Elizabeth: February 1585, 11-15

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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'Elizabeth: February 1585, 11-15', Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916), pp. 272-284. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp272-284 [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Elizabeth: February 1585, 11-15", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916) 272-284. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp272-284.

. "Elizabeth: February 1585, 11-15", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916). 272-284. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp272-284.

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February 1585, 11–15

Feb. 12. Elizabeth to the French King.
It having been discovered a few days ago that one of our subjects intended to make an attempt upon our life, he has confessed that another of our subjects, now a fugitive in your realm, expressly incited him thereto; an act so detestable and of such dangerous consequence for all princes, that with one accord they ought to exert themselves that severe and exemplary punishment may be given to all the supporters of so unhappy an enterprise. We hope for this above all from you, as from a prince who loves right and justice, ever holds honour dear, and has vowed to us true affection, friendship and mutual good correspondence, of which we have already made proof on many occasions, and that you will make no difficulty—according to the right of the ancient treaties between the two crowns—in putting into our hands the author of so unhappy an enterprise, whom we will name to our ambassador, to whom we have given express charge to demand him of you, and to give you more at length the causes and reasons which persuade us to it; our request being so just and reasonable and the matter of such great consequence from the imminent danger to our person, which your own honour and the duty of friendship will not permit you to deny.
Draft. Endd. with date. Fr. 1 p. [France XIII. 24.]
Feb. 12. Stafford to Burghley.
Copies of his general and private letters to Walsingham of this date. With apology at the end that, being busy with the lord Derby, he has no time to do more than send these copies and the book he wished for, “with an addition for the reglement of the new private guard.”—Paris, 12 February, 1584.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. 6 pp. [Ibid. XIII. 25.]
[Feb. 12.] Stafford to Walsingham.
Though I am ashamed to write to you, having no certainty in this great cause, yet I think her Majesty should know of the great uncertainty in it.
“The deputies had no audience till this day sennight, when they had access to the King privately in his cabinet, no creature but his valets de chambre being present, where Longolius spake for them all; from whom they came very well satisfied (as they made show) and the King, after they were gone, said they were bonnes gentz, that used no rhetoric but flat necessity. From him they went to the Queen Mother, who received them openly and used them with great show of courtesy and good entertainment. From her also they went away greatly satisfied in show.
“Neither to the King nor to the Queen they proposed any matter but the declaring of their necessities, the request of succour, and the offer in general to be the King's subjects as they were to the Emperor Charles and to the ancient Dukes of Burgundy. Since, they have been continually consulting among themselves, by the advice of des Pruneaux (whom they only depend upon in all their actions) which way to make their propositions acceptable to the King to his liking; and keep themselves so secret from everybody else, as though their whole safety depended upon the help of des Pruneaux and nobody else, and see not (as I have made it be told them, not directly from myself but by one whom they should have good cause to trust) that they be merchants that bargain for a matter of great weight, who (being wise) are never directed by the factor of them that they bargain withal. But, in truth, I am afraid their over reposing trust upon them that I fear will deceive them, and their close and mistrustful dealing with them that by common 'course' of the necessity of their cause they were in reason more to trust, will deceive both them in particular and their cause in general.”
I have offered them as much kindness in her Majesty's behalf as I could devise, but I cannot say that their dealing is correspondent to the affection they have found she bears them.
“But, in truth, they must be dealt withal as children and fools, who must have good done them against their wills, and though for their own demeanour they deserve it not, their imperfections must be left unseen, for the necessity that their cause importeth to us. . . . And I think, if they can tell how to use the matter well, I have found means to give them a certain warning of very bad instruments about them that have been twice or thrice with the Spanish ambassador two or three hours together at midnight. And even now, at my going to horse to meet with my lord of Derby, I have given him that I use to them one (that hath seen them coming in and going out of the Spanish ambassador's house), that shall, as they be assembled together, go with him and mark them to him, or to any that they will appoint of themselves.” I dare not say whom I use, as he desires not to be named.
