Elizabeth: February 1585, 16-20

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, 16-20', Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916), pp. 284-294. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp284-294 [accessed 20 June 2024].

. "Elizabeth: February 1585, 16-20", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916) 284-294. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp284-294.

. "Elizabeth: February 1585, 16-20", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 19, August 1584-August 1585, (London, 1916). 284-294. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol19/pp284-294.

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February 1585, 16–20

Feb. 16. The Earl Of Derby to Walsingham.
My general letter to her Majesty (fn. 1) concerning my reception here and audience has so occupied me that I cannot deal as largely with you as I should; but, hoping that her Majesty's letter may excuse me from particularising, in general I may assure you that all that I write is little enough to set forth the entertainment which his Majesty gives me.
On Sunday last, I had audience of the King, Queen Mother and Queen Regnant, and was so conducted, “that for the personages that accompanied me, the state and order in the proceeding, the like honour hath been used to no ambassador these many years before.” He accepted of me and my message in most honourable sort, as did the two Queens. Next Thursday he will receive the Garter at the Augustines, with such preparations as never King of France received the Order with more honour.
After he is invested, we shall move him about Flanders, “now he hath seen the depth and uttermost of the deputies' propositions. “—Paris, 16 February, 1584.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XIII. 29.]
Feb. 16. Stafford to Walsingham.
My lord of Derby and I have written so at large to her Majesty (fn. 2) of his audience and honourable reception that it would only be a trouble to you if I wrote more. “And as his entertainment hath been most honourable, so I must make it known to you that he hath deserved it, both for the good will and mind he hath shewed to her Majesty's service, and the care and pains he hath taken, as also for his bountifulness and honourable usage of everybody” (as I hear from those who came with him) since departing from her Majesty until meeting with me, from which time I can testify of its continuance.—Paris, 16 February, 1584.
Postscript.—I will in my next write more at large of the matter of the Low Country, as “presently after the King hath the Garter, my lord and I will give him the assault again for knowing his resolution,” but I see no better hope of yielding than before.
Holograph. Add. Endd. ¾ p. [Ibid. XIII. 30.]
Feb. 16/26. M. Arnault to Walsingham.
Your letters of the 18th of last month, only received to-day by Mr. Stalling, have been very welcome, as showing your goodwill towards me, which I value more than that of any gentleman in England, and desire ever to keep and to merit. I beg you to give me some occasion of showing it, for, if not, I shall be obliged to cross the sea once more to kiss your hands and receive your commands, which I shall do the more gladly when M. de l'Aubespine Chasteauneuf, my cousin, goes into England to take the place of M. de Mauvissière, he having made me promise to accompany him. But if, meanwhile, you have any occasion to command me, I pray you to do it as freely as I shall obey.—Paris, 26 February, 1585.
Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XIII. 31.]
Feb. 17/24. Mendoza to the Prince Of Parma.
I wrote to your Excellency by Don Gaston Espinola on the 16th, and having had so far no bad news, hope all is well. The King had appointed me audience, at my solicitation, on the 21st, but by his departure for St. Germains it was deferred until yesterday, and also that with the Queen Mother, which appeared to me more convenient, there being arrived here the commissioners of sul [margin : the States]. Without showing any fear that the King would assist them, or omitting to let him understand what just cause his Majesty [of Spain] had for resentment by reason of the audience given to them, and their favourable reception, I thought it best to use my time in signifying to him emphatically the harm which might come of this, the small gain it would be to assist them, and the impossibility that France could embrace that war so thoroughly as the importance thereof would require, as also to show him my mind that if they should listen to the deputies, it would show weakness in his Majesty's particulars, and little spirit on my part in not speaking with the interest and vigour which his service demanded.
The King replied to me with generalities, the substance whereof was that he had given no cause of complaint to any by his actions, having done what was proper for the service of God, the benefit of His church, and his brotherly feeling with his Majesty, as I might be witness; and that he hoped the Queen Mother would hold the same course in regard to her claims to Portugal.
