Elizabeth: July 1577, 21-25

Pages 25-34

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 12, 1577-78. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1901.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

July 1577, 21-25

July 21.
K. d. L. ix. 422.
I am assuredly informed that if your Highness sets foot outside Namur, to come hither, there are some ready to seize your person. Indeed, from what I have seen, I do not consider you safe at Namur. I implore you with all speed to take steps for your safety, since the salvation of this country depends upon it.— Brussels, 21 July 1577. Copy. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid.] These two are on one leaf. Probably enclosures in 41. Endd. : Cause of his retreat to Namur.
July 24.
K. d. L. ix. 416.
Since my negotiation at Alkmaar the Prince has been so busy that I could not talk with him concerning the league. To-day he is minded to finish off his letters to Germany. He thinks generally very well of her Majesty's determination ; and would indeed have one article in the league which he does not find in the plan I showed him. As the King of Spain is the head of the Papists, so, he says, it is necessary the Queen should take upon her to be head of the Protestant league. He remembered hearing from his father that in the time of Charles V the princes of Germany required Henry VIII to be head of the league they were then making. When Don John and the rest of the Papists go about a matter of importance, they send such reasons as move them to the Pope and their confederates, who having well weighed the matter, send their resolutions to the King of Spain as chief. In like manner nothing would pass but her Majesty should have advertisement of it. I said that if the King of Denmark, the Duke of Saxony, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the Elector Palatine, and the Landgrave of Hesse were of it, she would not hesitate to be head of the league. I asked him as to the three first-named. He said that the King of Denmark was wont to bear him a singular good affection ; he trusted that he might be induced to enter the league, and would easily follow the way which the Duke of Saxony, who had married his sister, might take. There was no man whom he knew better than the Duke of Saxony ; an excellent prince, of himself nobly disposed, but his wife did as it were enchant him ; she was so jealous of him that none could serve him, unless she liked him ; in summa that she would be present at the pulling off his boots to spy who in that office served him. The Marquis of Brandenburg was on good terms with him ; and there was none in the Empire who could deal more easily than the Landgrave of Hesse. If it pleased her Majesty to send letters to them, and withal wrote a familiar letter to the Duchess of Saxony, he did not doubt but that some good would ensue. He advised those who dealt with them not to put her Majesty's name forward, for they were so lulled asleep in security that they would think she exhorted them for her own necessity rather than to pleasure them. The best way would be to ask whether some order ought not to be taken to prevent the designs of the enemies of religion. It would be requisite to declare how small difference there was between us and them, in the opinion of the Sacrament. "But," said he, "if the league were formed, what would her Majesty gain by it?" "Marry," answered I, "that religion would be defended, and she better prepared to resist invasion." He began to show that religion would be no more defended by this means than it was already, and her Majesty no more assured, unless she maintained the Protestants in France and the Low Countries. "If," said he, "she allows those of Rochelle and Brouage to be overcome, it is not Duke Casimir that shall be able to do any great thing in France. Again, if Holland and Zealand were overcome, what aid would the princes be able to give to the Protestants of the Low Countries? Touching England, if her Majesty should be invaded, what would the princes of Germany be able to do for her, if the French King and King of Spain had overcome the Protestants in France and the Low Countries? For as concerning the King of Denmark, who is strong by sea, if Holland and Zealand were overcome by the Spaniards, he would hardly enter into this amity." I replied that her Majesty agreed in thinking that the religion ought to be maintained in France ; and as for Holland and Zealand, she trusted that peace would be maintained, but she would not suffer him or the provinces to perish. "Well," said he, "I told you what we require of her Majesty ; let us therefore talk of how those of Rochelle may be relieved." If it were true that they were in distress, there was a better way than to aid them by sea ; they were rigging five or six ships in Zealand ; if it pleased her Majesty to help Colonel Chester, or Morgan, or whom she pleased, to