CAPTAIN WILLIAM BORLAS to WALSINGHAM.
This morning, munitions and victuals were sent hence to
Sluece, "but the enemy being very strong and having planted
his ordnance on the dyke to keep the passage, beat the boats in
such sort that they could not get in. Two ships of war went
with them to guide them in were so beaten with their ordnance
that they were driven aground, and the captains of them, being
cowards, came out of their ships and left them to the enemy . . .
a great loss, besides the dishonour. There was also lost some two
hoys with corn ; but this night I trust there will be some other
attempt to put in some munition. There was and is as great
diligence used to supply the wants that are in the town as is
possible. There is already sent in, I trust, victuals and munitions
for two or three months. If in that time they may be succoured
I trust the enemy shall get nothing . . . . It is credibly reported
that the Prince hath sworn he will not rise from thence till such
time as he hath the town, for he hath above thirty battering
pieces and doth mean to batter it in three places." Sir Roger
Williams has taken into it four ensigns ; viz : Baskerfeild, Harte,
Udall and Vear, besides many gentlemen, and there are nine
ensigns in the town, so that there are some 1700 men in all. . . .
Master Blunt ("Blutte") went with the ships that were taken
but is back here again. The lord send my lord of Leicester, and
that quickly, or all will be naught.—Flusching, 6 June, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XV. f. 39.]
Explanation of the letter of February 4, 1587, given by the
States General.—The Hague, 17 June, 1587. (fn. 1)
Fr. 17¼ pp. [S.P. For. Archives, XC. p. 237.]
THE PRIVY COUNCIL to the LORD TREASURER.
Desiring him to give 20l. (out of the 2000l. kept back of the
last treasure sent into the Low Countries) to the bearer, Robert
Arden, appointed to take charge of the victuals to be sent to
Sluce.—The Court at Greenwich, 7 June, 1587.
Copy. ¼ p. [Holland XV. f. 41.]
LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
"I have spoken at large this day with Do. Jos., who is marvellously
informed of all the doings in the Low Countries, and of
the particularities of Count Morryce and Hollock ; and he hath
brought me a message from the Princess of Orange.
"He telleth me plainly my lord of Buckhurst hath done the
King of Spain better service there in these two months than Don
Barnar : de Mand[oza] did him in seven year ; for he affirmeth
for certain that he was the only cause of the liberty of victual
to go to the enemy, and hath warranted to satisfy her Majesty,
for it is enough, he said, that he can tell her Majesty it was the
only ready way to make money for the States. By which act,
the Prince is now greatly stored, for there went two hundred
sail presently to Sass in Flanders, near Biervliett, which doth
now maintain the Prince's army ; and daily goeth more, by which
means shortly he will be better provided than either Holland
and Zeeland. In troth the King of Spain hath got more good by
this than ever he will bring with his peace to her Majesty. He
telleth me other matters . . . which I have willed him to tell you
also. It behoveth her Majesty to be sure of her counsellors.
In deed this is a way both to force the States and her Majesty
also to a peace, whether good or bad ; and there is no remedy
but you must procure her Majesty's earnest letters to the States
of Holland to stay this licence of victual or all will be marred ;
and write also to some good towns, as Dort and Delph, of her
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. f. 42.]
Letter from the States General to her Majesty. Inform her
of the resolution taken on the 13th inst. N.S. to form a camp, with
the appointment of the general and other officers. They have
asked General Norris to act as Marshal because of his distinguished
and faithful service for several years, his many good qualities,
his knowledge of the country and people, his popularity with
the soldiers and others, his acquaintance with the ruses and
practices of the enemy and with what means the Low Countries
conduct their affairs. Hearing of her intention to recall him
beg her to consider the importance of his services and experience to
the county and how greatly it would suffer from his withdrawal
at this conjuncture.—The Hague, 18 June, 1587.
Copy. Fr. 1 p. [S.P. For. Arch. XC., p. 231.]
