Elizabeth: November 1583, 21-25

Pages 225-237

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, 11–25

Nov. 18 and 21 255. News From Cologne And Frankfort.
Cologne, 18 November. On the 13th, the people of the new Bishop took Popelsdorf with its castle, a place near Bonn; the garrison came out with their arms. The Bavarians at Hultz were valiantly repulsed, and Duke Frederick of Saxony was wounded dangerously in the shoulder, but in the end the place was taken and also the castle of Godesberg (Godelsberghen), and they were preparing to besiege Bonn if not hindered by the 6,000 soldiers of Truchsess, to whom those of Westfalia and Engers have anew sworn fidelity. He has lately sent troops to Count Neuenaar to maintain the places in his power.
The new Bishop is at Liége. Near Aix la Chapelle (Aquisgrana) there are come 4,000 foot and 1,000 horse of the Prince of Parma, with eleven pieces of artillery, going to the aid of Zutphen in Guelderland, taken a little time ago by the Malcontents and which the States are now trying to regain.
Frankfort, 21 November. The Catholics, by offering to Truchsess a great sum of money, wished to induce him to give up the bishopric and the electorate, but he refused, saying that he would sooner lose his estates and his life than abandon his faithful subjects; so that there seems little hope of coming to an agreement in this Diet, and there is fear that there will rather be a sanguinary war.
Italian. 1 p. [Newsletters XXVII. 19.]
Nov. 22. 256. [The Queen] to the Duke Of Anjou.
I see that you feel a scruple about leaving her whom you had made so much your own (tant aviez acquise) altogether ignorant of the state of your affairs, for which reason you have sent me more than I could have expected. I thank you a thousand times, promising that you can impart it to no living creature who takes more interest in it than I, who am still in great wrath about the enterprise which preceded the means for accomplishing it.
I am transported (en extase) when I think of your beginnings and your procedure, and picture to myself your ending. For if the King does not help you in another fashion than I imagine he will do, you will have to content yourself with the name, without doing anything of value, for one who has been made what you have been, in the Low Countries.
For it would be more than wrong to blind their eyes by a show of preservation when you well feel the weakness of your ability to defend them; their trouble would not come upon them in this way without a shipwreck of your reputation, which would result in eternal infamy to you, if you shall take any bait which your enemy's hook offers you, without their consent. I should be sorry to hear such news, unless they abandon you, for then you will be free and quit of your oaths. If they treat you thus, I have no doubt you will see that no agreement is made without those most assured to you (amongst whom I place myself in the first rank) being the mediators of it, you being able to rest at your ease, without fear that by my means anything will happen prejudicial to your honour or convenience.
I am not so overweening as to hope, far less to desire, that the King your brother and his mother should not take part in it with myself as the third, to make a trinity of your chief confidents; when I, as the least sufficient, shall not fail to go with them in affection and in a very ardent desire to increase your importance and gratify your wishes.
Perhaps you will think that the King of Spain may hold himself aloof from the treaty on account of my name. I assure you that had it not been for the love of you, I have not been left bare of good offers, and I think that I shall not remain a cipher in such a case, nor without the means of letting you feel it.
As for Cambray, it is for you to consider the honour which you have gained in acquiring it, and that to strip yourself of it without security for a better garment will leave you too cold this winter.
You make me very proud when I learn the effect of my last despatch, thanking you most humbly and not desiring life in this body if, in my counsels, I should not look with a sincere eye and without subtilty at whatever concerns you, although perhaps some others, more subtle and ingenious than I, may add something of their own thereto.
To conclude, I have declared fully to this gentleman what I think the best for you, being constrained to add that I am warned not to be too sure of the States and less of some others. However I pray you to take in good part the weak-wittedness of a woman, who, if she were as wise as Solomon and as rich as Crrœsus, you should not lack wise advice nor rich means to make you adored and feared, that is by your enemies, as God is my good witness, whom, after recommending myself a thousand times to your good graces, I pray to preserve you.
