WALSINGHAM to LEICESTER.
Her Majesty hearing that the enemy has taken the great
sconce before Sluce, desires you to have a special regard to Ostend,
to see all defects supplied of munition, victuals and other necessaries
for its defence, fearing that if the enemy prevails against
Sluce, he will attempt something against it. And whereas it
pleased her and my lords of the Council, at the earnest request of
the French ambassador, to recommend to your Excellency and
the Council of Zeeland the release of such French ships laden
with corn as are stayed there, I am now to signify to you that
she leaves it to your consideration to do as you shall see cause ;
save that ready money or some other consideration should be
given them for their corn, "and used otherwise with all favour."
If the corn cannot well be "uttered" there, it would find good
vent here, if sent over presently.
Draft. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Holland XVI. f. 112.]
SIR JOHN NORREYS to WALSINGHAM.
According to his honour's directions received this morning
will repair to London with all convenient speed ; having spent
the day in setting down his knowledge of the questions sent
him, which he now returns. Has not his papers there, but if
anything be mistaken therein, he will resolve his honour thereof
at his coming.—Ricott, 16 July, 1587.
Signed. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 113.]
THOMAS WILKES to WALSINGHAM.
Returns answers to the questions sent him on behalf of her
Majesty. Hopes he has answered them all "directly" and trusts
that he has not been overbold or too plain. Has begun to collect
out of his books and papers such things as are to make up the
report of proceedings in the Low Countries in the time of his
service there, but beseeches that it may not be hastily called for,
as it will require much time in the doing. Would be glad to
understand when it would be fit for him to make suit for his
enlargement. Has in the Low Countries got a disease which he
trusts [sic] will make him unfit for any more public services. It
is a fistula, and for the care thereof he is advised to go to the Bath
about the beginning of August ; wherefore, if her Majesty will
favour his poor life, he hopes she will hasten his liberty ; and
prays his honour's furtherance in the matter.—The Fleet, 17
Signed. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 114.]181
Questions to be resolved by Mr. Wilkes.
1. What moneys are still due to her Majesty from the States ;
how much has been repaid, and what has he or her other ministers
done for the recovery thereof.
2. What has been done in clearing the accounts of her Majesty
and the States, that, after the end of the war she may be answered
for what she has disbursed. And if nothing has been done, what
was the impediment.
3. How much has been collected of the extraordinary
contribution, and how employed.
4. Whether the ordinary contributions be duly paid, and how
they are like to continue.
5. "Whether the said contributions be not greater than are
answered to the public, being converted ... to the benefit of
certain particular persons."
6. Whether licence for carrying victuals to the enemy has
been granted by assent or privity of himself or any other of her
Majesty's ministers. "And if not, what he or they have done to
impeach the same."
7. What he or they have done "to procure that the regiments
of strangers serving in Zeeland might be committed to Sir William
8. "What should move the people to dislike of the overture of
peace ... and what course might be taken to draw them to like
9. Which of the States hath most credit with the people, and
whether any of them may be made instruments to draw them to
incline to a peace."
10. "What persons that have credit with the people are suspected
to incline to Spain."
11. "What towns stand doubtfully affected ... and what
garrisons are placed in the same."
12. "What towns are at the Count Hollock's devotion."
13. "How the captains and soldiers of the country birth stand
affected to Count Hollock."
14. "Which of the States are most inward with Count
15. "Whether any motion hath been made underhand by
the Count Hollock to bring the sovereignty of those countries
unto the King of Denmark, and how far the same hath been
Underneath, written by Burghley "Lord of Buckhurst, dealing
with evil-disposed, not dealing with the well-affected.
Endd. "16 July, 1587. Copy. Questions to be resolved
by Mr. Wilkes." 1½ pp. [Holland XVI. f. 115.]
[But the heading of the Answers (below) shows that the questions
were delivered on June 15.]
Answers and resolutions of Tho. Wilkes upon the questions
delivered to him, as from her Majesty, the 15 of June 1587, at
1. The knowledge of the employment of her Majesty's treasure
in no sort appertains to him, yet for his own experience and for
her Majesty's better service, he has obtained copies of the accounts.
