Elizabeth: January 1584, 11-20

Pages 301-319

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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January 1584, 11–20

Jan. 12/22. 366. Bizarri to Walsingham.
Truly this world is full of fraud and treachery, and he is very happy who can avoid it. A messenger was lately taken near this city with letters from the Governor of Lierre (Lira) to the Prince of Parma, complaining greatly of an Italian or Spanish captain and accusing him as ungrateful and perfidious to his King. The tenor of these letters being seen and full credit being given to them, M. St. Aldegonde and the Colonels here began to treat secretly with this captain, and finally came to the conclusion that sending a good number of soldiers to Lierre, they might easily become masters of it. With this good hope, or rather certainty, a large force of foot and some horse being assembled, partly of this city, partly from the garrisons of Bergen-op-Zoom, Herentals and other places in the neighbourhood, at seven o'clock in the morning of the 19th inst., in misty rainy weather, they all found themselves before the ditches and walls of Lierre, expecting to enter without difficulty.
But now, the burgomaster [St. Aldegonde], noticing a strange silence within the city, and becoming suspicious of treachery, suddenly gave up the enterprise, and retired in good order, which the enemy perceiving, and seeing themselves cheated of what they had hoped for, issued forth and attacked them, where there remained twenty or five and twenty dead and wounded, and amongst the dead, Captain Leon, son of Dr. Longolius, a brave and hopeful youth and very faithful to the good cause. His death is universally lamented by those who knew him. The enemy is said to have lost a greater number, and several have been brought prisoners hither. It is held for certain that if the enterprise had been carried out, not one would have been saved, all in the town being in order and armed, the streets barred with iron chains, and arquebusiers having been sent in from all parts five or six days before, they having had full intelligence of what was being arranged with the captain. This is the fourth time that an enterprise has been vainly attempted upon Lierre, a place of great importance to this city.
The Princess of Orange is at Delft, being near to the time of her lying down, and her husband and family are with her. The States are at Hagar Comitis, vulgarly called La Haye.
Bonn is much straitened by the enemy, and we have heard that the Duke of Brunswick's son is preparing to succour it, with his own men and those of Truchsess.
I have lately been told that the son of the late Elector Palatine, the nephew of Duke Casimir, is dead, which, if true, would be of great consequence, but there is yet no confirmation of the news.—Antwerp, 22 January, 1584.
Postscript.—It is said that, but for the rain, the burghers of Antwerp would have killed many more of the enemy, but the strings of their arquebusses were wet and they could only use them with great difficulty.
Add. Endd. Italian. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 5.]
Jan. 12/22. 367. Fremyn to Walsingham.
The chief affairs of this State move very slowly. Several assemblies have been held in the various towns and provinces concerning the reception of his Highness. Brussels has consented to it, but those of Antwerp, so far as I can hear, are not very desirous of it, as is shown by the conditions which they are sending to the Assembly of the States General, for which their deputies with those of Brussels start to-morrow.
During their delay in coming to a resolution either with his Highness or another the enemy is not asleep, and news is come to-day that the Marquis de Sainte Cruz (Crous) is come towards Marienburg and Philipsbourg with five or six thousand Spaniards and Italians, who are going to the Prince of Parma in Flanders.
The sending of the two deputies to his Highness, La Mouillerie and Asselliers, is only to amuse him while waiting for the resolution of the States and to see what is happening in France, in order to advertise their masters. Foucquerolles, the brother of La Pierre, who has a regiment of four companies at Berghes, returned some days ago from France and made a demand to the States of Brabant yesterday in behalf of his Highness that they would give him 2,500 heavy white corslets to arm some troops which he wished to raise to send hither. His Highness has drawn up the establishment of his army, viz. that those who had regiments hitherto will not have more than two companies each colonel, which will be of 400 men, half of them corslets.
M. de St. Aldegonde, now burgomaster of Antwerp, has for some months had an enterprise on hand against the town of Lierre, by intelligence with a captain there who was to give him entrance. The governor of the town feigned to be suspicious of the said captain, and wrote to the Prince of Parma about it, whose letters were intercepted by our side. The said captain pretended to be malcontent.
Finally it was resolved to execute the design with 800 footmen and three cornets of horse, drawn from the garrisons.
M. de St. Aldegonde, now one of the Estates of Brabant, did me the honour to communicate the whole enterprise to me, which sounded very well, yet I put it to him that if it should turn out to be a trap, it would be very dangerous, for if those troops and their leader were lost, all the towns of Brabant would be as good as lost also, for want of soldiers.
Finally, the thing was resolved upon, to go out and start from Antwerp at eight o'clock in the evening; the rendezvous was given to the soldiers and orders that each should be ready, with ladders, equipages &c., but owing to the continual rain and bad weather and the distance which the men had to come to the rendezvous, it was day by the time we arrived before Lierre, so that it was thought well to retreat. In the meantime, that night there had entered Lierre four cornets of horse and a good number of footmen, besides the ordinary garrison, who had prepared for us an infernal banquet. Thus we have escaped a great storm.