Letter from the States General to his Excellency. Satisfaction
at his return. Owing to the siege of Sluys they have been obliged
to anticipate arrangements for making a camp, appointing
Count Maurice general, Count Hohenlo lieutenant and General
Norris marshal with other appointments. Hope he will take
it in good part. The Provinces have advanced about 500,000
florins by way of extraordinary contributions for the payment
of the troops now serving and for the reiters etc. levied
by the Count of Moeurs. The provinces will do their duty
in furnishing their contributions for the rest of the year.
Expectation of help in money and men from the queen with
request that no fresh levies at the charge of the country be made
by Alex. Dyer or any other.—The Hague, 18 June, 1587.
Copy. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid., p. 232.]
THE COUNCIL OF STATE to LEICESTER.
Acknowledging his letter of May 31 O.S. and expressing their
pleasure at hearing that her Majesty had determined to send him
over shortly. According to his desire, they have spoken with the
States General concerning the taking means to join some forces
with those expected from her Majesty and hope they will write
to her of their willingness to do what the state of their affairs
allows. For themselves, they have not as yet any means at
their disposition, not having been able to come to an agreement
with the provinces, which must be left to his Excellency at his
coming, as they have asked the ambassador to inform him.
Will at all times do their duty for the good of those countries,
having given order, together with the States General, for the
provision of victuals, munition and soldiers for Sluys and will
send more with all possible diligence, taking such care for the
succour of the place as its importance requires.
The States General—hearing of the siege of the town and seeing
that time pressed and that the coming of his Excellency was
uncertain ; also that there were not means to oppose against
the designs of the enemy, and that he expects to take the town
[of Sluys], so that the people begin to murmur, and some towns
declare that they will not contribute if they do not see ways
used to make head against the enemy—have found it expedient,
to erect a camp of as many horse and foot as can possibly be
obtained in the country, leaving the towns and strong places
furnished with garrisons. And in order to put all in order, and
that discipline may be established and maintained, (which would
not be possible without a chief to command all) ; in order also
to do away with all emulations and jealousies, the States General
have likewise advised that Count Maurice shall be established
as chief and general of the said camp provisionally only during his
lordship's absence and without any prejudice to his authority ;
the plan being to enter first into Brabant and there spoil the
harvest, by which means it is hoped to deprive the enemy of the
means to continue the siege of Sluys and other places, or at least
to divert him from them. In the same manner, the principal
officers for the conduct of the war are also appointed : viz.
Count Hohenlohe as lieut.-general of the army ; Count Moeurs,
general of the cavalry, General Norris, marshal of the camp,
but all only provisionally, while awaiting his Excellency's arrival,
who will then be able to dispose of all things as he thinks best
for the service of her Majesty and the good of the country.—
The Hague, 18 June, 1587.
French. 1¾ pp. [Holland XV. f. 45.]
SIR JOHN NORREYS to BURGHLEY.
"This morning I received letters from Mr. Secretary, whereby
I understand her Majesty's resolution for my revocation, for
the which I do give your honour [sic] most humble thanks."
I shall put myself in readiness to leave on receipt of her Majesty's
order, and pray that the Auditor and Muster-Master may be enjoined
to make up my accounts, and the Treasurer to pay what is
due to me for my entertainment, officers and companies, that I
may discharge my credit, largely employed for relief of my soldiers
in their necessity, "which I am sure the most malicious will
confess I have always kept in greater numbers than I had allowance
for, and in better sort than their pay would maintain them."
As certain captains fear my lord's displeasure in respect of having
long served under me, and, as is said have been threatened, I
pray that I may bring them away with me, and that they may
have their accounts and payments. I think they will be only
three or four, for I will not disfurnish her Majesty's service without
Two days ago, certain from the States General and Council
of State were sent to propose two points to me : First that
having concluded to form a camp, they earnestly desired me
to be High Marshal of it, and second (after some compliments)
they entreated that they might write to her Majesty to alter
or defer her resolution to revoke me. To the first, I deferred
giving present order as "it might prejudice the authority of
the contract that he which commandeth her Majesty's forces
should hold so low a place," and I must first communicate with
my lord of Buckhurst. "To the other, that as yet I had received
no such advice from England, but that I doubted not but that
if her Majesty did command me to any other place, her Highness
would be pleased to send thither other sufficient commanders,
and that I was wholly to obey her Majesty's pleasure." I hear
that they have notwithstanding, sent their letters, but have no
desire that they should take any effect, for "it were not only
inconvenient but unsuitable that I should remain here with my
lord's disfavour, and, remembering how subject I am to the
sinister constructions of my envious evil-willers, I must assure
your honour that I was nothing acquainted with this proposition,
and desire nothing more than to be revoked.