In February last, the States declared that as it was covenanted
with the Earl of Leicester, when he first accepted the absolute
government that the administration of the treasure of the country
and payment of the men of war should be at the disposition of
his lordship and the Council of State jointly ; and as the disbursement
of the said sums has been contrary to the resolution taken,
they see no reason to charge the country therewith ; but this
notwithstanding, both he and Lord Buckhurst have urged and
demanded the said sums, but could never get them, or any part
2. The treasurer at war exhibited to the States in January
last two several books of accounts of her Majesty's charges ; and
by the apostiles added, it will appear how they allow or disallow
of the payments.
3. Cannot well tell, but supposes that at his departure from
the Hague there was not much levied.
4. The ordinary contributions have been duly paid in money,
victuals, munition etc. "It is not unlike they may be continued
but with difficulty, in respect of the spoil done upon the flat
country this last winter and the loss of Deventer ... and if
there follow any further loss of town and country, they must
of necessity diminish.
5. Thinks it has been impossible to defraud the public of any
part of the contributions, as they are farmed, and that only for
six months ; and the rates are published in print in all the
towns of each province. The farmers pay monthly to the
Receivers and they to the Receiver-General, who could not
defraud the public as all men knew how much was to be received.
Whether, since the expiration of the year, when the said contributions
have been handled by the States General, these last have
made any profit, he knows not ; but it is almost impossible
to raise the impositions, "they are already so intolerably
6. Cannot remember whether any licence was ever granted
at the Council board ; but if so "they have grown either from
the States among whom there are many Lorendrayers (as is said)
or from the masters of the convoys, who for the most part are
men of bad condition and corrupt.
But the Council has often found it necessary to grant licence
to merchants to convey cloths and other dry merchandises
to the enemy, (they giving round sums for such licences), "of
mere necessity to get money to pay their ships of war."
7. The Lord Buckhurst has by his letters sufficiently answered
this question, to whom only the matter has been recommended.
Nobody can dispose of this regiment save the Earl of Leicester,
so long as he is governor of the United Provinces.
8. Those of the Reformed Religion hate all speech of peace ;
the rest are ready to hearken to it, "the Papists for their consciences,
and the rest (Anabaptists etc.) for their ease and
commodity, having as much liberty ... in the time of Popery
as they have now." The last can be drawn to allow the peace
by their ministers and those of their consistories only.
9. In his late discourse written to her Majesty, he named the
States most in repute with the people, "but neither they nor
any of that College will easily be won to like of a peace."
10. Has heard of none in particular save one called Van
Dorpe, "a man of great wealth, wise and sufficient, a great papist
and of the College of the States" (fn. 1) who has some credit with the
people, and affects the peace. M. de Brederode desires it
extremely, "yet a gentleman noted to be a good patriot and not
unsound in Religion."
11. The towns all naturally hate the Spaniard, but where
they are weak and not well garrisoned, fear inclines them to
hearken to the enemy. Thus the frontier towns are and must be
so well furnished with garrisons, as to master the burghers in case
12. Count Hohenlo has under his charge Huisden, Gertruydenberg,
Willemstat, Sevenberg, the Clundart and at his devotion
Bomell, Gorcum, Worcum, Wercandam, the castle of Hedell and
other forts and places of strength on the frontiers of Brabant.
Also the good towns and places of strength in South Holland,
being lieutenant-governor there, and the garrisons being of his
placing and at his command.
13. The Count has "the good-liking and opinion of the
greater sort of the captains of that country-birth, and whosoever
hath the captains, hath the soldiers." They were ill-paid in the
time of my lord of Leicester's first government, and the Count has
procured them pay and contentment for their arrears. There
is one reason why he enjoys their affection above all others,
"which is the manner of his life and conversation among them ;
as to drink them drunk ; to banquet them often as he doth ;
he is affable and familiar with them, liberal when he has money
and bountiful in all his doings."
14. The States all affect Count Hohenlo ; but the most
inward with him are Barnevelt, Paul Bus, Carlo Rorda and
Brassard, the burgo-master of Delft, who rule all in the assembly
of the States."
15. Never heard that the Count moved to offer those countries
to the King of Denmark, but the States sent four persons to
him in May last under colour of treating for the relaxation of
certain of their ships, arrested in the Sound ; and it is thought
they had commission to deal with him to accept the sovereignty,
"which, being true, some alteration will be found in the King
concerning the truce." (fn. 2)
Endd. "17 July, 1587." 6½ pp. [Holland XVI. f. 117.]
