Elizabeth: July 1584, 16-20

Pages 616-625

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, 16–20

July 16 758. Memoir from M. de Crully.
There are two ways which, in the present state of the Low Countries, this Crown may take—peace, or continuation of the war, and to these points they may journey by divers means and with divers ends.
The way of peace, by means of the Catholic King, seems to me the surest and best, and if her Majesty resolve upon it, she may continue the project of last year, joining to it other things which have since presented themselves.
This is the only way to assure herself from all her doubts and jealousies of her people and her neighbours, and even of the affairs of Scotland. For, on the side of Spain, as peace began to be treated of, there would be coming and going between the two Crowns, bringing them into familiar relations with each other, residence of ambassadors &c.
If (which I do not expect) the Catholic King should prefer not to renew an alliance with this Crown, either from his interests as regards the Pope or from other reasons, yet, by a peace between himself and his subjects in the Low Countries, such a bridle would be put upon him that he would not wish, or at any rate would not be able to plot against this Crown. This reason may be seen in the memoir which I exhibited in October, 1583. (fn. 1)
The King would have no occasion to throw himself into the affairs of this kingdom or of Scotland, the only cause being removed, viz. to make an end of his struggle in Flanders; he would then return to his old interests and terms with this Crown and it will matter little to him which party prevails in Scotland, England or France; and it is clear that for reasons of State he would prefer the side of England to that of France, as was seen by his demonstrations in the war of the “Petythyt” and by what he then said to the French, who pretended to demur to it, under veil of maintenance of the Catholic religion.
Touching the point moved by some, that if he were at peace, zeal for religion would urge him to plot against this Crown, I can show her Majesty good reasons to prove that this opinion is ill-founded.
As to France, it is plain that peace being established in the Low Countries, you will close their lips and cut off their arms in relation to Scotland, so that they would seek your goodwill and friendship, instead of which, now, seeing you involved in doubts and labyrinths, they may carry out designs which, if you do not take care, may frustrate you on every side. On which two points, viz. the amity of Spain and France, I will write more at large if there be need.
The second way is to continue the war. You may remember that I last March gave your lordship my opinion, as to the treaty made by the Four Members of Flanders, that the whole composition and machine of the States was threatened with ruin, and that the state of war should be re-established in order to be able, in manner, terms and time convenient, to treat for a good peace, without destruction of either of the two parties; fearing that otherwise, by the total ruin of the States, there would be no means left to re-establish them on a good footing, free from the government of the stranger.
If therefore, aiming at peace, her Majesty takes the way of war, I can still offer my help, the end and consequence being no ways distant from my own proposals, and if it pleases her to call upon the services of one who is a vassal of his Catholic Majesty, but free and not in his country or service, in this also I shall be ready, and as an honest man shall not dissemble as to what I think it in my power and duty to do.
Yet I cannot but say that I think the time has come when those who have maintained the old footing [i.e. defence of the war] might change their opinions, rather than, by maintaining it, bring ruin upon all.
For they have lost two great men—Monsieur and the Prince of Orange, who were the groundwork of their opinion, although even before their death affairs were sufficiently disturbed. Now, these two being dead, the results will show themselves, both in France and Flanders, in many ways. If they allege that the affairs of Scotland are in such a state that it is expedient to keep France and Spain occupied with the business of the Low Countries, and that this State has no better friends than the States of Holland and Zeeland, I offer to reply and show that they are mistaken, if desired to do so.
They may allege that the death of the Prince of Orange may bring an advantage to the States—that is, that the people, and especially the nobles and other great men, who, from hate, distrust and private jealousy of the Prince have abandoned that party, may now return to it. To this I reply that it is very true that the death of the Prince may lessen the desire and hope for peace with the Catholic King; inasmuch as hitherto (knowing well the Prince and his designs) they found it difficult to believe that he ever wished for the peace of the country, but that he sought to be master and would leave no stone unturned to accomplish his ends. Further, on the part of the people and nobles, I say that by his death, inclination for and confidence in a good and loyal peace has been increased, and the hate and jealousy and fear of being mastered by one who ought only to have been their comrade has ceased.
