ANDREA VAN METTICOVERY (fn. 1) to WALSINGHAM.
As a faithful servant he must not fail in what he owes to his
Honour ; and that by means of so wise and noble a gentleman
there may come to light the designs of the King of Spain and the
Duke of Parma, he desires to give him some little information.
Having learnt that the fleet now being made ready is to set out
for this country and that the commander is to be the Duke of
Parma, he thinks that his honour should learn whether the King
and the Duke have not some support from those in England.
Believes he has found a method of doing so and that the Lord
has inspired him, for during the past night there came into his
memory three of his companions, couriers at times for secret
Spanish affairs to his Highness and only going on matters of great
importance ; and reflecting that now is the time when all designs
occuring here are sent to Spain, he wishes to give his honour
information thereupon. The names of these men are Siatler (?),
Spaza and Daniel de Val, and when they are travelling they stop
in Paris with M. Handrich van Gellen, who has means, by the
bureau of Navarre, quickly and secretly to procure them passports
to enable them to pass safely through Navarre, where if his
Honour could have them stayed, he believes that there would
come to light matters of great importance, which would be of much
use to this realm, and comfort to her Majesty. Has been told by
the Lieutenant [of the Tower] that his honour graciously intends
to release him. If he will do so, and will employ him, he promises
as a faithful servant to do such good service and make such
important discoveries as shall astonish him. This should be
done as soon as possible, for now is the time. He therefore
prays that liberty may be granted him to travel for his health,
he having been confined for a year, and that his Honour will
vouchsafe to remember him, and the poverty in which he finds
himself.—Tower of London, 2 September, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1½ pp. [Holland X. 1.]
LEICESTER to the LORDS OF THE COUNCIL.
Although I have written at large to her Majesty of our news
here, I thought it not amiss to certify your lordships also thereof.
Being on my way to relieve Berck, I found myself greatly
annoyed by this town of Doesbourgh, the garrison whereof
daily intercept our carriages and men, which, considering how
hurtful it would be to us when we were gone further, and having
my forces and munition ready, I resolved to attempt the
town. On Tuesday last I encamped before it and entrenched it
round. "The next night I made my approaches ; on Thursday
night planted our ordnance, and yesterday by five oclock in the
morning began to batter. By two oclock after noon the breach
was made saultable and all our army, both horse and foot set
ready in battle, and they which had the charge of the assault
(in truth against my will, for the hazard of their persons, but
that their importunate desire was such as they would not be
denied) the Count Hohenlo and Sir John Norreis, had led their
companies even almost to the ditch under the breach ; at which
time they of the town offered parley ; for which I had very much
to do to stay our men, being so far forward, but that I was fain
to go myself and press them with authority.
"The first demand made by the town was that they might
depart with arms and baggage, which being denied them, at
length they desired only their lives, which (considering it was a
most honourable composition for us) I was content to grant them,
that the soldiers should depart with white wands, except the Captains
and officers, and they to remain prisoners at my pleasure ; the
burghers their lives and goods in my hands ; in which terms the
town was immediately rendered." Since then, I have been
advertised that the Prince was coming to relieve it, and is now
within ten miles of us, but he will come too late, and besides
winning the town, we have thereby "raised the Prince from Berck
to come to raise us hence."—Camp before Doesbourgh, 3 September,
Signed. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holland X. 2.]
LEICESTER to BURGHLEY.
On the taking of Doesburg, to the same effect as the above.
Says that the town is fair and large, "of a mile and half in circuit
and reasonably well walled and ditched round about ; though
somewhat impoverished yet of importance for the river of Isel
running under it."—Camp before Doesbourgh, 3 September, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. 3.]
Extract of the Sieur de Nivelt's instruction, with which he
was sent to his Excellency on this date.
By other letters dated in London 10 December, 1585, to [sic]
the said Jacques [Ringout] (suppressing always his name)
written to the said Etienne Peret touching certain secret
correspondences between them and some under the enemy,
as follows :—Advising you that the agents I have in the
quarter of Ghent [margin "au lieu de Kent] are gentlemen of
good standing, and willing to be my substitutes.
Endd. Fr. ¼ p. [Ibid. 4.]
REINGOUT to [WILKES.]
