Elizabeth: September 1580, 1-15

Pages 406-419

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 14, 1579-1580. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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September 1580, 1-15

Sept. 5. 413. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
The King had left Saint-Maur before the receipt of your last letter and the ambassadors have not as yet any certain lodging assigned them, for being first 'harbenged' at Moret they were since appointed to Melun, which is a town nothing to their liking. Therefore I could not so readily repair to their Majesties, being still in Paris. Howbeit I set forward today towards Melun, hoping next day to be admitted to the presence, when I shall deliver the Queen's pleasure now last revealed. When my servant was at Monsieur's Court on the 8th ult., there appeared no preparation for the setting forth of Marshal de Cossé and M. Simier ; nor have I heard that M. Pibrac was 'addressing' himself for the journey. Money was appointed by the King's order for the journey, which remains in readiness waiting further directions from her Majesty. After Villeroy has communicated with his Highness, he has commission as I hear to treat with the Duke of Montpensier for the appeasing of the alleged quarrel between him and the Duke of Nevers, whom the King would willingly 'retire' to Court, if the Duke of Montpensier were satisfied. Some have been informed that Villeroy was to pass from his Highness to the King of Navarre, but there appears no certainty of it yet. Letters are come today, how the Commissioners have been received by his Highness at Tours, and that by mischance part of the town has been burnt. The King of Navarre has lately had good success against Biron upon the occasion of a practice which that Marshal's lieutenant had managed with three gentlemen of the Religion for the surprise of Cahors, seeking to corrupt them and get their 'consarts' and good wills thereto. These three gentlemen had 10,000 crowns promised them, of which Marshal Biron delivered beforehand 4,000 to one of them, upon promise that at a day appointed they would keep a gate open for the Marshal's company to enter at, which was accomplished. But in the mean time the King of Navarre was made privy to it by those gentlemen, whereon Viscount Turenne was appointed to approach with his forces. He used such diligence that he brought a stronger garrison into the town in the night and stayed in the field himself not far from Cahors, awaiting the enterprise. So Marshal Biron's lieutenant, finding the gate open early, according to promise, and the countersign given answered by those gentlemen, approached speedily and caused many of his band to enter. When they of the town had suffered as many to enter as they thought good, they closed the gate and kept back the rest, taking and executing those that were come in ; and made a sally at another gate. Upon that, Marshal Biron came to the rescue with his horsemen, and the Viscount charged him unlooked-for, and the Catholics were put to flight, and to the sword. The King of Navarre lay in ambush, ready to receive Biron at his retreat, so that it is written the chief Catholic nobility of Languedoc are slain and taken ; but no certain word whither [whether?] Biron is escaped. Count Rochefoucault had joined the King of Navarre before this, so that they have an army in the field reasonably appointed. The Duke of Maine left Lyons Aug. 23, marching towards Dauphiné ; being well accompanied with gentlemen. Two days after M. Mandelot, governor of Lyons and those parts, followed. It is thought there will be in that camp 8,000 fighting men, French, with the Switzers, of whom it is thought there are 400 horse, gentlemen and others, and 400 [qy. 0] Italians are expected from Avignon. They have about 10 cannons and other field pieces, with provisions and victuals sufficient by their computation for three months. The rendezvous is appointed at Romans, where the soldiers are to receive their first pay. Their design is to besiege a fort on the river of Liseres [l'Isère] which cannot be done without dividing their camp on both sides of the river, so that Lesdiguières, one of the 'principal' for the Protestants in Dauphiné, will be strong enough to assail one part of the camp. If that purpose do not hold, the Duke will try to besiege Livron, unless he find it too strong. The money to pay these companies of the King was much exacted or borrowed perforce of the merchants ; some part is levied on the walled towns and Catholic gentlemen of Dauphiné. In the Marquisate of Saluces they are again in some trouble, because certain of the captains being ill-satisfied have revolted against the King, and are 'nourished' by the ministers of the Catholic King ; of whom they have received 20,000 crowns, by the means or consent of the Duke of Savoy. Captain Anselme and Lesdiguières are confederated, as I saw by a letter from Lesdiguières which was intercepted and sent to the King. The last news from Spain was that the Duke of Alva had marched to before Coimbra and 'El Porto.' Señor Tassis is coming hither from Spain as ambassador ligier. His staff and some of his company are landed at Nantes. He passed by here since my coming. I suppose he is sufficiently known to you to have been the master of the posts in Flanders, and maîtred'hôtel to Don John of Austria. M. de Pierrecourt, brother to M. de Mellivrey [Meilleraie] is appointed to be sent into Portugal. Bernardino de Mendoza 'certified hither' that the Irish rebels had reached the gates of Dublin and failed of their purpose ; also that the rebels were strong and had good intelligence. The contrary is now understood here.— Villeneuve [-Saint-Georges?], 5 Sept. 1580. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France IV. 143.]
