Elizabeth: March 1583-4, 16-20

Pages 412-422

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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March 1583–4, 16–20

March 16. 486. Stafford to the Queen.
As soon as the King was returned from his penitential painful journey, I failed not to press for audience, which being granted me, I delivered your commandment in every point, and received answer in form following.
First, as to his ambassador's request for going into Scotland, and your opinion of the small necessity of it, the troubles there being ceased, and yet how kindly you took his good will in his manner of proceeding if the journey had gone forward:—
He answered shortly that as all his actions were sincere, so should they ever be towards your Majesty, and that in this he meant to show the part of a friend, as he was bound to be by ancient league with Scotland, and to make you and your realm live the quieter; and that if hereafter there were cause for him to send thither, it would ever be with the same true meaning, desiring your Majesty to assure yourself of this, and that he would govern himself with that love towards you “that none of his should dare open his mouth to him to annoy your Majesty or your estate.”
Secondly, to the assurance you commanded me to give him that whatever reports had been made, you never meant to interrupt the ancient amity between Scotland and France, so long as he did not use it to the disquiet of your state, he answered that neither you or he wanted “eggers on to make you conceive evil opinions one of another,” and that as he prayed you to conceive none of him, so would no reports cause him to think it of your dealing towards him, without desert.
Thirdly, touching your Majesty's dealings “against the untrue meanings of naughty disposed persons,” who might put into his head that you wished to maintain disquiet in his State by means of practices of the King of Navarre and other of his subjects, I dilated thoroughly according to your direction.
To this he answered that, truly, he had been advertised “that Sègur, at his being in England, went to treat and had since his going from thence treated with others of courses not fit to be taken in hand for a subject,” but that he could not be persuaded that your Majesty meant to assent to anything against his state, and therefore he was utterly void of suspicion of your dealings and desired you to be the same in regard to his dealing with any of your subjects, desiring no greater happiness than to live well with his neighbours and they with him.
Fourthly, to your Majesty's request to him to command his ambassador not to meddle any more with the Scottish Queen's matters, for the causes which I declared to him at large, he answered that if Mauvissière had done anything prejudicial to your estate, he would punish him as the offence deserved, and that, whenever you sent the proofs, he should find what it was to act against his commandment.
But he prays your Majesty not to constrain him unnaturally “to deny his sister-in-law that courtesy as that by his ambassador's means there she may not hear of matters of her own affairs, being a dowager of France, and she from her friends and her friends from her, by his minister's means to hear of the good health one of another. That were the unkindest part in him in the world to consent to the doing of it, she being by the match she made once with the King of France as it were a member of the crown of France.”
I replied that your Majesty's request was chiefly to avoid all jealousy between you two, from any fault your servants might commit, and to take all colour of evil doings out of the ambassador's hands. That it was a thing you could have forbidden of your own authority, but that you desired to do nothing without the King's contentment, and, under his correction, it served rather to nourish suspicion than any service it might do him. For the things being conveyed by me and by your secretary, would be “to as good effect, if there were no hidden cause,” and the ambassador's dealing served for nothing but a colour; for all things to and from her come first open to your secretary's hand, and there was no reason why they should not be sent as well by him as by the King's ambassador intermeddling. Therefore I prayed him to take (as the common proverb is) the sword out of a madman's hand and so remove the means for him to do hurt with it.
He desired me to request your Majesty not to insist upon it, being a thing not greatly material to you, and very dishonourable to him,”that he should refuse his sister the courtesy of his minister's labour in so small a case,” assuring you again that if you can verify anything against him, the ambassador shall “feel the pain due for such an action.”
For the last point, concerning thanks to be given to the King for punishing naughty persons who by pictures and otherwise have wronged your Majesty, for avoiding troubling you further, this letter being “long and trouble enough,” I am writing to Mr. Secretary, who will make you acquainted with it.
I could not have audience of the Queen Mother, she being with Monsieur at Chasteau Thierry. He is, I hear, “meetly amended,” but his ague has not left him (though his fits be but small) and his strength comes back slowly. I have sent a gentleman to him, upon whose return I will if occasion serve go myself to visit him. It is but a little journey; “three days will serve me to go, come and tarry there,” He has taken very kindly my often sending, imputing it chiefly to the love he knows your Majesty bears him. As I am here your ambassador to the King, I told him at the close of my audience that I would willingly go to Monsieur, knowing what satisfaction it would be to your Majesty that I had seen him after so dangerous a sickness, but that I “durst not nor would not stir,” without his licence. He “seemed to take it marvellous kindly at my hands and willingly granted me leave.”—Paris, 16 March, 1583.