Copy; headed and endorsed with date. Fr. 2 pp. [France X. 84.]
Printed in Lettres de Catherine de Medicis, Vol. VIII. p. 414, from a copy at the British Museum.
Nov. 22. 257. Gebhard, Elector of Cologne, to Walsingham.
As I have written very fully to her Majesty of the state of our affairs and of our churches, which I am sure she will communicate to you as her faithful counsellor and secretary, I will not now be prolix, but only pray you earnestly to aid us and our churches to obtain from her Majesty the help for which we are entreating her. Our needs are pressing, and you and the Queen's other virtuous counsellors we believe can aid us; moreover, since God has called us to a knowledge of Himself, we have heard from our counsellors that you love and further the service of God.—From our castle of Arensberg, 22 November, 1583. Signed Gebard, Electeur de Coloigne.
Add. Endd. French. ¾ p. [Germany, States, II. 77.]
Nov. 22. 258. Gebhard, Elector of Cologne, to the Archbishop Of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.
We have written to the Queen concerning our State and the danger in which our churches now are, have opened our mind to her and implored her help. It is needless to tell you what you will learn certainly from those letters. But of this one thing we desire all to be persuaded, that from the time when we emerged from papal darkness, we have thought of nothing but how we might be an example of piety and virtue to our churches, and strive continually to instruct and reform them by the word of God. Verily, the Roman Antichrist moves every stone to oppress us and our churches, which the popish Germans assault, “Theomachi” and “Sarcophagi” abandon, and the cruel Spaniards in most barbarous manner invade. But we put our trust in Him who has conquered the world, and against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail, and are ready for the Church of Christ even to shed our blood, which only is left to us, our treasure being exhausted, that thus we may defend our churches, threatened by the enemy.
Therefore we pray you earnestly, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you will commend us to her Majesty, so that we may not only obtain the sum of money which we desire to borrow from her, but that it may be sent to us as soon as possible, for our necessities allow of no delay. And further, we pray that if you and your churches can by your charity give us help in our miseries, you will send us 3,000 English angelots, as quickly as may be, which may safely be given into the care of Andrew Van Muller, Eschevin of Antwerp. And we faithfully promise that your kind aid shall be repaid as soon as God Almighty shall show mercy to his churches, the which you are continually helping by your prayers.—Arensberg, 22 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. Latin. 1 p. [Germany, States, II. 78.]
Nov. 22./Dec. 2. 259. Juan Cortes De Surin to Piedro De Subiaur.
On this St. Andrew's Day, (fn. 1) I have received your honour's letter of the 5th of November, which our friend Bodenham sent me from Bilbao, where he was awaiting a passage towards you. By this time he will have seen you and informed you of the state of affairs and the manner in which he had left disposed him of whom your worship wrote to me by 'Eldebaraxas,' of whom I marvel greatly that he has not already come here; for it showed great carelessness that he should not mind 'Beledreque' getting ahead of him, for after all Eldebaraxas is his cousin, and he might easily be indiscreet. For Signor Guillermo I must tell your worship that so careless was Eldebaraxas of him that a few days ago I was at the Pardo to pray that he would do me the kindness to commend me to his Majesty for a certain office which he had vacated, and after about an hour, we fell into discourse about Signor Guillermo, and I told him that he had gone to Bilbao on that business. On his asking when I expected him, I said Christmas, to which he replied that he had promised him the same. Then I said to him, he will accomplish it, for he is a very honourable and upright man, to which he replied, so it appears. I further said, he is much obliged to your Excellency for your favours, both in having the privilege of your protection, and by your having given him more than two thousand ducats; and I am, for the time being, as much your Excellency's servant as any in your house; to which he replied, Time will bring the proofs, and meanwhile I will do all for them that I can.
