Elizabeth: May 1584, 1-10

Pages 474-491

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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May 1584, 1–10

May 1. 565. Stafford to Burghley.
“The troubles in Scotland and the coming of one to the Queen from the King of Scots came to their ambassadors here but upon Sunday last, though I knew it by your letters of the 13th of April, by my servant Grimston.”
They presently acquainted the Duke of Guise with it, who, like themselves, is greatly dismayed, especially at the King's sending to her Majesty.
If any surety can be had in the King of Scots' word and he will embrace the Queen's amity, “there could nothing happen to set the evil-affected to her Majesty that be here [more] to their ABC again, besides the great security it would be to her to have the firm land assured her, and to have nothing to look to but the seas.
In my opinion, whosoever neglects that amity “and trusteth upon his subjects that may be as deceitful, leaneth upon a very weak prop. For the name of a King is no small advantage in amity; besides, in assuring him and his party, the other is fast enough tied already, and so he may enjoy the benefit of both.”
There has been great talk here of the removing of the Queen of Scots. In my opinion she is well where she is, and best for her Majesty's surety, for “the removing of her into another keeping, to satisfy some men's humours,” may make her keeping as great a bridle to her Majesty as you and other counsellors think her restraint is a security.
I write to you as my good lord plainly, for I know how long some have been “stalking” to get the Queen to change the place of her custody into the heart of the realm, as Warwickshire or some place thereabouts,"not with a meaning, I think, to do the Queen harm, but to have a bridle over her Majesty, which can do princes no good, where subjects keep the reins in their hands, and may govern them as they list.”
As to what I was sought upon by the Duke of Guise's means, now I know her Majesty's pleasure I am satisfied, and am and must be governed by her will over-ruling my opinion, “ which indeed was that the only way to know those things that may hurt anybody is to haunt them that are their enemies, and either by seeing what they wish for, to rind what they desire, or by finding what they mislike, to judge what is good for the contrary party.
“But there is no cause for her Majesty to be angry with me for sending to know her pleasure, for that was my duty, without it be a thing resolved on that whatsoever . . . I do for the best it must needs be taken for the worst, and so leave me no encouragement to serve her with pains and care but only as far as my duty and conscience leadeth me to it, which shall be bond to me while I live, and when I have a piece of a thought to the contrary I pray God I may never live an hour longer.”
My mother sent me a message by Grimston about intelligences. I pray you give her your advice in it. I suspect Mr. Secretary set the Queen on to use that speech, “besides that I have heard, but not by my mother, that he hath used the same speeches to her.” If so, it is because he mislikes one that I keep here among the Papists, perchance suspecting that thus he can send nobody secretly hither without my being advertised of it, for otherwise, I never heard of any ambassador being blamed for seeking intelligence any way he could.
Mr. Umpton I am afraid is taught a lesson against he cometh home to serve men's humours withal, and will give advertisements from hence such as he shall be instructed in at home or from home. His speeches to me giveth me some suspicion, which I thought good to give your lordship an inkling of, that you may the better find if it be true when he cometh home.”—Paris, 1 May, 1584.
Postscript.—Even now Mr. Stalling brings me your letters. I have written to my lord of Leicester, but more because it was your advice than for anything else; for at my going away, he sent for me and assured me he would be as good a friend to me as any I left behind, and yet I have found the contrary. I am but a poor gentleman, but 1 love plain dealing.
Add. Endd. by Burghley. 3 pp. [France XI. 85.]
The few words in cipher not deciphered.
May 2. 566. Stafford to the Queen.
Until last Sunday I could get no answer from the Queen Mother. The Wednesday before, she sent me word that next day she would give me audience and an answer to my contentment, and made Pinard tell my man, as from himself, that she meant to visit my wife and then would deliver the King's answer herself. But that same day the King altered his mind, quite contrary to his former resolution, and the Queen sent me word that “cause of affairs was happened” that made her defer my audience till Sunday.
In the mean time I was certified of the cause, which she was greatly grieved at, and being retired apart with Pinard and the Abbot Guadaigno, “she fell a weeping, said that her son was ravished out of her hands by them that possess him to make him a monk; that it was no more in her power to do good with him; that having married a French king, which was the greatest honour any woman could look for, and having since had the honour of governing this estate, she had hoped to have left it at her death in some reasonable state, but now she saw that she needed not to desire to live long to see it ruinated and destroyed.”
Villeroy, whether honestly or dissemblingly, swore that he wished the King of Spain had taken two or three of the best towns of this realm, for the King would never be brought to see anything until necessity constrained him to look to himself.
