Elizabeth: July 1583, 11-15

Pages 15-23

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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July 1583, 11–15

July 11. 18. Cobham to Walsingham.
Lord Hamilton hath resolved to take his journey this day, and I send this present bearer with him for his commodious and more secret parting. He goes with a good will, being full of hope to receive grace of her Majesty and the rather by means of your protection and direction.
“They have informed me how David Fentry (fn. 1) is gone hence the 1st of this present month to take his leave of the Duke of Guise, to receive his commandments and to accomplish with M. Maninville; purposing to meet with his brother James, with sundry other of their countrymen. The Master of Levingston hath taken his way towards d'Aubigny's house, from whence he repaireth to embark with the above named. Their ship is furnished with artillery and fifty good shot, wherein passeth about forty gentlemen with their servants and merchants of that nation. Some have informed me they will transport with them both d'Aubigny's son and corpse. David Fentry intendeth to resort first unto his father's house, as if he came into that realm for no other purpose; notwithstanding, I suppose it is sufficiently known to your honour how David Fentry is a party well acquainted with all such devices or practices and the conspirators which have been or are to come within the realms of England and Scotland, so as his stay or taking might prevail for her Majesty's service and quietness. His intelligence hath been great with her Majesty's evil indisposed subjects; besides this, the Pope and King of Spain's ministers have committed to his trust many causes.” They may in all likelihood be driven into Yarmouth, at this time of the year, as in other seasons they who pass into those parts take harbour in Scarborough, Lowestoft (Lesto) or Harwich.
I hear that the Duke of Anjou has made four requests to the King. First, for means to succour Dunkirk; secondly, to have Cambray victualled; thirdly, to receive 600,000 crowns to pay his Swiss, and for other necessary occasions; fourthly, that the King would entertain 4,000 footmen and 2,000 horsemen for a year, wherewith his Highness might make war in Artois. These seem to his Majesty excessive demands, and nothing agreeable to his mind.
“The Queen Mother hath interposed herself to be an indifferent moderator, persuading with the Duke of Anjou that he must render himself agreeable to the King's will. But he complaineth that the King hath made him and all the world to perceive that he loveth him not, having abandoned him in his extremities, offering certain sums of money to him such as might be given to a mean personage; with many other complaints.”
The King caused his mother to take with her the Secretaries of State to be present at the conference with his Highness. It seems that he lets himself be governed by Villeroy, which is the means (he knoweth) to satisfy his Majesty. The Queen Mother is expected at St. Maur. “Monsieur hath sent assurance of his good will to the Duke Montmorency, with promise to support him in all his fortunes, without respect to any other whatsoever, so as he would not depend on the King of Navarre or the Prince of Condé, nor of those belonging to the Religion; the which message, with his Highness's letter, the Duke Montmorency did send to the King of Navarre.
The Queen Mother, I hear, has persuaded the King to give Monsieur maintenance for fifteen bands of footmen, at the rate of 200 in every band, and fourteen companies of men at arms, “without their ordinary cassocks,” to serve him about Cambray, so that he will dismiss all the other troops he had levied.
I enclose a note concerning an Italian, of whom this bearer is to inform himself, if he should be come to London.
I beseech you to help forward my successor. The charges for his coming and my return will be less now than if our voyage be deferred until winter.—Paris, 11 July, 1583.
Add. Endd. Italicized words in cipher. 3 pp. [France X. 6.]
19. Decipher of portions of the above. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. X. 6a.]
July 11. 20. Cobham to Walsingham.
The King is expected to go from Mezières with his young Queen to the Baths of Bourbon Nancy, but he may alter his purpose, as the great rains may “have corrupted those bath waters in such sort that they cannot profit the young queen as it were to be desired.”
They to-day write from the Court that the King and his Queen are to be to-night at Monceaux, the Queen Mother's house, who has appointed to be at St. Maur or in Paris within these three days. “Supposed” the King may do the like, unless his desire to meet Duke Joyeuse at his return out of Italy persuade him to a further voyage.
Monsieur is going to Cambray to settle his house and amass (if it may be) his army, though slowly. They say Balagny has taken a castle thereabouts from the Spaniards, which heretofore had been lost.
