Elizabeth: October 1583, 11-15

Pages 134-144

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, 11–15

Oct. 11/21 ? 157. P. Ortell to [Walsingham].
The letters from his Excellency and the States of Holland being given to your honour two days ago, applying to the Lords of the Council concerning two of our ships taken by one Captain Granzer, and the people and ship by a gentleman called Captain Denys:—
I am convinced that you know of the continual solicitation made by one Symon de Sterck, merchant, who besides his loss, has disbursed a large sum in trying to obtain restitution of the said ships and goods, which amount to above 19,400 florins; and I write this only to refresh your memory, praying you to give your help for the repayment of these losses, or at least for some good allowance for them, in which you will always find me ready to consent to anything reasonable.
Recommending to you, moreover, the affairs of the States of Holland and Zeeland, and being sure that they will not fail in anything in which you may command them, either by my means or otherwise.
As to the letter of the 'Madaimoiselles' d'Egmont, I hope your honour will remember it at your earliest convenience. At my lodgings, 21 October, 1583.
Without address or endorsement. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 49.]
[Oct. 11/21 ?] 158. [P. Ortell to Walsingham.]
Understanding that the Merchant Adventurers have of late complained to her Majesty concerning the interests due in July, '82 and '83, coming to 10,000 guilders by year, seeking for letters of attachment upon the goods, ships and inhabitants of Holland and Zeeland:—I pray your honour to impart this to her Majesty, and to be a mean that some reasonable forbearance might be had, “in respect of the great and chargeable wars continually in the countries, as also for that the States of Holland became bound chiefly in respect of her Majesty's sharp letters,” to whose favour they have always had a special regard, and desire now only forbearance, meaning when better ability will serve, to pay both principal and interest.
Endd. “Ortell. To be a mean to her Majesty that there be no arrest made against them of Holland and Zeeland for the interests.” ½ p. [Ibid. XX. 50.] In the same handwriting as the previous letter.
Oct. 12. 159. Cobham to Beale.
I have received her Majesty's letters for my revocation, and the two by Sir Edward Stafford her ambassador, the effect of which I shall not fail to accomplish.
And whereas I was directed to inform myself of Mr. Graye it so happened that he resorted to me yesterday afternoon. He seemed to me to be well affected in religion to her Majesty and her estates, of a beautiful complexion and comely disposition, having heard heretofore very well of his demeanour and sort of life. Howbeit, I will further inform myself. I hear he had been before this in Paris.
After the death of the Pope's nuncio I used my best means to recover those memorials and writings specified in your letter, but could never do so. The Pope had sent orders to disburse 25,000 crowns to the Queen of Scots' servants in this court; but now the Pope has caused Leonard Gondi to write to Geronimo Gondi to pay in to Glasgow the afore written moneys, which must be done this week, whereof I seek more particularly to be advertised. Gondi disbursed 1,500 crowns and Mario Bandini disbursed 1,000 crowns.
I have been lately informed by men of credit that the English papists in this realm boast “how they have in all her Majesty's dominions the use of their sacrifices and idolatry, with masses and processions, according to the directions of the Jesuits, which their secret and diligent practices if it shall be neglected, may grow dangerous and unreparable in her Majesty's estates.”
They assure me that d'Aubigni's eldest son and daughter are departed or are to be transported from Nantes incontinently to Scotland, and it may be the money the [same] way.
The Venetians have often warned the knights of Malta and of St. Stefano that they should not, in the gulfs and seas of the Signory's states, annoy the Turk's vessels, yet they have not abstained from doing so, whereon of late the galleys of Venice, meeting with four galleys of Malta, put two of them to flight and sank the other two, wherein were many Italian and Florentine knights of that religion. This they did to satisfy the Grand Signor, for by their league they may not suffer in their seas any vessels of the Turk's enemies, and on a like unkindness, this great Turk's father made war with the Signory and they lost Cyprus.
