Elizabeth: July 1578, 21-25

Pages 83-89

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

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

Please subscribe to access the page scans

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

July 1578, 21-25

July 21.
K. d. L. x. 624, after Sir Harris Nicolas, from a less complete copy.
Of the present condition of things I can write nothing that you will not amply understand from my Lords here. The Duke of Alençon's lying at Mons is the matter which at this time most perplexes opinions. Such as consider the power of France, the unquiet humour of that nation, their readiness to fish in the troubled streams of their neighbours, the occasion which this war offers them both to make their profit abroad and to throw the fire out of their estate at home, together with the inclination of some part of this country to embrace them, hold the enterprise of singular moment and danger. Others, measuring it by the age and quality of the Duke, by the supposed difference between him and his brother, by the firm unity between the two kings, by the lightness and negligence proper to that nation, by the strength of these countries, and in some by the difficulties which great attempts commonly meet with, think it a matter not much to be feared, unless it tend to the deceiving of these States by advancing the affairs of the Spaniard. What is like to result is the harder to judge that it depends on accident and on the will of a most inconstant nation. Since his arrival he has written to divers towns and persons particularly, and to the States generally, 'disguising' the cause of his coming to be wholly for their succour ; but as they can well spare his help, so are most of them loth to embrace it, unless with better caution than is expected. However, the matter has now grown to that point that they must either accept him as a friend or reject him as an enemy, a question hard to decide. For if they receive him as he desires, that is, to have the command of their forces with his own, they must depose the Archduke or abridge his authority ; and also put their fortunes in the hands of a stranger, and what is more, of a born enemy, of whom they have infinitely (sic) to suspect, and nothing to trust but a French promise. So that whether he run a course for the Spaniard, as some suspect, or to serve his own turn, which is rather believed— for other object than these he has not—the danger is apparent. On the other hand, if they reject him, the fear is that he either will take part openly with the enemy, or impatronise himself of Hainault, and so have a gap opened to invade the rest of the country, either of which inconveniences were hard for them to fall into, though in common reason they cannot eschew one or the other unless remedies be soon applied. The Duke, to blear the eyes of his people, has already put himself in action, and has sent Bussy d'Amboise with 3,000 men to the siege of Mabeuge, not far from Mons, where is a garrison of the enemy, his drift being chiefly under that colour to draw his prepared forces (reported by his ministers to be above 4,000 horse and 15,000 foot) the sooner into Hainault. Yet in the meantime he gives out that he does nothing but with the liking and knowledge of her Majesty ; whose name and credit he uses as a cloak to colour his ambitions and pretexts, as will better appear with time, and is partly to be judged already by the manner of his ministers when treating with my lords here. He has sent one Beaujeu to Casimir to make fair weather with him, 'whose unity he pretends singularly to account of' ; but of all his demonstrations the scope and drift remains suspicious. The Baron of Preinder, late ambassador from the Emperor sent hither chiefly to hinder the French matter, is gone homeward very ill satisfied. The other seems minded to repair to Don John, to see if there is yet any hope of peace, to prevent the danger which the common enemy is like to fall into by the course of this war. The only remedy seems to be Don John's retirement, and surrender of the places he occupies into the hands of the States, who are otherwise indisposed to enter into any treaty of peace ; presuming it will bend on his part to the gaining of time, and wearying them with maintaining an army, rather than to any sound composition. The army, composed of 8,000 horse and 9,000 foot, besides the regiment of our nation and those remaining in garrison, is still within a mile of Lierre ; whence it is thought they will remove within a day or two. The enemy has withdrawn most of his forces into garrison, intending as some think to make a defensive war. His forces are 5,000 horse and 15,000 foot, counting the companies as complete, which they are not. He has abandoned Soigney in Hainault, in which Count Lalaing has put a garrison, and it is thought will probably do the like with Diest and Aerschot, whence he has withdrawn his munitions and artillery, even to the small iron pieces. Campen is affirmed to be surrendered to the States of Gueldres, who are in hope of a like composition with Deventer. Casimir was to begin mustering as yesterday near Zutphen. The Gauntois surprised last Sunday the town of Ypres in Flanders, which with the rest of the members [of that province] is now at their devotion. The towns of Hainault and Artois, Lille, Douay, and Orchies, being 'practised' by Monsieur's letters, have written hither to the Estates to know what to do. The Estates in their answer have required [them] to refer themselves only to the general resolution of the province.—Antwerp, 21 July 1578. P.S.—I just now hear that Mabeuge is yielded to the French, who have gone on to the siege of Beaumont, a town belonging to the Duke of Aerschot not far from the other. Draft. Endd. 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 74.]
July 21. 105. DAVISON to BURGHLEY [?]
Duplicate of the last. Draft. Endd. : to my Lord Treasurer, [but qy. to Leicester]. 2 pp. [Ibid. VII. 75.]
July 21.
K. d. L. x. 622.
