Cecil Papers: December 1601, 16-20

Pages 521-527

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 11, 1601. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1906.

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December 1601, 16–20

George Sharpe to Sir Robert Cecil.
[1601, Dec. 17.] May it please you to consider my Lord of St. Asaph's dealing with me, or rather not good dealing with you, who first encouraging me himself to procure your letter to him, and at the receipt thereof promising me my request, thinks now by his fair promising answer to have satisfied you, when as indeed he has disposed already of 9 benefices and 3 prebends, to himself in conscience, to his kinsfolk in nature, to his chaplains in reason, and to his friends in courtesy, meaning, peradventure, to put me in the 13th place, a thing of very small value, but which is worse, scarce likely in my time to be enjoyed, or in his to be disposed. Give me leave to request your letter to the Master of the Savoy for the next place that shall fall there, which I am sure he will be willing to grant.
Undated. Endorsed :—“17 Dec. 1601. Your Honour's servant Mr. Sharpe.” 1 p. (90. 6.)
Lucie, Marchioness of Winchester to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601, Dec. 19. As some companies are now being employed in Ireland, prays that one of them may be given to the bearer, her servant, who has served in the Low Countries when Sir Philip Sidney was there.—19 Dec. 1601, Your ever thankful niece.
Holograph. Endorsed :—“La : Marquess of Winchester.” 1 p. (90. 9.)
Henry, Lord Cobham to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601, Dec. 19. As Sir Thomas Fane is now very sick, and Sir Thomas Wilsford means not at all this winter to be in the country, I would pray that my cousin Manwood may be added to the deputy lieutenants.—From my house in the Blackfriars, 19 Dec. 1601.
Holograph. Endorsed :—Lord Cobham : that Mr. Manwood may be appointed a deputy lieutenant in the county of Kent.” ½ p. (90. 10.)
John Ogle to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601, Dec. 19. I am very well assured that the late proceeding of the General here in Ostend touching the late business (wherein myself was by his command likewise interessed) doth suffer strange interpretations in the world. I presume therefore to acquaint you (whose wisdom I desire more to satisfy than the opinions of any others) of some of the particulars and occasions that moved the late speech with the enemy; as also the fruit that is reaped by it, which is no less than the gaining of a far greater security to the town. Upon the 13 of this present (stylo Angliæ), having many times before, with the chief officers of all nations, made several propositions concerning the then present estate, the General, who saw more deeply into matters, as well by his greater judgment, as also by his helps of intelligence, than others could do, or than indeed concerned them, suddenly resolved to call a parley, which he did, and effected by me, who was sent thither the same night for one of the pledges, Captain Fairfax being the other, without any further commission to treat, but to remain only hostages for them whom the Duke did send, which were Cerrano, Governor of Sluce, and Ottanes, Sergeant Major to a Spanish regiment. It may please you to understand the very truth of it from one who would be loth ever to be found a liar to you, and one that knows more of the business than any of those that shall be subject to misinterpret the proceeding, whereof there have not been wanting (too many) which have strangely informed to the Estates, and therefore I can easily think the like may come to your hearing. The old town lay much open to the enemy, divers places in it being mountable, which the enemy well found upon their late discovery made before. Materials were not in the magazines for the present repairing. The small troops we had were not (upon expectation of an enemy) to be sufficiently employed in works. Relief, though it were daily expected, through the frost and contrariety of winds, was much to be doubted of. The enemy was then newly reinforced by their troops from Boisleducque, and, as myself came after for certain to know, in the enemy's camp they were that night resolutely determined to have assaulted the town, taking the advantage of their strength and our weakness; which if they had done, or that we had addressed to receive them in that kind, the General must either have abandoned his outworks, which would have been a hazard to his honour and to the town, or have put it to one chance of fortune for the winning or losing of the main. The General, therefore, upon these considerations, could resolve of no better course than to entertain the enemy with a delaying parley, thereby to gain time both to strengthen his weakest places, and to hope for some succours, which within two days came from Zeeland to the number of 700 men. Upon whose coming the parley brake off, and the enemy then found themselves deluded, which indeed they before suspected. For the Archduke asked me if it were not deceit, and whether Sir Francis Vere had any meaning to come to agreement. I told him I was not acquainted with his intents, but those whom he had sent should sufficiently understand his determination. We were forthwith brought to the lodgings of his Lieutenant General, Don Augustino Mexia, Governor of Antwerp, and very kindly and well entreated, where we remained two days and two nights. These were the true causes (as I can judge of them) that moved the parley, and these were likewise the true ends of the same.