The Estates of Flanders have sent to offer themselves as subjects to the French King, if he will take them into his protection, leaving it to him whether he will or will not “discover himself against the Spanish King, but to suffer his brother under him to be his lieutenant, and to play the personage against the Prince of Parma, with condition only that they may enjoy their ancient privileges.”
The Duke of Maine is here, and the Duke of Guise expected with the Cardinal of Bourbon, being now at “d'Ampire” [Dampierre] his house. The Princes and the rest of the Council are to meet their Majesties at St. Maur next week. The Queen of Navarre speaks of her journey towards her husband, but as yet remains in this town. “La Mullet,” a messenger of the King's stables, despatched to M. de Joyeuse, was slain besides La Charite, and his money taken, but his packets and letters left untouched. The malefactors are known to be men of base condition, whereas at first it was imputed to some principal personages of the Religion.
The Duke d'Aumale is going on pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Loretto. M. Draconis [qy. de Racconigi], chief counsellor to the Duke of Savoy, has gone likewise towards Loretto, taking in his way Florence and Rome; as some think to discover what Joyeuse practised in those parts, as also to bring to some point the treaty of the marriage with the Duke of Florence, for his daughter to match with the Duke of Savoy, his master.
The Duke of Savoy has made Count Francesco Martenengo master of his camp and sent him to the Swiss frontiers, suspecting the evil will of those of Berne.
The Prince of Parma is said to have lately sent to the King certain letters taken about Charetier, written out of England in cipher, deciphered, directed to Monsieur and the King of Navarre, “containing” a confederacy to prejudice the French King, whereupon there are many vain rumours here, importing that the King feared Monsieur's coming to Paris, and had commanded the gates to be guarded, which apparently are not true.
You may have heard that Gondi was this week assaulted in his coach by a captain of the King's guard and others. There have been many conjectures about it, but the truth is “that the captain for jealousy of a gentlewoman of Blois entertained by Gondi had resolved to have done him some outrage for a bad revenge. But this other day, by order from the King, the Cardinal Birago, Chiverny, the Bishop of Paris, with others of the Council have made them friends, and the captain, belonging to M. d'Epernon, is gone to Metz.”
The Duke Joyeuse entered Rome on the 2nd of this month by their computation; “received out of the town with twenty coaches full of noblemen and gentlemen; conducted to the Cardinal d'Este's house where he is lodged, pretending to stay in Rome ten days; so as it is thought he is afore this on his return to France by the way of Venice.”
Letters from Spain certify that King Philip gives “daily public audience, with courteous countenance, unto everyone, a manner not heretofore used by him.” It is supposed he fears some tumult in Aragon and Valentia, for the new impositions raised on them, contrary to their ancient privileges. He has caused Madrid to be environed with walls of 'yearth,' and guards to be set at the gates, that none may come in from places infected with the plague.
“The Prince of Spain hath been sick, but recovered, and is apparelled in the habit of St. Dominic, upon a vow which the young child hath been induced to make. The eldest Infanta keepeth her chamber, being sickly.”
The Pope intends to go to Bologna, till the troubles at Rome are thoroughly quenched. The Duke of Sora has lost his estimation among the Roman gentlemen, by his apprehending of Signor Gaetano. The Cardinal de Medicis has a great party among the noblemen of Rome, and it is seen that the Duke of Florence is had in consideration there and in the Ecclesiastical States.
Letters from the Court say that the King will be here to-morrow night, at Duke d'Epernon's house, where he will stay some days, and, as is believed, give audience to the ambassadors, “being hoped he will not be much or far from Paris.”
I send you a letter to her Majesty, from M. Marchaumont, who prays that she may be moved to procure favour for Charetier; also another particular letter of mine, and advertisements from sundry parts, with two new printed pamphlets.—Paris, 11 July, 1583.
P.S.—Signor Pallavicino came here four or five days since and lodged at Calvi's house, where he awaits the arrival of his brother, Signor Horatio.
Add. Endd. by Walsingham. 3 pp. [France X. 7.]
