Elizabeth: December 1583, 1-10

Pages 250-265

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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December 1583, 1–10

Dec. 1. 285. Stafford to Walsingham.
The King sent for Clervant before he went away and said that he had sent Bellièvre to deal about the matter of his sister; that he was sorry with all his heart that evil reports had made him do what he had done; that he desired him to be a means to the King of Navarre to have all things done to her honour, “for if he did not deal well with her, all the wars for the Religion in France should be nothing near unto that which should be now against him with extremity, that he would not have his blood dishonoured,” and bid him go speak with his mother, who would tell him more, which Clervant did without reply, to hear her before making answer.
The Queen Mother gave him the same speeches as the King, adding “that for her particular in dealing well with her daughter she would be the King of Navarre's agent in all his causes, and Clervant's for being the mediator of it.” Clervant answered that the King had used the same speeches, to whom he had forborne to answer as he was referred to further speech with her; “but of her he desired pardon though he answered plainly, he would carry no such answer to his master; that the ground of her dishonour came from hence, whence it was to be repaired; that if the fault coming from hence, they would by using extremity seek to make him do a thing so dishonourable, he was sure he had that courage that he would abide rather all hazards and put himself in the protection of God.” With that he departed, and would have spoken with the King again, but found him gone through the Queen's chamber into the park.
Villeroy sent for him an hour after and said he was sorry for the King's speeches, and so was the King himself, “being moved with an advertisement” from that country that the King of Navarre meant to repudiate the Queen and take another. He begged him to “make no words” of it to the King of Navarre, the King having spoken in choler and being sorry for it. Clervant answered “that he never meant to deliver any such message, whatsoever had come of it.”
Bellièvre has made the Queen of Navarre advance to Cadilhac, some say to Nerac, but the King of Navarre goes still further from her and there is no news that Bellièvre is come to him. He is in Foix and has surprised a town of his own called Mont de Marsan, which by the last peace should have been put into his hands but was kept from him against the King's will, as he has affirmed to the King of Navarre. The latter sent word [of his taking it] to the King, who seemed contented, “though I know he storms marvellously at it, and knoweth not whereabouts they are, especially by the King of Navarre's going into Foix, which is within four leagues of Montreal and not far off Danville [i.e. Montmorency], with whom they fear marvellously his conference.”
The King is much offended with the Duke of Savoy, both for the taking of Collmars, which he suspects is done by intelligence with Danville, and for the falling of the five cantons from him, which he lays upon the Duke's practices. They say he stays but for Bellièvre's return, by whose hands all affairs of the Swiss pass, to break league with them, and he has been very earnest and hot with the Savoy ambassador, “who assureth the contrary and useth wild speeches and assurances to that intent.”
I have letters to-day from M. de Beze, stating that “for all the Duke of Savoy's pressing for this Diet, he now flieth the tilt and delayeth the matter and armeth himself, so that the affected cantons assemble a Diet together, to provide for the worst, both for their allies and themselves.”
Also he says that the King of Spain has drawn most of his old garrisons out of Italy and put in besognes; and that they and the rest that came from the Terceiras are going into the Low Countries. Divers marvel that being already so strong there, he brings in more old soldiers, unless there is some further intent than only the Low Countries' reduction.
The King has continued the grands jours three months longer. “Truly justice is done in them marvellously severely. At first it was thought that it was taken in hand to 'attrappe' them of the Religion, but truly it is common to all men, and more to Catholics than Protestants. Men of great quality have been executed in it.” Bussy's father is condemned, and is fain to fly to Cambray to his son-in-law Balagny. whose wife is come here to entreat for him. But the King refuses pardon to all condemned by the grands jours, and in truth there have been many robberies and murders committed, that it is a shame to hear.
It is said that all Languedoc had been in arms if one Advignan, disguised as a mariner, had not brought the King's packet safely to Narbonne to the Count of Joyeuse last month, warning him to have an eye to all things, without which divers places had been surprised. The messenger was “laid for” in divers places and hardly escaped, having orders to cast away his packet if need were.