[SIR ROGER WILLIAMS] to WALSINGHAM.
With all the English officers wishes Walsingham and others to
understand and judge their case and action. It is well known
that towns cannot be kept unless they have victuals and munition.
I have shown our needs by sundry letters, and the bearer,
Captain Harte went for us all to his Excellency and Estates to
declare divers things not convenient to be written, who stayed
with them three weeks without any answer. "When we entered,
we were 550 Englishmen strong, eight companies of Walloons
and Dutch not so many ; of burghers and peasants not 150."
We fought in a great sconce, where we lost, "hurt and slain,
better than 350. Considering our wants and losses, with the
greatness of the grounds we had to man ... we quitted the fort
in the night, leaving nothing behind us but bare earth. Since,
we have been battered with great fury with 28 cannons ... [but]
with half moons and works within, God hath preserved us unto
this hour. On St. James Eve, after their style, they shot almost
four thousand shot. From two of the clock until twelve the next
day, we abode four sundry assaults. Since the first day of his
approach we were found to keep always in guard nine companies
of the twelve, and for this eighteen days all, more than half
continually with arms in their hands for the space of five days to
defend the great breach. The poor burghers, women and boors
do help us in nothing save carrying our victuals.... We are
so travailed with works and fight that we are half lost, besides
the enemy lodges in our gate and breach. We are slain and
spoiled, ten captains, six lieutenants, 18 sergeants, of soldiers
in all almost 600 ; ... never brave soldiers were thus lost for
want of easable succours. Notwithstanding, at this hour we
were summoned to yield by the Marquis of Rentie from his
Altesse ; saying we did the King wrong to keep his right. I
answered for the governor and the rest of the town that we were
not sent hither to dispute Princes' right or actions ; but commanded
by the Queen of England's lieutenant and the Estates
unies to answer the place unto them, wherefore we are resolved
to try our fortune unto the uttermost ; who is returned, swearing
We have not now powder for three skirmishes. "For myself,
I wish myself dead for 'debosing' so many brave men unto their
ruin.... The old saying is true, wit is never good until it be
dearly bought but I and the rest of my companions have and is
like to pay too dear for it." We heartily thank your honour
and the rest of our good friends for your great care of our well
doing, and the courtesy always received at your hands.—Sluce,
18 July, 1587.
Postscript. "Now I persuade myself that the enemy's speeches
are like to prove troth, who says your succours will come three
days after the battle. Little doth Sir William Pelham and the
rest consider the Duke of Parma his proceedings, with fury and
all manner of engines, with bridges, provisions on boats and uncroiable
devices. They see in their card the town of Sluce, but
do not see the works of both sides, nor feel the pain of their poor
friends.... Captain Allen is come unto us with great hazard,
to take part of our banquet."
Add. in Sir Roger's hand, "To Mr. Secretary, the 18 of July,
87." 1 p. Extremely small writing. [Holland XVI. f. 122.]
BURGHLEY to ANDREA DE LOO.
I have received yours of the 11th and seen one from you to
Mr. Controller, and as in some things they accord and in some
they differ, I will make answer for myself, and let Mr. Controller
do likewise, not thinking but that our several answers may tend
to one end, for we both are acquainted with her Majesty's sincere
good mind to live in peace with all princes.
Your letter is very long, as your manner is ... which yet I
do not mislike, although the matter of your whole letter may be
reduced for my answer into a small room.
It seemeth by the Duke's speeches that he continueth in
mind to have the treaty to begin for the conclusion of a good
peace, and so also, her Majesty hath the like mind, and so, I
think, all good counsellors to both the States are earnestly
Now therefore ... it is to be considered from whence the
impediment groweth. I see what is said there on the Duke's
part ; that he is ready to appoint commissioners to meet with
ours, but in the meantime, he proceedeth with all his forces that
he can command to besiege, batter, assault and by blood to
destroy a town guarded with her Majesty's people ; I mean
Sluys, after that he had offered the like attempt to Ostend.