But if his death leads some to wish for another pacification such as that of Ghent, or to take up arms again against the Spaniard, I say they are people who do not know the state of affairs there, for it is well understood that such pacifications, not being made under the King's hand, are only the cause of greater and more ruinous war; and that this would only be to free others and take the burden upon themselves, they being the first exposed to the danger.
Therefore, her Majesty ought certainly to decide upon one course or the other, and to this end I would pray you to refer to a little memoir which I presented to you on April 15, named Ordo et modus quo in posterius sua Majestas de rebus Belgicis deliberare debere videtur. Then you might consider how I should best employ myself, and if your lordships thought good to let me understand your designs, I might be able to serve you without danger or prejudice.
It would be well for this resolution to be taken before Mr. Sydney's departure, and not (under correction) to give him any commission to decide matters, but rather to negotiate proposals without coming to any absolute conclusion. For, if you were to settle anything contrary to the above with France, you would soon see where it had led you and that France will have nothing less. And the more they believe they have entangled us, engaged us to themselves, and withdrawn us irrevocably from Spain, the higher will be their speech to us, as you had an example four months ago.
Those who advise her Majesty ought not readily to believe informations from France or from the party of the Prince of Orange concerning the affairs of Spain, for they make their profit by irritating the two parties, i.e. her Majesty and the Catholic King, as they always have done, making use of many things to this end; as for instance lately that her Majesty's ambassador had not audience in Spain, as to which I hope Don Gaston Spinola (Spindola) will be able to satisfy you at his return to England, which will be shortly, as I learn by his advices from Spain. He will also report on what he has done concerning the matter upon which her Majesty touched with him here, when it seemed that affairs tended to a good end. He is not so ignorant of the affairs of Spain or of the world that he would come hither if he saw no better disposition there than is shown by the rumours current here as to that matter.
Finally, although you may work hard to arrange matters appertaining to these affairs of the Low Countries, you ought, by all means to have there some man of understanding and authority, to show your desire to bring this business to a good end. And you should also show that you well understand that a great hindrance to the peace, and what has chiefly retarded it hitherto, has now been removed.
Add. Endd. by Burghley, “16 July, 1584, from M. de Crully.” Fr. 9 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 47.]
July 17. 759. Stafford to Walsingham.
Account of the treatment of the deputies of the Low Countries, Brulart sent to them. Arrival of M. Torcy's brother at the Court, sent by the States on the death of the Prince of Orange. His dealing with Stafford. Deputy from Ghent, scarce ever sober. Dismissed without answer. Movements of the King. Don Antonio gives warning of plot against her Majesty. He wishes to succeed to the Prince of Orange's place. Lord Seton going away by stealth. Sends, as desired, and as exactly as possible, the disposition of the French counsellors, especially the “perpetual resident” ones, and of the officers of the Crown. Paris 17 July, 1584.
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XII. 19.]
Calendared at length in Report on the Cecil Papers, iii, 44. Printed in Murdin, pp. 412–415.
760. “The names and dispositions of those of the Council that be ever in ordinary.”
Princes of the Blood.
[Charles (fn. 2) ] Cardinal Bourbon [Archbishop of Rouen]. “A weak man of spirit, of whom the Duke of Guise altogether abuses, and will be the destruction of his house. Partial in extreme for the Church of Rome. A professed enemy to all princes of the Religion.”
[Charles] Cardinal Vendosme, Prince Condé's brother.”Quick spirited, but in most things yet seemeth to follow his uncle's direction, so that those that had some hope of him begin to doubt of him. The King hath made him President of the Council.”
[François] Marquis Conti (Cownty), Prince Condé's brother. “Little set by in the Court, because of his imperfections of speech and hearing, but known of them that know him very well to be very honest minded, loving the state of the realm and his house, enemy in heart to Spain and to Guise, favouring in his heart the Religion.”