Every day the Queen dealt with the King, but found him in the same resolution, and on Sunday, at St. Maur, she told me (fn. 1) that he had well considered all that I had declared to her, that he knew all to be true and willingly would look into them, but that the necessity of his own realm made him that he could not do that which willingly else he would do, and seeth to be necessary for him to do; (fn. 1) that the state of Languedoc was such, and besides they of the Religion obstinate, that will not surrender into his hands the towns, according to the composition of the peace, that he found the heart of his own realm so much interressed, that by necessity he was constrained to seek to make that sound afore he could look to enterprise anything abroad.”
I told her I was sorry that the King, when need required him to look into the King of Spain's greatness, was no better counselled “than to stand upon the looking into matters of Languedoc, where, if there were any cause of mistrust, the King of Spain was the cause of it, or to stand upon the Protestants not yielding up their towns, being poor men which sought only to have some security for their safeness; and I thought the only way, if he mistrusted any kind of unsoundness in those places, specially in the Protestants, was to set them awork against the King of Spain, whom he knew they hated and had more cause to hate than any prince in Christendom, and therefore might be most assured of their willingness to be employed in any action against him, and more assured in reason than of any others of his Catholic subjects.”
She answered me “all one song,” yet so coldly that I saw it was against her conscience, but that she durst do no other.
I asked whether the King meant to do nothing for Monsieur. “She said that for *Cambray he would; but for anything else, they of the Low Countries must give some cause first by their well dealing to encourage the King to do anything; else she saw no disposition in him.”*
I asked if the King would give no hope that if any already United provinces would seek the maintaining of their liberties under the King of Spain's obeissance, he would back them, and so bind them ever to depend upon him. *She answered that the King would attempt nothing that might give his neighbours colour to attempt anything against him till such time as he might find his own estate within sound as he might fear nothing that way.*
I asked her if this were all the answer it would please the King to make. She said it was all she had charge to deliver.
Lastly I asked her what the King had answered concerning Mauvissière. She said she had forgotten to speak of it, when I told her that then I should be fain to ask audience of the King myself, and so left her.
I had audience of the King on Thursday, and in the mean time, the Queen sent underhand to me “to speak to the King of the same things I had done to her, and to be somewhat earnest with him, as I had been with her” I answered that I should, even if she had not sent to me.
On Thursday I told him what answer I had received from his mother on his behalf, but that the case was so important that I desired to lay the same things before himself, praying him to weigh them well, for the danger was not so great to us as to him, as it was likely to be against him that the King of Spain might enterprise something on firm land and unawares; that against us he could only act by sea, which required long preparation and would give us time to provide for it. That though the Prince of Parma was so “over strong in the Low Countries that he needed rather diminution of forces to avoid needless charge than increasing of them for fear of danger,” yet the King had sent more forces (now in Italy) and was making fresh levies in Spain and staying the shipping of Genoa to transport them; besides the sudden staying of his forces which were passing the “mounts” [i.e. Alps], all which things I thought “rather tended to annoy his state than for anything else.”
The King with thanks answered me *that he was not able to do the things he would, and so in effect repeated word by word the answer 1 had of the Queen, desiring me to assure your Majesty that nothing kept him back “but the unsoundness of his own estate,. . . ., which made him he durst attempt nothing abroad, and not any secret matter, for the King of Spain's dealings with him and his good will to do as much with the King of Spain if he were not afraid of a worse accident, might take that opinion out of every body's mind.”*
I answered that I prayed God—seeing him resolve of so dangerous a course—he had not cause in the end to wish he had done otherwise and looked better to it in time, and that if openly he would not attempt any great thing, yet with both ease and honour he might back up the Low Countries in that “which though it were not sufficient to pull the King of Spain down to the ground, yet it pulled him at least upon his knees and kept him so far under that . . . he should not give both him and all his neighbours what law he listed, as he was in a good forwardness to do if he were not looked the better to in time.
*“He answered that he would learn of your Majesty as near as he could to conserve his own state in quiet; that you had given him that example, that he would do what he could to follow it”*; that the King of Spain was not “of so small years, nor of that sound disposition of body” that he was likely to live long enough to bring his greatness to pass, and if he chanced to die, his estate was likely enough to be in worse case than any of his neighbours.
I asked him to pardon me if I put him in remembrance of a proverb we had “that he that went still barefoot upon hope of being shod with dead men's shoes, was in danger to be shrewdly surbated afore he had wherewithal to cover his bare feet,” and that even if that King died, he would leave his realm in so good state that it would be hard for any to hurt it. He answered that all things were in the hands of God, whom he hoped would protect him and us all.
I answered that it was commonly seen “that when men refused the means that God gave to help them, and cried only 'God help us,' his help failed them and was turned to anger.
So, “finding that for all their pretence of religion here, they do nothing for God's sake, and that for lack of courage they will do nothing for their own sakes,” I left off speaking of that, and told him how many letters 1 had from your Majesty touching Mauvissière, laying the fault in my slack dealing. He would fain have put me off as before, assuring me he would enquire into the matter, but excusing himself from the commanding him not to deal with the Queen of Scots' matters, which, to his sister-in-law, were an unkind part.
