Elizabeth: February 1583-4, 21-29

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 18, July 1583-July 1584. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


, 'Elizabeth: February 1583-4, 21-29', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 18, July 1583-July 1584, (London, 1914) pp. 358-376. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol18/pp358-376 [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Elizabeth: February 1583-4, 21-29", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 18, July 1583-July 1584, (London, 1914) 358-376. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol18/pp358-376.

. "Elizabeth: February 1583-4, 21-29", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 18, July 1583-July 1584, (London, 1914). 358-376. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol18/pp358-376.

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription. Key icon

February 1583–4, 21–29

Feb. 21. 432. Stafford to Walsingham.
I send this bearer to tell you of the sudden coming hither of Mendoza, and also because the King delays my audience on the plea of great business. I am informed that the true cause is because he has not yet a mind to see Seton and has delayed his audience two or three times.
He was appointed to dislodge from the Bishop of Glasgow and a house was made ready for him at the King's charge, but that was suddenly stayed and he remains still at the Bishop's, to whom he gives the upper hand in all places. He now goes every day to mass.Mendoza is at the Spanish agent's, and lies there very secretly. I am certainly informed that the King and Queen Mother “mislike greatly at his coming thither.
“He so raileth of England and crieth plagues of it, which is the vilest cursing term in Spain that may be, he saith he will make all Princes and States of Christendom know what prejudice England hath wrought to them all.” The Venice Ambassador went yesterday to see the Spanish agent and “for favour saw him, told him what wrong he had received in England and that all the world was to seek revenge upon her, that it was cause of harms to all other countries, and now lately of their State by an extraordinary traffic sought with the Turk, greatly to their hindrance. It seemeth he bendeth his mind to spit all the vengeance he can against England, but God is a good God.”
There is here great provision for wars, troops commanded to march, artillery “loden” by water, and a hasty despatch sent to the ambassador in “Swisserland” to hasten the 10,000 men already ordered to be in readiness. The King talks of going to Lyons upon a sudden, where all these companies must meet. Some think these great preparations are upon the advertisement given by the King of Navarre's means, some that it is to resist any enterprise taken in hand by the King of Spain, and that a great part will be sent to Monsieur to go towards Flanders again. Others, “that it is to have them about him to keep men in fear and the country in awe, and then... to publish and put in execution certain edicts which he hath with his private counsellors secretly made at this assembly, which I have heard the best sort say are most tyrannical.”
Some fear that under colour of assaulting Montmorency as a person treating with Spain (which is what the King seems best contented for men to think) he may set upon the Protestants. The King of Navarre's agent and that party cannot tell what to judge of it, but think it is to be in readiness against any further enterprise, and that he is “so wise as to do it thus secretly... but the seeking to content them no better putteth them in some doubt.”
There is no news that the King and Queen of Navarre are together, nor anything come from Clervant whether Matignon has executed the King's command for the removing of garrisons, whereupon the King of Navarre promised the taking of the Queen. I am advertised from Bordeaux “that Matignon in a choler hath let 'scape that let Clervant and Plessis 'post' as much as they listed, he would have Ins will.
“Because the King resolved these levies presently after Monsieur was gone, it is given out that he discovered all Montmorency's secret, and the King is contented... it should be believed so, thinking that Montmorency, hearing of it, will take such a spite against Monsieur that... he will be brought to better reason in short time, seeing Monsieur, that set him on in all these actions, hath been the discoverer,” for the King and all the world believe that he was set on by Monsieur and nobody else.
As to the discovery to the King, they do Monsieur great wrong, but it is “fully believed that he finding by the King that Montmorency's actions were discovered, he helped to set him forward all the way he could to please the King.”
Some say that the Queen Mother will have Monsieur accompany her into Languedoc to appease Montmorency, but “they that know the King's humour” think him too mistrustful to let the Queen or Monsieur go thither, especially Monsieur.
The King of Navarre's agent tells me that ”the King in his secret hath showed to hate extremely the Duke of Maine, what open show soever he make... but withal I know that he confessed at the same time that he feareth him, which is no great good sign.”
They have taken at Metz one sent by Ségur. He put in his mouth a billet containing the chiefest of his charge, but they found a letter to Clervant in which he wrote “that he should keep a hand for the maintaining of the peace. . . till such times as matters were fully stablished where he was.” The King has had this six days, and they never knew of it till I yesterday told the agent. He has inquired and found it true, and “liketh nothing” of the King's keeping it from them.—Paris, 21 February, 1583.
Postscript.—I send you a letter which came from Dr. Lobetius as I was sealing this. “They of Geneva are marvellously well satisfied of Marchaumont's brother, that is ambassador in Switzerland, for by his sound and wise dealing the Duke of Savoy hath had a great gird at this last diet, and they of Geneva and Berne greatly contented.”
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XI. 32.]
433.Lobetius to Stafford.
I have received yours of the 4th by our account and was very glad to hear of your recovery. We are here sleepy enough, in spite of the vigilance and diligence of the others. The old Archbishop of Cologne is not well supported by those who brought him into play, but have quitted that party, performing their promises very badly.
Bonn is straitly besieged and without much hope of succour, so the Bavarians have plenty of time in which to do their business. Aix will feel it very much, it is to be feared, for it will be alone and surrounded by hostile neighbours.
Casimir is at Heidelberg exercising his office of administrator and tutor. He has met with some opposition from the preachers of the late Elector, his brother, but has got matters into pretty good order. An assembly of the Imperial towns is about to be held at “Dunckelspiegel” by command of the Emperor. His commissioners are to be the Dukes of Bavaria and Wurtemberg, and the principal matter of discourse will be the contribution of money, lately discussed at the imperial diet which was held at Augsburg.
