Addenda: 1579-1580

Pages 538-541

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

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Dec. 31. 544. M. D'INCHY to the STATES-GENERAL.
I make no doubt that his Excellency has told you of the treaty passed between M. de la Ferté in the name of the Duke of Anjou and myself. I sent it to his Excellency, after having had his advice upon it ; whereof you must hold me discharged. It refers everything to the Prince of Epinoy and me, and although the prince does not approve the execution of it in any way, considering the position of this place and the conjunction of affairs, of which I take a very different view from the prince, I see no more obvious means for my own preservation, since it is impossible for me to hold out much longer in this state, besieged by the opposite side. Cateau Cambresis gives me most inconvenience, on account of the presence of him who is there. By continual prohibitions and threats he hinders this town from getting any succour in money or otherwise. It has no great resources, not having up to this moment more than 20,000 florins raised in my name. It will not and cannot go on, as much owing to the persuasions of the aforesaid, as because going on is burdensome to everyone, which as times go might easily serve as the pretext for a revolt. You may have seen that the treaty is only conditional, in the event of urgent necessity. This I feel is hourly approaching, inasmuch as all communication with his Highness, your Lordships, his Excellency, and the Prince of Epinoy, is forbidden to me, since I cannot find people to risk themselves, and seeing the danger there is of important letters falling into the hands of our adversaries, whereby they might profit. They have fully determined to place a small camp between Saint Amand and Bouchain, and have already begun to make it, having placed people at Denain, Marchiennes, Hasnon and Vicogne, and other places, bringing up for that purpose some companies of Albanians and Spanish, who we hear are about Bavay. Besides this the garrisons of le Quesnoy, Ardanes [qu. Avesnes] and Landrecies daily take possession under my nose, to-day of one strong place, to-morrow of another, which I must bear as patiently as you may judge. Further, having handed money to several men-at-arms and archers of the Marquis of Havrech's company, after administering the oath anew, seeing our small resources [if] other provision is not made, I hold it to be money thrown into the water (au leau). All these things considered, if I am not by some means instantly reinforced, I shall be compelled to proceed according to the treaty, or fall into certain ruin. Do me the honour for the last time to send me word as soon as you can which you prefer. If, meanwhile, owing to too much delay any unpleasantness arises, I hold myself blameless towards his Highness, your Lordships, his Excellency, and all the world. Count Mansfeldt is to start to-day for Douay, and thence to Lisle, to hold his council of war there, with a good number of cavalry. And to secure the goodwill of the town of Valenciennes he has feasted magnificently the magistrates of the place with other burghers, as I doubt not he will do in the other towns. The Prince of Condé arrived yesterday at la Fère with a good troop of horse, and took possession of that town. As for the letters to the officials and soldiers of this place, it can do nothing but good, in order to keep them in their posts, to write in conformity with mine of the 3rd ult. For the rest, I find myself much hampered with many difficulties and much to do in the government and maintenance of this place, town and country. Do me the honour, as soon as possible, to send me some men of experience as well political as military, by whose advice I may so conduct myself as not to fall into disorder and confusion. —Citadel of Cambray, the last of December, (fn. 1) 1579. (Signed) Boudewyn de Gavre. Copy (rather careless). Fr. 2½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XII. 55.]
[1580.] Feb. 8. 545. COBHAM to the SECRETARIES.
The king gave me leave the other day to remind him that some order must be taken for punishing and avoiding the insolence of pirates, as also to move him for the particular suits of certain English merchants, as commanded by the Lords and your letters. I found him very gracious in that behalf, promising me expedition in those affairs. I left with him memorials of them. In this conference he spoke of his devotion towards her Majesty, expressing his desire to see the good success of the cause they have so long looked for, and asking me of Mr Stafford's return. In answer, I made demonstration of her Highness's amiable dealings with him and all his, and that in 'affection of amity' she was as much French as any prince not born in France, which should be manifested, if it had not already been sufficiently shown ; and with other such words I parted from the king, leaving him in his cabinet, and addressed myself to Queen Mother, to whom I delivered what I had 'passed' with his Majesty, beseeching her assistance toward the effecting of my demands, which she granted me, adding that the Queen's causes were more recommended to her than those of any other prince, and trusting she should receive that comfort at her Majesty's hands which none else could give her. She seemed to hearken after some good news that Mr Stafford might bring. Upon occasion of this, she spoke of the Spanish king and his ambassador, whereon I took occasion to remind her of the troubles that continued in her own