Elizabeth: October 1583, 21-25

Pages 154-171

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, 21–25

Oct. 21. 180. Cobham and Stafford to the Queen.
Having received your Majesty's letter of revocation by Sir Edward Stafford, and requiring thereon access to the French King, he appointed us to repair to St. Germains on the 13th.
At our arrival, Messieurs de Rambouillet, de St. Gouard and Gondi welcomed Sir Edward, and accompanied us towards the Court, and at the entering of the great gates of the King's lodging Marshall Retz met and brought us to his own chamber, where dinner was prepared. After the King had risen from his table, we were conducted to his presence, finding him standing at the upper end of a small dark chamber, with his back to the window. And after reverence done, I, Henry Cobham, declared to him how, on consideration of my long abode in this service, I had received your Majesty's letters to return, and to present to him Sir Edward Stafford to reside as my successor, “being a gentleman much esteemed of your Majesty, endued with honourable parts, well inclined to the preservation of the mutual amity, as by his former services had appeared”; showing his Majesty that he attended to do reverence to him and to deliver your letters of credence. The King thereupon turned towards Sir Edward, who withal approached.
Then I, Edward Stafford, after I had done my due obedience to the King, declared unto him the cause why you sent for Sir Henry home, the cause why you sent me, the commandment you had given me to have especial care of doing all good offices between these two realms, with promise of my endeavour to the uttermost of my poor ability; beseeching him, if faults were committed to excuse them “with the defects of nature and not want of goodwill.” With that I delivered your letters, the King kindly receiving them and very inquisitive of your health and prosperity, with great commendations of Sir Henry's service, grateful to him and his whole Court. But seeing it was your pleasure, and with great reason, to give him some rest after his long travail, he seemed to like better than I deserve the choice you had made of me, assuring me of all good offices, meaning to maintain more than ever the amity between the crowns.
Then I, Henry Cobham, further declared to him your subjects' grievous complaints of the taxation imposed on their merchandise contrary to the treaties and the ancient confederacies of your predecessors with the French Kings, exhibiting to him the merchants' bills of complaints, and beseeching him to consider how much it imported to both your dignities to have free traffic between your subjects. And because hitherto he had not declared any remedy, I prayed at this my parting to receive his answer for your better satisfaction.
Moreover, I besought him to remember how often I had lamented the daily depredations committed by the French on your subjects, whereof as yet I could obtain no redress, though in England of late the English pirates had been by your orders and with your great charge “apprehended and executed with severe punishments” which should move him to order the like justice to be done on the French rovers.
I also spoke of the great numbers of your notorious rebels and fugitives who had repaired into his realm, placing themselves in seminaries, where they had contrived sundry treasons against your government and estate, as by some of their own confessions and examinations have clearly appeared, which had moved you to desire him that those your malevolent subjects might be by his edict compelled “to avoid his realm on some great pain”; assuring him that King Philip of Spain had in 1575 done the like, to your good satisfaction, “since which time those English and Irish rebels had recourse to Rome, where they were succoured until their disordinate life with their importunity had wearied the Pope,” who now lately had sent them from thence, “upon sundry such pretences as may serve to no other intent than to breed evil actions and troubles.” Trusting he would vouchsafe to give order herein.
I then spoke of the Duke of Guise's erection of a college at Eu for the fugitives who “did entice the fond and simple youth of England and Ireland to abandon their loyal zeal and affection from your Highness,” your Majesty being much grieved that any such principal French lords should comfort and encourage your rebels. Beseeching him that the Duke might be commanded to send out of his college all those your undutiful subjects.
Lastly, I signified to the King that he might greatly content you if he would command a slanderous book to be suppressed which is published with much false matter to the prejudice of your Highness, and gave into his hands a memorial of all the demands I had delivered, wherein also was written the title of the said book.
When Sir Henry had delivered those things according to your commands received before my coming, I [Edward Stafford] was so satisfied with his sufficiency that I troubled the King no further, but only assured him that I had like commands in these matters, and prayed him to effect these your reasonable demands.
And for the libel, I told him that at my departure you had some speech with me of it, whereby I found that you were not so much grieved with the contents of the book as that you had not found the respect at his hands which you had shown him, when, “upon the setting out of such a book in your realm wherein he was touched, you not only canvassed first the matter out with diligence and found the author, but when you had found him, sought the bottom of your bags for the rigour of laws,” and caused them to be punished that did it with all possible extremity, which in other causes you used to execute with a great deal more mercy than rigour; but contrariwise in this, protesting “that if your laws had given no punishment of bloodshed, you would of yourself use your prerogative above your laws.” Though this was not by your Majesty's command, I thought it my duty to remind him what had been done by you, that he might conform the more to it in his dealings towards you.
He answered that he had never heard of any such book, but would make inquiries and then do all the requitals due from one Prince to another. He desired us to give him all things in writing, and to excuse him that having been long away, he answered not upon the sudden, but would send us answer of every point to our contentment. Upon that, Sir Henry, having them ready, delivered them.