The deputies have delivered their articles in writing into the King's own hands, the particularities of which I have not been able to learn, more than that the 98 [? the French] say they offer much less than was expected.
The Queen Mother has tried to persuade some chief captains of foot to levy men to send to the aid of the States, to whom they have made answer that they will willingly serve her, if it please the King to command them; but beyond this, there appears no design by any of those whom I touched upon in my last, and the deputies already show themselves distrustful of having any good despatch.
I have also to tell you that there has come important news that the kinsmen of fun [Guise] are making themselves ready, and it is doubted there may be a civil war. It is given out here that the Prince of Condé has had some practice at Peronne and Corbie in Picardy, and that there has been taken, in Piena, a lackey carrying letters in cipher to Jol°. Gentil.
The Earl of Derby arrived here with a great company on the 23rd. By the King's order, the Duke of Montpensier went out to meet him, with all the Court. The following day he had audience and every day the principal gentlemen and ladies are feasted with banquets. The King lodges them very splendidly, and to-morrow is appointed for the reception of the Order of the Garter, when I am invited to be present, with the other ambassadors. Next Sunday, he is giving the King a very rich and beautiful masque, which they say will cost him 40,000 crowns. [In the margin of this paragraph, “sans ciffre.”]
The Earl of Derby has begun to make a motion upon the affairs of the Low Countries as it seems, the Due d'Epernon having said in public jestingly that the English would have them believe that her Majesty could do what she liked with the King of 74 [? Scots]; and that it is a lem [margin : common bruit] in 96 [? France] that the English seem to despise the affairs of his Majesty. They have not been greatly pleased, according to what is understood, by the good reception and kind usage given me yesterday by the King and Queen Mother, for they came announcing that their mistress had news that these sovereigns were not well satisfied with my proceedings, which is quite contrary from what the King said yesterday, after I had departed from my audience, to those who were in the chamber.—Paris, 27 February, 1585.
Postscript.—After closing this I have heard that a courier has arrived from the Duke of Bouillon, sent to inform the King that 10,000 reiters are being levied in Germany for the Duke of Guise. I being in converse with the Queen Mother, the Cardinal of Guise came in, who, I was told, had just gone away, but was recalled directly. The Queen spoke to him upon this point, who answered that he knew nothing of it; that his brothers would serve the King with that loyalty that they have ever done, and that probably the gi and 67 [margin : heretics and enemies] of his house had spread these reports to the King against them.
Decipher. Endd. Spanish. 4½ pp. [France XIII. 32.]
Notes of the above letter, in English.
Endd.pp. [Ibid. XIII. 32a.]
Feb. 17/27. H. De Marle (fn. 3) to Walsingham.
Expressing his pleasure that the King has commanded him to remain with the Earl of Derby, to keep watch over his entertainment; both because of his respect for the Queen and to show his affection to the English people, and especially to his honour, with whom he had the privilege, during his last journey to France, of holding private conference.—Paris, 27 February, 1585.
Add. Endd. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. XIII. 33.]
Feb. 18. [The Privy Council] to Davison.
The Queen finding from her ambassador in France that the King's proceedings with the deputies of the States give little hope of the assistance they look for, and “doubting” that if the treaty breaks off, they may be driven to make composition with the King of Spain, thinks it meet for you to nourish underhand, as from yourself, some hope that she will not abandon them, so that they may be induced to offer her some towns as caution, whereby she may be assured of the performance of what she shall “accord” with them, if she consents to receive them into her protection.
And being informed that since the besieging of Antwerp most of the wealthy merchants are retired out of that country, and also from Holland and Zeeland, dispersing themselves in Germany, Italy, France and England, whereby it is thought that for lack of traffic, the contributions for the wars will greatly decay, she would have you inform yourself of this, as also what forces they would require to be employed and paid for by her, and what they themselves could put in the field, for the relief of towns besieged by the enemy, besides their garrisons.