The cause of Duke Joyeuse going to Rome was yesterday reported to me by a man of good credit and knowledge and a Catholic to be “to obtain dispensation of the Pope for the King to sell 100,000 crowns yearly of the revenue of church lands; to procure the excommunication of Montmorency tanquam fautorem heredum [sic, qy. hereticorum], according to the bull Cœna domini; to buy the county of Avignon; to procure a red hat for the Archbishop of Narbonne his brother; but finding the opinion of his credit in France inferior to his own imagination, and the Pope and clergy in Rome more stately than he looked for, was greatly dismayed and discontented in himself; whereupon is thought his desease is a melancholy that will make an end of him shortly, increased by that the Pope denied him in all.
“The King seeketh in this assembly to have his gentlemen and gentlewomen that he made these last years to be brought to the kitchen again, and all his new officers to be discharged.” Paris, primo Decembris, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [France X. 94.]
Dec. 1. 286. Walsingham to Stafford.
I am “expressly willed” by her Majesty to desire you to keep a very watchful eye on Lord Paget and Charles Arundel, who have lately gone over without leave, seeking very carefully to learn what they practice to the prejudice of this state; wherein her Majesty is assured that the alliance your lady has with them “shall not make you to be the more remiss to perform your duty towards her with that trust that she doth especially repose in you.”
For Finch, of whom you write, I never knew any such, or if I did, cannot remember it, so know not what advice to give you, only generally that you shall do well to be assured of him before you trust him. for many in these days serve indifferently where they find most advantage to themselves.
I pray you hereafter, when you write of some secret matter, let it be in a “by-paper” and not in your general letter, which I must needs show to divers of my lords, and so either make them privy to the contents of the cipher or vex them if I send it undeciphered.
As to the book to be printed there, you will do well, whenever you hear of any like matter, touching the honour of her Majesty or the State, to repair to Pinart about the stay thereof. primo Decembris, 1583.
Copy. Endd. 2/3 p. [France X. 95.]
Dec. 1. 287. Stokes to Walsingham.
The Prince of Parma has gone in haste to Brabant, to parley with the soldiers in mutiny at Bergen (Barrow) besides Antwerp. The speech goes that the town is offered him for money. The camp at Ecloo is left in charge of the Marquis de Richebourg (Risbourgh).
There hath been some great matter in hand, for they have sent for all their forces that lie scattering to come to Ecloo, as also for all the garrisons in Artois and Hainault that may be spared; it is said they will lie about Ghent, in which there are no soldiers but 2,000 peasants taken up by M. d'Hembysen, “which are very simple soldiers.”
Also here are great speeches that Alost (Halst), which was kept by certain English companies, has been delivered into their hands, but the truth thereof not yet known.
At Ghent there is great discord between the magistrates and commons, which it is feared “will turn to some displeasure on the States' side, for that d'Hembysen will govern all things according to his will and fancy and will not take the counsel of none of his neighbours and friends.”
It seems the Prince and the General States in Holland have agreed to take Monsieur again, for two gentlemen of this town are to be sent to him, i.e. M. de Prat [or Preé] and M. de Caron, both magistrates of the Free. There is great murmuring amongst the commons and many thousands will turn to the Malcontents, for they would rather be under the government of the Spaniard than of the French.
This week, those of Cambray came as far as to Lens in Artois, where they found in every village great store of “beastial” and rich peasants, which they have carried away to Cambray.
Ypres grows every day into misery. Their victuals grow scant, and every week two or three hundred burghers fetch victuals from this town on their backs in baskets, returning without any trouble from the enemy.
By means of the evil government suffered by the magistrates here, all things “goes” out of order. Amongst other things, they let their money go at very high prices. For English gold as follows:—the rose noble at 33s. 4d.; the “Hendricos” noble at 31s. 8d. and the angel at 20s. These high prices draw out of England great numbers of the foresaid pieces, which should be looked to in time, for nowhere are they so high as here.—Bruges, 1 December, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 97.]
Dec. 2/12. 288. Filippo Cabriana to Walsingham.
