Elizabeth: April 1579, 1-15

Pages 476-492

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

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April 1579, 1-15

April 1. 638. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
Matters remain still in suspense in Artois. All the cunning and labour from hence to divert the Henuyers from that desperate course will I fear prevail little ; the rather because by the persuasion of the Abbot of Hannon and others of the clergy they have been induced to make a truce last week with the enemy, and for the rest, stand upon 'incomposible' terms with the generality. The Walloons have as we hear upon the entry of la Noue into Flanders joined with la Motte. The King of Spain, following the example of Ferrand of Arragon, spares no promises to reconcile the nobility, who one after another begin to drop away. He has, besides the government of Artois, made the Viscount of Ghent marquis of Risbourg, a seignory of his own in Artois. I fear the end, in respect of him and the rest who run that course, will be no better than it was with the reconciled barons of Naples ; but their passionate hatred to religion and envy of the Prince's credit is the impelling cause of their folly. Count Lalaing has offered to come hither, but having given his assent to this truce with the enemy, there is a vehement suspicion that he will partake in the folly of the rest ; though none of the nobility has more cause than he to be jealous of his safety. Des Pruneaux solicits hard for a resolution in regard to his master, the news of whose being at Paris and reconcilement with the King is not likely much to advance his doings here. By letters from that Court the Prince is assured that the marriage between the Duke and one of his nieces of Spain is again on foot, whatever he pretend otherwise to her Majesty. I have seen the like advice to others of good credit here, coming from 'good place' in France. The Deputies for our new assembly are not yet all come. The first session should begin to-morrow if slackness be no impediment. Some, as those of Lille and Tournay, hearing how the Abbot of St Michael was taken last week by some English soldiers, as he was going home from the State House, and carried by the sufferance of the burghers aboard a hoy, where they lay in the river, as a pledge for their pay, and not released without much ado, have made difficulties about sending their deputies hither, as to a 'place unsure.' It is feared that in the end they will take the course of their neighbours of Artois, Hainault, and Douay ; the rather in respect of the heady proceedings of the Gauntois, who in the 'reck' of the late broil against the Catholics have mustered a new cause of discontent, by fetching the prisoners back from Dendermonde to Ghent. We do not hear that the enemy has yet assaulted Maestricht, after three days' continual battery. It is thought the place will cost him dear before he prevails, being provided for 2 or 3 months. The deputies for the treaty of peace at 'Collen' are not yet resolved, nor is the matter material for any great fruit likely to grow from it, or order for the troubles in hand. Touching my discharge for the obligations I sent over, I have yet heard nothing. Please let me have some answer. The like would I crave . . . Pallavicino and Spinola. I would be glad to know it, because I would seek to procure a particular bond for some towns of Holland and Zealand beside the hypotheque for her Majesty's better assurance.—Antwerp, 1 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 94.]
I forbear to use many ceremonies in excuse of my silence, because I hope you will judge equally of me, and impute the fault rather to an unceremonious nature I have than to any lack of devotion towards you ; to whom, besides the respect of your own wishes, which were sufficient to work the same effect with me they have done with all men else, I am doubly bound by the duty I owe your whole house, but singularly my Lord of Leicester your uncle, whose undeserved favours I may not while I live forget to acknowledge. I beseech you therefore not only to hold me among those that honour and love you, but on all occasions to dispose of me as of your own ; protesting that albeit I be least to do you service, in good will I will give place to no poor friend or servant you have.—Antwerp, 1 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 95.]
April 4. 640. WALSINGHAM to DAVISON.
I suppose you acquainted with the charge that Mr John Cobham has put himself to in furnishing himself and his companies for the service of the Low Countries, upon a composition made with him by the Archduke, the Prince, and the States. He has employed himself therein three months, and has as yet received small or no allowance, at least much less than the States agreed with him for. This want of pay has moved him to desire me to commend his cause to you, wherein I could not refuse him, and therefore pray you to take it into your hands, and so deal on his behalf that he may receive the full payment allowed him by their composition ; or if he cannot be at once paid the whole, may receive part, and good security for the rest. Otherwise it may be not only to him but to others a discouragement to adventure their lives and estates in their cause.—Whitehall, 4 April 1579. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. XI. 96.]
