Elizabeth: January 1587, 11-20

Pages 184-190

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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January 1587, 11-20

[before the 11th.]
Elizabeth to the French King.
"Monsieur mon frere, Le viel argument sur qui j'ay basty souvent mes lettres me semble si extremement esbranli que suis contrainct changer de stile, et au lieu de graces, adjouster plainctes. Comment, estes vous forcene, a croire que se soit honneur ou bonne amitie a resprendre l' opprime et recherchir la mort d' une innocent pour la faire proye d' une meurtriere. Mon Dieu, postposant ma qualite, non moindre digne que la vostre, ne vous souvenant de mon affection la plus sincere en vostre endroict, ayant quasy perdu la reputation entre tous princes de ma profession, leur ayant tous, tous neglige pour ne vous contarber le royaulme; aussy soufrant jusques a present le plus grand dangier que jamais prince endura ou attente de quelques probables offertes, ou raisons pour me garder de ne fayre ce qui a mon journellement danger j' endure. Nonobstant, pour bel Epilogue de vostre action, vous estes si aveugle par les persuasions de ceulx qui, je prie a Dieu, a la fin ne vous ruinnent, qu' en lieu de mille remerciements bien merites pour si rare et inusite faveur, M. Bellivre m' a faict entendre un langage que je ne puis trop bien interpreter. Car pour vous en resentir que je me saulfe la vie me semble menace d' enemy qui je le vous prometz ne me fera jamais craindre, ains est le plus court chimin pour despecher la cause de tant de malheurs, et serois marry que esprouvastes l'issue d' une telle imperieusse action; pour concluire laisses moy par mon Ambassadeur, je vous prie, scavoir en quelles termes je prendre ces motz; car je ne vivray l'heure que prince quelconque se puisse vanter de tant de humilitie que je boive a mon deshonneur un tel traict. Il est vray que Bellivre mesme en estant demande, a un peu mitigue son langage en disant que nullement vouldries souhaiter, beaucoup moins procurer mon peril, et sur cela, je vous escripve ceste cy, vous disant que s'il vous plaict pour telle me traicter, jamais trouveres une plus fidelle ny plus assuree amitie que la mienne; mais aultrement je ne suis nay [née] de si bas lieu, ni gouverne si petites royaulmes que en droict et honneur je cederay a prince vivant qui m' injure et ne doute que ne face ma party asses forte; pourtant estudies, je vous prie plustot a fortefier nostre amitie que la minuer; vos estats ne permettent trop d' enemis, et ne donnes la bride a chivaulx effarouches, de peur qu'ils n' esbranlent vostre selle. Je le vous dis en sincere amour, priant le Createur de vous conceder bonne et longue vie. Vostre bien affectionnee bonne sœur et cousine."
Draft in the Queen's natural hand, and endd. by her "to the French K. by Bellivre." French. 2¼ pp. [France XVII. 3.]
Jan. 11. Burghley to Stafford.
As Mr. Davison is sending this bearer with speed to overtake M. de Bellièvre if he can, I cannot write at any length. I send you a copy of what Bellièvre delivered before his departure in writing as the truth of his last speech to her Majesty when he took leave. She caused sundry places to be considered of, and so to be answered, whereof she gave me the charge. At first I conceived an answer at length, but for brevity's sake it seemed better to put the substance of the answers as apostiles in the margent, and in that form I have had it newly written. After you have read both writings, you shall desire to speak with M. de Bellièvre and declare to him that her Majesty found many places in his writing meet to be answered, and meant this to be rather verbally than in writing, but he departed before it was ready. She wishes he could have heard the exceptions, though she does not think he "used his arguments as matters solid and not to be repelled, but she rather taketh them for form in discharge of his message than that he himself is persuaded with the force of them." And as she would not have him think that his arguments were of force, you are to show him the "apostilations"; and though it is not likely that he will allow them for good, yet he will see the reasons which stayed her from assenting to him as persuaded. And yet you shall add "that considering how unequal a contentation it is to deliver in the French tongue to him that which is first in mere English conceived," she would not have him communicate it to any other, yet, if he wishes it, you may leave it with him some few days, but take care that it be returned to you, "for it is not so exactly done as her Majesty meant it . . . and for the phrase of the French, there is great reason to rest doubtful how to maintain the same in every clause, if such a learned counsellor as M. Bellièvre is . . . shall make any objection."
