Elizabeth
December 1584, 1-10

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Institute of Historical Research

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Sophie Crawford Lomas (editor)

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1916

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174-186

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'Elizabeth: December 1584, 1-10', Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 19: August 1584-August 1585 (1916), pp. 174-186. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=79069 Date accessed: 29 August 2014.


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December 1584, 1–10

Dec. 3.Walsingham to Stafford.
We are given to understand that Mauvissière is to be recalled, and one l'Aubespine, devoted to the Guises, sent in his place. This being so, we should like better for Mauvissière to remain, “who hath now left his wonted secret dealings with the Queen of Scots, and frameth himself to become more acceptable to her Majesty.” You will therefore do well, as of yourself, to tell the Queen Mother, that having heard what is proposed, and desiring to do all good offices for the continuance of the amity between the two crowns, you could not but make known to her that you think the choice is not aptly made of a man to take that charge who is “noted to be partially inclined to a house well known to have of late been very ill-affected towards her Majesty and her State,” for by the choice of ministers, princes judge of the disposition of those who send them; and therefore you could wish, if Mauvissière be called home, that his successor might be one more grateful to her Majesty.
As the French King's manner of proceeding seems but a dalliance, her Majesty three weeks ago sent Mr. Davison to the States to learn how far they had proceeded with that King, and what course they meant to take if they saw no hope of relief from him. What we hear from him, you shall know.
Her Majesty takes your desire to be comprehended in the association in very good part, but as you are not in the realm, you will not now need to put it in execution. Several instruments are made of the association, in which divers noblemen, gentlemen, townships and corporations join together.
For the matter of the fugitives, do not send over the letters of men of mark, as Lord Paget; but as to those of the inferior sort you may suffer them to have access to you secretly, advertising me in your private letters of what you learn by them.
Touching the party “that requireth the privilege,” her Majesty will grant it if he first obtains the same from the king, for she has often yielded to like suits “and then there followeth no effect of it, which is, to her dishonour, noted as a weakness in the government.”
Do not take it in ill part that I write no oftener; for the charges of posting are so straitly looked into that I must not send unless upon some matter of importance.
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 2¾ pp. [France XII. 123.]
Dec. 3.Ortell to Walsingham.
Recommending the Seigneur Gelkercken, who long ago put together several things for the preservation of religion and the public welfare, and who desires an audience of his honour; or, if he is too much engaged, that he will appoint some other to hear the matter.—London, 3 December, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 67.]
Dec. 4/14.Jaques Rossel to Davison, at Flushing.
Informing him that the Prince of Chimay, having escorted some gentlemen to Bois-le-Duc, and having “fait du vin bon esperon,” so spurred and infuriated his horse that it threw him, and he was dragged by the stirrup so far that a few days afterwards he died at Duke d'Aershot's house called Hevere, near Louvain. This is his reward for having mocked at God and his holy word. The news is brought by one who is come to tell his wife.
Hears that the Council of State are declaring confiscated the goods of those in Brabant, taking part with the enemy, as by the decree which they made against those of Flanders, which however is not permitted to be executed; these and other ordinances being kept back until the coming of the Count.—Middelburg, 14 December.
Postscript.—Prays him to communicate this news to the governor.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 68.]
[This was a false report. Chimay lived until 1613, succeeding his father as Duke of Aerschot in 1595.]
Dec. 5/15.Protestation of Louis De Gonzaga, Prince Of Mantua, Duke Of Nevers, &c., Lieutenant-General of the King's armies.
Declaring that no spirit of revolt, ambition or vengeance has led him to enter into the league made, with the King's consent, by the princes and other Catholics of the realm, or sign the act presented to him this day on the part of the Cardinal of Bourbon; but that his only object is the preservation of the Catholic Roman religion, maintenance of the privileges and laws of the Church, extirpation of heretics, and exclusion of all heretic princes who may in the future (which God forbid) believe that they have any claim to the first crown in Christendom.