Thanking him for all his kindness and favours and especially for giving him as a servant to Sir E. Stafford, who appears to him a man worthy of zealous service, which shall be given to the utmost of the writer's profession and industry, when it shall please Sir Edward to make use of him.—Paris, 12 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [France X. 96.]
Dec. 2/12. 289. Capt. Raphe Cromwell to [Walsingham ?].
I have thought it my duty to tell your honour of some things lately passed here in the Hague. The States of North and South Holland being assembled on Sept. [sic] 8, new style, wholly consented that the Prince of Orange “should accept as Earl of Holland” which he did not refuse. All the States of Holland subscribed to it.
On the forsaid 8th of this instant his Excellency invited to supper the States of seven of the greatest walled towns of Holland, with the gentlemen of the province; and the next day all the States of North Holland, as Enchuysen (Encusen), Home, Alkmaar (Alkmeare), Edam (Adam), Monnikendam (Mynekeydam), Purmerend; and other small towns in South Holland, as the Brill, Schiedam (Skedam), Schoonhoven (Skonnehoven) Gorkum and others. So there resteth now only the day of appointment where his Excellency shall be created, which it is thought shall be at Dort, as the oldest city in Holland; which being finished, Zeeland and the Bishopric of Utrecht, Campen, Deventer and Swolle will follow.
The States of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht are fully agreed that his Excellency shall pay all the soldiers serving under the above provinces, and have promised to bring into his hands monthly 125,000 florins. He will pay the troops at the end of six weeks a month's pay, the overplus to be employed by him in “extraordinary causes, touching the wars,” giving them an account where the rest shall be employed. This was accorded certain clays before he was elected Earl, “for I was present in the chamber when I heard the said appointment, and the Prince did enter in this ' receat'” the 1st of December stilo novo.
The number of the men is 10,000 foot, 1,000 horse, 1,000 pioneers, “always to be in pay.”
The enemy is marching towards Guelderland and it is reported here that they have passed the Rhine (Rynde).
The Earl of Berg (Barge) with his lady and daughters are at Delfshaven under guard. He was governor of Guelderland; his wife is the Prince's sister. He is accused of having conference with the enemy, as his secretary hath confessed. His two sons are here with the Prince and are at liberty.
Here be two French gentlemen who daily solicit for the receiving of Monsieur again. I think you know them both, one especially, whose name is M. Pruneaux (Preneox); the other is M. Rebours (Reaburse). Pruneaux was with his Highness at the “alteration” at Antwerp, and rode forth of the port into the camp, to take a view how strong the burgers were that guarded the port, and then returned and met his Highness in the street and made his report, so that he was one of the principal in that evil enterprise. Rebours was the person who meant to overcome Bruges, for having three companies of Frenchmen in the town, he entered with other three, under colour to pass through. Having consent of the magistrates, he marched to the market-place, and in the mean time the other three companies put themselves in arms, and took another place of strength, called the browghe [i.e. burg], where the magistrates assemble, but the people of the town, with help of a Scots captain called Bruce, who had a charge of horsemen, repulsed all the six ensigns out of the town.
And now these two honest gentlemen do show their faces here, notwithstanding his Altesse did declare after the troubles that he would punish those that gave him that counsel. The people here do sore murmur at their presence.
This day the news is come that our English companies serving under Mr. Norris have given Alost to the enemy. “It is the first evil part that any of her Majesty's subjects hath heretofore done during the whole time of these troubles. It is some let unto me, for his Excellency hath given me a new commission for two ensigns, and the States were in determining where to give me a place to assemble my companies, so as for a time I am referred off.”
Pruneaux has by importunate suit brought his Excellency and the States to consent that M. La Mouillerie (Mallery) and M. Asseliers (Ashlears), lately secretary to the Duke, have their despatch, and yesterday departed for Antwerp and so for France; and it is thought others shall follow, touching the receiving of Monsieur again.
In the mean time, the Prince of Parma daily takes in towns, and “invades deeper” in the country, and Ypres cannot long hold out, “so that it is an endless world to think when Monsieur shall win again that which by his alteration he hath lost.”