Then I, Edward Stafford, according to your instructions, thanked him for breaking the enterprise of Scotland, and assured him from your Majesty that whatever sinister reports were given out, “you would never seek anything in Scotland prejudiciable to the league between France and them, but only to conserve the leagues in true friendship between Scotland and your realm; and you desired the like measure to be measured to you from hence.” He answered that he greatly thanked you for your kind taking of his goodwill, and would be ready ever to perform the like, and for Scotland, would never let anything be attempted prejudicial to the old leagues they have with England; hoping that you would continue to do as you have begun, which I assured him you would ever truly do.
So I, Henry Cobham, besought the King to be assured of your entire amity, and, performing the ordinary duty and compliments, he “licenced” me with many gracious words.
Afterwards we went, accompanied as before, to the Queen regnant, when I, Henry Cobham, signified to her my return, beseeching her to think wherein she might employ me, your Majesty desiring to requite her for the amiable offices she had performed to the King her husband in your behalf, the which greatly bound you to her, wishing she might have many happy days with the Christian King. The young Queen with sundry gracious words signified her good inclinations to your Majesty, and desired to be recommended to you and continued in your favour.
Then I, Edward Stafford, after like declaration and assurances, presented your letters as confirmation of what I had delivered by words, which being done, I, Henry Cobham, humbly kissed her hands and so we departed. The Queen Mother being gone to meet Monsieur, and her return uncertain, I thought good not to tarry longer, to put you to double charge, and so sent to press the King's answer to your demands. Pinart sent us the answer “by mouth,” by our messenger, and would not deliver it in writing, saying it was not reason that you giving nothing in writing the King should do so. Whereupon I, Edward Stafford, thinking it touched my credit to have so slight an answer, sent a letter to M. Pinart, that as I confessed it was not in reason for the King to give anything in writing, your Majesty having given nothing, yet your ministers having delivered your mind in writing, the King's mind should be delivered us by his minister in the same sort; and withal, pressed for more show of goodwill in the King to find out and punish the author of the libel.
The answer he hath with much ado sent to every article in writing, whereof I, Henry Cobham, bring you a copy home with me. For the author of the libel, he answers that if we can find him, he shall be punished, which, as I send him word, it is not fit for us to do but for the King. So I think it impossible to have it punished, for I see in like cases, where it touches the King himself, they are fain to let them go unpunished; therefore I stay further prosecuting till I know your pleasure.—Paris, 21 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. Also in a much later hand: Sir Edward Stafford's information to the French King, touching his receiving of rebels and fugitives, showing that the Spanish King upon demand rejected fugitives. Queen Elizabeth showed her abhorrence to a libel against the French King and therefore she expected the same measure from the French King. The passages in the letter relating to these points have been marked as if for extract. 7 pp. [France X. 57.]
Oct. 21. 181. Stafford to Burghley.
I have sent your lordship a copy of all that I have sent to Mr. Secretary in a packet to my mother. I must needs complain that I have been very evil dealt with by my lord ambassador before my coming hither. I will make no quarrel of it, but truly if he had given me a blow, he could not have done me so great a despite. Your little son, Mr. Cecil, could write you the truth of it, “though he will not be a knowen of it to me, for he Cobham] gave out afore my coming that I came hither against your lordship's will and that your lordship had no liking to me. It was but to keep Mr. Cecil aloof from me, which, of his good nature, he hath not done, nor I hope will not.” I am sure he shall have no cause, for besides that he is my kinsman by his mother, he is so near to your lordship that if he were my own son I should not love him better.
But if he [Cobham] have used me evil for my part alone, for the service of her Majesty he hath used me worse, as you may see from what I have written to Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Parrie is here, whom I know to have been in your good liking, for which I use him the better. I have ever had a very good opinion of him, but having heard that of late years he hath depended upon others, I pray your lordship's opinion of him.
I am bold with your lordship, as reposing wholly upon your advice, beseeching you, for her Majesty's service, to let me know when I do amiss, or not so well as I might.
Signor Pallavicino (Palevisine) does his humble duty to you. I never saw a man more affectionate to do her Majesty service. His brother has been here and also offers her his service, and though his estate (“which is hard, by the spies the Pope hath over him”) will not permit him to come often and openly to me, he will advertise me of all that comes to his hands that may serve her Majesty. I pray you let her know of their goodwill.—Paris, 21 October, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. X. 58.]
Oct. 21. 182. Cobham to Walsingham.
The answers of the King and Queen were deferred, as it seems, in hopes of the Queen Mother's return, but the Duke of Anjou's stay at Laon (Lan) and his ill-health since coming to Chateau-Thierry (Shauteau Thyrry) remove all hope of her coming as yet. So I this morning “part” out of Paris, resolving to be at Boulogne (Bullen) on the 27th at furthest, beseeching you, at my return, to be the means that I may come to her Majesty's presence, and receive such further favour as you may think good to bestow on me “which hath with zeal and affection done her service.”— Paris, 21 October, 1583.