I answered that the parties dealt with had confessed it, and if your Majesty had not credit enough with him to be believed, they should be brought forth, so that it needed no further enquiry, and that seeing his ambassador's dealing in private causes was but a colour for other practices, if he would not take order in it, your Majesty would be fain to use your own authority to restrain him, which you were loth to do.
*Then, seeing that I dealt so plainly with him, he told me he would advise with the Queen his mother, and take order for your contentment,* which 1 will press every day till I have it, though I look for no contentment of your Majesty in their answer. If he will not do what is reasonable, “your Majesty hath the sword in your own hand and must do yourself reason,” which would the soonest bring them to it.
Thus your Majesty has all the answer I can get. “The fault of it is the King's own disposition to do nothing of value, and the Jesuits' and such others' persuasions that lead him as they list, who be the only faithful instruments at the King of Spain's devotion, dispersed in the ears of all the princes in Christendom of that religion, who so handle the King and with that cunning that when they see him disposed to his foolish devotions, they follow him in that humour and keep him in it as long as they can. And when they see him disposed to follow a more fleshly trade, they, not to lose their credit, follow his humour in that, and rather than fail (not directly but indirectly) be instruments for the preferment of any good action.” These daily put into his head to take heed of attempting anything against the King of Spain, which is the way to make his Protestant subjects lift up their heads and be ready to take arms and get what they want by force; that it is their and your Majesty's one desire to have him at variance with Spain, and that when they were together by the ears, your Majesty “would leave him in the mire,” and the Protestants obtain what they list.
The others who keep him from war are his mignons, who will not let him take anything upon him of charge, whereby the less would come into their purses. “Besides, they having the chief offices of arms in their hands, for their reputations they must needs, if there be any wars, go to them, which they are very loth to do, for fear, if they be away, others come in their places.
“The last and one of the chiefest is the King's own disposition to have no wars,” for so long as he thinks himself assured to be King while he lives, he cares not what becomes of his realm after he is dead.
Therefore I cannot persuade your Majesty to trust to any action from hence against the King of Spain, not that I believe they have any intelligence with Spain, but only for the reasons afore written.
Some think the cause of the King's unwillingness is the uncertainty of Monsieur's health, knowing that his death would bring such innovations into the realm that he would not know which way to turn; but I think, if that were his meaning he would not have refused to enter into the matter, but by some colourable delays kept it in speech till he knew what would become of Monsieur.
There is great discussion here of the “pretence” of Epernon's journey into Gascony, with a greater train than ever prince in France went with. He has between 80 and 100 gentlemen of quality, and his whole troop is between five and six hundred horse. “The King hath been here these five or six days every day to borrow 40,000 crowns, which he giveth him to defray his journey withal.” Some think he goes only to show his greatness in his own country, but I believe, if there were not greater cause than that, he would not be so long absent from the King. Some say that upon the doubt of Monsieur's health, he goes to see how Conde and Navarre stand affected to the King, and if he find them well affected, and content to make account of himself, “then to purchase the King throughly to favour them, who, is thought, will do anything to get him a strong back . . . he is so fully bent to do him good and to make him great.”
Some say “the King would fain be rid of his wife, and that he goeth to sound if the Princess of Navarre would change her religion, to have her, and if he can, persuade the King of Navarre to change his religion . . . and that in so doing, he will procure him to be acknowledged for heir apparent through all the courts of Parlement next after the King and Monsieur.” This I partly believe, but what will come of it God knows. I look not for any good.
But what I indeed believe is that under a colour of these other things he goes to have conference with Marshal Montmorency and to see if he can disjoin him from them of the Religion, by laying before him those advertisements which they, as good servants, have given the King, “and so turn their good meaning to serve the King truly to help to set a pique between them and the Marshal, and . . . drawing him if he can from intelligence with the King of Spain, to make him fair offers and to leave him his government quiet.”
They of the Religion and the King of Navarre's agents here are at their wits' end, and cannot tell what to make of the King's dealing or this voyage of Epernon, for he resolves almost nothing with them, “but keepeth them still on with very fair countenance and good words; yet they find if he do any good, he will have them to think Epernon is the cause of it.” In spite of his answer to me about the towns he shows himself to be well enough contented they should keep them still.
On Sunday last the news came of the stir in Scotland. Seton and Glasgow came to the Duke of Guise and all were in great perplexity. What chiefly troubles them is the King's sending to your Majesty, for they fear nothing more than a good agreement between you, and I “durst take it upon my life” that nothing would more cut the combs of those that are here. “I find they fear it may be done, because the King of Scots findeth no great hope from hence of doing any good,'' and they fear he knows by this time that they who have good will to do it lack both credit and means.