The good Count of Meurs hath had a good victory and put the enemy to flight, in which conflict the Count of Reifferscheit (Rederskaithe) his ancient enemy was killed, with a Duke of the house of Saxe, alias Lauenburg, “who did pretend to be Bishop of Cologne.” He was not presently killed, but sore wounded, and died in the next town he came to.
It was thought that the said Count of Neuenaar would be utterly driven out of his country, by reason that Casimir had left him without assistance and was returned back; yet the poor Count, having certain horses of the bishop's and Eitel (Idill) Henricke 400 horses, 1,200 in all, and also certain of the States garrisons of Guelderland, horse and foot, as from Venlo, Wachtendonck &c, sent to him by the Lord of High Saxony [John of Nassau], who is colonel of a regiment there and governor of the town of Gueldres, God gave him a great victory, and the place, which was sore besieged was relieved, to the great shame of the enemy and to his great honour, for the soldiers of Venlo and other frontier towns brought back great store of prisoners and also of money, for the enemy had their pay “new corned into their camp.”
I would gladly a written of some other things, but being not sure that my letter “might a comed well” into your hands, I leave any further to trouble you, hoping this Christmas to be at the Court and present my duty to you. I beseech you to present my humble and dutiful service to the Earl of Leicester and to impart this my simple letter unto him; craving pardon for my hardiness in writing so boldly, “having no skill to indite a letter unto so honourable a person, but hoping of your honour's accustomed good nature and favour unto all those of my profession makes me the bolder.”—The Hague, 12 December, stilo novo,1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 98.]
Dec. 2/12. 290. P. Bizarri to [Walsingham].
Although the news that M. St. Aldegonde was made burgomaster of this city was true, yet what was added to it was false, that is that he was sent to Bergen-op-Zoom, to pacify the mutiny of the soldiers there. Other commissioners were, however, sent but could not settle matters as was hoped. Yet, by letters from thence, addressed to the burgomasters and consuls, they plainly give to understand that they wish for a reconciliation with this city, excusing themselves for what has happened hitherto and blaming both the States and the enemy, the latter for having bribed them with large promises and sown amongst them all possible discord, and the former for their evil government in their offices and as regards the payment of the poor soldiers. Upon which the commissioners have been again sent to conclude matters, and the money is all ready to satisfy them, so that it is hoped that all will be happily arranged, which indeed is of very great importance.
Some say that the enemy have taken a castle called Woude [Wauw] not far from Gertruydenberg, which also they say is as good as besieged and this place no less important than the other.
In fine they seek by all possible ways and means to make themselves masters of the lands on the banks of the river to hinder navigation, which is the only support of these poor countries, seeing that while this is still free and open, they have a great advantage over the forces of the enemy.
Of what has happened at Alost I say nothing more, being sure that you will have heard it from others and especially from the English general, Mr. Norreys (il sieur Noritio), who was sent thither with money to quiet them, but already they had come to terms with the enemy and made manifest their treachery, to their own infamy and the great hurt of these poor countries.
About Nuys, a place six leagues from Cologne, there are said to be 4,000 Malcontents, intending to cross the Rhine, but that on the other side is the Elector Truchsess with his men to prevent their passage, in which consists a great part of the victory. It is also said that he has taken a great place in Westfalia, which supported the enemy, who are near Bonn, doing much damage and have taken a castle called Godesberg (Goedspergh) which is above Bonn on the right hand as you go up the river, and belongs to Truchsess.
The Diet at Frankfort has ended without result and it is said there is to be another at Mulhausen in Thuringia.—Antwerp, 12 December, stilo novo.
Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 99.]
Dec. 3/13. 291. Claude Paulmyer to Walsingham.
On the 7th inst. were celebrated the obsequies of the late Cardinal and Chancellor de Biragues, with such pomp that it is long since anything so magnificent has been seen, the body having been accompanied by the confraternity of Penitents or Battus as far as St. Catherines, the burial place, the most distinguished lords and gentlemen of the Court taking part in the procession and interment. The King came on purpose from St. Germain to see the solemnity.
It is said here that the affair of the Archbishop of Cologne is settled and both armies dismissed, they having preferred a good arrangement to keeping up a civil war and kindling a fire which it were hard to put out.
