Elizabeth: July 1584, 1-5

Pages 573-591

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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July 1584, 1–5

July 1/11. 709. Villiers to Walsingham.
I had put together (brouille) the enclosed to send to you before this miserable accident happened of which Captain Williams (Vuillems) will tell you. I add this word to pray you, knowing the favour you are in with her Majesty, to represent to her very earnestly the state of this country and its consequence as regards the whole of Christendom and especially the realm of England, and to urge her to take some good resolution thereon.
These Estates, which are here, are very well inclined, God be thanked.
I beg you likewise to be a means to her Majesty that she will show her royal favour to this poor widow and orphans, for I can assure you that their poverty is so great as to be beyond belief.
These are my principal cares, viz. the church, which will now, with the republic, be left desolate, for as to what regards myself, now, when two great evils assail me-old age and poverty in the midst of a multitude of children—God be thanked, I have long since learnt to be content, and I hope that he will never forsake me.—Delft, 11 July, 1584.
Postscript.—I pray you to make excuses to her Majesty that Madame and Mesdemoiselles do not yet write to her; for their grief is too great and too fresh.
Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 22.]
710. The Memoire above mentioned.
Before replying to the letters you have been good enough to write to me by M. Cherincouni [qy. Carenzone] I must excuse myself for having been so long without writing to you. It has not been from forgetfulness of my obligations to you for your friendship and benefits, and the offers of your favour, for which although I have not accepted them, for certain reasons, I am truly obliged to you in particular and to the realm of England in general, against the welfare whereof I shall never consent while I live, God aiding me, that anything should be undertaken, and although I have acted without much noise, my conscience acquits me before God for having drawn up several conceits for the present and future welfare of the Crown of England, as, if I shall have the happiness once again in my life to go into England, I hope to make you understand.
The reasons then for my silence have been that I do not know how to lie or slander and so I was constrained to be silent upon affairs here, for if I had spoken I should have been constrained, if I wrote the truth, to discover infinite ill-doings of many, which I saw as clearly long before their discovery as I see them now and as they are now known and clear to all men; and nevertheless I knew not how to write of the State, as it was both in the church and the republic, without touching the honour of the ministers both of the one and the other, who have acquitted themselves very badly, some from pure treason, others from ambition joined to extreme ignorance, impudence, hate and envy. And, for its own honour, I dreaded so much to discover the faults of the ministers of the church, that I preferred to be reviled by them for a time, than by defending myself to harm the church, assuring myself that God will bring to light my uprightness.
I had yet another reason, which is that I did not think I should be believed, for I knew well enough that calumny keeps its sting long in what it attacks and when plucked out leaves a venomous spot, and that this calumny was flung by two sorts of people in great numbers, both hiding themselves under a plausible mantle of religion, although some were its sworn enemies and therefore wished to put us into the hands of the Spaniard, while others had private reasons, of which one of the principal was the last marriage of his Excellency, which they thought had been procured by me; thus their hate was so great that even though they call themselves Christians, they did not pardon the memory of that glorious rampart of Christendom the Admiral. I had still a third reason, that I knew that some of them had gained a good reputation with you and several other lords, whom indeed you had often commended, and I did not think it fitting, before they were discovered and their mask lifted, to write to you of them too openly. I have often given my opinion to Mr. Norreys, with whom I have been more intimate than with any other of your nation. In fine, my intention was to wait until God discovered them, and if it did not please him so to do, not in any way to be the cause of trouble, seeing most honest men carried away by this common error, as by a wave. And moreover I had not to seek far for examples, for every day I see M. the Prince a thousand times more calumniated than myself, after meriting so much; and as, God be thanked, I have never abandoned him, so his patience and magnanimity have served me much to arm me against the slanders of men. Two things have distressed me, that I see so many poor people lost who have closed the door to all aid which might have been given them; the other that I fear always that God may punish the many heinous deeds of our people, who have gloried in breaking their promises and the unworthy ingratitude which they have shown, by which is apparent that their design has been even to ruin his Excellency in honour and in goods, until Dathenus, at the time when he was treating with the Spaniard, thinking he was at the end of his affair, said in open assembly, speaking of his Excellency, intravit ut vulpes, regnavit ut leo, ejicitur ut canis, his associates smiling and applauding so abominable and execrable a word.
These things have always tormented my mind, for, as to my private affairs, God is my witness, and those who have conversed with me, that I am not greatly moved concerning them, never troubling to reply, but putting all into the hand of God, who has brought confusion upon my adversaries.
I have troubled you rather at length with reasons because I do not doubt that you have sometimes been surprised by my silence, but seeing the proof you have had of me, I hope that you will have always thought that it was not without reason; and in regard to this, I will put you in mind that when you returned from France, there was not one in England, either native or foreign, who did not speak or suspect evil of M. de la Noue, excepting you and me; and it had to be suffered, until time has shown the envy, hate, levity and impudence of those who spread so much evil of so good a man, those of Rochelle having even permitted it to be printed.