convey such English soldiers as have served him in former troubles, they might with small expense be greatly relieved. Then he returned to the consideration of the league. He pointed out that Charles V. had effected his plans not by the aid of mighty Dukes, but by the friendship of those called Counts of the Wedderau. "Great Princes, when it cometh to the pinch, do cavil, and go from their bond." Her Majesty would do best to make a league with Holland and Zealand, with six or seven of the Hanse towns, some of the cantons of Switzerland, and those Counts. She had especially to fear two enemies, the King of Spain and the French King, and and none could so speedily assist her as the Hollanders and Zealanders. Seven or eight of the Hanse towns would serve, as Hamburg, Lubeck, Bremen, Dantzig, and the like. The Counts of the Wedderaw can make six or seven thousand reiters of their own ; and he would undertake to deal with them. Among these he sometimes had been ; his brother, Count John of Nassau, was one ; and the chief of them are the Landgrave of Hesse, the Counts of Sayn, Waldeck, Hanau, 'Sallmes,' Wittgenstein, Isenburg, Stolberg, Wied, besides the Count of Nassau. The towns of Frankfort and Freiburg are of this confederacy. This league of which he spoke, was a league of effect, and did not consist in names so much as in substance. A doubt which he said he and others would gladly be resolved of was how they might be guaranteed in case God should call her Majesty out of this world ; and with that he sighed highly. I said her side was the same as theirs, but that that order might be taken that the Crown of England, by assembling a Parliament, should be bound for the observation of the league. Concerning the intercepting of the party your Honour spoke, the Prince has thought of the matter, and thanks you for your friendly advice. He has taken order, and Don John's intercepted letters will hasten this device. He has good means to compass, being generally favoured by the people in Brabant, besides sundry of the nobility, of whom the chief are the Count Lalaing, M. de Hèze with his brother the Count of Hautkerke, M. de Capres, M. de Fresin, M. de Beersel, M. d'Aussy, M. d'Inchy brother to M. de Fresin, who took M. de Licques prisoner at Cambrai during the troubles. M. de Hèze seems also to assure himself of the Count of Egmont. M. de 'Gonney' is thought to be won by Don John, but if M. de Champagny takes courage, by reason of the letters he is able to rule the Estates, and most of the nobility. I conferred herein with M. Theron, who promised to write to your Honour. I have dealt with the Prince and the Estates in the matter of Ipswich. They affirmed that Taffin had no commission to make such a contract as he had passed ; and desired that they might be bound unto things which they could perform. They offered to give yearly rents' at 8 per cent. till they could pay the whole sum. Wherefore Paul Buse came to me and desired me to persuade the party suing to give them four years to pay the debt, promising that they would pay one quarter yearly, with 8 per cent. interest ; otherwise it were impossible to keep promise with the merchants of Ipswich. The factor of the said merchants was well contented, if there might no further delay in passing the obligations. Then I dealt with him concerning the Gleede. This very hour I am awaiting Paul Buse that the promises may be agreed upon without delay. If the merchants were here and understood the reasons which moved both me and their factor, they would be content, and thank me. Enckhuyzen, 24 July 1577. P.S.—Paul Buse, M. de Famars, and the Commissary Orteil came to me and promised that the next day the factor of the Ipswich merchants should go with Paul Buse towards Haarlem, when the promises should be notified. Mr. Gleede's 6l. could not be paid for two months, but should be paid then, for which Paul Buse offered his personal security. Next came Gilpin from Antwerp to see the Prince, touching such matters as Ferdinando Poynes was sent for ; so I commended the said affairs of the Merchant Adventurers to his Excellency, saying that there were divers of the Council who tried to persuade them to direct their traffic to Holland or Zealand, and to abandon Antwerp, which would sooner be brought about if the Prince had satisfied them. He answered that if Poynes had stayed but a little while longer, the matter had been ended. He should be at Haarlem with the States on the first of this [sic] month, and the merchants would then be dealt with so as to content them. He complained of Alderman Pollison for demanding as never any man asked ; the Estates were ready to pay him his due if he would ask reasonable interest. Understanding what was settled between me and Paul Buse, he wrote to the Estates to delay no further but rectify that which was this day determined upon. Add. End. (in two hands). 5¼ pp. [Holl. and Fland. I. 13.]