realm. Meantime she suffered King Philip easily to carry away the inheritance of Portugal, to which it was thought she might lay just claim. With this the king comes down from his cabinet, and came toward his mother with two or three reverences. She began to say : "My son, you are happened well hither, for we were 'entered into the purpose' of King Philip, and of his greatness." Then I began again upon the matter of Portugal, showing the king the opinion was, the right belonged to Madame his mother, so that it was looked for he should undertake the enterprise in her behalf. Likewise the troubles of Flanders laid open that country for him to think thereon, thereby to draw to him such ancient right as his ancestors had sometime enjoyed. The king's answer was that it would be a good enterprise for his brother when he should be married to the Queen, and thereby they might be strong enough for King Philip. I said : "Sir, how first for the disposition of the Queen, she has shown always to have only mind to maintain those dominions which her father left her, not being ambitious to aspire to the seats of others' estates, as many proofs have been made, on occasions when she was so tempted. As for Monsieur he could but serve his Majesty in these rights, for the inheritance was in his Majesty's person." Methought in speaking these words the king privily jogged the Queen, both his hands being in his furred manchon. The Queen Mother thereon said the realm of France had been so 'travailed' that as yet they had found no good means to enter into war. So they folded up those purposes. And both she and the king still fell into their tune of marriage ; which seemed to me rather a shifting from the purpose to cover their other meaning. So I left them with those speeches, and resorted to Chiverni, keeper of the seal, to whom I delivered the complaints of the merchants as the king had directed me, with a note at large of all restitutions made to the French by the Queen's command. I received from Chiverni good words and gentle promises. Since that time the causes for pirates and the notes of the English merchants have been committed to the consideration of M. la MotheFènelon, whom I have solicited in their behalf. I understand from him that the Council have had my requests in deliberation ; so that order is assigned according to the quality of the merchants' complaints, of which my Lord shall be advertised when the resolutions are received. M. de Puygaillard is come from Monsieur to lament to the king that he has not been made privy to the affairs which pass in the Court, and particularly of the levies which the king promises in Germany ; to which as yet the king has made no answer. Monsieur continues his 'determinate' journey to Bourges [qu. Bourgueil], which it is thought will move the king to seek to content him, for as yet he is 'nothing pleased.' The King of Navarre has sent M. Bouchart to signify to the king the urgent causes which move the Reformed Churches to keep the towns which should have been surrendered last September. His declaration has been reasonably well accepted, and the king has a mind to send some Counsellors of the Parliament of Paris to administer justice in Languedoc and those provinces where the disorders are greatest. The King of Navarre has sent M. de Haucourt to the king with very favourable letters on behalf of the Prince of Condé. In some parts of Languedoc and Guyenne they are like to have some stir, and ready to take arms if a remedy be not appointed presently. Copy. [France IV. 40(5).]
[July]. 546. The QUEEN to the FRENCH KING.
If our actions, my dear brother, were always judged by our intentions, I should have no fear of any verdict condemning my tardy decision. But we princes being better able to judge of what concerns us than the ignorant spectators of our affairs, shall be careful, I hope, not to condemn each other rashly. I am persuaded that your experience of the way in which time furthers many difficult transactions while haste often spoils the best plans, will excuse me. If there has been any fault on my part, I shall be worthy of pardon, since delay injures me most. And to put an end to this long waiting I shall pray God for this grace only, that it may so crown this work that you may never have cause to regret this opinion nor Monsieur ever find reason to repent his choice. For my own part I firmly believe that my happiness will be only too great for an old woman to whom paternosters will suffice in place of nuptials. Nevertheless I shall be always ready to receive the Commissioners when you please to send them, having consideration of such time as may seem to you most convenient. And I beg you to believe that if Monsieur finds anything to object to in me, he will have great reason to complain of you, who have always so sought this cause. Wherefore look to it, that you are receiving admonition before penance. One assurance I can give you : that as old people do not seek war, I shall not abandon that quality of theirs in the instance of France, and shall not fail to promote good feeling between you two, who are already allied by so close affection.— 'De non pareill' [i.e. Nonsuch ; where the Court was May-July 1580, and not again till Sep. 1581.] Holograph draft. Fr. 1 p. [France IV. 123 bis.]


  • 1. In the copy printed by Muller and Diegerick, le Due d'Anjou et les Pays-Bas, vol. iii., this date is given as 2 Dec. They point out, however, that the seizure of La Fėre took place on Nov. 29, which suggests that dernier may be correct, but Novembre to be read for Décembre.