Marchaumont arrived two days ago, leaving Monsieur better than at any time since his sickness. “I pray God send him well to do, as well for the great troubles his death would bring as chiefly for the contentment of your Majesty.” He is yet so weak that they have talked with him of nothing of importance and speaking is utterly forbidden him.
I have made Marchaumont acquainted with my speeches and the King's answer, which he mislikes as much as he likes your Majesty's intent, which I have delivered to him as though your chiefest care were by helping Monsieur to pull down the King of Spain, and only “for fault of the King's unwillingness . . . to seek to do it another way rather than no way.” As soon as he can, he will deal with his master, who was never more bent to the matters of the Low Countries than now, and even in his greatest extremity showed his hate against the Spaniards.
After his last great extremity, when everybody came into his chamber “and were ready to pull the sheet over his face,” the first thing he called for (when he was in any ease) was pen and ink, and wrote three lines to the King, requesting three things, “to be good to his servants, to maintain peace in his own country, and not to forsake the poor Flemings.”—Paris, 2 May, 1584.
Postscript.—As I was writing this, Mr. Stalling arrived and went on presently to Chasteau Thierry.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 7 pp. [France XI. 86.]
May 2. 567. Stafford to Walsingham.
Has written to the Queen of his dealings with the King and Queen Mother, concerning the King of Spain, Queen of Scots, the news of the troubles in Scotland, &c. Lord Seton and the Bishop of Glasgow do not well agree. Seton's pomp turned to penury. Epernon's going into Gascony. Diverting of King of Navarre and his sister from the Religion thought by Plessis to be one cause of his journey. Proposal to send Mr. Bacon to the King of Navarre. Mr. Umpton gone to Rome.—Paris, 2 May, 1584.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Ibid. 87.]
Calendared in Report on the Cecil Papers, iii., 28 (from copy sent to Burghley). Printed by Murdin, pp. 394–397.
May 2/12. 568. Masino del Bene to Walsingham.
In reply to his honour's letter of the 14th of last month, which he takes as an answer to that which, some days before he made bold to write to the Queen, he has only to say that God, from whom nothing is hidden, knows what his purpose has been in entering into the like matters, then and always, whether moved by himself or urged on by others. Sends humble thanks to her Majesty for taking in good part his boldness in writing to her.—Paris, 12 May, 1584.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [France XI. 88.]
May 2. 569. Gilpin to Captain Brune.
Though no great matter has happened, I send this to enclose the articles of peace presented to those of Flanders, which I pray you to deliver to his honour. Such news as I have is set down below by my servant, which also you may make his honour acquainted with.
Here are strange news from Embden that the Malcontents are in Riddersland, so spoiling and spending the country that the people are up in arms. Also that the Grave Edsard “should have sold his title” to the King of Spain.
“Surely if all these practices of the Pope and his children move not the princes professing the Gospel to join and oppose against the intended bloody tyranny, some great alteration will ensue” if God do not overthrow them, for which we are continually employed in prayer.—Middelburg, 2 May, 1584.
Underwritten in another hand:—
“Flanders will be nodoubtedly malcontent, Dermonde, Ostend and Sluys excepted, which are assured for the Prince.”
They of Bruges and Ghent will, it is said, conclude a peace of which the conditions “are very hard and bables [qy. baubles] to feed fools' humours.
“The exercise of the Gospel rejected or cut off; only liberty of conscience, and such as like not may depart” with their goods. It is thought the peace will very shortly be proclaimed, and that then the Prince of Parma will besiege Ostend.
The Duke of Aerschot has been to Bruges to see his son, the Prince of Chimay, “who continueth to profess a Protestant's faith, and yet doubted he is no other than a dissembler and the Pope's instrument.”
After the peace it is said the Prince of Parma will keep his court at Bruges. He has of late received large sums from the King and paid most of his soldiers, promising after the “full-getting” of Flanders, to withdraw all his forces into Brabant and elsewhere.
On the States side all things are as quiet as if there were no troubles. What course will be taken in their defensive war the Lord knoweth, but without foreign help the danger will tend to an utter overthrow, unless God, for the sake of his elect and his Christ, fight “for the advancement of his Gospel and to the ruin of the enemies thereof.”
“Here is much talk of Monsieur, then dead, again alive,” but nothing certainly known.
On the blank page is written, “I pray you show this letter to my master. Yours, Thomas Brune. To my loving friend Mr. Ciprian at the Court.”
Add. “to Mr. Thomas Brune, attending upon Sir Francis Walsingham. Deliver in Seething Lane.” Endd. “Gilpin to Bruyne.” 1½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI.77.]
May 2. 570. Advertisement from Zeeland.
News concerning Flanders, Bruges, Ghent, the Prince of Parma, Ostend, the Duke of Aerschot, the Prince of Chimay, and Antwerp.
Almost identical with the latter part of the preceding letter.—Middelburg, 2 May, 1584.
