Elizabeth: November 1578, 21-30

Pages 300-318

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 13, 1578-1579. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1903.

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November 1578, 21-30

Nov. 22. 393. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
The discontent of the subjects of this realm grows to be general, the greatest provinces crying out for liberty and refusing to pay these new impositions. The Guise, joined with others of the nobility, continues his practices, and pushes at this wheel with all his friends and allies ; and some of good judgement think that this canker is crept so far that it is now incurable. The king's procureur of the Parliament of Paris, sent into Burgundy to moderate the demands of the inhabitants there, is returned with the loss of his labour ; finding them stubborn and wilful, and will not 'rabate' one iota of their first opinion. Many find it strange that the King not being ignorant of these dangerous drifts, remains at his house of Olinville as a prisoner without comfort or counsel, either careless or senseless of the ruin of himself and his realm likely to ensue if good counsel do not prevent it. Some grave counsellors have advised him to repair to Paris with speed, that order may be given in these things before they grow to a greater ripeness ; yet it is not certain when he comes hither. Some think that his slackness is recompensed by the diligence and cunning practices of Queen Mother in Languedoc, who foreseeing the peril of these leagues between province and province, and between the provinces and the nobility, and fearing lest this glorious promise of reformation in this licentious time will bring forth strange alterations, chooses the war with the Protestant as the least evil, and therefore resolves to do her best to raise new troubles for matter of religion ; a ready means as she thinks to stop the mouths of the poor people and to satisfy the house of Guise and their accomplices. Damville is said to be a fit instrument for this purpose. He has submitted himself to Queen Mother in such servile manner as is misliked by his dear friends, and to show his good devotion takes upon himself, with the help of 3,000 harquebusiers and some companies of horsemen, to reduce Languedoc to the King's obedience. He has been at Toulouse, a matter incredible if he were not Damville, in whom no base kind of dealing may be found strange. Divers bruits are given out concerning him which I omit because they are yet uncertain. Many think that the King of Navarre will not be removed from his profession, and I am credibly informed he behaves with great roundness and no less dexterity in this conference with Queen Mother ; the assembly for the establishing of the edict, appointed at L' Isle Jourdain being [? held] over upon some petty occasion. Now Queen Mother would have it held in the suburb of Toulouse, which the King of Navarre utterly refuses. He and his faithful counsellors, if he have any about him, will make good proof at this time of their integrity and wisdom and sufficiency ; Queen Mother being assisted 'with' a great number of the heads of this realm, as the three marshals, Damville, Bellegarde and Biron, du Foix, la Mothe-Fénelon, the Bishop of Valence, Lansac, Pinart and others, 'and it may be said that he playeth his part well, if he pass this pluck . . . a foil.' There has been conference between him and Biron, but the reconciliation is not yet agreed upon. The Prince of Condé is not forgotten ; his marriage with the sister of the French Queen never sought more earnestly than now ; great offers in living and money and nothing omitted that may lull him asleep. M[any] plots have been laid to snare Chastillon and great personages employed to abuse him ; but in vain, and no man doubts of his constancy. The preaching exercised near the city of Rouen in a house belonging to the Baron of Botteville is forbidden by order from the Parlement there. Complaint is made to the King, but answer is deferred till his return from Fontainebleau. Simier came purposely to me on the 9th to pray me to give no credit to such slanderous report as might come to my ears touching Monsieur, and to persuade me that he had no other intention than to use all roundness and integrity in his dealing with her Majesty. Two days after, Quissy being sent to me by Simier to show me a letter which he had received that day from Monsieur, upon occasion of talk of the jealousy conceived by Simier of tales which might be brought to me to the prejudice of Monsieur, I asked him what tales those were which they suspected had come to my knowledge. He answered, the treaty with the King of Spain for Monsieur's marriage with his daughter ; 'and it is true,' says he, 'that Queen Mother is treating with the Spaniard, but it is to conclude a marriage between the King and the daughter of Spain. He means to shake off the French Queen, who now is as barren' ; which he affirms to be no new thing, and that Queen Mother was once in danger of having the like practised against her. I said little, that he might not think I conceived any suspicion of it ; but if, doubting lest I were informed of this treaty with the Spaniard, they thought to stop my mouth with this counterfeit, they were much deceived. Quissy was but just arrived from the country, and I am surely of opinion that he spoke as he thought. I believe it the rather because he was marvellously transported at the sight of Monsieur's letter, being persuaded that it proceeded from a sound and sincere meaning. It is certain that Simier gives out, and causes others to do so, that the marriage is concluded by treaty, and that her Highness has dispensed with the interview. He is every day going towards England in outward show ; but the truth is he expects a further resolution from Monsieur. One William Blandel [? Blundell] has been with me, returning from the service of the King of Spain in the Low Countries. He tells me that he is not unknown to you, Mr Walsingham, and that being formerly accused of Popery, it was resolved that he should continue in that profession in outward show, thereby to have the better means to discover the practices of the Papists. When he passed by this town to the Low Countries he could not, or would not, speak of any such matter. I have done what I can to feel what stuff is in this man and to sound the bottom of his means, and to that purpose have tried him by word and by writing ; but to be plain with you I have no opinion that he can or will do any great service. He trusts that you will send him again into this country, and promises to do many things. I send you enclosed copies of letters that have lately come to my hands by means of a new friend. They were, for expedition, copied by several hands ; wherein please bear with me. Pray make me so happy as to hear that my successor is appointed. —Paris, 22 Nov. 1578. Somewhat damaged. Add. and Endt. gone. 3½ pp. [France II. 85.]