All the forces we can make are to be assembled on Friday next
by Huesden, where I do not think there will be in all above 4000
able foot and 1600 horse. Of English we shall be very few, both
from the weakness of our companies, and that we dare not take
out our garrisons lest they should not suffer us to come in again,
as we had proof at Utrecht, "and yet for all the garrisons it
standeth in tickle terms."
I mean to be at the assembly, and to omit nothing that may
be necessary before my lord's arrival, which should be hastened,
as many disorders need remedy, "and we here will wash our
hands of any disgrace that shall happen."—The Haghe, 8 June,
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland XV. f. 47.]
WILKES to WALSINGHAM.
On the 5th instant a courier brought letters from Themistocles
to the States and Council dated the last of May, signifying that he
will be here speedily, bringing from her Majesty what will satisfy
them all ; and appointing them to meet him at Dordrecht, where
he has given order for preparing his lodging.
It seemed strange to Lord Buckhurst and the rest of us that
before we could draw from the States their answer to her Majesty's
letters of the 3rd of May, upon which it appeared she intended to
ground her resolution both as to the succours and Themistocles'
return, this hasty promise should arrive.
"But even as the said letters were delivered unto us, sitting
in Council (the Counts Maurice, Niewenar and Hohenlo and
certain deputies of the States General being then present) we
were entered into consultation upon two propositions delivered
unto us by the States General ; whereof the first was to
let us understand that the States, in respect of the manifold
disorders and confusions of the State for lack of government,
as well in the matter of the policy as of the men of war and the
military discipline, by reason of the absence of the Governor-general ;
and that now the enemy was come into the field with
a strong army and had besieged the town of Sluce, they could no
longer defer to take order for the safety and defence of their
state, and therefore they had thought it requisite to have an
army into the field to resist the designs of the enemies, and that
the Count Maurice should be established as general of the field to
command over all the men of war ; and that under him should
be likewise appointed the other chiefest officers of the army ;
so to continue by provision until the return of his Excellency or
some other to be sent from her Majesty.
"The second proposition was that the matter of the policy
and civil government should remain with the Council of State as
it had done sithence the departure of his Excellency ; but in
other sort, removing and cassing all such acts as had been made
by his said Excellency in diminution or restriction of the authority
formerly given by the States General to the Council.
"These two propositions, delivered by the States, were put in
deliberation by the Chancellor Leoninus (the States being desired
to withdraw themselves) and every man's opinion and suffrage
demanded. My lord Buckhurst was the first whose opinion was
required, who very discreetly answered that it was a matter
whereunto he could say nothing, as not being authorized from her
Majesty to intermeddle himself so far with their government, and
therefore desired to be excused, leaving to themselves to take such
order for their own preservation as they should think most
convenient, and might not be repugnant to the contract made
with her Majesty.
"Sir John Norrys and myself desired in like sort to be excused
for our opinions and voices therein, and so refused to speak
either with or against, although we were extremely pressed by
the whole Council thereunto. In the end, the election of the
Count Maurice was by the rest assented unto and concluded.
"The letters were hereupon delivered and read, which gave
some stay of any further proceeding until the next meeting in the
afternoon, where, after my lord ambassador had ended some
conference with the Council and States General, it was eftsoons
urged by Barnevelt, in the name of the States, that the resolution
taken in the morning concerning the election of Count Maurice
might take place, alleging that although it had seemed to them
by his Excellency's letters that her Majesty had resolved upon
his speedy return, yet forasmuch as the counsels and resolutions
of princes are often subject to change and alteration upon new
occasion, they did not think it fit that their late purpose concerning
the Count Maurice should receive any interruption ; so that
now the Count is appointed General of all the forces, et quid
"Touching the second proposition, it is also concluded by the
States that the several acts made by his Excellency to abridge
the authority of the Council shall be cassed."
