Elizabeth: October 1583, 1-5

Pages 122-125

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 18, July 1583-July 1584. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

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October 1583, 1–5

Oct. 1. 144. Ségur-Pardeilhan to Burghley.
I am very sorry to importune you, and know that you are so busy that one ought rather to relieve you than to give you more trouble; but I know also that you take pleasure in doing good to all, and especially are interested in whatever touches the King of Navarre. I have also been well informed that it was not owing to you that the Queen has not returned his rings, but has allowed herself to be persuaded that they were pledged for 250,000 or 300,000 crowns, while the King thinks they are held for only 50,000 or 60,000. I am writing to her Majesty, begging her to verify the sum for which they are pledged, that I may inform the King, who will find means to redeem them. Or if the Queen wishes to keep them, I am begging her to have them valued, and hand the balance of their value to the King, who intends to employ it, like the rest which he has placed in my hands, for the preservation of the Church of God. He wished me to take more than 400,000 crowns worth, in precious stones or in cash, so desirous is he to maintain and preserve honest folk. If all princes would do the same, we could easily defend ourselves against the evil that the Pope, the King of Spain and their like are seeking to do us. The Queen can do more than all, and they love her as little as us. She should think of this, and seize this good occasion of pleasing him, by returning his rings or paying him the balance of their value; at least not refusing to let me know truly how much has been lent on this pledge, and to be content with our paying this, without demanding six times as much; for unless there is some great mistake, they were only pledged for 50,000 crowns. I am too long, but it is for a good object.—London, 1 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France X. 46.]
Oct. 2/12. 145. Edward “Princorea” to Walsingham.
A gentleman happened to come hither named Dom Joan de Castro, who escaped from Terceira by means of some friends in the fleet. The King [Antonio] has him in great estimation, and he is “of very good credit of his word.” He informed Senor Diego Botelho (Botelyo) and myself that King Philip had made sure his eldest daughter to the Emperor, and that “speech went for certain” that the other daughter should marry either the King of Scots or Monsieur. The Cardinal [of Austria], with his mother, goes for Spain to be of the Council of State, and both to be governors of the realm if King Philip should die. It is reported that the Prince of Parma is called to be governor of Portugal.
He told us further that being in Terceira, in Dom Pedro de Padilja's house, he there met Dom Lopo de Figeyro and four others, who “did raise speech about England, making a very small account in the getting of it,” if France did not join her. They also declared that they knew, by information that Dom Bernardino de Mendoza gave the King, that there were more than 15,000 that would take arms in England in their behalf, “and that they were not of the worst (urst) sort of people, the which did call for King Philip's aid, and that the most of them of the best had 'firmed' to certain articles the which the ambassador did send to the King. Your honour may assure yourself that Dom Bernardino is a very ill menth (?) to be suffer[ed] in England.”
The Spaniard makes his report to go for Alarache with his fleet, but it is a port that no great ship can come into, so that it is not to be believed.
We are here in a base state for want of money. Diego Botelho goes not for France until it comes from thence. “For pure want I was driven to beg a clock [qy. cloak] of General Norys.”
If your honour would stand so much my friend as to write to my lord ambassador in France to favour me with a packet, whereby I may supply my wants, you “may command me as one of the least that wears your cloth.” God preserve that realm from treason and confound them that bear malice to it. Medyamburg [Middelburg], 12 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. “Edward Prinn.” 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 40.]
Oct. 2/12. 146. Roger Williams to Walsingham.
“Never poor men was abused with a sort of people as we are with these. Here I am in this town, with the rest of Mr. Norreys' regiment, in number 600; we are in great misery and know not what to do. Here is also as many Walloons. The last day the Gantois did send 500 foot, 200 horse. Our Walloons did promise them a port. As God would, we had half an hour warning by reason of a sentinal in the steeple, recovered the port in despite of the Walloons, made the others to retire. Their commission was to disarm us and to put us out; if we stirred, to cut us to pieces. Now they seek all the means possible to defeat us. Our case is poor and miserable, we have served them Jong, honestly, with valour, as the world does know. They owe us at the least 200,000 crowns or better to be quit of us, they seek all means possible to cut our throats.