The Duke of Florence's agent is of late departed evil satisfied from Venice. I hear the French King will grant letters of mark to the merchants who lost their goods and ships at the castle of Mina [in Terceira].
They think the French King rather intends to “provoke” the King of Spain to desire an accord than that he would enter into wars, what show soever is made, or injuries received, which is to be believed, considering the King's and Monsieur's inclinations and humours. The Duke of Maine (Mina) willingly stays near the place where the King of Navarre's wife is. She must return hither before the King of Navarre can be satisfied.
They expect the coming of Don Pietro de' Medici out of Spain into Italy, with much favour and credit given by King Philip.—Paris, 12 October, 1583.
The passages in italics are in Cobham's cipher, undeciphered.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France X. 49.]
Oct. 12/22. 160. P. Biz[arri] to Walsingham.
Believing that your honour is by this time back at the court, I write to congratulate you on your happy return, praying God to prosper you all your days. Affairs here are in the same case as before. The States, which were at Dordrecht, are now, it is said, at the Hague, alias “Hagar Comitis,” a very suitable place. His Excellency was gone to Gertrudenberg, intending to return to these Estates. From hence (Brabant being at present without P[rinc]e and without States), they have sent the Pensionary of the city. The Catholics urge strongly a reconciliation with the King of Spain, but those of the Religion oppose it with all their might, and on this account M. Hembyse, the principal magistrate of Ghent, after having been with the senate and magistrates of Antwerp, has gone to meet the States in Holland and to confer with them on all that belongs to the safety and dignity of these poor countries.
The Prince of Parma is said to have raised the siege of Ypres, doubting at present his power to master it, and meanwhile has left a strong garrison in three bulwarks made to hinder anything from going into the town.
It is certainly affirmed that the people of the said Prince yesterday killed about 500 French, who were about Cambray, in their lodgings and far from the camp. I am also told that the Due d'Alençon lately sent an ambassador to the States, to inform them that he has a camp in readiness, and is resolved to employ it entirely in their service, and to make war in the enemy's country, because they had sent an ambassador to the King his brother, and declared their resolution on the said business. We shall know the result shortly, and se sara oro rilucerà, as says the old proverb.
It is said here that the Vicomte de Ghent, alias the Marquis de Richebourg (Rispurk), has put to death Mondragon, or as others say, an Italian colonel, for his cruelties to the country; and that shortly he will retire to Edino [Hesdin], being the Governor of Artois (Hartesia). The Prince d'Epinoy (Espynois), his older brother, is going with his highness to France.
As to the affairs of Cologne, they write that Duke Casimir is retired to Bonn, or some say to Linz, a place three leagues above Bonn. The cause is variously given, but the most part believe it to be in consequence of a very severe imperial edict published in Germany, in which the Emperor forbids all men on pain of ban and counterban and confiscation of goods, to meddle in the affairs of Cologne. But there may be other causes, and if it were this one, the imperial decree is common to the factions both of the old and new electors.
Though much is expected from the deputed assembly [i.e. Deputationstag] in Frankfurt, where will meet the commissioners and deputies of the Empire, the merchants who return from thence say that they have learnt nothing of this assembly, but for all this it may happen in the end; we shall know more clearly in a day or two.— Antwerp, 22 October, new style, 1583.
Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 51.]
Oct. 12/22. 161. [Pietro Bizarri] to Robert Beale.
Yesterday was given me your very kind letter of the last of September; the last I received from you was a year and some months ago, and I am infinitely sorry that the one written to me lately has not come to my hands. I cannot tell how that has happened, but I thank you over and over again for your courtesy and friendship.
It is my evangelist Constantine who has not satisfied me in anything for the year ended in March last, and his correspondent, Giovanni Benedetto Inurea (?), a Genoese gentleman, tells me he has had no commission whatever from him. I do not know the cause of this, and am very doubtful whether I ought to go in quinta essenzia unless I see better results than I have done hitherto.