Postscript.—The Duke of Anjou came to Chateau-Thierry the 17th and his mother on the 19th. There is small appearance that he will see the King, but “pretendeth” to go to Bourges (Burgys) in Berry for the winter.
M. Gougnies (Gonny) was sent from the Duke of Parma to his Highness at Laon to treat with him for Cambray and Cambresis. His Highness has despatched a gentleman to Duke Casimir and the Elector Truchsess.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France X. 59.]
Oct. 21. 183. Stafford to Walsingham.
While waiting for the King's answer or the Queen Mother's return, I have gathered what I could by conferring with men of all sorts, especially with those who know the state of this place.
The King is still “assotted” upon the two Dukes. Joyeuse is sick and cannot come to Court, but the King goes often to visit him; yet for all his favour at the King's hand, his not coming to Court somewhat increases Epernon's favour, who so governs the King that he almost stands in awe of offending him. In this Duke's house I have an old acquaintance who I hope, either for love or money or both, will tell me all he can come by.
I may have some way of intruding myself into some grace with the Duke, unless you counsel me to the contrary.
“The house of Guise doth not so much lean upon him as upon the other. He hath a Gascon's head, which overwinning [? overweaning] of his favour and their ambition will scarce agree.”
The King is so assotted with him that he has gone about to persuade his mother and them of Lorraine that, the Queen's sister being too young to be marriageable, they should marry him with the Princess of Lorraine.
Truly the King seems more careful to leave these two men fast allied, if anything should come to him, than to leave his realm in good estate. The Queen Mother and house of Lorraine will not consent to that match. “They shrink up their shoulders and say little, but they are all bent another way.”
Duke Joyeuse and the Guises have better intelligence and he leans to them as far as he dare without making the King jealous, as he is very apt to be.
With this Duke (for our merchants' interests) I shall have to deal more than with the other. I will try to gain somebody about him, and if occasion offers, to win some favour with him, for be assured, no matters of importance pass without these men's acquaintance with them.
The Duke of Guise's credit with the King is more a reverent respect, “mixed with some jealousy of the goodwill which the soldiers and many gentlemen bear to him,” than affectionate love. The whole house of Guise, except the Due de Maine, is at the Court.
The Marshal of Retz's credit increases. “They intrude him to the looking into matters of finances, rather, as it is thought, to get somewhat of it to stick to his fingers, and by that means to pick a quarrel, to search into his estate and to pick some crowns from him (of the which they think he hath good store) than for any goodwill they bear him. It is thought by some that he is so cunning that he will make his profit both of the charge he hath, and of them that put him to it. . .
“He is still the Queen Mother's right hand, who hath the greatest trust in him; and that maketh him of the other side trusted less,” for her credit is but small, and she has received many discourtesies from the King and indignities from those about him. She seeks all ways to hide it, and rather fawns to keep it hid, than strives against the stream. Since her last being with Monsieur, the King has “entered into further disliking with her,” for at her return she promised that when Cambray was victualled Monsieur should deliver it up to the King, and also that he should finally conclude the marriage with the daughter of Lorraine, to which the Queen had persuaded both him and the King. She brought the King to it by laying before his eyes how necessary it was to bring his brother home; that being abroad, he was an instrument either for evil-willing neighbours or his evil-disposed subjects to trouble him, and that being married to a young wife, allied to those who are wise and assuredly his, her well-using of her husband, and the children she would bring him, “and other such means as wise wives have to win their husbands withal,”was the likeliest way to get him home again.
Before Monsieur's eyes, she laid the great wants he had and was like to have; what loss of reputation he had sustained in his late enterprises, whereby his credit was quite lost, both abroad and at home; that his only way was to go home to the King his brother and do something “whereby he might enter into some assurance of him;” that she was assured the King would like no way so well as matching with his niece, and that if he once “grew in a liking” with him, nothing would be too dear for him. That matching that way, if the King should (as he was inconstant in all his actions) be inconstant in his goodwill, the Duke's alliance with that house would keep him in such awe “that he would look twice or ever he would displease him.” And for them of Lorraine she assured Monsieur they would be ever steadfast to him, and desired nothing more than to be allied to him.
Whether Monsieur believed these reasons or not, he promised her to come to the Court and perform it as soon as Cambray was victualled. Men of judgment think he never meant to do either, but that neither having penny to help himself nor way to succour Cambray, he promised in order by her means to get money from the King, and by the backing of M. Puigaillard with the King's gendarmerie, to have means to victual and enter Cambray. But now the King, finding all a mockery, lays the fault on the Queen Mother and is jealous that she keeps Monsieur aloof “to be a still bar against him.” So on Friday last the 11th [old style], she went towards Monsieur, and “assureth herself” to bring him and to conclude the marriage. He promised to meet her at Monceaux, to help to shorten her journey, the weather being cold and she old, but instead of doing so, he stayed at Laon till yesternight, when they say he came as far as La Fère, where your Honour saw him the last time you were here.