“If ever God grants me leave to come into England I will show your honour at large their false minds and dealings. Now they think to cover a great deal of their knaveries by the simplicity of Mr. Morgan and Mr. North.”
We humbly pray you, procure her Majesty's letters to these savage people to give us our passports to depart like men of war and every man to seek for himself, and if they have no money for us, to give us papers. Though poor, there is amongst us many a gallant soldier, well able to do her Majesty service.
The ill usage of the Gantois forced me to write them a letter, of which I send you a copy. For all they are savage, ungrateful and without discretion, with God's help I will keep honest to my country and all their friends. “Me thinks by their dealings they mean to learn Spanish. Here is great bruits the King of Scots means to do much.” If he means to profess papistry, it comes from France and Spain. All the world knows he has no means to make wars with England without one or both, and if he begins to “brave” he is promised succours. If you send 10,000 foot and 2,000 horse,” those will either bring the King with them, or at the least leave Scotland in such sort that neither he nor they should be able to make an army to dure half a month. Your honour knows it is better to pity nor to be pitied, besides, her Majesty shall see the minds of her enemies abroad and know her friends in Scotland. I know not how constant they are in Scotland, but out, I never knew a pack of falsest [sic] people. If they should land, it will be great danger. Without Scotland they will never offer but fair weather to England. Give the Scot leave to crake (crace) and liberty to practise, he will enter into a thousand treacheries against his dearest friend, aye, against his own King for crowns; think you but they will do the like with her Majesty ?
“Sir, I have followed the wars since I was able to carry arms. I have served under the greatest captain that was in my time. God bears me witness my mind is good to follow the wars; but rather than continue with these ingrates, I will return to be a serving man. Is it not possible for a poor soldier to get nothing from her Majesty? There is a number of things in England to content many an honest man, and not to charge her Majesty, nor almost the country.” You muster once or twice a year. What were it for her Majesty to give six or eight experienced captains commissions as muster masters; every shire paying ten pounds a year to their maintenance. They would be able to inform the Council in what order all things stood. Methinks it should be in good order for every two shires to choose a nobleman to be their colonel; they to choose to their lieutenants the best soldiers and so the rest of the officers. “None of these should have gage, unless it pleased them to give some pension to some old trained soldiers.” So to appoint some great man general of the horse, and another colonel-general of the foot; if this were done and muster taken twice or four times a year, men would delight to mount and arm themselves gallantly, and be always ready to defend her Majesty and their country, in such sort that France and Spain durst not meddle with us.
If I have spoken ill, I pray you pardon me. I assure you “they do not value us so much as we think. More enemies can they not be to us than they are, therefore you cannot be too chary. Some will say: These soldiers will grow too highminded. If her Majesty has occasion to try her fate, pray God send her rather high minds than low. What occasion that France and others did fear our country men but the valour that Edward the Third, the Black Prince, Harry the Fifth, the Duke of Lancaster (fn. 1) and Harry the Eighth with such gallant fellows that followed them? These had no low minds. If you look well to yourselves, never England was better furnished with gallant gentlemen and commons than at this present, and do think if we were put to it, we would show our fore-fathers' minds; but if ever we be put to it and be repulsed, thank nothing but for want of experience.”—Alost, 12 October. If her Majesty will give me a commission for Wales or for half of it, perhaps I will do her highness good service once in six years.
Add. Endd. 9 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 41.]
146a. Copy of the above letter, with the exception of the last page and a quarter. There are a few mistakes, and two or three spaces left where the copyist has not been able to read Williams' extremely bad writing.
Endd. 4 pp. [Ibid. XX. 42.]


  • 1. From position, probably means John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford.