Elizabeth: August 1579, 16-31

Pages 43-52

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

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August 1579, 16-31

Aug. 16. 37. GILPIN to TOMSON.
'Your courteous letter by this post, gentle Mr Tompson, I have received,' and given the enclosed to M. Villiers, who has promised to send me his answer. If it comes before our post goes, you shall have it herewith. 'Sgr' Rossel is not yet come from Flanders, where as he writes to me he is much vexed with the 'conducting' of the Frenchmen, who are reduced to 12 companies, and coming this way. Upon his return I will deliver so much to him as 'per' your master's order was willed. I have done your commendations to Mr Travers and Mr Longston, who resalute you. Herewith I send a note of our news, which daily grows worse. God help His people, and confound the rage of those that seek the overthrow of His gospel and the professors thereof. By last week's post I sent Mr Secretary a packet of letters from myself, and another great one from the States to the Queen, in a cover to his honor, 'which I long to hear your receipt of them' ; for our post was robbed within two miles of Dunkirk, and all they suspected to be money, or anything but letters, they took from him. Therefore I beseech you let me hear from you by the next.— Antwerp, 16 Aug. 1579. P.S.—In Dr 'Bailiff's' suit I could do no good, because one borrower is dead and the other was absent till last Friday. Having spoken with their 'lieutenant' I find small hope to prevail but by reduction, to which I do not mean to yield. Please tell the doctor, to whom I will write how I speed. P.P.S.—Mr Villiers is gone with the Prince and has left no letters as he promised. Add. Endd. 1½ pp. [Ibid. XII. 25.]
I was glad to hear by yours of the 8th that all mine had reached you. I will therefore continue to impart the news to you without importuning you for an answer ; not being ignorant that more important affairs deprive you of leisure for it, but assuring myself of your affection, and begging you to believe that I shall never forget my obligation to discharge my duty to you. The rumour of Fitzmorris's landing in Ireland has been greater here than your letters import. I hope that his enterprise will end in smoke, by your diligence. Affairs here go on as usual. There is no more talk, nor hope, of the peace of Cologne. Men's minds are wholly made up for war, seeing that peace can be obtained only by the extirpation of those of the Religion, who are determined to defend well the towns that they hold. His Excellency has more communication with the deputies of the Utrecht league than with the States-General, who no longer meet much, or the Council of State, which is small in number. I am afraid that the league will fall into the same protracted habit as the States-General, through not giving sufficient authority to their deputies. His Excellency is always representing to them the harm that will ensue if this be not remedied. I hope that necessity and experience will make us wise. Those of the league of Artois and Hainault are strengthening themselves daily. M. d' Aussy put the town of Alost into their hands three or four days ago ; and has looted his own garrison and made his own lieutenant pay ransom. Count Egmont has entered the place with 7 ensigns and some cavalry. His people and their Walloon allies have since taken by force the port of Basterode, half-a-league from Termonde, thinking to catch his Excellency there ; and indeed the report was that he was to go to Termonde (il debvoit pour T.) in the night, and the port was seized at daybreak. Seeing that their design had failed, they burnt the whole place and left it, not being able to hold it, being under the guns of the ships of war that had been placed on the river. It is said that the Spaniards are beginning to quit the places which they hold, in pursuance of the agreement with Hainault and Artois ; but I suspect fraud. M. de Bours repents already of having sold Mechlin, finding himself despised and held a traitor by those he dealt with (ses marchans). The Prince left this town yesterday afternoon for Termonde, to take order both there and at Brussels, which are the two towns now most threatened and exposed to danger ; also to redress the affairs of Flanders in general and Ghent in particular, having several times been asked to do so by the deputies of that province and the town, notwithstanding all the practices of Imbise and his lot to hinder him, by showing manifest hostility to him and publishing defamatory libels about him, full of impudent lies and calumnies, which go off in smoke of themselves, being fabricated against a personage to whom the country is so much indebted. Ultimately seeing that they could not manage to break off his journey, Imbise, Dathenus, and the murderer Meyghem thought to escape to Zealand ; but Imbise having already flung himself into a boat on the Sas was pulled out by a captain of the Ghent cavalry and brought back to Ghent at midnight the day before yesterday. You may imagine his disgrace. Dathenus cannot so far be found anywhere. God forgive him the harm and scandal he has caused to the Church and the Commonwealth.—Antwerp, 16 Aug. 1579. P.S.—As I was closing this, I heard that the Duke of Alençon had arrived in England. You are in the place for interesting news of him. Add. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 26.]
Though the first part of my entertainment seemed somewhat cold, as I wrote to you on the 8th ult. yet after my coming to Lisbon I was very honourably used, and in effect, as her Majesty's Ambassador. I was lodged in a very fair house, my diet provided at the King's charge, many of his gentlemen and guard appointed to attend on me, visited daily by the Chief of his Council, and very graciously used by himself. Within three days of my coming I had access to him, and four days later, having at my first audience declared all that I was commanded by his Majesty, I went to take my leave of him and was 'licensed.' So all the time I spent in Lisbon was not above ten days. I mention it precisely because I hope, the shortness of it being considered, that no great intelligence will be looked for at my hands ; which, as I guess, and as you perfectly know, is a thing which even ambassadors resident, who in continuance of time get great acquaintance in Court where they practise, attain to hardly enough. If this be not a lawful excuse for me I know not what to allege for myself but my insufficiency, which is of itself a sufficient condemnation. I assure you, sir, I have wanted no good will to serve her Majesty that way. My only hope is therefore that that both she and you will accept goodwill in lieu of good service, and that you will with the favour of your countenance defend me from such tongues as will seek on this occasion to triumph over me. otherwise I shall think myself du tout ruinè, and accursed when first I set my foot in Portugal. What the King's answers were to such answers as I had instructions to deal with him in, I have declared in my letter to her Majesty. She will I am sure acquaint you with them, and therefore I will not breed tediousness by reciting them. You know that to common officers belong common answers, and such were the King's to me. Concerning the succession in Portugal, I know not what to say ; so much may be said both in favour and in disfavour of every one of the pretendants, by which I mean the King of Spain, the Duke of Braganza, and Don Antonio, for as for the Duke of Savoy and Prince of Parma, their parts are least in the pudding. Nevertheless I will as well as I can set down such reasons as may make both for and against every one of them, leaving the judgment to your wisdom. The things which are to hinder Don Antonio are the following. The King favours him not because of his dissolute life. He has many bastards by base women, most of them by 'new Christians.' It is feared therefore by the nobility that if he should come to be King, being unable by ordinary means to make them all great he will seek to advance them by extraordinary means, and perhaps take dignities and 'incommiendas' from the rest of the nobility to give them. He is very poor, and therefore not able to win such of the nobility as are to be won by money ; nor if it should come to force, would he be able to maintain a power in the field. Things which may further him are, that he is generally beloved of the people, gracious in his behaviour, and liberal in spending. Things which may further the Duke of Braganza are these. The King favours him much, and many of the nobility ; he is very rich ; the Jesuits favour him, who may do much in Portugal by persuasion. Things which may hinder him are, that he is not beloved of the common people ; that his eldest son is a prisoner in Africa, and it is thought, if the Duke be chosen king, that the Moors will ask as his son's ransom the restitution of the forts held by the Portuguese in Africa, a thing very prejudicial to Portugal. He has not the gifts of nature to allure men that Don Antonio has. Things which may hinder the King of Spain : The great and deep-rooted hatred which is and ever has been between the Portuguese and the Castilians, which is like to cause the people to try all extremities rather than become subjects to them, whom they never thought worthy to be their equals. The great inconvenience which is like to grow to other princes and potentates, as the Queen of England, the King of France, most of the princes of Italy, by the over greatness of the Spaniard, if the country of Portugal should be annexed to the Crown of Spain ; and consequently the great care these are like, or ought, to have to defend the Portuguese against the Spaniard. The great fear which the 'new Christians,' who in Portugal are no small party, have of being subject to the cruelty of the Spanish Inquisition, which is much more severe than that in Portugal. The great desire of the Portuguese to be governed by a king of their own nation. The great charges the King of Spain is at by reason of the war in Flanders, besides the danger he is in of losing that country. Things which may help the King of Spain : The great forces he can make both by sea and land. The means he has of maintaining an army long time in the field, by means of the credit his power gives him with the merchants ; together with the countenance the Pope and the Emperor are like to give him. The facility with which he may, and has already, as it is thought, corrupted [sic] many of the chief nobility of Portugal, who hunger and thirst after gold. The general weakness of the Portuguese nation, as being altogether unacquainted with matters of