I understand that these deputies are waiting upon your honour
in order to give you an account of the causes of the imprisonment
of Etienne Peret, servant and minister of his Excellency, by
virtue of letters patents signed by his Excellency and countersigned
by the secretary in full Council of State. But I beg
you to remember that this matter here for which this Peret
is one of his Excellency's commissioners (of whom the number
is 15 or 16 for all the principal towns) has made me odious to
the said deputies, and consequently the said Peret also, who I
assure you is a zealous servant of his Excellency and for the
good of the country, and a mortal enemy of these gentlemen
who thus infamously undermine the authority of his Excellency,
in the assurance that they will be seconded by those of the
Council of State, their pensionaries (that is to say, their wages
being paid by them, not by the Prince).
But they cannot deny that, against the authority of his Excellency,
they have made an attempt against one of his ministers,
which he should not suffer, if he does not wish to be abused at
every turn ; nay, even letting themselves be heard say on all
hands in their taverns and conversations that if they had me
there they would make me also a prisoner.
That if his Excellency should not counterguard this, and hold
in his protection and safe-keeping those whom he puts in office,
and who study only to do him humble service, their condition
will be very miserable.
Your honour will remember that I showed you a duplicate of
my writing exhibited in the Council of State, and there approved
by his Excellency on July 2, as you may see by the decree written
in the margin, pursuant to which there were sent to Peret and
the others commissions and instructions at which they cry out,
being (at least most of them) "Lorridrayers," (fn. 2) and that if this
commission goes forward (as in other places), they will be discovered.
The said Peret has had other charges from his Excellency as
regards salt, wines and cloths estimated to bear—being collected
according to the suggestion of the said Peret—more than 1,500,000
florins, and by my own, more than two millions. On which I
have, by order of his Excellency (of which I send you an extract
from the memoire of Mr. 'Athy') held friendly correspondence
with the said Peret, of which (by what I can learn) they spread
false rumours. They say I am bankrupt, wherein they have
abused the truth. Truly, I demanded of the States General a
delay against my creditors for six months, after the enemy had
newly seized my estate of Canwerbourg, worth 4000 florins a
year, besides other property which he had held for eight or
nine years, and besides 13,000 florins which they themselves owe
me for money lent, and also more than 7000 florins which they
owe me of my wages in their Chambre des Aydes or Treasury, up
to about the year '84, as your honour has seen. For the rest I
like much better that they should say of me that I am spoiled
of my patrimonies than to have the report of being in a few years
grown from a small and mean fellow to great substance, as many
among them have done.
They speak also of my accounts, but it is all falsehoods and
lies, for I will show by the authentic duplicate of the said accounts
that I have, signed by the then Secretary of State, and by the
closure of the account, that they owe me 13,200 florins.
These are but factions, which fall to earth as soon as they are
born, when the authority of the master is interposed without
suffering himself to be abused by a crowd of pensionaries. His
Excellency has commanded me more than five times that I
should draw up public remonstrances on this subject, and I have
been always averse from doing so, hoping that they would amend
their ways, although in the end, I drew one up in the form of a
minute, which I have sent to M. de Sydney, but not yet to his
Excellency ; and M. de Sydney thinks it very good and to the
purpose ; yet so far I have held it back, in the said hope.
But not to trouble your honour further, I maintain that I will
yet do her Majesty more service (being countenanced) than they
will all do in a year ......praying you to do so much in favour
of the authority of his Excellency as to remit these matters to
his jurisdiction ; otherwise they will do worse things than the
Duke of Alva ever did.
What I say is only by way of advice, for I do not wish to fall
out with them so long as I see myself upheld as is fitting. I
greatly long to be with you, to tell you many other things, but
they must be put off until a more convenient season.—Utrecht,
14 September, 1586.
No address, but Endd : in Wilkes' hand "14 Septembris, stilo novo.
Mr. Ringoult, dresser declarations publiques contre les Estats."
French. 4 pp. [Holland X. 5.]
SIR THO. CECIL to BURGHLEY.
This gentleman, Mr. Georg taking to her Majesty the news of
the winning of 'Dewsborowgh,' I accompany him with these few
lines, having only three days ago written from Elthem, the very
day we marched to Dewsborow, being Tuesday, August 30. On
Thursday we planted two pieces of artillery ; Friday by five in
the morning our whole artillery played upon the town ; by one
oclock the breach, as we thought, made saultable, and by two
all our companies in arms before the town. "Captain Pryce's
and Captain Wilson's two bands led the fore point ; Colonel
Norris, myself and Captain Borowes led the second, and so divers
other companies followed ; but by the way .... his Excellency
took me away and would not suffer me nor divers other gentlemen
that were ready to march. But in the end the town yielded
[Gives conditions]. "The captain of the town was one [blank]
an Almain, and most of the soldiers Almains. The town was of
no great force, but so highly walled about as it could not be well
scaled. It is a town....of no trade of merchants, but the
burghers only lived by grazing, by reason of the goodness and
richness of the soil." Our loss was not above thirty persons, and
about forty hurt, but none of account but the Lord Marshall and
Captain Williams, "the Marshal under the navel, as it seemeth
....without any entrance further than the skin....and Captain
Williams in the arm." [So far the letter is in Cecil's own hand.]