The ambassadors sent by Duke Casimir into Saxony and Brandenburg concerning the holding of an assembly of Protestants have not yet returned. The Emperor is still at Prague. The Swiss are assembled at Baden with the ambassadors of Savoy, to treat of an accord between that Duke, the Bernois, and those of Geneva. The latter want to settle the matter, one way or the other, for they suspect that the Duke's delays are simply to serve his own purposes, until an opportunity occurs for carrying out his designs.
Cardinal Borromeo (Bomireo) has not accomplished what he wished in the Grisons, desiring to secretly insinuate the Jesuits there, for the said Jesuits have been sent back to Melun, from whence they came, and some conspiracy has been discovered.— Strasburg, 30 January, our account, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 32a.]
Feb. 22. 434. Stokes to Walsingham.
In my last, of the 15th inst., (fn. 1) I wrote of the great mutiny of the soldiers of Damm and Sluys for the five months' pay this town owed them; which mutiny continued until the 21st, when with great pains the Prince of Chimay contented them. It is hoped that those places and Ostend will continue under the government of this town, though during the mutiny “great secret means was sought” to turn them to Holland and Zeeland.
In my letter of the 9th inst. (fn. 1) I wrote of an agreement that Artois and Hainault proposed to make with those of Ghent, and of the coming of President Meetkercke (Medkerque) to this town, who is now gone to Holland to make the same known to the General States, since which time those of Ghent have written again very earnestly to the Prince of Chimay and to the magistrates of this town and the Free of the great desire that Artois and Hainault still have to make an agreement with them, wherefore seeing their “presentations” so large and good they mean not to delay the matter, but with all speed to talk with them. In their letters, they desire this town to write their minds and send deputies to join with them, failing which they will agree for their own town and for Ypres as they shall think good, for their commons will no longer continue “in the wars and troubles.”
They also write from Ghent that M. d'Hembisen is very desirous of this agreement, and that some of the principal Malcontents come every third or fourth day thither, “and are welcomed and friendly used,” and it seems that M. Champagny, who lies a prisoner in Ghent, has dealt in this matter a long time, “whereby many hath the worse liking of it.”
Seven or eight of the magistrates of this town and the Free are for the Prince of Orange, but all the rest desire peace, and especially the ministers, who advance the matter as much as they can, so that there is here great hope that it will take place.
About four or five months past, the States of Artois and Hainault sent a gentleman with letters to the King of Spain, telling him of the great misery they were in by means of these long wars, which they cannot longer endure, and also that they feared the coming of the Frenchman, wherefore they prayed him to give them leave to make an agreement with the States. To this the King has answered very sharply that they are to obey his commandment and that in March next he will send some thousands of Spaniards, with a new Governor, when every town is to take in as many as the new Governor sends them, and whoever does not obey shall be held as traitors and rebels. These things make Artois and Hainault very desirous of a peace with the States, for they begin to see that “they are as foul in the sight of the Spaniards as the States are, for they were the first that began these troubles.”
The Marquis of Risborough lies still at Ecloo. It is said the camp will depart thence and go into Brabant, and all the speech at Ecloo is of great hope of a peace, which may God send.
The Scots here are not yet paid what the town owes them and seek means to depart into Holland, for they see that the money here is spent and gone, and that there is no more spoil to be had in the country.
If some agreement is not come to, this town cannot possibly hold out long; in Ghent victuals grow scant and dear, and all men give Ypres up for lost, so there is misery in every place on the States' side in Flanders.—Bruges, 22 February, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd. 2 pp.[Holl. and Fl. XXI. 30.]
Feb. 22./March 3. 435. The Prince of Orange to the Queen.
Mr. Dyer has informed me that your Majesty wishes to have my opinion concerning certain points for opposing the efforts and enterprises of the King of Spain, and, as the said King is making great preparations by sea, to inform you with what number of vessels the States can aid you. I hold my advice as so feeble that I should not have dared to offer it to your Majesty if Mr. Dyer and Mr. Walsingham had not assured me that it would be pleasing to you, which has emboldened me to give the said Mr. Dyer my reply in writing, in the fewest words possible, which I have drawn up more fully in the memoirs which I have sent to Mr. Walsingham, to report to your Majesty. (fn. 2) —Delft, 3 March, 1584.Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XXI. 31.]
Feb. 22./March 3. 436. The Prince of Orange to Walsingham.
As his reply to her Majesty is in the fewest possible words, which may not sufficiently inform her of what she wishes to know, he sends a longer discourse, not to instruct his honour (knowing well that he is cognisant of all that it contains) but to explain his views, which he prays may be made known to her Majesty.— Delft, 3 March, 1584.Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. XXI. 32.]
Feb. 22./March 3. 437. The Prince of Chimay to Walsingham.
Hearing that some of your letters to me have been intercepted, I pray you, in case there was anything in them upon the contents of my preceding ones, and especially concerning the sending of one of my gentlemen to her Majesty, to be so good as to send me a duplicate.—Bruges, 3 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Ibid. XXI. 33.]
Feb. 22./March 3. 438. Flemish Occurrences.
Feb. [13-]23.—The government of Guelderland is offered to Count Adolf of Neuenaar (Nywenort), but his answer not yet received.
Feb. [15-]25.—Though the Malcontents have made a fort at Borcht in Flanders to hinder the passage to Mechlin, Brussels. Dermonde and Ghent, they have prevailed little thereby, as the sea-banks are cut in several places, so that the passage has free course hitherto.