I tell you this that you may not be heedless of it, for I should be grieved that it should be in such hands. All the rest I remit to your good understanding and care, who will know more in this and all things than I can tell you. Your worship may be assured that whatever you send to me shall be solicited by me with all care. As to the news of this Court, I know nothing to tell you, except that all is quiet until the spring, when matters will begin to stir, and I doubt not that there will be blows, because a great number of companies are made, beside the troops kept up under the Marquis of St. Croix and those in Alicante, in order for an expedition. For here are Juan Andrea and the Marquis of St. Croix, but so far it is not declared for what purpose they are come. I will keep your honour always informed of affairs.
France is all in arms, especially Provence and Languedoc, and it is feared they may do some mischief. I know how alarmed they are, why and in what manner; if I had a cipher I could inform you of somewhat.
To Don Piedro de Medicis, gone as general of the forces in Italy, Eldebaraxas has given a sum of 10,000 ducats, (fn. 2) and other 14,000 for the Indies. His Majesty and his sons are in good health. He is coming here next Saturday, as is said, in order to arrange matters for his departure in the spring for Monçon [qy. Monção]. On the eve of St. Andrew the bulls of the crusade were proclaimed here. If you desire us to make a cargo of them to sell there, we should get double money for them.— Madrid, 2 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. Spanish. 3 pp. [Spain II. 8.]
Nov. 23. 260. Stafford to Walsingham.
This is to advertise you what I have gathered since my last letters. The next day after, came to me Clervant and “Chashincowrt,” Clervant being despatched back to the King of Navarre with the King's answer. He has promised to send commissioners into those parts, to see the 'effectuing' of the Edict for the placing of justice, according to his promise, and to restore the towns into the King's hands, if that be done. “They think that when the commissioners come, they shall find so apparent causes of mistrust, that they themselves will be means to the King to leave the towns to them longer,” which, as far as I can see, they do not mean to redeliver without better surety than they expect from him.
“The King speaking with them, Villeroy pulled him aside, and as they found by his speeches after, put him in mind to ask them what Ségur's journey meant into England and other places. They said that it was about a voyage for the persuading some assembly for the clearing of such doubts as fall out every day among them of our religion,” which the King of Navarre seeks all ways to re-unite.
The King asked whether sending money into Germany and other places were the way to re-unite and make clear the doubts in religion, and how it chanced the King of Navarre went about any such thing without his privity. Clervant answered that the King of Navarre, knowing perfectly “that there were of his subjects in France of other religion that did put money in Germany and other places without the King's knowledge . . .; that he, being a Prince of the Blood, so near the realm and crown of France, being thereby so dear unto him as it was, desired the King not to take it in evil part though he sought to have a store to do him service at his need, and to help to defend the realm and him against any evil enterprise they would take in hand. The King remained so choked with that answer that he never spoke of it more.”
The King of Navarre is gone into Foix, it is thought to have conference with Marshal Montmorency (Memorancy) on the state of that country, where it is feared, upon those last accidents and surprises, there will grow a provincial war. The King is said to have sent for old Joyeuse, to avoid this going forward.
Certain of our religion of Province and Dauphiny have surprised a strong place at the entry of the Alps, called Colmars (Collemars). It is said that the Duke of Savoy and the Parlement of Provence have levied forces to besiege and take it again, but some say it was a “match” made by Montmorency, with consent of the Duke of Savoy, to make a stir in those quarters.
The King still continues the Assembly, “whereof the end must be money. It is thought at length the speech of retrenchment of officers will procure a great fine from them, to maintain themselves in their offices still.” The King means to gather good store of money this year, paying neither wages nor pension to anybody, but to have his whole revenue come into his coffers clear.
“For all the agreement of the wars of Cologne,” the Bishop of Liége seeks, by the Duke of Lorraine, to induce the King to help him in this action, and if he consents, will give over to the said Duke the Bishopric of Liége for one of his sons. It is hourly looked for that the Duke of Lorraine will send to the King about it, and 'tis thought that rather than fail, he will come himself.