April 6. 641. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
We hear of no resolution in Artois except to send their deputies to Cologne with the general commissioners appointed to go hence this week. Meantime they solicit hard for the release of their arrested merchandise, but in vain. The approach of la Noue to their frontier makes them suspicious. They have requested the States to employ him and his forces in chastening the Gauntois, or at least to stay him where he is, fearing he will get the start of them. The Marquis of Havrech tarries still among them, in manner as a prisoner ; in some men's opinion voluntary. Last Monday the enemy was prepared to give an assault to Maestricht, but finding the breach well retrenched and repaired gave it over, resolving to change his battery. The same night the defenders, sallying out upon them at the 'serr plan' [qy terrepleine] gave them a sudden camizado and slew 300 of them with little loss of their own. If they hold out another month, we esteem the enemy half ruined for this year, because all things necessary for such a siege begin to fail him. He has a supply of 5,000 or 6,000 men coming out of Italy, who are affirmed to be on the way. Our 3,000 reiters are now come back into the country of Ulrecht, with the Hungarians. Charles 'Fouker' is this week released from prison in exchange for one Adrian Dorp, sometime governor of Zierickzee, a man of very good account with the Prince, who was taken by the Spaniards 'this' summer. The Duke of Anjou's matter 'succeeds very coldly.' The States have written to him this week by a secretary of his, acquainting him with their sending commissioners to Cologne, which they beseech him not to find strange ; alleging that it will be no prejudice to his cause if it do not succeed by the end of next month. This new pretended marriage with one of his nieces is confirmed from France, as a matter which they think will either advance, or be advanced by his motion in England.—Antwerp, 6 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 97.]
April 6. 642. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
Amid such a medley, our State undergoes some fresh change from day to day and hour to hour. Matters are at one moment almost desperate, and in another right again. I told you that the meeting of our Estates made little progress and the hope of peace was delayed. Now both are on a better footing. Several of the provinces are arriving at Antwerp, others will come day by day. Those of Hainault, who seemed hopeless, are reconciled, and will take part in the meeting. Those of Artois have promised they will not leave the Union. No doubt they mean that the peace proposed by his Majesty should be sought, being resolved to send their deputies to Cologne, as they require that the other provinces should do ; and in case his Majesty does not provide it under reasonable conditions, and does not before the end of May cause Spaniards and foreigners to retire, they will declare themselves enemies. They agree that the 'Relligion wlitz' shall remain in six towns, which it is thought his Majesty will permit. La Motte has written to M. de Lalaing to send him his wife and children, with 200,000 crowns which he has as 'hostage' of the King in case of his Majesty not withdrawing the Spaniards in May. In the contrary event he will declare himself their enemy, provided that the pacification of Ghent be kept in their places where it is not violated. Count Lalaing sent this letter to the Estates on the 2nd, assuring them that he would come to Antwerp for the meeting under the security given him by the Prince and the colonels of Antwerp. M. de Fresin is starting for France, to make M. d'Alençon approve the peace-conference. The meeting at Cologne is put off till the 22nd, news having been received that the Emperor is coming in person. Twelve of our people will be there ; among them the Duke of Aerschot, the brother of M. de Willerval, the abbots of St Gertrude and Marolles, the rest, men of the long robe. It is hoped that some good will come of the conference, being held at the same time as the general assembly of the States ; who will meet in the same buildings as the deputies, where, the hall being found too small, a partition has been broken through to enlarge it. What we hope will incline the enemy to peace is the small amount of his warlike achievement before Maestricht. They made a great breach and were drawn up in order of battle one whole day for the assault ; but having sent six determined soldiers to reconnoitre the breach, they found it unpropitious on the town side, being well retrenched. As they retired those of the town sallied from the breach and charged them in rear so furiously that they slew 300 of them, and retired without loss through a gate. The enemy has recommenced the battery elsewhere, where the town is strongest, which makes us hope their future ruin. To-day those of Lille, Douay and Orchies have written their intention, in conformity with those of Artois, to accept the conditions of peace provided the Spaniards are withdrawn. I think they will postpone coming to the assembly, and sending their deputies to Cologne. These are practices of the enemy, who want to change the civil war which was against the Spaniard and his adherents into one against the Religion. I told you that M. la Noue had gone to Flanders with the French and Scots. It seems to me that he has advanced too far with so few people, being encamped between the Malcontents and la Motte's forces ; who however have abandoned a fort near Berg-Saint-Wynox. He has sent for reinforcements, since the Malcontents, who it was hoped would take the side of our people, closed their ranks on his reconnoitring them. To-day the French under M. de Mouy have been embarked to go to the aid of M. de la Noue. They will land at Dunkirk. It was intended to send la Garde's men, who are making war on the peasants, and the peasants on them, burning villages, looting houses and castles, sending each other letters of challenge to combat, in the style of the one I send you. The people murmur greatly at the way the Prince supports the French ; there will be complaint of it in the 'generality.'—Antwerp, 6 April 1579. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid. XI. 98.]
April 6. 643. DAVISON to [? ROBERT] BROWNE.