I come now to your letters, which contain two chief points. As to the first, which you only touch upon, it is not in my vocation or knowledge, but belongs to the States, so I will say nothing, but refer myself to what the Prince wrote to you thereupon last winter, on the last of January; and it seems to me that he can do nothing else, both from lack of power and because it is not reasonable that Antwerp should pay for Artois, Hainault and other provinces, for matters which may be carried on in England and at Rouen or Paris, and as I hope, by consent of the King of France; for if those of Antwerp took it into their heads (which may God forbid) to agree with the King of Spain, as many there have desired, it would be very necessary that her Majesty should apply to the body of those who are bound to her. Now it is notorious that those of Arras, Lisle, Tournay and other towns are not less bound than Antwerp. But this is for Messieurs the States to advise upon, according to their prudence.
The other principal point in your letter is the discourses which may be made by reason of the death of his Highness; and it is certain that there will be some very strange ones, on various matters, as upon the affairs of this country; that is, what course those will now take who have been against him, yet who see evidently that the help on which they depended, by an imaginary confederation of Germany, is nothing, it having even failed the Elector of Cologne. On the other hand, those who have looked to this quarter, seeing the forces of the King of Spain from day to day increasing, many of ours losing courage, others banding themselves against the Prince, that is to say, against them-selves-what will they now do both for their own preservation and for the said Elector ?
Whether they will go on defending themselves by their own means, and if these are sufficient; whether they will listen to the offers made to them from the King of Spain by interested persons, or whether they will apply to other princes, and to what princes, if any there be of the Religion who are willing and able ? Whether the King of Navarre should be applied to, without communicating thereupon with the King, or, if communicating, whether the King would approve of it or no, and whether, it being approved, he will go on with it, and especially, even if it prospered, whether it would be adviseable for him to leave France ? Whether, again, they should try the Princes of Germany and the Queen, the King of Denmark or others ? Whether application should be made to the King of France, the Queen Mother or Don Antonio, upon the ground that the King of Spain has invaded Portugal ? If one ought to leave the town of Ghent, and three months later Antwerp, without any other succour than to entrust them to the providence of God; and in the same way, Brussels and Malines, Gueldres and Overyssel, it not being in the power of the States to guard them otherwise without help from foreign princes, who may furnish men and money, or without a miracle of God.
These are fine subjects of discourse, both for those who judge of them far from the action and for those who are in the midst of it, and I do not doubt that there will be made many good and serious proposals and also many indiscreet ones.
But, as you pass over all that, only touching upon it, but insist principally upon the matter of the King of Navarre and do me the honour to ask my opinion thereupon, I am well pleased to put before you these doubts, that you may think that such things are well considered by his Excellency and that if he does not follow such or such advice, it is not from not having examined it, but that for certain reasons he thinks other counsel better.
I remember that, being in England, the late Mr. Buccanan sent his tragedy named Baptists to be printed, and had given it a preface addressed to the King of Scotland which seemed to me a little harsh, and I was of opinion that it should be softened. I could not think that ever the King of Scotland would have need of such counsel, but I learn every day that men are men, and even so I see well that that was not without cause also which Calvin in the preface to his commentaries on Moses gave to the King of Navarre, for to say the truth many occasions may present themselves to the said King to be shaken, of which I see some touched in your letters. There is another thing which has always displeased me and does so still, viz. that some of the Religion, even of the chief men, both in the world as the church, have attempted illicit things against him and have often spoken and written very indiscreetly. You know that there is nothing that so much moves a generous heart and not accustomed to patience than such manner of acting; but to conclude therefrom that the King of Navarre would forget himself so far as to forsake the truth, I cannot in any way whatever believe it and I persuade myself of better things of him. I noticed in his youth always a constancy in his resolutions. There has never been any fickleness and change of purpose or opinion, a thing seen in hardly any princes of our time; and I remember having always heard from the late M. de St. Martin, my brother-in-law, who was brought up with him and was killed at the Louvre, in the St. Bartholomew, that from his youth up he was firm in his opinions. Moreover, if what they write to us from France is true, he being declared Monsieur in his absence and against his uncle, the Cardinal of Bourbon, he will begin to see that this difference of religion will not hinder him as much as might be thought. And although one must not despise any enemy, yet we who know better the humour of the French are not so anxious as strangers might be, that being come to the Crown they would be able to hinder him. It principally depends on the nobility, who willingly follow the King, and next on some good towns, even on Paris alone, which is followed by others. It is true that this happening, if the King of Navarre should believe certain spirits, like some we have had in Ghent and elsewhere, very soon they would make a division; but I see him surrounded by wise men, who in my opinion know well enough the fault that has been made in believing Beutterich and those like him, who had everywhere private designs; and I hope that they will remedy the evil. But all this is merely opinion, for always he is a man and a prince, and yet it seems to me that all honest men ought to aid him as far as they can. For my part I shall try so to act that he may know and assure himself that he has in the Prince a good, entire and faithful friend to serve him in case of need, by whom he will be warned to carry himself more modestly than ever, with more assurance towards the crown that he desires peace and quiet and with more respect towards the King. This is what I hope to do, but without noise and ceremony.
If I had credit with the greater princes, I would do as much, and will try what I can towards the princes of the Empire, as also for the honour you have done me by loving me. I pray you to endeavour the same with her Majesty, for nothing would strengthen him so much as to be assured of a number of faithful friends to assist him in his need. But for fear the King should be suspicious, as if they wished to take part against him, which I would not advise, it must be done by discreet and faithful persons, and very secret, and herein I find a difficulty, for secret matters are seldom treated of without being proclaimed on all sides, but one must hope for it.
