Elizabeth: July 1583, 6-10

Pages 8-15

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 1583, 6–10

July 6. 11. [Walsingham] to J. Herbert.
I send you with this despatch a commission, giving you full power to treat and conclude with the Elbingers, and letters of credit from her Majesty to the same purpose, both to the King of Polonia and to the city.
There goeth also a draft of a treaty passed between them and D. Rogers, with certain apostiles under their seal, to which Duke Lewis, Duke Aubrey and others have added other apostiles on behalf of our merchants. It is thought that the light you gather from these apostiles and the former treaty will be sufficient for you to proceed to the conclusion of the said treaty. But if the Elbingers propose any new matter in any material point, you are to advertise hither, and stay proceedings until you receive further directions.
Since your departure I have had two letters from you, one dated at Hamburg, the other from the first port where you arrived in Denmark, but since I have heard nothing of your proceedings. By the next wind I hope to hear what may be to her Majesty's contentment, or at least, if it be not as we wish, that there hath been no fault in you.
For your charges in this new legation, the merchants assure me that you shall be furnished to your contentment and so as there may be no hindrance to the service committed to your charge.
“The Palatine Alaski groweth not as yet to any resolution touching his departure hence, which is found strange, having no other errand hither, as he giveth out, than to see her Majesty and this country. The entertainment he receiveth here is very honourable, and surely the gentleman hath many good parts, which maketh him gracious towards all men.”
Endd. “1583, 6 July, To Mr. John Harbart.” Draft, corrected by Walsingham. 2½ pp. [Poland I. 26.]
July 7. 12. Stokes to Walsingham.
My last was the 30th June, since when there is no appearance of any amendment of these troubles on the States' side; for the Four Members of Flanders, now keeping their assembly in this town, write daily to the Prince and States of the great danger all these parts are in from the enemy, and the Prince answers that without money he cannot help them, “and they are loth to depart from their money, for those that are here in office seeks more to fill their own purses than of any care they have to the general cause. Such is the evil government and covetous dealing amongst them here, which will be their overthrow, for they have money enough if it were well used.”
The malcontents before Dunkirk wax strong, and it is thought they will shortly plant their cannon to the town. If it be lost, all the rest of the towns here in Flanders will follow shortly after.
Letters are come from Dunkirk and Winoxberghe, dated the 11th and 12th July, stilo novo, copies of which I enclose [see pp, 1, 2, above]. Amongst them is one in Dutch, written in Dunkirk by a burgher, with more particulars than M. Chamoy has written.
The messenger from Winoxberghe left on Wednesday night, and reports that that day the French there took a fort of the enemy within half a mile of Dunkirk, wherein were two ensigns of English and Scots, who were all put to the sword, saving a few taken prisoners. But incontinently they were forced to abandon the fort, and so retired to Berghes again.
The enemy is said to be in some misery before Dunkirk for want of victuals, wood and fresh water. The letting in of the sea-water troubles them very much.
Those of Ghent have secretly sent four of their town, of good estimation, into “Dutchland.” Some say they are sent to Duke Casimir and some that they are to fetch M. Hembyse (Dembyson). They begin to make themselves strong, taking up horsemen and footmen in their town and liberties, for they and Ypres are wholly resolved never to have the French govern over them.
It is reported that Monsieur has given the French King Cambray, and that the King has proclaimed that no more victuals or any other things are to be suffered to pass to the Malcontents.
There is talk of a good force of Englishmen coming over again to serve the States, which the commons here and at Ghent rejoice at, but those of the French side do not so well like.
It is thought that the Prince of Chimay (Semei) will be Governor of Flanders. The Princess, his wife, lies at Bevar [qy. Beveren], this side Antwerp, very sore sick, and three days past he rode from hence in post thither.
Letters from Cologne say that Duke Casimir is marching towards it to the aid of the bishop. I send the names of those who come with him, and his numbers of horse and foot; also what is passed about Dunkirk and thereabouts.
There is a secret speech of strange matters in hand, but what they are I cannot learn. Here is a troublesome state in these parts, for now all the wars will be here in Flanders.—Bruges, 7 July, 1583, stilo Anglie.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 78.]
July 7/17. 13. Fremyn to Walsingham.