I have been longer indebted for your news than I would if my business when I was sending dispatches had allowed me any sooner to discharge it. Do not let my slackness make you think your letters less welcome, or myself less inclined to requite you. The best news that I can send at present is the suspension of the revolt of the Artesians and Henuyers, 'impeached' rather by the Prince's industry than their own inclination. Now they have determined to send deputies to Collen with the general commissaries who are to depart this week. 'Without' the king permit the Religion's Peace as his father did in Germany, their success will be nothing worth ; and I still fear that the peace, rejected by these provinces without that condition, will be accepted by the rest with the hazard, or rather certain consequences, of a civil war. Religion, thanks be to God, prospers and goes forward ; but the immoderate proceeding of our Gauntoys does more harm to its progress elsewhere than it advances it among themselves. They have again thrown out the exercise of popery, and as much as they can prevent the establishment of it by an utter ruin of the churches. La Noue is gone to make head against la Motte. The peasants have not yet thoroughly laid down their arms. In sum, things incline rather to a languishing war than to peace. Maestricht is besieged and battered but not yet assaulted. The defenders last Monday sallying forth out at the breach slew 300 of the enemy even in their trenches. If they hold good two or three months longer men esteem the enemy ruined for this year. My haste will not let me pass further, though I have some things to note upon your news. 'Your poor friend, in goodwill no changeling.'—Antwerp, 6 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 99.]
April 7. 644. 'An answer given by the Lords of her Majesty's Privy Council, 7 April 1579, to the Aldermen and others of the company of the Stilliard or Stedes of the Hanse residing in London, concerning the execution of a Decree made by their Lordships at Richmond, 9 Dec. 1578.'
The full execution of the decree shall be suspended till some answer comes from the Diet which was to be kept about St. James's day ; after which if her Majesty does not receive answer that her subjects shall be used at Hamburgh as of late years they have been, and as the merchants of the Stilliard are used in London, the decree shall be fully executed. Meantime the merchants of the Stilliard shall be permitted to trade with payment of like customs as of late years on goods not prohibited, without having to pay other customs and subsidies. But as it is uncertain what answer will be made by the Diet, and as it was before determined that for lack of sufficient answer before March 31 they should be used like other strangers, it is thought reasonable that each of them who shall carry or recarry any merchandize out of or into this realm in the meantime, shall be bound, if her Majesty does not receive a satisfactory answer, to pay to her so much as shall with their former payments equal the full sum of any other strangers' customs, and thenceforward shall be used as all other merchants being in unity with her Majesty and enjoy no special liberties. Notwithstanding that the said merchants shall continue in their trade as they have done for the time above-mentioned, her Majesty has thought it convenient to forbid the repair both of her own subjects and 'all other' strangers to Hamburgh ; 'saving therein in some sort a moderation' she does not mean that any merchants of the Stilliard shall otherwise than her own subjects and other strangers have liberty to traffic thither. Yet if it be found that any inhabitant of Hamburgh that has used to carry wares thither and has needful cause in the meantime to ship any thither, reasonable consideration shall be had of it. The Mayor of London shall not in the meantime be prohibited from proceeding against a merchant of the Stilliard to 'impeach' him from buying or selling with foreigners ; so as before judgment is given to any such process notice of the manner of it be given to the Privy Council. Copy. Endd. by [?] Walsingham. 2½ pp. [Hanse Towns I. 52.]
[April 10?] 645. The QUEEN to the ESTATES.
Inasmuch as at your pressing request we have given our obligations on your account to Pallavicino and Spinola to the amount of £28,657 11s. 3d., payable half in February and June, and the other half in October and December of the present year 1579, part of which fell due to Pallavicino in February last ; and that he is asking for repayment, so that if you do not pay, we must, as also that to Spinola, whose term is getting near ; and that for these and larger sums lent you we have no guarantee but your obligations and promises ; we have ordered Mr Davison, our agent with you, to transport hither, or bring when he returns, the jewels which you placed in the hands of our agents Lord Cobham and Sir F. Walsingham, to be retained by us, with your obligations as a guarantee till the reimbursement of the said sums. And inasmuch as our resources are at present very short by reason of being otherwise necessarily employed, if we are to make the repayments on the day appointed, so that we shall be obliged to arrange with them for a prolongation, at whatever interest, we have thought good to warn you of this and to request you by way of guarantee to send your obligations personal and general, as you did before for the sums of £45,000, without awaiting our further pleasure touching the particular noblemen whose obligations we wish to hold. We are very well content with the towns of Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges ; and in the matter of the interest, will proceed as shall be to your profit. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
[April 10?] 646. [WALSINGHAM] to DAVISON.