July 24.
K. d. L. ix. 424.
The Prince has recovered from his illness and both he and the Princess are well. They of Amsterdam have been a fortnight with him, being directed by the President Sasbout. On the 20th they departed from the Prince, and so did the President, but he would not agree with them. What they proposed, and his answer I send herewith separately. Everything is referred to a colloquy between deputies appointed by the Prince, and the States General. Everybody here mocks at the folly of the governors of Amsterdam "They do disdain to call the town Amsterdam, calling it Mortdam by reason of things past." The governors give forth that the States General have lent them 10,000 crowns ; but the Prince and Paul Buse told me that they thought it was but a vaunt. Howbeit I do not doubt but that Don John encourages them underhand to hold out, for he thinks rather how to renew war than to maintain peace. The castle of Utrecht is not yet ruined, but the citizens, who are at the devotion of the Prince, are ready enough to pull it down. The Count of Bossu was there lately, thinking to strengthen Don John's faction, but perceiving he was not welcome, retired. The Estates of Friesland could not be persuaded to receive him as governor. M. de Ville returns to his government there. The Prince is somewhat afraid at present lest he be corrupted by Don John. The States of the said province daily send to the Prince for advice. It is to be noted that neither Friesland nor Guelderland have as yet received Don John for their governor ; which two provinces do embrace the Catholic and Apostolic religion, but cannot digest the addition of Roman religion, for which they of Amsterdam do so much contend. By reason of the pacification, the Papists which were driven out of Holland and Zealand return daily ; by whose means, and such as are sent to the Prince, Don John seeketh to win the chief men of the Estates. President Sasbout and Drumesius tempted several of them, and Drumesius spoke with the Count of 'Hollock,' counselling him to offer his service to Don John. "Marry," quoth the Count, "so he would give me good entertainment, I were well contented." He said that neither his religion, nor the Prince, should hinder him from accepting Don John's desire, so he would deal liberally with him. With that Drumesius was right glad. All which talk the Count rehearsed to the Prince, who easily marks Don John's dealings, and provides as well as he can for them. "I did never see the Prince so beloved as he is, especially in North Holland, the people of which country is sincere, hearty, and honest." The country abounds so with shipping that I have seen at Haarlem, Alkmaar, Horn, and Enckhuyzen of small and great ships as much as 3,000. Yesterday 150 went to the eastward in two hours. They pray in their sermons for Her Majesty, and desire nothing so much as her protection. The Prince told me that he had lately seen a reckoning of the expenses he with the two provinces had made in the last five years, and that the sum exceeded 15 millions. He showed me a book which he had intercepted containing the accounts of the Contador Luxaldo, who came with the Duke of Alva, specifying only such sums as the King sent from Spain to the Low Countries. The total sum amounts to 25 millions of crowns ; the Prince's 15 millions are but 'florence.' The dykes are in a manner repaired throughout Holland ; but in Zealand, Zerickzee Island received great damage by a storm on June 22 last. They of Brill have collected 10,000 guilders for fortifying their new haven with freestone. Don John, by the aid of the Papists of the country, thought to have surprised the town and island of Ter Goes, but was prevented by the Protestants. There are eight ensigns of soldiers in Walcheren, besides 18 ships called "Cromstevens," which the Prince keeps upon the Scheldt. The carcase of Louis Boissot was lately found near Zerickzee island, and taken to Middelburg, where it was put into the grave of his brother Charles. Nieuport in Flanders the Prince still keeps with his garrison. Basdorp was lately sent for its delivery into the hands of the Estates ; but the Prince excuses himself because the Germans are not yet out of the country, and he does not trust the Count of Roeulx. Whatsoever fair weather Don John makes, the Prince assures himself that the peace cannot last long. He heard to-day that Don John made a solemn banquet for the Queen of Navarre at Namur, and afterwards put his garrison into the town, as well as into Charlemont and Philippeville. He hears also that the king of Spain has a truce with the Irish for five years, and will be at leisure to make war against other. Also that Escovedo had gone secretly to Spain to provide money that war may be renewed in the Low Countries, and he is afraid lest some sudden practice break out against England. Further, Don John had pressed him to send away the English soldiers, as he had discharged the Frenchmen and Scots ; which he said he did that Don John might not accuse him as a breaker of pacification. He told me that as Don John had accused him to the Queen by the Viscount of Ghent as though he did not observe the pacification, so he had done to the Emperor. Meanwhile Don John has in the Low Country as good as nine ensigns of Almains. I asked him what hope he had that his son would return from Spain. He said that he had received letters from him, and was anxious to receive him. He had sent his principal secretary, Brunning, to Dillenburg to bring his daughter ; although it be altogether against his mother's will.—Enckhuyzen, 24 July 1577. Add. Endd. 3½ pp. [Holl. and Fland. I. 14.]