Sept. 5. 414. COBHAM to WALSINGHAM.
Having received the enclosed from your servant Mr Champernon I send it, that his course may be known to you. And having received this other from Pallavicino in which he requests me to deal with certain persons belonging to the Pope, I thought good to acquaint you herewith, the rather that he sent me a letter enclosed with his, from her Majesty addressed to Cardinal Sforza. But as I had no order from you, I delivered it again to Calvi, who brought it. I cannot as yet hear any more of M. Simier and those causes.— Villeneuve, 5 Sept. 1580. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 144.]
Sept. 5. 415. The DUKE OF ANJOU to WALSINGHAM.
I was so busy when I dispatched M. de Buy to the Queen that I had not leisure to write with my own hand, as I should have liked to all my friends. Esteeming you of their number I beg you to employ your good offices with her Majesty to keep me in her good graces, assuring you, as I asked Mr Stafford to assure you, that you will never have a better friend than I. I have given the same charge to M. de Buy, my chamberlain and counsellor, to whom I pray you to give credit as to myself.—Plessis-les-Tours, 5 Sept. 1580. (Signed) François. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson : From Monsieur, by De Buy. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 145.]
Enclosed I send a copy of the Prince d'Epinoy's letter to the 4 Members of Flanders, (fn. 1) which I got this morning. Also this morning news is come to the lords of this town that on the 1st inst. the Malcontents began to batter Bouchain 'with the cannon,' so that it is much feared if they be not speedily rescued they cannot continue long ; for the Malcontents have sent for more men from their towns in Artois and 'Henogo.' The Viscount of Ghent and M. la Motte, who are the only commanders of that camp, have sworn they will not go from it till they have it ; so that by report they lose no time, and the States' camp make small haste forward, so far as I can learn. God send better government amongst them.— Bruges, 5 Sep. 1580. Add. Endd. 2/3 p. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 49.]
Sept. 8. 417. The KING OF DENMARK to the QUEEN.