Endd.¾ p. [Newsletters XLV. 1.]
May 3. 571. Walsingham to Stafford.
Her Majesty has written a very kind letter to the King by this gentleman, M. de Maron, wherein, amongst other things, she asks him “to take order that such of her subjects as have conveyed themselves over into his realm, not for their conscience sake, whatsoever they may outwardly pretend, but to avoid the danger of her laws provided against the disturbers of the common quiet of the realm” and the better to set on foot their traitorous practices against her state and person, may not be suffered to “nestle themselves” in his dominions, and so give cause to the world to think that there is not that sound friendship between them that they outwardly profess. You are to enlarge this matter to the King with the best arguments you can allege, and name to him especially Lord Paget, Charles Paget, Charles Arundel, Thos. Morgan and Thos. Throckmorton, all of whom have been detected of manifest practices tending to the alteration of her government and the danger of her person.—May 3, 1584.
Copy. Endd. 2/3 p. [France XI. 89.]
[May 4 ?]. 572. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
I once more send this bearer, Jehan Musnier, to you, to beg you to remember the bloodhounds, and to write about them to your good friend and mine. Musnier will carry your letter, having had orders from M. de Gourdan to buy some at any price if he can find them. If it can be done by the means of him whom you know, he will greatly oblige M. de Gourdan, and also those for whom he wishes to get them.
And if he can put the affairs of which you know into a good state, he will do good service to her Majesty and worthy of his prudence, knowing how to conduct himself wisely with princes and not leave them in their obstinate opinions if he can divert them.
Holograph. Add. Endd. “1584, May 4.” Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 90.]
(As the next letter, written on the 5th, is endorsed May 4, this may have been written on the 5th also.)
May 5/15. 573. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
Having always been assured that Sir Archibald du Glas [Douglas] was a true gentleman, I have given credence to all he has said to me on your part, as a thing resolved by her Majesty's Council, and have written several letters upon the memoire which he has delivered to me. But shortly afterwards he returned and said just the contrary, which surprised me greatly. I have asked him to go to you again, and I beg you to see him.—London, 15 May, 1584.
Holograph. Add. Endd. “4 May (sic), 1584.” Fr. 1 p. [France XI. 91.]
May 5/15. 574. The Countess de Mongomery to the Queen.
To the same effect as her letter of April 27, above. Again implores her Majesty, in the name of Him from whom she holds her sceptre, to give orders to those who are to be the judges, to do justice to her poor afflicted daughter.—Ducé, 15 May.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. Fr.pp. [Ibid. XI. 92.]
May 5. 575. Stokes to Walsingham.
The deputies of this town and the Free write from Tournay that they have fully agreed with the Prince of Parma, and that those of Ghent have done the like saving for the article of religion, where the Gantois “stand hard to have religions-friede,” but the Prince will not grant it. The Gantois have written to their magistrates for their full determination, which is daily looked for. It is thought they will agree, for they are in some misery for want of victuals and other things, which the Prince of Parma knows very well. He has sent them a great fat stag (stadge) for a present.
It is said he has a great desire to see this town, and shortly after the peace will come hither. The Duke of Aerschot has sent for his wife and two daughters to come to him from Tournay.
The Prince of Chimay begins to mend. He has taken his leave of the magistrates, for as soon as the peace is proclaimed, he will go to England or into Dutchland, “whose departing doth very much grieve the commons' hearts.”
The Colonel of the Scots [Boyd] is making a contract with the Prince of Parma, but some of the captains and soldiers will not serve against the Prince of Orange and seek to withdraw the men into Holland, for which cause they are put in prison “by the seeking” of their Colonel, which matter has made a great discord amongst them.
The Marquis of Risbourgh, with part of the camp at Ecloo, has besieged Terneuse in the land of Waes, and it is thought will have it in a few days.
M. de Riova and M. de Villers are come from Holland to Dermonde, for which cause the Prince of Parma has sent six cornets of horse to he about it.
The Malcontents talk much “of troubles that shall be shortly in England, whereby they hope to have some rich spoil there, but in what sort I cannot learn it.”
Ostend is now wholly for the Prince of Orange, and have declared themselves enemies to this town and to all that take their part.—Bruges, 5 May, 1584, stilo Anglie.
Postscript.—The Prince of Chimay has heard nothing from his man since he went to England.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl and Fl. XXI. 78.]
May 6/16. 576. The Magistrates and Companies of Ghent to the Governor of Dermonde.