[Charles] Count Soissons, Prince Condé's brother (fn. 3) .”A young man, brought up naughtily in corruption, whom Cardinal Bourbon hath made what he listed.”
Duke Montpensier. “Greatly loving the state and common-wealth, affecting the peace of the realm, enemy to Spain and to Guise, secretly a friend to the princes of the Religion, for the love he beareth to themselves, not for the Religion, being in his religion extremely addicted, better for execution than for counsel.”
Princes strangers.
Duke Mercœur (Mercurie). “Partial for the Church of Rome, a friend to Spain and united with Guise. Utterly enemy to the princes of the blood.”
Duke of Guise. “A chieftain for the Church of Rome; against the Protestant princes; friend, pensionary and devoted to Spain; ambitious for the State; extreme enemy to the Queen's Majesty; desiring nothing more than the renewing of civil wars.”
Duke de Mayne. “United as in reason with Guise, but not so full of treachery and dissimulation.”
Duke d'Aumale and his brothers.”As the others.”
Duke d'Elbœuf (Alboeuf). “As the others.”
Duke of Nevers. “Partial for the Church of Rome; a sworn enemy to the Protestant princes and a trouble of the State; pernicious, bloody and cruel; chief author of the massacres, and of late, especially a little afore Monsieur's death and since, linked with Guise and Cardinal de Bourbon.”
Duke Joyeuse. “Following and addicted only to the King as his creature; not so much as Epernon enemy to the princes of France; secretly united with Guise, Mayne and Cardinal Bourbon against the State, and secretly against Epernon. Partial for the Church of Rome, against the Protestant princes.”
Duke Epernon. “Altogether addicted to the King as his creature; was enemy to the princes of the blood at his beginning, now thought a friend; was partial in his religion, now thought not to be so much; an instrument that may serve as he list either to do well or evil, if the King should die; enemy in heart to Guise.”
Marshals of France.
Montmorency (Memorancy). “Crafty and without any great assurance of truth in him; affected to the Duke of Savoy, and by consequence is thought to be so to Spain; a dissembled friend to the Protestant princes but in heart very partial in his religion and assured to no party.”
Retz. “Covetous and wicked, cruel and an author of the massacres; a sworn enemy to the Protestant princes and to the princes of the blood; partial for the Church of Rome; addicted to Spain, crafty and subtle, full of corruption, a man fit to do (dooe) anything.”
Biron. “Ambitious, a good soldier, but without any great discretion; choleric in extremity, great spender, violent; a man fit to do anything; enemy to the Protestant princes for ambition's sake at this present; full of tyrannical disposition, not much here (?) now set by.”
Matignon. “Covetous, treacherous, sworn enemy to the Protestant princes and to religion; partial for the Church of Rome; a man for to do anything; enemy to the princes of the blood, friend to Guise and in men's opinion to Spain; enemy to her Majesty.”
D'Aumont. “Poor and needy, altogether addicted to Guise, enemy to the princes of the blood and Protestants; partial for the Church of Rome, to his power addicted to Spain; cruel and bloody; hath not here (?) any great credit in Court.”
Joyeuse. “Ambitious, partial for the Church of Rome, enemy to the Protestant princes and them of the blood.”
Of the Church.
Cardinal of Guise. “As Guise, not in show so cunning but given to vanities and disorders, but thought as crafty a head as Guise or Mayne.”
Cardinal Joyeuse. “A sworn enemy to the Protestant princes and them of the blood; extreme partial for the Church of Rome; altogether addicted to Cardinal Bourbon and Joyeuse, and by consequent to Guise.”
Bishop of Lyons. “A most pernicious and wicked counsellor, altogether addicted to Rome, a creature of the Popes, sworn enemy to the Protestants and to the blood of France, to the Queen's Majesty; pensioner to Spain; a counsellor of the King to all oppressions of the people; an incentor of ways to do it, and contors(?) not to make them be so evil taken.”