M. de St. Aldegonde, the leader of the enterprise, had prayed me to keep near him, who made an honourable retreat. The enemy, who was much stronger than we were, seeing our retreat, sent forward 200 musketeers and made an ambuscade, also a troop of cavalry and some mounted arquebusiers, to attack the rear of our horse in a very narrow road where ours charged them and drove them as far as their ambuscade, more than 40 being left dead, mostly of the arquebusiers. The enemy called back their men, and M. de St. Aldegonde retired hither, our men being in danger of being undone both from the continued rain of the last night and day, and from the bad roads, where the soldiers marched up to the middle of their legs in water, their arms being quite useless, and our harrassed cavalry able to do hardly anything.
If the enemy, being fresh and dry, had known of the state of things, he would have obtained a fine victory, but seeing the good arrangements which had been made and having felt the first boldness (gaillardize) of our soldiers they suspected some great ambush, and retreated, to our great advantage. We lost eighteen men and a captain of horse named Leon, son of the Chancellor of Gueldres, who is much regretted, for he was a brave soldier and well reputed of.
By God's grace M. de St. Aldegonde retired honourably, the enemy having lost some sixty men and seven prisoners, Italians, whom they brought back with them, having had a belle escapade.
There is a pensionary at Brussels, a prisoner, who was persuading the town to a reconciliation with the King of Spain, which plenty of them, especially the papists, desire, with the ruin of all those of the Religion. As her Majesty of England has had experience of their designs, may God preserve her from her enemies; it is a league sworn between the great ones of the papacy to ruin his people if they can.—Antwerp, 22 January, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 6.]
Jan. 12/22. 368. Roger Bodenham to Walsingham.
The King has called together in Madrid most of his best captains and men of knowledge, both for sea and land, and proposes to take some great enterprise in hand. At present it is not made manifest, but it cannot long be kept secret. He makes new leagues with the Pope, the Venetians, and with all Italy and other places needful.
“As all the forces of Italy are appointed to repair into these parts, it is most like it is either for fear of the power of the Turks coming into these parts this summer, or else to set upon Argell or Alarache.” The preparation is said to be the greatest ever made by King Philip.
It is manifest to all that the joining of Portugal with Spain has increased the King's power, so that the Spaniards say “that now there is no enterprise that they list to take in hand but they hope to end it, considering that when force fails, with the treasures which comes out of the West and East Indies, they shall be able to buy any Prince out of his realm. . . .
“The obtaining of Flanders, with those fickle Flemings blinded with the gains that they have with their trade into this country, they do not fear; gifts and rewards shall not lack to win them with,” and I think it will come to pass very shortly. How much this imports all the princes of Christendom I refer to their discretions, and certainly it touches England not the least.
They fear much least England and Scotland should join in one, which would be a great hindrance to their purposes, and they will hinder it by all the means they can. The matters of Savoy trouble them much, and they also fear lest King Philip should die “in the time of the nonage of his children,” which would breed great alterations in these parts. Their great hope as regards England is that the Queen may fail before him.
In Lisbon (Lasheborne) they are making new galleys, and in Biscay new ships, and in all the country great preparations. Five ships are appointed for the Magellans (Magalains), but as yet there is no knowledge of what those which went first have done.
I am most desirous to repair to England to end my days there, and pray for your favourable aid; also that if my son William Bodenham should repair to you, you will show him your favour, for which we shall rest perpetually bound to you.—Seville, 22 January, 1584.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Spain II. 12.]
[Bodenham began to use new style in 1583.]
Jan. 13. 369. Stafford to Pinart.
Having long ago discovered that certain things had been secretly printed in this town to the great prejudice of the Queen my mistress, I have done all I could to discover the place where they were printed, and the authors and their accomplices.
I have now obtained some printed leaves, and knowing for certain that our refugees have been expelled, not for religion, as they say, but for their wicked deeds, as is shown by their attempts, I have such trust in the word of the King, who both by his own mouth and through you has assured me that if I should discover any people whatever who by word or deed had wrought anything prejudicial to the honour or estate of my mistress, I should have all the justice that either I or her Majesty could desire, that I do not in the least doubt it, as I never shall of anything which he shall say to me.
The day before his Majesty departed from hence I begged M. de Gondi to procure me an audience, intending to inform his Majesty of the matter and ask for justice, but finding that the King desired to put off all audiences of ambassadors until his return to St. Germain, I have meanwhile tried to obtain all possible particulars; and the Queen Mother having returned from Château-Thierry, did me the honour to admit me to her presence yesterday before departing from hence, as you have seen, when I spoke to her of the business, imploring her that by her means I might obtain the justice I hoped for, though if it pleased her to dismiss me, I should certainly find means for discovering the matter. In answer to which she assured me that she would not only aid me as much as she could, but would herself speak to the King, and in the mean time authorised me to go on with my researches in whatever way I found most convenient, with so much kindness and assurances of her affection to the Queen, that I feel sure her Majesty will reciprocate it whenever occasion may offer.
On leaving her, I applied to the Procureur du roi at the Chastelet and to the Lieutenant-criminal, to send a commissary to search the printing-house of which I had told them, and offered one of my men to conduct them thither. This they did, and found there the son of the printer (who, though at first he denied it, afterwards confessed), the corrector and an Englishman who had been sent a little time before to carry stones for printing upon. All these were taken to the Chastelet, where they now are.