Those of Holland being from time to time burdened with charges for rigging of ships, assistance of munition &c. for the defence of Guelderland, they have ordained that half the “licence” heretofore paid at Nimeguen shall be paid at Dort.
The Commons or Breedenraedt of Antwerp being assembled “upon the re-accepting of the Duke of Alençon,” seem to have consented to it upon certain conditions, the principal being that the King of France shall declare himself open enemy of the King of Spain.
The enemy for want of victuals is retired out of the Velowe, and the States of Holland will levy troops for the frontiers of Guelderland and Friesland.
[Feb. 22]–March 3.— “The mutinied soldiers at Sluys are contented by them of Bruges.” Ypres is in reasonable state.
It is said that of twelve ships going with victuals by Embden to Groningen, the Holland ships of war have sunk four and taken five, the rest escaping back to Embden.
Besides the fort at Terneuse, another is “a-making” over against Lillo, to assure the river from Zeeland to Antwerp.
Endd.pp. [Newsletters I. 61.]
Feb. 23. 439. Stafford to Walsingham.
Great preparations for war still continue, and orders are given for thirty cannon with their furniture and munition from the arsenal here. If the intention were only, as they would have men believe, to resist or annoy the King of Spain, so much artillery seems to little purpose, and on the other hand, if it is to assault Danville or the Protestants, “so great preparation of Swissers needeth not,” and Languedoc, where the chief of these forces (if for that intent) are likely to go, is not able to nourish half so great a multitude.
The speeches of the secretest counsellors are so diverse as to cause great suspicion of the King's meaning, and the greatest noblemen fear very much his intention, lest, having forces in his hand, he keep a tyrannical hand over them, as he has often essayed to do.
“The saying of the Duke d'Epernon to his privatest that now they shall be set a-work against the King of Spain bringeth some to hope the best.
“M. de la Guiche, master of the ordnance of France, his speeches to his privatest friends maketh men to think that it is against Montmorency and the Protestants in Languedoc first, and then the rest after, for he said he wished himself dead for six years, that he saw the ruin of France at hand, and that they should never leave (?) to eat themselves till a stranger, seeing half of them devoured with their own folly, came to devour the rest, and that there was not this twenty years in France, and ten of the head of it, such preparations made to be foolishly employed as there was now.” This speech makes chiefly the Protestants but also all the rest that hear of it marvellously afraid.
One came to me yesterday under colour of an accustomed visit, but I know he was sent to sound me. “After divers speeches of Mendoza's coming hither (who now hideth himself no more, after the first four days) [he] told me how great the King of Spain grew, what cause we had to stand in fear of him . . . that he marvelled the Queen did not look better to take some way to abate his greatness"; that he thought if the Queen would act and move the King to join with her, he had discovered so many secret practices of Spain against his State that he would willingly enter into league with her and other Princes their friends, which would be the “sovereignest” thing that could be for all Christendom. That I could in no way increase my reputation as an honest man better than by being a mean for such an union, that as my friend he “wished me to it, assuring me that if we made the motion, we should have a good end and find every body here bent to it.
“I answered him that truly the King of Spain's minister had enterprised things unfit for his office, being with us, and so, as he confessed himself, I did not doubt but that his ministers had done the like here"; that her Majesty, though but a woman, had, by removing him, shown more courage than the King, who not only left the Spanish ministers still practising in his realm, but suffered his own nearest servants to be instruments to those ministers. Thus, “in that point the Queen had showed a manlike example that here had not yet been followed.”
That for the good will of the Spaniards towards us, as we had no cause to doubt of it, so we had taken good order to provide for it, having but one way to be assaulted, in which I doubted not but that any enterprising against us should have his head broken. That there were divers ways to assault France, which, if not looked to in time, could not be provided for afterwards, and therefore it was for the King more to look to it than the Queen, who yet by my predecessors had often given him sound counsel, “but hitherto they had ever made us to speak, and of our speeches made their profit, with many fair answers and no deeds.” That to the King, for his sex, it appertained to encourage her Majesty, and that if he set such a thing abroach, I doubted not but “that he should find at her hands that correspondency that is fit for such a Princess, and that, for my part, the King should find me so evil a Spaniard in heart” and so ready to further such an honourable action, that he should have cause to be satisfied with my diligence.
He would have replied somewhat of the danger we stood in of divisions amongst ourselves for religion, and from the side of Scotland, but I answered him that for the first we were but in doubt of such danger, while here they were sure of it, and had better cause to look to it than we, “because in all times of late they had proved it that when there was any dissensions among them, strangers were welcome of either part and by them their country was spoiled and undone,” while with us, if we disagreed, “it was the next way to agree us, to have a stranger offer to set his foot into the country, the better to drive him out.” As for Scotland, we had little cause for fear unless they were helped by this King, which from my good opinion of him I did not believe, and even so, I did not fear greatly, we “having had afore now to deal with them when they have been helped from hence.”
He departed, desiring that his discourse might go no further, as it was merely a friendly talk between him and me; but he went straight to Villeroy's house, where the King was, and they had private conference for an hour together.
Having this onset suddenly, I hardly knew how to answer, and if I have done amiss, I pray for pardon and that I may have the Queen's orders what course to take if further occasion offers.
I have not asked audience for to-day, upon the Queen's letters, because the Scottish ambassador, the Pope's Nuncio and the Spanish agent had already done so, and I desire to find out first “what they have done with him,” or at least, being after them, to see if by the King's speech to me, I can guess at any of their dealings.—Paris, 23 February, 1583.