The Swiss are assembled at Zurich about the matter of Geneva by the great pressing of the Duke of Savoy, who meanwhile, has 4,000 men in readiness, it is thought, for that enterprise.
The King's ambassadors with the Swiss and Grisons say that by the managing of the ambassadors of the Pope and Spain, “the five little cantons are leaning from him and in a 'mainering' to enter into league with the King of Spain, by the persuasion of Colonel 'Fifer,' that ever hath had a great pension of this King. They are now assembled at Fribourg to determine the matter. I am assured that the King, to prevent this, means to take their pensions from those cantons and from “Fifer,” and it is hoped he will enter into further league with the Protestant Cantons, “and leave the others before they have the honour to leave him.”
Bellièvre is not yet come to the King of Navarre. That affair is little talked of here and less cared for at the Court. The Queen is still at Coutraz, and it is thought her brother cares little if she never comes to her husband, “for fear of stirring coals.”
I send you two letters received this morning. [See Finch's letters, below.] Till I hear from you what he is good for, “I have cast away upon him 25 or 30 crowns to keep him occupied,” to make trial whether he and others “from thence do agree; which truly I find not much to disagree.”
For the matter of Scotland, Maninvil has divers times had private conferences with the King, and it is thought very assuredly that he shall presently be despatched into Scotland. Still news comes to me from them of the King's guard of Scots that there are men levying for Scotland, but when I send to the places where they say it is done, I find no such matter. They assure me that two captains of the Duke of Guise, named Dupuis and Arnolt, told them that it was by the French King's consent, and that they should remain with the King of Scots. I am sure they must go by sea, and hope to be advertised of it presently. For what is doing by land, I will have watches as near as I can.
I am daily assured of the great fear the King stands in of the wars in Languedoc. Yesternight, Pinart (Pynard) came back from Monsieur. What he brought I do not yet know.
I send you the copy of a leaf of a book now in press “and no more but that leaf done.” The pictures are not yet put in, but you may see by the “marking letters” what pictures will be in those void places when the thing is ended.
I have had to send you a copy and restore the leaf, lest the discoverer should be discovered, “who must bring me to the light of all the rest.” If you think I should move the King to stop it, send me her Majesty's pleasure in it, and I will with all diligence put her commands into effect, and also take it for a precedent hereafter in like cases.—Paris, 23 November, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [France X. 85.]
261. Edward Finch to Stafford.
I have found means to confer with M. de Gougnies (Gogny), giving myself out as a Spaniard, sent by “Jehan Battista Texis,” the Spanish ambassador, to kiss his hands. He received me very courteously and caused me to “stay dinner” with him, after which we conferred concerning the Low Country, and the King of Spain's great provision for the coming year, not only for Flanders, but for other places, but what places I could not get him to say.
“And that the King of Spain did send, before his departure unto the Prince of Parma, the Count Hannibal of Emmes” [Emps], a German who married the Cardinal of “Burome's” [i.e. Borromeo's] sister, whom the said King puts great trust in, with a gentleman of Spain, Don Manuel de Luna, not only to the Prince, but to confer with the Duke of Bavaria and other princes of Germany.
And that Parma shall want neither money nor men, for great store of treasure had arrived in Barcelona, to be sent to Genoa (Jenua) for these affairs, under the conduct of Signor Jehan Battista Grimaldo, who was to confer with other princes in Italy. This Grimaldo is son to Don Nicolaio de Grimaldo, Prince de Salerna, Duke de Terra Nova, a Genoese who has been long in Spain, has lent much money to the King and is in great favour.
Thus much I have learnt from M. de Gougnies, but he told me no more of his embassy than that the Prince of Parma sent him to Monsieur to ask the fulfilment of his promise given in writing before Monsieur's departure from Dunkirk. M. de Gougnies has been well feasted and banquetted at Monsieur's charges, and received a great reward at his departure, which was this present Sunday, after conferring a long time with M. de Quinsay (Kinsy).