Now how these two actions do agree is easily to be seen ; to
offer to treat of peace in words and to use all actions of a bloody
war at the same instant.... I find her Majesty disposed to
have a treaty, and to have her commissioners ready also to take
shipping, if the Duke shall forbear his present hostility against
Sluys. And if he be thereto disposed, he may find commodity
to accord with the Earl of Leicester, her Majesty's Lieutenant
... for some reasonable manner of a cessation or intermission of
arms, whereunto if the Duke shall be willing, then upon advertisement
thereof, with assurance to affectuate the same, then may
you assure yourself that our commissioners shall slack no time
to come thither, but [if] the Duke shall not be willing hereto,
then it will be hard to induce her Majesty to send her commissioners
out of the realm. And therefore the sooner her Majesty
may be advertised hereof, the sooner will some success follow.
And besides this, before our commissioners may take shipping
to come into those parts, it is right that there be a safe-conduct
for their passage by sea, which I pray you remember to obtain
if the cessation of arms shall take place.
Thus much shortly for answer of your letter ; but I marvel
you give us no light what may be hoped to be obtained for the
people of the Provinces United, to enjoy their religion and
exercise thereof, a matter whereof I did always warn you that
without the same, I never could hope of any sound conclusion or
effect of peace.
When I had writ thus far and had read it over, being ready
to sign it, I bethought myself that you would think I had not
answered one great scruple ... by the Duke remembered, which
was that he misliked greatly the actions of Sir Fr. Drake, doubting
that they might alienate the King's mind from the inclining to
peace ; whereunto this answer ought to satisfy you, to be delivered
if hereafter the Duke shall re-iterate that scruple. True it is,
and I avow it upon my faith, her Majesty did send a ship expressly
with a message by letters, charging him not to show any act of
hostility before he went to Cales, which messenger by contrary
winds could never come to the place where he was, but was
constrained to come home ; and hearing of Sir Fr. Drake's actions,
her Majesty commanded the party that returned to have been
punished, but that he acquitted himself by the oath of himself
and all his company.
"And so unwitting, yea unwilling to her Majesty those actions
were committed by Sir Fr. Drake, for the which her Majesty
is as yet greatly offended with him. And now for his bringing
home of a rich ship that came out of the East Indies, I assure
me the Queen knoweth not as yet of what value her lading is,
but considering the great losses that her subjects had, both by
arrest of all their goods in Spain and by taking of their persons
and imprisoning of them to their ruin and death, it cannot be
that his ship nor many more the like can satisfy our former losses.
And therefore until a peace may be made and finished, her
Majesty cannot inhibit her subjects to seek their helps by reprisals,
neither can her Majesty leave to keep her ships armed, or to send
them to the parts of Spain as long as she shall certainly understand
the continual preparations that the King maketh, both out of
Spain and Italy to have an army on the seas, with manifest
intention to come to the invasion of her countries ; whereof all
the coasts of Spain do daily send out threatenings ; and hereunto
we add, as an evil sign of inclination to peace, in that we hear
that divers of our rebels are lately gone out of France to the Duke
of Parma, accompanied with the Bishop of Ross disguised, to
practise with the Duke to offend this realm by the way of
Copy by Burghley himself. Endd. with date. 5 pp. [Flanders
I. f. 302.]
"The points that Sir John Norreys must answer unto the lords
of her Majesty's Council."
About leaving, without giving Leicester notice ; bringing
away men, captains and horses ; and severity with mutineers
at Brill, with his answers. (fn. 3)
Endd. by Burghley with date. "19 July, 1587." 2½ pp.
[Holland XVI. f. 123.]
THOMAS WILKES to the PRIVY COUNCIL.
To my great grief, I understand by you that her Majesty is
not satisfied with my answer, showing the cause of my departure
out of the Low Countries without paying my duty to the Lord
General, wherefore "I am forced to show some inward cause of
my so doing, which I would most willingly have concealed, even
with a patient acceptation of my punishment," and so must
boldly confess that the displeasure conceived against me by his
lordship was the chief cause which terrified me to appear in his
presence, being informed by persons of credit that he had given
out threats of revenge against me. Further, he had written
some bitter letters to me, and refused, at the earnest instigation
of Mr. Secretary Walsingham (who mediated for me) to receive
any good impression of me ; "wherewith, and with the slender
success of mine own endeavours by letters often written to his
lordship to be heard in my defence before I was condemned, ...