Covering the above, and conveying the purport of it, with instructions. She wishes you to accompany her letter with such further speeches touching her good meaning therein, as you know the weight of the cause and the pleasure she has showed therein require. 'For the dangerousness of the time considered, tending to worse by reason of their dissensions and falling the one from the other, to the great disadvantage of the public cause, they cannot but take it well if she provide for her own indemnity.' For the transportation of the jewels you have the fleet of the Staplers, at Bruges, by whose return you may be well accompanied, and bestow the jewels in the ship that is the 'wastar' [i.e. vaster], taking heed that you have sufficient pilots and other for their safe conducting and landing. If the States make any difficulty about giving their bonds to hold her Majesty harmless against the interest for the prolonged term, you may tell them that she will deal therein as carefully for them as for herself to get it at as low a rate as she can, and will advertise them of her proceedings therein, that she may have their advice and approval. Meantime if they will let you know what they think reasonable interest she will give order to proceed accordingly, as time serves and the days of payment approach. And whereas they may perhaps insist upon the 30,000 florins you may tell them that though the matter was moved to her Majesty with great 'instancy,' she would never make any promise, and therefore cannot well be pressed. The jewels scarcely countervail the value that they are engaged for. The Merchant Staplers will by her Majesty's order let you know the time of the departure and return of the fleet, and also the port whither you are to see the jewels conveyed and shipped, and where you must embark. Copy, in L. Tomson's hand. 1¼ pp. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
April 10. 647. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
You ask what is going on in regard to the meeting of the States-General. In my last I told you how things stand and what is hoped ; to wit, that the provinces of Brabant, Flanders, Holland, Zealand, Friesland, Guelders, Tournay and Tournesis have arrived. Hainault, Artois, Lille, Douay and Orchies remain, as I said, undecided. Pressure has been put on Count Lalaing to come, and I know not what is causing his delay. On the 8th the States held a sitting to discuss the order of procedure ; it is thought that a proposal will be made on Monday the 13th. Meanwhile instructions are being drawn up for the commissioners to the peace-conference, who will start on the 13th and stay at Bois-le-duc to await a safe conduct for the road and also for the town of Cologne, seeing that Cologne goods have been stayed here in reprisal for their supply of provisions to the enemy. It would be a good thing if her Majesty had some smart man there to report what goes on. If I had thought she would like it, I would have asked leave to go with the deputies myself. The Duke of Terranova has already arrived, with the Papal Nuncio, which seems a bad augury for any peaceful issue. We hear too that Spaniards are coming from Italy into Burgundy, and that arms for their equipment have been brought by way of Montbéliard. They are greatly afraid of M. d'Alençon coming down, in pursuance of his request for leave to pass, made to Geneva. The Marquis of Havrech and the Abbot of St. Bernard, who were detained at Arras, have escaped from the town by dint of riding. The enemy before Maestricht have mined under a rampart and blown it up, making a breach, by which on Friday the 3rd they delivered three assaults, which were repulsed with great slaughter. On our side one captain was killed and four wounded ; twenty-five soldiers and some peasants killed. Upon this repulse the enemy is recommencing the bombardment. We hope he will do yet less than he has done, for those within are becoming more and more encouraged and resolute, according to the report of a captain who got out in order to give certain news up to the 3rd. On the side of Flanders, M. de la Noue with the French has attacked and routed la Motte's men near Nieuport. He sends word that 250 of the enemy are slain, and only 8 of ours. Since their rout about 1,000 of them have rallied in a certain fort, and M. la Noue has sent for some cavalry and some money to pay his men, and he will dislodge them. There was an intention of sending the English and the Scots under Stuart to Mechlin and Brussels, but it has been thought better to let them all go into Flanders to shorten the war in that part and bring the Malcontents to terms. M. de Montigny has sent to ask M. de la Noue if he means to make war on him or has orders to that effect. He replies that his orders are to make war on all enemies of the States, and that Montigny must declare his intention within six days, ending to-day. This is all I have to report at present out of the ordinary course. I defer all details about the marriage and other occurrents to the next ordinary courrier ; thanking you for kindly remembering the patent mentioned in yours of the 28th. I assure you I do not ask for it from ambition ; only from the desire to be numbered among the Queen's faithful servants, and keep close (me tenir quoy) in her service without needing to accept the various commissions in which they are wanting to employ me every day.—Antwerp, 10 April 1579. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 100.]
April 11. 648. The QUEEN to DAVISON.
Order to take Walsingham's instructions for his coming to England with the jewels deposited in his charge. 'And for that it may be that the States will somewhat insist upon the 30,000 florins, you shall declare to them that we were moved therein, but no promise passed from us, and therefore take it not a matter to be required at our hands.'—Westminster, 11th April 1579. Add. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 101.]
April 10. 649. Copy of the above in L. Tomson's hand. ½ p. [For. E.B. Misc. II.]