Nov. 22. 394. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
You will have heard from my cousin Cheek in what terms I left the doings at Ghent. Since then, namely on Thursday the 20th, they were to hold the general assembly to determine the matter in question ; in which, as we hear, they have proceeded in such a seditious sort as has kept them ever since in arms, the gates shut, and the whole town divided into the contrary factions of Hembize the chief Burgomaster, who will by no means agree to the demands of the States, and Ryhove the colonel-general, who, followed by the better sort, 'pretend' to conform to the advice of the Prince, and will not disjoin themselves from the general body of the States. But what issue the matter is growing to we cannot yet have any certainty, their gates continuing shut, and no one suffered to pass in or out. The first beginning of this alteration was last Tuesday, Ryhove having caused the captains to assemble their companies in arms in divers parts of the city, where he asked if they would have the Prince of Orange for their governor or not. Having obtained their general consent, he commanded every man to repair quietly to his lodgings [in draft : but herewith Hembize and his faction despited, began to stir the multitude, and so succeeded this further confusion etc.] whereupon has since followed this confusion and partiality among them ; being an effect of Beutrich's counsel, which I fear will go near to put the person of the Duke in hazard, beside the further mischief like to grow of it. This much for the doings at Ghent. Montigny has met and conferred with la Motte since his coming to Cassel, and leaving the Wallons there has returned to Mons, accompanied by de Hèze, whom he took with him from Meenen. Since his departure, certain companies of Walloons from Cassel, have been at 'Honscote,' an open town, very wealthy, not far from Dixmude ; and having 'ransomed' it and appointed the inhabitants to bring in their money within 8 or 10 days, have come towards Dixmude, where hearing of a company or two of Gantois lying about Gystele, they sent mounted harquebusiers to cut them to pieces ; which they have executed, and taken their captain prisoner. Baron d' Aubigny is said to have since joined them, coming towards Dixmude. Thus you see what a confusion is begun in this province, which, as far as I see, is like to taste of the miseries their compatriots have endured before them.—Bruges, 22 Nov. 1578. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 39.]
395. Draft of the above. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. X. 39a.]
I hoped you would have returned to this town at the time you proposed ; but I am afraid that the 'emotions' which have supervened have cooled and delayed you. These seem to be quieted, and the Burgomaster seems to have the best of it, 'Ruihauve' having undertaken what he did very unadvisedly ; for he persuaded himself that he had much credit with the people, and did not find it so. Now they are reconciled. The credit of the Prince of Orange, under whom and for whose authority Ryhove's attempt was made, will be much lowered in this town ; and I fear that the deputation which was sent to him the day before the excitement to ask him to take the command of the town will be recalled. They will have just cause for complaint. News has arrived that the peace proposed by the Emperor is being treated of at Antwerp. I do not know the conditions. The Duke of Aerschot and Count Lalaing are gone to Antwerp lately. The more astonished I am, the more I dread some conspiracy against the Prince. I am wasting away in this town, mind, body, and means ; of which I have not enough to go elsewhere. Pray remember me, and consider what is the cause of my being in this difficulty. Three days ago I received confirmation and full explanation of the news which I received before your departure in the letter which Dr Simonis the Prince's physician wrote me. I send you his letter, in which offers were made to me of such magnitude that I must much lament the unlucky state of my affairs which prevents me from going at once to assure myself of what he says to me on behalf of his Prince ; who is no novice or apprentice in the things he wants. But it will rest with God ex unguibus judicare [or indicare] leonem. I entreat you the more to aid me that I may go and see after my affairs.—22 Nov. (Signed) Ferrières. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 40.]
Nov. 22. 397. ROSSEL to the QUEEN.
I think your Majesty will have heard from your ambassadors Cobham and Walsingham of the good will I bear to your service, urged only by the sympathy which ought to exist between (interpeller) all honest people who love the general tranquillity. Nevertheless since I was received by my lords into your service, I have used every effort to write all that has occurred, as Sir F. Walsingham knows. And inasmuch as among other particulars a matter has offered itself worthy to be represented to you, I have been so bold as to write to your Majesty. The Duke of Alençon fell ill, it is thought of the plague, last Thursday the 19th (sic). His partisans and followers, being unable to accomplish their purpose of making him lord in the Low Countries by the road which they had taken, are seeking another expedient, namely to 'practise' the malcontents, who have withdrawn to Mons, to make war in Flanders ; a subtle way to trouble the State and reduce things to wretchedness. They are seconded by Minister Villiers ; by whose industry the Prince of Orange seems inclined to their cause, many of the Estates and Council being similarly instructed. They profess to declare that if the King does come to terms with the States within three months they will change their prince. And they are anxious to the uttermost to hasten on this matter, insomuch that the French has told his brother that for two towns and the title of defender he could not plunge in to his assistance, but if he got some such dignity in the name of lord he would put forth all his power—even declare against the King of Spain. Many of our people are wavering at this, which makes me fear the occurrence of some new thing if it be not remedied by some antidote. This would be by repairing their civil war, and would be feasible if means were given to a personage whom I think you know, whose name I will tell your Majesty if you think it well, on the first opportunity. The Prince of Orange is gone to-night to enter on the government. The Duke of Aerschot, sent for by him for his own greater advantage, seeing their step, has protested that the government having been given to him by the Estates ought not to be taken away without offence. The Duke and others stand on their dignity (se formalisent), but in vain ; for they say it is the people.