I thought it my best to forbear to come in his lordship's sight,
wherewith if her Majesty be displeased, I am most heartily sorry."
Yet I shall make it appear by Dr. Hotman, his lordship's agent,
that I did not omit, in all actions and matters in those countries
wherein his lordship's honour, credit and authority were brought
in question, to say and do as much in his lordship's defence
as he could have desired. I trust your lordships will think that
the advertisement I caused to be given to his lordship by Dr.
Hotman, in the time of my sickness, of the lewd purpose of
Marignan to destroy his lordship might have served for a sufficient
argument of my dutiful inclination towards him ; but since
nothing hath prevailed to appease his lordship, I trust her
Majesty will [so] graciously consider of the state of her poor
servant ... as not to suffer any more to be laid upon me than
flesh and blood may well bear ... to whom I beseech your
lordships most humbly to be a mean for the recovery of her
gracious favour towards me.
Signed. Endd. with date by Burghley's clerk. 1½ pp. [Holland
XVI. f. 125.]
Matters to be interrogated of the Lord of Buckhurst and to
require of him :—
1. The writing containing his negotiation with Mr. Killigrew
and Mr. Beale at Midlebrough.
2. A like writing of the Lord of Buckhurst, Sir John Norrice,
Dr. Clerk and Mr. Wilkes, containing their negotiation with the
3. The conference with the Count Moryce and Hollock upon
4. Two letters, one sent out of England and dispersed in the
Low Countries after that the States had written an offensive
letter to the Earl of Leicester ; the other written by the Lord
of Buckhurst to sundry towns.
5. "A note of the Lord Buckhurst's answers to the Earl of
Leicester at Midelbrough."
In Burghley's handwriting and endorsed by him with date, ¾ p.
[Ibid. XVI. f. 127.]
"A collection of such points as have been misliked in the Lord
of Buckhurst's negotiation," with brief notes of his replies as
contained in his letters of June 8. (fn. 4)
[Touching accepting the States answers, the grievances of
Counts Maurice and Hollock, the loan for 50,000l., the regiment
of Zeeland, letters to States of Holland about Deventer, Villiers
and Hollock's charge against Leicester.]
Endd. with date by Burghley. 1 p. [Holland XVI. f. 129.]
LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
When I last came out of England, I had with me but twenty-six
thousand pounds, which by your project was to serve for the pay
of 3000 English for four months, for a levy of 2000 Walloons and
the charges of transportation, "which I might make good shift
to do." But instead of finding good store of money in the
treasurer's hands, as you expected, there was but 3000l. ; and
that spent within a few days of my arrival ; so that now, all the
Queen's bands "are fain to be imprested for their weekly loans
of this money, and then how long it be like to last you may judge."
But seeing what important services are in hand, I hope you will
use all your furtherance for the speedy dispatch of more.—
Vlushing, 20 July, 1587.
Postscript. We have been three times at sea for the relief of
Sluys, but the west wind has put us back again. Yesternight
tide the most part were [shipped ?] and I trust ere this are safely
arrived at Ostend, by which way our men must pass ; and the
rest, who are to enter by the haven will be ready this night ...
Our men in Sluys have bydden [abided] two great assaults
already at the West gate ; have repulsed the enemy with great
slaughter. They are in hard case ; but by their signs this last
night given, yet well. And how little help and how slackly
these men have given us, I am ashamed to tell you. That we
must do is by our men only. Of this you shall hear more, and
how shameful dealing and dangerous my lord Buckhurst and
Wilkes did practise here.
In his own hand. You must make the more haste to send
money, for our merchants here say they can by no means furnish
the Treasurer with 3000l. "It is high time to look to your trade
if your merchants decay and others also."
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 131.]
LEICESTER to WALSINGHAM.
Sends the bearer, Coomes, with his letters, who would gladly
be doing of somewhat, and thinks he ought to have been allowed
to go earlier. Would have sent him to Germany, "but he utterly
misliketh of that journey." Hopes to relieve Sluys in three or
four days ; and would have been ready before this, if the aid
looked for had been given them. Coomes will declare the present
state of Sluys.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. XVI. f. 133.]