I have sent one thither to discover as much as any man may, not being of their counsel, and when I have news, you shall hear.
For Monsieur, I am sorry, being a Prince that for her Majesty's sake I have honoured, that my duty to her binds me to write what I find. All the way from the seaside hither, where at other times I have found him honoured and loved by the people, I now find him ten times more detested than the King. Here I find men's opinions little amended, he being generally taken for a man that loveth nothing, is grounded upon nothing but inconstancy, and is only thought to have some cunning and deceitful wit because, being inconstancy itself, no man can tell when to take hold of him.
One thing I cannot hide from her Majesty; that for all the pleasures he has received from her, “he cannot avouch her a good word.” This, they that are about him affirm and are assured of. There are but two things he keepeth the King in awe of: his pretended intelligence with those of the Religion, and the favour of her Majesty towards him. But for these two, the King would care less for him than I care for any man in France.
“The first of these, the King is assured, is taken from him, for the evil opinion that the Protestants have of him, worse than of the King; so that there is nothing left that keepeth him up by the chin with the King” but the supposed favour of the Queen. Though he is most unthankful to her and deserves nothing, yet because it keeps them from enterprising worse things, whether it were best for her Majesty, “though she understand it to make no show of it but to keep them still at such a gaze” I leave to her and your wisdom.
He seeks now to have great intelligence with Montmorenci, who seems of all men in France to have the best opinion of him, yet does not trust him altogether, though more than the Protestants would be glad he should, and have some mistrust that Montmorenci, “being not linked with them in conscience, as he is not, he may be in hope of greatness and of Monsieur's rising towards the sun, when he hath served his turn for the defence of himself from Joyeuse's and the King's displeasure, if God should take the King, he may be in as hard case again with them in hopes of Monsieur's favour as he hath been heretofore. But yet truly he governeth himself marvellously well and is marvellously beloved where he is, and hath a great number of gentlemen that follow and do depend upon him.”
News is now come that the city of Cambray is revolted and has let in the Prince of Parma, for the evil government of Balagni, who is in the citadel, governor for Monsieur. The citadel, they say, is not yet taken; if it be, then Monsieur's labour is in vain, for he had determined to send one Paschal, belonging to Pibroc, into Spain, to treat with the King, some say upon a composition for delivering Cambray. However it cometh, Monsieur is thought to have done better service to the King of Spain “than he in France that hath done him most.”
The King, upon the news of Cambray, is marvellously offended with Puygaillard and uses him very ill, for he thought assuredly to have had it; “but it is thought here that Monsieur had rather the devil had it than his brother, whereat, in respect of France, all wise Frenchmen stomach him greatly.” Monsieur now seeks to curry favour with the people of those countries of France that know him not, as Brittany and Provence, exhorting them by his ministers to stand to their liberties at the assembly now called, and promising them whatever help and favour he can give.
The assembly is deferred to the 5th of next month, and it is thought will be delayed still and “dissolved with doing nothing.” The King finds he cannot have his will, and that the deputies (though some of them suborned by him) will not betray their provinces that put them in trust, as those of Provence, Burgundy, Languedoc, Guyenne, and especially Brittany, “who stand stiffliest to their privileges of any other.” There is marvellous heartburning between them of Brittany and the King's receivers, sent to receive the money which, according to custom, was to pay the presidents, councillors and other officers of the Parliament of Rennes, and was wont to be paid quarterly. Now the King would needs have this money, leaving them unpaid. His receivers, not being paid, demanded it of the King in open Parliament. They of the Parliament said it was the King's pleasure that the old custom should be observed, else “they should not live to do justice and him service; and the receivers talking more audaciously than they thought fit, “they bid him (sic) avoid, with some hot words.”
On this the King used hard words to their deputies here and commanded them to deliver the money they had in their hands. They having received commands from those of Brittany to deliver none upon pain of their heads, refused, whereupon there is like to be some stir there.
In the end, they of Brittany have commanded their deputies to conclude nothing at the assembly without sending the demands home and receiving answer.
Men think that the King will delay the assembly till they be weary and ask a dissolution for some long time, for they lie here at the rate of 1,000 crowns a day charge to the realm.
Bellievre is despatched to the Queen of Navarre, and thence to that King. “Now the King would have all [the matter] to die, and will have it but evil reports that brought him into such a choler that made him to do what he did. But the examinations have gone so far, and the child seen by the King and others; the midwife, the nurse produced, and so many particularities as I think it is like in the end to breed some broil; for the King of Navarre hath plainly sent to the King that he will not receive her, and demands justice of his wife if she have offended; if she have not, of those that falsely accused her. Monsieur now beginneth to make much of the Queen of Navarre, that the King is offended with her, where afore he could not abide her this two years almost.”
For Spain, one from the King of Navarre yesterday assured me there was a Spaniard come to Orthez in Bearn who said that the King had his army of the Terceiras still together, and meant in the beginning of spring to make some enterprise upon England; but certain news is come that the fleet was intended for an enterprise upon Larache in Africa, and that finding this not to be compassed, the King has dissolved it, and is sending the soldiers to Italy under Don Pedro de Tassis, from thence to be employed in the Low Countries, whither he meaneth to bend his forces.