Declaring also that he is and will live and die a faithful and loyal servant of the King, his sovereign, and renounces all association contrary to the King's authority, the public peace, and the laws of the State, which might favour the nomination of any princes whom race, the Salic law, the establishment of the monarchy &c. do not call directly to the succession to the crown.
Desires to make known that daily he offers and has offered public and private prayers for the preservation of the King; and that he may have children, whereby the house of Valois may be seated on the throne until the end of the world, for the maintenance whereof he will venture both life and property.
Protests also that he will never recognize for his prince and legitimate King any Prince making profession of any other belief than the Catholic Apostolic Roman, but will make war against him to the death and employ his goods, forces and life, with the rest of the Roman Catholics, to oppose the pernicious designs of heresy. And even if left alone in this resolution, he is ready to die, sword in hand, at the foot of God's altars and be buried under their ruins rather than basely consent to their desolation, and to the introduction of the sects of Luther and Calvin into the monarchy. Signed according to accustomed manner and sealed by his own hand.—Paris, 15 December, 1584.
Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [France XII. 124.]
Dec. 5.Davison to Walsingham.
On November 22 I informed you of my arrival at Middelburg. A day or two after, I came hither, where I arrived on the Thursday, and finding the commissioners ready to depart for France, I spent the next day in informing myself of the state of the negotiation before my audience, which I obtained for the next day.
Being conducted by some of the deputies to the place of assembly, and having presented her Majesty's letters, I declared the affection she had always felt to their cause, her pity for their present distress, and her care after the Prince of Orange's death to find out some way for their timely succour. How thereupon she had written to her ambassador in France to find out whether that King would join her in some good course for their defence, but he having delayed the ambassador's audience until a few days before my departure, and lent so deaf an ear and given so cold an answer to her Majesty's motion as argued little inclination to concur therein :—her Majesty (seeing their state every day to grow into harder terms) had sent me to them, not only to assure them of her care for their welfare and relief but to inform myself of their estate and needs, that she might take such course in their behalf as she should find expedient. For what else I had to say, I referred it to another opportunity, praying them to appoint some of their company with whom I might confer as occasion offered. And so left them in expectation of further matter, both to breed some stay in their French business, and also to remove the distrust “beaten into the heads of these States and people by the French partialists” that her Majesty had abandoned both them and their cause.
To all which, after they had acknowledged how much they were bound to her Majesty by this further testimony of her care and besought the continuance of it, with other generalities, “neither they making any mention or I taking any knowledge at all of their proceeding with the French,” I took my leave.
That same evening, they sent an officer to ask if I were at leisure for certain of them to come to me, to whom I said that they would be welcome; but finding when they came that it was only to learn what other overtures I had to make, I told them that they might see by what I had already propounded how willing her Majesty was to help them, but that “having since my audience understood that they were not only in hope to be relieved by the French King, but also resolved to cast themselves into his arms and protection,” to which end their deputies were already despatched and upon their departure; they must excuse me if I “waded” no farther into details until I had signified this to the Queen and received her further pleasure, seeing that her overtures might now be misconstrued, as tending to the interruption of their treaty with France; albeit her Majesty (as I thought) finding them so far proceeded without her privity (in which, under their correction, I thought they had somewhat forgotten themselves) could be content to leave them to their own discretions. Since this, I have been privately visited by one or two of them, mislikers of this French course, by whom, as also by others of the wisest here, I find those of Holland utterly to distaste it excepting some few seduced by des Pruneaux, who excuse themselves upon the importunities of the other provinces, nearer the danger.