Her Majesty being also informed that the people, weary of the burden of the wars and having no liking for the French, are inclined to an accord with Spain, wishes you to certify to her how you find them disposed therein.
She also wills us to tell you that she finds it very strange that she does not hear how you have prevailed with the Bishop of Cologne, and in what state things stand there, wherein you will do well to be more careful to give her satisfaction.
Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 3 pp. [Holland I. 44.]
Feb. 19./March 1. Andrea Servaressa to Mutio Alvares, London.
They were much grieved by his sudden departure, but will hold him excused if he will send them good news of himself, and, in truth, are very glad for him to be there, as they think their Master is going thither, whom they pray him to assist as much as possible.—Paris, 1 March, 1585.
Overleaf, in a different hand.
His friends thought his sudden departure without a word very strange, as showing his small faith in them, but, being there, they believe he may be an advocate with the friend, and will have treated with him of the business. If he accomplishes anything he must remember his friends and send them news of him.
Add. Endd. “From Salvaricho.” Italian. 1¼ pp. [France XIII. 33 bis.]
Feb. 20./March 2. News from Rome.
We hear from France that the Flemish ambassadors were not to have audience until the ambassador from England arrived.
There had been a quarrel between M. St. Gouard (Singola), appointed ambassador to Rome, and a colonel of the King's guard, who was wounded.
Saturday, Cardinals Farnese and Colonna returned to Rome and the Pope to St. Peter's, accompanied by six Cardinals and all his Court. Sunday, the Marquis of Baden was sumptuously banqueted by the Duke of Sora. In Monday's consistory the churches already reported were settled.
Signor Giulio Colonna has been remanded to Fabrica, an estate in Duke Ottavio [of Parma's] territory, during the Prince's pleasure. Wednesday, Cardinal Colonna, accompanied by the Marquis della Cornea and other prelates went to Lagarola. The evening before, Signor Prospero joined his brother, and they are going together to visit the said Signor Giulio. M. Teobaldo, chief revisor of petitions of the Dataria, is dismissed, and M. Claudio d'Andi, chaplain of the Cardinal Datario, put in his place.
Certain of the Cardinals frequently gather at the Duke of Sora's house, and especially the ambassadors of Spain and Venice. Wednesday and the following days, they were there almost the whole day. Count Pomponio Torelli has arrived at Parma from the Spanish Court and the Prince of Parma, and brings the transfer of the fortress of Piacenza to Duke Ottavio.
The Prince of Molfetta has had a quarrel with the Duke of Mantua about an island in the Po, and the Prince has put a garrison there of about a thousand footmen. The Duke is making every effort to turn them out; but they are very strongly entrenched; and the Governor of Milan tells the Duke that he has orders from the King of Spain to maintain the Prince in possession.
From Florence.—The bandits have burned some houses of the Hospital of Santa Maria della Nova because the servant did not hear and open to them. The cavalier Cosmo Martelli has killed the keeper of the prison at Pugni and escaped. The Court is at Pisa. In Romagna, in the territory of Pieve Sanlazzaro, a priest celebrating mass was killed with a shot from an arquebus by a knave in order to get the money.
Signor Paolo Giordani [Orsini] sent to call the bishop of Nepi to make an end of the matter of [Vittoria] Accoramboni (La Coram-bona), but he, although he went, would not consent to anything, and came to Rome to give account of it to his Holiness, who reproved him for having gone, and has also ordered Signor Paolo not to come near Rome, and to hinder it, Donna Felice has sent Signor Marcello del Nero hither.
A merchant of Lucca, having been robbed with others in the post station of Naples, desired licence to treat with the bandits, but not obtaining it, treated secretly, so that on passing the next post station, he found all his stolen property in the street, and took it on with him to Lucca.
According to old usage, the races have been run this week, plays acted, and continual festivities, with no less dulness (freddezza) than usual.
