Elizabeth: December 1578, 11-20

Pages 340-352

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

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December 1578, 11-20

I have just received yours of the 7th, not without great satisfaction at perceiving therefrom that the little service in which I have been employed in these parts for the preservation of the general union is acceptable to you. This makes me desirous to continue the same duties so long as I have breath in my body. I started yesterday on my journey thitherward ; having so well contravened the tricks and plots which the Spaniard was devising this way, that thank God we need have no more fear. It remains for us general to strain every nerve for the maintenance of our union. Herein also I have laboured so well that every man of this province desires only to live and die therein, as I shall lay more fully before you and his Highness by word of mouth when I arrive, which I hope will be shortly ; not doubting but that you also will be satisfied.—Douay, 11 Dec. 1578. (Signed) Charles Philippes de Croy. P.S.—I am coming back to see you and report the truth of what has passed ; also to aid you with advice according as our straitened affairs seem to demand. And although up to now the generality has held together, we must find some convenient means of pacification. Otherwise we must have no doubt of a great ruin to the poor people, who are sorely afflicted on all sides. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. No. 74.]
Dec. 12. 442. DUKE OF ANJOU to the ESTATES.
By the reply I made some days ago to the letters brought in by M. des Pruneaux you must have perceived my intentions. In order however to declare it to you now in detail, I have sent him back to advise with you. I think you will find it well to keep the prelate of Marolles here, to assist in your name at the deliberations touching your affairs. After exhorting to continue you in the desire you express to content me, des Pruneaux will press upon you a general consultation of the Estates at the time which you announced to me, or sooner if possible, and generally propose various points affecting the good of these provinces. I will forget nothing of the advice and help which I have promised ; as the personal risks I have run, the nobility I have hazarded, the army I have exposed in your behalf worthily testify. Such is my desire to relieve you that I levied my army at my own expense, a thing no 'auxiliary prince' ever did ; and so I hope you will have a good remembrance of it, and if I have begun well, I am in the will to go on from well to better. And as a pledge of my friendship I would with you have an eye to the expulsion of your enemy, who wants to triumph over you at any price and build a trophy of your spoils. But it is certain that, if you are not prompt and foreseeing in preserving yourselves from their plots and designs which they are weaving under fine words full of ambushes and conspiracies.—Remember that no poison is so dangerous as that which hides its bitter under the guise of sweetness, etc., etc.—Mons, 12 Dec. 1578. Copy. Endd. : Letters of credit for de Pruneaulx ; and in Fr. Fr. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 75.]
Dec. 13. 443. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
The latest treaty made by the Estates with M. d'Alençon, a copy of which I sent you in my last sufficiently shows at what the French are aiming, and the various intelligences they have by the address alike of M. de la Motte and of the brothers MM. de Lalaing and Montigny, who have conferred together. This made me doubt whether la Motte would hold for the French ; a matter of which I cannot judge with certainty, inasmuch he has lately treated with M. de Vaux and others from Artois who are for the Spaniards, by the means of which the Prince of Parma has written to those of Arras and has sent the Bishop of that place, who formerly absented himself, to convoke the Estates of Artois and present to them certain articles of pacification. These agree with those which Don John formerly offered the States-General, and I would have taken trouble to get them had I not relied on Mr Davison. Those of Artois have sent his letter and the articles to the States-General, with their resolution, which is that they are willing to treat with the king, provided they may have no Spaniard or other foreigner in their country. The Viscount of Ghent entered Arras so opportunely that he broke up the assembly and the conference which the Prince of Parma's deputies thought to have ; and the report goes that he made them prisoners. This would not be inopportune for the furtherance of the peace set on foot by Count Schwarzenberg, the ambassador authorized by the Emperor and at her Majesty's request by the States. There will thus be no need for the electors to come, which will gain time and save expense to the States ; and to this they have agreed. Count Schwarzenberg expected to find the Prince of Parma at Namur, but he was gone to Limburg, where he has a design to make a fort on the Meuse for the convoy of provisions. This will delay the peace-conference, and especially the business of Artois, brought