July 23-24. 43. POINTS and ARTICLES which HIS HIGHNESS finds to need remedying before his return to Brussels.
1. That no one soever shall have a guard of halberdiers or harquebusiers save his Highness or the officers of justice. This appears reasonable ; and it is understood from what his Highness has written to M. de Hèze that he is satisfied.
2. That the civic guard shall be appointed by authority of the magistrates, and shall be commanded in their name under the authority of the King and his Lieutenant-general ; and that no citizen shall be permitted to arrest anyone, nor open letters, without the intervention of the ordinary judicial authority. They of Brussels will be happy to carry both articles into effect.
3. That the guilds and nations take a solemn oath, as is necessary for the observance of the above, in order that his Highness, and the Estates, and the magistrates may be sure of its performance. They of Brussels declare that they have complied with this article in a writing sent to his Highness. They and the guilds will write yet more amply for his satisfaction.
4. That in order to put a stop to sinister rumours, disturbing public tranquillity, an Edict shall be published that whoever puts forth defamatory libels or false news shall be required to disclose his informant on pain of being himself chastised. The Estates think it well that such a placard should be decreed, as they have often required and declared to M. de Rassenghien when he was lately at their meeting. The Estates request his Highness to communicate any such placard to them before publishing it.
5. Since there is a question of maintaining the privileges of each country, and it is meet that the States-General should be respected, that they will not allow any strangers, or persons not lawfully qualified, to intervene in their meetings. The Estates will take order as to this.
6. His Highness desires that the Estates and the magistrates of Brussels will take order in these matters before he comes to Brussels.
Copy. Fr. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fland. I. 15.]
July 24.
K. d. L. ix. 414.
I have received advertisements touching Don John's demand to the Estates by Baron de Rassenghien, and their answer thereto. He means principally two things ; that M. de Hèze should give up his charge, and that Theron, a Gascon, agent to the Prince of Orange, should be sent out of Brussels. Which two demands will not be granted, and yet the Estates' answer is so mild, so modest, and so wary that Don John can take no advantage thereby. They of Brussels keep greater watch and ward than heretofore, since the coming of Don John, who as I am informed went on the 16th of this month from Mechlin to Namur, to meet the Queen of Navarre. The Bruxellois have sent to the burgesses of Namur that they look well to their town, lest Don John seize upon it, to have free passage over the river, seeing those of Maestricht will not trust any but one company of M. de Beersel to guard their town. Don John has sent all his staff from Brussels and Mechlin to Namur, and is accompanied by three companies of the Duke of Aerschot. Count Barlaymont also waits upon him. The Governor of Namur has married the Duke's sister, which increases the suspicion. Don John has sent Escovedo secretly into Spain, to take ship at Nantes, to give advertisement of these things. Great wait is laid to apprehend him. It is given out that M. de Champagny shall be governor of Antwerp, which I do not think to be true. A messenger sent from the King of Portugal is buying secretly all the armour that he can get in Antwerp. It is thought that those of Amsterdam are agreed with the Prince, but it is not yet fully certain. Casimir, his brother the Elector, and the Landgrave, have met at St. Goylers [qy. St. Goar] ; but I do not hear anything of Casimir's preparation into France, though they are like to be utterly distressed everywhere, except some foreign aid be sent to them. M. de Bois, kinsman to the Secretary Villeroy in France, is come to be ambassador with Don John in the place of Mondoucet, who prepares to return at the end of this month. I would I had leave to wait upon your Lordship at the Bath of 'Buckestones,' to prevent that which I have cause hereafter to fear when years come upon me.—Richmond, 24 July 1577. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fland. I. 16.]