April 11. 650. POULET to the QUEEN.
Having access to the King on the 9th inst. I besought him to believe that my long absence from him proceeded only from my fear of being troublesome to him, since I did not think it my duty to interrupt his weighty affairs unless some good occasion were offered. Therein I said it was easy to see the perfect good amity between your Majesty and him, when neither had just cause to complain, desiring God not only to nourish this friendly intelligence but to increase it, as the greatest worldly blessing that could happen to you, to your subjects, your neighbours, and the general estate of Christendom, the tranquillity whereof depended greatly or rather wholly on the good correspondence between these two realms. Then I told him that I was constrained to have recourse to him for a matter of so small importance that I was half ashamed of my errand, and could not but find it strange that better order had not been given therein by his ministers. I told him that twelve months ago or thereabouts after a long and tedious suit the Lords of his Council had decreed in my presence that a certain sum of money should be given to an English gentleman in recompense of a spoil that he had received on the seas five or six years before. This order had been confirmed by him, and his letters patent granted without delay, which were refused by the officers of the exchequer. Other letters were given out, which were likewise rejected. Then I caused Secretary Pinart to be moved therein, from whom I heard that his Majesty had given express command by mouth for the verification of his third letters patent, which notwithstanding were also refused. Seeing the hard dealing of the officers of the exchequer, I wrote twice to M. d'O, praying him to procure some better expedition. When no good ensued thereof, I wrote to M. Brulart, who then supplied Pinart's place, and heard from him that his Majesty had given a second command that no further delay should be used. Nevertheless this fourth Jussion, as they term it here, had no better success. His ambassador resident in England had signified to your Majesty the favour which his master had showed your servant, and you had taken it very thankfully. As he had not refused anything I had required, as letters patent, verbal commands, and all I could desire, I would not inform your Majesty or any of your Council of the delay used by his ministers. Finally I besought him to consider that his honour was touched herein, and prayed him to take such order with his ministers that his command might be performed with expedition. It is very ordinary in this Court that the first and second letters patent are rejected, and sometimes the third and fourth, even in the case of those that are of great calling ; and yet no severity of words is omitted, and it is increased with great sharpness as the letters are renewed. But it is not for the King's honour that delays should be used toward strangers. The King began with an excuse for not uncovering his head, being forced to keep it covered by reason of a rheum, and therefore must pray me and all ambassadors to take it in good part. Indeed he is not uncovered at Church, neither during the prayers of [qy. or] the sermons. Then, proceeding to answer what I had 'proposed,' he said he was so well persuaded of your Majesty's good affection towards him that he could not conceive any sinister opinion of your ministers, especially of me, of whom he had so long experience by many good offices, and I might assure myself of my welcome to him at all times. He had been informed of the death of my children, and was very sorry that I had received so great displeasure in his country. Although he was not so happy as to have children, yet he could not be ignorant that the loss of children ministered great grief to the parents. Touching the care of the English gentleman, if I had moved him therein sooner, he would sooner have taken order to my satisfaction. I should send him a note of my demand by Gondy, which he would have delivered to Chiverny to be considered according to reason ; ask me what might be the cause that I had been so long delayed. I answered that his ministers required a new examination of all the circumstances. The matter had been sufficiently proved long since and now again lately before the Lords of his Council ; there was no question of new proofs. Nothing could be more just than what was granted in full Council, and confirmed by his Majesty ; and therefore I besought him to consider of it in reason and equity, the rather because the gentleman in question was well esteemed by your Majesty and your Council. The sum was little, and yet drew after it great consequences. The King replied that he would not fail to consider it with favour, both because he was your servant, and in respect of the strait alliance which he trusted would shortly be concluded between yourself and him. He found his brother at his last being here very constant to this marriage. For his own part, he desired it greatly ; his mother was likewise inclined, and solicited him daily both by letters and by messenger. (fn. 1) His brother must be here shortly after Easter, and then he trusted to hear of some good resolution ; saying that if this marriage took effect, he would also marry once again. I think I did not mistake him, and yet to confess plainly my folly, I am not sure if he spoke his first clause in the affirmative or the negative. (fn. 2) I told him that his brother had given so great testimony of his affection herein that it was notorious to all the world ; and seeing himself and his mother to be likewise affected, there was great hope that this honourable marriage would proceed to conclusion. I found the King so well disposed to talk of it, that if I had not feared to spend many words in so weighty a matter without commission, I could have been content to enter into many particulars. Then the King began to talk familiarly of many things ; asking me how your Majesty kept your health, where you were at present, if you entered into your progress, what progresses you were accustomed to make, if you rode in coach or on horseback, and said he had been informed that you rode singularly well ; and concluded with his request to be heartily commended to you. I must confess that I have found him always favourable in all my audiences ; but his favour at this time was extraordinary, and exceeded in countenance, familiarity, and all other gestures of good liking. God grant these demonstrations of amity to be the forerunner of good effects to ensue. 'Rocquetaliado' came to visit me as he passed toward Monsieur. He acknowledges with thanks the great favour which you have shown him, as well in his sickness as otherwise, and speaks all honour of your Highness and your Court.—Paris, 11 April 1579. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 3½ pp. [France III. 18.]