about by the troubles at Ghent, agreeably to your last letter of Dec. 1. Mr Davison will, I am sure, have told you about the state of Ghent, and I need only say that progress is slow. The Prince sends word that he is solicited by the Gantois to take the government, which he will not do unless the Estates agree, naming M. de Bossu his lieutenant. I perceive that the Prince is not hated by the French only ; it is increasing in several others, who are plotting and seeking all means of sending him back to Holland. I do not think the town of Antwerp is too well-assured to him, according to the practices set on foot by the papists and malcontents. A complaint against him has been laid before the Estates and Council, setting forth out that in imitation of the Duke of Alva, the Princess of Parma, Requesens, and Don John, the Prince has an arrière-conseil of Sainte-Aldegonde, du Plessis, Villiers, and other ministers, to the disservice of the country, of good order, and of the authority given to the Council of State ; so that on his return from Ghent he will find a disorderly house (mal ménage). M. de Bossu, recognising the turn affairs are taking has written to the Prince that if he is not in conformity with the States in all his negotiations, he and all his are lost. I leave it to you to discuss the subject. Those of Gueldres and Friesland, similarly disturbed, wish to maintain and restore the Pacification of Ghent in imitation of those of Artois ; whereby Count John, governor of Gueldres, finding himself much hindered in hastening to the Estates, started on Thursday. The only remedy for all the disunion is a general summoning of the Estates, which it is said will be done shortly at Brussels during this peace-conference, to which it is agreed that the garrison which is at Brussels under Colonel 'Temple' shall go out ; which being done, I perceive that the ministers and the exercise of the religion will be made to cease at Brussels.—Antwerp, 13 Dec. 1578. P.S.—I am asked by letters from Lord Cobham to write to him, which I do sometimes. I know not if her Majesty and you approve. On this, advice. Add. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 76.]
Dec. 14. 444. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
I was in doubt, at the instant of my man's dispatch, that I should have sent you no very 'plausible' news of the doings at Ghent ; but the matter is fallen out better than I looked for. They have accorded the points demanded by the Governor and States and now his Excellency is employed in setting some order for the execution of them. They have deputed twelve commissioners, four from each chamber, namely the nobles and notables, the meytiers [qy. métiers] and the tisserans. But as good laws seem to little purpose where there want good magistrates to see them observed, so I fear the 'residires' if the cause of sickness be not removed. The nobles, being the first members, have proposed the change of the magistrates. If the écherins, themselves present, request to be changed, as there is some appearance, I think it would be accepted, seeing they have continued longer than they ought by their privileges. This were a good remedy to heal, or at least keep from further festering, the sore of that corrupt Government. The commons are very ill-affected to receive the priests again. I doubt it will be hard to keep them from some new folly unless the ministers are all the more peaceable and temperate. The Prince has thanked them in their assembly for their consent to the reasonable demands of the States, and has assured them that he will not only be careful to advance religion both there and elsewhere by all good means, but also make war upon the Walloons, if they will not be reclaimed by reason. All this notwithstanding we have little hope of reducing the malcontents to any good point. Their last demands were so insolent as to argue an indisposition to peace. Montigny hovers up and down in the West Quarter, spying, as some think, the opportunity to surprise one of the ports. The bruit is that M. de Manuys, lieutenant to Count Egmont, suspecting the weakness of his faction in St. Omer, on Tuesday last received in a supply from la Motte ; whose entrance, resisted by a faction of townsmen, has cost divers of them their lives. From Arras we do not yet hear what is decided by the Estates of that province, or what issue the Marquis's journey has taken. Those of Lille, Douay, and Orchies, under pretext of exempting themselves from the spoils, taxations, and other disorders committed by the Walloons, have contracted with de Hèze to maintain at their charge three companies of foot, allowing each company 1,700 florins a month ; but in order that the States may not think this tends to any league with them, they excuse it as proceeding of mere necessity, and not of any desire to separate from the general union. Of our newly proposed truce we have no news hitherto since the departure of the ambassador, whose goodwill though I do not suspect, I am very 'jealous' of any good fruit of his labour.— Antwerp, 14 Dec. 1578. Draft. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 77.]
Dec. 15. 445. DAVISON to WALSINGHAM.