Other details I have discoursed to Sir F. Walsingham, to avoid prolicity, which would be tedious to your Majesty.—Antwerp, 23 Nov. 1578. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 41.]
Nov. 23. 398. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
Having discovered some remarkable points in the designs of our French, I have thought it well to write them to her Majesty particularly, if you think it well to let her see it ; referring it to your prudent consideration to judge of the means they are taking to insinuate themselves and become the lords of our State, which they are seeking to trouble and render miserable in order to gain their end. Our army is scattered along the frontier of Liége as far as Bois-le-duc, awaiting its pay. The reiters have offered to serve three months in the field if they can be paid for two months. Efforts are being made to get money, but the war in Flanders has deprived us of the means to get it. The Prince of Orange went last night to Ghent, where he will be made governor of the country. The Duke of Aerschot whom he had for his own greater benefit recalled from Mons is discontented ; protesting that he had done nothing to have the government given him by the States, taken away. The enemy tired of fighting has withdrawn into Louvain, Diest, Leeuw and other places. But news has come to-day that the 27 ensigns that were in Louvain are coming out, and that Baron Pollwiller is entering with his Germans. It is not known what they intend. I think for my part that Baron de Chevreau is going back to Burgundy, where the French are again at large. The Swiss have come down to the aid of the country. The Prince of Parma has written to the States, to say that he has letters from the King bidding him obey the Emperor's orders. To-day a gentleman ought to arrive as ambassador from the Archduke Ferdinand ; it is thought to set on foot the peace negotiations, while awaiting the other deputies, as the Elector of Cologne, Lazarus Swendi and others. Some think that that Archduke, or at any rate one of Matthias's brothers will come. Count Lalaing was at Valenciennes six days ago ; it was said to scheme for the entrance of the French. He was not welcomed, and was compelled to retire 'with dexterity' and in secret, or he would have been made prisoner. Ghent was up in arms last Wednesday on account of the arrest of Embise ; one side against the other, in the conference upon the terms. Mr Davison can speak of the details as an eye-witness. The Walloons have promised to obey the States, and go where they are ordered, as soon as the Gantois have submitted, taking one month's pay, where before they would not be content with three. La Motte and Montigny have negotiated together. The former wants to retain the Walloons for the service of the Spaniards, and offers them money daily, which he says comes from Spain. But they will not listen. The conference between him and Montigny must seem suspicious to her Majesty after the negotiation he had proposed to her. One cannot but think that they have disclosed it to Gourdan.
We hear that Deventer has surrendered, and the same of Wert.— Antwerp, 23 Nov. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 42.]
Nov. 24. 399. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
The 'emotion' that happened last week at Ghent between the factions of Hembize and Ryhove, 'the first oppugning, the other affecting' the compounding of their differences according to the advice of the Prince and States, as mentioned in my last, sent by John Furrier, has, we hear, been since appeased, and the authors of it outwardly reconciled. But we cannot learn 'what effect their determined assembly has taken.' Owing to the difference, it was put off from Thursday to Saturday ; on which day we hear only that the nobles, who assemble first, consented to be ruled wholly by the advice of the Court. But what the burghers or notables who assembled yesterday, or the commons who meet as to-day, agree to, will be known some time to-morrow. Upon the motion of Ryhove last Tuesday to the people, touching the choice, as governor, of the Prince (who was before nominated by the rest of the Members of Flanders) in order to thwart the practices of Hembize for introducing Duke Casimir, they dispatched deputies to Antwerp, to advertise his Excellency of that election, and to beseech him in the name of all the four Members, but especially of the Gantois, to come thither to redress the disordered state of things. To this at the instance of the States he has agreed, and should be to-night at Dendermonde, minding as it seems to stay there till he hears the result of their assembly according to which he 'pretends' to dispose his further journey. Duke Casimir had, upon my motion, once resolved to meet him at that town ; but considering what has happened since I doubt he will 'make curtesy' to perform it ; which may be some impediment to the Prince's going forward. But when I have dispatched my business here, I mean to hasten to Ghent and do the best I can to procure their interview as the best means to redress the inconvenience caused by the heart-burnings between the two princes, nourished chiefly by the ill-offices of Beutrich, of whom all the world cries shame. This action of Duke Casimir's, but especially the suspected consequence of it in respect of the French, has again set on foot the traffic of peace proposed by the Emperor ; who has, as I hear, a solemn embassy at Cologne, on its way to Antwerp. But with what sincerity or likelihood of good success, time will show. Baron d' Aubigny, declared on the side of the Walloons, has come within 5 leagues of this town, with horse and foot, and has summoned Dixmude to receive him, which they have flatly refused. So he ranges up and down that part of the country, 'sessing' and taxing the villages at his pleasure. La Motte, who has been at St. Omer again this week, with Count Egmont, does not yet attempt any innovation. The Duke of Aerschot has returned to Antwerp with his son the Prince of Chimay, indisposed, it seems, to hazard his fortune in so desperate a cause as the Walloons have undertaken ; but his brother and the rest remain behind.—Bruges, 24 Nov. 1578. P.S.—Please suspend any further dealings on the bond for 30,000 fl. desired by Spinola till you hear further from me ; both because in his hands for the former sums he dealt very lewdly with me, as you shall hear more fully hereafter, and also because I am very 'loosed handled' for my particular bonds. So that I have great cause to complain in both respects ; and if you let Grobbendonck understand so much, and that you mean to deal no further but as you shall hear from me, it may perhaps make them remember themselves better. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 43.]