I believe you know that the grands jours of this Parliament have been held this year at Troyes, in Champagne, where great execution was done in regard to criminals. Besides others, there were put to death, after sentence, the Seigneurs Depost, lieutenant for the Duke of Guise at Chalons, and M. Bassigni, governor of Champagne, with others of name and mark, in such wise that the grands jours have had to be prolonged to Christmas Day, instead of only up to St. Martin's.
The King comes to-morrow from St. Germain to consult with his council upon the suppression and dismissal of divers of his officials, and further to look into the abuses of some treasurers and administrators of his finances. I believe it will be arranged by means of a sum in cash paid down.
Our people are asking for two years' delay to restore the towns that they hold. It is not yet known what will be determined in the Council. We fear this cloud may breed some rain or thunder for us in the parts of Languedoc. This notwithstanding, as Solomon says: “The Lord holds the heart of Kings in his hand, as the course of the waters, and bends them as he pleases.”
The King of Navarre is said to have retaken Pont de Marsan, a little town belonging to him by right of inheritance. The Queen of Navarre left the Court two months ago to go to her husband, but as yet no news that they are together. Nevertheless. M. Bellièvre was sent some time ago to mediate the matter.
A quarrel was started in the household of the Marquis of Elbceuf, cousin to my Lord of Guise, but the difference was incontinently appeased.
Monsieur has not budged from Château-Thierry since he came back from the Low Countries and there is no talk of his coming to the Court.—Paris, 13 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr.pp. [France X. 97.]
Dec. 5/15. 292. St. Aldegonde to Walsingham.
The honour and favour which you showed me when I was in England would always convict me of ingratitude if I did not still continue my affection and zeal for your service. Truly since then, partly, by the accident of January last, to which has followed here a sea of evils and calamities, and partly for other reasons, I have been living privately in a village, without any way mixing with public affairs, and have not thought it fitting to interrupt your important occupations by letters without substance.
Now, being recalled to public administration, and at the instance of those of Antwerp having put myself once more under the yoke, from duty owed to our fatherland, I cannot omit to write you a word to offer my humble services and to pray you to command me in anything by which I can do you service.
And I pray you also to recommend the state of this afflicted country to her Majesty, reminding you that our enemies and those that seek our ruin are not your friends and wish you little good, either in general or in particular, as by many evidences they show to all the world.
Nevertheless, they publish here that her Majesty has made some treaty with the King of Spain, a thing which I cannot bring myself to believe, knowing that she is well aware of the object of all his designs.
And if something of the sort should happen, I am sure that it would be with no prejudice to our most just quarrel, trusting to the singular prudence, piety and virtue of those of her Council and to the wisdom with which God has blessed this princess above all the princes of the world.
Wherefore, I pray you, if any means should arise for doing anything there for the preservation of this state, as formerly you offered, that it would please you to send me a few words to advertise me thereof, assuring you that by all possible means, I will strive to show how highly I esteem the rare and divine virtues of this princess, to whom all Christendom is infinitely indebted. And I also beg you to let me know whether it would be agreeable to you, if I sometimes wrote to you concerning our affairs, that you might have opportunity, according to what happened here, to advance the cause of God and of his church.—Antwerp, 15 December, 1583. Signed Philip de Marnix.
Add. Endd. Fr. much contracted. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 100.]
Dec. 6. 293. Stafford to Walsingham.
Don Antonio earnestly desires me to send this packet, with letters in it for her Majesty. I beseech you that somebody may carry them where they are addressed.
I pray you to be good to the bearer, an old servant of mine and not able to take so much pains as he was wont to do. He desires rest and leave to follow a little suit in law about a farm I have given him. “It is the first cast of mine office that I have yet done,” to give, without great cause, a packet to any of my folks.
I yesterday received a letter from you by John de Vigues and another by the merchant who came with him. He did not offer me my thirty crowns, but I gave him back the things he left with me. It is not the first thirty since I came hither, by a great many, nor will not be the last, “for some be here for friendship, but most for money.”