It has been my hap hitherto to begin my letters mostly with excusing my slackness. I hope you think the fault proceeds from no indisposition to visit you oftener with them. The last delay has grown from the proceedings at Ghent, which till last week were very uncertain, but have now come to good terms, as they have accorded the demands of the States touching the toleration of both religions, restitution of the clergy livings, and sequestration of the prisoners into neutral hands ; pretending in all other reason conformableness to the advice of the Prince. His presence there has been the sovereign remedy to restore that diseased state. The only difficulty that remains is in the execution, not altogether without danger, unless the corrupt humours that bear sway in that body may be removed, a thing I imagine the Prince will not neglect. By his letter received this morning he put me in very good comfort that all will be well. The deputies are now returned back to the Walloons to sound their inclination. Their last demands make their reconcilement suspicious, notwithstanding the conformity of the Gantois ; but if the case prove desperate, the resolution is taken here to practise the extreme remedy. Of the success of the truce we have no news. There is some hope that the new-practised reconcilement of Artois with the king will be diverted ; in which respect they of Hainault have used the embassy of the Marquis of Havrech, who has returned with some good satisfaction. But I fear the rooted disease of this state will not be cured with any easy medicines. The States General have by a new contract entertained the ambitious hope of Alençon to become prince of these countries, if within 3 or 4 months they cannot compound with the king. What ever their pretence be, the success I fear will be dangerous for the union of the country. You see the broken state and condition of things here, where I hope no betterment, if fear or compassion do not move the king to peace.—Antwerp, 15 Dec. 1578. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 78.]
Dec. 15. 446. The PRINCE OF ORANGE to DAVISON.
Though I had many reasons for writing to thank you as well for the good advertisements you have given me as for the copies of the intercepted letters, which have been of much use to me in verifying what I had heard by another channel, namely the close intelligence that was growing between them of Artois and the Spaniards, I have nevertheless put it off till now. The cause of the delay was my desire to see what would be the issue of my coming to this town, and whether Messieurs de Gand would have any wish to let themselves be persuaded to reason and led to what is necessary for them ; besides such hope as I might have for the future as regards the regulation of affairs both in this town and in the whole county of Flanders. Now, thank God, I see that whatever changes have taken place here the goodwill of the burghers of Ghent towards me is in no way diminished. As regards the three Members in general, having well weighed everything by their "collaces" they have unanimously resolved to comply with the demand of the States on the three points. I know that what you did to prepare the way has been of such service to us in this matter that nothing has done so much to soften the hearts of those who were otherwise difficult to handle. I feel that the whole country is obliged to you and myself in particular, as the Estates chose that I should undertake this journey. To tell you now what will ensue is out of my power, for God alone knows it ; but if I can foresee anything I hope that the end will be good for this country. The three Members of this town and the Aldermen of both benches have deputed certain of their number to communicate with us touching the execution of the agreement. I find them in such disposition as to make me hope that the difficulties will not be insuperable. Similarly the four members of Flanders being here, I hope by their means to take order for this whole county, and put affairs in a better way than hitherto.—Ghent, 15 Dec. 1578. P.S.—I return the copies of the letters sent me. (Signed) Guitte de Nassau. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 79.]
Dec. 15. 447. ADVICES from BRUGES [by T. STOKES].