I have to conclude in my man's hand, "being so touched with
a sudden fever over night, as this morning that I had neither
head, hand nor back able to perform the rest ; but hoping within
three or four days to mend, I mean to remove and follow the
Camp till I see the end of our victory in the field."—Doesbourgh
4 September, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. 6.]
SIR JOHN NORREYS to WILKES.
"I have for divers respects forborne to write unto you....[but]
these shall serve to let you understand the success of our journey.
Tuesday we encamped before this town. By reason our artillery
arrived very late the Wednesday, our approaches were deferred
till the Thursday, when we planted twelve pieces of artillery
and with the 'diana' on Friday we began to batter. Our
equipage for the artillery was so bad that before we had shot three
tyre, three or four of our best pieces became unserviceable.
The weakness of the town, notwithstanding, was such that by
noon two indifferent breaches were made. Our troops being
assembled towards the assault, the one breach was allotted to
the Dutch and Scottish, the other to the English. On our side
was to take the point my own company, Capt. Burrowe and Capt.
Price. Myself, with the Lord Governor of the Brill's company,
my brother Henry's and Capt. Wilson ; to second, my Lord
Burrowe, my Lord Governor of the Brill and divers other lords
and gentlemen were earnestly desirous to accompany me, but
none permitted. Whilst we were preparing for the assault,
his Excellency sent a trumpet to the town, with what instructions
I cannot write, for I was not made acquainted with it. He
returning....with news that they would render the place, the
assault was stayed and the trumpet sent back again, but lest
the trumpet should offer too largely, I stepped to the breach
myself and proposed these conditions : [as in Leicester's letter
above] and this they accepted." His Excellency appointed two
of Sir William Stanley's companies to enter at one gate, and
myself with three other at another gate, "with express charge
that nothing should be spoiled ; but before that I could make
the way ready for my companies to enter, Sir William Stanley's
men, entering in disorder at a postern gate, had quickly rifled
the town. Because I found fault herewith, Sir William Stanley
begins to quarrel with me, hath braved me extremely and refuseth
to take any direction from me ; and although I have sought for
redress hereof, yet is it proceeded in so coldly that he taketh
encouragement rather to increase the quarrel than to leave it.
In this state I stand continually ; every hour subject to tumults,
which is a matter so dangerous for me, that have so few friends,
that [it] makes me again desire your earnest furtherance for my
revocation, and....that I may speedily hear from you what I
may hope for." I send you herewith a note [wanting] answering
the objections laid against me, which I trust will satisfy her
Majesty and yourself.—Camp by Doesburgh, 6 September, 1586.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Wilkes. "From Sir John Norreys
to myself." 2 pp. [Holland X. 7.]
HUDDILSTON to BURGHLEY.
On Saturday, the 27th of last month, my Lord General left
Arnhem, and found our troops which had marched before that
night, at Elthen, "a place of most pleasant prospect in the Duke
of Cleves' country." Next morning he viewed our English
infantry, about 5000 men and "for so many a brave troop of
able and likely men." Counsel being then taken, his Lordship
altered his intended course towards Berck and it was concluded
to march towards Doesburgh, in the county of Zutphen, on the
river Ysel. "And so we dislodged upon Tuesday morning, and
encamped that night before the town ; and the same night the
Lord Marshal received his hurt. Within the town, besides the
inhabitants, were only two ensigns of soldiers, all of the Low
Countries, and some thirty or forty horses. Artillery there was
very little, and the greatest piece not above a saker. The town
wall of brick, built after the old manner, with towers and turrets,
not the aptist to flank one another otherwise than with small
shot ; neither is the wall rampired with earth on the inside, nor
ditched, for the most part of it, otherwise than with the stream
of the old Ysel," which only draws about three feet of water on
the side where we battered it. Wednesday and Thursday, we
chose the place for our battery and settled our camp, which at
first lay very large and so more easy to be distressed if the enemy
approached, which every day we were put in doubt of. Thursday
night we placed our artillery, about ten or twelve pieces of cannon,
demi-cannon and such like on the south west side of the town.
Friday morning we began our battery and by noon had made
two breaches, one about four score foot wide, the other scarce
half so large, both assaultable, "but that the continual travail
of the besieged reinforced strongly the places with beds, tubs,
logs of wood, boards and such like trash, by means whereof the
ascent was not so easy as outwardly it seemed." When the
time came for the assault, Sir J. Norreys coming to my Lord
General to ask what companies he would appoint for it, "my
lord referred over the matter to him, who, as a man satis prodigus
magnœ animœ, answered that he knew none fitter for that purpose
than himself, respecting that he was Colonel General of the
infantry. His lordship at the first refused to agree to it, saying
he would reserve him to some service of less hazard and greater
importance. After a few words of objection the matter was thus
appointed :—that Captain J. Burgh, Capt. Price and Francis
Allen, lieutenant of Sir J. Norreys' footband, with their companies
should take the point of the assault ; and Sir Jo. Norreys, Mr.
Harry Norreys with his company, Capt. Wilson with some thirty
of his, and Sir William Stanley with three companies of his
regiment should second the first ; the Lord Audley with his to
follow as third.
"Here my Lord General countermanded many that were
desirous to accompany Sir J. Norreys, and whom at first he had
given leave unto, as the Lord Burgh, a man in most vehement
passion receiving the countermand ; the lord Governor of Brill,
who having his own band and some other captains and soldiers
of the Brill with Sir J. Norreys stood resolute to the attempt ;
the lord governor of Flyssing with his brother Capt. Robert
Sidney, Sir William Russell, Mr. William Knollys, Mr. Hatton,
Mr. Umpton, Mr. Harry Goodere and other, who with great
forwardness expressed their desire to do her Majesty service in
this honourable action. The Dutch and Scots, unto whom it
fell by lot to take the less breach of the two, stood prepared in
the mean while to march on with the first, upon whom Sir J.
Norreys having a jealous eye, lest any honour should be taken
from our nation by their too much forwardness, suspecting that
which I think they least meant, hastened so fast the march of
that troop which himself led, as when he was appointed to be
second, I assure myself he had been first, had it not happily
fallen out that in the meanwhile....my lord General had sent
a trumpet to the town, to put them in mind of their hard estate,
and as it were, again to summon them to composition," which
offer they accepted. [Terms of surrender.]
"Immediately the town was entered, where divers disorders
have been committed, as in such cases it happeneth ; though,
(God be thanked) none specially notorious. The town is but
poor ; nothing to answer either the need or greediness of the
soldier. Capt. Burgh is appointed governor. Our whole camp
is lodged so strongly between the town and the great stream of
the Ysel as a far mightier enemy cannot hurt us."
We have well upon 7000 foot and 2000 horse, with which we
await further knowledge of the course the enemy will take. We
have not lost above thirty with small shot from the walls into the
trenches and platform where our ordnance played. In which
place Sir John Conway, supplying the room of the Master of the
Ordnance by the Lord General's commandment, did both by
his pain and hazard of his person discharge the part of an able
As regards matter of charge, I can tell you no more than in
my last. Here are neither musters taken or full pay appointed
beyond April 12, albeit the imprests are very large, whereby the
treasure draws low. The money for the Brill is stayed by Sir
Tho. Cecil's order till his return thither. He has had two fits
of ague, but this morning was let blood and looks better far than
he did, so there is good hope he shall escape his fit tonight.—
Camp at Doesbourg, 6 September, 1586.
Add. Endd. 3¾ pp. [Holland X. 8.]
Sept. 6. (fn. 3)
M. HOTMAN to WILKES.
Since your departure we have come before Doesburg, and on
this, the third day, have battered it so furiously with eight
cannons that we had two sufficient breaches, and as our men,
emulating each other (I mean the Germans and the English)
were both valiantly desiring to be the first to give the assault,
those of the town demanded to treat and capitulated. [Terms
given.] His Excellency has permitted no violence to be used
towards the burghers or what belongs to them, but although he
gave orders to Mr. Norris and Mr. York to be on their guard, it
was not possible to prevent the savage Irish from getting in by the
breach and pillaging the churches and most part of the houses,
whereat his Excellency has shown himself this evening very ill-pleased.
Tomorrow he will make his entry. They tell us that
the enemy is approaching.