Your ambassador John Rogers has delivered to us your two letters, of different dates and contents, written from Oatlands. In the earlier, dated Aug. 6, you inform us of our unanimous election into the Order of the Garter at a Chapter held on the previous April 24. The later, dated the 11th of the same month, testifies your constancy in promoting the matter of religion. In these affairs, pertaining both to our mutual friendship and to the common advantage of the Church and Christian commonwealth, and also in the setting forth of various private business, your ambassador has so demeaned himself as to earn our praises. Thus when he stated that by your wish he was going to travel into Poland and Sweden, and then return to us, we could not but answer your letters by this gentleman, our servant. And to begin with the business of religion. We were very glad that our letter of June 23 [sic] last, from Colding, was not disagreeable to you. Now we heartily pray that the counsels you have adopted may first tend to the glory of God and the establishment of concord among all who believe in Christ, His Son, and also turn out happily for the Defender of the Faith herself, and the Christian commonwealth. As we have before testified, we for our part persevere sincerely in the doctrine professed by our Churches and schools : and ascribe it to God's blessing and our own good fortune, that among all the dissensions of recent years, we have been enabled to enjoy peace. Nor do we doubt that His blessing will be with us, to preserve the pure religion bequeathed to us as a treasure by our late father, and hand it on to our posterity. While praising elegant learning and subtle wit as peculiar ornaments in accomplished men, we allow to no theologian license for any innovation or disputation contrary to the ordinance of our Churches once received and approved. If the same had been attended to elsewhere we should today have perhaps less disturbance in pious Churches. If we can do anything towards establishing agreement among the reformed Churches, we shall not disappoint your expectation. So we should not be refusing your request that we would send an envoy of our own with Daniel Rogers to the Electors Palatine and of Saxony, were we not sure that the latter, our dear cousin and gossip, would without our intervention in reply to your request declare himself in such wise as to leave you nothing to desire. In reply to your later [sic] letter, we profess that we have been highly gratified by the good opinion the Knights of the Garter have formed of us, and the addresses [? elogia] reminding us of the virtues that adorn a Christian king, and we thank you and them most heartily for our election. And so far are we from feeling any annoyance at the delay in the announcement of it, that we think it a mark of the honour in which we are held by our brethren of the order, that they should have so kindly told us of it already. If you or they wish for any communication from us in respect of our reception into the order, we will take care that by no declaration of ours, but by actual fact they may understand that we are for good reasons most desirous in that way to confirm our friendship with yourself, and feel the warmest affection for the members of the order.—Friderichsburg ; the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8 Sep. 1580. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. Lat. 3½ pp. [Denmark I. 9.]
Sept. 9. 418. COBHAM to [?] WALSINGHAM.
I trust I have in all points satisfied her Majesty's commands signified to me by your last dispatch : but the gentlemen I sent sevennights past to his Highness is not yet returned. I received a letter today from Mr Menteth that Casimir has his army in readiness, consisting of 10,000 horse and 8,000 foot, who were ready to march, having their 'handtrechtghelt' paid them. But I do not hear this confirmed by other means. The King of Navarre has written to M. Chassincourt that there is 'means to grow to a peace,' and to have an interview with Monsieur ; but many doubt whether the King of Navarre will like this, or find it convenient for him. The packet which I received by the last, directed to M. Chassincourt or M. Montigny, is safely delivered. I found M. Lansac very courteous to me at my coming to the Court upon any occasion ; and it seems he could be willing to be employed for the advancement of good intelligence between these two realms. I have surely not forgotten to certify any matter which her Majesty committed to me, but have written it in clear sort with such truth as it has been delivered to me. Howbeit, the framing of matters to be better or worse belongs only to the Almighty and to those to whom power and authority is given. I wrote to you in a former letter the cause of M. Simier's disgrace, or at least the means whereby it has been wrought, as it is conceived here. Also I sent by Henry Adams, since his parting with Monsieur, a letter of his Highness, in which I suppose he signified the cause to her Majesty, 'or I wish he had done it.' I do not perceive that the King means to pass much further as yet. In my last dispatch I wrote to her Majesty of an Italian woman who is famous, and would repair into England to show her cunning for the preservation of beauty ; but I could be glad her Majesty would command her, and all such, further off.—Melun, 9 Sept. 1580. P.S.—M. Pinart, upon the making-up of this letter, has sent me this packet, directed to Mme de Mauvissière, requesting me earnestly to see it safely delivered and commending it to you. If I thought ear would be given or consideration had, I might write something of my charges ; but I fear there is neither remembrance of my days and years spent, nor yet feeling of my case. "Frugality ; else I may die, or some quarrel picked to my service, and so the reward, wittily" [remainder missing]. Add. & endt. gone. 1 p. [France IV. 146.]