Bishop of Vienne. “The same disposition as Lyons.”
Bishop of Paris. “As the other two.”
Bishop of Auxerre, Lenoncourt [sic. Died in 1562. Amyot now Bishop].” More moderate, secretly affecting the princes of the blood and the State, which he loveth and embraceth.”
Other Counsellors, gentlemen.
La Mothe-Fénélon. “Esteemed a very good counsellor for the State, which he loveth; politic and wise.”
Bellièvre. “A good and a wise counsellor, politic and altogether addicted to the love and state of the country.”
Rambouillet. “As Bellièvre and La Mothe. A great secret friend to the princes of France.”
Lenoncourt of the St. Esprit. “As the other.”
Maintenon. “As the others also.”
Miron, the chief physician. “Wholly addicted to the King's will, in whom for secret matters the King hath as great confidence as in any; excellent in matters of ciphering, in the which the King useth almost none else.”
Secretaries of State.
Villeroy. ” Altogether addicted to his master; crafty and subtle, upon whom the King reposeth the whole weight of the State; ambitious, enemy to religion, partial for the Church of Rome; a man fit to do anything the King will have done; hath been thought Spanish, but now all men's opinions almost are altered in that point, because he is found not to be covetous, nor a taker of anybody, nor that asketh of his master, of whom he may have what he listeth, and therefore is thought not to be Spanish, because they that be so, be altogether for gain, which he might have enough of at his master's hand and with more safety, and careth not for it; but, for my part, I would be loth to lay my hand upon a book in that point.”
Pinart (Pinard). “Covetous in all extremity; nought; a man fit to do anything the King or Queen will have done; gross-headed; enemy to all Protestant princes and religion; partial for the Church of Rome; seemeth to depend only or chiefly upon Queen Mother, but affected to Guise and suspected for Spain.”
Brulart (Brulard). “More honest, loving the state of his country, else much as the rest.”
Chiverny. “As corrupted as any, enemy to religion, thought certainly to be pensioner to Spain.”
In Stafford's hand. Endd. by Burghley. 4 pp. [France XII. 19a.]
[The document gives first a list of the names, with symbols attached; then the “Table” of dispositions, identified by the symbols; but to save space, the two are here put as one. In later hand, “ob” written against Dukes of Guise and Joyeuse, and Card, of Guise; and “at Rouen” against Card Joyeuse.]
July 17. 761. Walsingham to Stafford.
I as much marvel at your news, that Mauvissière should write that her Majesty desired the King to send into Scotland, as you do at the sudden despatch of young Pinart to go thither, without any knowledge given you from hence, which you should not fail to have had if any such resolution had been taken. But the ambassador had no ground at all to write as he did, for on his renewing the motion to go into Scotland, her Majesty gave him the same answer as before I told you of, that the troubles in Scotland having quite ceased, there was no cause for it; which answer my son Sydney was ordered by her Majesty also to deliver to the King.
Now, by reason of the stay of his journey, she desires you to make Pinart acquainted therewith, that his son's journey “may be stayed as needless, and procured by the ambassador without her consent or privity.”—Richmond, 17 July, 1584.
Postscript in Walsingham's own hand.—Her Majesty, three months since, gave consent that Mauvissière should go into Scotland accompanied by a servant of her own, “which had proceeded if the impediment had not grown from the Scottish Queen”; but since that time it has always been denied. Now that my son Sydney is stayed (who met with your letters at Gravesend), that part of his instructions concerning the Low Countries is to be delivered by you; not with any hope of “great fruit like to follow” but to see how the King is inclined to concur in any action against Spain.