I received the day before a packet from you by Mr. Ottoman. I pray you sometimes to make me partaker of the good or ill haps of our country, for all such things are advertised here, and if, when questioned, we know not of them, “we are fain to answer but by discretion . . . and how our discretion will be taken, it is but a hazard.”
If I have timely notice of things, and order how to answer questions, I shall be the better able to discharge my duty. “There is no small bruit here of your accidents of late, and a great deal more than I can hear or think it is.”
There is much ado here in Court of my Lord Paget's and Charles Arundel's coming hither, and Lord Paget esteemed a greater man than ever I knew him. I have had good watches of them since they came, and as yet they keep promise with me to haunt no bad company, “but what passeth by second hand I know not, for Charles Paget leaveth not frequenting with Morgan.” I hope soon to have somebody dwell with or near them.
By the next I will write of our estate here, which begins to arm on a sudden. The cause is as yet but suspected; in a day or two I shall know more.—Paris, 6 December, 1583.
Postscript.—To give you some news, though I think it may not be news to you, the Duke of Bouillon this day told me” that for certain the Bishop of Liége hath received a defeat of five or six thousand by the Duke Casimir's lieutenant of his companies.”
I will write more at large of this to her Majesty in my next.
Add. Endd.pp. [France X. 98.]
294. Draft of the above, in Stafford's hand, and endd. by him, “Copy of my letter to Mr. Secretary by Richard Cole, 7 [sic] December, 1583.” 2 pp. [Ibid. X. 98a.]
Dec. 6. 295. Gilpin to Walsingham.
Stating that the party from Cologne being determined to go over to England, he has procured his departure as soon as was possible, assuring himself that whatever those matters may be found to import, his own endeavours will be favourably received.
There is a rumour that the enemy, attempting “by scale to surprise Gertruydenberg,” have been repulsed with loss.—Middelburg, 6 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 101.]
Dec. 6/16. 296. The Prince of Orange to Walsingham.
Having by your express received your letters of the 23rd of last month, I thank you very affectionately for your continued good will towards me, assuring you that there is no day of my life when I shall not be ready in return to do anything in my power to serve or please you. I have so fully discoursed with this bearer on all the points which he proposed to me, and am so well assured of his ability to render you an account thereof, that it would be superflous to repeat them here, only praying you to be a means to her Majesty that she may continue her favour and kindness to these countries and to me, who will always be her very humble and faithful servants.—The Hague, 16 December, 1583. Signed Guill. de Nassau.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XX. 102.]
Dec. 6. 297. Antonio D'avigna to Walsingham and Sir P. Sydney.
Stating that Horatio Palavicino had agreed with the officers of the King his master [Don Antonio] to furnish biscuit for his ships, but after providing a certain amount, delayed the delivery of the rest until the whole payment was made.
The money was paid, but Palavicino keeps both money and biscuit, to the great prejudice of the King and delay of the ships for want of the biscuit, which peradventure, was the cause of all the evils.
Being in a miserable state, in consequence of furnishing the money, indebted to divers and with but little to satisfy them, he prays that he may be speedily satisfied, in order in his turn to satisfy his creditors, as otherwise he must go to prison; for it must not be said that a servant of the King, Don Antonio, has escaped without paying his debts.— “From my poor house,” 6 December, 1583. [Style doubtful.]
Add. Endd. “6 December. From Antonio Divega, agent for Don Antonio.” Italian. 2 pp. [Portugal II. 12.]
Dec. 7. 298. Gilpin to Walsingham.
Three days ago the party from Cologne departed hence, and I hope will have arrived on that side ere this comes to your hands, heartily wishing that his matters may “fall out to the expectation had upon his promises.”
Here are great speeches that her Majesty has agreed to grant safe passage to the King of Spain's armado which is preparing against next spring, “whereof I presumed in conference with some of the States here, to allege the contrary.”
The Prince of Orange will for certain be invested Earl of Holland, and on Tuesday last there was solemnly delivered to him absolute authority under the seals of each town; with certain articles for the confirmation of their privileges, upon which some difficulties were moved, “by reason these late wars have caused alteration”; but it is thought his Excellency will take such good order as shall be to their liking, “and so conforming himself to that required, shall possess the place and countries so long desired.”