Your honour's arrangement for the future pleases me much. I cannot desire a better means than this; for I remember much good of this gentleman of Salisbury whom you name, viz. Mr. William Blacker, registrar of the chapter of that church, who is truly a good and upright man. I pray you to write to him and beg him to take charge of my affairs, that is to say to demand the two years rents from the accustomed tenant and have them sent to me from time to time (first satisfying all 'demands of her Majesty or otherwise) paying the money in London to my aforesaid evangelist Constantine.
And if he does not come personally to London at the appointed times as John Davis was wont to do, to give order for some trustworthy friend, that the money should be paid to him in London. This is my very humble request of your honour, praying you to pardon me the trouble I give you and to attribute it to your infinite kindness to me, and to the great confidence I have always had in you and your noble family. I pray you also to salute on my behalf the reverend gentleman at Salisbury and thank him for the kind offices which he deigns to do for love of me.—Antwerp, 22 October, new style.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 52.]
Oct. 12. 162. Letters patent of Queen Elizabeth, stating that a concession having been granted by the King of Denmark for the free trading of the English to the port of St. Nicholas in Muscovy, by way of the North Sea, which concession she has willingly accepted: Yet, whereas there are certain ambiguities in the wording of the said concession, from which, in the future, difficulties might arise, she wishes to interpret and make clear the sense thereof in the manner following, viz.:—That as in recognition of the concession, the English merchants are to pay the King of Denmark 100 rose nobles every year while the concession continues, beginning in the spring of 1584; and as the value of the rose noble sometimes rises and sometimes falls, and no certain day for payment is mentioned in the treaty, it is hereby declared that the payment be made either in the same money in gold, or in such money of equal value as shall be determined by arbitration of the said Society of English merchants, and that the payment be made each spring before the 21st day of June.
And because it might happen that in some years the merchants might not sail to Muscovy, and yet the payment might be demanded, it is hereby declared that the merchants are in no wise to be compelled to make the payment except for such years as they make the voyage to Muscovy.
And as in the said treaty it is provided that in case of hostilities or the breaking out of war between Denmark and Muscovy, the English ships are not to carry munitions of war or other help to Muscovy, on pain of confiscation of the ships and goods; and because the English merchants might not certainly know whether war had been declared or no, it is declared that the goods of such merchants, captains or seamen as shall carry forbidden things shall be confiscated, and none other, unless in six months before the said ships left England war had been declared or hostilities positively announced by the King of Denmark. Goods, however, which would serve for purposes of war, such as armour or weapons, not needed for defence of themselves or the ship, may be seized.
Further, since it is agreed by the treaty that by death of either of the contracting parties, the other (or their successors) will be free to withdraw from the said treaty without disturbing the friendly relations of the two Crowns; it is also to be understood that neither party may withdraw from the convention unless they announce publicly to the other their change of will in this matter, and also that in such case, the merchants may freely continue to take their ships and merchandise to Muscovy by way of the North Sea for one whole year after this intimation.
And all difficulties or obscurities in the said convention or concession are to be understood according to the explanation here given and no otherwise distorted to the prejudice or hurt of her Majesty's merchants.—Palace of St. James at Westminster, 12 October, 1583.
Copy. Latin. 2 pp. [Denmark I. 37.]
Oct. 13. 163. Gilpin to Robert Beale.
I send you herewith a copy of my last letter from the party at Cologne, and two copies of the Emperor's letters of proscription to Duke Casimir and others.[See pp. 90, 91, 102, 128 above.]
The Prince is still at Dort, where the States begin to come together, and will conclude, it is thought, “to make a war offensive or more defensive; but to deal any more with Monsieur, the fewer in number are that way minded.”
The Prince of Parma and all his force is said to be at Eccloo, and with him, Mansfeld, Mondragon, Montigny, the Vicomte of Ghent and other chiefs, intending to winter in the land of Waes, in a “plenty” soil, well victualled, and so separate Flanders from Brabant. Some resistance is made to their entrance, but it is feared will not be able to withstand them.