As to the matter on which I prayed you to speak to his Excellency,
there has been no result as yet and I believe they scorn
a poor stranger ; but God will confound hypocrites and bless his
own, and I hope you will be always my friend, as hitherto.
His Excellency has put as governor into this town Mr. Borowes,
brother of my Lord Borowes, two gentlemen of great valour,
as they have shown this day. The Marshal of the camp, going
to reconnoitre the place where the cannon was to be put (his
Excellency being just behind him) was wounded by a shot from
an arquebus in the side, but, thank God, not dangerously. This
morning Capt. Roger Williams was wounded in the arm. We
[Dutch] have lost ten or twelve men, besides the wounded. I
hope you will honour me with a line to tell me of your safe return
to England.—Camp before Doesburg, 6 September, 1586.
I beg you to send the enclosed at once to M. Buzenval.
Add. to "M. Wilkes, secretaire du Conseil d' Estat." Signed.
Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holland X. 9.]
P. BIZARI to WALSINGHAM.
As Mr. Wilkes will report all the news, this is only to beg his
honour to keep him ever in his own and her Majesty's good
graces. Hears with great sorrow of Mr. Robert Beale's dangerous
illness.—The Hague, 17 September, stilo novo.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. 10.]
LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
As I must write to her Majesty at large, and have not much
leisure, being now upon removing of the camp toward Zutphen,
I pray you bear with me that I write not with my own hand.
"I understand by a report....that the proceeding of justice
against the Queen of Scots is deferred until a parliament, whereat
I do greatly marvel, if it should be true, considering how dangerous
such delay might be, for the mischief that might in the mean
time be practised and attempted against her Majesty's person
(though some small branches of these conspiracies be taken
away) yet by the greater boughs which are not unknown to
remain ; to whom (in my opinion) it were not good to give that
opportunity which might be taken in so long time while a parliament
may be called and assembled, and such a cause debated
and determined, Wherefore I pray you....have a special
respect to this case, considering what hath been already done by
the oath of Association, which hath been also confirmed in
Parliament, and that there may be in no wise any delays admitted
to the hazard of her Majesty's person, which I doubt not but you
will be most careful and circumspect to prevent."—Camp at
Doesbourg, 9 September, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland X. 11.]
[The Instrument of Association, i.e. The Act for Provision to be
made for the Surety of the Queen's Majesty's most Royal Person
was read for the first time in the Lords, 10 March, 1585  ;
(27 Eliz. C.I.)
"State" of the contributions granted to his Excellency by
the States General for the eight months from January 10, to
September 9, 1586 ; given in pounds at the rate of forty gros
monnaie de Flandres la livre. Being mostly payments to captains
of the country and officials. Total 1,600,000l.
Endd. "Estat de la despense de huict mois de l'ordinaire."
Fr. 8½ pp. [Ibid. 12.]
LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
"I have received your letters touching your servant Bruyn
one of the victuallers here, whom no man hath sought (as far
as I know) to put from the employment..... But himself being
in talk with my servant Browne about their joining together in
that service....hath made offer to Browne that as Bruyn hath
victualled hitherto by himself, so Browne shall hereafter for a
certain time victual the same places by himself, and neither to
meddle with other's account. Which offer....if he should now
find fault with, I know not whom he may justly blame but himself."
I hear of nothing else in prejudice of him, and have always
been ready to show him what pleasure I might, for your sake,
though I have no great cause to commend his service.—Camp
before Doesbourg, 10 September, 1586.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. 13.]
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY to WALSINGHAM.
"These onlly shall bee, in the most humble and effectuall
manner I can, to desyre your thorow frendship to one of the most
assured frendes that I have ever had. It is my Lord Borrow, who
by Sir Tho. Cecill's choice and my L. the General's very good
lyking is left by him in his absens governour of Brill. If siknes
or other caws stai Sir Tho. in England, then my suit, as earnest
as I can make for any thing, is that he may succeed him, for it
beeing most necessary that som man of very good cowntenance
remain there, he both in valeur, judgment, religion deserving it,
shold be exceedingli disgrased if, being left in it by Sir Thomas,
an other shold take it from him. The matter and my mynd I
shal not need furder to manifest to your honor, but recomending
it as my self, humbli leav you to the blessed protection of the
Almighty. At the Camp by Dusburg, this 10 of September,
1586, your humble son Ph. Sidney."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. Seal of arms. [Ibid. 14.]