Sept. 9. 419. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
If you please, you may advertise the Queen that on the 7th inst. I signified to Queen Mother at Fontainebleau that she could not be satisfied till she sent me her commands whereby her Majesty might be informed of the occasion which moved her to request the Christian King that the commissioners should not hasten their journey so soon as was 'assigned' ; making such request upon the hope she had conceived that peace was to be concluded, as M. Mauvissière had assured her, alleging the likelihood of it on the ground that the King had given power to his Highness to accomplish it and the King of Navarre had remitted all his 'estate' into Monsieur's hand. So that their wills being thus bent as the Queen my mistress had been advertised, she conceived that the peace of France had been before this restored by his Highness's mediation ; which honour she wished might have happened to him with all expedition, having always a special regard to assist the advancement of his design ; not intending in any sort that although peace should not be concluded the commissioners should not come ; but that she makes high account of Monsieur's good will, which he daily continues. Whereto the Queen said that the King's will was bent to the peace. He had lately 'employed' Secretary Villeroy to her son, to advance the negotiation, and in like manner the King of Navarre had sent his secretary la Marsilière ; but with such demands as she said displeased Monsieur and are not liked by the King. But if they would be obedient subjects, the King could support the use of religion for the satisfaction of their consciences. I 'returned to say to her' : Madame, by the judgement of the wise sort, the King of Navarre was to desire the repose of France in many respects, since through the civil wars he decayed his estate, hourly endangered his person, and daily lost his dear friends,— sustaining infinite other indignities and extremities. As for those of the Religion they were in some points to be esteemed more complete in their obedience than the Catholics, since they did not admit any other supremacy or jurisdiction than their natural prince immediately under God. She said I meant the Pope, which was matter of conscience, as our ministers ; smiling therewith. I said, without her further leave I would not proceed in that dispute ; but it seemed the Pope did not shew that respect which appertained to her in the cause of Portugal, as it seemed he had engaged the Portuguese to the King of Spain. She said he did her that wrong, which could not well content her, but he had not power to do harm to them if they themselves had not been slack in demanding aid and providing for the case according to the need they now find. She added that it behoved the Queen to think thereon. I answered that the Queen had long since made demonstration to her and her son of her meaning that way. Then I signified that her Majesty was well content with the presence of the Prince of Condé's brother ; but because in that treaty matters of high consideration were to be managed, she requested that some of the robe courte of the King's privy council, like M. Lansac or Carouges, might be sent in his company from the King ; for she understood that Marshal Cossé was appointed by Monsieur. She promised to deal with the King therein. His mind she knew was bent to satisfy her Majesty, and she was glad the treaty of marriage continued. She will not lose her hope of it until the end. Herewith she 'excused' that the King did not give me audience that day, saying he had taken some little medicine. Since that time she has also been a little indisposed, keeping her bed the next day somewhat long. I hear that Monsieur remains as yet at Plessis, where it is said the Marquis of Elbeuf and Count Brissac are like to become in great favour. Last week when Villeroy and la Marsilière were with him, there came also a gentleman from the Prince of Condé to deal about the affairs of la Fère ; which was that the Prince could be content it should be delivered to Monsieur on some conditions. La Marsilière continued eight days in Monsieur's Court, bringing with him the answer to the dispatch with which Captain la Salle was sent to the King of Navarre, and slain by the way about St. Basille, as I mentioned in my former letter. Marsilière brought certain articles from the King of Navarre, on which he conferred with Villeroy in Monsieur's presence. I am informed they entered into an appointment for a place of meeting between his Highness and the King and Queen of Navarre, with which message M. 