Ypres grows in some distress, Ghent in more disorder and unto desperate terms, Bruges doubtful, yet have put forty or fifty out of their town, suspecting them to be inclined to a peace and so more affected to the Malcontents. Antwerp devises daily how to secure themselves. The provinces generally are wearied with these long wars.—Middelburg, 13 October, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 53.]
Oct. 13. 164. Stokes to Walsingham.
Since my last, of the 6th instant, the enemy has put these parts to another great trouble.
The Prince of Parma has left his bulwarks before Ypres well furnished with men, and with the rest of his camp is suddenly come to Eccloo, where he laid a good force and passed to the Sas, “the head of the river that runs between Zeeland and Ghent,” which place they have taken and are passed over into the land of Waes, a rich and plentiful country, which they keep so that no man can pass between us and Ghent.
This town is afraid they will stop the river between them and Sluys, which they may easily do, for here is none of the States' side who is able, or at “leastwise doth show any good will to withstand them, for it seems their hearts are all taken from them.”
It is greatly feared that the “Gantners” have something in hand with the Prince of Parma, for it is said they make no resistance to him, “so as it is feared they will make a peace for themselves and leave this town out.”
The Four Members of Flanders being all here, those of Ghent suddenly sent for their deputies to come home, only because they saw the magistrates of this town and the “Free” more affectioned to the Prince of Orange than desirous to make peace with the enemy.
The Prince of Chimay, Governor of Flanders, lies here with his wife, and “makes himself sick because he is not able to do anything against the enemy, so as here goes very evil speeches of him, for at his first coming he seemed to be very willing in all things and now doth nothing. He hath 2,000 guilders a month of the Four Members of Flanders towards the keeping of his house.”
The enemy spoils all as he passes, especially the Spaniard, who has no mercy or pity, but murders all who come into his hands.
The Prince of Chimay has sent Col. Morgan and his regiment, about 300 men, to the castle of Middelburg in Flanders, besides Sluys, where they are only victualled for five or six days.
Divers come from Ypres report that if the town were well governed it would hold out a year and more, but this is wanting, and disorders begin to grow among the commons.
All fear that before three months Flanders will be malcontent, for the government is so evil on the States' side that they cannot possibly continue. The Malcontents call them les mat menés.
—Bruges, 13 October, 1583, stilo anglie.
Postscript.—Even now is come the “ballewe” of Ypres with half a dozen principal burgers and others, who say the Prince of Parma has departed for want of victuals and forage, and that if he had not gone, the whole camp would have fallen into a mutiny. In his bulwarks he has left but 700 foot and two cornets of horse, “and those of the town goes out and in at two gates at pleasure. . . . It seems this high ballewe and the rest comes for some needful things that is wanting in the town.”
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl and Fl. XX. 54.]
Oct. 13. 165. John Herbert to Walsingham.
Having ended my business with the King of Denmark, I repaired to Hamburg, intending to return to England with the next good ship, but there received your letters desiring me to come hither to Elbing, where I should find authority and instructions to end the Easterling merchants' matters, both with the lords and town of Elbing and the King of Poland.
