Elizabeth: December 1580, 1-10

Pages 501-508

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

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December 1580, 1-10

Dec. 3. 505. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
I am come back, in hope, as I said in my last, that by directing a small army we may divert the plans of our Malcontents ; who for fear of the French had all hurried in the direction of Cambray to hinder help from thence. A little combat took place there, by which the French were pushed back to Valcourt to await reinforcements. The Prince of Epinoy having long had designs on the town of Cond in Hainault ventured, while they were occupied in those parts, to assault it, and took it by surprise on Friday the 24th ult. [sic ; Nov. 24 was Thursday]. The English from Tournay and others entered by escalade without the loss of a single man. I know not whether because there were too few people, or whether they attended to the plunder before forcing a little country-house (chteau de plaisance), or that there were very few people in the town [sic], but the enemy having some cavalry near came to the rescue ; which so alarmed our people, that abandoning that important position they quitted it with their booty so disadvantageously that about 80 were slain in the retreat, without the loss of any officer. This event has delayed our plans and cooled our phlegmatic friends. It is true that since the Council of War was established they have set up a common war-purse, and with the consent of the people one tallar will be levied on every barrel of strong beer, which will be an incredible sum if it is managed as it should be, and better than the moyens gnraux, which nevertheless remain as they were,not reckoning the ecclesiastical property. The Malcontents are spreading a report that the King of France has written to the Prince of Parma that if the French advance into the territory of his brother the Catholic king he gives them leave to defeat them and pursue them four leagues into his kingdom. This reassures them and removes their fear of the aid of M. d'Alenon. They likewise proclaim the total defeat of Don Antonio in Portugal; and further rejoice over the pitiful state of Friesland, of which I will say nothing more, judging that Mr Norris will report it in full. You will probably have heard of the defeat and death of the King of Poland by the Muscovite ; also the death of the Queen of Spain. The king is already by common opinion remarried to the Queen Mother, to make a good oille podride. We have news, as to the certainty of which I have my fears, of the release of M. de la Noue in exchange for certain Spaniards who were or are prisoners at la Rochelle ; among them one called Juan Bautista Taxis and the contador Navarete. I do not know if it be they ; but I know for certain that they have taken the gentleman in question from Tirlemont to Limburg beyond the Maas, which cannot have been without some object (cremonie). The report comes from Mons by the Countess of Egmont, who in deep grief at the ignominious death of her brother de Hze presages his own life shortened and death in a few days to the count her husband, who has no such apprehension or belief, so stupid is he. Meanwhile we await always the so much desired peace in France, without which we look for no salvation here, but must provide new means of defence.Ghent, 3 Dec. 1580. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIII. 77.]
Dec. 4. 506. GILPIN to WALSINGHAM.
The last two posts I have received no letters from you, nor all this week could I do any good in the suit I have so long followed, other than 'per' my last was signified. Ymans told me he understood that Flanders had certainly passed their grant, but had no particular advice of it. Junius protests that those of Brabant can do no more till their commissioners are sent into Holland, where they will do their uttermost endeavour to further the cause. But I doubt, unless the Prince being there takes it to heart, that no effect but delays will follow. Yet two provinces having passed their grants, I would hope the others might be the sooner brought to follow. For news, the Prince being absent, I hear no certainty, for the posts from all places follow his Court. By the last letters from the Commissioners in France it is signified that Monsieur was still with the King of Navarre, awaiting the deputies of the Reformed Churches ; and they hoped that peace would be concluded. Which finished, he would come directly into Picardy, and then gather his forces to enter these countries. The overthrow which was so certainly said to have been given near Cambray is turned to uncertainty ; yet the Malcontents daily direct all their forces to the frontiers. Cond, which was taken by the States' men at Tournay, was again abandoned next day, 'doubting' the enemy's forces, which made that way, and possessed the place without resistance. From Friesland we hear nothing. The Malcontents have, it is credibly said, taken 13 ships or great boats coming down the Rhine from Cologne, very richly laden with Italians' goods, in value 100,000 ; so that it will greatly impair and hinder the trade to this town. This week the 'magistrate' of this town was altered, and new made, whereto none are called or elected but such as are known of the Reformed Religion ; two excepted, who are indifferent. Antwerp, 4 Dec. 1580. Add. End. 1 pp. [Ibid. XIII. 78.]