I am now in garrison at Brussels, where things are in a pretty good state since the restoration of law. Before that the Papists were high-handed, and said openly that if churches or temples were not given them, they would take them. They were upheld by some, and the weakness of the garrison led them to talk thus, although there were several houses where they met for exercise of their religion. Now they content themselves with these houses, without making anymore noise. They were pushed on by the Papists of Antwerp, etc., who hoped thereby to obtain the same themselves, and who spared no artifice to render the French odious and to re-establish the Spaniards. Nevertheless, those of Brussels have accepted his Highness, provided the other provinces do the same. Those of Antwerp are following them, after sundry difficulties on the part of the commons, who mostly tend towards a republic, if it could be well-founded; those of Ghent are restive; it seems they have sent for Hembyse, and that they wish to have Duke Casimir for their protector.
We shall see what resolutions will be taken by the States General in their meeting at Middelburg, for which his Excellency sets out on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the Princess. She is with child.
Meanwhile the enemy is before Dunkirk, in good hopes of carrying it. The place is by no means strong, but there are good soldiers in it, and Chamois writes that he will hold it three months, and has victuals for that time. Two hundred of M. de Villeneuve's regiment made a sortie from Winoxberghe, and took two forts, held by the English who had gone from Mr. Norris's troops, between that town and Dunkirk, who were all cut to pieces, and they entered Dunkirk.
Marshal Biron, with his Highness's troops, who are near Bergen-op-Zoom, are to embark to-morrow for Flanders, and will land near Nieuport, where they have been promised a month's pay. If it is not ready, they will go off to France by the same boats.
There is said to be dissension in the camp before Dunkirk because the Prince of Parma has given the command to M. de Montigny and not to la Motte, who is therefore offended. The Prince is reported to have retired to Tournay, as if he doubted of the capture of the place. His Highness has promised to succour it within a month with the forces now at Amiens. The King is giving him twelve companies, paid and quit, and two of his old regiments, apart from what he may make otherwise.
In short, it seems to me that his Highness recognises now the fault he committed, and is seeking all possible means to regain his position. He appears to have good intelligence in the Luxembourg district.
There is an enterprise in hand for the surprise of a town to be carried out at daybreak on Tuesday, hit or miss (fait ou faillye). 280 English and as many Scots have embarked for it, to join the other forces in the country of Brussels. The town is strong and of great consequence. God grant a good issue.
As for a settlement as regards his Highness, no one can judge, because of the divisions between the provinces. A part would like his Excellency to be Count of Holland and Zeeland, but if they wish to make war, they must treat the soldiers in another way than they have done, for the abuses committed towards them have diminished their good will.
Since the murder of Col. Preston by his soldiers at Menin, Capt. Berty [i.e. Bartholomew] Balfour, brother of the late Col. Balfour has been to his Highness, who has given him the regiment, while Capt. Boyd (Boide), lieut.—colonel to Preston, has obtained it from his Excellency and those of Flanders, so they are disputing which shall have it. The same with Stuart's: his lieutenant-colonel holding it from his Excellency and the States, while Capt. Fresel has a commission from his Highness. So affairs go.
The report is that Duke Casimir is ready to march with 6,000 horse and 10,000 foot. The protestant electors have found this election of the Bishop of Liege to the Archbishopric of Cologne very strange. It is the beginning of great danger to all Germany. In short, by the disorder and mismanagement of affairs here, both political and military, the enemy does in part his business, who is strong, seizing his opportunity. Marshal Biron is a great captain in France, but the temper of Gascony and of these countries is different. Fire and water do not often agree. His Highness has need of victuals, of money and of wise and prudent captains.
M. de Fervacques governs. It seems that his Highness wants to make him governor of Cambray and Cambresis and to remove Balagny, who has behaved badly. So goes the world. Antwerp, 17 July, 1583.
Postscript.— I humbly kiss M. de Cidene's [Sidney's] hands.
Add. Endd. Fr. 3 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 79.]
July 7/17. 14. Pietro Bizarri to Walsingham.
The Prince of Orange embarks to-morrow for Zeeland. The Princess and his sister, wife of the late Count Schwarzenburg, have already started. The people talk much and with dissatisfaction of his Highness' departure, fearing some mishap, which God forbid. Many think it is to urge the defence of the sea if Dunkirk be lost, of which there is great fear, the enemy having closed the mouth of the harbour with many and large obstructions, that no aid may come by way of the sea. On the land side also it would be very difficult, except with a large army. The States' men are being sent into Flanders to hinder the enemy's victualling, and we wait to see what movement France will make.