I am "right sorry of an unhappy accident . . . whereof the ambassador will complain, though we have [more] cause to complain of him; but hereof you shall hear more very shortly; whereof I am commanded not to write to you at this time, although I think the messenger will give you some taste, which though it may seem somewhat sour at the first, yet you shall have no cause for yourself to doubt any sinister opinion either by her Majesty or any unpassionated counsellor."—Greenwich, 11 January, 1586.
Copy by Maynard. Endd. 2 pp. [France XVII. 4.]
Jan 11. Buzanval to Burghley.
It seems that the humours of the League have so far affected those of our King that he now speaks only by their mouth, as you will have perceived by plain signs in the last mission of M. de 'Bellievure'; who following the advice of those who say that nothing is to be got from the Queen save by bravados and threatenings, obtained authority to use menaces, quæ sine dubio in nervum erumpent. He sent me word at his departure that he would have liked to see me, to speak of matters which might have been of great service to the affairs of the King my master; but that being convinced that I should not at this time believe them, he would defer them.
I have learnt since that M. de Mercure and another lord who have lately been at the court, are feeding the King with hopes of a great stir in this kingdom, and by this means have given him courage to order his ambassadors to use such language as they have done of late to her Majesty. Some superstitious people have even assured him that he would save the Roman Catholic religion by saving the Queen of Scotland. You will also have heard that M. de Guise feeds the court of France [with hopes] of the siege of Sedan, without any cost to the King, by the aid of the Duke of Lorraine and the Prince of Parma.—London, 11 January.
Holograph. Add. Endd by Burghley. Fr. 1 p. [France XVII. 5.]
Jan. 11. Bond of John Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine, administrator of the Electorate [etc.] for the repayment of the 155000 florins "de quinze batz piece" which, by the capitulation made this day with the King of Navarre's ministers, he acknowledges to have received at their hands; the said sum being provided by the Queen of England, and delivered by her servant, Horatio Palavicino, gentleman, to be put into the said Count's hands and employed for the performance of the said capitulation. Promising, in the event of a peace being made in France before the employment of the said moneys, or that by some accident the promised levy were interrupted, to restore to the said Queen what should be still in his hands or capable of being restored.
Also promising that if, before the muster of the army, the Protestant princes have certainly agreed to contribute as much as 150000 florins for this army, he will keep in his hands the half of the said sum received from Palavicino, to remain at her Majesty's disposition; the King of Navarre being discharged of the said half of the sum.—Heidelberg, 11 January, 1587.
Copy. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Germany, States V. 3.]
[Jan 11.] "Capitulation" by the Sieurs de Pardaillan, de Clervant and de Quitry, ambassadors of the King of Navarre, and in virtue of the powers given them by his Majesty, both in his own name and in the names of the Prince de Condé and other princes of the blood, officers of the crown of France and lords and gentlemen both of the Religion and the associated Catholics, together with all the Churches of France.
Recapitulating the said King's efforts to maintain the quiet of the Kingdom and of the Churches since the last peace made in 1581; the convocation of the Assembly of the Churches at Montauban [in 1584], and the mission of Laval and du Plessis to the French King in [March] 1585; the rise of the League on the death of the Due d' Alencon; the King of Navarre's patience and loyalty; the peace between the French King and the League; the revocation of the Edict of Pacification, whereupon the King of Navarre was forced to arm, and his final recourse for aid to the Christian princes, neighbours and allies of the crown of France; and especially to the illustrious prince John Casimir, Count Palatine etc. etc., to aid him with sufficient forces to bring to naught the designs of his enemies, and establish a good and firm peace. Whereto having found his Highness very well disposed, they have finally come to an agreement with him in the form and manner following:—
[Here follow the Articles of the Capitulation.]
All which points and articles, we the above said ambassadors of the King of Navarre, in the name of the said King [etc. etc.] ratify as above. And we, Jean Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine [etc. etc.] promise for ourself and those whom we command to maintain and keep inviolably.
And especially the King of Navarre promises that from the date of this said capitulation, he resigns all authority and power to do anything to the prejudice thereof, and to enter henceforward into no treaty of peace save with the assent of his Highness and of his said army. And that in case he do not uphold and fulfil every point of the said capitulation, and of that which his ambassadors shall make with the Colonels of the reiters etc., then his Highness, or he whom he shall ordain [in his place] and the men of war shall be mutually discharged of all bonds and promises; as if they had never been made.
Endd: "Capitulation between D. Casimir and the K. of Navarre's ministers. Also. in a 17th century hand: "Protestations and letter of negotiation from the D. Casimir to Sir Fra. Walsingham, A. 1577, 1578." (sic). Fr. 5½ pp. [Germany, States V. 4.]
Jan. 15. Horatic Palavicino to Walsingham.