I think these are the best human means, but the chief is to pray to him who holds the hearts of Kings in his hand. These things could be better discussed by word of mouth. I write of them briefly since it pleased you to desire my opinion, but there are some things of which I cannot write, which may cause great commotions in one part or another and on which we shall soon be enlightened.
Postscript.—This last point refers to what I hear is being bruited by the Duke of Epernon.
Endd.”July, 1584,” from Mr. Villiers. Fr. 7 pp. very small close writing. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 23.]
July 1/11. 711. Gebhard Truchsess, Elector of Cologne, to the Queen.
Lamenting that he should have so sad an occasion to write to her Majesty as the death of his cousin, the Prince of Orange, who was yesterday miserably murdered by a Burgundian, bribed by Assonleville, a councillor of the King of Spain and by orders of the Prince of Parma.
As by this accident all the estates and kingdoms professing the true religion sustain a very great loss, so these poor countries receive an irreparable wound, unless her Majesty and the other potentates of the Religion in Christendom shall lend their favour and their aid.
Very humbly beseeches her to take under her protection the poor widow and orphan children of the Prince, who has always been her humble and affectionate servant, as he knows from the Prince's own mouth.—Delft, 11 July, 1584.
Signed. Add. Endd. “1584, 31 [sic] June. The Prince of Orange slain.” Fr. 1 p. [Germany, States III. 35.]
July 1/11. 712. The Elector of Cologne to Walsingham.
To the same effect, and in almost exactly the same words as the preceding letter, Prays him to move her Majesty to protect the poor widow and children.—Delft, 11 July, 1584.
Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Germany, States III. 36.]
July 2. 713. Walsingham to Stafford.
We cannot yet shake off our sorrow, and therefore I cannot send you her Majesty's resolution touching a person to be sent to condole. My son Sydney has been named, “but his friends, in this time of hard consideration of service, wish him rid of the burden.”
It is also doubted whether it be fit, amidst their mourning to send over the Garter, most part thinking it were better put off till next year.
There has been “consideration” of some funeral ceremonies here, “but the season serveth not yet (the grief being too green) to motion the same. I do assure you (Queen Mother except) there is none, neither in that realm nor elsewhere, that hath sorrowed so much for the Duke's death as her Majesty hath done. There hath no day passed without tears,” for these three weeks past.
The enclosed copies [wanting] will show you what has passed in Scotland and the Low Countries.
I suppose the Scottish King's sudden seeking of her Majesty's friendship, both by speeches to Mr. Davison and letters to Lord Hunsdon, proceeds from the cold answer they receive “from thence.” It is thought here that your King there wishes “to live at quiet with his neighbours, and had as lieve have the amity of England as of Scotland,” not having that use of the latter that they have had heretofore. I shall shortly send my servant Burnam to du Plessis, under colour of going to Bordeaux, who who will acquaint you with the charge given him.—The Court, July 2, 1584.
Copy. Endd.pp. [France XII. 1.]
July 2. 714. Walsingham to Stafford.
I have dealt earnestly with her Majesty to send to the King of Navarre for the purpose contained in your letter, which divers of the best judgment thought most necessary even before Monsieur's death; but she will not yield to it, saying that in so doing she would be thought “to favour too much upon him.” and also she declares “that she cannot now love the King of Navarre so well, who is to succeed one whom she loved so entirely.” But she is content that I shall write to du Plessis, excusing her not sending, on the ground of these two reasons:— The one, that the world might judge that she now sought too much unto him, and the other that it might excite suspicion and jealousy, the said King's actions being now more narrowly sifted than heretofore. Advising him withal in her name what course she wishes that King to hold, for which purpose I shall send an express within few days.
Touching the instrument you desire under Sir H. Cobham's hand, certifying whether he consented to the hanging of his house, Sir Henry has not been here of late, but at his coming 1 will not fail to procure it. But whatsoever they pretend, I can say of my own knowledge that though I and others in that place were earnestly pressed, it was never yielded to.
I like well of your course with that lewd fellow Popham, who is not worth the charges to send him hither.—Richmond, 2 July, 1584.
Draft. Endd. 1 p. [France XII. 2.]
July 2. 715. Gilpin to Walsingham.
Upon the news that the enemy had removed from Flanders into Brabant, making head at the town of Lillo, they of Antwerp sent their ensigns of bachelors to the fort of Lillo, and taking four or six men out of each of their other ensigns, sent them to the other sconces, at Liefkenshook, the Doele and Safting. Next day the bachelors issued out and skirmished with the enemy, took two or three prisoners and slew and hurt some, with loss of two men and a few more hurt. Liefkenshook was assaulted, but the enemy repulsed after ten or twelve hours' charge, with the loss and hurt of many.
During this time, Antwerp having sent hither and to other places for men, six or eight hundred were despatched from Bergen (Barrow), Herentals, Terneuse and other garrisons and put into the foresaid forts, the men of Antwerp then returning home.