war, men out of order and untrained, whose chief soldiers and captains were either slain in Africa, or are now prisoners there. The particular weakness of the nation, being divided in itself by reason of the two factions of Don Antonio and the Duke of Braganza ; the weaker of which King Philip is likely in time to win to himself, and so strengthen his party. The King of Spain has truce with the Turk it is thought, and the Turk is encumbered by the Persian. If the King of Spain withhold the victuals, especially the corn, which goes out of Andalusia and Castile into Portugal, the Portuguese are in great danger of being famished in a short time ; especially if with his Armada he keeps the sea or gets any of the forts at the mouth of the river which goes up to Lisbon, a thing not impossible for him to do. I will not take upon me to give sentence which of these three pretendants is likely to carry it away, but leave it, as I have said, to your consideration. Nevertheless, if I were commanded to say my opinion precisely, weighing in an equal balance the reason pro and contra every side, I should pronounce the likelihood of succession to the King of Spain ; the rather when I look into the nature and proceedings of those princes, his neighbours, by whom, or by none at all, he is to be 'put beside it.' Being dispatched by the King of Portugal, and finding by experience my body unable to brook a long voyage on the sea, I determined for more expedition to return by land, in post. And that I might the more safely pass through Spain, I thought it my best way to go to the Court, and deliver her Majesty's letter to the King. He seemed to take her letter, and this office of visitation, in very good part. He used me with great courtesy, and after my departure from him sent me a letter for her Majesty, and a passport for myself ; upon the receipt of which I prepared to go away the next day, when the same night my brother and all the men I have here except one fell so sick of hot burning agues that for my own part I did at first much 'doubt' them, though I am now by the physicians put 'in good comfort' of their well doing. By this unhappy accident I am driven to stay here till they are recovered ; for to ride post alone were neither convenient for me nor safe for those whom I leave behind, I mean in respect of the Inquisition. And that my absence might be taken in better part, the cause of it being known, I thought good to dispatch this bearer, and advertise you by letter ; beseeching you to impart the cause of my stay to her Majesty. I durst not have done thus much, had I seen that my speedy or slow return to England could either much advance or hinder her Majesty's service, and therefore I hope that by your good means my resolution will not be ill taken. The King of Spain, it is said, had here in Madrid within these few days fifty captains, twenty-four of whom he has dispatched to levy companies of footmen ; the rest remain here as yet. He has also, it is reported, sent out five captains to levy bands of horsemen, and has appointed the ordinary companies of men-at-arms lying about Burgos and Navarre to be in readiness. He has caused a general muster to be taken secretly of all the able men upon the frontiers of Portugal. The Marquis of Santa Cruz is general of the king's armada in Andalusia, which by all I can hear does not exceed the number of 30 galleys and 12 ships. What the King's purpose is, few men know, but it is generally thought that he means to have a power in readiness to assault Portugal both by sea and land, when God calls away the King. They say here that this King receives yearly from Spain the sum of two millions and a half more than he was wont to have, and that it was granted him by the last Parliament holden here. If this is true, he may more easily overcome the charges he is like to be at while awaiting the death of the King of Portugal. About 10 days ago, the Princess of 'Evoly,' one of the most famous ladies in this Court, and Antonio Perez, the King's chief secretary, were by his command committed to prison. Some say the cause of her imprisonment was that she wrote a very indiscreet letter to the King, desiring that he would punish the secretary, Mateo Vasquez, who had as she said offended her honour ; otherwise she would cause him to be killed at the King's own feet. Mateo Vasquez and Antonio Perez, secretaries both, are great enemies, for what cause I cannot learn. The Princess much favours Antonio Perez, and hates the other deadly for some private respects ; and thereupon wrote the letter to the King. Some think that both she and Perez are imprisoned about the death of Escovedo. Thus you see with what trifles I that cannot come by weightier matters am fain to trouble you.—Madrid, 18 Aug. 1579. P.S.—Having none of my own men able to ride post, save one who 'wants language,' I have been constrained to use this bearer, a man not very well known to me ; which I would not have done if the letters which he carries had contained matter of any great importance. Fourteen days ago Cardinal Granvelle arrived in Spain and is now at the Court, in great favour with the King, and Dominum fac totum. The galleys that brought him brought also 1,000 old soldiers of the tertia of Milan. Add. Endd. 9 pp. [Spain I. 26.]