July 12. 21. Edward Batten (?) to [Richard] Barrey, Lieutenant of Dover Castle.
Dunkirk is given over to the Prince of Parma. Saturday last, July 6, (fn. 2) his great ordnance was placed to batter the town, and at three o'clock in the morning they began to shoot, and played with eighteen cannon until four in the afternoon, shooting as fast as they could. Having made two great breaches in the walls, the camp was already in arms to enter in, but the Frenchmen in the town, seeing them come marching towards it, set out a flag of truce, and sent out a drum and a trumpet, desiring the Prince to have mercy and save their lives, and they would give him the town. He being a merciful prince, with 4,000 Spaniards entered, and on Sunday afternoon they sent all the Frenchmen out, every man with as much as he could carry away, and the governor and captains with horses and waggons loaded with goods.
The Spaniards were very angry, and grudged that the Frenchmen had so much mercy shown them, because they kept the town so long before they would yield; but privy speech goes at Gravelines that they had sold the town before, and appointed where the cannon should batter, and, if they had pleased, might have kept the place a year, having victuals enough and being well provided of munition.
And now they say at Calais that the Duke is coming down again to besiege Dunkirk, but that is but French talk, for I can “insure” you he cannot get a thousand men out of France to go into Flanders, they have been so cruelly used. Nieuport, Ostend and Bergues are now besieged and the Spaniards say they will not go away until they have won all the lower country of Flanders, which they think to get in short time. I desire you would write to the place you wot of.—Gravelines, 12 July, 1583.
Add. To the right worshipful Mayster Barrey, Lieutenant of Dover Castle. Endd. Advertisements from Gravelines. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 81.]
July 12/22. 22. The Grank Duke Of Tuscany to the Queen.
On behalf of Alexander Tibante, one of his subjects, who is troubled on account of certain customs, but declares himself innocent and caluminated by his enemies. Prays the Queen to take him under her protection, and to commit his cause to impartial judges, that it may be brought as speedily as possible to a just end.—Florence, 22 July, 1583. (Signed) El gran duca di Toscana.
Add. Endd. “From the Duke of Florence to her Majesty.” Italian. 1 p. [Tuscany I. 4.]
July 13. 23. Cobham to Walsingham.
The enclosed was to have been sent by Paulo (Pawle), my Italian, departed two days ago.
I hear that the Duke of Anjou has revoked his commissions for the amassing of soldiers. He is yet about St. Quentin, but intends shortly to make his abode at Cambray. They write from Italy that Duke Joyeuse was met outside Rome by the Cardinals of Este and “Sance” and M. de Foix, and has been visited by thirty-four cardinals and all the ambassadors. He gave great satisfaction by his humble and gentle behaviour, much better liked “than the stately gravity and black reputation full of pride used by those noblemen of Spain which resort to the Court of Rome.” He entered Rome the 2nd July and was to depart on the 13th, making profession that he was journeying to Loretto to accomplish his vow, and was come to Rome to kiss the Pope's foot and see the city; meaning to take in his way returning Florence, Lucca, Genoa, Ferrara, and lastly Venice and Milan, and to be back at the French Court about the middle of August.
“The banished men do more outrage than ever heretofore” within the States of the Church, and the Pope's guards can prevail little, because the captains belong to the Roman gentlemen, so that the Pope is in some pain.
News comes from the Levant coast that Occhiali (Ouchely) has passed along with his galleys towards Barbary. There has been a bickering between the Duke of Ferrara and the Signori of Lucca. The Duke would have seized a fertile mountain in Tuscany or Liguria, but the Lucchese have withstood him, so that all Tuscany is troubled. The Duke of Florence and the Pope favour the Signori of Lucca.
I beseech you to procure my return in the accustomed manner. After this month is passed, I trust I shall be .excused if I do nothing but address myself for my return, without performing further service.—Paris, 13 July, 1583.
Add. Endd. by Walsingham. 2½ pp. [France X. 8.]
[July 13.] 24. Cobham to Walsingham.