Since the death of the Prince of Orange, there have been divers consultations here what way to take for the relief of those poor countries, and whether they can hold out without the protection of France or England. Upon thorough debate it is judged that they could not withstand the potency of the King of Spain, and it has “grown to half a resolution” that the peril would be so great if Spain should possess those countries, that whether France concur or not, her Majesty must take some course for their defence. Even if not a party to the cause, if the King might be drawn to inhibit transportations of victuals into the Low Countries out of his dominions, “you will not believe the extremity and penury the Prince of Parma endureth [sic] for lack of supply that way.”
Copy Endd.pp. [France XII.20.]
July 17. 762. Ortell to Walsingham.
As the States of Holland and Zeeland have sent an express to me this morning, I have at once had translated part of a letter from M. Paul Buys to me, written in secret and strict confidence; praying you likewise to keep it secret, and show it to no one, except to her Majesty, the Earl of Leicester, the Lord Treasurer and M. Howard, and to let me know her Majesty's wishes without delay. Doubting nothing that if she will take our cause to heart, especially Holland and Zeeland (not that I mean to say that the rest should be left in hazard) we shall do her such service that the crown of England will be sensible of it for ever, for, with God's aid, her forces will be such that no prince in the world will dare to attack her.—London, 17 July, 1584.
Add. with direction to be delivered in haste into his honour's own hand. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 48.]
July 18/28. 763. Henry Sedgrave and John Fox to William Nugent and Brian (Brem) Geoghaghan.
“Jesus.”—Since you departed we have heard nothing from you or of your proceedings, which grieves us not a little, seeing the dangerous “bushments” you were like to pass through. Howbeit our confidence in God's providence in protecting you and your just quarrel persuades us that you are safely passed all dangers, wherefore this is to give you both to wit that the Nuncio apostolicus informed Mr. Sedgrave for certainty that there is direct order given him to see your pension paid here in Paris monthly, insomuch as the Jesuits are satisfied already for such money as they lent you.” He further asked who was your attorney here, to which Mr. Sedgrave answered that you had none, but that at Rome Mr. Dr Fitzsimons was your procurator to receive your pension. This he cannot allow of, as the money is to be paid here, therefore you must have a procuration made authorizing us to receive the said pension. Make it as effectual as you can with hand and seal, and so send it to Father Critton [Creighton], and he will by God's grace see it safely delivered into our hands. Let it be made in both our names, that if one should remove hence, the other may lawfully receive the pension. We have no news but that the Prince of Orange is slain and that Antwerp is like to be taken. Also that Marcus Antonius Colonna, vice-roy of Sicily, came to Rome, and went from thence into Spain on the 14 th of June last to be chief general of the King's great army. You know long ere this the death of Monsieur, the King of France's brother.
“Your friend Edward Engleby was one of the Queen's special spies at Rome and in Italy, for it is found since he came from thence that he had always in bank 300 crowns. Ye are wished therefore not to trust him hereafter, nor any of his nation. We know for certainly that he hath sworn the oath of supremacy since his going to England.
“Sir John Perrot (Pirrot) is gone over lord deputy of Ireland. Your friend Sir Milerus (fn. 4) is made doctor of the law, but is deferred for a time from being bishop. We hear say that the Flemish friar is made bishop secretly of Tome (qy. Tuam), but yet it is very doubtful if it be not of Dublin(fn. 5) —Bayeux College in Paris, 28 July, 1584.
Add. “To the right worshipful . . . Mr. William [Nuge]nt, Baron of [qy. Delvin]e, and Mr. Brem Geoghagan, at 'Edenbroke' in Scotland.” Endd. with names and note of contents. 1¾ pp. [France XII. 20 bis.]
The words in italics are underlined in the letter, apparently with the same ink. William Nugent was the Baron of Delvin's brother.
July 18/28. 764. Pietro Bizarri to Walsingham.
[First leaf of the letter wanting.] He was transported to Breda, and there rendered up his spirit to the satanic dragon, who will extend himself further every day.