Nov. 24. 400. The PRINCE OF ORANGE to DAVISON.
As M. de Famar was going that way, I would not omit a word to put you in mind of me. He will tell you at large the cause of his going, and how things stand here, so I need say no more.— Dendermonde, 24 Nov. 1578. Add. with seal. Endd. Fr. 11ll. [Ibid. X. 40.]
Nov. 25. 401. FREMYN to DAVISON.
I arrived in this town a week ago to-day, to take leave of Duke Casimir and hand over my company to him ; which I have done in the most honourable way I possibly could, and he has agreed to, on account of the business I have. I also thought to find you here, to tell you that I have kept my carriage and two horses at Brussels for you about which you spoke to me before. I should like to know what you intend ; if you wish me to send them to your lodgings at Antwerp, and about the price. It shall be to your satisfaction, and you can pay when you please. I am sending this to Bruges on the chance, as they say here that you have gone to Antwerp, whither I am making my way directly, to find you. I meant to stay here six days, thinking you would be sure to come here anyhow. As to what is going on here, it was thought that the Prince of Orange would come yesterday. He is at Dendermonde, and his departure is put off till to-day. All the town was in arms. Some horsemen were sent by Messieurs to meet the Prince ; but after they had gone two leagues they returned, he having sent word that it would be for to-day. Meanwhile M. de Bonivet was ordered to leave the town immediately, which he had to do ; and the like with the Vidame, and all the Frenchmen favouring the Duke of Alençon. All night long the burghers were under arms, searching the houses ; the drums making a great noise. If you are at Bruges, kindly send your wishes touching the carriage to Madame votre compaigne ; and so I kiss your hands.— Ghent, 25 Nov. 1578. Add. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 45.]
Nov. 25. 402. M. DE MAUVISSIÈRE to the LORDS of the COUNCIL.
Four months ago some merchants of Toulouse shipped a quantity of wood at Bordeaux for transport to Nantes. On the way they fell in with a French pirate, who took all their cargo on board, and landed at Guernsey to dispose of it ; where Mr Leighton, the governor, arrested him. He says that by the privilege of his island the goods of all pirates who come there are confiscate to him. So Mr Leighton having seized the wood, on the plea that it belongs to him, and having sent it to various ports of this kingdom for sale, the French merchants being advertised thereof have had a stay made, and straightway Mr Leighton has got it taken off, giving caution, without the merchants recovering anything. They instantly urge me to assist them by a letter to you, praying that the matter may be tried before you and by your authority ; or that you will be pleased to refer it directly to the Judge of the Admiralty and other commissioners deputed for that purpose, not leaving it to the Judge at Guernsey, who the merchants say is hostile to them. They brought me yesterday letters from the King commanding me to aid them.—London, 25 Nov. 1578. Add. Fr. 1 p. [France II. 86.]
Nov. 27. 403. WALSINGHAM to DAVISON.
By the enclosed, received from our ambassador in France, it appears that the States of Hainault and Artois, together with the Walloons and most of the nobility in the Low Countries are entered upon a course to make their peace with the King of Spain ; being no less alienated from the States than from the French, whose coming into the country has been a principal cause of the division of these provinces from the rest. It will therefore be expedient for the Prince to take some new way of counsel, and desist from threatening the Gantois ; with whom he should concur in the advancement of religion, without which it is apparent there can be no sound union among them. If we would do as policy commands, though their case is very hard in respect of the disunion, yet it is not so desperate but that it might be greatly relieved. But this is rather to be wished than hoped for ; and therefore they must resolve to depend upon God and their own forces. And indeed we find by experience that the success proves best when we have least cause to depend on the arm of man, shaking off all policy that is not grounded upon God. We need a better confirmation in this behalf than the deliverance of Holland and Zealand at a time when their case seemed altogether desperate to man's judgement. On the other side, who would have thought that so great and puissant an army as the States had, would have proved so fruitless? Which manifestly shows that these wars are carried on with another manner of success than those which are grounded only on ambition ; and therefore I conclude that if they would become as well reformed in their lives as in their profession and depend upon His providence, it would be a great thing both for their own relief, and the setting forth of His glory. How much Casimir is offended with your negotiation may appear by the copies of the thing I send you. However he is offended, her Majesty allows very well of your proceeding and is resolved to maintain and justify your doing. Yet upon this discovery of the reconciliation of the two provinces with Spain, it will be expedient for her to mediate his reconciliation with the Prince, that they may concur in the defence of the common cause.—Richmond, 27 Nov. 1578. Add. Endd. 1⅓ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 46.]