Those of Zeeland, induced by their governor Haultain (to whom the French King has written very kind letters) and other suborned instruments, appear much more forward; and the rest of the United Provinces likewise, except those of Over Yssel, who have refused to have any part in the negotiation, “and are like (if this treaty go forward) to run such a course as will be little profitable to their neighbours.” Upon what conditions the rest have agreed, after long disputes, you will find by the copy I send, wherein the point of their monthly or yearly contributions is not mentioned (as the provinces have not agreed upon their several shares) but only generally estimated at 200,000 florins by the month, nor the point of caution and assurance, which appears to be referred to each province; “amongst which, besides the offers of those of Flanders and Brabant for the towns of Sluys and Ostend &c., I am very credibly informed that Valck, the deputy of Zeeland, hath power to offer the town of La Vere (the Marquisate whereof the Prince bought with the Seignory of Flushing, since these troubles), and the castle of Rammekins in the Isle of Walcheren. And those of Holland, the town of Medemblick in North Holland; the one and the other places of too much strength and importance to be trusted in the hands of their new desired prince unless they were assured of better measure than they received of his predecessor.”
With this commission, the deputies have gone to the Brill to wait for the first wind, leaving all men here in suspense what fruit their solemn ambassade shall bring forth, and meanwhile the favourers of the treaty (to satisfy the people generally, who abhor the name of the French and murmur not a little against the States' proceeding) “have not wanted their instruments to persuade” that they act from mere necessity, having no other means left to maintain the war, their government full of disorder and confusion, and they unable to subsist of themselves; “being left by the Prince's untimely death as a ship tossed in the midst of a tempest, without pilot or governor,” and therefore must either fall under the yoke of the Spaniard or cast themselves into the arms of the French; all other foreign help failing them and especially that of England, from whence they can expect no relief. And here they forget not to amplify all the circumstances to prove that France is the most able to defend them and annoy the enemy. “These golden appearances are not unsoothed even of the most Spanish among them,” who, suspecting the issue of this negotiation, hope that this refuge failing them shall hasten a general reconciliation with the enemy, or at least make such a breach amongst them as shall not a little confound their affairs to his advantage.
Touching the government and proceedings here, I find all things in their accustomed confusion, “these men following still the first part of the wise man's counsel, diu deliberando, though not the second, mature conficiendo.”
The deputies of the States are now for the most part departed home, only a few remaining for the despatch of ordinary business.
The ordinary government, civil and martial, rests in the young Count Maurice (whom they have made governor by provision) and the Council of State, which is divided into two parts, “one remaining in Utrecht, for the affairs of those provinces; the other for the most part in Zeeland with the Count, attending upon the affairs of Brabant.”
For their means of maintaining the war, it is wonderful what their contributions, ordinary and extraordinary, amount to, by imposts, customs, licences and other taxes new and old; which far exceed 500,000 florins monthly, although, as things are handled, this hardly defrays the burden of the war.
It is certain that the strongest and most defensible part of the seventeen provinces remain at their devotion; having not only Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Friesland entirely, “wherein be above 55 or 56 strong and some invincible towns,” but also holding yet in Flanders the Sluys and Ostend, with the fort of Terneusen; in Brabant, Brussels, Mechlin, Antwerp, Bergen, Willemstadt and Grave; in Guelderland, nineteen fortified towns and in Overyssel five, so that of 208 walled towns or thereabouts they still possess about 88 or 90, besides divers castles, forts and sconces, mostly places of such strength as might entertain a long war, if matters here were governed as they should be.
“To conclude, I find these countries yet so strong, the means to maintain the wars so great with good government, and the affections of the people universally so aliened from the French, as if they had any assurance of her Highness' disposition to help them, their treaty with France would cool of itself,” divers even amongst the States themselves being sorry that they have proceeded so far upon so little assurance of the King's sound meaning. And seeing that this treaty is not without danger both to the religion and state of these poor countries, “and that the policy of our estate may as hardly suffer the keys of these countries to hang at the girdle of the French as of the Spanish,” I doubt not but that her Majesty will have regard thereto, and the rather because I am assured by those the Prince most trusted, that before his death, des Pruneaux, in his Master's name, offered him an estate of 200,000 francs by year out of the Duchy of Anjou; to the Princess, 50,000 crowns in ready money for her mediation, and to the children of his last wife 20,000 florins by year, with promise to maintain him in the state of Earl of Holland and Zeeland, if he would put only the Isle of Walcheren into his hands; “wherein, if this treaty go forward, he may get a greater interest than is like to prove either safe to themselves or profitable to their best neighbours.”