'Don Martin' is sent to the King to Clérac ; so that it seems some further likelihood of a peace to be concluded otherwise than (as before) it pleased Queen Mother to remember and say to me. The King of Navarre had with him the gentlemen and forces of Saintonge, and was removed to Clerac on the Garonne [sic]. Their affairs in Languedoc continue in good estate, the King of Navarre having retaken la Comette [la Calmette] and defeated the succours which Saint-Jaille had brought thither. M. la Rocque is looked for presently at this Court, on the King of Navarre's affairs. The morning before my audience M. d'O came to Court with reports of matters at la Fère. Notwithstanding the Duke of Maine's forces, Lesdiguières has taken Montélimart, and scours the country with his camp volant. The Duke of Savoy is deceased, as I certified in my last dispatch, through excessive bleeding at his nose, which continued at times 'in extremity' by the space of 7 or 8 days, as I am informed. Through his death it is thought the affairs of Captain Anselme will somewhat quail in the Marquisate of Saluces. The ravelin at la Fère was assaulted ; it was 'enterprised' upon an intelligence given from within, that there were but 15 guarding it, whereby they were encouraged to assail it, and lost 30 gentlemen thereon ; for they had intrenched themselves, and lay hidden therein, whereby the enemy was repulsed. Howbeit, the day of my last audience, M. Lansac told me the ravelin was taken, and that good news was brought, how there was assured hope that the King might have the town within 8 days. I asked him, if by force or by composition. He said the King's arms were always ready to receive his subjects who yielded to his mercy. An invention was made of barrels, which were thrown into the ditches with long poles passed through them, and faggots, to frame a bridge ; but the measure fell short, and the invention failed. Though the ravelin be taken, there is between it and the town a deep and broad ditch, and within, trenches. Moreover they have made a fort in the middle of the town, which commands those places with small shot. M. de Pienys' [Piennes] son is slain at la Fère. The Marquis de Trent, of the House of Foix, kinsman to the King of Navarre, is slain by his enemy Saint-Ermy, upon a private quarrel. They die of the plague in the King's camp. Capello the banker has given out in Paris that the King of Spain peaceably commands all Portugal, and would have persuaded the last messenger I sent to England to stay till next morning, to write these Spanish news. M. la Noue is said to be removed to a place called Charlemont ; 'and that' the Spanish King had sent command to have him executed. Howbeit, some certify he is conveyed to Milan. The enemy continues about 'Bouquehain' [qy. Bouchain]. The plague increases in Paris and the villages about.—The 9th of September from Melun, whence I depart towards Moret, since Queen Mother of her grace has now at last appointed the ambassadors' lodgings to be there. Add. and endt. gone. 4 pp. [Ibid. IV. 147.]
Sept. 10. 420. COBHAM to WALSINGHAM.
Immediately after the departure of Peter Browne, the gentleman whom I sent to Monsieur's Court arrived with letters from him. I have enclosed them in a letter to her Majesty, and addressed them to Paris, to Mr Waad ; to be by him sent after Peter Browne, and 'not overtaking him,' to send it by the 'first best' means he can, directing it to you.—Melun, 10 Sep. 1580. P.S.—There are men levying about Tours, to be employed, as they say, to raise the siege of 'Bouquehain.' Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. IV. 148.]
Sept. 10. 421. [WALSINGHAM?] to [COBHAM.]
I have received yours of the 5th inst. and enclosed therewith one to you from an Italian gentlewoman. Having acquainted her Majesty with the contents of it, she made answer that she neither knew the woman nor remembered any such matter as she seems to challenge, and therefore would have you persuade her that she will do well to forbear her coming ; and if notwithstanding she seems resolute to repair hither, let her plainly know that her Majesty has received secret intelligence that an Italian gentlewoman was about this time coming over hither for some evil purposes. Wherefore though her Highness cannot particularly suspect her, yet as princes are commonly jealous in like cases, you know her coming will not be grateful here. Yet her Majesty would not have you descend to these particulars with her, unless you find that she cannot by other means be diverted from her purpose. I have not forgotten to acquaint her Majesty both with Monsieur's letter to yourself and with the copy of yours to him. In the former she noted as a principal point his opinion that the commissioners should not come for any other cause but to treat of the marriage. She marvels not a little that she has not heard from him for so long. In Scotland things stand but in hard terms. D'Aubigny has already got the castle of Dumbarton into his hands, and has lately dispatched one Montbrun into France ; both to advertise the King of it, and, as it is thought, to lay some plot for the disquieting of both these realms ; wherein it is doubted he will want no advice there. I pray you therefore be careful and vigilant to discover what you may in this matter. Mr Bowes is dispatched into Scotland, both to abase d'Aubigny's credit by all possible means and to procure the delivery of the castle into the hands of some other well-affected person.—At the Court, 10 Sep. 1580. Copy. 1 p. [Ibid. IV. 149.]