The Marquis of Havrech having got his affairs in order, after some delay caused by the various conferences which we had upon the redressment of these new troubles, was preparing to return to Court, when we, considering his zeal towards the restoration of affairs to a good footing and the confirmation of our mutual union in order to devote ourselves unreservedly to the expulsion of the common enemy, urgently entreated him, as one of the chief lords of this province to honour the country and the common cause by his presence at the meeting of the States of Artois fixed for Dec. 1 next at Arras, there to continue his good offices to the above effect, and so comfort and confirm the hearts of many who have been shaken and altered by the practices of the Spaniard and his adherents. This he has with his usual kindness granted : in the full intention however when they have finished of repairing to where you are. Of this we wish to give you notice, in order to prevent all sinister reports from such as incessantly interfering in our affairs interpret our actions contrary to the sincerity of our intentions ; not considering that our changes and strange behaviour lie open to the eyes and the reproach of foreigners, and are by them with justice received with odium to our great blame. We hope that the result of the Marquis's journey will be such that you will be pleased therewith and grateful to him and to us ; our purpose being to persevere in the general union if people will adapt themselves to reason. Pray accept all kindly, as we proceed with perfect sincerity in fulfilling our duty and preserving our honour ; which we are bound to have at heart and in view more than aught else in this brief and miserable age.—Mons, 28 Nov. 1578. Copy. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 47.]
Francis, etc. Considering that nothing is more worthy of princes sprung from royal blood than to ally themselves with illustrious families, and that we know none greater by virtue, lineage, title, and all other dignities than our lady and cousin the Queen of England, and being advised thereto by our brother and mother, we make it known to all that being assured of the fidelity, capability, prudence and dexterity of our trusty Jehan de Simier, lord of that place, Baron of St. Mary, etc., our councillor and master of our wardrobe, we have chosen him as our commissioner to the said Queen, the Princes and Estates of her realm, giving him hereby full powers to negotiate, resolve, and conclude marriage with the said Queen, according to the articles we have given into his hands.— Mons, 28 Nov. 1578. Copy. Endd. in a later hand. Fr. 2½ pp. [France II. 87.]
Nov. 28. 406. Another copy. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. II. 87a.]
Nov. 30. 407. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
In my last, dated the 23rd, I wrote to her Majesty about some points likely to follow on the resolution taken by the Estates to choose a new lord if in three months the King does not make peace. Pursuing this subject, I perceive that they are being coaxed to arrive at the election of the Duke of Anjou who makes sure of the support of the Archduke [?] and what is more, seems likely to be backed by the Prince of Orange and others who are being practised by Villiers and led to his devotion. This I understood very clearly from an agent who regularly practises with Villiers on behalf of the Duke. They assure themselves of a good deal of support, judging peace to be hopeless. M. des Pruneaux, who has been so long soliciting on behalf of M. d'Alençon the reward of his notable services for the important place of Binche, for which he hoped to receive Quesnoy and Landrecies, has obtained an annual gold crown of the value of 100,000 florins, with talk about the honour and benefit he has done the country ; the ratification of the gift being referred to the consideration of the provinces. Having got this done, des Pruneaux went joyfully back to Mons, to M. d'Alençon who has been ill, or at any rate keeping his room, for three days. The Prince of Orange is still at Termonde, where he is negotiating divers matters, not only an agreement between the Gantois and Walloons, but ulterior matters also. On this business of an agreement we hope for some decision in two days. Mr Davison who has left Flanders to-day and will have witnessed the negotiations can relate it more in detail. There have been great words about the money taken by 15 [qy. Casimir] and by the Duke of Aerschot, at which the Prince of Orange was much offended. So that to quiet the passions two marriages have been set on foot, which are under discussion ; one to the Prince of Cimay [?] the other for 15 ; the elder for Cimay, the other of for 15. Upon these conferences things have got a little milder. 15 is gone to Termonde ; pursuing this subject, he claims the government of Flanders. This negotiation would smash the plans of 20 [qy. Alençon] and of those who would further him in this matter. Casimir's people have killed on the way from Ghent a gentleman of the Duke of Alençon's, and nearly killed M. de Bonivet, who was saved by the dexterity of his horse. This has caused great resentment. Artois and Hainault are leagued together in a resolve not to admit the 'religion Wlitz,' which they would have done at first if the prelates would have consented. They have sent their deputies to Lille to support their side : they of Tournay will not. Some say that the people of Artois have recalled MM. de Licques, de Rossignol and others who are (sic) with Don John. The Viscount of Ghent is setting out to remedy the disorders if possible. The States of Brabant, led by the prelates, after long opposing the admission of the 'religion Wlitz,' have at last agreed to it, and those of Brussels are ready, both sides alike, to swear it, although the Papists are being solicited not to agree to it. The enemy has taken heart again, upon seeing the divisions in Artois and Hainault, so much that on Friday morning they issued out of Louvain and Diest to the numbers of 3,000 horse and 4,000 foot and moved to Gheel. I am much afraid they may attack the Scots and English who are encamped at the village of Anstrate ; or perhaps the Germans who with their artillery are encamped about a league from 'Mastrech,' the reiters being two or three leagues to their rear ; all the chiefs absent ; colonels and others. M. de Bossu is at Termonde ; la Noue, maréchal de camp at Brussels.