The Viscount of Ghent came to the meeting of the States of Artois at Arras, unlooked-for by M. de Capres and the rest of that faction. His coming nothing liked them ; but the commons marvellously rejoiced at it. La Motte was appointed by Capres and that faction to be there, and he was within two leagues of Arras when he heard that the Viscount had come ; and so with speed returned to Gravelines. As yet nothing has been heard of what is done at Arras, and yet this town has deputies there. La Motte since his return has passed 'mouster' of all his 'solgers' ; and they say here for certain that he is all for the Spaniards. The Bishop of Arras was coming thither, but when he heard that the Viscount had come, he stayed away ; and, as it is here reported, the Viscount has altered many matters that were 'presended' by the Bishop and la Motte, and that faction. It is said here that the Prince has made agreement at Ghent, but the articles are not yet come to the lords of this town. The Walloons continue their wonted manner in spoiling some part of them 'lyse' now about Veurne and those parts, not far from Niewport. This morning Baron 'Dobeni's' men to the number of 300 or 400 foot were within half a league of 'Odenburgh,' 3 leagues from this town, and there have taken eight or ten rich 'boures' and carried them away to the castle of 'Ansone' [qy. Hantsamen], belonging to Baron 'Dobeny,' 4 leagues from here. The Frenchmen that serve under 'Casimeres' lie here in Flanders at a rich open village called Tylt, 5 leagues from this town, and spoil as fast as the rest. It is much feared here that they and the French that are with the Walloons will join together ; and Frenchmen by troops of 40 or 50 come daily into the country, which is not liked here. Last Saturday, M. de 'Borce' and one of our burgomasters of this town, with others, were sent from Ghent by the Prince to Menen as commissioners to talk with M. de Montigny to make agreement with the Walloons ; for it seems Montigny has made some offer and desires to parley about it, and thereupon those commissioners are sent thither. The Prince is collecting men about 'Cortrick' ; so it is thought, if no agreement be made with the Walloons, that something will be done against them ; for M. de 'Riova' of Ghent is at 'Corttrick.' It is also written to this town that the Viscount has set at liberty the prisoners at Arras, whom Capres had laid in prison and would have hanged. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 80.]
I am sending to his Highness a copy of the act concluded with Messieurs de Gand, and have asked him to communicate it to you. You will see from it that they have wholly conformed to your intention pursuant to the articles you sent them. You will also hear of the Religions Vreydt accorded by them, to which there are special articles, comprehended nevertheless in the general act. Those of Ghent have given instructions respecting everything contained both in the Act and in the Religions Vreydt to the deputies of the three Members who are now going to the Walloons with M. de Bours. I pray you accordingly to take steps to deliver the district of Flanders from being further harassed by the Walloons ; for as I saw the four Members of Flanders determined to do what was in their power to supply the money, so, the Walloons not being withdrawn, there is no appearance that we shall be able to take any advantage from all our labours up to now in this country.—Ghent, 16 Dec. 1578. (Signed) Guitte de Nassau. Copy. Endd. by L. Tomson : From the P. of Orange to the [States] by St. Aldegonde. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 81.]
I received your letter late this evening, and thank you for doing me the honour to send me news of yourself. Since my last, nothing has happened worth reporting, unless that M. de Bours started yet with the deputies of the four Members to go to the Walloons in order to communicate the Ghent agreement to them, and induce them to come to reason also on their side. It is hoped that they will be satisfied and that all things will be amicably settled. The deputies sent to Tournay, Valenciennes, Lille, Douay, and other towns, to countermine the negotiations of those of Artois, returned to-day with good news ; namely that they found those towns well-disposed, and holding fast to the general body of the States, with no wish to give ear to separate leagues, to the deteriment of the general union. The Viscount of Ghent is working hard in Artois to restore things, and is progressing well. He entered Arras in full career [à plein col], no one hindering. They say that most of the people are taking his side, whereat M. de Capres is much astonished. M. de Meetkerke left here to-day with other deputies, to treat openly with those of Artois. I hope they will break the designs of the malicious. M. de la Noue started this afternoon for Mons, at the request of those at Ghent, to make their apologies for the personal violence attempted towards M. Bonivet. An edict has been published here forbidding on pain of death any further demolition of the 'temples' or spoliation of ecclesiastical property or materials ; but I foresee that edicts will be of little use if justice is not set going again and authority restored to the magistrates to keep the people to their duty. The two benches of aldermen have presented a request to be relieved of their functions. It seems that his Excellency makes objections ; but they are resolved to continue pressing it on him. Many think that a renewal of the bench is quite necessary to restore good order and police in this town. The thing is of consequence and not free from danger on either side. His Excellency has the wisdom to arrange it as seems expedient to him. We shall need a grand bailiff who is a nobleman in rank, and well-disposed toward the religion. I think you have heard that Meyeghem is in prison at Middelburg. He had gone to Zealand to escape. The information against him will be sent from here, and the widows will go to prosecute him. All decent people are marvellously glad. It seems that the Princes are on very good terms. They see each other every day and make the best show in the world. The Duke denies everything and says he only came to Ghent to have some fun—as he does ; but God knows at whose expense. His reiters eat our very ears off. M. d'Argenlieu's people, besides pillaging everything, commit execrable acts of violences and enormities worse than barbarians. He has not yet spoken to his Excellency. I am afraid that at last we shall have more trouble to settle our friends and get them out of Flanders than our enemies. I have given your compliments to M. de Villiers, who returns the like, promising to remember your affair. I have not yet spoken to the Prince, but hope to do so to-morrow and tell him what you bade me. He has settled not to leave this for three weeks, if he can get leave from the Estates. You will be able to hear their decision from M. 'd' Allegonde,' who is at Antwerp. All your friends salute you, commending themselves to your favour, and desire to see you here. They think your presence might be of great use. This without importuning you in your affairs, which you have once already postponed to aid us with your advice : in requital of which you found so little courtesy that you might reasonably be averse to coming again. But you will heed the public good more than private discourtesies, and you are too wise to attribute to a whole town, in which are still many decent people, the faults of some three or four individuals ; whereof having too little judgement to tell you my opinion, I shall leave the discourse of it to your prudent consideration. —Ghent, 16 Dec. 1578. (Signed) 'Celuy que cognoissez.' Add. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 82.]