April 11. 651. Duplicate of the above, addressed to Walsingham. Poulet notes at (fn. 1) : The frank and extraordinary manner of the utterance hereof gave me cause to give the less credit to it ; and at (fn. 2) Crybyle [?] the King's fool was so loud that I could not understand perfectly what the King said. Endd. by L. Tomson. 3 pp. [France. III. 19.]
April 12.
Lettres de Cath. de Médicis, vi. 374n.
Excuse me for so long delaying to answer yours. Do not think it was forgetfulness or lack of good will ; but you know that those who represent the affections for another cannot have much time to think of themselves. You may understand from the bearer the progress of my negotiation, and the point where I am. I began on the 5th inst. to treat of the articles of marriage between the Queen and our master. I have every good hope ; but will wait to say more till the curtain is drawn, the candle out, and Monsieur in bed. Then I will speak with good assurance. I hope that God will bring the business to a good end (à bon port) and dispose the will of the parties to all that is reasonable for a good peace, and increase by this alliance the amity between the two Crowns. I doubt not but you have plenty of business where you are, but I can assure I am not taking it easy (haysant) either, and there is enough here to keep one free (s'exemter) from the sin of sloth. However I have so far surmounted all the difficulties that have arisen in our master's service and her Majesty is satisfied. I swear to you that she is the most virtuous and honourable princess in the world ; her wit is admirable, and there are so many other parts to remark in her that I should need much ink and paper to catalogue them. In conclusion, I hold our master very fortunate if God will further this business. Whereupon I bid you good evening.—London, 12 April 1579. Original letter. Add. Fr. 3 pp. [Ibid. III. 20.]
I trust you will pardon any long silence. My being in Flanders with the Duke, and the intercepting of my letters 'caused me leave to write' ; but now being in Brabant and not bound, you will pardon me if I sometimes presume to trouble you. I have sent Sir Thomas Cecil a horse of Turkey for his 'race,' and doubting of his being at London beseech you to give orders for its delivery. I have sent you a little tree which here is held to be something rare.—12 April 1579. Appended are the following 'occurrents,' in Cotton's hand :
There is a great preparation for the general parliament of the States, to begin on the 20th. Three principal things are to be determined : First, if it be possible to conclude a peace ; for which the Duke of 'Arsecot' is to go to Collen, where a Diet is kept, and for the King of Spain, the Duke of Terranova and others. Secondly, if peace be not made, to make a Council for the war, and the number to be few, who shall have power for the daily disposing of it ; without the generality, which would tend to many treasons and delays. Thirdly, an order for the monthly payment of soldiers, wherein is included that every province and town shall pay according to their proportion so many soldiers monthly ; in order that it may be known what money is paid and to whom. This I think will hardly pass, though most necessary. On Friday the 3rd the Spaniards gave three assaults to 'Mastrick' and were repulsed with loss. Not many within slain, but many hurt. In the town they have good courage. Their want is nothing, but wine is not plenty. There are 2,000 soldiers and 3,000 burghers, of the valiantest sorts of this country ; also 2,000 boors, who serve for pioneers. The enemy has changed his battery, which encourages those of the town, considering they have intrenched the first breach stronger than it was at first. On the 7th inst. eight horsemen broke out and passed through the enemy's, killing two or three sentries. They are come to Antwerp, and confirm all. It is said the Duke of Terranova has sent to the Prince of Parma, desiring him to leave the siege and to attend the conclusion of a peace. If it be so, it is thought to be for saving the Prince's credit in his first enterprise. Notwithstanding this, they battered it on the 8th, on the 9th will (sic) assault. All that were taken in the last assault were put to the sword by those in the town, and flung into the river. The enemy desiring them to surrender, they hung a dead dog over the walls with a loaf of bread about his neck, saying that when the dog had eaten the bread they would surrender. On Wednesday last two assaults were repulsed. M. la Noue by Graveline has defeated six or seven 'auncientes' of la Motte's, taken three or four captains, and slain about 200 ; but for lack of horsemen could not 'follow the execution.' La Motte has retired to Gravelines. He has promised M. 'Mountany' 200,000 guilders ; who is now declared enemy to the States. The Englishmen who are left, with Stewart's regiment, lie near Mechlin ; which they should have garrisoned, but the burghers would not suffer them to come in. I think the States 'entertain time' with them, to see what will become of Maestricht, and upon that dispose of them. Meanwhile they are short of victuals, which will make the companies very weak. It is reported there will be a camp, considering that 3,000 reiters are entertained ; but it cannot in reason be other than a 'running' camp, for our forces are few, and la Motte will 'entertain' some of them. If order is not given at once for victuals for la Noue, he has sent word he will be obliged to retire. Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 102.]