The enemy has been busy filling an old castle at Lillo, to “bring it to a mount,” and so command the fort, and on the other side charged Liefkenshook without intermission, so that the report goes that they took it on Tuesday night. La Motte is there in person, and now is about the Doele and Safting, which Fremyn is governor of. Montdragon “stayeth yet” the intended enterprise to Tergoes, and bending towards Barrow, will either lay siege there, or else from Steenbergen attempt some other enterprise. There is a muttering here that they had entered the Plaset, an island of great moment between here and Holland, but we hope the contrary.
They of Antwerp are greatly dismayed, and suffer women and strangers to depart, but no townsmen nor goods. “Yet there come hither daily, doubting that the other forts will be also lost or abandoned ere long, and so the town in danger to be cut from trade and passage.
“To multiply these thwart accidents, a more heavy and lamentable is fallen out by the sudden loss of the Prince of Orange, who on Tuesday in the afternoon, as he was risen from dinner and went from the eating place to his chamber, even entering out of a door to go up the stairs, the Bourgonian that had brought him news of Monsieur his death, making show as if he had some letter to impart and to talk with his Excellency, with a pistol shot him under the breast, whereof he fell down dead in the place and never spake word, to the wonderful grief of all there present. The murderer, after the fact committed, calling out Sauve moi la vie, je conterai tout, was taken alive and committed.”
The States immediately met, and despatched orders to all places to keep good order and provide against further mischief when the news should be known; “being (notwithstanding the great loss of so rare a prince, especially dying on the place without speech) well animated and resolved, not doubting but the Lord will raise up another to defend his cause.... They are busy whom to choose for their head, and is thought, to avoid questions and jealousy, his Excellency's son shall be accepted to the place as chief, and the Count of Hollock Lieutenant-general of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, the Count of Meurs of Guelderland and Count William of Nassau of West Friesland, as they were in the Prince his time.
“And now, joining these three noblemen with certain others of the most sufficient to be counsellors so to direct the business of the States, do trust in God will have as good success as before; whereto they hope her Majesty and other Protestant princes will be more assistant, seeing the murderous and villainous intent and practices of the Pope and his devilish children, the papistical princes.”
All the peasants of this island were mustered yesterday, and this morning the States have called in all men of war and others ever employed by his Excellency in the State, to consult and “give the best order in their business.”
I repaired this morning to some of the States with words of encouragement and assurance of her Majesty's favour, and offering my good offices, which was very thankfully taken, with protestations that they reposed altogether on her Majesty's aid in their afflictions.
I send Mr. Page, this bearer, with charge to make all haste possible, that her Majesty, knowing of his Excellency's death, may take what course she pleases and also (under dutiful correction), that the horrible practices of the papists may be prevented and overthrown.—Middelburg, 2 July, 1584. I send herewith a packet received from Mr. Carenzone.
Postscript.—News is just come that Liefkenshook is lost, and they at the Doele have forsaken it and run into Safting.
Add. Endd. Seal. 2¾ pp.[Holl. and Fl. XXII. 24.]
July 3. 716. Stafford to Walsingham.
I could sooner have despatched to you but that I waited for the coming of La Roque from the King of Navarre to condole on Monsieur's death, desiring to see if his speech agreed with what had been said here of that King's meeting with the Duke d'Epernon, and of what had passed during their interview. Having had conference with him, I find “no difference of tales,” but that all passed as follows:—
M. d'Epernon, coming to within two leagues of Palmiez [or Pamier], where the King of Navarre was, sent a gentleman to ask where he might wait upon him. That King had heard what fears his enemies had put into Epernon's head—that if he came to the King of Navarre he would repent it—and also saw this from the messenger's speeches, though he would not speak plainly of it.
The King told the gentleman that he was going hunting and would give him his despatch in the field. At least four or five hundred horse went with him, but being come into the forest, he sent back all but eight, and then called Epernon's man and bid him go and tell his master he would come and sup with him.
The messenger found his master about to sit down to supper and told him the King of Navarre's determination. As the Duke called for his horse, to go and meet him, the King came up the stairs and into the chamber, embraced him with great familiarity, and told him that, knowing the suspicions which had been put into his head by those who wished to bring their master into “an evil opinion” of himself, he had come with that small company to show how fearless he was of any coming from the King, though perchance he had some reason for suspicion, seeing what a great number of gentlemen of the country were present whom he had cause to doubt and no cause in the world to trust.
But they being come with the Duke, and he sent from the King his lord, he would quite forget any injury they might have done him, and therefore embraced them all, one after another, “with such show of contentment of their side, that they have all sworn that the King only excepted, they will live and die with the King of Navarre.”
Then the King told Epernon he would sup with him, and Epernon “made him ready his service like a Prince,” at the upper end of the table; but he refused to sit there, and taking a couple of gentlemen by the hand, “he set himself down at the midst of the board, made them all sit down, both at upper and nether end round about him and would suffer no one of them that came with him to serve him, nor any of the Duke Epernon's to take 'saie' (fn. 1) either of meat or drink they gave him.” After he had supped the Duke accompanied him back to Palmiez with three hundred horse, and being arrived, desired the King's leave to lie that night with Roquelaure (Rockelore) the master of his garderobe, in his garderobe, and that those that came with him should return to their lodgings.