Forasmuch as we are resolved to leave off the peace, because having heard the report of our commissioners, we find that we have been deceitfully brought into the same, and that it would only tend utterly to ruinate and bring us under the bondage of our enemies; and the more because yesterday, at the town house, divers gentlemen of countenance and citizens sought violently to constrain us to accept it as the enemy offered it, whose force we resisted, with the aid of the well-minded citizens, in such sort that the principal authors thereof are apprehended, the Lord be thanked for his goodness: And because we have determined to send some deputies unto you to-morrow to assure you of this our resolution, as likewise to the States of Brabant who by their letters of the 7th [n.s.] have offered us their good-will and affection:—“These shall therefore serve to insist by them that some of the foresaid estates may also there at Dermonde be present according to the tenor of their letters.”—16 May, 1584, stilo novo.
Headed, “Translaet off a letter by them off Ghent, written to the Governour off Dermonde.”
Apparently translated from Latin by a Fleming with some knowledge of English.
Endd. “19 May. Copy of a letter from the magistrates of Ghent,” &c.; the date being that of the “News from Antwerp” (see p. 488 below) on the same sheet. [Ibid. XXI. 79.]
May 7/17. 577. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
I see by your letter that the Queen is resolved to hold to what she said yesterday. This is only half doing things, will always leave difficulties, and will take away half the honour of the charge which my master gave me, believing that it was the true means of binding for ever his friendship with his good sister and this realm, and of removing all mistrust on both sides.
Nevertheless I see that I am not exempt therefrom, however sincerely I desire to do rightly, as I doubt not God will give me grace to do. And as I should be very sorry that through me any good thing should be lacking, I am ready to obey whatever may be advised by her Majesty and her Council, provided that there is a resolution to do well by all yours, as I can answer for the intentions of my master and myself. And I will not complain of my trouble in writing over again the letters for his Majesty and those of the Queen of Scots, which I will send you as soon as I have finished them.
But this sudden charge by so prudent a Council as that of England, may perhaps be misinterpreted in France by those who would rather see things full of difficulties than have them ended by a good agreement. It shall not, however, be my fault if things do not come to a good conclusion. You shall this evening have my letters for the King and for the Queen of Scots. I humbly recommend myself to the Earl of Leicester [Lestre].—London, 17 May, 1584.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [France XI. 93.]
May 7. 578. Stafford to Walsingham.
Epernon's departure on the morrow. Is going to see Don Antonio and will ascertain the meaning of his preparations. Finds nothing pretended for Scotland. Marvels that the Queen has taken amiss what he wrote. Sent no more of Monsieur “than was and as much as was.” Could not keep her ignorant of the report of his death, seeing the innovations that would grow upon it. In no way desires it, particularly for the love her Majesty bears him.—Paris, 7 May, 1584.
Postscript (not in the Cecil copy).—Lord Seton has again to-day sent to me about his passport. The French merchants who sought an arrest from the King of English merchants' goods, for injustice done to them, have earnestly pressed me for an answer. They cry out greatly, but I know not what to say to them until I know your and the lords' minds.
Add. Endd.pp. [Ibid. XI. 94.]
Calendared in Report on the Cecil Papers, iii., 28, from copy sent to Burghley. Printed by Murdin, p. 397.
May 7/17. 579. The Prince of Orange to Walsingham.
Asking him to tell her Majesty that Monsieur has sent one of his people to say that after having been ill, he is now so far restored that he hopes shortly to be up again and reminds them of their duty in trying to bring about an accord between those countries and himself. To this the provinces seem much inclined, especially as the King his brother would be included therein, without which they do not see that his highness could have delivered them.
Being in much need of good counsel, in a matter of such importance, the Prince prays Walsingham to implore her Majesty to bestow it on them.—Delft, 17 May, 1584. Signed.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 80.]
May 7/17. 580. The Prince of Parma to the City of Bruges.
His Highness, having heard the deputies of Bruges and the Free concerning marriages and baptisms in the past, and funerals in the future, declares that he has gone as far as he possibly could to content them, but he neither can nor will entrench upon what appertains to ecclesiastical authority, by approving or making legal what by the canons and constitutions of the Church might be invalidated.
Nevertheless, he promises to write to his Majesty as favourably as possible, and meanwhile assures them that the said marriages and baptisms shall not be disturbed. As to the burials, they may apply to the magistrate, who will assign them a place, within or without the said city where they may bury their dead, provided it be in holy ground and that the funerals are conducted quietly and without an assembly of people or any “exercise.” This to be temporary and until (his Majesty's resolution being received) final order may be taken.—Tournay, 17 May, 1584.
Copy. Endd. Fr. ¾ p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 81.]
May 8. 581. Stokes to Walsingham.
Since my last there have been great troubles at Ghent, “one against another,” about the peace; so that the town gates have been kept shut since Monday last, the 4th inst., that none might come out. Those against the peace are the greatest number and are masters of the town and the magistrates are of that side. The cause is this:—Amongst the articles sent by them to the Prince of Parma were two that he will not grant, “the article to keep their old privileges and the article for religions-friede.” And the rest are only granted with condition that they shall receive 2,000 soldiers as a garrison, or else make a new castle, as great as he shall devise.