Thus, without importuning the King for an audience, I beg you to inform him and the Queen Mother how far the matter has gone, and to pray them in my mistress's name to thank the said Procureur and Lieutenant for the pains they have taken and desire them to make a more diligent search for the authors and accomplices, who may certainly be discovered, one of them being taken.
And, in fine, to do such justice as his Majesty thinks meet, which I press for not so much upon the printer (who asks but to gain his living) if he will discover the others, as upon our refugees who shall be found guilty, it not being likely that they will do good service to a strange Prince when they have shown themselves so disloyal to their own.
For, as I have told you before, these are not religious men, but vainglorious persons (des fasteux) who mix themselves up in these things, and their pretext of religion is simply a colour under which they execute their evil designs. On which ground alone I seek for them and for no matter of conscience, assuring you that for this alone I should never importune the King or any other person.
But this matter touching the reputation of the Queen my mistress, a thing which all Princes should mutually defend, I again pray you to importune his Majesty to repeat his commands to those who have begun so well, that by their diligent search for those who yet remain [unfound] they may give them exemplary punishment, not only because they attack the reputation of their sovereign, who, for her goodness to them they should not only love but adore, but also because they attempt to bring into question the reputation of this King; an Englishman not being ashamed to say (as I have heard) that they meant to have three handsome copies made as a present to his Majesty, as if he would take pleasure in seeing things so prejudicial to the reputation of his good sister and neighbour. To maintain the contrary of which, I, though no subject or vassal of the King, would willingly risk my life, so sure am I of his good will and honourable disposition.
And for yourself, I pray you to lend a helping hand, both because of your promise in relation to such matters and also for the sake of the desire which (as you have always assured me) you have to keep these two Princes in amity and for the particular friendship which you have promised to me, by not permitting that in my time so wicked a thing should remain undiscovered and unpunished.—Paris, 13 January, 1583.
Endd. by Stafford, “Copy of my letter to Pinard, about the printed pictures.” Fr. 4 pp. [France XI. 6.]
Jan. 13. 370. Gilpin to Walsingham.
I have this long time forborne to write for want of matter, but thought it my duty to answer your letter of December 30, being most sorry that the bearer had no better matter to open to you, as he had most earnestly affirmed by his letters (whereof I sent you from time to time the copies). I am very glad to hear that her Majesty is pleased to think so well of me, which I know was furthered by your favour, and while life endures shall ever rest yours most humbly bounden.
Four months ago (as I then told you) I caused 100 French crowns to be paid to the party from Cologne, and depend upon your Honour's goodness for its restitution, and pardon for my boldness in troubling you in so small a matter.
The enemy increases his forces about Ghent. Those of Ypres have by a device set the Malcontents' cabins on fire within their forts. “There was an enterprise attempted on Lierre by intelligence, but was by the party opened [i.e. divulged] and such an 'embouchement' laid that the States' men were prevented with loss on both sides; M. Aldegonde being present in person and will again be doing another way.” The States continue in consultation, but nothing heard thereof.
The King of Spain has made offers to those of Ghent, and “reports go that the Malcontents grow weary of wars and desire peace, disliking the new armados coming down and the French preparations for Monsieur.”—Middelburg, 13 January, 1583.
Add. Endd. Seal with crest. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 7.]
Jan. 14. 371. J. Ortell to Walsingham.
On behalf of Mr. Dyer, whose necessities are such that if he be not helped speedily, “both his and his bedfellow's lands and livings” will be sold by their creditors.— “From my lodging, 14 January, 1583.”
Endd. ½ p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 8.]
(From the year date, it would appear that Ortell was now dating English style.)
Jan. 15. 372. Harborne to Walsingham.
By this ship, the Charity of London, departing thence in September and arriving here on December 27, we find to our grief that none of our former letters have come to your hands. We therefore send by this conveyance a general copy of what was contained in eleven letters of divers dates, praying you to excuse our “base, rude and ragged discourses” and to direct us how to govern ourselves in this our weighty and honourable charge.
And as the Grand Signor and his vizier (vicere) expect with the next ships answer of their letters to her Majesty sent by the Susan of London, we pray you to give him thanks generally for our honourable entertainment, and particularly for his liberality to her Majesty's subjects and merchants here residing, “in release of two in the hundred custom to them,” but not to any other in league with him, and also for the liberty of Edward Buggins, freed gratis at our request. For certainly, according to the reports of the chiefest, above all other Christians he remains best affected towards us, “whom he knoweth to abhor the worshipping of idols, as also invited thereunto through true relation given by me. . . of our most gracious mistress, her mighty power, excellent wisdom, abundant treasure and infinite graces of body and mind, whereby appointed of God a most sovereign absolute queen, hath so long time governed, and in most flourishing estate still doth alone imperially command so stout, valiant and fierce a people, obeyed faithfully for love and not dissemblingly for fear; so great a contrary to this man his regiment as to him seemeth wonderful, especially that in one so weak as he accounteth those of the feminine sex, should concur such incomprehensible virtues to merit the same,” he continuance of which may God prolong to the unspeakable joy of all her faithful servants.