Sept. 1. 422. Proclamation by Joos Vander Beke, 'sworn exploiter or executor and sergeant-of-arms of the King's Provincial Council of Holland, Zealand and Friesland,' that at the instance of Gheleyn Bowens, for himself and Jan Jans as guardian of his wife and of the orphans of Lenen Bowens, of Flushing, plaintiffs by force of letters executorial upon sentence of 'condemnation and conditional namptsation' by the said Council, dated June 22 last, and after due summons in the King's name to the procurator general and advocate fiscal of the said Council, and to the 'lords of the reckoning' in Holland, being found in default for non-payment, and like intimation to Michiel Adolphs, receiver of the demeans of the town of Flushing, he has 'laid in arrest' the said town, with all low, mean, and high jurisdiction, etc. which town with all thereto appertaining the aforesaid exploiter will sell by decree, 'with three Sundays and market-days outcry and proclamation successively following,' in order to recover the three years' rents fallen due, with the charges of the execution, etc.—Flushing, 11 Sep. 1580. Translation, apparently made in Holland. Endd. by Burghley's Secretary. 2¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 50.]
Sept. 12. 423. COBHAM to [the SECRETARIES].
Since my last I have received advertisement that not only the commissioners for Flanders are very 'well seen' and received of his Highness, but also his gentlemen 'show to make' preparations to address themselves for that voyage. Among the rest M. de Rochepot prepares to pass with his regiment of 2,000 foot, to take his way towards Cambrai ; coming too late to the succour of 'Bouquehain,' which is lost and great part of it burnt, as they certify from Cambray. M. la Roche of Brittany is gone hence to serve his Highness. I had with him some conference of these affairs in which he seems forward. The other captains of Monsieur's Court are seeking soldiers. Peace is there held to be agreed on, and to be speedily concluded, 'with an open determination of foreign wars.' This is the present motion of the planets in these parts, which are subject to sudden changes. The King of Navarre has signified his will to be bent to obey his Majesty, and has declared that he is not so feeble as they reported him to be. His succours out of Germany were in readiness to march. Marshal Biron is returned to Agen, not being able to keep the field against the King of Navarre. M. 'Don Martin' is returned from him, with a message as I hear very agreeable to his Highness. So it is secretly spoken, I know not with what truth, that is now meeting his Majesty with good news at Monceaulx, whither the King and Queen Mother, with the Cardinal of Bourbon passed in their 'caroche' through this town this afternoon, with a small train. If this interview happens and 'follows,' I shall not fail to advertise it. But the meeting of these princes was first desired to have been at Blois, whither the King intends to pass, according to 'determination of removes' in this Court. A bruit came yesterday that the ravelin is again taken by those within la Fère. The Prince of Condé having sent two lackeys, one has got into la Fère ; the other was stopped and brought to Court. The Duke of Nevers remains at Liége and the baths thereabout. M. d'Escars' second son has lost his life at the siege of la Fère. I am informed that a messenger is coming to the King with presents of horses from the Grand Signor. I enclose herewith advertisements from Italy. The Court of Retz is appointed by the King to visit the Duke of Savoy ; whose late-deceased father has committed him to the keeping of the Lords of 'Bearn,' as I am informed.—Melun, 12 Sep. 1580. Add. and endt. gone. 1½ pp. [France IV. 150.]
Sept. 13. 424. COBHAM to [? WALSINGHAM].