Whereupon, having written largely to you and sent copies of all things concerning our dealings in Denmark, which I hope by this time are come to your hands, I set forward for Elbing, whither I came safely on Saturday, the 3rd of August, and here received your letters and orders, according whereunto I have often met with the lords, “and with much ado, at last we are grown to accord; wherein what pains and course I took” shall appear to you more at large at my return. Since our ending, God hath visited me with a grievous sickness, but I hope the worst is passed, and it has been no “let” to our despatch with the King of Poland, as he has been on progress and hunting since August last (when the Polish Chancellor was married to the King's brother's daughter) and will not be spoken with by strangers until his train is augmented and his Council come together, which will be about Christmas at Grodnaw, a goodly castle he hath in Lithuania; when I trust I shall be ready to put an end to these matters the best I can. But, whereas you write that the merchants promise to send order hither that my charges shall be well defrayed, I find here no such thing; for besides a hundred pounds I took up in Hamburg, to defray my charge in Denmark while I followed their causes, which, considering my expenses in that court with gifts and otherwise, and at Hamburg, with the King's messenger and mine own company, and my charges overland hither to Elbing, hath not quit the cost I was at; besides this, I say, “I neither have received nor see how I shall receive any money towards it, but have hitherto in all my sickness and other extraordinaries spent of mine own and am likely enough to spend so still, as well in apparelling me and my people for this bitter winter as in all other charges when I go to the Court, which I think your honour never meant I should, and indeed myself did never think it.” Moreover, however it has helped us that Mr. Salkins should be joined in commission with me in our treaty at Elbing, I do not think it for her Majesty's honour or the good of the cause that he should be so joined in our treaty with Poland, “considering how meanly the Polish Council esteem a merchant or any man not gentle born”; so that your honour might conveniently procure her Majesty's letters, more especially committing the same to me, and as the merchants might easily see the same conveyed, so assuredly they would further our proceedings and give me great encouragement to achieve the same. Thus, as one much troubled with sickness, which hath made me use the pen of another, I take my leave.— Elbing, 13 October, 1583.
Add. Seal. Endd. 2pp. (Poland I. 28.)
Oct. 14/24. 166. The French Queen to the Queen Of England.
Acknowledgment of letters brought by Stafford. (Signed) Loyse. St. Germain-en-Laye, 21 October, 1583.
Add. Fr. 11 lines. (France X. 50.)
Oct. 14. 167. Stafford to Walsingham.
Having yesterday (Sunday the 13th inst.) audience of the King at St. Germains, after my lord ambassador had presented me, we declared unto the King, both I according to my instructions, and he according to the commands received before, what had been delivered us from her Majesty. Whereupon, having received nothing but ordinary compliments, and a request to deliver our demands in writing (which my lord ambassador did), with promise that he would then send some with the answer, we thought good not to send at all to her Majesty till we had received it; and therefore have stayed John Fourrier; but finding this bearer, your servant, ready to go, we both thought good to tell you why you heard no sooner from us. The cause why the King gave us no answer yesterday is I think his disposition not to answer anything of importance upon the sudden; whether from discreetness or inability I leave to your honour's judgment.
I think the King is better in body than he is wont to be, but not in his spirit, “which I take to be weaker than of custom.” The Duke of Guise stood nearer to him than is usual at our audience. The Duke of Retz's chamber was our dining place and he our entertainer, which I have never seen “with any ambassador before, the Duke of Guise being in the house, but was accustomed to keep the board as Great Master. The Duke of Retz's courtesy of entertainment was so abasing himself as it had been a great deal fitter in my opinion for Gondi, the ordinary entertainer than for him; but it is no news for them that have been in France, and acquainted with the common proverb of Marshal Retz's courtesy”
One cause, I think, why the King would make us no answer yesterday was that the Queen Mother was not there, being gone to see Monsieur at Chateau-Thierry. I think they like us to believe that nothing of importance can be done without her; but by all appearance, and conference with the best of both religions, her credit is very small, and she has received divers “causes of unkindness” from the King, besides suspicions that she keeps Monsieur aloof. She says she is gone to bring him to the Court, but it is thought he will not come, and the King suspects she will not have him come. They who best know her, however, think she will do her best to bring him in order to get the better credit with the King. She is looked for on Wednesday, and then my lord ambassador means to take his leave of her and come homewards. Some of Monsieur's followers here say he will presently go to Tours or further.
Her Majesty said she would send a letter for Monsieur which should be here before me. Expecting it, I have neither written or sent to him yet, and also because in my instructions there is no word of him, nor did her Majesty give me any command but to visit him if he came hither. I await further directions, which I will perform immediately.