As this bearer was ready to go, Secretary 'Saias' sent one to me desiring me to write to you to be 'a mean' to her Majesty for the delivery of those Spaniards that were carried away in an English ship from Galicia, and are now detained in England as prisoners. He has given me his word that the Englishmen who have been ever since that time in prison in 'the Corunna' shall be at once set at liberty. His request methought was so reasonable that I could not deny it, and I promised to write to you. If you please to deal in this matter you will easily procure their liberty, and will do a very charitable deed, and with thanks both of the Spaniards there and the Englishmen here.—Madrid, 18 Aug. 1579. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 27.]
Aug. 22. 41. ANT. GOSSON to DAVISON.
I received yesterday your messages through your secretary, who further tells me that but for unexpected hindrances you would have taken up your pen to write to me yourself, and will do so at the first opportunity. I would be beforehand in saying that I too am assured of your goodwill, and fully understand that your affairs public and private are twofold what they were here ; and therefore I am content without importuning you for an answer. Further, having heard of my lord of Alençon's arrival in your country I could not refrain from congratulating you. It would have been wonderful, had not all that lord's chief actions in the past been as rare, bold, and admirable as the present ; which has this advantage, that it is impelled and guided by love, which surmounts all the difficulties in the world. I should like to commend to you on this subject some verses of the divine Aeneid :
Quam tu urbem, soror, hanc cernes, quae surgerc regna
Conjugio tali! gallûm comitantibus armis
Anglica se quantis attollet gloria rebus!

I am the more glad to do this, that both on his father's and on his mother's side M. d'Alençon is related to him of whom this was sung ; for as the poets and the ancient annals testify, from Aeneas are descended the Italians and from Francion his cousin, the son of Hector, the French. Let this suffice, awaiting the full union of the lil ies and theroses which will furnish argument for the best poet of Europe to chant Epithalamies worthy their greatness. For the news here ; the Prince is at Ghent, to regulate the affairs of Flanders, M. de Villiers with him. M. de Sainte-Aldegonde is at Utrecht about the affairs of the Union. M. du Plessis was seriously ill for a week, but begins to be a little better. You will hear from elsewhere of the defection of MM. d'Egmont and de Bours ; the former having gone so far as to detain the Deputies from Brussels, among them M. Theron, in violation of public faith, as M. de Bours had already done in the case of Secretary Sille, sent by his Highness to him and the people of Mechlin. Those of Artois and their allies have come to terms with the Prince of Parma, save on a few points to be considered by commissioners from either side. One of them relates to the departure of the Spaniards. Meanwhile Artois Hainault and Lille have each sent a Deputy to Spain to beg the king to withdraw them and ratify the arrangements made by those provinces. These started a week ago. Bapaume, Cambray, Tournay, Valenciennes, Bouchain, and Landrecies do not relish these proceedings ; otherwise things are peaceable enough there at present.—Antwerp, 22 August, day before the eve (prèveille) of St. Bartholomew, 1579. (Signed) An. Gosson de Wavrin. Add. On back some pencil notes by Davison, relating to the Anjou marriage. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 27.]
Aug. 26. 42. Three documents, viz. (1) Obligation for 20,000 Carolus gilders, bearing date May 26, 1579, given by the States-General to Peter Engenhoven, captain of a company or ensign of Germans, being the deficit on 60,970 gilders 9½ stuyvers, as calculated by their commissioners, William de Merode, Burgomaster of Mechlin, and Charles Longin ; (2) Certificate by the Corporation of Antwerp of the assignment of the above obligation by Peter Engenhoven to Paul Boclast, Aug. 26 ; (3) Certificate by the same of the assignment of the same by Paul to Ferdinando Poyntz, merchant of the English nation dwelling in London. Copies (? translated). Endd. by L. Tomson. 5 and 3 and 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 28.]
Aug. 26. 43. VILLIERS to DAVISON.