This province will follow, yet divers fear discontentment and division, whereof the enemy will make his profit.
Those of Brabant have not yet sent the soldiers of Barrow their money, which I hear was once ready, but afterwards part thereof sent to Ypres. The Count of Hollack is at Tertolle with the money of Holland and Zeeland, waiting for the other; then to see the men mustered, paid and some of them displaced.
“Friesland and Guelderland indifferent quiet, wearied with these long troubles and desirous of peace.” In Flanders the enemy attempts nothing. Ypres still besieged and not so greatly distressed but that men may enter and come forth daily.
Those of Ghent have sent two commissioners to the States' assembly, but with many points and instructions “tending to small purpose and no resolution.”—Middleburg, 7 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 103.]
Dec. 7/17. 299. Pietro Bizarri to Walsingham.
Hearing of the glorious deliverance given by God to her Majesty from her enemies, I lifted my hands to heaven, thanking the author of so great a mercy.
On the same day that I received the happy news I went to visit the new burgomaster, who had also received it and had learned it with the greatest pleasure. I said to him at once that for so great a mercy thanks ought to be given in the public prayers. He replied that this was but reasonable, and that orders should be given to the ministers to do so to-morrow, which is Sunday, and moreover that for the future there should always be special mention of her Majesty in those churches where the sermons were preached in French, which he said had been given up, although in the churches where the preaching was in Flemish, it has been and is continually observed.
This is all I have at present been able to do in the service of her Majesty, but when occasion serves to give better testimony of my respect, I will not fail to use it.
Count Hollack lately came here, by whose means the soldiers of Bergen are at last reconciled with the States and the city of Antwerp, having received their pay and set free the captured vessels, three of which brought hither the said Count and have taken again their accustomed captains.—Antwerp, 17 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¼ pp. [Holl and Fl. XX. 104.]
Dec. 8. 300. Stokes to Walsingham.
I have delivered your letter to the Prince of Chimay, “who lies very sore sick in great danger of death; and for his sending into England, I have not at no time nor will not meddle nothing therein.” About ten days past he sent his secretary to know if here were any shipping for London, as he wished to send a dozen chests thither, and whether they might pass without danger. I told him no, for the Malcontents had ships upon the seas, and since then have heard nothing of the matter.
I understand that when God sends him health he will not tarry long in this government, seeing that the French shall be brought in again, whom he cannot “away with”; but his wife is all for the Prince of Orange and the French, and therefore would fain go into Holland.
This week the magistrates of this town and the Free received letters from the General States, asking their opinions and consents for the receiving of Monsieur, and to this the burgomasters of both Colleges with a few other of the magistrates have sent their consents, without the knowledge or consent of the Prince of Chimay or their commons, “which they ought not to have done, for it is contrary to their privileges and customs,” so that it is feared there will be trouble between them.
At Ypres, the magistrates and governor, being also all for the Prince of Orange and the French, have in like secret manner sent their consents.
Those of Ghent write no more to the Prince and magistrates of this town for advice as they were wont, so it is not known what they will do, but merchants' letters say they will never consent to the receiving of the French again, “so as there is strange dealings amongst them, which will make some alteration ere it be long.”
The enemy at Ecloo gathers his forces, and it is said they shall be sent towards Ghent, but as it now begins to freeze, it is feared they will be dealing with Damme or Sluys, for they have been viewing the ground about Damme, which lies most part under water.
It is said all the English companies from Alost (Halst) are come to the camp at Ecloo, where some say they have great entertainment and some say they are very evil used. The giving up of that town hath raised evil speeches of all English soldiers. Ghent might have saved it “with a small matter,” and now it “keeps Ghent so short that they cannot look out, which all men here is glad of it, for they say they have well deserved it.”
A report comes from the enemy's camp of troubles in Ghent about the government, now that the loss of Alost (Halst) has shortened them of their liberty. The enemy are making three great bulwarks on the river to keep ships from passing from Antwerp to Ghent with victuals, and vaunt that they will have the town ere long.