The enemy have assured news that they will receive two months' pay. To this end 200,000 crowns will be sent them ; which is why they take heart. The King is sending them a new chief, who is a bastard that he had by a pretty bakeress at Brussels in the year '50, and he is on the road. In Spain they are looking up recruits [les besogne] everywhere to furnish garrisons for Italy, so as in the spring to send the veteran troops this way. There is something for the country to hope for. I told you of the Prince of Spain's death in October. A week later died Wenceslaus, brother of the Archduke Matthias ; and the Princess of Spain is sick to death. The Archduke and Council have dispatched a gentleman called la Mouillerie to the Emperor to explain to him the position of affairs and the States' intention if the King will do nothing. From France we hear that the Queen Mother is in Languedoc where she has assembled the estates and reconciled Marshal Damville and other malcontents. The King has received from the Pope permission to found a new order. This is a crusade which 300 gentlemen will take up, after the style of those of Rhodes, against those of the Religion.—Antwerp, 30 Nov. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 4 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 48.]
Nov. 408. DUKE CASIMIR to the ESTATES.
After deciding, at the request of the Estates and the instance of the Queen of England, to lead an army of Germans and French into the Low Country in opposition to Don John, Duke Casimir's chief object was to make all the haste he could, knowing that necessity and the season so required. On this occasion though the terms of agreement forwarded by the Estates were defective in several important articles and arranged for only 3,000 horse and 3,000 foot, afterwards increased by 2,000 and 3,000 respectively, nevertheless, to show his goodwill to the country and his respect for the Queen's commands he made no difficulty about accepting it. To supply its defects he sent to Antwerp a servant of his with a memorandum ; and then about a month before he could arrive at the place of muster he sent agents to the Estates with instructions to request that several obscure points might be cleared up or if this could not be done, to ask that Commissioners might be sent with full powers who could clear them up at the place of muster. These agents had their business dispatched at Lautern on the 9th June last ; and although no fitting decision was given them, it is the case that the apostil of the Estates dated May 5 to an article in which Commissioners of good rank were asked for to clear up all difficulties, in a way satisfied his Excellency. So, that nothing might delay the troops, he did not fail to return to the charge before setting out, sending three of his councillors to Nymegen to request the coming of the Commissioners, either to settle the points in dispute, if they had power to do this, or if not, to report them for the decision of the States. He could not imagine that they would wish to delay a single day when their own repose was at stake, while such harm to the inhabitants of the country and advantage to the enemy was likely to ensue from loss of time. Feeling quite hopeful on this point he started from his house at Lautern on June 23, with a very small train to avoid the hindrance of a large one and reach the place of muster all the sooner. On reaching Wesel, which was on the 30th, having as yet no news of his people who were at Antwerp and Nymegen, he did not wish to proceed further till he heard how affairs stood, and if any Commissioners had arrived with full powers according to the apostil of the Estates, and were reported to have treated with them. Then by letters from Antwerp he found his hopes frustrated at all points, seeing that on the one hand he was burdened with the army which had already arrived and on the other hand the States had given no explanation of the doubtful articles nor even deputed Commissioners. Yet in order not to fail in his duty he did not omit to make his way to Zutphen, which was the rendezvous, so that the Estates, on learning that he was at hand in person might at once send Commissioners to proceed to the muster. Some days after his arrival at Zutphen came two gentlemen from the Archduke to welcome him. After thanking them, he explained the state of affairs and the consequent prejudice, not only to his honour but to the Low Countries in general, if in default of the muster he should be compelled to make a long stay in those quarters. He complained greatly of the failure to take proper order and repeatedly begged them, by the duty they owed their country, to stay with him, and, in default of Commissioners, assist him at the muster, which he would undertake in their country and that of Count John of Nassau, in order to gain time ; assuring them that for his part he would proceed with good faith. The gentlemen besought him not to take it amiss if they could not do as he desired, having no commission so to do. A few days later came some without letters, who addressed themselves to his Excellency, having no instructions nor powers to settle any difficulty ; saying that they were simply charged to pass the muster with the two gentlemen above mentioned on the same footing as the other reiters had passed it. His Excellency found this mode of procedure very strange ; to send such persons, gentlemen though they were, unknown to him and the chief of his army, without letters from the Estates or anyone else. The apostil of the Estates mentioned above promised that Commissioners with full powers should be given, and he had so long begged them, by letters, ambassadors and remonstrances, to recognise the inconveniences which might occur. And inasmuch as he was not acting on his own account, but it concerned the princes, colonels, counts and notables who had accompanied him, he was bound to inform them of it. These made difficulties, judging from the beginning what the issue might be, about passing muster until assured of their salaries. However his Excellency by entreaties and remonstrances, had induced them to agree to the muster, and refer the question of allowances to the Estates ; who, the princes and colonels hoped, considering the service they were doing to the country, would recognise it in dealing with them, giving them satisfaction proportionate to their effectual demonstration of their desire for the country's prosperity. This difficulty settled, another arose, namely the general allowances of each regiment ; and after this, that of the pay of the Landsknechts. These having been deferred rather than settled, to avoid delay, that of the nachtgelt arose, the source of all which have since occurred, the cause of all the soldiers' discontent and disorder, to the great prejudice of his Excellency's reputation. Several days passed in the discussion of this with the Commissioners, without an agreement being come to with the Colonels and rittmeisters as