But as I have no commission to go further in these matters (finding them resolved to go forward with the French), I beseech you to let me know whether her Majesty will permit me to return home and leave them for a time to themselves (though not utterly hopeless of succour, lest this refuge failing them they run headlong to the Spaniard), or if she thinks it expedient for me to go further with them, either underhand or openly. If the difficulty on her side “stand” in the caution and assurances, I am told by Mr. Paul Buys and others of the best sort that there are means enought to procure her full satisfaction in that behalf.
For the other point of my instructions, touching the Elector of Cologne, within a day or two of my arrival the Bishop, being informed by M. Segur and others of my commission in his respect, came to this town, and letting me know thereof, I repaired to him, presented her Majesty's letters, and informed him that M. Segur, at his return from Germany and passing through England, had unfolded his Excellency's estate to her Majesty and moved her in his behalf, both to send a minister to the Princes of Germany to persuade them to concur for his assistance, and to furnish him with money towards the furtherance of his enterprise, which he “persuaded” to be easy and profitable to the state of religion and relief of these distressed countries, by distracting the forces of the King of Spain to quench the fire kindled against him on that side. That her Majesty had appointed me to confer with his Excellency, and to let him understand that if he could make it apparent that these good effects would ensue, she would be willing to lend him such support as her estate might afford.
He answered by offering most humble thanks to her Majesty for her favour to the cause of a poor Prince who in justice deserved her good countenance, with many demonstrations of his devotion; and afterwards, by many strong and well-disposed arguments, proved the honesty, justice and profit of his cause, and how much it imported all princes favouring the gospel to uphold it; what a bridle it might be to the enemies to the same, and especially to the growing greatness of the King of Spain, who, by means of his [the Elector's] adversary, went about to bring all the frontier provinces of Germany on this side, to hang their keys upon his girdle, which there appeared no way to hinder but by this action of his, “the facility of which he amplified by his intelligence in divers places both upon the Rhine and elsewhere, and by the hope of help from his own subjects at home and friends abroad; as the Kings of Denmark and Navarre, the Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave Casimir and other potentates of the Religion, together with divers Imperial and Hanse towns, all which would be far more willing if they should see her Majesty take his cause to heart. But because occasions are easily lost and hardly recovered, and that it imports greatly for him to put himself in action and take hold of the present advantage, he doubted not but she would give him presently the 20,000 crowns which M. Segur had given him hope to receive by me upon her promise, “whereupon” he had given courage to his friends, treated with such as he meant to employ, and retained some of his own people, whom, if he had to “suspend” longer, he should hardly keep together; and so should prejudice his reputation, hazard the important town of Berck on the Rhine, and, having disbanded his forces, would arm his enemy before he could raise new, besides trebling his charges (these being once broken) and losing the present opportunity, “which foreslowed, could not be recovered.”
He assured me on his honour that he desired this money only for the common cause, wherein he hoped, within few weeks, to give her Majesty such testimony of his endeavours that she should think her favour well bestowed. But finding from me that he must wait new advertisement from her Majesty (which he looked not for and was much dismayed at) he besought me to lay the cause before her and crave her speedy regard thereof.
Having conferred with Paul Buys and others best acquainted with his estate, who confirm most part of his reasons, I now signify so much to you, and pray for her Highness' further order with as much speed as possible, seeing that the necessity of his affairs can hardly suffer delay, “and the rather before Mr. Hudson's [Hoddesdon's] departure from hence, who having grown to a conclusion with the States of Holland for an old debt to the Merchants Adventurers, is to receive as much and more of them presently than will serve this turn,” and is willing, on knowing her Majesty's pleasure, to deliver it to me, so that the matter might be supplied without delay or difficulty.—The Hague, 5 December, 1584.
Add. Endd. 7 pp., small, close writing. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 69.]