Dec. 8. 507. SIMIER to BURGHLEY.
Mr Stafford having done me the honour to see me in passing, I wanted to recall myself to your kindness, and beseech you to take account of my service and maintain me in her Majesty's good graces. Mr Stafford will tell you the state of my affairs, and my desire to justify myself at all points.Bourgueil, 8 Dec. 1580. Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley, 13 ll. [France IV. 183.]
Dec. 10. 508. COBHAM to the QUEEN.
On the 5th inst. the king sent M. Pinart to me, to enquire whether according to the 'purpose' Queen Mother had 'passed' with me at 'Chantillowe,' which was afterwards communicated to me by himself at Dolleinville, I meant to confer on the treaty, because the king's meaning was to accomplish his intention towards your Majesty, which he has signified lately by his ambassador and by me ; desiring to finish the treaty before the departure of the commissioners for England, that they might have it ratified by you when they are at your Court. To which speech of the Secretary I answered that ever since your Majesty's last power was received by me, I remained ready to hearken, at the king's further pleasure, touching the entrance into this negotiation, having come to this town at the time appointed by him, before any of the other ambassadors. To this M. Pinart said the king would presently take order herein ; 'showing me in the way of conference' that M. Mauvissire had lately written that your Majesty desired the coming of the commissioners. Likewise that his Highness has written by Secretary Villeroy to request that the commissioners might repair to your realm ; upon which occasion he had sent Marshal de Coss, who was expected here within a few days. Since the arrival here of the articles agreed on by Monsieur and the King of Navarre, which were sent by Villeroy, the king makes great difficulty about having M. de Leusac [sic], captain of la Reole, removed from his government, being a matter included in the articles of treaty, which may breed some longer stay in the ratification of it ; therefore Villeroy does not return to Monsieur until the king receives answer to a dispatch sent by a courier touching that point. The king seems to take in very good part his Highness's dealing in these matters of pacification, having been well satisfied with a letter which he lately sent, full of duty and affection towards him. Howbeit, he remains of constant opinion not to give aid to his enterprises until peace in the realm be not only made, but clearly and fully established ; being altogether unwilling to abide that any, of what quality or estate soever, shall have power to command any of his towns or rule in any of his provinces unless at his devotion. His mind therein is so well known to his Highness that he is inclined to satisfy the king fully therein ; purposing as I hear not to return from Guyenne until he has established affairs there to the king's liking, whereby he may induce him the rather to be favourable to him in his designs, which are principally the marriage with yourself, and the enterprise of the Low Countries. The king shows in his late speeches that he likes your Majesty's alliance. Queen Mother has lately in secret conference highly commended you for your wise and peaceable government, wherein she thought you are the happiest princess living. Besides she esteems you to be by nature not desirous of revenge, but merciful in shedding blood ; not ambitious of other princes' states, nor yet grievous to your subjects by impositions and taxations ; compassing all your affairs with the counsel of your counsellors. Which I hope she spoke as unfeignedly as it may be truly reported of your Majesty. Maldonado the Spanish secretary lately, after discoursing to the king and provincial personages of the Court on the defeat and death of Don Antonio, which is not altogether believed here, declared that the King of Spain had sent to you to treat of marriage, with renewing of his old love. It is not accepted here for a verity. I have sent the Secretaries certain letters of M. Pinart to me with copies of mine in answer to be shown to you. They concern the commission you last sent me for entrance into the treaty ; which it seems was looked to have been in Latin, according to the form used before in the like cases. Notwithstanding, when I showed to M. Pinart that the instructions were signed in your Majesty's hand, it appeared that the king would sign the like power to those who were to confer with me. So consequently within a day or two to enter into conference of the affairs ; which I thought good to advertise to your Majesty.Blois, 10 Dec. 1580. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. 2 pp. [France IV. 184.]
Dec. 10. 509. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
At my last conference at Olinville I had signified to the king and Queen Mother how the Queen my mistress after receiving the earnest demonstration and desire which they had commanded M. Mauvissire to declare to her in shew of their good will, had also resolved to show herself grateful, liking well their purposes ; whereon it had pleased her to empower me to enter into conference with such as they should appoint. But as they were then upon departing, they 'referred' me until their coming to this town ; having since, on the 5th inst. sent M. Pinart to me, with show of his Majesty's determination to enter presently into the negotiation of those causes. I offered to be ready at their pleasure. The same night, after leaving me, he wrote to me for the copy of my commission. I enclose his letter with my answer. The next day, with his letter of the 6th, he sent me the copy of a commission in Latin, bearing date 25 May, 1572, which authorised the Earl of Lincoln, Sir Thomas Smith, and Sir [sic] Francis Walsingham to take King Charles IX's oath for the confirmation of a treaty passed in April of the year before. But not being satisfied, he wrote me a letter on the 7th, which I likewise send. Whereon I repaired to his chamber, certifying that her Majesty had given me a commission, which I showed him signed with her hand ; wherewith he was somewhat satisfied, though he said the customs had been to have such commissions in Latin. Therewith he opened a book in which were written divers commissions of treaties between the Kings of England and France ; and 'namely' that before-mentioned. So it seems they look for the like manner of proceeding, if such may be her pleasure. Meantime he 'pretended' to me the king would give the like to some of his Council, who should confer of these affairs. It seemed by M. Pinart's speeches to me that the king meant to prepare for sending the commissioners to her Majesty, upon what his Highness had written earnestly to him ; for which purpose Marshal Coss is on his journey hitherward. In the last conference M. Pinart had with me, yesterday, he declared that the king intended to send him to her Majesty. He seemed very willing to take that journey in hand ; though he doubted it could not conveniently be done, since Secretary Villeroy had to return to Guyenne for the 'effectuing' of the pacification, whereby M. Brulart would be 'overcharged to dispatch' meantime alone all the affairs of the state. It appears from Pinart that the king and queen will not be persuaded to remove M. Lussac [d'Ussac], governor of la Role, from his charge, because both the Catholics and those of the Religion within the town are content with his government and beseech the king that he may continue ; fearing that if they come under the government of the Viscount of Turenne they might be drawn into trouble for the private quarrel he has with some gentlemen of that country. This is alleged for the excuse of his Majesty's will therein. The king offers nevertheless to give them in exchange some town of like quality thereabouts which may be to the King of Navarre's liking. But this may breed some alteration and staggering in the negotiations for peace, because the King and Queen of Navarre so far 'shew to like' the viscount, that Monsieur has, as they say, been persuaded to give him the place of chief gentleman of his chamber ; which is not accepted, because the government of Anjou was not bestowed therewith. Monsieur intends not to depart from those places till peace is established, and is not looked for by his ministers here till he comes to take leave of the king for his journey into either England or Flanders. As for the enterprise of Flanders, it is thought it will be entertained till winter be past, as M. Villiers, late captain of Bouchain, who passed through this town in post on the 6th, reported, returning from Monsieur with some order for his Highness's affairs. He purposes to send one to Cambray to let them know that he has commanded Balagny to enter that place, if he may, with 500 shot and certain other 'carriages' of wine and victuals, with further promises of relief from him, as soon as the season of the year permits. M. Villiers proposes to take ship at Calais, to pass toward the Prince of Orange on message from his Highness. The commissioners from the Low Countries are upon their return. Letters have been intercepted from the King of Spain to his minister dealing with the Electors about the causes of the Low Countries, in which he wills him not to consent to their dealing with the compassing of any peaceable order in that country, for he hopes shortly to be able to dispose at his will of his subjects in those parts ; which is contrary to his own promise made to the Electors by his own letters. Therefore these letters surprise, and will shortly be sent to the Electors for the better discovering of the king's double dealing. M. Pinart in his last conference told me that the princes of Germany had sent to this king to offer him their friendship and forces to join with him for encountering the Spanish king ; particularly some allied to the