After I had made up my packet, “they sent me this advertisement, how the King of Spain's agent had been written unto from Flanders to persuade by his letters the King of Spain that his navy, prepared for the Azores, may be sent into Flanders, where there is so good occasion to do great exploits upon the sudden, they there being altogether unprovided. On the which matter the Prince of Parma had written earnestly, assuring the King that he was in hope to take most of the towns on the sea-coast"
Letters from Germany say that Duke Casimir had appointed on the 8th of August to have 6,000 horse and 8,000 lanzknechts, besides 2,000 French shot, which were come for the most part nigh to Strasburg, where they had victuals appointed them in certain villages. The Duke of Saxony has contributed to the pay of this army. It is doubted what Monsieur will do, or how he will bestow his forces. The King has assigned M. de Crevecoaur to him, to serve him.
The French King's packets sent to Joyeuse were taken, but it is otherwise given forth.
Add. Endd. with date by Walsingham. 1 p. [Ibid. X. 9.]
25. Decipher of part of above.
Endd. 11 lines. [Ibid. X. 9a.]
July 14. 26. Gilpin to Walsingham.
The Prince arrived this morning at Flushing with his wife and train, “for whose welcome the ordnance shot off, but no other feast or meeting, the common people's heart being as if they were dead” since Monsieur left Dunkirk, which was surrendered before it was “saultable,” but the few soldiers there, mistrusting the townsmen in respect of their hard usage, durst not give them their weapons, and so, unable to defend the place, they yielded it, without lack of victuals or danger.
The French were allowed to depart with their arms by ship for Calais, the poor townsmen received at the mercy of the Prince of Parma, and all strangers taken prisoners and put to ransom. It is now kept by two companies of Walloons and two of Spaniards, under the direction of de la Motte.
The enemy has since removed with all his force to Nieuport, barred the cutting of the dykes wherein they were busied, “impeached” the passage of the river, and “belayed” the town so as none can come forth or enter. There are in it but two ensigns of soldiers besides the burghers, all well resolved and armed to defend the place, but if no rescue comes, surely it must follow the other. And then Ostend, a place of less force and not so defensive, cannot withstand the enemy, howbeit, since the loss of Dunkirk, it has received three ensigns of soldiers.
What Dixmuyde, Ypres, Bruges and Ghent will do is yet uncertain, but they “cannot abide to hear any speeches to receive any of Monsieur's men” and would rather (it is doubted) hearken to a composition with the enemy. If this fell out, the rest of Brabant and Guelderland would not make great resistance, Antwerp excepted, which, with Holland, Zeeland and part of West Friesland, “should again endure all, where the commons cannot abide to hear of any wars, but rather cry out for peace, to the end the great exactions might cease and they quietly enjoy their traffic.”
Those of Sluys have cut their ditches and brought in the water over all the country, which course Bruges it is thought will follow.
About Winoxbergue the enemy left a campe volant, but not greatly accounted of by the burghers, who of late issued forth and overthrew two ensigns of the enemy, said to be the English who last year fell from the States to the Malcontents. Order was given by the Four Members of Flanders to the Scots at Menin to fire and abandon the place, but since contradicted.
Divers burghers would have departed from Bruges and other places but strait commandment is given to the contrary.
His Excellency is looked for here, “but it seemeth not so welcome as heretofore, being thought he cometh to prosecute the admitting and accepting of him for Earl.”
The General States are to meet here shortly. Those of Antwerp “account not of the loss of Dunkirk so they be quit of the French, whose name is abhorred almost generally.” The English that lay before Antwerp are sent into Flanders to refresh themselves, where, by report, they will be paid and mustered. Twenty-six ensigns of Hollanders are to be sent into Flanders.
Haultpenne lies hovering in Brabant, about Herentals. The news from Cologne I send here inclosed. Great hope that Casimerus will bring some good to their afflictions, which God grant.—Middelburg, 14 July, 1583.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 82.]
Enclosing letter from Cologne (calendared p. 13 above).
July 14. 27. Stokes to Walsingham.
The troubles here on the States' side grow every day worse and worse. The loss of Dunkirk has put such fear in the commons' hearts that they all run away. It is lamentable to see the great destruction and misery chanced here within eight days and like to be worse, so that they begin to sing their old song again, for some speedy help at her Majesty's hands. Surely they had never more need of it than now.