“Since, they have had no access to the King, who have [sic] commanded them to put their things in writing and to deliver them to his own hand, but in truth, in my opinion, the poor men be very cunningly dealt withal, though they will not know it, for under colour of the commandment the King gave them to show their procuration to the Chancellor, Villequier, Bellièvre and Brulard, they were on Monday feasted at the Chancellor's house and yesterday at Villequier's, where, being made merry, they, under colour of offering them friendship, after dinner sought to sound them and their offers”; and I know by Bellièvre's own mouth that he found their own dealing would give colour to the King to do little or nothing for them; for firstly, “their offering themselves in generality as subjects was a greatness in the air; for they require to have no garrisons but of the country to be put in their towns, saying that it was their privilege with the ancient Dukes of Burgundy . . . besides they speak to them of no towns of surety but Brussels and Mechlin, which Bellièvre shaked his head at, though he said he found by them that they might be brought to give the Brill in Holland and some other towns upon the sea; and so the poor men under colour of good cheer be 'stawked' at to see if the bottom of their offers and commission may be sounded of them afore they come to the King.”
They should have access to the King on Friday. They keep their articles very secret and are mistrustful of everybody, except of those whom they should not trust. One Calvert was sent yesterday to show des Pruneaux the articles, “and whether willingly or unwittingly, he went to Chassincourt's and Clervant's lodgings to ask for des Pruneaux.” Not finding him there, one “at his heels” called him away to his company, where he was made to swear whether he had showed any of them his articles or no. And as they are ready enough to watch themselves, so there is watch set upon them by des Pruneaux, to see who comes to them and whither they go.
I had audience on Sunday last, and according to my directions from the Lord Treasurer, required the fulfilment of the King's promise, upon hearing the deputies to make known his mind to her Majesty; and also laid before him the necessity of Antwerp and the courage that some assurance of help from him would put into them. He answered that the deputies had as yet delivered nothing, and though I used such answers as my Lord Treasurer directed, all would help nothing until he had heard them. For Antwerp, I saw he did not believe it, which is the fault of the deputies, for they give it out not to be so, thinking it would be an hindrance to their treaty “to make the town in so evil an estate”; therefore my saying so is taken but “for one of our stratagems, to draw the King more headlong into the matter . . . I pray God the deputies' too much wisdom make not them fools.
“From the King I went to the Queen Mother . . . but poor woman, she dare say no other than the King will have her to say, for the world is not with her as it hath been, though in show there is as much honour to her as ever was.”
For all that I can gather, I can give you no hope of good success in this matter; but the King may change in an hour in that as he does in everything else. All I can say is that the deputies are assured of nothing and I do not believe they themselves know how far they may go with the King.
Their determinations here (as I have told you) alter daily. “Sometime to enter into it thoroughly; sometime to employ the King of Navarre or the Prince of Condé—but that I think will never be—sometime M. de Nevers, for some title he pretendeth by his wife that is of the house of Cleves; sometime, and I think in the end that will prove the likeliest, by the Queen Mother, under pretence of her right to Portugal. Some come in with a new device to have the King employ in this action the Duke of Guise, who, being ambitious, is thought careth not what he do, so he have the charge of an army; and by that means think to engage him with the King of Spain in a perpetual hate. But for my part, I think that house hath greater fetches in their heads and will not easily be embarked against Spain, and so do I think that the King will be hardly brought to put forces into their hands.
“He is at this hour made afraid of some great practice they have in hand, and that there is a meaning that they shall come shortly to this town and by force constrain the King to take another course of life, by the help of a great many malcontents that be in France at this hour; but though the King do despise them, which I am afraid in the end he will fail of, yet I do think the bruit at this hour is given out but to make the King afraid to enter into any action abroad for fear of danger at home. But in truth it is common that afore Mid-Lent that house will come to this town and that very strongly, but I think they be bruits given out of purpose by Spanish French that are here, as also that the King of Spain maketh a great levy in Italy, under colour of besieging Geneva for the Duke of Savoy, but that their intent is to bring their forces into Dauphiny and so to join with Montmorency, who they give out to be fed only with Spanish pistolets”; but I believe this is only said to make the King look about him, for they of Geneva have no such news save from M. de Mandelot at Lyons, who is here made the author of this news.