The vizier, “corrupted secretly with the Venetian's liberality and entreated with the French his persuasion, we have found nothing contented with our here being,” and although he has not had power to hurt or hinder us, “yet notwithstanding Spelucri, by secret advice of some about him, we are faithfully certified, he and the Nisangi or Chancellor... to be our heavy friends, as their deeds have attested,” for when the Beglerbey of Greece at two several times took the whole mass of letters from the Venetian couriers at their journey hence, and sent them to the Emperor, he restored those of the German and French, but when I sent to demand ours, said that “not knowing them from the other” he had given them with the merchants' letters to the Venetian Bailo; after which (as we are affirmed) he sent them to him, from whom we received them.
In like case, her Majesty's letters to the Grand Signor at our first coming, being given by the vizier to the Chancellor, for Mustafa our dragoman and another to interpret, the said Chancellor sent them to the Bailo, so secretly that we could make no proof, although “by too, too evident conjectures” we find it so.
Moreover, whereas, according to the use of this Court, the Emperor gives gratis two reasonable demands to any ambassador the day of his appearance, our first being to show favour here to the merchants who had accompanied us, and the second to ask for Edward Buggins' freedom, the first was granted by an order under the Grand Signor's own hand, and the second, promised by the vizier only upon the Grand Signor's command, is delayed, but we doubt not upon her Majesty's letters will be accomplished, otherwise we shall have the greater cause to complain to him that certifying her Majesty “the uncertain for certain may breed our great discredit, which not taking place with greater reason by some extraordinary secret mean, a coup d'argent, a sure hook for these fishes, to inform the Emperor,” who very seldom going abroad, all petitions &c. are exhibited to the Master of Requests, and he, fearing to displease the vizier, informs him thereof, whereby those that concern himself take no effect at all.
We have heretofore often besought your favourable aid for my poor good father, left very weak in his worldly estate at my departure, who according to order taken by our good friends Mr. Justice Windam and Mr. Serjeant Flowerden [sic] is to “resolve” his creditors how they may in future be answered their due. The sum being great and his ability very small, it must take long time, and I fear whether they will grant him the needful term. Wherefore we are constrained to renew our suit to your Honour, as also to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, the Lord of Leicester, the Lord Chamberlain and Sir Walter Mildmay, by whose gracious assistance we doubt not but the better sort [of the creditors] touched with Christian compassion and the rest by you intreated may be brought to condescend, and our poor aged father and elder brother “bound for him together,” he will the sooner, with God's help, be able to give them satisfaction.—Constantinople, 15 January, 1583.
pp. Covering sheet wanting. [Turkey I. 14.]
Jan. 16/26. 373. Capt. Roger Williams to Walsingham.
“Where your Honour does counsel me to stay here in any honest sort rather than spend my time idly in England, God knows my misery is great and like not to be remedied in staying; but for your Honour's letters, I had been before this letter in England. This would I a declared unto your Honour, desiring you to countenance me as you have done always, to move her Majesty if it would please her Highness to give me any place ever so little in Ireland or any relief to five until occasion presented, else my meaning was to a troubled all my friends so to return to the Low Countries, and a taken a letter of the Prince of Orange to the Turk to show that I was a soldier. If I had followed his last fashion, I had not been without better commandment in these parts than I have at this present. All that ever I could do will not make him believe the contrary, but that I am one that does not respect his service if it touches any disquality to my friends in England.
“It is well known the Spanish sought to debauch me largely of late, notwithstanding no misery nor particular ingratitude shall force me to dishonour myself, nor seek bread of any others until England does refuse me.
“Where your Honour says that every man that I thought would not give me such countenance that I looked for, God bears me witness these were they that I meant to be beholding unto and to serve; yourself, my Lord of Leicester and my Lord of Pembroke. For the rest, I mean that I knew not yours as well as myself. For their discountenance, it would a grieved me, but never a made me sick with melancholy.
“I do hear Embise has released his prisoners. I am sorry for it, not for the mutinous Gantois but for the cause general, for God help that State that is afeared to execute his enemy, having him at mercy.
“The Marquis of Saint Cruz (Crouse) is appeared at Tournay, (Turne) in person, his troop in the Duchy of Luxembourg, they say in number about 5,000. Some says there comes within this month 12,000 more. The Prince of Parma departs to be Vice-roy of Naples; they say this Marquis is a cruel man, valiant and of good judgment, and thought far more better acquainted with the secrets of the Spanish than ever Don John or the Prince of Parma.
“They say he means to make two camps, the one this side the Maas, the other to besiege Brussels or Bruges and to keep those quarters. Their forces in the Velue they say is in great misery, cannot return by reason the waters are so grown. There are two regiments to join with them, with five cornets, but cannot for the water. Our men makes head to them by Arnhem (Harnam) all they can, very coldly they have reason because it is a fair country for horsemen, the which the enemy is always master wheresomever he comes.
“The Admiral Trelong (Turlon) told me for truth they in Spain arms what they can to sea, for they have Spanish amongst them. All the great shipping that is there of this country is stayed; great entertainment given to all sailors; the ports kept close with great guard in coming and going away.