My journey and other hindrances have prevented me answering you sooner. You will have heard how Embize, Dathenus, la Huguerie and Sarrazin fled at the rumour of the Prince's coming. Embize, already on board a vessel, was captured and brought back in an evil hour. Then came his Excellency on the 11th [sic], and on the 13th the magistrature was renewed according to the privileges, that appointed by Embize declared invalid and the oath taken by the old one ratified. Embize had presented a request through his brother ; his Excellency replied ; then Embize bound over ; as you will understand by the copies I am sending to Mr Secretary, or to M. de la Fontaine in London. Since then, as his wont is, he has spread many false reports and tried to win over the people against the Prince. Even to-day he sent a mob into the Town Hall to present a petition in his favour. Nevertheless I hope the Prince will take good order. The Members and the small towns were reconciled as soon as they saw the magistrature renewed. Yesterday the leaders of the Walloons were to meet at Mons, to settle about the departure of the Spaniards. The end will be either that the Spaniards will go out (which I do not believe), or that the divisions among the Walloons will be exasperated. In any case they think themselves strong enough to drive the Princes of Orange and Parma out of the country ; they are beginning to perceive their weakness. Some whom I cannot yet name are beginning to treat. If our provinces were properly united, we should in my opinion get the better of them in time. I have ordered Hercules the bookseller to send you a little book of mine. You can pass an hour or two over it, if you like. Remember me to your wife, not forgetting Francis.-Ghent, 26 Aug. 1579. P.S.—Since I ended my letter, it seems that some new agreement will be made for Embize. I will send it by the first post. Add. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XII. 29.]
Aug. 29. 44. POULET to the SECRETARIES.
Though nothing new has happened since my last, I would not let this bearer depart without a few lines to inform you that M. d'Aubigny, giving out that he would take ship at Nantes, and leaving his lodging with that appearance on the day mentioned in my last, repaired immediately to the Archbishop of Glasgow, and spending that night in this town, took his course next day towards Dieppe. Some say it is promised that the castle of 'Dumbreton,' shall be delivered into his hands on his arrival. I speak upon report and at a venture, as you know, being utterly ignorant of the state of Scotland, therefore not knowing the consequence of this castle. The messenger from the King of Navarre has been entertained with great favour, and dismissed with all fair promises ; and now the Prince of Condé is 'put in great comfort' that he shall be shortly restored to his government in Picardy. He has many friends and some servants here of the Religion, who are flatly of this opinion : but, to be plain with you, I cannot believe it. Queen Mother is still at Grenoble, in some hope to speak with Bellegarde. She is not expected here for a long time. Some think she may spend another winter in those parts ; and no one doubts but she will see the time for the 'reddition' of the towns expired before she returns. Please peruse the letter enclosed, and believe what you please of it. The king's journey to 'Gallion' holds, but is put off till next week.—Paris, 29 Aug. 1579.
Aug. 23. 45. Enclosed in above :
In my former letters from Italy and from these parts I mentioned a commission given to the Duke of Florence's brother, the names of the colonels and number of infantry to be levied in their country. The advice from Italy by the last letters 'bears' that on the 25th inst. shall be embarked at 'Spesie,' a port belonging to the 'Genevoys,' Don Pietro de Medicis with his 9,000 Italians, Count 'Ladron' with 12,000 Allemans, and the third man out of the garrisons in Milan and other places for the King of Spain, reckoned at 9,000. The King has in readiness 150 ships, 120 galleys ; and all these arrive at Cartagena, in Spain, and thence take the route of 'Argieres.' The occurrences here are that at Grenoble in 'Dalphine' the Duke of Savoy is with Queen Mother ('who whyssheth him at Thuringe') ; where a marriage has been treated of between the Prince of Piemont and the Duke of Lorraine's daughter, the exchange of the County of Tende with the Duke du Maine for certain towns and signiories of like value in his country of Bresse, over and above 20,000 crowns to the Duke du Maine. The Duke of Savoy is employed to bring in Marshal Bellegarde, to shew what has caused him to seize on the Marquisate. The Duke has offered his bastard son and others as hostages ; but the Marshal 'will none,' but keeps himself with no small force. He pays his men of arms and his garrisons every 29th day, in pistolets of Spain made over to him from Milan, where he has one continuing with the governor, who 'solicits' his affairs. The Queen Mother has 'agreed' the tiers état with the clergy and nobility of Dauphiné, and is shortly looked for here. In my last letter, of July 20, I sent a copy of the alliance and articles between the French King and the city of Geneva. [Poulet notes in margin : I have not received this letter ; but see the enclosure No. 33.]—Lyons, 23 Aug. 1579. Add. : 'A Monseigneur l'ambassadeur d'Angleterre à son logis au[prè]s de l'hostelle de Montpecier à Paris. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 2½ pp. [France III. 34.]