544. M. D'INCHY to the STATES-GENERAL.
I make no doubt that his Excellency has told you of the treaty
passed between M. de la Ferté in the name of the Duke of Anjou
and myself. I sent it to his Excellency, after having had his advice
upon it ; whereof you must hold me discharged. It refers everything
to the Prince of Epinoy and me, and although the prince
does not approve the execution of it in any way, considering the
position of this place and the conjunction of affairs, of which I take
a very different view from the prince, I see no more obvious means
for my own preservation, since it is impossible for me to hold out
much longer in this state, besieged by the opposite side. Cateau
Cambresis gives me most inconvenience, on account of the presence
of him who is there. By continual prohibitions and threats he
hinders this town from getting any succour in money or otherwise.
It has no great resources, not having up to this moment more than
20,000 florins raised in my name. It will not and cannot go on, as
much owing to the persuasions of the aforesaid, as because going
on is burdensome to everyone, which as times go might easily serve
as the pretext for a revolt.
You may have seen that the treaty is only conditional, in the
event of urgent necessity. This I feel is hourly approaching, inasmuch
as all communication with his Highness, your Lordships, his
Excellency, and the Prince of Epinoy, is forbidden to me, since I
cannot find people to risk themselves, and seeing the danger there
is of important letters falling into the hands of our adversaries,
whereby they might profit. They have fully determined to place a
small camp between Saint Amand and Bouchain, and have already
begun to make it, having placed people at Denain, Marchiennes,
Hasnon and Vicogne, and other places, bringing up for that purpose
some companies of Albanians and Spanish, who we hear are
about Bavay. Besides this the garrisons of le Quesnoy, Ardanes
[qu. Avesnes] and Landrecies daily take possession under my nose,
to-day of one strong place, to-morrow of another, which I must
bear as patiently as you may judge. Further, having handed
money to several men-at-arms and archers of the Marquis of
Havrech's company, after administering the oath anew, seeing our
small resources [if] other provision is not made, I hold it to be
money thrown into the water (au leau). All these things considered,
if I am not by some means instantly reinforced, I shall be compelled
to proceed according to the treaty, or fall into certain ruin.
Do me the honour for the last time to send me word as soon as
you can which you prefer. If, meanwhile, owing to too much
delay any unpleasantness arises, I hold myself blameless towards
his Highness, your Lordships, his Excellency, and all the world.
Count Mansfeldt is to start to-day for Douay, and thence to Lisle,
to hold his council of war there, with a good number of cavalry.
And to secure the goodwill of the town of Valenciennes he has
feasted magnificently the magistrates of the place with other
burghers, as I doubt not he will do in the other towns.
The Prince of Condé arrived yesterday at la Fère with a good
troop of horse, and took possession of that town.
As for the letters to the officials and soldiers of this place, it can
do nothing but good, in order to keep them in their posts, to write
in conformity with mine of the 3rd ult.
For the rest, I find myself much hampered with many difficulties
and much to do in the government and maintenance of this place,
town and country. Do me the honour, as soon as possible, to send
me some men of experience as well political as military, by whose
advice I may so conduct myself as not to fall into disorder and confusion.
—Citadel of Cambray, the last of December, (fn. 1) 1579. (Signed)
Boudewyn de Gavre.
Copy (rather careless). Fr. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 55.]
545. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
The king gave me leave the other day to remind him that some
order must be taken for punishing and avoiding the insolence of
pirates, as also to move him for the particular suits of certain
English merchants, as commanded by the Lords and your letters.
I found him very gracious in that behalf, promising me expedition
in those affairs. I left with him memorials of them. In this conference
he spoke of his devotion towards her Majesty, expressing his
desire to see the good success of the cause they have so long looked
for, and asking me of Mr Stafford's return. In answer, I made
demonstration of her Highness's amiable dealings with him and all
his, and that in 'affection of amity' she was as much French as
any prince not born in France, which should be manifested, if it had
not already been sufficiently shown ; and with other such words I
parted from the king, leaving him in his cabinet, and addressed
myself to Queen Mother, to whom I delivered what I had 'passed'
with his Majesty, beseeching her assistance toward the effecting of
my demands, which she granted me, adding that the Queen's causes
were more recommended to her than those of any other prince, and
trusting she should receive that comfort at her Majesty's hands
which none else could give her. She seemed to hearken after some
good news that Mr Stafford might bring. Upon occasion of this,
she spoke of the Spanish king and his ambassador, whereon I took
occasion to remind her of the troubles that continued in her own
realm. Meantime she suffered King Philip easily to carry away the
inheritance of Portugal, to which it was thought she might lay just
With this the king comes down from his cabinet, and came
toward his mother with two or three reverences. She began to say :
"My son, you are happened well hither, for we were 'entered into
the purpose' of King Philip, and of his greatness." Then I began
again upon the matter of Portugal, showing the king the opinion
was, the right belonged to Madame his mother, so that it was looked
for he should undertake the enterprise in her behalf. Likewise the
troubles of Flanders laid open that country for him to think thereon,
thereby to draw to him such ancient right as his ancestors had
The king's answer was that it would be a good enterprise for his
brother when he should be married to the Queen, and thereby they
might be strong enough for King Philip.