Concerning the present estate of the town. The outworks, as the west and south quarries, and the half moon on the east, are guarded by the companies last come. The other companies (which long duty have made weak) are employed in guard of the old town : porte-pied, ravelins, and places of more ease, though not of less danger, being towards every low water their strength doubled in the watch. A reserve is held of 16 companies at the low water upon a bulwark called Helmount, to be disposed of according to occasion. The wall of the old town is fortified with four redoubts, which much secure the same against surprise, the only stratagem the enemy can now use. The next and greatest thing to be doubted is the sea, which with a storm will more than much hazard all the wall of the old town. Against such misfortune is designed that the sandhill, and the cannon mount, the one being to the west, and the other to the east side, shall be strongly fortified, and on them cannon placed. These do so command over all, as an enemy (although the sea make him a fair breach) can have there no safe lodging.
The Geule is yet the haven of entrance for shipping, though by reason of their battery, somewhat dangerous. The new haven is wrought upon, but not yet near his perfection; there is such scant of materials either for that, working against the sea, or advancing our other works. Our strength in the town is about 2,500 men. The enemy's camp I judge not very strong of men, but with those which he hath lying near him hereabouts in the country, and within 2 days' march the furthest of them, he is thought no less than 12,000. It may be thought he hopes to weary out the Estates with the charge of this town, and consuming their forces, while himself attends here with a part of his army, and those reasonably well accommodated, to take hold of any present advantage, the other being relieved upon the country here in Flanders. And for his charge, it is thought (excepting the expense of battery) it is no greater than if all his troops were in garrison. A further relief is daily expected to us from Holland, if the waters be open, or winds hinder not. The enemy hath lately burnt a risework of ours, which hath opened a way both for the sea and themselves to come more easily to the sandhill, which is the principal place of importance in the old town.—Ostend, Dec. 19, stilo veteri, 1601.
Holograph. Endorsed :—“Captain Ogle.” 3 pp. (90. 11.)
[Sir Robert Cecil] to [George] Nicholson.
[1601, Dec. 19.] By your letters (wherein his Majesty's letters of Scotland to Mr. Fowles were enclosed and presently by me delivered) I have perceived that there is new offence taken by the King for certain disorders on the West Borders, wherein, notwithstanding it appears that the deputy warden doth very honestly discharge his duty, yet this day Mr. Fowles did present to her Majesty and to her Council a grievous complaint against the Greymes of Eske, for receiving those outlaws that have been pursued by the King's direction for the murder of Carmighell, whereunto I caused the Lord Scroope to be called, who, hearing Mr. Fowles his charge, did answer well that this was done since his coming up, and that if he had been there, he would have revenged it. But such has been her Majesty's great mislike of this so lewd a fact, and so desirous she is to make the world know how she doth hold the amity of that King, as she hath commanded letters to be written, that whosoever can be proved to have offended in this cause, shall forthwith be pursued by the warden, and exemplary punishment done upon him in all severity. Besides, she is further pleased to have it publicly notified that not only in this, but in all like things, she will have justice observed towards the King's subjects, according to the laws of the amity, as far as in her lieth. There is also one further circumstance wherewith I think it not amiss to acquaint you, which is shortly this; that at Mr. Fowles his being with the Council, I read two or three clauses of your letter, wherein you certified how reasonable