Elizabeth: November 1583, 1-5

Pages 192-196

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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November 1583, 1–5

Nov. 2. 220. Gilpin to Walsingham.
I send the copy of a letter I have received from my friend at Cologne. I am in hope that the matter he writes of may make amends for his delays. My last letter was from Middelburg, but being come hither for a few days, I let you know what I can learn of the state of these parts.
The Prince and States are still assembled at Dort, and, it is thought, “have or will agree” to receive Monsieur again, on the conditions offered by him. And will likewise so settle their business “and lay that plat” as, if foreign help should fail, they will be able themselves to make at least a war defensive.
To annoy the enemy in the enterprise of Flanders (whereto he was drawn upon hope to get Ghent, by intelligence of Sommiers [or Somere], one of the pensionaries of that town, and others) the ditches are cut about Antwerp and below, towards Lillo, and so the greater part of that country overflowed; moreover the Count of Hollack with two or three thousand men is landed at Terneusen, on the Flanders side, three leagues from Flushing, where the inland ditches are also cut and ships drawn up, and, it is said, the “river or sea of the Houndt ditch” is or shall be also cut if need be, to keep free the passage of the river to this town, and that this intent should not be “letted,” a fort is to be made at the fittest place.
There be also numbers of freebooters made here, at Ghent and Bruges, who daily spoil and burn in the Pays de Waes, “the country and people being given to the spoil of those that dare adventure, who, besides doing some noble exploit, are otherwise well rewarded. The like course it is thought will be taken for all Brabant, hoping that way by very want and famine to drive the enemy to extremity.
The Prince of Parma is still at Ecloo, and has, as report goes, sent forces to meet Count Hollack, least he should enter so far into Flanders as to hinder the retreat, and, letting in the waters, drown or distress the soldiers, or burn and spoil as he passes. It is said that the Count has summoned Hulst and Axel, threatening, in case of refusal, to drown and destroy all their country. Also, that those of Ghent and Bruges have broken down most of the bridges on the small rivers, so that the Prince of Parma may be more troubled to retire than he was to come into the province.
Those of Ghent since Embyse's coming (who surely saved the town) have imprisoned thirty or forty persons known to favour agreement with the Malcontents, amongst which 'Sommiers' being one of the chiefest is kept in hold at Dermonde. It is reported that M. Champagny and others are removed to a straiter prison, where few escape execution, and therefore thought some new matters are found against them.
Order is “a taking” to provide Brussels, Mechlin, Vilvorde, Alost and other places with all necessaries, and for the soldiers' monthly payment.
The garrison at Bergen (Barrow) is in mutiny for their pay, but commissaries are sent, and it is hoped they are pacified. It is said Mr. Norreys will be here in a day or two, with order to make up his companies, “and should be employed in place of great credit.”
All Brabant is quiet, but if the enemy is forced to leave Flanders they may come to winter in these quarters, unless “the like course be taken to spoil the country, unto which desperateness, as the last refuge, it seemeth, all the walled towns are thoroughly bent unto, and will rather mar and spend all than that the King of Spain should compass his pleasure.”
In East Friesland the States men have taken a village by Delfzyl, and “enschance” the same, to annoy the passage to Groningen.
Guelderland is quiet. The Duke of Cleves “hath or will grant” the 'religions freidt' throughout his country.
The Bishop of Liége has assembled the States there, and demanded 300,000 guilders towards the charge of his wars. In case of refusal his subjects fear he will try to compel them.— Antwerp, 2 November, 1583.
Postscript.—Since writing the above, I have received yours of the 26th of the last and am much bound by your accepting so well of my endeavours about the procuration.
News is come this evening “that the States have chosen the Prince of Orange for their chief governor over all by provision; his son Maurice general of the camp, and Mr. Norreys his lieutenant or chief marshal,” and have taken order for the payment of 30,000 foot and 4,000 horse, so that of the year they shall receive eight months' pay. Each province has agreed to bring in their quota monthly to such place and treasurers as shall be appointed.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 73.]
Nov. 3. 221. Stokes to Walsingham.
The stormy north winds have made the breach so great in the banks which were cut besides Sluys (Sluc) that at every tide there comes in so much water that it is feared it will drown all the country. It is already within half a Dutch mile of this town, and the breach is so great and deep that most men think it will never be stopped again.
The enemy at Ardenburg and Middelburg besides Sluys can lie there no longer because of the water, which already has drowned many trim villages and farm houses, “most lamentable to behold.”
Count Hollack is come out of Holland with thirty small ships wherein are about 2,000 men, and is gone up the river of Antwerp to Terneuse; he has cut the banks in three places, which will drown the land of Waes to the gates of Ghent, and, is thought, will force the enemy clean out of those parts, especially their horse, “only for want of fresh water"; also their forage and victuals grow very scant.