July 25. 45. The STATES-GENERAL to DON JOHN.
Having heard through Baron de Rassenghien, bearing letters of credence dated July 24, that his Highness has withdrawn to the castle of Namur, declaring that it would not be to his personal safety, &c., and after mature deliberation, the Estates have deputed the prelate of Maroilles, the Archdeacon of Ypres, and M. de Brusse to go with all diligence to his Highness and remonstrate with him as follows. The Estates are greatly surprised at his withdrawal, and at the information which he says he has received of plots to lay hands on him at Brussels or at Mechlin. Whereas the letters which he has received do not disclose the author of the conspiracy, nor give sufficient reasons and circumstances to justify belief in it ; and further whereas, as his Highness knows, the proceedings of the Estates have always in all sincerity been directed toward the restoration of the country to a state of peace and the preservation of the holy Catholic Roman religion and due obedience to his Majesty ; and whereas they have many times promised and sworn to show him all fidelity and obedience, and to give no credit to tale-bearers who only disturb the public peace, but to examine their statements, thereby to discover more easily the falsity of their impostures, and ascertain the authors, with a view to their punishment, as his Highness himself required of them, when he proposed to them on the 6th of this month by M. de Rassenghien that they should correspond freely with him upon all occurrences, and apply to him in all cases of scruple or doubtfulness, calling upon them to repress all evil interpretations of good actions and intentions, disseminated by restless spirits to increase distrust, to which the Estates replied that their supreme desire had always been to apply to his Highness on all necessary occasions, and that in order to check false rumours and sinister interpretations, the best plan would be for his Highness to admit none that was not signed, and not to lend an ear to all that might be told him ; and whereas they replied in two days by M. de Grobbendonck ; They consider that there was no sufficient reason to throw his Highness into such fear or distrust as regards his person, as to take so extraordinary a step which may lead people to take an erroneous and unfitting idea of his Highness' views. What has happened at Charlemont is also likely to give rise to disorders, and injury to our holy religion, and to the obedience due to his Majesty. To obviate which the Estates beg his Highness to consider how necessary it is to make some quite other demonstration in order to reassure the people and remove all evil and sinister opinions. The Estates finding no more sovereign remedy than the prompt return of his Highness to Brussels, request him to return before the fire is so kindled that it will be difficult to extinguish. They promise his Highness all fidelity and obedience, and perfect security for his person, whether in Brussels or elsewhere in the Low Countries ; upon the guarantee of their own persons, goods, and honour. And since all information tends to cause distrust directly between his Highness and the Estates, and incidentally to bring about the ruin of his Majesty's lands and the destruction of the Catholic Religion, the Estates entreat his Highness to have the authors of that information disclosed, that we may hear from them the causes which led them to such an impression, and what persons they would accuse of such an attempt, and that failing to clear themselves they may be punished in exemplary fashion ; and that this may be done speedily, in order to cut short the mischief which will spread from day to day.—Brussels, 25 July 1577. Copy. Fr. 6 pp. Probably enclosure in 47. [Holl. and Fland. I. 17.]
July 25. 46. The ESTATES to DON JOHN.
It is no wonder if we were astounded on hearing of your Highness's retirement to the Castle of Namur, since we foresee great troubles to arise from it if you do not speedily remedy them. We have felt bound to send forthwith the Prelate of Maroilles, the Archdeacon of Ypres, and M. de Busse to point this out more in detail ; begging your Highness to place all confidence in them, and above to return speedily to this town according to your promise, placing full trust in our loyalty ; and in this way remedy the almost desperate evils which may arise.—Brussels, 25 July 1577. (Signed) Cornelius Weellemans. Copy. Fr. 1 p. Probably enclosure in 47. [Ibid. I. 17a.]