Copy of the above letter, but dated December 7, apparently a copyist's error.
Endd.pp. [Ibid. XXIII. 70.]
Dec. 6.Dansay to Walsingham.
Writes only to recall himself to his honour's remembrance and to assure him of his affection.
Duke Augustus of Saxony, Elector, has publicly forbidden his ministers to speak or write against the churches of France or other strangers. If the means to unite these churches were wisely proposed, the issue might be very good.—Copenhagen, 6 December, stilo veteri.
Add. Endd. Seal of arms. Fr. 1 p. [Denmark I. 44]
Dec. 7.Harborne to Walsingham.
As Mr. Saunders was disappointed of his journey to Vienna by the Emperor's nuncio, “Henry, writing himself Baron of Leichstenstein de Nicolfucque” [sic] who came hither with the yearly tribute, contrary to his faithful promise to me, and proceeding, I believe from “a blind papist doctor, the ambassador's secretary, by whom both the said ambassador and he are wholly directed,” I could not do less than inform him that I should complain to her Majesty of his discourtesy, who, certifying his master thereof, I was sure the Emperor would not suffer her to be so abused.
Romadan, Beglerbey of Tripoli is dead, and his son Mohamed coming thence met two galleys of the [Venetian] Signoria, guards of Candia, by whom he and his were hewed in pieces. The Bailo was summoned to the court, who justly pleaded ignorance, but it is said that the Vizier Osman and the Admiral are sent for, as the Grand Signor is minded to be revenged, and “will presently intend the conquest of Candia.” But I think the sore will be salved with money, for he demands 100,000 ducats (said to be the deceased Bey's present) due to him, and as “a staff is easily found to beat a hound” he must be credited.—Rapamat, 7 December, 1584.
Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Turkey I. 27.]
Dec. 7/17.Sir Richard Shelley to The Queen.
All my diligence has prevailed no further than to get the Signory's answer to your Majesty's letter, with their decree, which I now send you. They seem at least to “condescend” that a recompense is due to your merchants for the grace which you used to their subjects who pretended ignorance of the new impost. But as to their deferring the payment, and waiting for your further advice of having taken away the increased impost, your Majesty's natural wit, ripened by the experience of twenty-six years' reign (which God prolong) and your grave Council, “is well able to see what appertaineth.”
My part is only to pray God that the end may nourish the true amity between your Majesty and this noble commonwealth.
For myself I pray you to conceive that I shall never be at my heart's ease till I have kissed your gracious hands. The causes, besides my affection, are many, amongst them that I may with more authority defend you from slanderous lies, the workers whereof are so afraid of my coming to confer with your Majesty that they talk of me “as though I would go home to become a Protestant; but by the credit of mine known constancy, with that part of your gracious letter that doth assure me in that behalf, they stand ' suspens ' between fear and hope, to see how my going shall fall out. . . . God save you from your enemies, whereof I have a meaning (and very good means) to discredit some that be of more authority than of fame.”—Venice, 17 December, 1584. Signed, “Your Majesty's faithful subject and zealous servant of St. Johns.”
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Venice I. 19.]
Dec. 8.Stafford to Walsingham.
One Zuffarino sent from the Prince of Parma to her Majesty. Marshal Retz at Court, and Piccolomini, whom the Pope banished. Lord Paget gone to Rome. Sends answer to book against the King of Navarre.—Paris, 8 December, 1584.
Postscript.—Since closing my letter, I have received one from a friend of mine at Lyons, which I send you [wanting], believing all in it to be true save his judgment as to Languedoc matters, which I think “will not fall out.” Plessis desired me to send the enclosed letters to M. Segur and Angrogne, and Madame la Noue the packet to Mr. Jeffrey [Le Brumen]. Poor Madame la Noue is marvellously afflicted for the taking of M. Teligny.
Holograph. Add. End. 1¾ pp. [France XII. 125.]