On the news of Count Hollack's coming, the Prince of Parma returned to Eccloo, and since his coming has sent the Ballewe of Waes prisoner to the castle of Tournay, “with sharp speeches that he will hang him,” and yet he is the only man who brought the enemy in and delivered up Rupelmonde. He has his just reward, for he has been false to the States once or twice before. M. d'Hembisen has given up the land of Waes to pillage and to burn it, which is already begun. He has written very friendly letters to the Prince of Chimay and the magistrates of this town and the Free, desiring their friendship to them of Ghent, with great promises that they shall do nothing without their consents.
By advice of some Spaniards with the Prince of Parma, the walls and ditches of Berghes St. Winox, Feurne and Dixmude are to be razed and filled, and the places to lie open like villages, and at both Dunkirk and Nieuport a great castle is to be made, which is greatly misliked by the nobility and gentlemen of the Walloon's side.
In all those parts victuals are marvellous scant and dear, and if it were not for what is brought out of England they could hardly live and keep those places. “They are not worthy of it, for the Spaniards that are in those towns speaks as evil of England as may be.” Letters from Lille say that Parma has sent an ambassador to Monsieur called M. de Gougnies (Gonye), to require truce (treffes) for Artois and Hainault (Henego) with Cambray for four months, they being in great fear of the French. Also that M. de la Noue shall be released for a Spanish nobleman who has been long prisoner in France.
It is written to this town that the Prince of Orange is made Earl of Holland and Zeeland.—Bruges, 3 November, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Postscript.—This morning the Prince of Chimay heard that yesterday the Prince of Parma returned to Tournay in great haste. This afternoon the Prince of Chimay sent for me and gave me the enclosed letter for you, and it seems he has sent you another some other way. Surely he seeks greatly to be in her Majesty's favour, and much desires your answer, which I pray you to let me have the delivery of.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 74.]
Nov. 3/13. 222. P. Bizarri to Walsingham.
The Count Hollack, by commission of the States, has gone with about 1,200 men to Terneuse, a promentory over against Zeeland, to drive the enemy from the Pays de Waes by force and by cutting the dykes and banks.
It is said that there have been some skirmishes between his people and those of the Prince of Parma.
The garrison at Bergen-Zoom have lately mutinied for want of pay, and the commissary Rosello and some others have been sent to pacify them.
It is further said that a reconciliation has been made between Monsieur and the States, and that the King of Navarre or the Prince of Condé will be sent here as his lieutenant. May it please God that it may succeed better than it did formerly.
The deputies of the new Elector of Cologne have sought to satisfy the old one by the offer of a sum of money, but he demands the restoration of his state, which, however, he will only gain by force, and this will be very difficult. Already it is said that Bonn is besieged by the enemy. In the mean time, we shall see what resolution the princes of the Empire will take. May it please God to end all well and to his glory.—Antwerp, 13 November, 1583.
Postscript.—As to what is said of Cambray, I think the enemy may have done some little harm thereabouts, but in the city itself there has been no change whatever.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1½ pp. [Ibid. XX. 75.]
Nov. 4. 223. Cobham to Walsingham.
With much torment and storms on the seas, he has landed beside Deal Castle, and is come, with some discommodity, to Sandwich. The weather has prevented the landing of his horse and stuff, but he hopes it will be done this day, so that he may depart on the morrow for the Court, trusting to receive his honour's direction for coming to her Majesty's presence, as requested in his last letter by John Welles.—Sandwich, 4 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France X. 70.]
Nov. 4/14. 224. Colonel Morgan to Walsingham.
Since my last, I learn that the regiments of the enemy, dispersed near Bruges, are now drawn together to Ecloo by order of the Viscount of Ghent. The Prince of Parma is at Tournay, and has received answer from M. de Guinne [Gougnies], whom he sent to the Duke of Anjou for the rendering, or at least the keeping neuter of Cambray, “without impeaching any way the King of Spain's precedence in this country, which the Duke hath utterly refused. And the King of France, being motioned by the same ambassador thereof, will not intermeddle with his brother's affairs. So that it is certainly reported there that the wars is declared between the King of Spain and the King of France.”
The Prince of Orange, being “newly sought” by this country and the States of Antwerp for succour, has sent Count Hollack with 3,000 men to Terneuse (Turnhays), where they have cut the head of the river and drowned the country, so that they pass with shipping to Ghent. This accord with the Prince of Orange and his succours have given them new courage, so that those of Ghent have imprisoned thirty chiefs of their town. Ypres has likewise apprehended a dozen, including the greffier and other officers, who would have compounded with the King.—Bruges, 14 November.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 76.]