“The King of Navarre would by no means permit him, but told him that he should not leave his company for that night, but that the next day he would provide better for him and them both.” The King then made his troop dislodge out of the best lodgings of the town and gave them to Epernon's train.
The next day he sent his whole troop, at least 600 gentlemen, to meet the Duke, who was accompanied by 300 gentlemen. “Being arrived and brought up to the King of Navarre where he lay, the King again embraced him and all his with great familiarity, where the Duke Epernon, with all humility thanking the King for his honourable usage, told him that he was not so overweening of himself nor so void of judgment but that he well knew himself, that he was but the cadet de la Valette, whose father being the honour of their race for the reputation he had gotten in his life, confessed the beginning of any honour he had gotten to come from the honour he had received in the King of Navarre's house, and that therefore he could not but think him-self happy to have received that honour from him whose predecessors had given the first honour to his father.”
Yet the honour done to him was so great that he reputed it only to be done for the sake of the King his master, who alone could deserve it, to whom he would report it and who he was sure would requite it. That if he had any credit left with his master, he would bestow it in doing the King of Navarre hereafter all the good offices he could, and that (the King his master only excepted) his life was at nobody's commandment but his, and that he assured him on the faith of a gentleman.
The King of Navarre thanked him for his kind offer, which he accepted gratefully, and told him that as he had begun to show the King how little suspicion there ought to be between him and any of his subjects, so he would continue the same course in anything the King pleased to command him; desiring the Duke to be a means to the King ” to consider the minds of them that put such mistrusts into his head, that did it only because their greatness consisted en peschant en eau trouble, and not for any good will they bare either unto him or any of the blood of France.
“Duke Epernon answered he would forget no one point of all this, to make his true report to the King, and (as I am certainly advertised) seemed to the King of Navarre to be of the same opinion of that he was.”
Then Epernon declared the kind commission he had from the King, upon his brother's death “to assure him that he held him not as his kinsman or brother-in-law but as his son and heir, and that using himself well to him, he should find that the effect of his deeds should follow his words.”
The King of Navarre answered with all dutiful thanks, showed great sorrow for Monsieur's death, and assured him of all dutiful service to his Majesty as his king and lord, “and not in hope of his succession, for the King being but one year older than he, having a young wife that might and was likely to bring him many children, he was neither to hope nor to look for that, nor was any part of his thought “; but he humbly thanked the King for his assurance, whatever the will of God might be, that he would not “alter the right that remained in his house.”
Epernon gave him many assurances of the King's goodwill and offers of his own service, “without speaking anything to him of alteration of his religion as a great many looked for, to all the which the King of Navarre answered greatly to Epernon's contentment, being very glad that the motion of religion was not made to him, which, as he resolutely looked for, so he determined, if he had been moved in it, resolutely to answer it,” as, thank God, I am credibly informed. Four whole days Epernon remained with that King, himself lodged in the same house and his train in the best lodgings in the town; for the most part eating with the King, and his train continually feasted at de Meausent's [qy. Miossens'], du Plessis' or Roquelaure's lodgings, whom the King made to keep great tables for that purpose.
All this time the King spent “in according the quarrels between the gentlemen his followers and them of that country that came thither with the Duke Epernon,” most of which he has fully ended and so got himself much reputation and love.
Then Epernon took his leave and went to the Baignes, which are not far off, whither the King of Navarre went again, with few with him, to visit him.
I have forgotten to write that Epernon declared to him that the King had consented to the assembly of the churches, which he had before refused. The King of Navarre took it very thankfully, has sent La Roque to thank the King, and has published it to be at Montauban, the 25 of August.
D'Epernon has sent a full report of the King of Navarre's good usage of him, which the King takes with the greatest kindness and says he will requite it thoroughly.
Some think that the King of Navarre has abased himself too much to Epernon, others approve it, “which party I am altogether of, considering the King's humour and the time.”
The contrary faction fume and fret both at the King of Navarre's usage and the King's acceptance of it. “All the help they have to make his good usage evil thought of is that they say the King of Navarre is un fin Bearnois corrumpu and that what fair face soever he show, there is no trust in him.”
The Queen of Navarre would not see Epernon, though her mother sent twice to desire her to do so, urging her, if she meant to do herself or her husband good or to see her mother again, to use him well; but for all that, she would not be brought to it. Since Monsieur's burial the King has been close at St. Germains, but to-day is gone to Fontainebleau, where the two Queens, who have been at Monceaux, “to retire themselves from a number of Monsieur's servants' suits,” meet him.
A sennight ago one arrived from Ghent, but has not yet seen the King or Queen; nor has Caron, of Bruges, who was here before Monsieur's death; but they “expect the coming” of “Moylerie” and Asseliers, who are now in France, coming with M. des Pruneaux, and all are appointed to go to the King and Queen at Fontainebleau.
There is hope here that if they speak frankly the King may do somewhat by the King of Navarre or more probably by the Prince of Condé, for two reasons:—First, that the King of Navarre “will not be out of France and in an army that must be compounded of both religions,” the other that it is thought the Prince may do it with more opportunity and less danger. He is in better predicament with the King than usual, which makes men think he may be “used in somewhat,” but this is yet only talk.