“Your Honour may assure yourself, if it be so, they have some other enterprise, for in these countries they have no port for any ship of two hundred. Some says the Prince of Parma will be called to those parts. By all reasons the Spanish looks to a monarchy. Your Honour sees how he seconds them of Bavaria in Germany; all the great captains is at his devotion; any that contraries him if ever they come to his hands, no treasure can release them. With his riches and promises to be great, he does debauch [?] of all nations to serve his turn, so that none speaks to make head against him. His estate is governed by captains and priests; the one is mortal enemy to England for religion, the other not friend for their master's quarrel and your riches. Assure yourself there wants no persuasions to advance wars against you.
“If I speak ill, I trust your Honour will pardon me. For these countries, assure yourself it goes to wreck (wrake) in short time unless the Prince of Orange can make an army this summer, the which I think unpossible unless it be from England or from France. I think France will fail them; although it does, and the Prince of Orange so obstinate as to linger his time and to blind himself with those people, yet methinks there is means to hinder the Spanish from being master of all. It must be done in time, for I see the secret servants of the Prince begin to be very contented to flatter him in Council, but when every one retires to his quarters, every man finds fault, putting the blame on his neighbour. Here is such pastime with knavery that never was the like seen.
“Here is M. des Pruneaux [de Primeos] who is not without a number of blanks of his master, our last Altesse; at every sitting of the States he brings in news and advertisements from his master to serve his turn, promising wonders and how the great troop is ready to march; but the troop is not so great as they are great beasts to believe him.
“Villiers he makes the Prince to believe if he can persuade the States to accept Monsieur, then the Prince is sure to be created Count of Holland and of Zeeland (Celant) and persuades him tell Mr. Norrys and the rest, you have no means, way them a way, give them fair words. If the Queen will pay them, let them be well known (?) and tells us he ne mele de rien. I think St. Aldegonde (Saint a la Gundy), Trelong, Paul Buys, Dorpe and divers others is half discontented with him, and would fain persuade him to quit the French humour if they durst speak.
“This day one told me that knows much that he fears the next news we hear from France, Monsieur will be made sure to the daughter of Spain, and thinks all his goods there will be confiscated, I mean the Prince of Orange.
“Methinks for all these fatrati it were not good for her Majesty that Holland and Zeeland should perish. Truly there is a number of good people willing to do their best against the Spanish; their means fails them, seeing the enemy greater every day, and our side coldly seconded, that I fear me it will go hardly shortly.
“There is a way to save all and to bridle the Spanish without army by sea nor land from England. The Prince has six score thousand crowns a month of Holland, Zeeland, Antwerp and Utrecht (Uteryke) to maintain the wars. If her Majesty would give them 50,000l. sterling a year, the Prince of Orange would keep 12,000 footmen and 3,000 horsemen and content them. Those would maintain wars in these parts longer than the youngest in England fives and perhaps go nigher to clear the country once again.
“This is to be done without consuming her Majesty's treasure, if her Highness would but take a shilling of every broad cloth that goes out of the realm, and another from every piece of wine that comes in, it would do that and put crowns in her purse. God knows what danger it would be to England to have the Low Countries carried by conquest. This money should be sent to the Prince of Orange, but conditioned to pay it to English men. It would maintain 4,000 brave soldiers, for we would be content to take six months for twelve service; but not spent on such captains as we had of late days. Mr. Norrys, colonel-general of the foot, Sir William Russell, colonel of the horsemen, Mr. Bingham, marshal of the whole.
“There might be saved in 4,000 men, five or six places of good credit; commandment given that all the captains should be gentlemen of credit or at least expert honest soldiers, to be cast at every fault worthy [?] Then should there be good discipline and brave service.
“ If her Majesty would do this, they should have brave soldiers and expert captains as well as the Spanish. If her Highness would do this and one thing more they neither ought to doubt Spanish nor French; to command all England to maintain thirty cornets of lances, it should not be a penny charges to her Highness to divide the realm in thirty parts, to give the companies to great men as she thought good. What were it for these to maintain one soldier apiece, which should be either lieutenant or cornet, which should be commanded to see that these companies should be well mounted and armed with lances, banneroles, coats and all necessaries. These might see them in a field once or twice a month, the which would find all their faults, and cause them to mend them, for what difference is there betwixt them and us but want of experience, training and good order. Were these once stablished, the beggarly King of Scots durst not once speak against you. If he should, you needed no more but command the ordnance to horse, the which would run through his country with 10,000 foot; then would all them of the Religion in Scotland, France and Germany take courage, hoping her Majesty would not see them wronged.
“I spake to your Honour of footmen in my last great letter. It needed not but after your old order of muster once or twice a year, for footmen is soon armed and brought in order; but the horsemen are nobody without great training and long continuance together.
“The Spanish and French had rather leave the most part of their footmen than their ordnance should break. Your honour sees all the bravery of the French King is in his ordnance, so is the Spanish in 5,000 lancers. I speak the most of all nations. These made us afeared when we were 16,000 horse. I do persuade myself if it would please her Majesty to advance these companies a hundred lances thirty carabines a piece, within two years those, if God would not say the contrary, would beat the other out of the field, for I saw all their order and service of late days; of any nation I did never see a comelier armed man than the English man, I promise your Honour. When we came from Gueldre we passed through Ghent to Monsieur's army 250 horsemen. I think the enemy will not deny but we durst a met so many of his. In our minds we would not a turned out of the way of any four cornets that served him.