The Count of Schwarzenburg left very large debts, and to satisfy his creditors it has been necessary to sell all his jewels and other effects. The sale began a fortnight or more ago, and is still going on. Amongst other things was a large silver gilt basin, with its ewer of the same, both very handsome; and on the basin was engraved with wonderful skill the enterprise of Tunis, which turned out so unluckily for Charles V, with all his fleet. The said Count was one of the four counts of the Empire, and a counsellor of his Caesarean Majesty before he entered the service of the States, persuaded thereto by the Prince of Orange, and so far as I understand, he was first in the pay of the King of Spain, with 1,000 gold crowns yearly. He was a prudent gentleman, of large experience, from having been in many affairs of importance, both military, political and civil. He has left no offspring.
The magistrates of Antwerp, notwithstanding the great costs they have already incurred for defence of the country, have ordered the fortifications near Antwerp to be proceeded with. They are on the other side of Borgerhout (Burgonouth), near Dorn and elsewhere. A guard of 500 soldiers has been told off to resist the enemy's raids. Besides this, the Red Gate and that leading to Borgerhout, formerly captured (but unluckily for them) by the French, are being strengthened with thicker walls and divers inventions for defence; they wishing to keep in mind that fine saying which once stood inside the St. Jorge Gate: Excludere facilius quam expellere.
Beams of great size have been placed to prevent the enemy from seizing the artillery'on the walls, as the French did before, verifying that old and most true proverb: Piscator ictus sapit. The magistrates have likewise given commission for the restoration of the upper part of the Exchange, which was burnt five months ago. The work is already going forward, and it will be finer than before. What shall I say of the Town Hall (Maison delta Villa), restored with such care and diligence that more there could not be, and all this at the cost of the public treasury. I omit the work of private citizens in the rebuilding of their houses, burnt in the sack of the city, which taken altogether, would form a small town. You see the great industry of these people, no ways dismayed by their past calamities, and all intent on the defence of their country.
About two months ago, the King Don Antonio sent hither to the States Don Diego Botelho, a noble Portuguese, and, so far as I hear, a person of much wisdom and discretion, as his ambassador. It is said that the King of Fez has given the Turk the port of Araze [qy. Larache, El Araish], a very important place, with room for any great fleet. This, “on its day” (alla giornata) might greatly inconvenience Spain, and compel her to turn her arms elsewhere.
I am sending you a list of the German camp under Duke Casimir on behalf of the good cause, which may God prosper to his glory and the freedom of those now under the impious and intolerable yoke of Antichrist.
As to the matters of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aquis-grane) I understand through good channels that the magistrates, after all the resistance they have made hitherto, have agreed to the free exercise of the Augustan Confession, and that already many citizens have returned to their country and to the enjoyment of their possessions, as before. It is confirmed that twenty citizens being sent some months ago by those magistrates to the Emperor to persuade him to take up their defence against the protestants, and having been some weeks at the Court, the Emperor after being fully informed of what had taken place there, dismissed them, saying that he saw no remedy but that they should return home and accommodate themselves to the present state of things. So they departed, seeking all means to be reconciled to the opposite party, formerly so much persecuted by them. Et hceo est mutatio dextera excelsi; which I hope will likewise come to pass in the state of Cologne, where it would be of great consequence for the advancement of God's glory.
Before I went into Germany, I sent by Mr. Edward Burnham two copies of my Persian history, one for yourself, the other for her Majesty. I should deem it a great favour to be informed if you received them and have presented my little gift to her Majesty, all the more that I had left in it the testimony to which I am in duty bound of my most humble service and observance towards her, for whose safety and happiness I continually pray the Most High. I shall be highly grateful if you will impart to her the present advices, and keep me in her favour.—Antwerp, 17 July, 1583.
Add. and Endd. gone. Italian. 3 pp. Roll, and Fl. XIX. 80.]
July 8. 15. Nicholas Wilson to Walsingham.