Fervaques (Fervax) is looked for daily, and there is no other talk but of the marriage of Avrilly, whom Monsieur loves entirely.—Château-Thierry (Shateutere), 27 November.
Add. to Monsieur de la Curée, Paris. Endd. by Tomson “Edward Finch to Sir Edward Stafford.” 2 pp. [France X. 86.] [The mention of “this present Sunday” shows that Finch dated new style.]
262. The Same to the Same.
M. de Fervaques (Fervax) has arrived this present Monday at this Court, with thirty horse and many captains “of his friends.” Monsieur sent his mignon Avrilly with most of his Court a league and a half, to bring him into the city, where at his entry, “by fortune he met with Monsieur afoot, which came walking out of the meadows.” He embraced M. de Fervaques with smiles and great caresses, as they walked up to the castle.—Château-Thierry, 28 November [new style].
Add. and endd. as the last. ¾ p. [Ibid. X. 87.]
Nov. 23. 263. Stafford to Walsingham.
Cabriano (fn. 3) has been often with me, whom I have used with all kinds of courtesies. He pays courtesies again, but let me try to bring him to speech of anything, “he flyeth the tilt, and turneth the talk of other matters.” You advised me to offer him nothing, unless it were a horse or some such thing, which I have done, but cannot make him take it. Pray tell me whether it were best to deal plainly with him and “offer him well,” and how much?
I one day offered to speak of Queen Mother, but he told me plainly he could not say anything of her disposition any way. He is reported all over Paris to be a spy for the King of Spain's ambassador, and for the Pope's nuncio that was afore him that is now. My best hope is that he is esteemed very covetous and therefore it is not “unpossible” he may be won. I beseech you, give me your advice, for I would fain win him if I knew how.
I pray you enquire of Mr. Wade, but not as from me, what opinion he has of a Spaniard that he brought Sir Henry Cobham acquainted with, and with whom Sir Henry fell out after, and whether he be fit to serve; also that I may know his name, to see whether one that is offered me be the same man or no.— Paris, 23 November, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [France X. 88.]
Nov. 23. 264. Instructions for Edward Burnham.
On your arrival you shall inform yourself if St. Aldegonde be in Zeeland, and if so, address yourself to him, telling him that her Majesty, learning the intelligence had by the enemy within [blank], found it expedient to send a special messenger to advertise them of it; and hereupon acquaint him with the particularities I have delivered to you.
Also you shall show him that her Majesty “thinketh great unkindness” that so little respect is had to her that she is never made acquainted with the state of their affairs.
And whereas she is informed that it has been ill taken that she has persuaded them to some accord with the enemy, and is also reported that there is likelihood of agreement between her and Spain:
For the first you shall show both to the Prince and him that seeing their means of defence too weak to withstand so potent an enemy, and their hope of assistance by Monsieur but a weak stay (his brother in no way inclined to assist him, and he with scarce means to maintain his ordinary charges) she held it better to grow to an accord while they have some means to defend themselves than to wait till their desperate estate forces each province to make their composition apart.
She knows well that the safety that is to grow that way is doubtful, yet a doubtful remedy is better than no remedy at all. And as the advice proceeded of good will and might have kept them from the ruin they are now like to run into, she sees no cause why it might not have been accepted in good part.
As touching the second, they are to understand “that as never such motion was made, so is her Majesty not ignorant what sincerity there should be in such an accord; Spain being so greatly devoted to the Pope as he is and the nature of the Spaniard being so much inclined to revenge, especially having no less means to execute his malice than to maintain his pride.”
If they say that, had her Majesty helped them they would not have been thrown into so desperate a state, you shall reply that she has been so unthankfully requited for the support she has already yielded, that she has more cause to repent that given than to give more; and has also seen such confusion in their government as with reason led her to think that the support she should give would rather weaken her own estate than relieve them.