to the time for which nachtgelt should be paid, though a single day of debate meant more expense in pay falling due meanwhile than all the matters in dispute could amount to in capital. However when it was settled, came the question of its payment and for the whole month. This was the more difficult inasmuch as the reiters knew that those of Count Schwarzburg, in the neighbourhood of Bois-le-duc, were receiving the nachtgelt and the month in cash down. Now he had no money for one or the other though he had security for the month ; but the reiters would not be content with this, because the nachtgelt ought to be paid first, and they would not have less pay than those who had passed muster before them. His Excellency did all he could by proper persuasions to escape this difficulty. The Commissioners twice solemnly promised to him and his officers that having passed the muster they should not be called upon to budge a foot from Zutphen until they had received with the first month's pay the nachtgelt in cash. So the muster took place and some days later came the rest of the money which the Queen of England had promised to furnish if his Excellency came in person ; but not all of it, because the Estates or their treasurers kept back some of it, besides deducting the money advanced to the French, about 10,000 florins. His Excellency wishing to distribute this with what he had received from Hamburg, found himself short of the month, which they had promised to his people before the levy. On the other hand the reiters made a difficulty about taking the month's before they had got their nachtgelt. At this juncture letters were handed to his Excellency from the Archduke and the Estates, both stating in substance that it was impossible to pay the nachtgelt at present, but that on their word it should not fail to be paid by the end of the month, and praying him, in view of the present necessity, to persuade his army to be contented with what could be furnished at once. Hereupon he omitted no argument to induce his people to have patience for a time, pointing out the certainty of payment, the necessity there was for them to join the others, that the public weal was at stake and his own and their honour no less. The reiters relying on the example of those who had received both nachtgelt and month's pay before marching and above all on the promises of the Commissioners, these representations had no effect till his Excellency made himself caution for the good faith of the States and promised to be responsible for the nachtgelt if it were not forthcoming by the end of the month—a thing he never did before, and which, being ill-advised, he would have avoided but for his extreme desire to get the troops along. The difficulties being thus in a way removed and his Excellency being urged by the Archduke and Estates to make haste and cross the Rhine and the Meuse, assuring him that on his arrival he would receive full contentment, his camp dislodged from Zutphen and came to join that of the Estates near Mechlin. On leaving Zutphen he dispatched agents to the Estates to point out the necessity for keeping his army in good temper and avoiding any occasion of discontent on its arrival ; as also to ask them to settle the tariffs of provision, establish étappes, and provide all else that was necessary. Arriving at Mechlin his Excellency stayed there, or rather squatted there, for seventeen days ; but in spite of his pressing requests the Estates sent no money, and did not even confer with him on any point touching the conduct of the war, nor the means of getting the army out of its quarters to carry out some fine plan against the enemy, though necessity and occasion demanded that some consultation should be held. It is true that at times, as though in passing, the resolutions taken there were communicated to him, without his knowing the how and why. And although the Estates had taken no steps to provide the nachtgelt as promised, and his Excellency at the request of his reiters had ordered that there should be no talk of moving from their present quarters till the money was paid ; notwithstanding, he declared not only to the chiefs of the Estates but to others that in the event of a good resolution being taken for the tranquillity of the county he would make no difficulty about marching. Which in truth, in spite of his people's too manifest causes for discontent (who found themselves as it were handed over for extortion to the towns from whom they had to get what they wanted for ready cash, while they were not paid) would have come to pass, if too obvious partiality had not been shown in giving the other reiters half a month's pay, when they had already received a month and nachtgelt, while promises to them were unfulfilled. This is the bare statement of what has passed since his Excellency's arrival in the country up to his leaving Mechlin. It is easy to judge how he and his army are wronged when the loss of time and opportunity, and the month of inaction near Zutphen are imputed to them ; seeing that it appears clearly from the simple statement above that it proceeds from elsewhere. For this no other argument is needed than the fact that his Excellency having joined the other army at Mechlin was left there for seventeen days in the best season of the summer without being consulted about the military matters. Similarly there is no ground for what is said in regard to his having hindered the money coming from the Queen of England from falling into the hands of the States, that the payment was delayed, and the money subsequently arrived at Zutphen. For even if the £20,000 had been ready on his arrival there were no Commissioners, and without them he could not pass the muster. Secondly, the £20,000, together with the other £20,000 sent by way of Hamburg, were not sufficient for a month's pay, as appears from the non-payment of the chief officers of the reiters, and from the French not having their month complete nor anything on their allowances ; wherein they have shown themselves so well disposed towards this country that they deserve praise and good recompense. So far was the nachtgelt, which the reiters, from consideration for the others, wanted paid before they went further, from being there. It is clear, therefore, that his Excellency had good reason for seeing that the money from England did not fall into a third hand ; for he was not clever enough to prevent the stoppage of 10,000 florins or thereabouts by which the £20,000 fell short, besides the rebate which the States made of the sum advanced to the French. As for the nachtgelt, though promised and solicited in every way, two months have elapsed between the the promise and the payment. It is said that the failure to pay is due to the excess of the number of troops over that for which the States asked, and upon which they based their estimate, by some 1,000 horse and as many foot. His Excellency having been called in by the States to oppose so strong an