I received to-day at Havering Lord Cobham's and your letter, together with one letter in your own handwriting, both dated the 18th. As for your negotiation with Monsieur's deputies, her Majesty likes it well, approving your several speeches used upon occasion offered to understand his full meaning by his ministers. And whereas Dammartin called you apart, and said that the Duke desired to have private conference with you, her Majesty's pleasure is that you shall repair to the Duke where he is, to know as much as you may the very secret of his mind. But before you go, I am to disclose a matter of great moment which you must handle with all dexterity, that her Majesty may be well informed of the truth to avoid further harm in this dangerous world. It is reported that the Prince of Orange has made his way by the Duke of Alençon and is the chief cause of his coming into the country, having offered him, as it is said, his daughter in marriage ; whereby Monsieur is to be chosen Duke of Burgundy and lord of all the Low Countries, and the Prince to have the government under him, to the dispossessing of King Philip altogether. You are to deal with the Prince in this matter as of yourself ; declaring to him that you have had credible understanding of this matter by good means and therefore you are to deal with him very earnestly to know the truth, and how he is affected every way, so far as you can learn. Having thus dealt with the Prince, you shall immediately repair to Monsieur and deal with him apart, as he has desired, and know the bottom of his heart, if he be disposed to discover it to you. Then show him, as of yourself, what bruit goes abroad of him, that he is to match with the Prince of Orange's daughter, and that therefore he is called into the country to be lord of it and the Prince governor under him, to the utter expulsion of King Philip from his right. For the marriage you may say that you marvel greatly at it, seeing that you know by good means, no worse than the French Ambassador here resident, that Monsieur himself desired the Queen Mother at her last being with him, not only to give him leave to be a suitor to the Queen for marriage, but also prayed her to get the King his brother's good word for that intent ; whereupon the King had written to his ambassador here that he liked this match well, only desired to have the honour done him that he might be made acquainted with the dealing in it before the marriage should be concluded. Now if Monsieur have taken this course with the Queen our sovereign, and run a clean contrary way with the Prince of Orange, you may boldly say that such dealings cannot but seem very strange and give cause of just offence. These are the two principal matters that I am to require you to deal in at this time, with these two principal personages. For the bonds, her Majesty stands irremoveable as Mr. Sommers left her, notwithstanding Lord Leicester has been most offended since his coming with this manner of proceeding, and ceases not to persuade her to give her bond at this time ; alleging the great danger that is like else to ensue, and 'allowing' your danger and Lord Cobham's for giving your word and promise for the bond to be given. But all will not serve ; for which Lord Leicester is very sorry and so I think are all that love the Queen's safety. God direct all things to His glory.—From the Court at Mr. Altham's, 21 July in the evening, 1578. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 76.]
July 23.
K. d. L. x. 625.
I thank you for your letter to us jointly. The error committed in laying aside our first treaty with the States, whereby her Majesty had no knowledge, is a thing committed by chance, for which I submit myself most humbly to her goodness ; yet for my own part I think it was sent. In our letter to Mr. Secretary we wrote of the necessity the States were in of money, and therefore requested him to move her Majesty to sign those two bills, which she misliking made a flat denial ; a matter to me very grievous, being only (sic) a confirmation of an act that she had passed under the great seal, a discredit to her ministers, and very dangerous to the States. For when it is known that she will neither enter into open action, nor 'allow' them with her credit, it will force them to change masters, and to take one that England will hardly brook. I may truly say that if by her Majesty's credit the want had been supplied, their army would long ago have been in the field, Don John driven to fight, fly, or yield to a peace, and M. d'Anjou's claim cast off. If her Majesty mislikes having lent her money and given her credit only upon ink and paper, I think that upon a new supply she might have a maritime town. I am sorry that your good and sound advice did not take good effect, both for the staying of the common cause from ruin and for the sure payment of her Majesty's money ; but my hope is that however she mislikes at one time, when she is persuaded that what you say is said for her safety, she will at length do it. Monsieur is come in person. He requires no towns, as 'Don Martin' says : he will serve them with 15,000 foot and 12,000 horse at his own cost. To win the more credit he is besieging Mabuse, lately taken by Don John. Yet I believe if her Majesty will help them now, all Monsieur's actions cannot withdraw their goodwill from her ; but what? necessity hath no law. Campen is surrendered to the States, and now 'Deventrye' is besieged ; it is thought it will yield. Certain bands of Almains were levied to succour these towns, but were overthrown by the peasants and some of Casimir's bands. We think ourselves most bound to you for so earnestly advancing this cause ; and again commend to you the supply for Dover. Monsieur's deputies will be here, it is said, in a few days ; after we have conferred with them I see no great cause for our stay.— Antwerp, 23 July. P.S—.It is said that Mabuse is won by the French. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 77.]
July 23.
K. d. L. x. 631.