it was that these outrages should be suppressed, and how careful the Lord of Johnstone is to keep quietness upon the Border, with this further addition, that Mr. Musgrave would be commended for his good and valiant service. This I did (seeing it was true) to make it appear that you did good offices, and of this I doubt not but Mr. Fowles will advertise concerning you. It remains now that I inform you what is done concerning the Scottish supplies. First, her Majesty has resolved to have but 2,000 levied, and therein remits the choice to the King and his ministers, though when you know who they shall be, you shall do well to enquire and certify privately your knowledge. She has also concluded to have no commander of other quality employed than such as shall be content to be under the command of her Gove[rno]rs there, 1,000 under Sir Arth. Chichester, Governor of the Route and the Glynny, and another at Loughfoyle, under Sir Ha. Dockwray. For their entertainment, her Majesty desires they may be paid at Edinburgh by exchange from hence. And forasmuch as she knows that to the levy of these numbers there is incident divers charges, her Majesty will be content, upon the King's certificate, to imprest a month's pay beforehand : in which point you are now to use your care and diligence in seeking to deduce that to as low terms as you can : wherein if you remember in your old Master's time, there have been offers made, whereof I have some in writing, that although those chieftains who should carry those Highlanders would look for some greater entertainment than her Majesty's captains, which is after the rate of 4s. a day : yet the soldiers' entertainment should not exceed a groat a day, which is but half the pay which she allows now to others. I speak not this as moving you peremptorily to stand upon this precisely, but I do think it fit to let you know that if her Majesty shall in this case pay as dear for these as she does for her own, her Majesty shall make but an ill bargain : for which purpose, because you may reduce it to as good terms as you can, I do send you here enclosed a note what her Majesty's entertainment is to captains, officers and soldiers. And herein, first, you must know that all the charge the Queen is at is included within four shillings a day to the captain, and so downward to the officers, as is included in this note, and within 8d. a day to the soldier : for though it be true that her Majesty sends a proportion of apparel and victual for the soldier sometime, yet whatsoever he takes of both those kinds is deducted still out of this 8d. a day. And therefore, when these men shall be transported, it is not to be conceived that they serve her better cheap (because she provides for them neither victual nor apparel), but all the difference and ease which her Majesty shall note and find in this proceeding must consist in the deduction which is made from 8d. a day in these men's entertainment. Wherein remember, I pray you, one further circumstance, that her Majesty must in no sort be troubled with the care or means to transport them, for therein have they the easiest means in the world, from the isles to the adjacent places of Ulster : only this her Majesty will direct, that if she keep any ships on the coast between Knockfergus and Loughfoyle, there shall be order given at such time as the Scots shall be ready, that they may waft them over if need be, and the Queen's garrisons likewise ready to receive them, and secure them at their landing. Thus do you now perceive what course you must hold, wherein, although it shall not be amiss for you to draw things as low as you can, yet rather than to fail, you may assent, so it be within the compass of that charge which you perceive by this note that the Queen is at when she pays highest : there being in the enclosed three several forms, one of full pay to the captain, officer and soldier, and that I doubt they will insist on; another, full pay to the captain and officer and half to the soldier; a third, half to both. And so much for that point.