They are setting abroach a new enterprise here for Don Antonio, by sending a man of quality to stir up the Turk, who, it is said, will presently send an ambassador hither.
The day before I went to the Court, Don Antonio sent a young Englishman with a strange message to me: That hearing I was come, his Majesty sent to know whether I had anything to say to him; that if I had, he was not half a mile out of the way to St. Germains, and would stay purposely within. I was somewhat amazed what to answer, but having nothing to him from her Majesty, replied that I had nothing save assurance, when I saw him, of her Majesty's continued goodwill. That for seeing him the next day, it was impossible, the way being long and we having business with the King, and therefore desired him to pardon me, And so I shall defer him till I learn her Majesty's pleasure, “the sight of him being, in mine opinion, more cause of jealousy than way to do him good.”
I think the strangeness of the message was for lack of wit in him that brought it, and therefore answered it more mildly than it deserved.
For Scotland, those that know most say that the Duke of Guise's will is good, but his ability nothing without the King, who doth nothing without his two mignons, and they loath for him to have any expense “but that which fatteth their purses.” Besides, Epernon keeps the King in a perpetual jealousy of Guise “to make him jealous of Joyeuse that leaneth to him (whom, though openly he showeth not, he meaneth to overthrow).” And though the King be prodigal when he should not, he is the “covetousest” man in the world in any expense of importance, even to shedding tears when any charge comes for war or other causes, so that, for Scotland, men of judgment here more fear Spain, which hath both purse and goodwill, than France who hath neither.
I am but young yet, so write but what men say and leave my judgment till I can look further into their actions, which I will labour all I can. But you must needs give me time, “and look for no more of me yet than of a new man to the helm.” The Scottish ambassador sent one, the day after I came, with more compliments than any other, and said he would visit me, but hath not yet come. The others have both sent and come, except the agent for Spain, and I have visited them to-day. The Duke of Savoy has had a dangerous illness, “being dead and quite given over,” and upon his recovery, by urgent desire of his subjects, has promised before Candlemas to marry. I find he likes best the Princess of Navarre, but religion is the stay, They speak to him of Lorraine, but mean it not. The Venetian ambassador much desires to have friendship between the State and her Majesty. He is somewhat full of words, but the wisest Venetian I ever heard of, out of Venice.
All the ambassadors here are weary and discontented, for they find nobody appointed to despatch affairs, and can do nothing. I pray God I may have better cause for contentment, but I look not for it.
There is report of a broil in Savoy, but the ambassador says |he has not heard it from his master. Fourteen Frenchmen were cut to pieces, coming out of the Marquisate of Saluces through Piedmont. The reason none can tell, but that one of them beat a Swiss of the Duke's guard at Turin, which the ambassador thinks cannot be the cause of so sore a revenge. Whatsoever it was, never a man of them was left alive, and they were almost all gentlemen, and the Duke of Epernon chafes marvellously, because they were coming out of his brother's government. [Margin: This was done three months ago, but as the French “begin but now to stomach at it,” I write it to you as a new thing.]
In conclusion, I find all to agree that this place was never more divided. “The two brothers and the Queen Mother all in several factions, the King for his two mignons only, caring for nothing else; the Queen Mother to maintain her credit and to seek still to rule and govern, which is almost gone with her; Monsieur to keep himself abroad with some reputation to the world, and show that he hath great credit to do much good and mind to do more, and in truth, neither dealing well with brother, mother, Protestant, Papist nor friend.” The mignons are divided among themselves, though the King will not let them burst it out, Joyeuse altogether learning upon the Duke of Guise, and Epernon assuring the King that he depends on him alone, and putting into his head jealousies against Guise, which he easily listens to.
The Duke de Mayne, the Guises' brother, is not at the Court, it being agreed among that house that the chiefest of them shall never be at the Court all at once.
The Queen Mother can abide neither of the mignons, but seeks, by means of those that have been with the King from a child, as du Halde, his chief valet of the chamber and others, to intrude somebody else. They got in one Raigny, whom the King began to make so much of that the mignons were afraid. But Epernon used the King so stoutly that he desisted from his favours to Raigny, and is said to have declared that he would never whilst he lived love any but them which he loved now, and indeed has performed it in that sort that Epernon is marvellously glorified and governs him more than ever.
The Queen Mother has not only tampered with the mignons, but has “sought about Monsieur to heave out Fervacques,” who is only kept in by Aurilly's means, he promising to give him his daughter, with his greatest portion of living; while the Queen is practising to get du Halde's daughter and only heir for Aurilly.
So, thanks be to God, they are all divided, as they of all religions easily see, but how long it will last is doubted, for they have so often agreed for a mischief that honest men stand at gaze and think “they may as well agree to hurt us, as Pilate and Caiaphas to crucify Christ.”