Most men here judge that it is almost impossible that this side here in Flanders can stand long, their government is so evil. The Prince of Chimay is not obeyed, and all is in the hands of a few magistrates, “whose government is to fill their own purses and making great cheer amongst themselves” at the general charge, being wholly careless of the great cause, so that the disorder is lamentable to see.—Bruges. 8 December, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 105.]
Dec. 8/18. 301. Segur-pardeilhan to Walsingham.
I departed so much in the nick of time from Holland, that if I had waited only one day longer, I should not have been able to reach the mouth of the Wesel, which passes through this town. For, besides the bad weather, I found that they were removing the marks which they have for navigation on this route. But, God be thanked, I arrived safe and sound in this town, which is fine, and one of the strongest in Germany, and the only one of the great ones which has received our confession. I have secured what I carried so well that now, being discharged thereof, and being only to go by land, I can make the rest of my journey much more easily and safely.
You may have heard that the Elector Palatine is dead, which has happened very unfortunately, for he had summoned an assembly of all the princes and estates of this country professing the Religion to consult upon and provide against the practices of the Pope against them, and how they might aid the Bishop of Cologne. Whom, this method having failed, God has helped otherwise, for he has raised the siege before one of his towns, which has been besieged for some time, having defeated the army commanded for the Bishop of Liége by one of the cadets of the house of Saxe, the Duke of Lauenburg (Lunembourg), a papist, and brother of the archbishop of this town. He was thoroughly beaten and saved himself by speed, two thousand of his men being left upon the place, besides many prisoners. This good beginning encourages the said Bishop of Cologne, inciting him to do more.
I am now going to begin to visit the princes of Germany, and by and by you shall hear from me more in detail.—Bremen, 18 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. Signed. Fr. 1 p. [Germany, States, II. 80.]
Dec. 10/20. 302. The French King to the Queen.
It is a laudable thing for a Christian prince and indeed his duty, to employ himself in reconciling differences between the princes his neighbours and also his good and ancient friends. For this reason, having heard with great regret that there is some misunderstanding between our nephew, the King of Scots and some of the lords of his kingdom, we have judged that we acted worthily of the name we bear and the ancient friendship between this crown and that of Scotland, by employing ourselves to compose these differences, and have therefore charged the Sieur de Mauvissière, knight of our order of St. Michael, gentleman of our chamber, our counsellor and our ambassador resident with you, as a person who, we are assured, will be agreeable to both, to perform in our name the good office of intervention. If it be your intention also to depute one of your counsellors thereto, they might by a good and mutual correspondence negotiate and facilitate what will be for the good of our nephew's affairs and his realm, as we are writing to M. de Mauvissière to tell you on our behalf. St. Germain-en-Laye, 20 December, 1583. Signed Henry. Countersigned by Pinart.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 sheet. 10 ll. [France X. 99.]
Dec. 10/20.
Lettres de C. de M. VIII. 162.
303. The Queen Mother to the Queen.
Expressing her pleasure that with the ambassador had been sent so honourable and virtuous a lady, with whom she could talk about her Majesty. Has ever desired to call her daughter, offering her her sons, one after the other, but God has not willed her to have this contentment, which she will regret all her life.
Prays her Majesty not to take it amiss if she commends to her her daughter the Queen of Scots, whose conduct has ever merited her love; although if the request for her would prejudice her Majesty, she would never make it. But her Majesty's prudence will know how, in benefiting her, to oblige her to remain her bounden and affectionate sister.—St. Germain-en-Laye, 20 December, 1583.
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Ibid X. 100.]
Dec. 10. 304. Stafford to Walsingham.
No talk but of arming. Causes for it. Preparation of ships by Richelieu, “the great provost, who is buckle and thong with the Duke of Guise.” Defeat of the Bishop of Liége by Count Neuenaar. News of the Queen Mother, Assembly, &c. The King's new confrerie of Jeronomites, their dress, &c. The King wore the habit, took cold and has had a fever in consequence, so that men thought he would have ended his life with his new order.— Paris, 10 December, 1583.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France X. 101.]
Calendared in Report on the Cecil Papers, iii, 19 (from a copy sent to Burghley), and printed by Murdin, pp. 380–383.