You shall desire both the Prince and St. Aldegonde “in my name to let me understand” (fn. 4) on what ground they resort to the French for support; not that I mislike thereof, considering the necessities they are in, if the same be kept within convenient limits, “seeing there is so great a mislike between the two brethren” and that the King himself is disposed to live in peace and will by no means offend the King of Spain, insomuch as that Cambray being offered him by the Duke, he refused it, which you may assure them I know to be most true, and therefore find it strange “that des Pruneaux should bear him in hand that the King is disposed to help his brother.”
And on some apt occasion, you shall let both the Prince and St. Aldegonde know that her Majesty and others well affected towards them “are greatly grieved to hear that our nation serving there are worse handled and less accounted of than any other nation, which is noted for a great ingratitude, considering that no nation hath better served than they, as they that mislike them most cannot avow the contrary.
“You shall also advise them to have regard to the Scottish nation that serve there, for that their King is altogether directed by the house of Guise.
“Lastly, you shall communicate these instructions unto my cousin, John Norrys, and use his advice in the delivery of the same.” Signed by Walsingham.
Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 87.]
Nov. 23. 265. Rough draft of the above Instructions for Edward Burnham, much corrected by Walsingham.
Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 87a.]
Nov. 23. 266. Gebhard, Elector of Cologne, to the Queen.
The renown of your piety and charity, known and proved by the churches of Christendom, makes us bold to write to your Majesty to inform you of the state of our affairs, most earnestly praying you not to be offended by our importunity. Four or live years ago, it was signified to us that in our Archbishopric of Cologne, our Duchy of Westphalia and other countries of our obedience, there were a great number of persons, of every quality, who had not only separated from the communion of the Roman Church, but were accustomed to assemble themselves in divers places and namely, in Cologne, where, on this account many were imprisoned and ill-treated. We confess before God and your Majesty that at that time we held such to be not only heretics and schismatics, but also seditious persons, and as such had learnt, in the Roman Court, to condemn and detest them. But it happened that certain great and wise persons desired us to read the confession of faith presented to us by our subjects, and since exhibited at the Imperial diet of Augsburg; supplicating on behalf of our condemned ones that they had not been lawfully heard, or their cause known. Which we could not refuse, thanking God now with all our heart, who inspired us to do so, seeing that by the reading of this confession, and diligent enquiry into the doctrine and life of our subjects, we have been brought to the knowledge of the holy Gospel, and miraculously rescued from the abominations of the Antichrist of Rome, by which we had been bewitched since our youth. And from that time we began to read diligently the holy Scriptures, praying God continually that by His Holy Spirit he would enlighten us more and more, and according to the grace we have received by God's mercy, we have had the Gospel preached publicly in all our territories, saving in some places bordering upon the Rhine which have been surprised by the efforts of the agents of the Pope, who has since fulminated against us his anathema, and by setting up against us the Bishop of Liége and his associates, sworn enemies of the true religion, has in the end brought down upon us the King of Spain, who all now carry on war against us and our churches with the utmost rigour.
It is true that some princes and towns of the Empire, and especially the late Count Palatine have supported us by an army under the command of our cousin, the Duke John Casimir, but the said Count having been called away by the will of God from the miseries of this world on the 12th of October last, the Duke has been obliged to disband his army, and betake himself to the Palatinate, to assume the government of the Electorate, until the heir of the late Elector reaches his majority. This unexpected withdrawal is very prejudicial to us and advantageous to our enemies, now strengthened by fresh succours from the Spaniards, who have fallen upon our lands and churches on all sides, and have encompassed very straitly our town of Bonn. We resist them in the name of God and by the help of our subjects of the Religion, and by God's special grace a week ago overthrew about a thousand of the enemy and put the rest to flight, who had besieged one of our places called Hultz; but the Spaniard makes every effort to take Bonn, against whom we hope in the spring to put such a force in the field that he will be compelled to retire, provided that we can hold the town until then. We therefore humbly pray your Majesty to lend us 10,000 angelots, and to send it speedily, that we may preserve our churches this winter from the invasion of the enemy; for if we lost Bonn, they would be in the greatest danger, while if God permits us to keep it, we hope, by his grace, that Antichrist and his agents will be foiled in their damnable attempts against those who call upon the true God.