I fear they who know the King's humour cause these bruits, knowing “that a man disposed to do little, will easily, with fear, be brought to do nothing.”
When the deputies have given up their articles, neither King nor Queen Mother shall have rest, for I will be “importune” enough to get them to fulfil their promise to her Majesty.
I must end with a very evil sign, for I know certainly “that the Spanish ambassador within these twenty-four hours is more jocund (jockant) than ever, and doth assure himself that they shall do nothing to any purpose,” and he has pensionaries of his master's who give him certain advertisement of what the King utters and means to do.
I have stayed this bearer a day or two, that I might meet my lord of Derby at St. Denis and make him privy to what I had written.—St. Denis, 14 February [sic, see next letter], 1584.
Add. Endd.pp. [France XIII. 26.]
Feb. 12. Stafford to Walsingham.
I would not in my general letter give the name of him that I have sent to the deputies, as he desired not to be named. It it Torcy (Torse), Strossi's governor, whose honesty I can trust and who can go without jealousy, as his brother, la Pré, is one of them, if they can keep their own counsels.
Besides, though in my general letter I would not touch it much, as her Majesty may conceive evil of them, yet I cannot hide from you the unkind dealing of the deputies towards her Majesty. I made this man go to salute them at St. Lis, and tell them why I sent none of my own, fearing they might be watched, but that I had a good will (and it was her Majesty's pleasure) to do them all the good I could. “To which they answered but with reasonable cold thanks.”
Since their coming to this town I sent the same man again, to tell them of my fresh instructions from her Majesty, to assure them of her good will, to help them in anything I could, and to watch against harm to them as I would for herself. I warned them of the access of certain of their followers to the Spanish ambassador, and on going to meet my lord of Derby, sent one to them who could point these out, again praying to know what I could do for them. I received thanks, but not so great as her Majesty's good-will deserved.
Also, I made this man lay before them from himself how uncertain the event here was, and that, “if it were but in policy,” they would do well to send someone secretly to make me know their good wills to her Majesty, that, failing here, they might not fail with her too. They made a cold excuse of the watch kept over them, but some burst out that her Majesty would have them do something to make the King of Spain in doubt of them, that she did not like this treaty, and had sought by Mr. Davison “to break it at home.” When he was gone, they made his brother swear whether he had revealed anything of their intentions; and also made one another swear solemnly that to no living creature they would disclose anything.
Some of them, especially one van Dorp, “care not though they were all as subject to France as ever they were to Spain. They have got spiritual livings into their hands which they will hardly keep else, and most are in hope of great pensions which des Pruneaux has promised “without end and measure”; but in my opinion, they will all be served alike.—Paris, 12 February, 1584.
I pray you to be extraordinarily good to this bearer, whom I have kept here long to his great charge, expecting to have to send in haste. I mistook the date of my other letter.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [France XIII. 27.]
Feb. 12. Walsingham to Stafford.
Whereas Dr. Parry, of late committed to the Tower (charged by one Nevill with intent to procure her Majesty's death, wherein himself should have been an actor), has frankly confessed, before my lord of Hunsdon, Mr. Vice-Chamberlain and myself, that he was moved to this detestable purpose by Thomas Morgan, now a fugitive in those parts, her Majesty hopes that the said Morgan being so charged by voluntary confession of the party himself without compulsion of any torture, the King—as a prince of honour and justice and who has vowed extraordinary affection to her—will make no difficulty “to yield to the delivery of so lewd and dangerous an instrument.” that she may, by him, better understand the whole bottom and circumstances of this practice, and so provide for her own safety.