The whole house of Guise “retireth themselves” to their houses and governments. Some mislike of this, thinking that if the King mistrusted them as surely as he makes show of, he would not let them go. The Duke of Guise seems to have no great mind to leave this town, on which they “ground great intelligence.”
Two books are secretly “a-making” by their direction, an invective against the King of Navarre and a declaration of the Cardinal of Bourbon's title, “whom they will have nearer to the crown than the King of Navarre.” If I can get a sight of them, you shall hear of it.
I think as many do, that if the King here have any courage, “it will do the King of Navarre no harm but good to see them already to stand upon his death, to hope upon the Cardinal of Bourbon, that is fifty years almost older than he.
“The news of the King of Spain's death is but come to the gout, with the which he is greatly troubled; but he hath had a tertian ague and a spice of the falling sickness, which make them afraid of him greatly.”
I went to the agent yesterday, under colour of visiting him upon my remove to this house, to sound him in the matter, but before I could ask him the question he began to ask it of me, being greatly troubled that he had heard nothing this great while, “but now those news.”
Letters from Genoa say that their ships stayed in Spain are come home and the army preparing for sea dissolved. Andrea Doria is going to Genoa with 4,000 Spaniards, but what will become of them there they know not. He passed, in sight of Provence and Marseilles with twenty-two galleys.
Yesterday one from Scotland came to Lord Seton, but what he brought I cannot yet learn. They give out that Lord Huntly. and another great man, I think Crawford, have left the King, because of the evil usage of Lindsay, for whom they had given their words.
“They cry out upon Colonel Stewart here, and some upon Arran, and think that their government of the King will bring him in danger, whose life they fear greatly, and mislike greatly of the retiring of Huntly and think them two to be the causes of it by their so much ruling the King, which the others envy greatly, and thereupon, as they judge, are retired.”—Paris, 3 July, 1584.
Postscript.—Because of the changes and uncertainties of the King's journeys, I have sent a friend of mine to sound him, as of himself, what time he would think best for Lord Derby to come hither. The King suspected that he came from me, and he confessing it, the King sent me word that he thanked me greatly for my care “of his commodity” and most of all the Queen for the honour she will bestow on him; that his journey to Lyons is upon urgent causes, but he will return to Blois about the end of September, where Lord Derby shall be welcome, and he will do him all the honour he can.
Add. Endd. 7 pp. [France XII. 3.]
July 3. 717. Gilpin to Walsingham.
[A copy, excepting the last paragraphs, of that of July 2.]
I sent a letter of like tenor to this by Mr. Page, our postmaster yesterday, but think good to send this also by the bearer, Mr. Stokes, “for that the wind not serving, he was minded to travel overland.”—Middelburg, 3 July, 1584.
Postscript.—News is just come from Antwerp that Liefkenshook being lost and the enemy coming to the Doele, they that kept it forsook it, by orders from Antwerp, taking their ordnance, bag and baggage with them, for the other being lost, they could not keep it.
The ditch on both sides of Lillo is cut, so that it stands like an island. Over against Osterweele the ditch is likewise cut, to safeguard the ferry in Flanders, for the taking of which the Viscount of Ghent is sent by the Prince of Parma, who himself lies at Beveren. Six hundred Scots went from Flushing yesterday to go to Lillo and the ferry over against Antwerp.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 25.]
July 3/13. 718. Sir Richard Shelley to Walsingham.
Of my stay here, for which there is cause enough, I have written at large to my Lord Treasurer, to whose letter I remit you in that behalf, as I do him to this for affairs here.
The delivery of her Majesty's letters has put this Senate, who have other cumbrous matters in hand, “in some more travail than they had before,” but I hope the end will be good. The Prince has promised me very lovingly to urge the expedition, which by his authority he may do. There is now come into the College, “as a young man to hear and learn (without voice) for six months,” Octaviano Cornaro, who has been with me divers times and reports very honourably of the favour he received from her Majesty and your honour. I this morning congratulated him on his entry into the College, where I doubt not but he will declare her Majesty's affection to Italians and especially to this State, where “a great matter of her merchants” and of much consequence for her amity with this commonwealth is now in hand by him.
In the meantime, I have given each of the chief counsellors a copy of their own decree and her Majesty's letter, and also a remembrance as followeth:—
[The following paragraph is in Italian.]
In consideration of that decree of the Senate, and of this letter of her Majesty it is claimed:—First, that in future, or at least until the conclusion of this business, the payment of the new tax—which in England from its beginning three years ago has been remitted to the subjects of this State-shall be suspended. Secondly, that it may please them to-repay to our merchants the money which shall be proved to have been paid by them for the new impost, before they had any notice whatever, as it is proved that in England the said impost was forgiven to the Venetian ships arriving in London without having notice thereof when they departed from hence.
“But to leave this matter, wherein I have a thankless office for any effect that I see ensue thereof, and to return to my coming home, if I knew not in mine own conscience what service I were able to do my country . . . I should think of other ways to procure relief, which I will never consent to do till I may have the world for witness how slightly I have been rejected after such proof of my patience in adversity as Job was never put to more undeserved.”—Venice, 13 July, 1584. Signed, Shelley of St. John's.