April 12. 654. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
The state of things is such that one can talk of new occurrents every day. In mine of the 10 I told you what was going on. Now fresh news comes from Maestricht that the enemy after being repulsed in an assault on the 2nd had battered again and having made two breaches had delivered an assault lasting eight hours, in which after losing 4,000 killed he was repulsed so handsomely (avec telle generosité) that we hoped he will be tired of it. It is true that the Prince of Parma, boiling with rage, will use every effort in this his first enterprise. If the town could be reinforced with 500 soldiers we should feel certain of its safety. The soldiers are few in number ; the peasants fight beside them and are better than the townsmen. We hear that the Duke of Terranova has sent orders to the Prince of Parma to raise the siege, but that he pretends not to have received the letter. Meanwhile he is doing all he can to achieve this glory, and if he fails he will give out that he has been ordered to withdraw. The forces sent to Italy for service here have been ordered back to Spain ; some say for Barbary, some say for Portugal. Now I must speak of events in Artois, and of our Walloons, who after long dissembling have at last discovered their intentions. They have all declared for the king, conformably to the design of la Motte, on condition that whenever the associated provinces require the Spaniards to be withdrawn, they shall be withdrawn. Montigny is to be general of the army of the [? pbre]. There you see the ambition which leads young men to ruin. Yesterday the 11th the proposal for the Estates-General was drawn up. I would have sent it you, but I have to go to Lierre to pass a muster of light horse. It shall come by the first post. It was hoped that Count Lalaing would come ; but in vain, for we see that he will be on the other side. That is all I can tell you at present, being in haste to depart.— Antwerp, 12 April 1579. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 103.]
April 13. 655. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
Minds here are chiefly occupied 'in expectation of the success' of our peace, the 'treaty' of which is to begin at Cologne on the 21st. The deputies of the Empire and the Duke of Terranova are as we hear already arrived. Our commissioners are still here, awaiting safe-conduct from the Prince of Parma. The Pope has sent Cardinal Castagno his legate to assist at the treaty, which in appearance must succeed so much the better. Artois is thought certainly to have agreed with the enemy, but their declaration is still suspended. Of Hainault there is little better hope, because they have approved the contract of Montigny and Hèze with la Motte. Last Friday they began their assembly at Mons, and then we look for their final resolution, which has been the longer deferred to see the result of the siege of Maestricht. 'On Friday was sevenight' it sustained divers furious assaults in divers places at once, which the enemy had both battered and ruined, and another last Wednesday continued from noon till night. In these it is reported that the enemy lost 4,000, 'besides hurt' ; among them 30 captains and leaders, the most noted of whom are Octavio Gonzaga, Floyon and Valdez. We do not hear that he has since renewed his battery. In Flanders, la Noue last Monday defeated 200 of la Motte's company lying at 'Mardick' between Dunkirk and Gravelines, and took his lieutenant and others prisoners with little loss to himself. There has this week been some broil at Mechlin about the apprehending of some detected in intelligence with the enemy for the betrayal of the place. We hear it has been appeased. What is propounded at the general assembly begun last Saturday, you may learn from Mr Secretary, to whom I have sent a copy.—Antwerp, 13 April 1579. P.S.—As I was about to close this letter, I am given to understand that letters have come this morning 'importing' the death of the King of Spain. If the news be true, you can guess how much it is like to alter the course of things here. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 104.]