House of Austria. This he affirmed to me with very deep oaths. At Marshal de Coss's last being here, he discoursed to the king of many ways to make the Spanish king petit compagnon, as he termed him, all which the king found to be good ; wherewith the marshal returned with some satisfaction. Howbeit, the king deferred his resolution till the pacification were thoroughly established. Now, again, though the marshal is to deal with the king, both for the marriage of her Majesty and the cause of Flanders, yet I understand he will not 'discover himself for' the enterprise of Flanders until his Highness has conferred with him. The Duke of Maine has sent to the king to know if it is his pleasure that he may winter his men in Dauphin. His Majesty has resolved to have his camp diminished, and to return them to their garrison if the determination hold ; notwithstanding they are advertised that the greater part of the companies from Spain are staying in the duchy of Milan. The king has heard from his ambassador in Spain that the queen's corpse was brought to Madrid, and they are in some doubt the Catholic king is not well, because he has not for a long time been openly seen. James Hamilton, called 'Bodilaugh,' has returned from Spain, and is at present at Moret with the Scottish ambassador. Advertisement has come from Nantes that Tassis, the Spanish king's agent, has arrived. I do not trouble you with advertisements from Portugal, because I find that M. Mauvissire has written the king a large discourse of the defeat of Don Antonio, whereby I am assured you are plentifully informed of those affairs. He has let the king know her Majesty's gracious manner of using him in her progress. Hans Hess, an Almane, sometime marshal among his nation, has lately made certain preparations by sea ; and 'disguising' with the king in some advertisements and affairs, is now apprehended and brought to this town, where he is imprisoned, being by command of the king 'disgraced' of the order of St. Michael, and condemned to death ; which it is thought will be executed on him some day this week. He was lately much in company with Colonel Strozzi. M. de Sancy, the king's ambassador with the Swiss, has returned with good satisfaction of their services towards his Majesty. A private quarrel happened in the king's chamber between M. Montigny, captain of the king's gates, and one Fleurac, by occasion of play ; whereon the king has given order to the Duke of Guise and the captains of his guard that no play shall be used in his chamber. I enclose a copy of a letter from the great Turk to the Vaywode of Wallachia. The Earl of Westmorland departed, as I told you, in a Spanish bark hired by a merchant of 'Newhaven,' laden with 60 bales of canvas for Seville ; accompanied by a servant of the Bishop of Ross, called David. He is now landed at Bilbao. The Lieutenant of Newhaven 'cheared' him. It is confirmed that the Prince of Cond has passed through Dauphin, coming first to Gap, thence to Die, and so into Languedoc. Monsieur and the King and Queen of Navarre have repaired to Coutras, where they mean, as I understand, to continue this Christmas. To-day Carr the Lord of 'Fernhurst' is come in post to this town from Nantes, accompanied only by John Ashaw, one of the king's guards. He met the Earl of Westmorland at Bilbao ; and the earl asked him how had sped, and that [sic] his meaning was to seek relief. The said 'leard' was with the king at Badajos, by whom he was very graciously received, and directed for his reward to Cardinal Granvelle, of whom he received por ayudo de costas between 2,000 and 3,000 crowns, as he himself reported to a dear friend of his in this town, with whom he spoke in passing. He further reported that the King of Spain will not be able for these 12 months to 'address' an army for any place, but the first succours he sends will be for Flanders. Further, that the king enjoys peaceably as much of Portugal as his army has passed through. It does not 'exceed above' 6,000 or 7,000 soldiers, 'having seen and viewed them with his own eyes,' when they first passed from Badajos. So the opinion in Spain was that if this king had sent succour thither in time, the Portuguese might have been able to withstand the Spanish enterprise. He reports that in the Court of Spain the desire is that the Spanish King might match with the Scottish queen. Howbeit, Maldonado has given a contrary report.Blois, 10 Dec. 1580. Add. and endt. gone. 4 pp. [France IV. 185.]
Enclosed in above :
Dec. 6. 510. PINART to COBHAM.
The king having taken a little medicine to-day, I have not seen him or spoken of what we settled yesterday evening. It seems that it would be to the purpose if I were to show him the duplicate of your powers, if you will send it me ; and that you may see that the same thing was done on the last occasion by your Queen's deputies, I send you the duplicate which they handed in, signed by them. Blois, 6 Dec. 1580. Holograph : Add. Endd. by Cobham : From M. Pinart, by his son, with the copy of the commission, which was signed by my lord Admiral, Sir Tho. Smith, and Mr Walsingham, appointed commissioners in Anno 1572. Fr. 10 ll. [Ibid. IV. 185a.]