
and certain other 'carriages' of wine and victuals, with further
promises of relief from him, as soon as the season of the year permits.
M. Villiers proposes to take ship at Calais, to pass toward
the Prince of Orange on message from his Highness.
The commissioners from the Low Countries are upon their return.
Letters have been intercepted from the King of Spain to his
minister dealing with the Electors about the causes of the Low
Countries, in which he wills him not to consent to their dealing
with the compassing of any peaceable order in that country, for he
hopes shortly to be able to dispose at his will of his subjects in
those parts ; which is contrary to his own promise made to the
Electors by his own letters. Therefore these letters surprise, and
will shortly be sent to the Electors for the better discovering of the
king's double dealing.
M. Pinart in his last conference told me that the princes of
Germany had sent to this king to offer him their friendship and
forces to join with him for encountering the Spanish king ;
particularly some allied to the House of Austria. This he affirmed
to me with very deep oaths.
At Marshal de Cossé's last being here, he discoursed to the king
of many ways to make the Spanish king petit compagnon, as he
termed him, all which the king found to be good ; wherewith the
marshal returned with some satisfaction. Howbeit, the king
deferred his resolution till the pacification were thoroughly established.
Now, again, though the marshal is to deal with the king,
both for the marriage of her Majesty and the cause of Flanders,
yet I understand he will not 'discover himself for' the enterprise
of Flanders until his Highness has conferred with him.
The Duke of Maine has sent to the king to know if it is his
pleasure that he may winter his men in Dauphiné. His Majesty has
resolved to have his camp diminished, and to return them to their
garrison if the determination hold ; notwithstanding they are
advertised that the greater part of the companies from Spain are
staying in the duchy of Milan.
The king has heard from his ambassador in Spain that the
queen's corpse was brought to Madrid, and they are in some doubt
the Catholic king is not well, because he has not for a long time
been openly seen.
James Hamilton, called 'Bodilaugh,' has returned from Spain,
and is at present at Moret with the Scottish ambassador.
Advertisement has come from Nantes that Tassis, the Spanish
king's agent, has arrived.
I do not trouble you with advertisements from Portugal, because
I find that M. Mauvissière has written the king a large discourse of
the defeat of Don Antonio, whereby I am assured you are plentifully
informed of those affairs. He has let the king know her Majesty's
gracious manner of using him in her progress.
Hans Hess, an Almane, sometime marshal among his nation, has
lately made certain preparations by sea ; and 'disguising' with the
king in some advertisements and affairs, is now apprehended and
brought to this town, where he is imprisoned, being by command
of the king 'disgraced' of the order of St. Michael, and condemned
to death ; which it is thought will be executed on him some day
this week. He was lately much in company with Colonel Strozzi.
M. de Sancy, the king's ambassador with the Swiss, has returned
with good satisfaction of their services towards his Majesty.
A private quarrel happened in the king's chamber between M.
Montigny, captain of the king's gates, and one Fleurac, by occasion
of play ; whereon the king has given order to the Duke of Guise
and the captains of his guard that no play shall be used in his
I enclose a copy of a letter from the great Turk to the Vaywode of
The Earl of Westmorland departed, as I told you, in a Spanish
bark hired by a merchant of 'Newhaven,' laden with 60 bales of
canvas for Seville ; accompanied by a servant of the Bishop of Ross,
called David. He is now landed at Bilbao. The Lieutenant of
Newhaven 'cheared' him.
It is confirmed that the Prince of Condé has passed through
Dauphiné, coming first to Gap, thence to Die, and so into
Monsieur and the King and Queen of Navarre have repaired to
Coutras, where they mean, as I understand, to continue this
To-day Carr the Lord of 'Fernhurst' is come in post to this town
from Nantes, accompanied only by John Ashaw, one of the king's
guards. He met the Earl of Westmorland at Bilbao ; and the earl
asked him how had sped, and that [sic] his meaning was to seek
relief. The said 'leard' was with the king at Badajos, by whom
he was very graciously received, and directed for his reward
to Cardinal Granvelle, of whom he received por ayudo de costas
between 2,000 and 3,000 crowns, as he himself reported to a
dear friend of his in this town, with whom he spoke in passing.
He further reported that the King of Spain will not be able
for these 12 months to 'address' an army for any place,
but the first succours he sends will be for Flanders. Further,
that the king enjoys peaceably as much of Portugal as his army
has passed through. It does not 'exceed above' 6,000 or 7,000
soldiers, 'having seen and viewed them with his own eyes,' when
they first passed from Badajos. So the opinion in Spain was that
if this king had sent succour thither in time, the Portuguese might
have been able to withstand the Spanish enterprise. He reports
that in the Court of Spain the desire is that the Spanish King
might match with the Scottish queen. Howbeit, Maldonado has
given a contrary report.—Blois, 10 Dec. 1580.
Add. and endt. gone. 4 pp. [France IV. 185.]
Enclosed in above :
510. PINART to COBHAM.
The king having taken a little medicine to-day, I have not seen
him or spoken of what we settled yesterday evening. It seems that
it would be to the purpose if I were to show him the duplicate of
your powers, if you will send it me ; and that you may see that the
same thing was done on the last occasion by your Queen's deputies,
I send you the duplicate which they handed in, signed by them.—
Blois, 6 Dec. 1580.
Holograph : Add. Endd. by Cobham : From M. Pinart, by his
son, with the copy of the commission, which was signed by my lord
Admiral, Sir Tho. Smith, and Mr Walsingham, appointed commissioners
in Anno 1572. Fr. 10 ll. [Ibid. IV. 185a.]