Add Endd.pp. [France XI. 33.]
Feb. 23. 440. Stafford to Burghley.
Sending him a copy of the above letter.—Paris, 23 February, 1583.
Add. Endd. ¼ p. [Ibid. XI. 34.]
441. The copy above mentioned.
4 pp. [Ibid. XI. 34a.]
Feb. 23. 442. Stafford to Walsingham.
The kinsman of the man I sent to you once by John de Vigues, asks me to send him the enclosed packet. I wrote you my mind of him and still believe that he is either a merchant seeking his own gain or a spy. By his actions you may better judge of him than I can.—Paris, 23 February, 1583.
Add. Endd. Seal. ½ p. [Ibid. XI. 35.]
Feb. 24. 443. Stokes to Walsingham.
This day the Prince of Chimay has sent me the enclosed letter to your honour. He has lately shown great friendship to certain Englishmen of Sandwich and Canterbury, who having bought 34 great horses in this town, shipped them and were going away without passport from the Prince. When almost at Sluys they were stayed, the horses “made forfeit” and both ships and horses brought back, but upon suit made to his Excellency, he answered “forasmuch as you are Englishmen, and chiefly for the obedience and humble duty that he (sic) bears to her Majesty, and to all the nobility of England, namely to the Earl of Leicester and to your honour, he forgave them the forfeit,” and gave them his pass to go freely away. The horses were certainly all forfeit, and worth a great deal of money, costing twenty, twenty-five or thirty pounds Flemish apiece, for good horses are now very scant and dear here, a great many being shipped to England.
At Ghent, divers principal persons placed by the Prince of Orange in great offices have been put out by M. d' Hembisen and the commons, because they are against the agreement now in hand with Artois and Henego, which agreement those of Ghent are wholly bent to make for themselves and Ypres, though the rest should refuse it.
There are great speeches in Artois and Henego that the King of Scots shall marry the King of Spain's daughter.—Bruges, 24 February, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI.34.]
Feb. 25./March 6. 444. Batista Servigi to——.
Yours of Jan. 25 and Feb. 3 reached me on the same day and were very grateful to me; but for your strange statement that you only hear of affairs from others, all I can say is that this is the eighth letter I have written to you since I came to France, and though they are of no great importance, yet I am sorry if you have not received them, especially one which told of all that happened until our departure from the island [Terceira]. I shall be glad to know if this has come to your hands, and if not, I will try to write you another, if God give me mind and memory to do it; also I wish to send you a true plot of the island, where I have put down the forts, guns, captains and men, of what quality they were, and where miraculously and fatally the conspirators entered, or, to speak more truly, by the cowardice of the islanders, who are much worse than those of Sicily.
As to matters here, it is believed that there will be a foreign war. Monsieur has been here this carnival, looking very well. The King, as it appears, will give him means to succour Cambrai, and the States, upon the King's declaring himself, will grant him everything, with 100,000 thalers a month, while the King promises him at least 120,000 crowns per month, besides artillery and all other things necessary for the war. Monsieur is going to Chateau Thierry (Sciattio Tari) to conclude matters with the deputies, and his return is shortly expected to give order in whatever may occur.
A levy of 6,000 Swiss which the King has made, are, it appears, already marching towards Lyons, as it is said, to defend the pass against the people who have come from Spain and wish to pass into Flanders together with those levies made in Italy, both horse and foot. And already there have set out from here eighteen companies of arquebusiers, of the old troops, with twelve companies of soldiers on the side of Lyons. Also the companies of Piedmont are being recruited, and certain other troops have been sent to guard the places in the marquisate of Saluzzo, whence they have written to ask for aid, doubting whether those people may not have in hand some strategem. as they threaten.
Others believe that the preparations which are making here are for Languedoc, against Montmorency, who, in spite of the King, means to be Governor and is suspected to be making an agreement with Spain. His brother, Méru, is gone from here, who has, it is said, sold some of his property, and is gone, with a good sum of money, into Languedoc, to make levies of horse and foot.
The King has ordered yet another levy of 6,000 more Swiss, and, it is bruited, of reiters also, and no diligence is wanting to gather a large quantity of money.
It is also reported that the Prince of Parma is leaving Flanders, and that the Marquis de St. Cruz is coming thither, a very fortunate, prudent, valiant, liberal and courteous man, but not a little cruel.
In about ten days a fleet collected by Don Antonio is to depart. There will be in it about 2,000 armed men, furnished for a year with all sorts of munition and provisions. Its destination is not known, only that it is to go to sea, with seven or eight ships, great and small.
I am truly weary of the way in which matters are managed, not only by the Portuguese but here by the French, who wish to govern everything and not only to be the chief captains and soldiers but generals, and to command before they know how to obey. I doubt how this may conduce to a good result, and it grieves me to be so poor and so old, who otherwise would so willingly throw myself into the matter, or offer any humble service to that gracious Queen and her blessed government.
There are some plotters here who were driven out of Parma. They are under guard and the other day the King said to that ambassador that he did not intend such things to happen, and has since given order that the posts shall not run without his knowledge and licence.
The Queen Mother has been ill for a month of fever, and as she was beginning to recover there has come a little gout in one hand, for which she keeps her bed. May God guard her, for it would be a very evil thing for me if I should lose her, and she is a great comfort in this kingdom to the afflicted amongst us.
From a good source I have learned that in Valentia, Alicante and Cartagena there are ready 12,000 recruits, clothed and paid, yet not very expert, as they have been made by force. And that besides the four galliasses, six more are being made for the Catholic King, who, it appears, is in accord with the Pope and the Venetians. In fine, there is preparing a very great fleet, and having so many galliasses makes me doubt whether their resolution is not for those parts.