And now I pray your honour to procure my speedy recall,
for if her Majesty will not call me home I shall hazard her displeasure
by returning without leave, being resolutely determined
not to stay here after his Excellency's arrival. I have received
sure advertisement of his implacable hatred towards me, and how
he has brought me out of her Majesty's favour, therefore it
behoves me to have regard to myself, and I mean not "to be
dandled with any love days or reconciliations."—8 June, 1587.
Copy. 2¾ pp. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 112.]
THE QUEEN to LORD BUCKHURST.
We have been informed that very lately there have been
suffered to pass, by licence of the States, out of Holland and
Zeeland, two hundred vessels laden with several sorts of victuals,
to a place called Sas in Flanders, held by the enemy, "whereby
he has been enabled to lay siege to the town of Sluce, which
otherwise he could not conveniently have done," which tending
greatly to the prejudice of the common cause, we have written
both to the Council of State and to certain towns where we
understand the victuals were laden, signifying our dislike of this
manner of dealing. "And as we doubt not but that you have
of yourself put them in mind of the great mischief that might
grow to themselves by such permissions ; and of the just offence
that we might conceive of such a kind of dealing, tending to
private profit without regard of the common cause—or else we
should think that you had greatly failed in your duty and the
trust that we repose in you for the advancement of our service
—so is it our pleasure that you should accompany these our
letters with speeches of your own to the same effect ; pressing
them earnestly that some present order may be taken for the
stay thereof, for that we cannot otherwise but repute them both
to be negligent and over-careless of their own well-doing, and
unmindful of the advice we have heretofore given them in this
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 1¾ pp.
[Holland XV. f. 94.]
"Names of captains to be appointed to take charge of the
men to be levied, and the places for their embarquement."
Lyme or Poole.
Captain John Lea, Dorset, 150 ; Capt. Robert Hitchcocke,
Wilts, 150 ; Capt. Alex. Dyer, Somerset, 150 ; Capt. Huntley,
Sandwich or Dover.
Captain Younge ; Capt. Hovenden, Kent, 300 ; Capt. Morgan
Sir Robert Sidney, Surrey, 150 ; Capt. Wm. Grey, Bucks,
150 ; Capt. Nowell, Northampton, 200 ; Capt. Moore, Bedford,
150 ; Capt. Pettye, (fn. 2) Oxon, 150 ; Capt. Tanner, (fn. 3) Berks, 200 ;
Capt. Cheston, (fn. 4) Capt. Cosbye, Essex, 300 ; Capt. Swanne, (fn. 5)
Hartford, 150 ; Capt. Thos. Knevett, Middlesex, 150 ; Sir H.
Goodyer, Warwick, 150.
Capt. Carlesse, Suffolk, 150 ; Capt. Shelton, Norfolk, 150 ;
Capt. North, Cambridge and Ely, 150.
Captain Lathom, Capt. Catlin, York, 400 ; Capt. Smythe,
Capt. Powle, Lincoln, 300.
London. Captains Goring, Barton, Sampson, White ; London, 600.
[On the covering page, in another hand, is the following list] :—
Sir W. Pelham ; Sir W. Read ; Capt. Erington ; Col. Morgan ;
Captains Bruenton, Wilson, Banister, Tanner, Sampson, Barton ;
Peu, Goring ; Hinder ; Petty ; Latham.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XV. f. 49.]
LORD BUCKHURST to WALSINGHAM.
Recommending the bearer [qy. Etienne Le Sieur], better known
to his honour than to himself, but who seems to him to have
good parts and worthy to be esteemed. He has suffered great
adversity by his long durance with the enemy, and any help
given him to recover his great losses "will be done to one that
may be used for the good service of her Majesty, and so he may
well deserve it."—10 June, 1587.
Holograph. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland XV. f. 69.]
WILKES to WALSINGHAM.