Postscript.—The ambassadors of Zante have even now come to me with a new proposition, but by excuse “that it was the hour of dispatch” I deferred the matter.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Venice I. 10.]
July 4/14. 719. “Report of the physicians touching the Prince of Orange's hurt.” Signed, Peter Forest, Cornelius Busennius. Pritie idus Julii, 1584, stilo novo.
Copy. Endd. Latin. 1¾ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 26.]
[Probably the copy stated by Herle to be enclosed in his letter of July 22. See p. 624 below.]
July 4/14. 720. Ordinance of the States, renewing their Act of Union, and resolution to avenge the death of the Prince of Orange.—Dordrecht, 14 July, 1584.
Copy. Endd. Fr.pp. [Ibid. XXII. 27.]
July 4/14. 721. Torture and Execution of Balthazar Gerard.
A note of the punishment of the wicked traitor who villainously killed the noble Prince of Orange, and of his obstinacy after committing this abominable deed.
After having done the deed, he fled towards the rampart behind his Excellency's lodging, thinking to escape by climbing the walls. And being taken by Captain Willems, with a boy and several others following, the wicked traitor cried “What is the matter, have you never seen a man killed before now? It is I who have done the deed, and would do it if it were still to do.” And they making him believe that the Prince was not dead, he regretted that more than the punishment which he should receive, and thus was led to prison.
The same evening he was beaten with ropes and his flesh cut with split quills, after which he was put into a vessel of salt and water, and his shirt was soaked in vinegar and brandy; and notwithstanding these torments, there was no sign whatever of distress or repentance, but, on the contrary, he said he had done an act acceptable to God, by killing a man who had been the cause of the death of more than five hundred thousand persons, and that for so doing, he was confident that he should be sanctified and received into the heavens into the first place, near to God.
The next day he was horribly tortured to make him confess, which he did, as is manifest by the confession in his own hand, but he still continued obstinate, and, what is worse, desired the Prince to become a good subject and reconcile himself to the King of Spain; and stretching out his hands to those who were watching him and pointing to his body, exclaimed Ecce homo.
On Saturday, July 14, he was publicly put to death, according to the sentence passed upon him. At the time when he was in the greatest suffering, having his flesh torn off with red-hot pincers in many places, the minister asked him if he did not yet repent. The traitor answered, “Leave me to finish my prayers,” and spoke no word more, but waved his right arm and remained obstinate till death.
Endd. Fr.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 28.]
July 4/14. 722. Dr Henry Sudermann to the Alderman of the Stilliard.
I understand from your letters that after communication with the Lord Treasurer and others of the Council, nothing to any effect is ensued, save “that it would be meant to be the part of the Steads, my masters . . . finally to resolve themselves upon the replicke or moved doubts” given in writing by the Lords the last of January, 1581[-2] upon the exhibited resolution passed in Lubeck, Nov. 4, 1581, and sent to you sub sigillo, viz. whether her Majesty's subjects shall be sure to enjoy their privileges of residence and traffic in Hamburg in as ample manner as for ten years before, and that the decree to the contrary of June 20, 1578, cum intimatione, 19 June, 1577 facta, shall be taken to be abrogated and of none effect.
You will remember that the Steads, in their letters to her Majesty, have plainly declared themselves touching the residence in Hamburg; “that their meaning was, in genere, to receive and friendly to entreat all Englishmen, her Majesty's subjects, not only in Hamburg but in all the Steads of the Hanse, and to grant them their old accustomed free trade, according to the express form “quarti articuli concordiœ Trajectance,” (fn. 2) instantly desiring her Majesty to ratify the letters patents of her progenitors given under their seals, as by the letter sent to her, dated June 9, 1578, more plainly appears.
[Margin.—“The 'express form' is general, but the condition annexed is special, whereby her Majesty's subjects are to have a residence special, as the Hanses (Onseas) have in the Stilliard, or else they be not consimilis condicionis” The marginal notes are in the hand of Dr. John Rogers.]
It seems very strange that now further declaration is demanded touching the residence at Hamburg, as in the “replicke” of Jan. 31, 1582 is declared, considering that the Steads could obtain no restitution of their former trade upon their declaration of November 4, 1581, much less get the Council decree of December 9, 1578 abolished, and all this by the procurement of the Merchants Adventurers, “too much coveting their own private gain and lucre” wherefore my masters have been constrained against their wills to denounce “the hurtful monopolish traffic ” to the Emperor and electors and princes of the Empire.
Now forasmuch as the matter has so far proceeded, not without great travail and expence, that controversy is not only reputed a common matter of the Empire “but also it hath been ordered at the last assembly held at Augsburg that the denounced monopolish trade should be no longer suffered within the Empire” you may easily consider that it will not become my masters to agree to the point of the residence at Hamburg, contrary to the Imperial decree procured by their own denunciation. They would also confirm the monopolish company by receiving them into their associate city and encourage them in their hurtful purpose; yea would prejudice the crown of England and all English subjects by so receiving them.
[Margin—“Consider that in all the Imperial Abschieds there is no such order extant. By subception some such decree might pass from the Emperor, but not confirmed by gemainer [gemeine] Staende, is no act of the Emperor.”]