On Tuesday last the magistrates and commons assembled in the town house to hear their deputies' report and consult of their answer, and whilst they were there, a great number of the burghers that would have the peace came armed to the town house and said “We will have the peace that is presented by the Prince of Parma.” By friendly persuasion and also by way of some force they were put to silence and their weapons taken from them, and about 150 of the chiefest put in prison. And so they have resolved that rather than agree to this, peace “they will die all upon the rampire.” When all was pacified, the magistrates wrote to the Prince of Chimay, desiring him to be a means that this town and the Free do not agree to any peace without them, “wherein the Prince did his best, but this town made answer that they will not meddle no more with them of Ghent, and so they will deal apart of themselves.”
At five o'clock this afternoon, these magistrates received letters from the Prince of Parma, asking them whether they will agree to his articles “without the Gantois, yea or no,” and to make him answer without delay.
The magistrates called an assembly of all the principal burgers and commons, when the Prince's letter was read, “and thereunto they made answer wholly together that we will have the peace as it is presented unto us, and let them of Ghent do as they shall think good.” So they presently sent their letters to the Prince of Parma, and Ghent is left alone. How they will defend themselves, time must try, but all men think they cannot hold out long without speedy help, for their victuals are scant and marvellous dear, and begin to be the same here; for those of Sluys will let nothing come hither, yet suffer all things to go to Nieuport and Dunkirk.
The Gospel begins to be put to silence in this town; the French Church is shut up and the preachers gone, and it is said that next week the Dutch preachers will follow. It is said that in eight or ten days the Prince of Chimay and the Duke his father will go into Henego, and that from thence the Prince will go to Cologne.
Letters from Lille say that those of Cambray have burnt seventeen villages besides Bapaume. It is said the peace will be proclaimed here in four or five days, “and greatly feared it will not be well kept.
“The dealings of the Gantois are strange to all men, for about a month past, all those that desired not the peace were discharged of their offices and put in prison, and now, all those that desires the peace, they are discharged out of their state and offices and they are put in prison; and now they cry in Ghent Vive le Prince d'Orange et Riova. Surely these variable dealings must needs be their overthrow, and it makes the Walloons and the Spaniards very glad, for they hope to have the sacking of that town 'or' it be long.”—Bruges, 8 May, 1584, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 82.]
May 9/19. 582. News from Antwerp.
The treaty of peace with them of Bruges is still in suspense. The Duke of Aerschot is there, and thought he shall be governor in place of his son.
At Ghent all treaties are broken off, as you may see by a copy of a letter hereunto annexed [see p. 485 above]. The chief authors of the parley are apprehended. Hembyse, Champagny and their complices as yet prisoners.
The garrison of Bergen-op-Zoom has defeated the convoys going to Steenbergen, and taken about 100 prisoners, with one principal Italian captain.
In the Common Council of Antwerp is granted another subsidy for three months, everyone to be rated according to their ability.—Antwerp, 19 May, 1584, stilo novo.
Copy, ¾ p. [Ibid. XXI. 79a.]
May 9. 583. Capt. Mathew Morgan to Walsingham.
Our camp lies still here by Zutphen (Sutfen) and it is thought will shortly lay battery to the enemy's fort. In the mean time, we are sufficiently beaten with poverty, especially the English, who are more hardly dealt with than any other, so that we are become very few.
I think my uncle, Colonel Morgan, lately wrote to you what news there is here. The camp increases daily. Count “Solams” [Solms i.e. Peuenaar] who was with Eitel Heinrich when he was taken, has been in Germany to bring down more forces. He has sent two companies of horse and is himself daily expected. The Bishop of Cologne is with the Prince of Orange in Holland.
The Governor of Ypres, “that was with those troops he brought thence,” goes to Berg on the Rhine, a town of the Elector's or the Count of Meurs. It is thought Colonel Morgan's company of horse shall have that garrison.—The Camp, 9 May.
Add. Endd.: “9 May, 1584. From young Morgan.” 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXI. 83.]
May 10/20. 584. Bizarri to Walsingham.
The lovers of the good cause at Ghent have got the upper hand, and have imprisoned some of the principal men who were wholly inclined to the agreement with Spain. They have sent to Dermonde for aid from the garrison there, being resolved to remain united to the Confederate Provinces.
Bruges, by the means of the Prince of Chimay, has received the Duke of Aerschot, and it is held for certain that they have agreed with the King. But the great change happened at Ghent, contrary to expectation, may easily bring about a different result, especially as he has neither Sluys nor Ostend at his devotion, maritime and important places.
M. de Tempel, Governor of Brussels, has lately been here, who, they say, has received letters from the Duke of Anjou, written on the 7th inst. and stating that he has recovered from his serious illness and will soon give his assistance to whatever is concluded between his Highness and the States. His people already begin to annoy the enemy towards Cambray, and his camp increases every day.