enemy, thought that large forces would make an end of him sooner than small ; so that it would be well to bring a larger rather than a smaller force ; nor was he aware that certain persons had it in charge to raise men, and had received money, who in any case could not have their people ready so quickly. It is clear indeed that if this fine army of the States had been better led, things would have been forwarder than they are. It was also open to the Commissioners to pass or cashier all that were in excess of their orders. But as this is an argument on which the States greatly rely, it is as well to get to the bottom of it. The extra 1,000 horse and 1,000 foot when distributed among the army may amount to 40,000 florins a month. If the States had paid 40,000 florins to his Excellency's forces there might be some show of reason. But they have not sent a rattar of money raised in the country, and they have kept back 10,000 florins of what the Queen of England sent, besides the rebate above-mentioned. Even if this had been paid over in full, it would, apart from the allowances to the princes, counts, barons etc. have been short by 50,000fl. besides what is due to the French for the balance of their pay, as testified by the account which his Excellency has presented. Nor up to his departure from Mechlin did he receive a penny. On his departure 26,000fl. were handed to him ; so that at present there may be owing to his army more than 500,000fl. So far is he from having received two months' full pay, as certain great people told his agents at Antwerp, and as common report runs. It is clear therefore that the excess of troops is not the reason that he has not been paid, seeing that if he had fewer by 5,000 reiters, he would still be owed 400,000fl. But if the States found the extra number too great a burden, it is surprising that after requesting him to bring forces, they should have added to their own, thus increasing the burden. It is clear then that they are prevaricating, and that there is some mystery other than the delay at Zutphen or the excessive number of reiters, to cause these inconveniences ; though his Excellency does not think it his business to search further. Others say that his Excellency's establishment, on which a small army might be supported, is the cause of the excessive burden on the country. If this were said by the ignorant, or by the common people, it would not matter ; but since responsible persons go so far, he must disclose the facts. When he claimed a salary suitable to his quality he followed in the footsteps of those of the country ; who being by divine and human law bound to risk their persons and goods for its deliverance, and having their chief interest here, do not fail to receive great establishments, salaries, and pensions, according to their quality and office, whatever may be the misery of their fatherland. This would be surely no less pardonable in a foreign prince, whom they most often call their hireling. His Excellency knows too that the Estates promised a salary to a foreign nobleman who would not bring as large forces, and who is of no better quality. But in his wish to show his desire to relieve the country so far as depended on his will and power by the free employment of his own body and resources, he has never demanded nor insisted on any personal salary ; still less stipulated for any towns, or any title or advantage for himself. He would not even accept the pay to which he was entitled as Colonel of 2,000 reiters and 3,000 landsknechts, being content to serve with a light heart in so just a quarrel, where public interests and the tranquillity of the Holy Empire are at stake. If those who, not being his equals in rank, have received promise of similar pay or are still soliciting the States for it, will do the like, the States will find themselves rid of many burdens, and will be the better able to content those who ought to receive extraordinary pay, by dividing the money among them. As for the sum offered by the Estates for the extraordinary pay of the princes and other gentlemen of his suite, he declares in order to avoid sinister suspicions, he cannot and will not take it. He wants it to be truly known where the money goes, and in order that he may have clean hands at all points, he would have Commissioners appointed on the part of the States to treat with them. He will do his best to promote this and will to the best of his power try to get them to agree to what is reasonable. The matters touched upon, when set forth, show with what foot his Excellency has walked, and with what foot others have walked in his case, and how ungratefully calumnies about him have been disseminated, besides the unworthy treatment he has received since he came into the country. He regrets nothing so much as that all means have, as if by deliberate plot, been taken from him of satisfying the hopes placed in him by the poor people of the Low Countries. For though it has been sought to destroy his credit with the soldiers and his reputation everywhere, by breaking faith, doling out the promised money in small sums, postponing his reiters to others, communicating no military matters to him save decisions already taken, breaking up his forces into advance-guard, main body, and rear-guard so as to deprive him of all command—all which would tend to lower his authority and reduce him to the rank of the smallest colonels—yet knowing that his rank and his goodwill were not thereby diminished, he would have continued to adapt himself to everything possible, if he had thought he could be of service to the cause, and been content to serve either in command, or under the very lowest. There is no room to say that the impotence of the States is due to their having no means of supplying money ; for it was paid in his Excellency's presence near Mechlin to other reiters who received a month's pay and nachtgelt when his own men had neither. Judging on these grounds that he is neither acceptable nor useful, besides the impression that his excessive pay is a great burden, and learning from England that the Estates have begged the Queen to bring about his return, and that he may not approve by his presence the disorders that go on, his Excellency has resolved to go back to Germany, leaving the event of the war in God's hands. He begs the States to send qualified Commissioners at once to his reiters, to settle with them ; the more so that their three months of service have now expired. His Excellency will for all that not cease to bear the goodwill which he and his late father have always borne towards the prosperity of this country and only hopes to have a better opportunity of showing it. Copy. Endd. by L. Tomson : Casimir's Justification ; and by Davison. Fr. 12½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 49.]
409. Another copy. Endd. by L. Tomson : Protestation of D. Casimir. [Ibid. X. 50.]
Nov. 410. Short abstract of above in L. Tomson's hand. Endd. 1½ pp. [Ibid. X. 51.]