I said : "Sir, how first for the disposition of the Queen, she has
shown always to have only mind to maintain those dominions which
her father left her, not being ambitious to aspire to the seats of
others' estates, as many proofs have been made, on occasions when
she was so tempted. As for Monsieur he could but serve his
Majesty in these rights, for the inheritance was in his Majesty's
person." Methought in speaking these words the king privily
jogged the Queen, both his hands being in his furred manchon.
The Queen Mother thereon said the realm of France had been so
'travailed' that as yet they had found no good means to enter into
war. So they folded up those purposes. And both she and the
king still fell into their tune of marriage ; which seemed to me
rather a shifting from the purpose to cover their other meaning.
So I left them with those speeches, and resorted to Chiverni,
keeper of the seal, to whom I delivered the complaints of the
merchants as the king had directed me, with a note at large of all
restitutions made to the French by the Queen's command. I
received from Chiverni good words and gentle promises. Since
that time the causes for pirates and the notes of the English
merchants have been committed to the consideration of M. la MotheFènelon,
whom I have solicited in their behalf. I understand from
him that the Council have had my requests in deliberation ; so that
order is assigned according to the quality of the merchants' complaints,
of which my Lord shall be advertised when the resolutions
M. de Puygaillard is come from Monsieur to lament to the king
that he has not been made privy to the affairs which pass in the
Court, and particularly of the levies which the king promises in
Germany ; to which as yet the king has made no answer.
Monsieur continues his 'determinate' journey to Bourges [qu.
Bourgueil], which it is thought will move the king to seek to
content him, for as yet he is 'nothing pleased.'
The King of Navarre has sent M. Bouchart to signify to the king
the urgent causes which move the Reformed Churches to keep the
towns which should have been surrendered last September. His
declaration has been reasonably well accepted, and the king has
a mind to send some Counsellors of the Parliament of Paris to
administer justice in Languedoc and those provinces where the
disorders are greatest. The King of Navarre has sent M. de
Haucourt to the king with very favourable letters on behalf of the
Prince of Condé. In some parts of Languedoc and Guyenne they
are like to have some stir, and ready to take arms if a remedy be
not appointed presently.
Copy. [France IV. 40(5).]
546. The QUEEN to the FRENCH KING.
If our actions, my dear brother, were always judged by our
intentions, I should have no fear of any verdict condemning my
tardy decision. But we princes being better able to judge of what
concerns us than the ignorant spectators of our affairs, shall be
careful, I hope, not to condemn each other rashly. I am persuaded
that your experience of the way in which time furthers many difficult
transactions while haste often spoils the best plans, will excuse me.
If there has been any fault on my part, I shall be worthy of pardon,
since delay injures me most. And to put an end to this long
waiting I shall pray God for this grace only, that it may so crown
this work that you may never have cause to regret this opinion nor
Monsieur ever find reason to repent his choice. For my own part
I firmly believe that my happiness will be only too great for an old
woman to whom paternosters will suffice in place of nuptials.
Nevertheless I shall be always ready to receive the Commissioners
when you please to send them, having consideration of such time
as may seem to you most convenient. And I beg you to believe
that if Monsieur finds anything to object to in me, he will have
great reason to complain of you, who have always so sought this
cause. Wherefore look to it, that you are receiving admonition
One assurance I can give you : that as old people do not seek war,
I shall not abandon that quality of theirs in the instance of France,
and shall not fail to promote good feeling between you two, who are
already allied by so close affection.— 'De non pareill' [i.e. Nonsuch ;
where the Court was May-July 1580, and not again till Sep. 1581.]
Holograph draft. Fr. 1 p. [France IV. 123 bis.]