The new Elector of Bavaria [i.e. Cologne] has made himself master of the greater part of what the other possessed, and Westfalia is almost all reduced to his rule. It is said that his people have passed the Rhine in order to besiege Ordingen and Bergen, which being gained, he will be absolute master of all that belongs to his electorate.—Antwerp, the most holy day of Pentecost, 1584.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. XXI. 84.]
Sent by means of Signor Filippo Cataneo.
May 10. 585. Stephen le Sieur to Walsingham.
I have deferred till now to tell you of the small success I have had with the Duke of Cleves in Mr. Rogers' matter, having been there twelve days before 1 could present her Majesty's letters, for that the Bishop of Liege (whom some call Elector of Cologne) had arrived there two days before I came, accompanied by Count Hermann of Manderscheit (with commission from the Emperor and called his ambassador), the Count of Reifferscheit, Don Juan de Manrique, lieutenant-general to Duke Ferdinand, the Bishop's brother, Soren, a Burgundian captain of light horsemen and divers others. They stayed nine days, being much made of by the Duke and his counsellors, and meanwhile their men, lying upon the country, “were spoiling and burning gentlemen's houses, cloisters, churches and villages, taking his subjects, killing divers and the rest ransoming them, using them with such cruelties as I have never heard the like,” yet orders given not to resist them; which those who fear God judge to be a just plague sent over this country, “as truly it is not unlike, for the young Duke begins to fall into that melancholical or rather mad humour of his father and mother, and the Duchess of Prussia his daughter likewise.” Some think that the persuasions used to the young Duke to match himself with a daughter of Baden are the cause of his melancholy. His father is so jealous of him that he will not let him come where he is; “truly these countries stand in miserable estate.”
The assembly has mostly treated touching this marriage, “though the Duke himself have not scant good opinion of the honesty of the gentlewoman, but is contented to yield unto it, being persuaded by the Pope and his ministers.”
The Chapter of Cologne and those that brought in the Bishop of Liege begin to repent themselves, for Spaniards and Italians have the government of those places yielded from Truchsess, amongst whom is the Count of Reifferscheit, who only joined with the Bishop to annoy the Count of Moers, his kinsman. The Bishop having taken a castle of the latter called Bedbur, has given it to Don Juan de Manrique, although it was claimed by Reifferscheit, but, to pacify him, he has the government of Kaiserswerth. It is generally thought that if the Bishop can overcome Truchsess, he will plant the Inquisition in the bishopric; but although he has almost all Westphalia and nobody to resist him of that side the Rhine, yet his forces remain in this Duke's countries, “and would gladly set foot in the town of Wesel, at which divers of the counsellors of Cleve would wink, for the great number of Protestants which are in,” but the magistracy is warned and keep strong watch day and night.
On the other side of the Rhine Truchsess still has Berck and Ordingen, which daily expect siege. In Berck is the Countess of Moers, resolved to abide the uttermost as she told me; “and well she may do it,” for it is well fortified and furnished with soldiers and victuals, and the men so encouraged by her that they protest rather to die than yield.
The Duke ordered certain of his Clevish counsellors to receive my message, and they sent one to me, to whom I answered that I had charge to deliver the Duke's letters to himself, and that I had also letters for them, “which if they would have, I would go and deliver them.” I was presently sent before them and gave them their letters, and the next day the Duke sent for me, and when I had presented the letters, he conferred upon them with his counsellors, after which I was again called up and told that they would send the answer from Cleve, for as there was no mention of me in her Majesty's letters, it was not requisite to give me any other answer.
I told them that I had authority from her Highness to follow the cause and showed the safe-conduct you had sent me, but they would not acknowledge it to be sufficient. Two days afterwards I desired to speak with the counsellors, but they put me off.
“I spake with the Chancellor, who scant affording me to speak six words, told me in very short terms” that from Cleve they would answer by letters, as her Highness requested, and so went his way. The presence of the Bishop of Liege was probably partly the cause of this treatment, for he is no great friend to her Majesty. “Both he, his brother Duke Ferdinand, and their followers had divers speeches of me, which tended to no great good towards me, if they could conveniently have catched me, as I was advertised by the young Duchess and another lady who heard their words, willing me to look well about me at my going from thence, which I was forced to do disguisedly and secretly,” and thank God, am to-day come safe to this town, where some hope is given me that those who keep Mr. Rogers will reduce their demands if any will deal with them. I answer that I have no charge to deal in the matter, for I come out of Germany, but if they would come to some reasonable sum, I would do my best to satisfy them. I shall stay at Cleve for an answer, and hear what the counsellors will further say to me, after which I shall in all diligence return home.—Wesel, 10 May, 1584, stilo antiquo.
Endd. “1584.” 4 pp. [Germany, States III. 13.]


  • 1. The words between stare in this letter are underlined.