Since the departure of Mr. Bourn, Orleans (Orlyang) hath been full of quarrels, nation against nation, and English gentlemen in great danger. They have received no harm; but have been threatened greatly, watched for at every street's end, and forced to remain at Mr. Cobham's lodging, where we were, and not suffered to come out, for the space of five days in danger of our lives. So for my part, my year being expired, I have repaired hither to Paris, having got my lord ambassador's good will for a packet, and beseech you to mention it to him in your next letter, “being desirous to see how things goeth in England (Langland), not having heard anything since my coming into France. Thus fearing the worst and hoping the best, confessing myself bound to your honour for your goodnesses showed towards me,” I take my leave.—Paris, 8 July, 1583.
Add. Endd. 1 p. [France X. 4.]
July 8. 16. Advices from Cologne, sent to Gilpin.
To yours of the 26th ult. I will make short reply, for I could only sing one song, which, however, has “beaucoup plus de notes que de chant.”
My two last, of the 1st and 3rd will serve to make an end to my song. If I were not well assured of what I say and of its importance, I should not write, at the risk of my life and honour. In any case I cannot make any other declaration unless I am in Ci[England]; meanwhile, what I do is meant to be of service to Ce [the Queen], who, if she be faithfully served, I shall be content, be it from Rome or elsewhere.
I remember the notable sermon which Dr. Latimer delivered as his valete to the late King Edward and his Council. His text was only three words, which he amplified by the space of four hours, and when he noticed that his auditors were getting annoyed with his frequent repetition of the three words, said 'Gentlemen, it is not to deafen your ears, but to rouse them, and to open your eyes.' And the effects followed, a few years later.
Whether you see fit to let your friends share, I refer, as always I have done, to your prudent judgment. You will bear witness to my faithful advertisements and I do not intend in aught to detract from the honour which belongs to you, desiring to continue always at her service in all sincerity, fidelity and honesty (rondeur). If you do not think good for me to write any more, let me know, that I may make my arrangements.
Our occurrents are on the same warlike footing. Bonn has 2,000 and more good soldiers, and is well fortified and provided. They have, however, let the house of Bornheim be re-taken, although the Chapter's camp has not ventured to approach nearer than about two leagues, awaiting more men, who will come no one knows whence or when, for sinews there are none, save that the Pope promises marvels. Meanwhile, Duke Casimir's army (christened that of the Empire) is furnished with 16,000 horse and as many foot or more.
Half will come down this side towards St. Bartholomew and the rest make head against its opponents in Germany. Casimir has made a declaration to the Chamber of the Empire, that the reason for his army is that, not recognizing the Pope, the protestant Princes do not admit his deposition of an elector to be valid. Like letters have been written by the protestant electors to the Emperor, to which he has replied through Baron Preyner that the constitutions and ordinances of the Empire must be maintained, which they themselves enacted, swore to and confirmed; requiring them to desist from their undertaking, for fear of the great fire which might burn up all Germany.
God grant there may be moderation before the fire is further kindled, for the issue would be doubtful for both sides. A war should be based on a just cause and just reasons if it is to be answered for before God and the world.
A captain of the Religion, when I asked him why he would not take service, answered that he had been offered a good post, but when he sought to know the security for his soldiers' pay, he was answered that they would be paid like the others; which, he said, was as much as to say, after the fashion of Albert of Brandenburg, and that kind of war he does not like at all.
It is a wonder to hear the contentions of hotheads, malcontents and “statistes” on the flight of Monsieur without a tail, and the siege of Dunkirk. Some approve all his deeds, and others reject them as infamous. That is the world.
The result and the end will prove the work.—Cologne, 8 July, 1583.
Enclosed in Gilpin's of July 14. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. XIX. 82a.]
July 10/20. 17. Mauvissière to Walsingham.
After lately beseeching the Queen always to remember Monsieur and not put him out of her mind for any tale that might be told her, I begged her to succour Dunkirk with something to give them courage and refreshment until his Highness may employ all his friends to prevent, if possible, the loss of that town. She gave me not at all a bad reply, and proposes to send the pirates lately taken, for the cleansing of the sea, with corn and powder to Dunkirk, which, his Highness says they will need, if the siege continue long.
Two days later, this young man, who is here from his Highness, told me “that she had expressly let him know that I was to look out for grain and powder, with vessels in which to lade them. I made enquiries and found people who offer to provide and lade both corn and powder within a few days.
I pray you learn her Majesty's will therein, or whether she pleases that I should see her to settle about it, upon the urgent prayer of his Highness, who will not be ungrateful for his obligation to her and her realm. London, 20 July, 1583.
Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [France X. 5.]