I do not say this as having heard with my own ears the yauntings of the Spaniards, but from hearing of the great preparations in hand, which makes me believe certain discourses held with me, during the ten days when I was a prisoner at Terceira, by a great nobleman, who being of the Council, was privy to all their actions, on which he enlarged to me, swearing that he was discontented with his Prince, and amongst other things, talking with me privately, said: I well know that it is not reasonable to give credit to those who chatter so openly, but all the same, I pray you to believe me that there is talk of undertaking this year 1584 the enterprise of England, and it will be certainly done unless the business of the Turk puts it off a year.
And truly, if there does not present itself some good occasion to do some great thing in the kingdom of your master, which has already shown itself opposed to ours, believe me that their design is to make themselves master of England first and France afterwards. In any case there is need to be perpared, for they are eager, greedy of gain, vainglorious, and “appetitosi” of the monarchy.
I say this trembling, for I would not see it, and if my Lords and Princes, whether in France or England, will make up their minds, not only will they defend themselves, but I trust in the just God that they will enlarge their kingdoms, with no small increase of reputation, when the wheel shall turn.
If I write confusedly, you will comprehend me by your discretion and excuse me, accepting my good-will; and now that you know how matters are, I offer myself to do service there, seeing the opportunity which I should have to bring in company with me some gallant and experienced men, and that I would willingly spend the rest of my life in the service of your Queen and mistress.
I pray to be humbly commended to M. Walsingham, M. Landi and M. Mannucci, not forgetting yourself.—Paris, 6 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. Italian. 3 pp. [France XI. 36.]
Feb. 25./March 6. 445. Abstract of a Letter From Cologne.
About a week ago, the people, in a sudden fury, used very strangely and furiously a regiment of German Mouffmafs, who had thrown themselves into “Hasbaque,” and in their unbridled insolence went from village to village pillaging, eating up and burning, so that the peasants, in despair, remonstrated to the Prince's Council, to such good effect that he and the citizens sent four companies to their aid from Liége. But these went to work so furiously that they killed quite three hundred persons, and so indiscreetly that they spared neither women nor children. Although the others were thus defeated and scattered, they rallied again and seized a place in which to fortify themselves, vowing vengeance, as to which nobody troubles himself much.
But at the same time there came from the other side of the country a fresh party of horse, Burgundians and Albanians, said to be 2,000 strong, and with licence from the Prince of Parma and by their own power, they rob as much as they please, refreshing themselves and plundering the country of Liége, scoffing at the Germans and making boast that they will take such good care of themselves and keep the peasants in such awe that no one will be able to catch them. Judge then the misery we are in!
You write that it is said in your parts that the Prince of Liége has been made a Knight of the Fleece, the new order, after the model of those of the ecclesiastical Prince Electors of Germany, who hold temporal as well as spiritual dignities. However that may be, the Prince is given up for lost, partly because he has not wherewithal to entertain his Court, having dismissed his household until he summons them again and keeping only five or six of his most private servants about his person.
He is retiring to his brother, that together they may build castles in the air for his maintenance. Some say that between them they will stir up Bavaria, others that he will steer his course for Rome, in order thence to sail for Spain, and that if the King, having already got ready for him the collar of the order, should at the same time give him the government of the Low Countries in the place of the Prince of Parma, he would humble himself for such a benediction, more august than any bishopric, and sufficient to make him fly into the air up to the glittering stars. For to enter further into heaven, St. Peter has not in his power, seeing that, for fear St. Peter, being weak, should be cheated, the keys of the gate have been taken from him; so he will remain for ever in Paradise.—6 March, new style, 1584.
Endd. “Advertisements from Cologne.” Fr. 1 p. [Newsletters XXVII, 20.]
Feb. 27. 446. Stafford to Walsingham.
Audiences of Nuncio, Lord Seton and Spanish agent. This last prayed the King to give no heed to “bruits” of his master's want of amity, which had caused him to levy forces. The King, with sour countenance, said there were causes for his levies; that he had to give account to no man; that he had been so good a brother to the King of Spain that he hoped for the like, but if not, could both defend himself and offend others.
Seton and Bishop of Glasgow brought to the King by Dukes of Guise and Joyeuse. Guise praised Seton as good Catholic and the King's servant. King of Scots' request for maintenance of the ancient league. King of France promised all favour; said “it was his best” to love old neighbours and trust old allies; hoped the King of Scots would govern wisely; would give him good advice, and if followed, would be a father in care and a brother in good-will. Seton never away from Guise's elbow. Has also conferred with Spanish agent and Nuncio. If he remains as leaguer, a French leaguer to be sent to Scotland. Don Antonio's folks embark this week. Has told Stafford that necessity has no law; if any good comes of it, believes the French will be masters, but will do Spain some harm and have half a loaf rather than no bread. Great speeches of war. All in awe save those of the secretest cabinet; the two mignons, Villeroy, Retz and Chiverny. Story of trap laid by King for Dukes of Guise and Nevers. Troops marching to Lyons, to Burgundy under Tavannes, to frontiers of Picardy or to the Grand Prior in Provence. Sends letter from Beza concerning Swiss and Duke of Savoy. Audience deferred because of procession of the King's penitents.—Paris, 27 February, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XI. 38.]
Short abstract of first part in Report on the Cecil Papers iii, 26.Printed in Murdin, p. 391; where for Joyeuye, Chmerny and Tanares, read Joyeuse, Chiverny and Tavannes, and for Legge read Beza.