But if you find the King “stagger” whether or not to grant this request, you are to press him more earnestly; letting him understand that though princes (bound by treaty) have heretofore made difficulty to deliver up those charged with disloyal practices, yet in this case, common reason and justice require that regard should be had to her request, since her life itself is most wickedly sought for; the precedent whereof will be dangerous to himself and all other princes, who may run like hazard if justice should in this be denied. And in this age especially, when such horrible facts begin to be so commonly practised, princes ought, for their common safety, “to hold a severe hand” to the deserved punishment, not only of the actors, but the authors and procurers of such wicked attempts. Therefore her Majesty hopes the King will not deny her so reasonable and just a request, promising him, on her honour, that if Morgan carries himself dutifully in discovering what he knows, she will “for his sake, if he desire it,” extend extraordinary grace to him. But this is not to be offered unless you see no hope to obtain what she requests without it.
“And for the manner of proceeding herein, her Majesty would have you carefully to foresee first that Morgan be in some convenient place, where his body may be easily had, and next, that the charge of the apprehension and bringing of him to you be committed unto some well-chosen person, who being neither a Guisard nor otherways ill-affected to their State, but faithful to the King's service, may execute the same with that trust that appertaineth; and therefore you may do well to name some person that you know to be so affected. Of those two points her Majesty would have you have a special care, as whereupon dependeth chiefly the good success of this service. And in case you shall so far forth prevail with the King as to procure he may be delivered into your hands,” then you are to advertise her thereof, that she may take order for the bringing of him over.— Somerset House, 12 February, 1584.
Postscript.—Since writing this, her Majesty has thought meet to write herself to the King to the effect you will see by the enclosed copy [see p. 272, above]. You are not to name the person (though her letter imports that he shall know his name from you) or the place where he may be, least this purpose should be discovered and its good success “missed”; but only to desire the King to appoint one (qualified as directed) to execute the charge upon such person and in such place “as by some especial person belonging unto you he shall be carried.”
Draft, with many erasures and additions, corrected by Walsingham. Endd.pp. [France XIII. 28.]
Feb. 12. Davison to Walsingham.
I have received letters from the Lord Treasurer, accompanied with your honour's, directing me how to carry myself here, wherein I will do my best to answer her Majesty's expectation and my own duty.
The States have heard nothing from their commissioners since they left Abbeville, but there are few of any judgment that look for better fruit than either “a dallying entertainment,” neither leaving them utterly hopeless or at liberty to seek relief elsewhere, till they have bought their experience by the loss of the towns now distressed and the hazard of others; or else “some pleasing motion of peace, wherein the French, solicited by the Spaniard and other princes, will offer their mediation,” so that this people may be rocked asleep, provision for their defence and relief of their distressed neighbours neglected, some provinces seduced (a thing already feared for Gueldres), the rest astonished, and the enemy by their confusion and decay not a little strengthened; which, it is to be feared, is what the French aim at, for few of sense here believe that he will embark in so dangerous a war against an adversary so mighty, without strengthening himself by the amity of other princes, and namely her Majesty, who at any time “might make her own market with the Spaniard, to his cost and disadvantage.” And all this for those whose cause he never approved and from whom he can expect no certain profit, “refusing to put into his hands the keys of their estate (as it seems yet they are bent)” by which he might hold them at devotion, and of whom, from experience of their former dealings, he cannot otherwise be assured; besides his unwarlike disposition, which, together with the state of his own kingdom, “may easily beat down that bulwark of their jealousy of the greatness of Spain” by which alone the French would be carried into this action; besides that Spain is not much to be feared by them in this King's life-time, after whose death the condition of his divided empire may enable them “to make their profit” with more advantage.
I omit to speak of the authority and diligence of the Pope, who may by no means endure the “difference” of those two princes, whereby his whole hierarchy would be endangered, leaving this and many other things to your better judgment.
For the latter point, of propounding a peace, I am the rather induced to believe it by what I hear from some who are not gnorant of the enemy's secrets, who have been informed that the German commissioners, looked for at Liége, have gone into France, but whether to dissuade the King from that action or to take the opportunity of the States' commissioners being there the better to mediate this peace, or to resolve something else against the peace of the church and state of others, you will know best from our ambassador there. It is given out that the Spaniard, to satisfy his neighbour princes and induce this people to listen to his offers, means to bestow these countries in dowry with his eldest daughter upon the Cardinal of Austria, now in Spain, foreseeing how hard it would be, at his death, to leave an Empire divided into so many parts to a child, in whose minority it would be hard to keep all things upright, and so preferring to dispose of these countries before his death to one by blood and marriage so near to him, rather than leave them as a bait and prey to others, who may seek to strengthen their own estates by his ruin. And the rather that (if his son should die) they would return to the crown of Spain “by this Cardinal, as next heir, by his marriage, to the whole Empire.”