I received yours of the 2nd on the 9th instant, "signifying her
Majesty's resolution for the return of my lord of Leicester and the
revocation of Sir John Norrys ; which as it seemeth, had been
already advertised out of England from others, and specially
from Ortell to the States ; to whom the return of his Excellency
is in no proportion so agreable as the revocation of the other is
grievous, upon whose value and wisdom only they seem to have
reposed and settled their hope of good fortune and victory against
the Spaniards. But ... it were not good to urge the alteration
of her Majesty's purpose therein, lest it might hinder my lord's
speedy return, whereupon . . . the whole fortune of these countries
doth depend ; and may impeach her Majesty's liberality now
presently intended for the better defence of the cause."
I fear his lordship will construe the States' request for the
stay of Sir John to proceed from a device to hinder his own
coming, and lay it to my charge, as he does all things done
here which run not with his liking, whereof I protest I am utterly
innocent ; but as his imputations are too heavy for me to bear,
I beseech you to procure that I may be in England before he
comes away, to lay some foundation of my defence in his presence,
wherein I hope not only to show how I am wronged, but to
satisfy her Majesty, who, to my great grief, I hear is highly
incensed against me at his instigation.—The Hague, 10 June,
Postscript. My colleague [Dr. Clarke] entreats your honour
to remember your promise touching his revocation also, and the
appointment of some other in his place ; as he accounts that his
absence will be his undoing.
Copy. 1½ pp. [S.P. For. Archives XCI., p. 115.]
LEICESTER to JUNIUS.
Prays him, in view of his own speedy return, to assure the
well-affectioned of her Majesty's intention to succour the country.
And if, on the part of Lord Buckhurst or any other there has been
an attempt to persuade them that her Majesty had resolved to
treat of peace with the King of Spain, and desired to have the
approbation of the people of the country thereupon, he shall say
to them plainly that his lordship has had no such charge, and that
her Majesty has not engaged (n'a esté) in any treaty, but has only
tried to sound him as to what conditions he would give the said
countries in case of an accord.
As to which, not having perceived any assurance, she is proceeding
to do what she believes will serve for defence thereof,
as appears by the army sent out under Drake towards the Spains,
and his own return with a good number of men entertained by
her Majesty, in addition to her ordinary succours.
He shall also communicate to those who have charge over the
people and whom he thinks may be of service, that his Excellency
is returning in confidence that henceforward they will forbear
all the difficulties of the past and will yield to him such legitimate
authority as is fitting for administrating the sovereignty of the
countries, without opposition and countermining by the States,
as in the past ; being content to retain what they claim to have
had under the governors of the Emperor and the King and no
more during his own government, since he does not wish to
do anything of importance without the consent of the Council,
which will be legitimately composed of people of the country.
He shall also say that such is the intention of her Majesty as
shown in her Instructions, by which she commands him to return
if he cannot obtain from the States the authority needful in order
not to be governor in appearance and on paper only. Of which
things he desires that the honest people may be advertised, in
order that they may take timely care that nothing happen to
their prejudice and ruin against their good will and opinion.—
Greenwich, 10 June, 1587. (fn. 5)
Copy. French. 1 p. [Holland XV. f. 71.]
Another copy of the same [Ibid. f. 73].
Summary memorial of the State of the War, drawn up with her
Majesty's ambassador in presence of Counts Maurice and Hohenlo
and General 'Noritz,' with Counsellors Clerck and Wilkes, in the
Assembly of the States General, for the whole year 1587, both for
the garrisons of the towns and frontier places and for the entertainment
of a camp of 5000 horses ; 12,000 foot ; 1000 pioneers
and all necessary things. Which number will be taken partly
out of the garrisons, and partly newly levied.
The whole expense of which army is estimated to be—besides
the ordinary succours of her Majesty and the third part which
the country is still answerable for ; the charges of the war by sea
and what the Provinces pay for the service of the garrisons etc.—
Endd. Fr. 7 pp. [Ibid. XIX., f. 256.]
Reply of the States-General to Lord Buckhurst's request to
have further elucidation of the States' complaints in regard to
his Excellency's letter from London of Jan. 3 last, English
Style, expressing their desire to respect and honour him and to
conform to her Majesty's good pleasure. Fifteen articles.—The
Hague, 21 June, 1587.‡
Fr. 5 pp. [S.P. For. Archives XC., p. 259.]