In my last I wrote that the powder in the enemy's camp had been burned, and all the village and the tower there. Now they say that the authors of the fire were three Scots and two Frenchmen, who dressed as countrymen came out of the fort, secretly set fire to the powder and munition, and hurriedly returned to the place from whence they came. They have had a reward of a hundred crowns, and are promised more.
Amongst others, there has been wounded on the States' side the Scots Colonel and his lieutenant, and a corporal has been killed.
The enemy do everything possible to stop navigation, and to this purpose have begun a fort on this side Lillo, on the Brabant shore and another in Flanders, in a ruined village called Callo, about two leagues from here, and in a very important place, where the river is narrow and the ford very deep.
On our side, some forts are being made to hinder them, and the other night M. St. Aldegonde went in person and tried the machine of which I wrote to you, but it did not succeed as was hoped. However, it is said they saw where the defect was, and that the inventor will be able to remedy it. But they say that by cutting the dykes near the said fort, they will not be able to stand long, which may be done better at the beginning of winter than now. In the middle of the Crain in Flanders there is a little village and a house not far from the said breach in the dykes, which they are applying themselves diligently to fortify for the security of the city; in fine, the magistrates neglect no possible means to save and defend it, both from internal sedition and the attacks of the enemy.—Antwerp, 28 July, 1584.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 49.]
July 19. 765. Gilpin to Walsingham.
The enemy is still at Lillo, but they within make daily sallies and skirmishes. The enemy is making forts and planting artillery on both sides the river, and chains and cables have been sent from Bruges to shut it up, which it is thought can be done at Calloo, a league and a half from Antwerp.
They of that town are doing their utmost to hinder this intent, but it is feared that the Prince of Parma will not give up his attempts, and that “failing Lillo” he will threaten Antwerp. Many doubt that it will be “carried away” unless unlooked for help arrives. Of late, when the States and magistrates sat in Council, and the question was about sending a commission abroad for aid, some said that the best was “to compass a good agreement, better at first than too late, for that would at length be the issue.”
Other things are as before. The States are still at Delft, but have resolved nothing about a new governor.
The enemy before Terneuse were repulsed by two hundred of the States men from the seance there, with the loss of about a hundred, and many hurt and taken prisoners, so that place is again at liberty.—Middelburg, 19 July, 1584.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XXII. 50.]
July 19/29. 766. The States of Brabant to the Earl of Leicester.
We have informed your lordship by the Sieur de Grise of the state of this country, and prayed you to intercede for us with her Majesty, that it will please her in these our necessities to grant us some aid of men and munitions, to arrest the designs of the Spaniards, to which we hope ere long to have a favourable reply, principally by your lordship's mediation, and the rather for that her Majesty knows that upon the issue of affairs here depends a great part of Christendom; and although in this conjuncture we ourselves are not wanting and forget nothing which may tend to our own safety, yet we send this commission to Colonel Morgan that by her Majesty's pleasure and your favour he may make a levy of 1,500 English soldiers whom we ourselves will pay; to which regiment, if it would please her Majesty to add another, as we have humbly besought her, and to give the charge thereof to Col. Morgan or some other gentleman well-affectioned to this cause, we should hope by God's help and the forces we have here, not only to prevent the enemy from becoming masters of this river and town, and the other country towns of Brabant and Flanders, but also to entirely nullify all his enterprises. We pray you to countenance this levy, and if possible, engage her Majesty to send us some succour, and finally we beg you to give credence to what the Sieur de Grise shall say.— Antwerp, 29 July, 1584.
Add. Endd. Seal of Brabant. Fr.pp. [Ibid. XXII. 51.]


  • 1. From this it appears that the paper headed “Reasons for an Accord” (see p. 188 above) was by this same writer.
  • 2. The names in square brackets are added by Burghley.
  • 3. i.e. half brother.
  • 4. Probably Miler O'Higgin, then in the German College at Rome.
  • 5. *No doubt Matteo Oviedo, Franciscan friar sent to Ireland as commissary Apostolic in 1580, afterwards titular Archbishop of Dublin.