Yesterday, the Pope after dinner went down into St. Peter's, as he does every year on the holy days, accompanied by many Cardinals and all the Court, and the same day, at the eighteenth hour, the wife of Signor Federico Cesis was delivered of a son, to the great joy of all.
From Naples.—No news except that they live merrily with all the fun and merrymaking of the carnival.
Italian. 4 pp. [Newsletters LXXII. 8.]
Feb. 20./March 2. Advertisements sent from Rome.
Prague, Feb. 5.—On Saturday, the lords of Bohemia were with his Majesty, with the resolution of the Diet, and were satisfied with what he had demanded; he has granted the title of Illustrissimo to the Duke of Urbino. On Sunday the Tuscan ambassador banqueted sumptuously all the ambassadors, with the Dukes of Saxony. The Venetian deputies are about to depart, with his Majesty's decree concerning the frontiers, which must be brought back by one with ample authority, but it is believed that the Signoria will not agree that the Castle of Montefaleone shall (according to the decree) remain independent.
Antwerp, Jan. 24.—The soldiers of Tassis have taken some forts, cutting the men there in pieces, although the most important of them held out valiantly; and thus the passage to Holland will be open for the Malcontents. From Namur we hear that those of Brussels have sent four deputies to the Prince of Parma and that the castle of the Sluys is surrendered, which will be good for the Spaniards. Amongst those taken prisoners in the rout of Count Hollock were his secretary, twelve captains and others, who the following day were hanged.
Venice, Feb. 23.—On Sunday, in the church of S. Francesco di Loccoli a Jew was baptised. The next day there arrived Signor Ludovico Orsino. On Thursday there was a bull-running in the open fields. From Constantinople we hear that Ucciali had not yet returned thither; that the Persian war continued, there having been lately a rout of the Turks, with loss of 200,000 men, when the Grand Signor, fearing that on such a report the Christians might unite against him, had a general procession of 700 boys, giving them an asper apiece that they might pray for the disunion of Christians. Last week, Bertazzolo was stayed by order of the Proveditore at Salo, and his cause has been referred to the Savii. Here there occur daily divers accidents from the liberty which the maskers have to carry all sorts of arms. Last Tuesday, the son of the French secretary was attacked and at one blow cut all across the head.
Add. “Alii Signori Dominico and Ottavio della Torre in Leone; 2 Marzo, 1585.” Endd. Italian. 3 pp. [Newsletters LXXII. 9.]
Feb. 20. Gilpin to Walsingham.
The Count of Hollock has gathered the scattered forces at Barrow, intending some other exploit. The commissioners sent from Brussels to Louvain about a treaty are returned, and the matter said to be lost, though bruited secretly to be passed. Antwerp more discontented every day. No ships dare venture to pass; all the last winds only three attempted it, whereof two went to the enemy, the third escaping to Antwerp.
“He” has above nine ships of war “that keep the depth,” and it is whispered by certain mariners (who only escaped by leaping overboard and leaving their hoys to the enemy) that it is closed with plates.
The breach at Calloo is so deep that the greatest hulk may pass, and “within the land, above eleven feet at a low water, so as that country is thought irrecuperable.” Order is still given for the fleet to pass to succour Antwerp. On Wednesday last the Admiral of this island was called before Earl Maurice and his Council and committed to this town bailiff, with orders to carry him to the common gaol, “no entreaty serving to have his or other house for prison.” Some say it is because he has neglected his duty in not hindering the enemy in the river, and was departing with his wife and family to Ostend. “He is like to pass the pikes ere he get out,” everyone whom he has offended now complaining of him and desiring justice.
More of the Earl's Council have now come to him, and the General States were requested to come, but are yet in Holland, because of the enemy's entrance to the Veluwe, “seeking to impeach his further incursions.”
Their French commissioners have been heard, but are deferred awhile, because of the Earl of Derby's arrival.
We hear that wars begin in Poland, between the King and the nobles; also that the Duke of Brunswick is levying men. It is surmised that Duke Eric, being deceased, has made the new Bishop of Cologne his heir, “and so dispossess the name of sundry lands thereto belonging,” which it seems this Duke will not tolerate.—Middelburg, 20 February, 1584.