Feb. 27. 447. Stafford to Walsingham.
According to the contents of your letter, I have told Don Antonio the Queen's answer to the first two points of his demands, which he liked very well. He is coming hither to talk with Queen Mother about his affairs, and will then tell me “his disposition of his journey.” He said that the bruit of wars was so great here, and the King probably going so far away to Lyons that he could not be in surety here, and would nowhere feel so safe as in England; that his request to be near a port was but to be nearer his business and for the ease of those coming secretly to him; that he accepted thankfully her Majesty's offer, and would in all things follow her pleasure. He “cast out a word” of his demand for somewhat monthly, to which I said that I believed before answering as to that she wished to know how he liked the rest. He did not press it and said he was sure she would do him what pleasure she could.
The King keepeth a marvellous course in these preparations for war; for to the King of Navarre's agent and them of that side, if they be any way inquisitive . . . he answereth that they know best the advertisements that he hath of the King of Spain's practices, and leaveth to them to consider whether he have not reason to provide for it. To the Dukes of Guise and Mayne, [he saith] he will have all his frontiers kept, and provide for the defence of himself, and that the Protestants arm in Languedoc and Guienne“ and that he will make himself obeyed of all his subjects. “To others he giveth out it is against Montmorency and that he will be revenged of him for his dealing with the King of Spain, and openly saith he is sure the King of Navarre, Prince of Condé, Protestants and Chastillon will be true to him and forsake Montmorency.”
“I pray God the King of Navarre, by the advertisements that he hath made be given to the King, like a faithful subject, have not made a rod for their own tails, and that they have not given him a colour to arm without giving account wherefore; and that the overthrow of Montmorency be not a plank for the easier overthrowing of the Protestants after. I have talked with the King of Navarre's agent and Plessis, who is still here, and have told them my mind of it. I find they cannot almost tell whereabouts they are, but be almost at a gaze, as all France is.”
The enterprise of Arles is certain, and the Duke of Savoy is the man that set it awork. He hath intelligence with Montmorency and divers in Provence. One Espin, sent by him, who lurked in Provence practising, has been killed by chance, and his nephew is come hither and has discovered to the King all his uncle's enterprises [done] by the Duke of Savoy's command.
It is said that Montmorency has gone about to change Beaucaire with the Protestants for Eyguemortes, and would have given it into the King of Spain's hands. The Queen Mother sent one to persuade him to yield to the King's will and give up his government, promising to be a mean to get him an honourable recompence, but he will by no means agree, and answers that the loss of his government would bring the loss of his life.
He is very strong and is going to besiege Gavasten, which bridles Narbonne, where Duke Joyeuse is, and is by Montmorency kept so straitly in, that he dare not look out.
“The King giveth out in his greatest secret such speeches that he would have men to think that he is jealous and hateth extremely the Dukes of Guise and Maine.They required to retire themselves, but he saith he hath stayed them about him because he will the better look to their actions. It is certain that he hath advertisements afresh that the Duke of Maine is of intelligence with Montmorency.”
If such things had not often deceived the world, they would make men think that the King's meaning is good, and that he will be revenged on the King of Spain or his favourers here, or both, as in reason he should, but things past make me doubt of any good meaning to come.—Paris, 27 February, 1583.
Postscript.—Important news is just come to the Court “of great likelihood of the Duke of Savoy's enterprising somewhat presently against France, by the setting on of the King of Spain.
The King becometh very much changed of his accustomed moderateness in his actions, for openly in the Council yesternight the Chevalier de Sevre, for crossing of him somewhat, he gave him two or three sore blows and drew his sword and would have killed him; but they go about here to keep this very secret.”
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XI. 39.]
448. Duplicate of the preceding, endorsed “To Mr. Secretary” &c. but probably sent to Burghley, as his cipher is substituted for Walsingham's throughout.
Endd. 3 pp. [Ibid. XI. 40.]
Feb 28./March 9. 449. Roger Williams to Walsingham.
On Count Hollack's request I came with him to this town. He came to persuade the Elector of Cologne's reiters to join with his troops “by reason of a fear we had within five leagues of this town.” Methinks he is not over hasty to engage himself. Three days ago he persuaded me to go to the Count de Moers. “I found him at Berke, God knows in poor estate, lost all saving Berke and Alpen. For Berke I hold it lost if an army does present afore it. I have been with him at Alpen, truly a place not to be taken without famine or treason if the garrison be worth anything. It stands in a morass (?) well watered, not to be battered. He tells me it is victualled for two years, and does assure himself of the officers and soldiers. Truly they are a company of proper men, well armed. If the enemy comes to that quarter, there he means to set his nest. It were great pity the gentleman should perish. I found with him divers which I had known in other places. They say they find him a valiant, discreet man, not amazed at any fortune. I had a great deal of talk with him. In my poor judgment he will perform great matters if fortune does serve him; his mind and courage is great. I think if he were anything seconded, he is nothing behind Herge [sic]Richebourg or Montigny (Mounteni) saving experience, and far beyond the rest of the nobility that I see in these parts. He is come to this town to speak with Count Hollack; means to do this if the Elector and the Count will agree to it.
“The Elector passed muster six days agone 1,600 good reiters, conducted by Eitel (Idell) Henrycke, one of the valiantest of their nation. The Count Hollack, I do assure your honour, has 1,200 horse well mounted and armed, of the which are 800 lancers (launtiers). Villiers is entrenched strongly afore the sconce at Zutphen (Setfene), needs not to fear.