“Here I send my cousin to your Honour, who returns presently. I am to desire your Honour to move her Majesty if it will please her Highness to bestow any relief on me; God bears me witness I care not what becomes of me so that my life be spent in an honest quarrel with good company. Nothing makes me despair but that I find myself ill dealt withal without hope of remedy. I do assure your Highness I would not a broken my head with all this time with these people but hoping to be well dealt withal in mine own country. If I had anything to trust unto, I mean a relief for a retreat, to leave it would not grieve me, for all the ill factions and misery that has and may happen unto me.
“I do humbly desire your Honour to write to me by this bearer. I fear me your Honour shall hardly read this letter. I had no time to write it as I would, for to-morrow I am commanded to go to the camp, or else to fall out with the Prince. He gives me a letter to command 150 lances, but never a penny. Here will I stay till he returns; to serve these longer it goes against my stomach. Take heed to Scotland; it is thought both Spain and France does promise them much; at the least make good guard at Berwick. Remember the last great letter I writ to your Honour from Alost. Praying to God to preserve your Honour in health and prosperity I take my leave.—Delft, 26 January.
Add. Endd. 13 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 9.]
374. Short notes of the above.
Endd. “The substance of Captain Williams' letter.” 1 p. [Ibid. XXI. 10.]
Jan. 17. 375. Duke Casimir to Walsingham.
Writes this by George Zolcher, whom he is sending into England. The Pope having begun a war against Gebhardt, the Elector and Archbishop of Cologne, on account of his profession of the true religion, and illegally deprived him of his dignities, he (Casimir) thought it his duty not to be wanting in the defence of his friend and brother in so just and pious a cause. He therefore levied forces, entered the electorate and once and again fought with the enemy, but then winter approaching, and the unexpected death of his brother, the Elector Ludwig, recalling him home, he dismissed his army and returned to take up the guardianship of his brother's orphan son and the administration of the Electorate, which devolved upon him.
“Meanwhile the Spanish forces sent by the Pope against the Elector have not withdrawn, by reason of which, the roads being infested and the navigation of the Rhine hindered, he has been able to send him less Rhine wine than he has formerly done.
Prays him to assist Zolcher with the Queen.—Heidelberg, 16 Calend of February, 1584. Signed.
Add. Endd. Latin. l¼ pp. [Germany, States, III.1.]
Jan. 18. 376. Stafford to Walsingham.
I have sought diligently to find out if there were any such matter as was in the Latin letter I sent you by Mr. Stalenge that I deciphered, and also sent for the party that writ it and sounded him, but I find no such matter, and he himself finds it was rather his mistaking of a discourse he had heard, than any grounded matter.
“But for that point of the letter that touched their embracing the amity of Spain, that is a thing he heard at the same discourse, and that withal, we doing so, the King could do no better than to invent some way to annoy us, which I do believe, for I know by some that saw Mauvissière's letters, that he writ that my Lord of Leicester, you, and as I take it, my Lord Treasurer with Mr. Sydney and divers gentlemen of quality dined at Mr. Customer Smythe's, whither the Ambassador of Spain was invited and there used marvellous courteously at the Councillors' hands that were there, and since better at the Queen's hands; that he thought there was some practice of amity of league that way, whereupon all these discourses are grounded.”
For that as to the Queen Mother's agreeing with Monsieur, he finds he also deceived himself, and that “where he heard it was no mouth of Scripture.”
A friend of mine who is familiar with Brulart (the honestest of the Secretaries, or at least the best patriot) tells me that asking him what should be done as to the Low Countries, he said almost with tears and with show of great grief “that he was afraid it would not be so well, for neither the Low Country men deserved much, nor they here were happy enough to bestow money to any good purpose, and that he thought the end would be, to keep Monsieur occupied, for fear of enterprising anything to the King's annoyance, he should be fain to make him lieutenant-general to enterprise somewhat against the Protestants, which he thought himself an unhappy man to five to see that the best condition of France was still an encumbrance with civil wars.”
But yet I think no such matter is resolved, and that there be some about the King that will keep Monsieur from having any such authority in France, as long as they have credit.
Duke Joyeuse, who is now meetly well recovered, still presses the King to give the government of Languedoc to his father, to which the King has consented. To give better colour to the displacing of Montmorency, he has got the King to command the Parliament here to enquire into the complaints against his (Montmorency's) government, and if they find faults worthy, “which every body knoweth that at his beginning committed numbers of very horrible ones,"then either to displace him, or by his disobedience to make his process. This commission has been this fortnight signed and sealed by the King, but, for all Duke Joyeuse's pressing, kept back; as men think, and I am well assured, by the Duke Epernon, who does what he can to keep the other from being any greater. “so that it seemeth that God showeth he will ever have his stroke, to make as bad as themselves instruments to keep bad men from doing so much harm as they have a mind to.”