For ourselves, we have put ourselves and our Electorate in God's hands, and are resolved to sacrifice our life for the Gospel, and although our enemies make us great offers if we will yield, we would rather die than abandon the honour of God and the welfare of our churches, for which, if our adversaries would grant them peace and the exercise of the true religion, we should be content to secure public quiet by resigning our dignities.
We implore your Majesty to pray for us and our churches and to help us in our urgent need, promising you, on the word of a prince and a faithful Christian that the 10,000 angelots shall be repaid so soon as God shall deliver us from our enemies.—From our castle and town of Arensberg in Westphalia, 23 November, 1583.
Postscript in the Elector's hand.—I humbly pray your Majesty to excuse my not sending an ambassador to treat on this subject, and to impute it to the necessities of the times and of my affairs. I have commissioned an Echevin of Antwerp named Andrew van Muller to receive the money, if you will be pleased to send it to him, and he will give a receipt for it. I add these few words in my own hand as a better confirmation and engagement.
Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Germany, States, II. 79.]
Nov. 24. 267. Stafford to Walsingham.
Having received letters from Monsieur which he wishes sent with all diligence to her Majesty is the reason I send this bearer so soon after the other, her Majesty having given me command, as soon as I had anything from Monsieur to send it away with expedition.
Mr. Dutton, belonging to Mr. Vicechamberlain, is newly come here from Rome, where he has been in the Inquisition. He desires to be favoured with some letters homeward and by him I will send such news as is brought me this afternoon.—Paris, 24 November, 1583.
Add. Endd. [France X. 89.]
Nov. 24. 268. Stokes to Walsingham.
All things are very still, “only these speeches following.”
The Prince of Parma has had made at Ecloo 1,000 scaling ladders and four or five hundred small boats to carry four men, so as it is thought his enterprise is either upon Damme or Sluys.
Two days past, he came from Ecloo with twelve cornets of horse and 500 footmen, and took a view (“few”) of all the country between Damme and Sluys, which lies mostly under water; and in many places he sounded the rivers, so as it is much feared he will be dealing with that town.
All Col. Morgan's companies are in a fort besides Sluys, saving one ensign in Damme, which place is reasonably well furnished with men.
Letters from Ghent state that the enemy has taken all their passages; that those of Rupelmonde have taken four ships laden at Antwerp with necessaries for them; that they will be kept “so short that they shall not be able to pass to no place, neither by water nor land,” and that “matters in Ghent stands not well.”
For Bruges, it seems there is some treason here, for this week the artillery on two of the principal bulwarks standing on each side of the gate that goes to Ecloo were poisoned, and as yet not known who did it, so as the town is in great danger and fear, for “the commons' hearts are marvellously altered against the Prince of Orange and States because they see their dealings is to bring in the French again, which the commons will never yield to it to the last man.”
The Prince of Parma, it seems, will he all winter at Ecloo, where he is making strong bulwarks about the town, which “stands very well” to trouble both Ghent and this place.
Yesterday morning the Marquis de Risbourgh came before this town with six cornets of horse and 500 footmen, and there tarried till four in the afternoon, taking view of sundry places. He came galloping with his horse, with five or six more, to within a bow shot of the walls, but it is thought they can do no harm here except by treason.
This morning the Prince of Chimay is gone to Damme and Sluys, to see that all is in order there. “Surely he takes great pains, but he is smally obeyed.”—Bruges, 24 November, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl and Fl. XX. 88.]


  • 1. It would appear that the letter was begun on Nov. 30 but finished on Dec. 2 n.s.
  • 2. The probable meaning of this and a few other passages of the letter can only be arrived at by emendations.
  • 3. Filippo Cabriana, a physician, sent by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to France.
  • 4. Altered in the rough draft, by Walsingham. It originally read “in her Majesty's name to understand.”