Dec. 17. 450. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
The doings at Ghent are grown to very good terms, they having consented to the States' demands and deputed four commissioners to conclude with the Prince upon the limitation of the accord. They are as I understand agreed that the Catholics shall have five churches in the town, that the clergy livings, etc. shall be restored, with certain limitations, and the prisoners transported hither, the magistrates and commons of this town having caution that they shall not be delivered without the consent of those of Ghent. This fruit of the Prince's labours, beside the good he has wrought in Duke Casimir's respect, has greatly satisfied such as affect the union of the country, of the 'redressing' of which there is some hope, if the Walloons will now be satisfied with what they not long ago demanded. Upon the answer of M. de Bours, who has again been sent to them, we shall see what train they will take. If there be no other hope, the States will practise the extreme remedy. The matters of Artois seem to be in better terms ; the Viscount of Ghent, Meetkerke, and others having prevailed much with those altered humours, 'now in good way, as they pretend, to come to their former habit again.' The Marquis of Havrech, who has returned to them, would fain be thought to have done no mean office in that respect. Having been heretofore a Frenchman in respect of his natural lightness only, he is now become wholly French both in nature and profession. Count Bossu, fallen sick of a pestilent fever, is in some danger. The Emperor's ambassador is at Louvain, and has had no audience of the Prince of Parma, because he is at Limburg ; 'in hand,' as it is thought, with some enterprise upon Maestricht. The report of the late alteration at St. Omer does not continue. La Motte was there last week, with 50 or 60 horse only, to confer with M. de Manuys. Being not long since enemies, they have now reconciled their former quarrels to 'offend' the commonwealth. Our reiters, dispersed over the country are bending towards this town to demand their pay. If some timely order be not taken to prevent them, you can guess what a confusion will result. Those in Flanders notably discontent the country, and some Chastellenies have asked leave to pursue them at the sound of the 'Toxain' ; which is forbidden.—Antwerp, 17 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 83.]
Dec. 17. 451. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
Since my last of the 14th I have had little worth writing, save that the Deputies have as it seems in fine resolved : [News as in preceding letter]. The outrage and spoils committed in Flanders by the reiters now dispersed upon the territory of the 'frank' make the poor peasant 'cry the murder' against them, and divers Chastellenies have presented request that they may pursue them by sound of the 'Tauxin' as they range abroad for spoil ; whereby may appear what service the introducers of them have done to that country. The 'practised' difference between Duke Casimir and the Prince is happily turned into a confirmation of their friendship. He intends as I hear to repair hither with the Prince at his return. From Artois we hear that their solicited reconcilement with the Spaniard is in a manner diverted by the good offices of the Viscount of Ghent, Meetkerke and others ; among whom the Marquis of Havrech presumes that he has not least deserved. [Rest of news much as in preceding letter.]—Antwerp, 17 Dec. 1578. P.S.—The whole troops of reiters disbanded over Brabant, malcontent of their pay, begin to draw towards this town, and if some means be not found to content them all the sooner, great inconvenience must ensue. The approach of certain cornets to the faulxbourgs of the town last night gave the burghers an alarm. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. X. 84.]
Dec. 17. 452. W. ZULEGER to DAVISON.
I am aware that through the Estates and private persons you are informed as to the negotiations with those of this town up to the present. I need only mention therefore that affairs are going better every day with Duke Casimir, thanks to the dexterity of the Prince, aided much by the good sense and authority of M. Languet, who is seconded by M. Junius. M. de la Noue went off to-day commissioned to set things right with M. d'Alençon ; so I hope that shortly not only will amity be restored but the common enemy will receive a heavy blow. Beutrich still sulks ; but he is roughly handled by the Prince. Villiers reproached him with the 'libelle fameux,' to which he made answer only that he did not write it as it is. Not he, but the others mentioned, do the Duke's business ; still the Duke does not let him go, for which I think he has several reasons. You on your side must consider how we can restore good terms in England ; for be sure that he will yet do great services to Christendom, to make up for what has taken place here. There is a good foundation in him, to wit, the furthering of God's glory, which he thinks he can do better here than at the camp or elsewhere. M. du Plessis writes that Mr Walsingham has answered him that he spoke to the Queen and she accepted my services, as he would write more fully one of these days to myself ; which letter I await.— Ghent, 17 Dec. 1578. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. 85.]
Dec. 18. 453. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
Having the safe opportunity of the present gentleman for bearer, I would not fail to report to you various occurrents which seem to be the sequel to my preceding advices, especially the last but one, with which I sent you the last treaty made with the French. From this it appears how much the Estates are bound to him, and that if peace is not achieved in the three months ending in February, the Estates hold themselves free to choose another lord. This is the aim of the Council held by the Prince's friends, being nothing else than to introduce the Duke of Alençon and make him lord, both on account of their obligations, and by favour of the people who are at the Prince's devotion, especially in the three principal towns of Brabant. In these they have gone so far as to say that they have nothing to do with the spirituality or the nobility or anyone else. In this way the Archduke will be turned out and things reduced to a strange predicament which I leave you to consider ; and take it in good part if I write openly, paying no regard to the pretended good-will which the French profess to have to the marriage with her Majesty. Count Bossu fell ill of a fever four days ago, and all the doctors judged him a dead man. To-day however they have better hopes, as he had some rest in the night ; and they think that this kind of fever misleads all the doctors. His death would be disastrous to folks whom no one thinks of. The peace negotiations started by the Emperor's ambassador remain suspended, because the Prince of Parma is at Limburg. The ambassador has sent there to select a place of conference. He himself is still at Louvain ; and seems to me a little too leisurely for so important a negotiation. Please take this extraordinary discourse in good part and judge of its importance, letting me know what you think should be done on the other side.—Antwerp, 18 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 86.]
The gentlemen who bear this having heard great praise of England in many points, and specially in regard to the courtesy of the nobility, have a great desire to go there, and have begged me to aid them with introductions. I knew no lord to whom I would more willingly direct them than yourself, who I know love the German nation. Please regard them as recommended by me, and be assured that I should like to be able to present myself to you, as I hoped to do before I left Germany, for there is no realm for which I have a greater affection than for England. As however this is not permitted me for the moment, I must hope for another occasion of paying my respects to the Queen and making the acquaintance of yourself and other notable lords.—Ghent, 19 Dec. 1578. Add. with seal. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. X. 87.]
After staying 7 days at Dover, 'attending the commodity' of the wind, I arrived here at last to-day. I heard of great insurrections of the peasants all the way I came, by reason of certain Walloons who were sent from Gravelines to M. de Montigny, and others who were come into 'Anzam,' a castle belonging to the Baron 'of' d'Aubigny, only 4 miles (sic) from hence ; and because the 'Bowres' openly said there is nothing but treason among the Estates, they themselves assemble at the sound of their parish bell, and if they find any soldiers, whether Walloons or belonging to the Estates, they kill them. It is pity to see villages burning afar off, set on fire by the Walloons ; and though the Estates have 80 ensigns in Flanders, there is no opposition to them. Since M. de Bours with the four members of Flanders have been sent to 'parlament' with them the Estates have forbidden their soldiers to show any hostility to the Walloons ; who having made the like promise do not at all points observe it. On the 14th, la Motte sent about 60 horsemen towards Montigny of whom the peasants slew 35 between St. Omer and Berghen ; all gentlemen, well mounted and richly furnished with money. Divers letters were found on one of them, who was la Motte's lieutenant, sent by him to Montigny, Hèze, and d'Aubigny, the general leaders of the Walloons, as also copies of letters from the King of Spain to la Motte ; by which he went about to encourage the Walloons to stand to the matters they had begun, assuring them that the King thought well of their enterprises and that they should lack nothing of him. He counselled them to besiege Ypres and promised to join his forces to theirs for the obtaining of it. He was required by Montigny and Capres to come to Arras to consult ; and was within two miles of the town, but understanding that the Viscount of Ghent had put a garrison in Hesdin (of which Capres thought himself assured), and was come to Arras the same day he thought to have entered, he retired. I understand from M. de Watervleit here, that la Motte means none the less to attempt Ypres, a town of great importance. Besides these troubles, 'the Bowres' as I mentioned, came to Anzam, where Baron d' Aubigny had placed certain Walloons for the defence of his castle ; which yesterday was taken and burned and all the soldiers slain. This, as M. de Watervliet thinks, will exacerbate d' Aubigny highly. La Motte has had sundry practices in which he has failed, as in the taking of Ostend. He had dealt with the bailiff of the town, who promised him all assistance ; but his endeavours were detected and the bailiff taken. It is a great pity to see how the Walloons have spoiled the part of Flanders where they have been. On the 19th I saw Rosbeck, a fair village, all burning, set on fire by them. At Dunkirk is the old governor, M. Symphorien de Ghestell, Lord of Swynfurt, who has two ensigns of foot. At Dunkirk there are no soldiers. St. Omer is thought to be for the States, though M. de Rymmeghem is governor there, brother to the Count of Reulx ; but the townsmen themselves command more than the governor. The Prince had a faction there to establish as governor M. d' Escars, brother to M. de Lombres, whom I think you knew ; but d' Escars was compelled to leave the town. I learn here that the Count of Reulx is alive and d' Assonville also, who is dealing with the States for his return. As for Mondragon, he means to besiege Maestricht ; so he is not dead, as was reported. The Prince of Parma has been dealing with Capres and some of Artois ; and had not the Viscount come into Arras, he had prevailed there. Count Schwarzenberg is still at Namur, dealing with the Spaniards for a year's truce ; but it is thought no great effect will follow his endeavours. Meantime M. de Bours and the Members of Flanders are dealing with the Walloons, and have told them that their commission goes no further than to the holidays at hand ; by which time they must have a definite answer at Ypres. If they do not agree, the Estates mean to run with their forces upon them. 3,000 French have already left them, and Montigny himself is gone to Mons. The 'Religion freed' will first be published at Ghent after the holidays. At present no Mass is renewed there, nor in this town have any friars come back, as was reported at Court at my departure. I send you a Flemish pamphlet, of which Dathenus is author, in which the Prince's government, and his temporising, are greatly taxed. It is a dangerous discourse, and (sic) with which I understand the Prince is vehemently offended. I hear say he is marvellously sorry for the sickness of Count Bossu, who has the plague at Antwerp. The Vidame of Chartres was lately at Ghent, and because he was more familiar with Bonivet than the townsmen liked, was compelled to leave it under an edict published against all Frenchmen not in the service of the town. Bonivet was spoiled on the way and one of his gentlemen slain, by Captain 'Minge,' although he had come as ambassador from the Duke of Alençon. The Prince is much offended that this captain has escaped. He was to be apprehended at Middleburg by the bailiff, but was suffered to escape. I hear the Duke has complained of this by 'La Prunay,' who is at Antwerp ; giving them to understand that he thinks the fault not to be in the townsmen, but in a stranger among them, 'noting obliquely' Duke Casimir. Wherefore M. le Noue is sent at the town of Ghent's request, and by the Prince, to Mons to excuse it, and reconcile the two Dukes, amongst which seems to be a further breach of amity. I hope to be in Ghent to-day, where I shall learn more.—Bruges, 20 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. 4½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 88.]