April 13. 656. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
On the 21st should begin the meeting at Cologne about the peace. Cardinal Castagno, legate from the Pope, is on the way to assist, to see that nothing be concluded to the prejudice of the See of Rome, or profit of these countries. The conditions agreed on here are the same which were delivered to the Emperor's ambassador at his departure, of which you have had a copy. How it will result is doubtful. If Maestricht hold out, there is better hope, though some of the wiser sort 'vehemently suspect the success whether he expugne it or not.' The Marquis of Havrech and the abbot his colleague, detained as prisoners at Arras upon the stay made here of the goods of certain merchants of Artois, have escaped by flight, and are now at Mons ; where the States of Hainault begin a new assembly last Friday. The States-General have sent M. de Frezin thither, to do his best to 'contain them within good terms.' But their scope is thought no better than their neighbours of Artois, however they disguise the matter for the time. Montigny and Hèze are fully agreed with la Motte, and their troops all retired to Meenen, having set fire to Rouselare, a great village, where most of them lay. The States of Hainault having approved their contract make their own reconcilement the more desperate. By it Montigny is bound to serve the King with 6,000 foot and 300 horse, provided the King 'preallably' ratifies the agreement in all points. It consists of many details too long and intricate to repeat here. By those that come from Maestricht we learn that the enemy in his former battery 'bestowed' 17,300 cannon shot. Some of our malcontents not yet discovered are accommodating their purposes to the good or ill success of that siege. If it hold out two assaults more the worst is past. At Mechlin they still keep their gates shut, being jealous of the hovering of our English regiment thereabouts, having discovered that Mr Norris was appointed to assist the governor if there had been need in regard to the apprehension of the suspected persons. The first session of our general assembly began on Saturday last. The provinces whose deputies assisted thereat are Brabant, Flanders Holland Zealand, Friesland, Guelders, Utrecht, Overyssel, Mechlin, Tournay, Tourneois, Valenciennes. The copy of their 'proposition' I send you herewith. [Other information and P.S. as in the last.]—Antwerp, 12 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 105.]
[April 13.] 657. DAVISON to [ ].
I have 'made your lordship a great fault' in respect of my 8 or 9 months' silence ; which, already hardly excusable, would be altogether unpardonable if I let this gentleman go without some kind of satisfaction. I have no better news to send by him then my preparations to return home within 8 or 10 days : her Majesty having at length vouchsafed me my long-desired leave, though, happening in the conjuncture of business it is somewhat hardly interpreted here. The state in which I shall leave them is such as in all likelihood will lengthen the course of their troubles ; for Artois, Hainault, Lille, Douay, and Orchies we hold as disjoined from the generality, though not yet declared. The rest of the provinces have their deputies here to confirm their union, with the tolerance of the religion's peace, and to redress the confusion hitherto existing in the government civil and martial. Such order is taken for shuffling the cards in our divided provinces as shall ere long make them sorry for what they have done. The Emperor's commissioners are all come to Collen to treat of peace ; at whose conference assists a legate from the Pope. Our commissioners are still here ; partly awaiting a safe-conduct from the enemy, partly retained by the intercession or rather compulsion of these townsmen, who will not suffer them to depart till they and the rest of the towns of Brabant are comprised in the confederacy lately negotiated at Utrecht among all the northern provinces. I for my part hope little of their good success at Collen. La Noue has sped happily in Flanders against la Motte whom he has driven to keep within his fort of Gravelines. They are minded here to recall him to take charge of their army for the succour of Maestricht, which still holds out after sustaining two furious assaults. The Duke of Anjou's business succeeds here as coldly as his matters in England seem to go roundly forward. Draft, incomplete. Endd. : to my L. of Leicester (but this must be a mistake). [Ibid. XI. 106.]
April 13. 658. DAVISON to WALSINGHAM.
I understand that the States have written this week to her Majesty in Spinola's cause both for the new obligation desired by him for the 30000 florins, and that it would please her to 'stand so gracious lady to them' as to give him and Pallavicino contentment in their behalf for the £28,000 either by present satisfaction or prolongation of the term as shall seem best. They have asked me to second their request ; not that they willingly importune her, but because they are not at present able themselves to satisfy their creditors, nor disposed to deal with another than her Majesty for the prolonging or otherwise agreeing about the payment. If she think their bonds delivered into any hands an insufficient caution, they offer to procure her such further bonds of private persons and towns as she shall desire. I have already written to you what I think of the matter and how much it touches her Majesty's credit, which hitherto has been unstained. I hope she will take some good resolution in this behalf, having by her bonds made it her own debt, and the merchants depending on her credit. I commend the matter with the better will, because the States since the delivery of her Majesty's last letter have used me so well that they have no matter of importance which they do not send their deputies to communicate to me and ask my advice, with more respect to her Majesty than I looked for, as to the princess they most depend upon.—Antwerp, 13 April 1579. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 107.]
April 14. 659. WILSON to DAVISON.
I am desired by my friend Mr John Cobham that you would deal with the States and Prince of Orange for such pay as is due to him for six months' service done by himself and his company to his great and excessive charges. He is persuaded that you will for my sake be more earnest in his suit ; which favour if you show him at my request I will esteem it as done to myself and make you amends by any means I may be able. I understand further that some money due to him has been 'taken up' by Mr John Norris, which I hope will be speedily delivered back again by your good means. I know you will perform these offices of yourself, yet being desired to write, I could no less, being wishing that everybody have his own.—Westminster, 14 April 1579. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. XI. 108.]


  • 1. See No. 651.
  • 2. See No. 651.