“Count de Moers' request is to join together and set on the enemy, which is passed the river of Rhine two days agone within two leagues of this town. When they are all together, all the forces they have this side the Meuse are not 5,000 foot and 1,500 horse; I mean in Friese, Gueldres and here.
“We may join with the bishop afore any comes saving these, Don John de Manrique and Pedro de Passo, Nicola Basta is passed two days agone and stays by the river with nine cornets, twenty ensigns. This day passes the Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria with the rest. When these troops are joined they are but 800 horse and 4,000 foot. True it is they are all Spanish, Italians and Burgonians saving one regiment of Almains which is the Count of Arenberg's.
“Notwithstanding, if we be worth anything we will beat them, for we shall be better than 2,000 horse and 3,000 foot. This morning Count Hollack sent to Villiers to march hitherwards presently 800 of his best horse and 500 foot. If all resolutions stands, we will join within four or five days. The messenger will be there afore to-morrow morning. To-morrow I think with God's help to be with the bishop's troop. I do what I can to prick on Count Hollack, but I fear me Villiers the coward will mar all. If we fight and defeat the enemy, your honour shall see the bishop and Count Moers afoot again. If we do not fight, the bishop is undone and the Count asieged presently. Surely I think if Count Moers were chief we should defeat them, for a while ago, when the enemy besieged his house of Houlst, he defeated and put in rout twenty-two or better ensigns of foot and five cornets of horse. Of these one regiment were Walloons and three of the cornets were Albanians [Albanetis] and Spanish. This did he with 1,500 foot or less and 500 horse, for the which feat the oldiers gives the most of the honour to his person. Truly I think were Mr. Norrys with him, with 3,000 Englishmen, they would force the Spanish lieutenant to employ half his forces to these parts.
“Walking in the town, amongst other things I find armour very good cheap. For 50s. sterling I will buy all the pieces that belongs to a horseman, light, of the proof, very well made; it will cost in Antwerp or Brussels three pounds not so good; in London double. I have given earnest for a hundred; shall have them ready within two months. If your honour, my lord of Leicester or my lord of Pembroke will, I will bespeak 500, or as many as you please. If you will send one of your men, I will go with him to this town and see him well dealt withal, for I have good acquaintance with the masters.
Since I began this letter, the 'rygder' [qy. richter] of the town came to me. I went with him to the town house; they showed me a letter of the Duke of Cleves to stay me for old reckonings due by the soldiers about this town. Mr. Norrys can tell why afore the bench they gave me sharp speeches, but after I parted, they sent two of the best to my lodging. They tell me I need [not] to fear, for neither the Duke nor no papist else shall do me wrong in this town.—Wesel, 9 March, “after the count of Wesel.”
Add. Endd. 6 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 35.]
Feb. 29. 450. Walsingham to the Prince of Orange.
Requesting him, on the recommendation of the Earl of Leicester, to take the eldest son of Lord Cromwell, with a company of 200 able and experienced men, into his commission and pay, and to arrange the matter with Captain Cromwell, the present bearer.—London, last of February, 1583.
Fr. 1 p. [S. P. F. Entry Book 162, p. 116.]
Feb. 29. 451. Stokes to Walsingham.
The Gantois have this week written again to the magistrates here to know whether they will join in the peace with Artois and Henego, wherefore two days ago, according to ancient custom in great matters, they called a council of all their chief commons, the letters were read, and after long debate they consented to join, and in two or three days are to send deputies to Ghent to treat of the matter.
Those of Ghent have already chosen their men to talk with those of Artois and Henego, whose names I send enclosed. Two of them are ministers [See p. 375below], and M. d'Hembyzen himself is one of them. They are to meet at Evelinghem, within two miles of Ghent.
The Marquis of Risbourgh rejoices much that this town has agreed about the peace, saying that he has no doubt but it shall be made to the contentment of both sides, and especially of this one. The Prince of Chimay has been a great furtherer of the matter, but his wife wholly contrary, being all for the Prince of Orange and the French, wherefore she seeks to depart from hence into Holland.
Those here who were against the agreement (which are very few) are beginning to depart into Holland and Zeeland. It is feared that Sluys will turn to the Prince of Orange. To turn the commons here from the agreement with the Malcontents, it is given out from the General States that Monsieur will shortly send a great French force into these parts to aid the States, and that the Queen will proclaim war against Spain and help the States all that she can; but the commons have been so often deceived with such speeches that they hearken to them no more, especially as to Monsieur's help.
It is hoped, as d'Hembyzen and the two ministers of Ghent are so bent on the peace, that those of the Religion will be well provided for and that it will be a good peace, but many fear the contrary.
Ypres is in want of victuals, but they write from thence that they can keep it for two months.
The Spanish ambassador that was in England is at Tournay with the Prince of Parma.
Postscript.—I pray your honour to give me leave to come to England for a month, after which I will willingly return thither. I have not been in England for almost eleven years.—Bruges, last of February, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Further postscript—This afternoon the Prince of Chimay sent for me, to know if any English ships were coming for England, for it seems he would rather send his wife thither than that she should go to Holland. I told him there were none, and as he cannot persuade her to tarry here with him, she departs to-morrow or the next day for Middelburg in Zeeland. I told the Prince that the enemy had many ships on the seas, and that it was very dangerous to pass into England, otherwise I perceive she had hired a ship of this town to have carried her thither.