The King being so unwilling to give us answer, I left unspoken her Majesty's commandment to request him “to command his ambassador there not to think amiss if she permitted not that any more of the Scottish Queen's packets should pass his hands, because it was but a colour for him to do bad offices.” If her Majesty wishes this done in haste, I will under colour of some other matter ask audience and deal in it.—Paris, 14 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France X. 51.]
Oct. 14/24. 168. Dr. William Parry to Walsingham.
I am as heartily glad of your safe return as I was sorry for your desperate journey. “It may be a fault in me to term it so—contra jus gentium—but I hope you will make a favourable construction of my meaning, always faithful and real towards you. . . . My treaty in Italy and Lyons fell out just according to your conjecture, yet I thank God it served me somewhat for the assurance of my passage. My credit amongst the Malcontents is such as it should be; and yet I am (as you write) borne in hand still.”—Paris, 24 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. “1583, October 14.” 1 p. [Ibid. X. 52.]
Oct. 15/25. 169. The French Queen to the Queen Of England.
Announcement of Stafford's visit to her and commendation of Cobham's behaviour during his embassy.—Saint Germain-en-Laye, 25 October, 1583. (Signed) Loyse (and below) Pinart.
Add. Endd. 6 lines. [Ibid. X. 53.]
Oct. 12/22 to 16/26. 170. Flemish Advertisements.
Utrecht, October 12.—The colonels of Friesland, M. de Nienort and Asynta [qy. Aysma] Entents (fn. 1), having gone with 80 vessels from Schelling, carrying about 2,600 soldiers, including the Hollanders, disembarked near Delfzyl, and have taken three forts, viz. Feversum, Oterdum and Munte, together with all the small trenches along by the sea. They are fortifying themselves, having cut all the dykes, so that the enemy cannot approach.
By this capture, those of Groningen have lost more than 60,000 florins of contribution per month. Duke Casimir's camp is about Kaiserswerth and that of the enemy round about Brühl (Bryll), near Cologne. Those of Cologne still hold themselves neutral, and let both sides go in and out in small parties; but the commonalty and “Messieurs” [the magistrates] are entirely on the side of the old bishop.
Flushing, October 20.—Those of Antwerp are making a great fort on the other side of the river, in Flanders, for the safety both of the river and town, as also in order to be able at any time to inundate the country. The Prince of Chimay, governor of Flanders, has put the garrison of Bruges in arms, and sent all suspected persons out of the town, amongst others Francois de Groote, Mre. Charles de Schildere, Baersdorp, de Pardo, de Aula and several others.
October 22.—The Prince of Parma has raised the siege before Ypres, leaving only eight foot companies and two troops of horse in his fort in an abbey on the high road to Bruges. He is now with his camp at Eccloo, Bassevelt, Capricque and thereabouts, pillaging in all directions. Some of them intended to pass the Sas de Ghent, but found obstacles in the way and returned.
The camp consists of 8,000 foot and 2,000 horse, as we are told by a Spanish prisoner, whom our garrison at Flushing took when they were pillaging in Flanders; but he also tells us that they have raised their camp from lack of provisions. It would be a great benefit to the common cause and to us to prevent the provisions and munitions (admonitions) which are daily brought in great quantites to Dunkirk (Duyncherche), Nieuport, Gravelines and other places near.
October 26.—Those of Axel in Flanders, at the request of the Prince of Parma, have sent their deputies to the camp for a parley. The Sieur d'Hembyse arrived last Saturday at Ghent, where he found the town in an uproar. It is hoped that his presence will mend matters.
In the Pays de Waes the most part of the people have, by good information, carried away all their possessions, so that the enemy will get little there.
The brother of the French King makes great offers of bringing down all the forces of France, if they should wish to receive him anew. He does not design to come in person, but to commit all to the charge of his Excellency. Those of Bruges and Sluys are of good courage and are keeping back the enemy.
Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Newsletters I. 57.]


  • 1. Probably the Aysma Entos (Aysmaentes) of a list given by Renon de France. See Hietoire des Troubles &c., ii, 313.