Add. Endd.pp. [Holland I. 45.]
Feb. 20./March 2. Thomas Lovell to Walsingham.
I have had no answer to my letter of Nov. 26, touching what you formerly wrote to me. I have got true understanding of great part thereof, and doubt not in short time to know the rest.
Sixteen commissioners have been sent from these provinces to the French King, whose names I enclose. No letters have come from them, whereat the States and people greatly “muse.”
[Gives a detailed account of Count Hollock's attempt on Bois-le-Duc (Sarteuggame bosse), mostly to the same effect as those already noticed.]
When the “Earl” had brought them into the town, he said “'Take heed that no man fall to plundering. I will ride and fetch the rest of the soldiers,' . . . and when the colonels and captains did see the Earl return, their hearts failed them, nevertheless the horsemen that were within the town (180) or there about, cleared the streets and drove the watch of the town from the market place and from their ordinance, and because the footmen marched not forward, the horsemen in the end were forced to retire, where they found many of the footmen roving out at the gate, and at the last, the portcullis of the gate was let all by them of the town, by means whereof divers were slain and 'other' taken, and the most of them on the morrow, being Sunday, were hanged.”
Verdugo has marched into the Veluwe (Velo) over against Zutphen with three or four thousand men, and has taken in all our seances, which our men were forced to yield as they were not victualled for six days. They held them until the 8th of February, and then “departed at the mercy (marse) of the enemy, with rapier and dagger, which killeth the heart of all faithful soldiers.” The enemy has rased the forts and mostly marched away again.
Brussels and Mechlin are in great danger and begin to parley with the enemy. Antwerp is in distress from his force on the water and forts on the land, so that no ships pass without great danger, as you may see by the small card enclosed, which shows the besieging force, and they have all the forts on the Flanders side except two, the Vart and Terneuse. On the Brabant side we keep two seances, one Lyllo, the other Osterwell; of the rest, the enemy is master.
News is come to the States of Holland from the Earl Maurice (Herlle Maures) out of Zeeland, in a closed letter, stating that the Admiral of Zeeland “Torlong” was, on February 25, new style, deprived of all his offices for causes greatly importing the land. The messenger saw the Admiral taken and disarmed, and heard him desire not to be taken to the common prison; but he was sent thither and all his goods “written up.” Moreover, a merchant at Rouen has written a letter, dated January 27, to one of the States, Govart de Brassart, one of the seigneurs of Delft, that on the 13 of the same the commissioners had secret talk for a whole hour alone with the French King, and that on the morrow they were brought into the Parliament house, where was the Queen Mother and the whole Council, “and the talk went after that it should be open wars between the French King and the King of Spain.” This is but merchants' news.
News is now come that the river of Antwerp is entirely closed. “God help them!”—The Hague, 2 March, 1585, style of Holland.
Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland I. 46.]
Enclosing :
List of the 16 commissioners to France.
½ p. [Ibid. I. 46a.]
Feb. 20./March 2. Captain Emanuel Lucar to Walsingham.
I received yours of January 11 on February 16 (stilo novo) and thank you for the fatherly affection which you bear to all honourably minded soldiers, in which I hope you will include me to my dying day.
I doubt not but you have heard of the dealings of Captains Ricardes, Gasfeld and Ley. After their apprehension the Colonel called his Lieutenant-Colonel, myself, and Captains Morgan, Littelton and Gwyne, to the examination of the said prisoners, as also Colonel “Bafford,” Bruges, superintendent of the fort of Osterwell, Fremyn, superintendent of the Farre [qy. Vart], and Waddell, of the fort of Burte [qy. Burcht], and Captains Creake and Gourdoon; all soldiers of long continuance and very good judgment. When, at divers times, we had heard the confessions of the said prisoners, we all met at his house to give our opinions, when the Colonel commanded his Lieutenant-Colonel, me and Captains Morgan, Littelton and Gwyne to set down our opinions in writing in a chamber apart. We answered that this was not reasonable, or ever done, for we must give our opinions in the assembly, where the auditor was to read the confessions of the prisoners and the articles of military discipline. But he insisted on our doing it, which we did, and enclose the copy of our writing, which being made and brought to the auditor, he marvelled that “we would so abandon the place” as to set down our opinions apart, saying he had never heard the like before, and so said all the rest.