I have been at leisure to write this by reason of the King's delay of Sir Henry Cobham's despatch and his answer to our propositions. I hope her Majesty being acquainted with this will better accept it “being so simple, than if, being directed to her, I had troubled her ears with it.”—Paris, 17 October, 1583.
Postscript.—Since dating this letter, MM. Chassincourt and Clervant have been with me; I have assured them of her Majesty's friendship towards their master, and they “protest from him” all the service they can do her.
The King of Navarre has, as agreed on by the articles of the last peace, caused the garrisons to be taken out of all towns not comprehended in it, and has performed all things he was bound to. Now Clervant is here, as well for the churches generally as for the King of Navarre, to desire the effectuating of the peace on the King's part, they being ready to render the towns they have. They demand the restoring of the Prince of Condé to his government, the setting at liberty of all other towns in the King's hands without garrison, the equality of justice, and the preaching in all bailliages; all things agreed upon in the peace. The King has answered that they must stay until the Queen Mother be Come again. I find the state of those of the Religion better than it has been for a great while. But if they might have a year or two more rest, they would be better able a great deal to defend themselves if set upon, “so they may still have the favour of her Majesty and other their good friends.”
“This morning is arrived he that I sent to see the meeting between the Queen Mother and Monsieur. He promised to meet her at Monceaux, and she feigned to be sick of the gout to have him come thither, but he contrariwise feigned himself to be sick and so went to Chateau-Thierry.” Thither the Queen Mother came on Saturday last. Monsieur sent Lavardin and a great many gentlemen to meet her, with 200 horses well-appointed, when Lavardin excused Monsieur's not coming by his sickness. A league outside the town, there met the Queen the Mayor and townsmen, by Monsieur's command, and made her a long welcome. Fervaques and Aurilly met her at the castle-gate, and first thing she went to Monsieur's chamber, nobody with her but the Princess of Lorraine and M. Lansac, and of Monsieur's, but Aurilly, Fervaques, Lavardin and the usher that kept the door. “He that I sent got out of the usher the kindness of the reception, which was, as he tells me, with tears on both sides.”
I hope you will pardon me that I write not what Monsieur is sick of; I dare not be too inquisitive of such great princes' sickness. He used the Princess of Lorraine very well, but men cannot gather whether for any other intent than ordinary courtesy. Lavardin governs Monsieur more than any and Fervaques is said to be declining. Lavardin is followed as much as Bussy was, and is in as great favour with his master. It is thought there impossible for the Queen Mother to bring Monsieur to Court, and doubted whether she mean it or not.
I have this morning by her Majesty's commandment sent Mr. Staling to Monsieur with her letters. When he comes again, you shall hear more.—Paris, 21 October, 1583.
Add. Endd. 11 pp. [France X. 60.]
Oct. 21. 184. Stafford to Walsingham.
Besides the relation of matters of this state, I must needs tells you in what sort I am left by Sir Henry Cobham, that being new come, and as it were a fresh water soldier, you may not look for more at my hands, “that is yet at the gaze, and plodding to hunt for any scent that may be good to serve her Majesty withal.” I write this letter apart, that you may make none acquainted with it but whom it please you. I enclose a note of all that he has delivered to me in writing. Besides this, he has not shown me so much as the copy of a letter or anything else which might instruct me what course to take; or what humour the men of this Court are of, either to each other or for foreign causes. All the answer I could get from him is “that what humour they be in now, it were no purpose to tell me, for that which is to-day is not to-morrow. What men there are that are best affected to her Majesty ? Answereth, none. For men to give intelligence not one, besides the French minister here, M. Torsac, and the King of Navarre's agents . . . and these you know depend their fortune on her Majesty's goodness, and therefore every ambassador from the Queen is as sure of them and surer than he was.” I asked him to make me acquainted with some of the Scottish men of the Guard who have pleasured him. He said he would, but has never showed me any, how much soever I pressed him to it.
I desired him to give me some way to have intelligence out of the Spanish ambassador's house, or the Scottish, or the house of Guise. He answers that he has given his word not to discover them, and that I should find that those who dealt with me would bind me in that sort. I desired him to deal franklier with me, for no returning ambassador before ever left his successor so bare. He answered that Sir Amyas Paulet left him worse, without paper, discourse or man. I was fain to take all quietly, for I could get no more, and therefore, without show of discontentment, am now ready to bring him out of the town. I must think that either he means “to leave me so bare as my service thereby must be so bad as I shall receive discredit by it, or else it is for the great love he beareth me he leaveth me so naked to pick all out of the stars; thereby, if I do any service without his help, I may deserve better reputation. I take all to the best, but if I leave my successor so bare, I will give him leave to think the worst.”
I will not spare labour and diligence, and I pray you to help me with the best that with honour you may disclose. They shall not have cause to weary of my acquaintance. I have also written to Sir Amyas Paulet. I hope if you have any treaty or anything belonging to my charge, or know anything that is for me to hear, especially for Scotland, you will send them me.—Paris, 21 October, 1583.