For other news, the enemy lately sent a trumpet to Nimeguen with letters, who being at first refused, was afterwards admitted, his 'etters openly read in the Town House, and the answer referred to a general meeting eight or ten days hence, where it is feared they will take a resolution little agreeable to their neighbours. The enemy has recovered the forts before Zutphen either by force or composition and has now free entry into the Veluwe, thus endangering the rest of the towns of Over Yssel, which have never admitted any garrisons.
At Sluys the garrison is in mutiny and the town in danger unless provided for. In Zeeland a number of ships are ready to attempt somewhat against the enemy upon the river; Count Hollock going from hence last Friday to command the enterprise and try to recover his reputation, lost at Bois-le-Duc, the grief and trouble for which has “greatly altered him.”—The Hague, 12 February, 1584.
Postscript, in his own hand.—This letter finished, I hear that some soldiers sent secretly from Brussels into France to discover the likelihood of their succour, in their return fell into the enemy's hands and are treating with them, so we expect to hear of their agreement. The fleet prepared in Zeeland for Antwerp has gone up with the loss of only four vessels. It is bruited that the French King has forbidden his subjects to send victuals to the enemy, which is taken as an argument that he will defend our cause.
Count Neuenaar has gone to Nimeguen (Newmegen) “to assure that place,” inclining to an agreement with the enemy, and the States are re-inforcing their garrisons in the towns on the Veluwe. Those of Holland have to-day resolved upon an act whereby they promise to become answerable for all ships and goods which miscarry in the relief of Antwerp; to encourage merchants and mariners to adventure in that service.
The Elector is at Utrecht, “to seek some stay with the Count Neuenaar in his business upon the Rhine.”
The water is said, with the last spring tide and north-west wind, to have broken in above Lillo, so that with small vessels, they can pass “within the land” to Antwerp. The governor of Geertruydenberg has defeated some of the enemy's horse and taken ten or twelve prisoners, who report that their cavalry is withdrawn towards the frontiers. The Archbishop has just sent me the enclosed for her Majesty.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland I. 36.]
Copy of the above, with the exception of the last sentence.
Endd. 3 pp. [Ibid. I. 37.]
Feb. 12/22 Report by the Deputies in France to the States General of their proceedings there, reception by the King, &c.—Paris, 22 February, 1585. Stated to be received on March 7 [n.s.].
Copy. Endd. Flemish. 10 pp. [Ibid. I. 38.] The original is at the Hague. The contents have been largely used by Meieren and others.
French translation of the preceding. Endd. 13½ pp. [Ibid. I. 39.]
Another French translation of the same.
Add. to Walsingham. Endd.pp. [Ibid. I. 40.]
Feb. 13/23 News from Rome.
From Madrid.—The Spanish King at the Escurial but going into Aragon. To be at Saragosa in the middle of February, with the Prince and infantas. The Commendador-Major to take charge of the government. The Cardinals of Granvelle and Seville and many other grandees to go with the King. The Corriero maggiore gone to Barcelona to receive the Duke of Savoy and escort him to Saragosa.
Marquis of Baden presented by the Pope with venison and other delicacies.
The ambassador of Spain has had audience to pray for the bestowal of the church of Matera on that King, but the Pope has given it to Monsignor di Afflitto. Church of Ariano in the kingdom [of Naples] disposed of by nomination of the King of Spain.
On Wednesday his Holiness went to Monte Cavalli with many Cardinals and all his court.