Calendared (except the postscript) in Report on the Cecil Papers, III, 75, and printed in Murdin, p. 424,
Dec. 8.Conrad Van Gelekerken to Walsingham.
Seeing that your honour appeared to be annoyed, when I lately spoke with you, by my giving you my political ideas, of which one was called Le trésor caché d'Angleterre, I pray you to understand that five years ago I sent you from Antwerp the same annotations in Italian under the name of one Frederick van de Zande, to which you replied, on the 5th of December, as by the copy hereunto annexed. Seeing that your honour then thought them good and necessary, and that I have now come into this realm (not without danger to my person, and at great charges), when, if you had not approved of them, I should have thought no more about them, I pray your honour to show me your usual courtesy and to appoint some one to hear my designs and report upon them to you; for you will learn things not only profitable to the realm but agreeable to yourself.
The second discourse is intitled Renforcement du royaume d'Angleterre, and the occasion which moved me was the state of affairs in the Low Countries, my affection to the Religion, and that I was persuaded in Germany by worthy and skilful men that this could not but be pleasing to her Majesty, thinking moreover to take the opportunity when the maritime towns held their assembly at Lubeck last Michaelmas to arrange how to put into effect the patent obtained from the Emperor to prevent the contractation of English cloths into Germany, there being some who maintained that Germany had sufficient of the same stuffs to clothe themselves, without yearly sending such great sums for this commodity out of the Empire.
My third “Remonstrance,” called Speculations heroiques, is for preventing the invasion of the Turks into Christendom, a subject upon which formerly many persons of great quality, learned and skilful, have been employed and upon which they have given remonstrances to the Emperor and other potentates, as I can show by authentic books treating thereof. I having found a good expedient for this purpose, and knowing that no time ever served better than the present; also that it is lawful in the Empire, my own country, for skilful men to employ themselves therein, by which many have not only enriched but ennobled themselves, thought it could do no harm to show them to your honour, praying you to be favourable to me, whom you will always find ready for any service in which you may employ me.—London, 8 December, 1584. French.
Underwritten :
Copy of letter from Walsingham to Gelekerken.
Stating that he has read his letter and the annotations drawn up for the public welfare of England, which seems to him a work worthy of a true and great policy. Her Majesty has at other times consented to make the like attempts, but the expense has been so great that the work was not carried out, therefore before presenting this matter to her he wishes to know whether it could be done without charge to her or injury to her subjects and how much would result from it. Requests to be informed of this, and then, being very desirous for the prosperity of the realm, he will lend himself to these good and useful undertakings.—London, 5 December, 1579. Italian.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 71.]
Dec. 9.Stafford to Walsingham.
Bruits of a stir in England, of the Queen of Scots' death, and of a plot against the Scots King. Deputies from the Low Countries neither come nor send. The King “persuaded” by some that the Queen means to set him and Spain by the ears and then “sit still and look on,” but he would not believe it. The States should “go roundly” either to an agreement or a breach with the King. He fears the King of Spain and might be brought to do something. Alferant taken at Chasteau-Thierry. Saint Soulene taken; accused of making leagues in favour of the House of Guise and having received money from Spain. Marchparot also taken and accused of practicing leagues for the Duke of Guise. The King is grown very secret. The Parlement and all others must obey his will and are kept in fear. His jealousy of the Guises. Those of the Religion in continual fear, although he has acceded to their demands, they saying that they were used as kindly before the massacre. The Spanish King has delivered up the castle of Piacenza to the Duke of Parma. Spanish soldiers passing through France report lack of victuals and pay in the Prince of Parma's camp. Has urged the stopping of victuals for the enemy, but is answered that more go from England than from France. [So far this letter is calendared in the Report on the Cecil Papers, III. p. 78 et seq. as an “undated fragment.” The following corrections should be made : p. 78, l. 11, for prints read bruits; l. 14, for immediately read marvellously; l. 33, in space, insert be so covetous; l. 42, for could believe read could not believe; p. 79, l. 12, for Alscrant read Alferant; l. 36, for growing, read grown; p. 80, l. 33, for . . . to have still an [eye] over their abuses read how to have still an oar thereabouts; l. 44, in space, insert looketh; l. 52, in space, insert convey away.