I pray you send me the names of the noblemen in Scotland of the King's and also of the opposite party, that if any talk with me of those matters I may not seem quite unacquainted with them.
“I thank your honour for Long. I never saw an honester, gentler nor a diligenter young fellow. I will use him as he deserveth, besides that I must love him for your honour's preferment.”
Add. Endd. 3 pp.[ France X. 61.]
Enclosed in the above:
185. A note of papers received from Sir Henry Cobham.
A brief declaration of restitutions, judgments and condemnations made and given to the French from March, 1560, to July, 1579.
A copy of the treaty between her Majesty and the French King made in 1572, April 29, at Blois (Blesys).
Acceptations of the above treaty.
Order taken for piracies, received from M. Pinart and given to Sir H. Cobham by Mr. Philips, May 11, 1583.
Complaints of the French merchants “trading England.”
Orders for redress of piracies.
Copy of the authority given to the Lord of Lincoln, Sir Thos. Smith and Sir Fras. Walsingham for the ratification the King should make of the league [in 1572].
Brief of the requests made to the King by Sir H. Cobham “and me,” ambassadors for the Queen of England.
Alderman Starkie's cause, sued in the name of Anthony Sherington.
Complaint of the English merchants for the imposts in Normandy and Brittany.
A great bag wherein are a number of papers of merchants' causes. (Signed) E. Stafford.
Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. X. 61a.]
Oct. 21. 186. Stafford to Walsingham.
Copy of the preceding letter.
Holograph. Endd. by Stafford, “Copy of my second letter &c.” 3 pp. [France X. 61b.]
Oct. 21. 187. Stafford to Walsingham.
I had sealed up my letters when Sir Henry Cobham came to bid me farewell, and I went to conduct him out of town. Whilst I was abroad, the Procureur-General to the King came hither, and tarried till my return. He told me he was sent to speak about the libel by the King's command, who had ordered it to be punished with extremity; therefore he asked if I could guess the author or partaker of it. I told him it was not our part to seek it out, but for the King and his officers; that when there was the like in England against the King, the Queen, without any motion of the King's ambassador, sought out the author and punished it, and if the King now did the like, the Queen would have good cause to think he loved her, as she had shown proof that she loved him. He assured me the King had given him express command to find it out and punish it, and desired the sight of one of the books, which I gave him “because I would have no excuse of mistaking, though I knew it needed not.” I think this show of haste comes of a letter I wrote somewhat roundly to Pinart, of which I have sent you a copy.—Paris, 21 October at night.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. X. 62.]
Oct. 22./Nov. 1. 188. Claude Paulmyer to Walsingham.
The opportunity of this good gentleman and his friendly offices during our long intercourse constrains me by him to offer you my humble services and those of MM. de la Faye and Bergeron. The same bearer will tell you all the rest, as Jaques le Peintre the ordinary messenger from London has told me, and will show you truly how things have gone here and what is proposed to-day; having long been in company with the ambassador Cobham.— Paris, 1 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. X. 63.]
Oct. 23. (fn. 1) /Nov. 2. 189. Edmond Latymer to Walsingham.
Complaining that no charges have been given him for his journey, but that, to his great damage, he has had to defray himself, and would do still if he had the means. But his pension from his late master being taken from him, and great part of his wife's “living” spoiled and withholden by the enemy in Flanders, he prays that her Majesty may be advertised that he cannot serve her as he would, for, as his honour knows, “a golden key will open many locks.”
Unless promised speedy relief, he must retire to some unknown world, where he may live according to his small portion, but notwithstanding all hard dealing, will remain a true subject to her Majesty and a faithful friend and servant to his honour, in whom is his chiefest trust.—2 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. November 2. “M. Edm. Latymer at Rouen.” 1¼ pp.[France X. 64.]
Oct. 24./Nov. 3. 190. Ségur-Pardeilhan to Walsingham.
After very ill weather, God has brought me safe and sound to this place to-day, and although by other means you will be more particularly informed of the state of this country, yet I must tell you what was told to me two hours ago; which is that affairs go on very badly. Some days ago the Spaniards took Eccloo, the Sas, Acoelles [qy. Ecluse] (fn. 2) and Rupelmonde (Riblemont); they hold Ypres surrounded; Bruges, if God does not help, will be made desert by the plague, which is very rife there, and, what is worse than all, it is to be feared that Brabant and Flanders will separate from the Prince of Orange and Holland and Zeeland, because they fear that they are being used only as a rampart. Those of Flanders have sent to Duke Casimir for help, but they have obtained nothing because they did not send money to enable his army to march.
The Prince of Orange is still at Dordrecht with the Estates, who have settled nothing. If Brabant and Flanders treat with Spain, it will do much hurt to those of the Religion and especially to England. The Queen is very wise and very well counselled, and I believe will provide for this. Sir, this good people and all these fine towns must not be lost. The King of Spain is only too powerful, and still more your enemy than ours. His chief aim is to crush the true Religion, and by this means to avenge the injuries which he conceives have been done to him by the English. We can give him what will keep him busy in his country all his life; it would be better to keep him occupied in his own house rather than have the trouble of chasing him out of ours.