Postscript.—Since this letter was written, arrived this bearer, who is he that I sent to Monsieur. I enclose the letter Marchaumont wrote to me, and to that and the bearer's report, who is ocularis testis, I leave all, without troubling your Majesty longer.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XI. 54.]
March 17. 487. Stafford to Walsingham.
When your servant Nedham is ready to depart, he shall have the names of those you wrote to me to deliver him. I will spare no pains to find out the beginning and intent of all sea preparations, but I believe you will find this nothing but what I have written of before, and that the number exceeds not seven or eight of all sorts. Your servant John Dowce will, I think, certify that to be true, he having followed part of the coast.
I had yesterday a letter from Rouen that this embarkment is broken, and most of the captains are there. I sent to Don Antonio this morning to know the truth; “he assureth me 'no,',” and that if any captains are come from the sea it is those who have been abroad in a ship of the Duke d'Elbœuf, and have taken a prize of a Spaniard. I have told this bearer where he will get certain news, at Rouen and Dieppe, as he goes by.
“I am afraid the Protestants here stand in too much security and think better of the King than he meriteth. They are carried away with too certain hope, in my opinion, that France and Spain be at a jar together. If the King had sense and stomach, there is great reason for him to do it, but I am much afraid that he hath not so much stomach in him. There is some show made to blind them with that opinion, for in the King's league with the Swiss there is a special clause for his not meddling with the Franche County. The King has sent, but very secretly (as he would have it thought) to his ambassador there, to draw them... to consent to the release of that article. For my part, I think reason that men too often bitten should not be blinded with toys. I have dealt plainly with the King of Navarre's agent and Plessis. They say they trust him not. I pray God they be not lulled asleep.''
The King was never lustier in his life. The day he came thirty miles, he would have come hither, five leagues further, but nobody was able to follow him.
I have received two packets from Mr. Waad, which I send you here enclosed.
News is come that the Queen Mother is ill, and the King has sent thither in great haste.—Paris, 17 March, 1583.
Postscript.—I have received two hundred of the book which M. la Fontayne sent hither to be sold, and as I would have them distributed gratis, I have sent him the money for them. They shall be thoroughly spread abroad by the help of the minister here and other friends. “It is not past a four pounds matter. I had rather be at a greater charge than have anything that toucheth her Majesty come out of my house otherwise than gratis.”
I pray you, as soon as this bearer has done his business, to despatch him, “for I want my right hand,” and shall be driven to much more pains till his coming. “I cannot have another to hit my humour for ordinary letters.”
Signed. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XI. 55.]
March 17. 488. Gilpin to Walsingham.
I have had two letters from Frederick Swartz, now a commissary for Bishop Truchsess at Wesel, in which he tells me of a means he practises for Mr. Rogers' release. I will send an answer by Le Sieur. There is little news from those parts, but it is thought that those in the field on both sides will fight before long.
“There is speech of a meeting of the Protestant princes to resolve for their better security against the practices of the Papists, who work to sow dissension amongst the Switzers.” The Spaniards from Italy were “feared and doubted of,” at Geneva, but now reported to be about Luxembourg.
Embise is said to have wrought, by “induction,” of Champagny, to yield Ghent to the enemy, which their coming with a force near the town discovered. Embise is taken, with above 200 others and divers of the enemy that were come into the town to perform the enterprise.
“Their commissioners had so cold entertainment and speedy answer at Antwerp as they returned the next day and were letted of an intended voyage to Tongres and Ziericksee.”
The Flushing soldiers sent to Sluys have possessed the castle and now command the town, “so as Bruges shall be forced to hold in with it or else their trade overthrown.”
In this island [Walcheren] there is straiter watch than heretofore and the gates shut at times as in frontier towns.
I understand that the Prince and States are again met at Delft.—Middelburg, 17 March, 1583.
Add. Endd, 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 51.]
March. 17/27. 489. The Prince of Chimay to the Queen.
Thanking her for her good will, and assuring her of his desire to be of service to her. Prays her to give credit to all that Mr. Walsingham's gentleman [Burnham] may write to him on his behalf.—Bruges, 27 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. Seal. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 52.]
March. 17/27. 490. The Same to Walsingham.
To the same effect.—Bruges, 27 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. Seal. [Ibid. XXI. 53.]
March 18. 491. Stafford to Walsingham.
I have left the answering of the last point of her Majesty's letter, concerning the King's dealings as to the false pictures, because my letter was long enough, and also because I thought it more fit to make the answer to your honour.