Clervant came yesterday from the King of Navarre, and presently sent to tell me of his coming, and that he had letters and messages to me from the King, but durst not do it till he came from the Court, being continually watched. I sent to ask news of the Queen of Navarre's health, who some said was dangerously sick and others said was dead upon grief of the King of Navarre's hard answer to Bellièvre about her, both which he assured me to be false. So far as I can find, “the King of Navarre will be fain to take her again, the King being so earnest to request it of him, and, besides, standing upon those points with the King of Navarre when he demandeth justice, that he did it in a choler, and that being a King he would render account to nobody in his own realm, nor would abide punishment of nobody, though he were sorry and confessed he had done it too lightly; and desired the King of Navarre for his sake no further to discover his lightness.”
The deputies of the Low Countries with Monsieur are at a stay and have sent one of theirs back for a more ample commission; in the meantime they are feasted and make good cheer. It is thought it will prove no great matter, they offering only three or four small towns, and requesting the King to declare himself openly, “and Monsieur's demands so high as the Island of Flushing, Sluys and Bruges, and some say all Holland and Zeeland, and besides cannot assure them of the King's entering into the matter.” A letter come from thence (but not from my man) says they offered him Sluys, Bruges and Ostend with other great things. When he returns who is gone for further commission I shall hear more.
The King means to come hither on Monday next, but resolutions here are so changeable that we are certain of nothing until it is done.
The King still follows his order of Jeronomists, and this last day went to see the chambers dressed. He has no more than the rest, “their bed and the hanging of their chamber all of the same stuff their gowns be of; every one of them six pieces of silver and no more; a chamber pot, two silver plates, three silver dishes, with none of their arms graven on them, but only a cross.”
His companions do it only for his sake and all mock at it, but the poor companions that were at the Louvre and are changed to the Bois de Vincennes, and must keep the strict order, are so weary that they desire to go back to the Louvre and are not able to bear it. The King every night at midnight puts on the Jeronomist's gown, and, kneeling on the bare floor, prays an hour together.
“There is such stomaching here against the imprisoning of Vestingham and the printer's son by the Pope's nuncio, set on by Dr. Allen (who is purposely come hither from Rouen) and the rest of the English Jesuits and knaves here, that they have made him go to the Court and speak to the King of it, and that with the greatest earnestness that might be, told he the King that it was a thing not fit for him, being a Catholic Prince, to hinder that the persecution of Catholics so tyranically should be manifested publicly, and desired him both to have the men in his protection and to deliver them, as also to let the things be set out.”
To be the more grateful to the Court, he chose the day when he carried the two Cardinals' caps to the brothers of Duke Joyeuse and the Prince of Condé, knowing that making Joyeuse's brother a Cardinal was what the King desired greatly, and to make the matter lighter, told the King that greater matters were suffered against him in England and gave him the note of a book (which I never heard of) “done by the Bishop of Winchester, and dedicated to my Lords of Bedford and Leicester presently after the massacre, wherein the King is greatly touched, and besides told him that the massacre and all things done in France during the troubles were openly set forth and sold in England; all which things he was instructed in by Lawnay, the renegade minister that writ the naughty book against them of the Religion after the massacre, and by our good English people here.”
The King answered him very wisely and honourably (which her Majesty might take notice of to the French Ambassador), that as he was Catholic, so he would both remain and increase, and would seek the advancement of it all he could; “but to permit in his realm Princes his neighbours' actions to be set out at every man's pleasure, he could not do it.” As to the release of the men, he would send to me, “who he was sure would be reasonable as far as I could with my mistress's honour, which he would not seek to foil any way, nor any Prince his neighbour and good friend.” The note of things said to be set out in England against him, he said he would deliver to President Brisson and Pinart to talk with me about.
Being advertised of the nuncio's going to the Court, I asked audience, and going to Poissy on Saturday last, on the way heard of the nuncio's request and the King's answer, which made me alter the cause of my coming “to be” for the cause of a merchant recommended by yours and the Council's letters, “to see first what they would say to me afore I spake to them of it.” The same night Brisson sent to tell me of the King's charge to him to come to me.
On Sunday I had audience at St. Germains, and having declared the matter about the merchant, I “took knowledge” of what Brisson had sent to me, thanking the King for his care of her Majesty's honour, and praying him to be its protector still, it being a thing he should receive more honour from a great deal than the Pope's nuncio had in seeking a protection for such a varlet, unless he had a charge from his master to protect all naughty persons and traitors, which his habit alone should forbid. And seeing that the nuncio took it for an honour to be a protector to such a knave, I had more cause to take the matter up than before, for, if great persons delighted to have her Majesty's honour touched, and encouraged those that did it, whereas, before, I was content with their imprisonment, suppression of the books and breaking of the moulds, I must now desire a further punishment at his Majesty's hands, as a “fear” to those that hereafter should do the like, a mark of his good-will towards her Majesty and judgment to despise any man's request against his honour, and lastly for my own discharge as her minister.
The King assured me that he would do all things to satisfy her Majesty and be as careful of her honour as of his own, and that Brisson should come presently and talk with me.
As soon as I was gone back to Poissy, Brisson came thither, repeated what the King had said and told me of himself “that there was some pity in the man and that it was done but to get a living, and that the gentler I proceeded in it, the more honour I should do her Majesty; that greater punishment would but make things be more blown abroad” and that it was but an execution set out in print, a common thing both in France and all places.