If your letters had not come, with persuasions to hold our men together till more is known of the negotiation in France, the troops could hardly have been kept together. It were too tedious to tell you of their mutinies, threatening to carry their colours to the enemy and saying they would desire passport from them to pass into their country, and not die of hunger, as many of them have done.
I see by your letter to Colonel Morgan that the States have written to you that we “complain more than needs.” Their well-using of us from our first coming has been as follows, or very near. First they kept us ten weeks upon bread and cheese, without mustering us, laying the fault unto our Colonel for that he wrote that they should not do so till he came. I know not in whom the fault was, but that long time without pay was the cause of utter ruin and decay of our poor soldiers, for when it came, they were so spent in apparel and in debt that it stood them in small stead. The second month's pay they gave us “in more than twenty lendings,” besides making great deductions for armour and powder. Also our Colonel took a number of deductions out of every man's pay, so that when the poor remainder came into our hands, it hardly paid for the bread and cheese which we had taken up on credit for our poor men, “by means whereof our misery hath continued to this time.”
The Colonel, by consent of us his captains, has offered at one payment the remainder due to the States for our armours, which “would else eat out the captains as well as the poor soldiers, by means of the armours lost, sold and run away” [with] by our men; so that of the two months' pay due to us on February 26, we are to have but one, and that only by lendings, which will be our utter undoing, and keep the soldiers still in misery and naked. They have overtaxed our armour one-third, but there is no remedy. Also they rebate 1,200 florins for powder given for the training of our men in the ten weeks for which they gave us no pay, nor any allowances to the officers, a thing never heard of before. So this is their well-dealing with us.
You will hardly believe what dearth there is in Antwerp already, no shipping with victuals having come up for two months and more.
On February 13, Brussels sent deputies to the Prince of Parma, so its surrender is hourly looked for, and “thought that shortly after 'Macklen' will also be gone.” The enemy has a number of “plates” lying under the lee of his forts in wait for ships. The river is now certainly “to,” and small hope of freeing it. The Prince of Parma “for a scorn” sent a trumpet to “Mr. Alegonde” with a couple of partridges (patryges) and to tell him that the river was shut up, and if he did not believe it he should have assurance of safety to see it himself; “to which Mr. Alegonde answered that ere long there would be one that should send him and his from thence, and make the river and whole country free.” On February 25, Captain Melven's lieutenant and ten men, having guard at the Boors' sconce were, by the violence of the wind and water carried away and drowned.
Mr. Treslong (Tourlonne), Admiral and Governor of Ostend, is a prisoner at Middelburg, but for what cause we know not.
The message which Lieutenant Powell has brought our Colonel for our withdrawal into our country is not a little welcome to us and our poor soldiers, and I assure you it “made the half dead in the hospital to come out into their quarter and skip for joy.” I pray you to be mindful of me amongst others, if there be cause to employ any of us, your poor and faithful soldiers.— Burgenholt, 2 March, 1585.
Postscript.—We say for certain that Brussels is yielded, though the day and articles are not known. Also that the cause of M. Treslong's apprehension is that on February 20, the night that our fleet was coming up, he “should have come in the tail of the said fleet and charged them, when the enemy should have charged the fore ward [sic].”
Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Flanders I. 3.]


  • 1. This letter is not amongst the State Papers. A draft of it is in Tanner MS. LXXVIII, No 18, f. 36.
  • 2. See note on previous page.
  • 3. Henri de Noailles, Seigneur de Merles, one of the maîtres d'hotel to the King.