Both by Mr. Sommers's reports and by your letter to Lord Cobham and me, we perceive how honourably you have dealt both in furthering her Majesty's assistance to this country and qualifying her displeasure towards us. In what terms the state stands here we have at large and truly set down in the general letter directed to your Lordship and the rest. If her Majesty by yielding them some present assistance does not stay them, I see in them a full determination to throw themselves into the protection of France. I have good hope that if she would pass the bond for the £26,000 we might stay it for the present, whereas otherwise I look for a revolt. It were a very hard case that for the giving credit for so small a sum the alienation of these countries should be hazarded, considering how much it imports her Majesty in both honour and safety. The Prince confessed to us that he was never more perplexed with a matter, having to treat with a prince that has the sword in his hand. He fears too that the King his brother, whatever he protests to Spain, means to back him, whereby he is like to grow overstrong unless her Majesty is disposed to deal more effectually. It seems by Sir Amias Poulet's letter, which I send to Mr. Secretary, that he doubts the king's disposition in this behalf. The desire I have that this may come speedily to her Majesty's hands makes me shorter in writing.—Antwerp, 23 July, 1578. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 78.]
[July 25, about]
K. d. L. x. 640.
109. A MEMORIAL for MR. SOMMERS, being sent to the DUKE OF ALENÇON.
Among other causes moving her Majesty to send us hither, one was to confer with his Deputies, and to know his intention in the cause of these Low Countries ; protesting as he did by a servant he lately sent to her Majesty that he would do nothing without her privity. Immediately upon our arrival, about the 1st of this month, Dampmartin and Alferan, his ministers, came to us to inform us that his deputies remaining at Mons had commission from him to treat with us, and would be with us in four days ; which being expired we remained expecting them till the 15th, when Montdoucet came to us with Dampmartin, but with no credit or instructions save to visit us in his name, and to signify to us that now he himself was come into the country, their commission to treat with us was expired and that we should shortly hear from him. Which kind of proceeding, when we had waited so long to know his pleasure by his deputies, you shall shew him we found strange, and therefore let Montdoucet and Dampmartin understand that her Majesty would not like us to be so dealt with, to be so long delayed, having no other cause of stay but to treat with his ministers ; and therefore prayed them to tell him how much her Majesty would mislike of it. On the same occasion we gave them to understand that if he should seek contrary to his promise to her Majesty and his protestations published in print, and to all justice, to impatronise himself of any part of the country, he would not only wound his reputation, but also provoke her Majesty to employ all the forces and means that God has given her to hinder it. And if he had that good will to the country which he outwardly pretended, there could be no readier way to perform it than by procuring a peace ; so that he would do well, before entering on any hostilities, to send some gentleman of quality, furnished with some good means of persuasion, to move Don John to a composition. If he refused he would make his cause appear worse to the world, and the Duke himself might enter with more honour into the action. Last Sunday Dampmartin brought word from him that he could not well proceed to deal in the peace until he were 'grown to some full point' with the States and thoroughly informed of their disposition in that behalf. Seeing the proposition of peace, so honourable a thing for him to attempt, put off, we could not think he was delaying it in respect of any doubt how the States would allow of it ; when we had delivered to Montdoucet the States' answer to the proposal of peace presented in her Majesty's name to them by us, from which it might appear that they were desirous of peace. Wherefore, since he brought no letters of credit, as appertained to public ministers, though personally we thought not otherwise than well of the gentlemen, we could not tell what credit to give them. For the matter we then proposed to them touching the dealing with Don John, we are of opinion, still that it is the most honourable course he can take, the nature of peace being more to be desired than the condition of war. And nothing is more just in these kind of actions, between such as have no special cause of enmity, than to offer offices of amity before they present the point of the sword. We are sure he may as safely take this way of dealing without offence to the States before his full accord with them, as put in 'ure' acts of hostility, which way we understand he has already entered by besieging Maubeuse before any capitulation with the States. And because we are persuaded that this is the most Christian and princely way of dealing, we could not, for the respect and honour we bear him, as a prince professing to be devoted to her Majesty, but wish that he would hearken to it. Her Majesty, hearing of the delay used by his ministers, has commanded us to repair home, which we are to do within 8 or 10 days. Our time of tarrying here being so short, we thought it good to signify thus much to him ; that if he wishes his deputies to have any conference with us, as he promised, and her Majesty expects, he may take order for their dispatch out of hand. Otherwise we were to report to her Majesty of his dealing. (Signed) W. C., F. W. Copy. 2¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. VII. 79.]
June 27 and July 25 110. (1) Acknowledgement of the receipt, from 'Jacques de Desmond [James Fitzmorris] lord of Kerrykurrihy,' of seven chased (verees) silver cups, and two gallices as pledge for a loan of 100 crowns. Executed and ratified (enteraigné) at his lodging in the Rue de Léhon, Dinan.—June 27 1578. (Signed) Sérizay. (2) Note of the repayment of 200 livres and consequent return of the gallices and four of the cups. 'The other three cups are in the custody of my uncle Lessart, who will restore them when the balance of 100 livres is paid ; which the said lord has promised to do before next Sunday.'—Dinan, 25 July 1577. (Signed) Sérizay. Fr. 1 p. [France II. 58.]