He who killed Giacomo Uberti is executed and on the scaffold declared that he had not done it at the instance of Giulio Colonna. He who tried to poison Cardinal Vercelli said to be taken. The Cardinal saved by giving a dish of rice prepared for him to one of his dogs. The Abbé Celsi gone as vice-legate to Viterbo, to succeed Monsignor Carlo Conti, made governor of Camerino. Cardinal Altemps has had audience, going with many horses and coaches and being much made of by his Holiness. He moved the Pope to make Cardinal Borromeo's brother a Cardinal. Novelli to be made a Cardinal at the first opportunity.
Thursday morning Cardinal di Cremona sang mass in the church of the English College, and returned there to dine, where was also Cardinal Verona, being much pleased with the discussions and the music which the fathers had provided for them. The Duke of Sora preparing a pretty comedy for the Carnival, to which all the gentlemen and gentlewomen of Rome are invited. Signor Paolo Giordano [Orsini] coming to Rome for the Carnival. Has sent to Venice to procure the place of Sforza Palavicino, which the sons of “Latino Orsino” make great efforts to obtain for their father.
Cardinal d'Este lately much troubled by gout, but now better. The wife of Archduke Ferdinand arrived at Mantua with the Prince and his wife.
From Naples.—A fine tourney at the marriage of the son of Marquis di Marigliano Montenegro The Viceroy appeared in a strange and beautiful device and was sumptuously banqueted by the Marquis. Cardinal Gesualdo also prepared a very fine one for the Viceroy and Vice-regina, in the garden of Don Pietro de Toledo. A bruit that soldiers were to be levied in that city.
Certain merchants, robbed at Terracina, prayed the Pope to be allowed to accept the offer of the bandits to treat with them for restitution of their goods, without falling under his Bull, but his Holiness would not allow it.
Italian. 4 pp. [Newsletters LXXII. 6.]
Feb. 13/23 Advertisements sent from Rome.
Prague, Jan. 19.—When the Florentine ambassador was departing, he moved the Emperor in relation to the Duke of Urbino, but his Majesty was occupied in this Diet, where nothing is treated of but procuring money.
The son of the Sieur Rosimberg is come to the Diet about some claim which they have between them. They having no sons, the whole will fall to the crown of Bohemia.
The affairs of Poland go from bad to worse as regards the King, everyone is going armed to the Diet, and some disorder may happen before it is over.
Antwerp, Jan. 6.—The Prince of Parma has written to the magistrates urging them to sue for pardon, and promising to favour them with the Catholic King in all things possible except in religion; he has sent two commissioners into England and two others into France, but to what end is not known. For fifteen days no vessels have come in, owing to the bad weather. The camp at Stabroeck is raised by the Prince's orders, perhaps in order to aid with victuals the soldiers upon the dykes, who are in great want of them.
Brussels is in great need; Malines has some provisions, but in the end they will be obliged to surrender.
The rout of Count Hollock is confirmed, but he cannot be found, dead or alive. It is believed he was drowned in the river, where also were lost his lieutenant, with the son or natural brother of the late Prince of Orange.
The governor of Dermonde has taken the Sluys [sic], but the castle holds out bravely. His Highness is sending more troops against it and it will certainly be taken.
The trumpet who brought the Prince of Parma's letter entered Antwerp, and all the people went to him crying out peace, peace, and gave him a great reception; he returning thence with great content to his master. Thus the hearts of stone begin to turn into flesh.
From England we hear that the great Parliament in London has resolved to aid Flanders in case the King of France will not take them under his protection.
Venice, Feb. 6.—On Sunday last there was a great tumult at Padua between the students and the citizens, and many were wounded. The gates of the city were closed all that day. Some have been hanged and others sentenced to the galleys.
Here is expected the patriarch of Aquileia, restored by the Signoria by means of the Pope. The Abbot Roys is dead and his abbey of three thousand crowns of rent is vacant.
The grand tragedy which was preparing for this carnival at Vicenza, on Sunday will be tried by the Academicians; there will be a hundred ordinary speaking characters, and a hundred others besides. They are preparing also a great banquet, to which will come many noblemen, and especially the Dukes of Ferrara and Mantua. It is to be given three times, that is, for the strangers, the nobles and the people, and will cost at least 30,000 crowns.