The advertisements lately come from Spain are that on the 25th ult. the Duke of Alva fought with Don Antonio, King of Portugal. The Portuguese were overthrown and Don Antonio being hurt in the neck fled to Santarem. The same day the Duke took Lisbon, where he has left as governor Don Hernando, Grand Prior, his bastard son. At the same time the Spaniards took their ships in the port of Lisbon. They also write that the Duke of Braganza has not 'intermeddled' himself on any side. So the affairs of Portugal are very miserable. I thought good not to leave this unadvertised ; though I think you otherwise receive the like with more particulars. I am in a place where I cannot be advertised as at Paris ; beside that 'those kind of persons' cannot without great difficulty and 'charge' follow the Court. I stayed from repairing to Moret, because this place is yet nearer the Court ; the King being at present at Monceaux, not determining to go to Moret till his return, which I think will be in two or three days.—Melun, 13 Sept. 1580. Add. and endt. gone. 1 p. [France IV. 151.]
Sept. 17. 425. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
In my last, of the 11th inst., I made no pertinent answer as to the forgetfulness and unworthiness of those who direct the state, called the Estates. By the disunion implied in the term, they are all particular Estates, who have managed their provinces in their private interest, ay, from the day they first met as States-General. This is what has brought us into this unhappiness and reduced us to extremities, to the discontent not only of our most remote but of our most neighbouring friends. I remember (qy. suis raccord) to have written to you that if my suggestion had been followed they would long ago have decided to send to her Majesty to represent to her the pregnant causes which urged those of the Union to accept and invite M. d'Alençon ; indeed would have elected personages to do this. But they excused themselves from this duty, for the little satisfaction they had given her Majesty, both in her private matter of money and other duties ; wherefore they could expect from her only ill-regard and small welcome. Nevertheless when they had by persuasions reached the point of sending M. Ymans and others their faculties failed just when each was to have joined and contributed ; whereupon they are on the point of forming a new union of Flanders, Holland, and Zealand, as I have already written. That is the position to which we have come. On this subject some clever wit has composed a dialogue discoursed in it of all the actions and conduct of this state, no less pertinently than if it had been a live man could have done it. The discourse is copious, and has not yet been seen. I will take steps to have it copied, hoping that if you are in any way satisfied with it, I may take pains to report various notable proceedings, if I were seconded by your people here, who I perceive act on their own account, to gain advantage from my advices, as I have remarked. In this extremity, and awaiting the favours of M. d'Alençon, all divisions and discontents are increasing, not only in the disunion of the provinces, but in a popular murmur against those in office (ceux qui ministrent) and especially against his Excellency, who is losing all his credit with the people, since what befel at Bouchain ; with such bitterness that fearing the edict and proclamation made against his person by the King in the reconciled provinces, he does not leave his house, where he is sick of the fever. He has obtained a new body-guard of 100 horse, which will soon be ready, to return to Ghent, and raise a small flying camp to harass the enemy if he besieges Oudenarde or Menin, as it seems likely he is going to do. You will have been informed that they are sending to give full powers to the Commissioners in France, whereas before they were limited. This is due to what happened at Bouchain, and also to the fact that they foresee the small progress made by their ambassadors. It is true that his Excellency says he has had letters to the effect that the King of France has gone as far as Orleans to be nearer to his brother, so that he may the more easily confer with him. But I hear that his reason for going to Orleans is the severity with which the plague prevails at Paris ; which is such that a painter who was taking the King's portrait in the morning died in the evening, which so terrified him that he hurried to Orleans. On this there is a current rumour that he is dead. We have assured news that the Malcontents have lost more than they have gained by the capture of Bouchain, because three hours after our people had gone out with bag and baggage, fire was set to the munitions, and made such cruel progress (exploit) that the greater part of the town was overthrown and burnt, and several officers and many men killed. La Fère lately underwent a furious assault, which makes us think that there is little hope of peace in France. You know about affairs in Portugal, that the King of Spain is in Lisbon. If it is so, we can look to God only, not to our own powers and resources.—Antwerp, 17 Sep. 1580. Add. Endd. Fr. 2½ pp. [Hol. and Fl. XIII. 51.]