Finding that the Pope's Nuncio had conveyed away to Rome the Englishman that was the chief, as soon as charge was given by the Queen Mother to make him prisoner again, that same day “although I knew well enough the Queen Mother's dealings deserved better at my hands,” I sent to the King a great complaint of the evil dealing of his officers, insomuch that he sent Pinard and the Procureur to assure me that these things were done without his knowledge, and that I should have “the extremity showed,” upon the man's sureties. I “seeming contented with nothing but the man,” told them I should advertise her Majesty that she was to look for no better than this at the King's hands in any matter that touched her never so near; “that I was to hope for no other justice hereafter of any that did retire themselves hither, though they had enterprised against her person, or done the greatest villainies in the world.”
Pinard prayed me to bear with this fault, done so contrary to the King's mind, assuring me I should have all justice of those still in hold, of the sureties, and of the “justice that were so indiscreet to take sureties in such a matter,” But if I were a mean not to have extremity used, I might purchase for myself and her Majesty great good-will and reputation; reserving “the seeking for severity of judgment to some matter of greater weight. . . in the which I should find that justice that I should be contented withal.”
I still pressed justice and desired to speak with the King, which Pinard promised I should do on the Thursday following. It was deferred by reason of the King's going to the Jeronomists and again by the pilgrimage he took in hand, so I had no audience till yesterday, when after dealing with him on the other points, as I have at large written to her Majesty, I declared to him that at the beginning I had received orders from her Majesty to return him such thanks as his care deserved in this matter, but the sequel was such that neither my conscience or my duty to the Queen would let me do it, both constraining me to write the truth to her Majesty, and to put her “out of hope of ever having justice done for anything committed against her in any kind.”
The King declared that his intent was to do her Majesty right in all things, and that if I wrote to her as I said, his own actions should disprove me, for if any in his realm had a thought to attempt any such thing, and I made it known to him, I should have as severe justice here as any could be done in England.
I answered that, under his correction, I could not assure myself of this in a matter of extremity of justice, seeing such coldness in a lesser matter, and that, as for doing as he said, it was a thing that both by law of men and nations he was bound to do, the Queen being his ally; and not only that, but to deliver such offenders over to her or her ministers, upon request made in her name, but that this action put me out of hope of it.
He answered that for this matter I should have all the justice possible, and again told me to assure her Majesty that whoever came into this realm, having enterprised anything against her, should, upon proof, have the same extremity of justice as if she had them in her own hands, “but to deliver anybody out of his realm as though he himself were not sufficient to do justice within his realm, that were not honourable for him, nor a thing that had ever been seen done in any monarchy.”
I told him that under correction, I thought there had been divers examples of the like; that though I had no command from her Majesty to speak of the matter, yet my desire to have kindness between them made me do so, that her Majesty might the rather think that what was left undone was by other men's default, not by his will.
He desired me again to write the truth of what was passed to the Queen, “assuring himself that she was a princess that would be satisfied with that which might be done with reason, knowing so well as she did what reason was,”.
I ended that I would deliver this to the Queen in the best terms I could, and was sure she would “think the best"; that she would seek Severity only when he himself should see cause, and was ever inclined to mercy, as she showed even in this point, “in which, though I as her minister sought extremity because of her honour, I must confess the truth, that as soon as ever I had advertised her of it, I received a despatch presently, with great thanks to the King, to seek their enlargement from her, which seeing it was her pleasure indeed, I was humbly to beseech him to remit them, which I was assured he should do her Majesty greater pleasure in . . . than if upon my request, they had had extremity of punishment. But withal, I desired him to remember the good disposition of the Nuncio, that could spend his time no better than in caring how to protect the worst subjects they could find against their natural princes, which I was sure he durst not have done without warrant from his good master, of whom I was sure in his conscience he [the King] could not but have a bad opinion for doing it, being a sovereign prince, as he was, and to think that he would do the like to him in like case, . . . which he smiled at.”
In the end I told him that though her Majesty was to give account of her actions to no one, yet she was content that any body should write truthfully of them, and “thereupon,” there had been a book set out of the true causes of the executions in England, of the which, if he pleased, I would present him one, desiring him, when he read it, to forget her Majesty's religion, and to remember only her state and judge it by his own.
“I did not doubt but he would judge flaying a fitter death for them than hanging, that would in that sort use themselves against their princess that had governed them with that care and clemency that her Majesty had done; and in the end I added that, having read it. if he either commanded more of them to be printed, or gave leave to any printer with privilege to print them, such a brotherly action as that, coming to her Majesty's ear afore she were aware of it, might breed in her, I thought, as great an opinion of kindness as anything he could do.
“He thanked me greatly for the book, desired me to deliver it to Pinard to bring him, and that having read it, he would after these feasts send me an answer by him, and do any kindness to her Majesty he could devise.”