The Prince wished me to say that he is very desirous to hear from you. Next week he will write, and meanwhile I am to tell you that he has letters from Ghent “that Artois and Henego hath sent in their own names to them of Ghent upon Thursday last, which was the 27th of this present, M. de Manuy (Maneues), Governor of Oudenarde and the lieutenant of the Marquis of Risbourgh, to desire them to appoint the day when they shall begin to meet.” And now another post is come to say that M. de Montigny is also come to Ghent, and that the nobility of Artois and Henego desire “very hastily” to begin, “so as those hasty dealings of the enemy's side is something strange to the Prince of Chimay” and the “sudden great speech of this peace doth mislike many.”
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 36.]
452.Extract from a letter sent from Ghent to their deputies at Bruges.
The following persons have been named here to begin the treaty of peace between the provinces of Artois and Hainault on the one part and the Four Members of Flanders on the other part, if the other three Members think good to agree to it:—
M. Jehan d'Hembyze, 1st echévin of the kuere of Ghent.
M. Francois Triest, 1st echévin of the ghedeele
Sieur Lievin Heylinck.
Sieur Jacques Stalius, doyen
Sieur Jehan Bollaert, 1st doyen.
Sieur Wilhem Sanders, doyen.
M. Charles Ouytenhove [Utenhove], sieur de Hooghewalle.
Sieur Pierre van Reysschot.
Sieur Lievin Mannins, doyen.
On the part of the ecclesiastics:
M. Pierre Dathenus, minister.
M. Jehan Kumedontius [or Cupidontius], minister.
Fr. ¾ p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 37.]
Feb. 29./March 10. 453. [Fremyn] to Walsingham.
There is a rumour here that the Gantois are treating with the enemy, after having drawn great store of commodities from Antwerp, which is the way to lose all the rest of Flanders, if not promptly remedied, and perhaps apres la mort, le medecin. Also it will bring ruin upon Antwerp and all the towns of Brabant which are of our party. The delays and irresolution of the provinces and towns are the cause of all the evil, and if separation once begins, it will not stop at a little. It is a great curse that they cannot make either war or peace as they ought. The Prince of Parma is said to be gone towards Ypres, and they have drawn some six pieces of artillery from the castle of Lickerque (which were left there when Ninove surrendered) and two or three from Alost, intended, it is presumed, for the taking of the castles and small forts upon the canal of Brussels, and afterwards to be used for the forts on the river, where, if Ghent “fait la bête” they will impede the navigation of Antwerp, having a great quantity of artillery and munition to take the forts newly made on their side. God grant that they will do nothing so prejudicial both to themselves and their neighbours. If they had followed the advice of his Excellency, they would not be in this trouble. Some say that the Gantois are acting only in order to deceive the enemy, which, nevertheless, is a dangerous thing. And it seems that the contents of the letter which Captain Williams (Wliams) wrote to them last October served them as “profession.”
The deputies of Brabant left this town last Monday for Holland with full powers. If the others have the like, they will conclude something, and it is more than time that they did so. M. des Pruneaux is still in Holland, very weary of the delay.—Antwerp, 10 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. “From P.C.,” but in Fremyn's writing. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 38.]
Feb. 454. J. Surys to Walsingham.
I humbly pray your honour to excuse the boldness of your poor servant, who ventures to tell you of the calamities befallen him, by reason of which he can do nothing but take refuge with his master.
Yesterday afternoon I was coming to present your honour a letter from Mr. Ambassador Stafford (Estafort) when I was unhappily detained by certain merchant seamen of Olonne (Aulonne) near Rochelle; and when I reached the court it was so late that I dared not present myself, but withdrew, intending to-day to give you the letter and show you some jewels of which I wished you to have the refusal; viz. a sun with a great diamond in the centre and fifty more in its rays, and at the bottom a great pearl, which cost me in Paris 520 crowns; also a chain of 455 pearls, and four ear-rings, each a great cabochon of ruby with a large pearl at the bottom. All these I had put into a box covered with red velvet and trimmed with gold lace, thinking to have the happiness of showing you them this morning.
But my misfortune has deprived me of this chance, for in returning from court it was late, and they were just going to close the Porte de Pol [i.e. Gray's Inn] as I entered. Close to the Bourse [qy. hall] there was a poor man who had for some time followed me, asking for alms, and in pity I put my hand into my purse in which was the said box, and having given my alms, I passed into the hall, expecting to find some one of my acquaintance there, but being late, there were only some dozen persons. I took a turn or two, and then went out, intending to go to the French temple, but went so far, without thinking, that I found myself at the walls of the town, and looking about me, saw no one of whom I could ask my way. All on a sudden, there appeared five men, who threw themselves upon me and began to search me all over. Some hit me with their fists and others entangled my face in my cloak, and at last they found my purse, and cut it away, when one of them gave me such a blow that I fainted and lost consciousness.
After this I saw nobody, and fearing worse things I walked as in a dream and returned to my lodging, not knowing if I were man or beast.
Wherefore, most honoured lord, I pray you to take pity on your poor servant who has been so wickedly robbed in your town. Alas, this loss is very great and heavy; I have not a farthing and know not which way to turn [gives details of his losses].
If it pleases you to honour me with your commands, I can tell you, by word of mouth or in writing, a secret matter.
Add. To “Mon Seigneur Duvalzingrian.” Endd. “Feb. 1583, Maistre Burys (sic).” Fr. 3 pp. [France XI. 41.]


  • 1. These letters are missing from the series.
  • 2. This paper is not now in its place, but in the “Treaty Papers” at the end of this volume will be found the articles given by the States to Mr. Dier, in which they say that besides the small vessels needed for defence of their channels, they will arm twenty good ships and five fly boats.See also under date Aug. 8/18 below.