From Paris they write that the King was there with all his Court and would keep the carnival there; that he had declared Piccolomini General of the Italian footmen, with a wage of 2,000 crowns a year, and that the difference between Joyeuse and Montmorency (Gioiosa et Memoranzi) was ended by means of M. de Poigny (Pugna), sent by the King for that purpose.
In Genoa they had news from Spain that the King was at Alcala and going to Saragossa to celebrate the marriage of the Duke, who was still at Villa Franca with Doria, awaiting that happy time. At Mantua great preparations are being made for the wife of [Archduke] Ferdinand, by the Duke and Duchess of Ferrara.—23 February.
Endd. “23 February, 1584, from Rome.” [Newsletters LXXII. 7.]
Feb. 14. Davison to Burghley.
Although I was divers ways informed from Zeeland and other places that the fleet prepared in Zeeland had gone up to Antwerp with loss of only four vessels, I now learn that only five or six passed of them all, the rest of the Zeeland ships refusing to go unless those of Antwerp would safe-conduct them back again; the good winds and tides were neglected, the whole fleet is now dispersed, and the Admiral of Holland [Justin of Nassau] appointed to that service in place of Treslong (who lay sick at the Sluys) returned hither.
This will not only hasten the rendering of Brussels with harder conditions, of which we hourly expect the news (their deputies having gone with full authority to conclude with the enemy), but be the cause of trouble in Antwerp, where the enemy has instruments to profit by this accident.
Neither is the point of the piercing of the dykes above Lillo confirmed, “though to entertain the multitude it go still for payment.”
They have of late sent two several messengers from hence into France, to know what their deputies have done, for they hear nothing, and grow daily into worse opinion of their relief on that side.—The Hague, 14 February, 1584.
Postscript.—I have been much “beholding” to Mr. Paul Buys, and pray that her Majesty will acknowledge it to Ortell or by letters to himself.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland I. 41.]
Feb. 14. Davison to Walsingham.
The same letter as to Burghley, with the difference of a phrase or two at the end.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 42.]
Draft of the preceding, but without the postscript.
In Davison's own hand. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 43.]
Feb. 15/25. Captain William Marten to Walsingham.
This day we hear that the enemy has put all his “floots” into the river, to stop the passage, lying on each side between Callo and the sconce over against it, and in the midst, 17 ships well appointed. The people all amazed, thinking no more relief will come by water, and all things grow scarce, for no ships have come up these three months. Aldegonde (Allagundy) called the “Bryanrate” [Breederaad] and lords of the town together, and showed them a letter out of France, assuring them that the King had a force ready at Cambray for the relief of Brussels “within six days after,” at which they took great comfort. There has been great division who should keep the keys of this town. The “Gilbrothers” [Gildebroers], by consent of the Bryanrate, took them from Aldegonde, but now they have agreed to put them all in a chest, the burgomaster to keep one, the lords another and they of the Bryanrate another.
If the news of the relief of Brussels proves not true it will make great alteration here. The return of the deputies sent from Brussels to parley with the Prince of Parma is not yet known. Our soldiers are in great extremity, without either hose or shoes, or any kind of apparel to their backs; “a lending of three stivers a day we have three days in a week.” They say they will muster us presently and give us a month's pay, but they are full of delays.
The matter against the imprisoned captains is not so heinous as it is taken by the Colonel, for the Colonel and they all, seeing the misery of the soldiers, demanded passport from the lords, which could not be granted, whereupon they found means to procure the enemy's passport to pass through the country. If they had conferred with the enemy to deliver up the two sconces they had in their guard, it had been death, but being only to pass through the country for England rather than see their men famish, there can be no worse punishment than to be disarmed or banished; yet the Colonel is bent to take their lives unless your honour sends letters to the contrary.
I pray you to have put in practice the rule I gave you “touching the breeding mares in using the colts.”—Antwerp, 25 February, 1585, stilo novo.
Postscript.—“Captain Lucar is very busy in crossing the Colonel in all his actions.”
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Flanders I. 2.]