Having then spoken about the preparation of shipping and prayed that her Majesty might know for what intent they were, as bruits were brought her that there was a purpose for Scotland, he answered that she might assure herself of the contrary, for they had asked leave of him only for the Indies, and he had limited them to that course and was sure none of them dared look any other way; his dealings with those who last year took such secret attempts in hand being warning enough to them of his good meaning to her Majesty. And so. assuring him that she would accept his word for it, I took my leave.
As to the preparation on the coast next to us. I think you will find, as I have written before, that it is only for Don Antonio, and I have taken order that no shipping shall be set forth without my knowing of it, either in Normandy or Brittany.
The meanings of men are hard to understand, “but I think these that go forth harp upon a better booty than any they shall find in Scotland,” nor do men believe that the chief disbursers for the voyage, Richelieu and Shomberg, would give their money for any purpose but to fill their own purses.
What may be done in the visitation that M. Joyeuse is to make along the sea coast I know not, but think I shall learn by one of mine whom I mean to attend him all the journey. In regard of these sea preparations, assure yourself I will spare neither care, money nor friendship.
Bruits of war here are cold but not yet extinguished, and though the men at arms march not, they are not dismissed.
I send you an extract from a letter of the King's ambassador at Venice. If things contained in it were true, I think we should stir, but they seem not to be believed.
M. de la Croix, whom the Duke of Savoy sent long since, and who has remained here “for the excuse of the French gentlemen that were killed in Savoy,” yesterday took his leave. He says he goes away with great contentment, but they who saw the King's countenance to him at his audience do not believe it. Howbeit, I am informed that as the Duke prostrated himself, confessing his faults, the King has made a show of satisfaction, “to draw him from a league defensive that the King of Spain and the Pope are practising to make between themselves and the Duke of Savoy and of Florence for their seignories, and that he hath promised to be at the King's commandment.”
Letters from the Venetian ambassador at Madrid, which the ambassador here from that State sent me, say that the day Mr. Waad arrived there, “great speech was there to guess the cause of his coming, and that there was no news there what was become of Mendoza since his coming out of England.”
Whereas before the [French] King wished his dealing with the Chevalier de Sevre to be hidden, he has now sent him word that he forgives and will not harm him, but he is not to come in his sight.
Clervant is expected daily. The King of Navarre's agents here have news that the garrisons are removed out of the towns about Nèrac, where that King says he will receive his Queen, “but men think that it shall be as late as he may, and whensoever it is, it shall be full against his stomach,” Bellièvre is not yet gone to Languedoc, to Montmorency.—Paris, 18 March.
Add Endd.pp. [France XI. 56.]
[As the audience with the King was before Stafford wrote to the Queen on the l6th, either one of his letters is misdated, or (as is probable) he began and finished this letter on different days.]
March 18. 492. Francis Nedham to Walsingham.
Being arrived at Dieppe and finding John Douce embarked and going out of the haven, I took such information as time permitted, and the next morning made further enquiries. There are only four ships “made out Newhaven [Havre de Grace] and those parts, the commission for levying men made in the King's name, the ships pertaining to the Count of Brissac, bought by the Admiral [Joyeuse] and set out at his charge.”
The voyage is “sundry ways pretended,” as for the succour of Don Antonio's friends, who have seized upon certain holds in Brazil (Bressilia), which they keep against the Spanish forces of that country; but “the most assured is to meet with the Spanish returns from India,” [i.e. the West Indies] by the procurement of Don Antonio, who seeks by all means to injure his enemy what he may.
The ships were ordered out into the Road on March 8, manned with 1,100 Frenchmen and 120 Portingals and very well furnished with munition out of the arsenal here.
At Brouage there are only three ships of service, set out by one Schonberg, “a colonel of the reiters of that name, but no kin to the other Schonberg which is of such credit here,” These ships are to join with those of Newhaven, although the man himself is a great favourer of those of Guise.
I hear of no other shipping provided save one at Bayonne, at the charges of the Marquis of Elbœuf, which, by misfortune is thought to be cast away.
There are divers pataches, which only serve to convey men, victuals and munition to the ships, in all which there may be 1,800 soldiers or at the most 2,000.
The levying of men for Languedoc is stayed and M. de Montmorency confirmed in his government by the King, who is believed to have feared that he might have support from the King of Spain and the Duke of Savoy. But, however it is settled, the Admiral will shortly ride circuit to all the ports, the rendezvous for the navy being at Aiguillon, before Rochelle.