The French have delivered Dunkirk to the Prince of Parma, all the French captains and soldiers to depart with their rapier and dagger, the burghers to be at the Prince's mercy, who at his entry gave them the King's pardon, and all the strangers, prisoners to the soldiers.
Parma is come with his whole camp to besiege Nieuport, and has brought the cannon to it, but it does not yet play. They lie round about “scattering” in great disorder, and are said to be in great misery for want of victuals.
Those of Nieuport write to the lords of this town that burghers and soldiers agree very well together and are of good courage and determined to defend the town to the last man, for they have provisions enough, and desire nothing but three or four hundred soldiers, which shall be sent them, the haven being open without any let. They also write that Feurne is out of danger, for the country round about is “laid under” with sea water, so that the enemy cannot come to it.
The Prince of Chimay is returned here. He is made governor of the town and the “Free” by the commons, and has sworn to live and die with them, so that his presence much comforts them. 1,500 foot and ten cornets of horse are appointed to be here, and there is a great number of good burghers, so they are determined to keep the town as long as they can, in hopes that God will send them some comfort out of England.
In Ostend they have put in 1,200 foot, and furnished the town with victuals and munitions, and those of the town have let in the sea water over the country thereabouts. This town and Blanckenbergh have done the same, “so as the country between Ostend and Sluys lies most under water, to the great undoing of many a thousand of the country people.”
The Four Members, being here assembled, have resolved never to deal more with Monsieur, and so have written to the Prince and States, desiring that M. de Biron, with all his Frenchmen, may be sent out of the country, for they will not have him to serve here any longer.
Yesterday morning, M. de Ryhove (Riove) came here, and in the afternoon went back in post to Ghent, to send some men from thence hither. They wish Mr. Norris were here, for they lack a good commander in the field.
This week the Four Members have written to the Prince sundry letters of the weak estate of these parts, and the great danger they are in of the enemy. But he writes them no answer, so that he is much hated of the commons, and the Four Members do all of themselves.—Bruges, 14 July, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Postscript.—Captain Yorke is come to this town, sent for by the Four Members for his aid and counsel “to send” four or five hundred soldiers into Nieuport.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 83.]
July 14. 28. J. Jernegan to Walsingham.
This last Saturday [July 13, o.s.], Nieuport surrendered, without any approach of cannon. In the town were two companies of Flemings, who were suffered to depart with their rapiers and daggers. The Prince with his camp (except certain cornets of horse which have enclosed Bergues) this day early marched towards Ostend, with expectation of like success. From thence, it is thought to march to Feme, thence to Dixmude, then to Bergues, all which will be surrendered without fight.
It is then supposed his Highness will go towards Ypres, which, though it be very strong, yet, cut off from victuals by means of the towns surrendered (if there were no practice already) it cannot continue; whereby this whole country is gained without force, most strangely, and only by the loss of Dunkirk, which was favourably assailed and as willingly rendered, either upon some former composition or by too negligent a circumspection.
The Prince's camp is about 16,000; the Spaniards exempted from the government of any of the towns. The Earl of Westmorland has long continued at Holynwaie, a fort of the King's, and is going to Menin (Meannyng) to practise with the Scots there for the “render” of the place, which is not yet effectuated. “This success is thought almost impossible.” God grant it be so.
Before the arrival of your letter, “I was so 'accombred' in conscience and grieved in mind for her Majesty's displeasure as I became savage in body and desperate in mind, to be abandoned from the favour and subjection” of my most virtuous sovereign, and dared not attempt my suit to you for mediation, but now, allowed by your favour to me, “I beseech your like to her Majesty, at whose feet I with all humbleness do prostrate myself, protesting my departure proceeded not upon either practice against her, or of malice towards her, but only upon terror of some cause and late unkindness,” as I think will be known to you.—Gravelines, this Sunday.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. 84.]


  • 1. David Graham, eldest son of the Laird of Fintry.
  • 2. This shows that the letter is dated old style.