Sept. 17. 426. GILPIN to WALSINGHAM.
But for my duty towards you, the States answer to my continual soliciting being so little altered and continuing so slender, that I am almost loath and ashamed to trouble you with the recital of it, I would have passed this week in silence. I pressed them earnestly, as 'per' my last was signified, for an answer in writing, which was delivered to me this morning ; with a further declaration that Brabant having resolved, as I wrote you, effectual letters had been written both by them and in private by his Excellency, to the other provinces, viz., Flanders (whence there is no fear of opposition), Holland, and Zealand, together with copies of all her Majesty's letters touching the cause of Pallavicino and Spinola ; and for speedier answer, special posts sent with them, so that they trust to make some small determination shortly. Before which I see no appearance of M. Ymans' going over, though never so much by them wished ; for until such time he utterly refuses to take that charge upon him. Of his honest carefulness herein I cannot sufficiently advertise, to whom those of this town may be joined. What the States' answer, given me in writing, is, will appear by the enclosed. And so awaiting your pleasure 'unto my former,' with resolution the while by all means of suit to forward their answer to some good effect, I forbear to trouble you longer on this point. The enclosed were sent me to see conveyed to you. The news of the fire 'chanced' at Bouchain, after 'surrendry' of it, is confirmed ; and thereto since added that the force of the powder, the town being very small, slew and spoilt many of the Malcontents, amongst others some persons of note ; but the particulars are not certainly known. The preparing of the States' camp in Flanders advances greatly. The Prince of Epinoy is general, M. d'Argenlieu, marshal, and Captain Yorke, chief sergeant ; so that it is hoped they will be ere long in the field. Certain companies of French are daily expected to assist them. It is said the Prince will shortly depart toward Ghent, to further the camp or establish some better order. One is appointed to go 'for' France after the States' commissioners to carry them full power to conclude with Monsieur absolutely, if he any way agree to the articles presented by them. It is advertised from France that Simier is out of favour with Monsieur. The States' men in Friesland having divided themselves into three parts, viz. the English before Lingen, and the other companies, being 'these countrymen' in Cowoorden and the house called Wedden, the enemy took by surrender 'die Ommeslach,' a passage and bulwark on the entry from Friesland into Groningen, taken by the English on entering the country. This done, they went with their whole force to Wedden, and there surprised and dispersed Count William of Nassau and Captain Michiell 'their regiment,' slaying about 100. The rest since met again and assembled together. The Englishmen that lay before Lingen, hard 'underneath' the gates, ready to take it in a few days if succour come not, were upon the aforesaid overthrow, forced to retire and return to the rest of the force. On Tuesday last, Count John of Nassau married Duke Casimir's sister. The Diet of Nuremberg, as it is written from the Emperor's Court, is a stay, and likely to take no effect at all, though some judge it to be deferred till next March. The last letters from Constantinople mention that an ambassador had arrived from the Persian Emperor, to treat about peace. There is certain news here that the Duke of Savoy is dead, which, it is hoped, will work some good to those of the Religion.— Antwerp, 17 Sep. 1580. Enclosed in the above :
Sept. 15. 427. REPLY of the ESTATES.
The Estates-General having read a writing laid before them on the 9th inst. from the Queen of England by George Gilpin, Secretary of the Merchants Adventurers residing in this town, and also the representations made by him to the same end, declare their regret that they have not yet found means to satisfy her Majesty, owing to their great charges at present. They will nevertheless do their utmost by all means to content her ; hoping that the said Secretary will use his good offices on their behalf.—Antwerp, 15 Sep. 1580. (Signed) A. Blyleven. (Fr.) Add. Endd. 2½ pp. [Ibid. XIII. 52 and 52a.]


  • 1. See Cecil Papers, Vol. II., p. 232.