You will take what I say in good part. If anything important happens at Dordrecht I will let you know it. I pray you to thank her Majesty very humbly on my behalf for letting me pass safely into this country.—Middelburg, 3 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 60.]
Oct. 25./Nov. 4. 191. M. de Buzenval to M. de la Fontaine, in London.
Monsieur Geoffrey, I yesterday let M. de Ségur go on before me to Dordrecht, being obliged by a dysentery to remain here until I am somewhat better, for four or five years ago I embarked in this place with the late M. de Mouy, being seized in the same way, and had it for six months in France.
M. de St. Aldegonde has been to see me. It saddened me much to read in his face something fatal as to this miserable country, where all goes downhill, and it is a case of who shall first open their gates to the enemy. Those of Antwerp have the most courage, and are preparing themselves to hold out to the last.
M. de Teligny left the country two days ago to return to France, cast down as one who has just escaped from the hands of his enemies, for you know how he and six or seven troops of horse have been broken near Brussels.
I pray you to think of your friends, as those of whom M. de Mouy thought well. I know how much he loved and esteemed you, and I honour his memory so much that this alone would bind me in close friendship to you, without my knowledge of your virtues. I pray you give this little letter to Madame de Mauvissière.—Middelburg, 4 November, 1583.
Add. to M. de la Fontaine, but probably meant for Le Brumen. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and FL XX. 61.]
Oct. 25./Nov. 4. 192. M. de Buzenval to Walsingham.
We have arrived safely in this island, thanks to God, and to the good behaviour of her Majesty's ship; where I can assure you that the motion of the sea (branle) did not so much affect our bodies as the uncertainty and despair of the people here has troubled our spirits.
They could not be more filled with terror; such terror that they cannot even see the door behind them, to escape by it, but in a stupor they await the coming of the enemy in their houses, which they seem to keep for no other purpose than to receive there those who will thrust them out of them. I do not speak of the main land, where this astonishment has already wrought its effect, but I say that matters in these islands have come to that state that if the enemy had turned his head this way instead of going into Flanders, I know not whether they would not have sent ships to receive them.
This is the good they have got from the long peace which they have enjoyed while their neighbours were in misery. And they have so relished the sweetness of it that they are loth to taste the bitterness of war, and do not greatly mind making shipwreck of their religion and of their liberty, provided that they may keep the free course of their traffic.
I do not invent what I say to you, and the strangeness of the matter does not lead me to exaggerate the evil. I have seen the most important man of this island [qy. St. Aldegonde], who has spoken of it with much more misery than I have used in writing of it. It has grieved me to see him sitting with folded hands at this time when there is the greatest need of good. pilots to guide this poor vessel, so tossed about by waves and tempest.
You have learnt how many towns the enemy has taken all at once in Flanders. After having left garrisons in Bergues, Dixmude and Furne, and taken Eccloo, he entered the Pays de Waes, where the governor at once gave into his hands Rupelmonde, the strongest castle in the country, so that now he commands all the river of the Sas [i.e. the Scheld].
The people of the country have agreed to a contribution of 60,000 florins a month to save themselves from further plunder. Those of Antwerp have cut the dyke towards Flanders, and drowned all the country round about to protect themselves. They alone show resolution in this extremity, and have sent for M. St. Aldegonde, who is doubtful what to do, but I think will in the end take this course.
I saw yesterday the natural son of the Prince of Orange, who is returned from Dort, and who assured me that the assembly had taken very good resolutions, and were discussing how to preserve themselves against Spain, towards which purpose they meant to contribute sufficiently.
Those of Flanders sent no deputies to the assembly, meaning, as it seems, to manage their own business apart.
I think these confusions will stay the Prince from accepting the titles granted to him here, and that he will prefer the common safety to his private greatness.
After having well considered affairs here, I find little to comfort me. There lack means to stay the King of Spain's victories; we are now his neighbours and it is to be feared shall feel his greatness. They of the Religion will be the first carried away by the flood and then the Papists will have their turn; but they will have the pleasure of seeing us ruined before them, which hope will make them ever connive at the power of Spain.
A doubtful report has come of the taking of Cambray by the Malcontents, by means of intelligence with some within it; and that they have slain the garrison and are now besieging the citadel. France will have to watch it taken, if this news be true.
I am kept here by indisposition, and have let M. de Ségur go on before me. I hope two days' hence to see him again at Dort.—Middelburg, 4 November.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 62.]
193. Translation of the above.
Endd. The copy of M. de Buzenval's letter Englished. 2¼ pp. [Ibid. XX. 63.]


  • 1. Although this letter is endorsed as if dated old style, the next (evidently written after this), is not, and on the whole it appears probable that Latymer used new style.
  • 2. Cf. list in Granvelle's Correspondence (x. 410):— “le Sass et l'Escluse du Sass de Gand.”