I answered that for the King's good will, I had already thanked him for it and would make her Majesty know it; but for what he said of himself, I was glad it was so, for I should be very sorry it should come from the King and should hardly believe it, having found him so honourable. As regards the punishment, if by other men's seeking it had not been made an open matter, I could have been content with the suppression of the matter, and let all else die, whereas now I must still seek the extremity of punishment until I knew her Majesty's pleasure, who, for all their railing, they have ever found more inclined to mercy than they deserved.
For what he said that it touched not the Queen's honour but that they were things commonly set out in all places where executions were done, I desired him to look at the titles of the two papers; “the one being the title of cruelty showed in her realm, a thing abhorred in all Princes; the other disdaining to name her Queen of England, but Henry the Eighth's daughter, which indeed is the matter such traitors as they were executed [for] in England and preaching to persuade her people to believe the same; not their consciences, as they gave it abroad to deceive all the world, seeking to colour their own treachery and to pull their sovereign out of her seat.
“Thereupon we had divers speeches, whereby I found that it is generally put into men's heads that they are only executed in England for conscience and not for treason, which I showed him so plainly that he seemeth to believe it,” and I am sure I have pulled it out of the heads of many who since have stood in defence of the Queen.
He told me of notes given to the King of books and other things set out against him in England, which I assured him I was ignorant of, but that if complaint had been made justice had been done, as the Queen had already shown well enough, and that the things he spoke of were a great while agone, in the time of the other King. So, appointing to come to me again upon Tuesday next, we parted.
I had a letter from Beza assuring me that the King of Spain's soldiers coming out of Italy cannot be above 4,000, for he demands victuals but for 12,000 mouths.
The Diet is now kept in Switzerland, where they of Geneva have no better hope of the Duke of Savoy's good proceeding than before. The French Ambassador in Switzerland has prevented all the Duke of Savoy's and King of Spain's practices and they are better satisfied of the King than ever they were.
The Spanish Ambassador has to-day gone to the Court to have audience, after being five times delayed.
The day I had my audience I dined with the Duke of Guise, “as Grand Master keeping the board for ambassadors, where he used me with greatest courtesy (but that is common to him with everybody) and with the greatest honour (which I hear he doth not commonly to our Queen's Ambassadors) that ever I saw, and at dinner with the honourablest speeches of her, her realm and her government; after dinner bringing me to the King, from him down more than half the stairs, and there such offer of service both generally and particularly that I write it for a wonder.”—Paris, 18 January, 1583.
Postscript.—I send you a book “concerning the same matter as the pictures, and pictures in the end of the book” that has been sold here this twelve months and more.
I have written to the Queen by Don Antonio's request about a jewel he wishes her to have. Signed.
Add. Endd. 7 pp. [France XI. 7.]
377. Copy of the above, in Stafford's own hand. Endd. 11 pp. [Ibid. XI. 8.]
Jan. 18. 378. Walsingham to Stafford.
I have thought good to tell you that Mr. Waad sets out to-morrow, that you may procure him the King's passport against his coming, whereby he may have no cause of stay there. I think you will see him a day after the receipt of this. If you could also procure him some letters of recommendation to the King's agent in Spain, by whom he might attain to some intelligences there, it would serve to very good purpose for the advancement of her Majesty's service. Some of the Italians in Paris might also, at your request, by their letters make some acquaintance for him with their countrymen and partners in Spain.
Lastly, you will do well to acquaint M. Chassincourt, the King of Navarre's agent, that Mr. Waad is directed to visit his master, that he may make his letters ready if he wishes to write; also pray him to direct Mr. Waad how to get intelligences in Spain for the better service both of her Majesty and of his master.— 18 January, 1583.
Copy. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 9.]
Jan. 19. 379. Stokes to Walsingham.
The States' government in Flanders grows worse and worse; the magistrates govern according to their covetous minds, and the Prince of Chimay, who seeks to reform the disorder, is not obeyed.
Dermonde is under the Gantois; the Governor, M. de Ryhove (Riova), who is of the Prince of Orange's faction (as are all the soldiers there), has written to M. d'Hembisen for money to pay the soldiers, but d'Hembisen has answered that he will pay none, and it is feared that he has some secret dealing with the enemy about a peace, for it is not believed to be possible for Ghent to continue long “in this state.”
D'Hembisen has set free all whom he had put in prison in Ghent for seeking to make peace with the enemy and has offered them all the friendship that may be, which shows some good-will “that ways.”
There is great speech here of intelligence between Ghent and Antwerp, for though St. Aldegonde is burgomaster of Antwerp, report goes that he is not beloved of the commons there, because he seeks to bring them to take Monsieur again, which they will never agree to do.
The Marquis of Risbourgh, who lies still at Ecloo, has sent some troops from besides Ghent to the land of Waes, for the Prince of Orange is said to have sent more soldiers to Terneuse.
Some horse and foot sent from this town to convoy 60 waggons of wheat and other needful things to Ypres have returned very disorderly, saying they could not pass for water, which greatly discomforts those at Ypres. Matters stand not well there. God send them better comfort!-Bruges, 19 January, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI 11.]