The predecessors of the Hanse Steads contracted with the Crown and whole realm of England, under the denomination quod omnes et singuli mercatores et legei domini regis Angliœ pro tempore existences cujuscunque status fuerint &c, and as long as this general denomination took place, that all subjects of the Crown of England might freely resort to all the Hanse towns for abode and traffic, no special residence at Hamburg was thought to be needful.
[Margin.—“Consider that the Hanses have too long abused the whole realm. The King of Poland saith they have no authority to lay open his kingdom to the Queen of England; the like will say the King of Sweden, the Dukes of Pomerland and Mecklenburg &c. They have not ability to perform [what] they vaunt of.”]
But afterwards, when the Merchants Adventurers were not contented that other English merchants should share the trade of English cloths, but had got the whole to themselves and their company, to the hurt not only of the Hanse Steads but the magistrates in the Low Countries, so that on May 14, 1564, the bringing of English cloths into the Low Countries was prohibited, the said Company then first made suit for a residence at Embden, and in 1566 for one at Hamburg, and obtained the same, which had not been misliked, if they had not sought it from Hamburg alone, to make them separate themselves from the rest, but had sued to the General Steads, whose commissioners were then assembled at Lubeck, and had obtained their good wills and consent. But this was not done, and moreover the friendly hospitality showed by those of Hamburg not only did not take What is resolved shall be shortly known, but small affection is borne to the French and their favourers. Those of Brabant have made choice of twelve persons, whereof M. Aldegonde is one, to have the direction of all their causes, receipts, payments and other like matters of state and government.
Dr. Junius is by them sent into Germany in secret to learn what is passing there in these Cologne wars and to forward any action which may be for the good of this country.
The Spaniards have burnt three villages near Artois, because the peasants would not let them have victuals without money, “for they will have all things for nothing.” Their hard dealing makes discontent between the Walloons and the Spaniards, especially because Spaniards are made governors of Dunkirk, Furnes (Veurne), Nieuport and Dixmude.
It is said that the French have sold Berghes St. Winox to M. la Motte for “four score and ten thousand guilders” ready money, which La Motte made the villagers round about to pay. So the French are departed with bag and baggage into France, and left the burghers at the mercy of the enemy.
Ypres has written to the Prince of Chimay and the Four Members that all things there are well saving the sickness, which is very sore, and therefore they pray to be set free, which may easily be done as the enemy are few in number, and the sickness likewise among them. But nothing is yet done. They of Ypres have taken some prisoners who confess that the Prince of Parma is advised that Monsieur has a great power beside Cambray and means to come again into these parts. There is shortly to be a great meeting of all the States of Artois and Hainault, to devise a way to agree with the States, “which is much desired of that side.”
Monsieur has taken Chimay (Simay), a place of small importance and less force.
It is said in Parma's camp that he has received letters from the States of Germany not to meddle with the troubles at Cologne, “for they touch not his Majesty nor himself.” He has received great store of money out of Spain to pay his camp and garrisons, which has given much courage to his soldiers.
It is doubted if M. d'Hembyse (Hembysen) will come out of Dutchland to take the office he is chosen to, and much feared that the Ghentners will separate from the United Provinces, “for they begin to be very wavering in their dealings.”
I send you three or four books lately come forth, but the author unknown. Pray send one to Mr. Secretary and make him partaker of the Cologne news.—Middelburg, 6 October, 1583.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 43.]
Oct. 6. 148. Stokes to Walsingham.
The troubles on the States' side grow worse and worse, only for want of good government, the magistrates and others seeking rather to fill their own purses than to care for the general cause, while factions and discords are growing here, some seeking to have Duke Casimir, some desiring a peace, and some wishing the wars to continue.
By advice sent from the Prince and General States at Dort, there was this week here and at Ghent a general assembly of the commons, to have their consents for making a new Council of State for the government of the countries in the States' hands, the Prince of Orange to be the head; and also for levying greater excises and imposts on victuals and merchandise. The magistrates were willing to grant it, but the commons would not consent, so they have done nothing. But at Ghent they have all wholly denied it, saying “they will have no more to do with the Prince of Orange, nor with none of his devices. It seems the Gentners have some great matter in hand, for their dealings is not liked here of many, and the deputies of Ypres doth join with them in all things.” If M. d'Hembyse does not come (and it is plainly said he will not) it is thought they will agree with the Prince of Parma.
For this town, the commons all desire agreement, but not the magistrates, who have the soldiers at their command so as the commons dare not stir, and have this week put out forty burghers of great wealth and estimation, because they were against the French and desired peace with the Malcontents. These hard dealings make more enemies to their cause, yet the town is too poor to do anything, but they seem to hope for some foreign aid.
The enemy lie strongly in their forts round Ypres, but the rest are scattered in the villages about, having great want of forage, besides which the sickness follows wheresoever they go. Yet every second day they show themselves with five or six cornets of horse before this town “and fetches all our cattle and victuals out of these parts.”
One come from Cambray says that Monsieur was there with some horse and foot, and brought some victuals, but tarried not, and is now gone to Paris, so that there are not a thousand men there in all.—Bruges, 6 October, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XX. 44.]


  • 1. =assay, i.e. to try by tasting.
  • 2. The Union of Utrecht. See reference to this same 4th article in Calendar for 1578–9, p. 207.