I will now acquaint you with such news as I have out of Ireland, although in respect that even now I do persuade myself they are in some great action, where the blow must needs be given either one way or other, I could be content to suspend writing at all until our next news, but shortly this you may know, that Tyrone and O'Donnell, with all the force they can make, to the number of 6,000 foot and 700 horse, are come within 5 miles of the Deputy's camp, seeking to relieve the siege of the Spaniards, where the Deputy has hitherto so far prevailed as in all attempts he has had the best, though it is true that he has to do with one of the bravest commanders in Spain, and with a company of gallant old soldiers; for although he has taken all the works without the town which the Spaniards had made, both castles and trenches, in which attempts we have lost some men, yet every man that is lost of the Spaniard's side is treble to him to one of ours. For we can daily supply, which is not so easy to him, and because you may see that Spain has sent no enfans perdues, I think it not amiss to tell that the last encounter, when the Spaniards made a brave sally upon our artillery, he that guarded the same slew 96 upon the place, of all which number, when they came to be buried by the Deputy's command, there was but one of them who had not a white head and a white beard. You shall likewise understand that in this instant there arrived a 1,000 Spaniards more, in another haven within 15 miles of Kynsale, called Castle Haven, who had come into that port and joined with the Spanish army, if Sir Richard Luson, son-in-law to the Lord Admiral, had not ridden with 6 of her Majesty's ships under the walls of the town, who as soon as he had notice of their being put into the other harbour, weighed anchor and turned out to sea with 4 ships for that place, where he found six ships riding under a castle, within the haven. The commander of that fleet was Sebure, who having landed 800 men, planted 8 pieces of artillery, under favour whereof those ships did ride so close as the Admiral of the Q. fleet was subject, not only to the cannon of the ships, but to the battery from the shore, which he endured most valiantly, and so long until he had first sunk the Admiral, and three other; next, drave the vice-admiral on shore, wh[ere] he lies bulged, never able to rise again. The fifth is likewise so. Only the 6th ran herself on ground, not being above 60 or 80 ton, about which he thought it no policy to hazard any longer the Queen's ships, seeing it had not been possible in the end to have saved them, considering what it is to ride in smooth water with a ship against a battery from the land, from whence the Admiral had received above 100 shot of the cannon, and yet never parted till he had done as aforesaid, which as it deserved great commendation, so one thing else was performed by it of great importance, for with these ships was brought a great provision of victual to D. Juan, which by this means is utterly lost, whereof that you may judge of the quantity in the whole, I have thought good to send you a note what was in the Admiral's ship. Thus have you all these particulars which have passed forasmuch as I yet know within that kingdom, to which good and happy beginning, God, I hope, will give a good conclusion, whereof, as soon as I hear, you shall be informed, because you may be provided to suppress the uncertain bruits which are delivered according to the nature of every man's appetite.
Undated. In the hand of Simon Willis, with corrections by Cecil. Endorsed :—“19 Dec. 1601. Copy of my Mr.'s letter to Mr. Nicholson.” 14 pp. (90. 112.)
Sir Henry Nevill to Sir Robert Cecil.
[1601, after Dec. 19]. Two letters :—1. Parliament being now at an end, he renews his former suit to Cecil to bring his troubles to some tolerable end, such as may not utterly disable him and his posterity. Has made known to him and the rest of the Lords that his estate does not exceed 700l. yearly, and how little of that he is free to dispose of, and has besought that the Queen would accept 2,000l. in some short time, and take 2,000l. more by 200l. a year. There will then be little left him above 350l. a year, to sustain himself, wife and 8 children. If it be thought they may live with less, prays Cecil to make any end of it that he thinks his estate able to bear. Whatever Cecil concludes for him he will stand to, so that all imposed upon him above 2,000l. may rise out of his revenue. Beseeches Cecil to make an end of his unfortunate troubles, and free him from this captivity.
Holograph. Undated. Endorsed :—“1601.” 1 p. (90. 125.)
2. He has lately prayed Cecil to consider the particular of his poor estate, and determine what satisfaction might be taken out of it to content her Majesty. He now continues the same suit, and is ready to yield any satisfaction which her Majesty shall accept of him which may possibly arise out of his poor means. If more be required of him than his estate can yield, he must endure with patience the misery that he has no power to avoid. Refers to the bearer for further particulars.
Holograph. Undated. Endorsed :—“1601. Sir Henry Nevill.” 1 p. (90. 126.)
Henry, Lord Cobham to Sir Robert Cecil.
1601, Dec. 20. The 2,000l. is ready so Alderman Lee get his bond for it. I must hear from you what you determine, that I may either stay or discharge this money procured.—Black Friars, 20 Dec. 1601.
Holograph. ½ p. (90. 13.)