It is given out that the King of Navarre has taken his wife to him again, upon the withdrawal of the King's garrisons from the frontier towns of Gascony. The Queen Mother is looked for here to-day, the danger of Monsieur's sickness being past, although he is very weak.
Lord Paget and the escaped men are here, “greatly reverenced of all the English Papists,” he having sixteen or twenty continually attending upon him, besides Charles Arundel, Charles Paget, Mr. Digby (Dickby) and others. This evening, “coming up the university,” there came out of his lodging Lord Seton's secretary and another of his men, Lord Seton having dined yesterday at the Duke of Guise's house. I will let my lord ambassador know of this.
Her Majesty is here most slanderously reviled by the English papists and evil spoken of by the French for the cruelties and tyranny, as they term it, used against those who are but suspected to be or even to favour Papists; “Avith open exclamations how many are daily put to death with sundry kinds of torments only for professing their consciences, insomuch that they are daily prayed for here in the pulpits, and express commandments from the Bishop of Paris to exhort the people to give devotions and exhibitions unto the Englishmen of Rheims, which are in extreme misery, being deprived of their goods and their country, which they are forced to leave by means of the tyranny of the Queen; with sundry great pardons they should have for the same; insomuch that her Majesty's name is grown very odious amongst the Papists of all qualities.”
If the cause of their execution might be made known, and their dealings manifested to the world, many honest Papists would give less credit to their malicious reports and would see the need for her Majesty to cut off such members, and the innocency of those so injuriously slandered would appear.—Paris, 18 March, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XI. 57.]
March 18/28. 493. Letter From Prague.
The Electors of the Empire have within these few days sent their joint resolution to the Emperor in the cause of the Hanse towns; viz. to rest in the decree made at the Diet of Augsburg, “being done by ripe and advised deliberation,” Therefore the Emperor may easily consider what he thinks good to do in the matter. The Electors misliked her Majesty's letters for certain words used somewhat insolently.
The Senate of Lubeck sent hither two messengers within a month, the last of whom departed eight days since, so I doubt not you have heard of the resolution, although the Emperor has not yet signified it to the Queen. I will do my best to get a copy both of it and of the Emperor's letters.—Prague, 28 March, 1584.
Endd. “Copy of a letter from Prague,” ½ p. [Germany, Empire, I. 58.]
March [19/29]. 494. The Duke of Anjou to [the Chief Eschevin And Council of Ghent].
“A very exact and pregnant dissuasion, written by the Duke of Anjou, against an agreement with the King of Spain, to Messrs. the States (sic). March, 1584.”
He cannot imagine how they have been induced to lend an ear to the false inventions put forward by their enemies, so that they are in danger of being precipitated into eternal misery. Feeling that he must leave undone nothing that may save them, he sends Dr. Junius to show them the precipice down which they are about to fall by separating themselves from the other provinces to which they are bound by oath and loyalty.
And what can they expect from their Spaniards ? [Gives a list of evils suffered from Spain.] What has been the result of the Pacification of Ghent ? Are they so blind as not to see that step by step they will be overwhelmed in ruin?
They have long resisted alone the forces of Spain. Now, with France to support them, shall their courage fail? He will never forsake them, and soon he hopes to go to their deliverance with arms in his hand. Dr. Junius will assure them of this and also Messrs. de la Mouillerie and Asseliers. Meanwhile he prays them to stand firm and to believe that he will not even spare life itself, for their preservation.—Chasteau-Thierry, March, 1584.
Fr.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XI. 54.] Printed in Archives dela Maison d'Orange-Nassau, VIII, 377.
March 19. 495. Matthias Budde to Walsingham.
Having letters to deliver to the Queen, and also to show her his commission from the King [of Denmark] his master, he prays his honour to arrange a time when he may have audience of her Majesty.—London, 19 March, 1584.
Add. Endd. Latin. 1 p. [Denmark I. 41.]
March 19/29. 496. Summons by the Dukes of Julich and Munster, father and son.
The Emperor has notified to the chiefs of the Lower Westfalian Circle that certain persons out of France, one of whom is named de Segur and the other Calignon, are going about in the Empire, and in divers ways practise to the stirring up of the towns and give occasion to the disturbance of order and the public peace of the same; as also that about 1,500 French and likewise some Swiss are to be levied and taken into commission in order that they may be set foward; and it is conjectured that they shall be carried along the river Rhein, whereby danger and injury may be caused to some of the loyal cities of the Empire, and the passage to this Lower country may be hindered:—
We therefore desire that you will appear at Coln in the Minorite Convent on Thursday, the 24th of April.—Dusseldorf, 29 March, 1584, new style.
Extract. German. 1 p. [Germany, States, III. 8.]