The following part of the letter, dated December 8 (sic) is calendared on p. 74, ut supra.]
Marshal Montmorency has free liberty granted him in his government. Marshal Joyeuse, it is thought, will be drawn quite away, either to come to the King or to have the government of Provence, and the Grand Prior that of the Isle of France, but some doubt the Grand Prior will not willingly change, nor Joyeuse willingly come hither . . . . .
“The King beginneth to reform marvellously the orders of his house; maketh three chambers afore they come to his inner bedchamber; in the first, to be gentlemen, modestly apparelled; in the next, men of greater quality; in the last, the princes and knights of the order of the Saint Esprit . . . Into his private bed-chamber nobody to be allowed but who is called in, but only Epernon and Joyeuse, the Marshal Retz and Villequier (who afore were joined with them by quarter in the place of chief gentlemen of the chamber); all others being quite cut off, not to come in but when they are called for. He is about to institute also a new guard . . . bound to keep two good horses and to wear continually a privy coat.—Paris, 9 December, 1584.
Signed. Add. Endd. 6 pp. [France XII. 126.]
In the Cecil copy; p. 74, I. 6 from bottom, for driven, read drawn; p. 75, l. 10, after Joyeuse, read as given above.
Dec. 9.Gilpin to Walsingham.
Some of the now Council of State are come and meet daily with Count Maurice, but the absence of the rest hinders all resolutions. Count Hollock came two or three days ago and preparations go on apace to adventure upon the sconces of the enemy, who seem to have intelligence of all, for they have furnished them with men, and put two or three thousand by a ditch which they thought those of Antwerp meant to cut through, both to keep it and to supply the forts as need shall require; so it will be a difficult piece of service.
Now report goes that the water fort made at Antwerp draws too much water, and they fear, if artillery were put in it, it would sink. The engineer says it is because, to save charges, they used pitch barrels to bear it up, when he would have had another kind, made on purpose. The passage is grown more dangerous, for the enemy have vessels abroad, so that few pass up or down without safe-conduct of the ships of war.
The commissioners for France only stay for a wind and have heard the good news from des Pruneaux that the King will treat with them and does not dislike the message he took. It is said that Tempell, governor of Brussels, is apprehended for having intelligence with the enemy. I hear Colonel Morgan and his men are sent to Brussels and Mechlin, which two places they of Brabant would gladly keep.
The Prince of Parma has replied to those of Antwerp, “and especially to the point of the treating with the French King, whom he assureth them will not break league with the King of Spain, and therefore in vain [to] repose on his assistance, counselling them still to seek reconciliation with their King.”
I understand that Capt. Rowland Yorke is at liberty, only staying for money to pay his charges.—Middelburg, 9 December, 1584.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXIII. 72.]
Dec. 10.Walsingham to Stafford.
In an intercepted packet sent for Spain, there was found a letter of Morgan's, in cipher, to Sir Francis Englefield, dated July 22 last past, which seems to contain something touching the succession; but the names being in cipher, and single characters, cannot be deciphered. I send you a copy, that translating it into French, and conferring with some of knowledge there who perhaps understand the matter, the sense may be found. The two first characters seem to signify the Pope's nuncio and some other prince's minister; and 171 I take to be the Duke of Guise, but for the rest I cannot gather so much light, unless 157 be the King of Spain.
We find by letters from France that Taxis' repair to you (who is said to have had two other conferences with you, besides the one you wrote of) causes some jealousy to the French Bang that her Majesty seeks a secret reconciliation with the King of Spain, “whereof the late coming hither of a gentleman with letters from the Prince of Parma doth give the greater suspicion, though her Majesty have hitherto refused to grant him access unto her.” How things pass in the Low Countries you will see by the enclosed.—10 December, 1584.
Copy. Endd. 1 p. [France XII. 127.]