In confirmation of what I wrote on the 8th, I now tell you that we may consider all concluded. D. Casimir has signed the capitulation and has promised the ministers of the King of Navarre to fulfil all their expectations. Upon his bond, he has received the ten thousand crowns from M. de Bouillon and tomorrow will send it to me.
He has been seen in company with all those of the King of Navarre, has been cordial to M. de Segur, whom at first he did not wish to see, and has reconciled him to Beuterick, with whom there had been much discord.
All this happened in Fridelsen, after which D. Casimir came to Frankfort, and has again been with them, with much show of wishing to satisfy them entirely; and in regard of the clause of ratification has assured them that it shall not be to their hurt. This Segur has to-day told me, coming here to pass with me the bond for her Majesty's money; also that they have dispatched the Sieur de Mongla to the King of Navarre, to inform him of all things, and have the ratification prepared; whence I feel sure of being able to pay and conclude everything this week, and hope that D. Casimir, continuing in his present disposition, will be the instrument of much good to the public cause, and show himself more reasonable than has been the case these past months.
The Sieur de Quitri will set out within six days for Sedam, (fn. 1) where they fear war; the Duke of Guise threatening it greatly. The Sieur de Clervant will shortly go into Switzerland, where he hopes to have good fortune; and if they are all diligent, and have good ground for their hopes, we ought shortly to see some good result.
Your honour will give an account of all this to her Majesty. I thank God that we can now offer her this conclusion to what has been so full of vexation.
D. Casimir wishes it to be kept secret, and has charged me not to write of it to Stafford, or at any rate not to tell him the time. I will not write to him of it for some days, but your honour will remember the necessity of providing for the payment which he has to make to the Count of Toisson (fn. 2) when he shall have heard from me of the final execution, in order that he may not fail of his promise, and that all may be answerable at the same time.
The success of Raucroy, notwithstanding what the French say to cover it, was a pure treachery for money by the watch, whereby we should learn to put no confidence in such corrupt people. But among such and greater difficulties we are conducted to the port where we would be.—Frankfort, 15 January, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1¾ pp. [Germany, States V. 5.]
Words in italics in cipher, deciphered.
Jan 15. Horatio Palavicino to Walsingham.
I have to-day received yours of the 17 and 18 of last month, and acknowledging the judicious way in which you communicated the tenor of mine to her Majesty, I feel much satisfied to have finished the business, although in some respects differently from its first form. I hope that the particulars which I now send, more fully confirmed than I could on the 8th, will please you and be approved by her.
God grant that the effect may follow to her satisfaction, and that I may have some relief from my past toils. [The next part of the letter has the left hand half of the page torn away, but contains assurances that he has done his utmost, thanks for the news concerning the Queen of Scots etc.]
From Poland, nothing is heard save that the Emperor has sent ambassadors thither. I marvel that none of these Protestant princes aspires to that election.
The Marquis del Vasto has gone from the Low Countries into Italy, and many Italian nobles also, which is a sign of great delay to all their hopes.—Frankfort, 15 January, 1586.
Add. Endd. Italian. 1½ pp. [Germany, States V. 6.]
Jan. 19. Duke John Casimir to the Queen.
On behalf of Jeremias Neunner of Strasburg, military engineer, a life pensioner of Queen Elizabeth, but whose pension has now been in arrear for six years. Soliciting resumption of the payment thereof, with arrears.—Heidelberg, 19 January, 1587.
Signed Add. Endd. Latin. 1½ pp. [Germany, States V. 7.]
[15–19.] (fn. 3)
Instructions for William Waad, sent to the French King.
Having given instructions to her ambassador in France to inform the French King of the apprehension of one des Trappes, servant to the French ambassador resident with her, detected to have been a party to a conspiracy against her person, she is now pleased, for the said King's better satisfaction, to send him, Waad, expressly to acquaint him with the true causes and circumstances of her proceedings.
He is, after delivery of her letters, to declare to the King how within a day or two of M. Bellievre's departure, she was informed that des Trappes had entered into a secret conspiracy with one Stafford (resorting oft to the said ambassador's house) for the taking away of her life; holding divers conferences with the said Stafford and with one Moody, then a prisoner in Newgate. In order to understand the truth, she gave order to have the accused parties apprehended; and sent a gentleman after des Trappes, then on his way towards France, who was overtaken at Rochester, and brought back with his packets, which, being stated to concern the King's service, were delivered to the Ambassador untouched. In the meanwhile, Stafford and Moody had confessed the practice and accused des Trappes of having dealt with them, whereupon he was examined by some of her Council and confronted with the other prisoners, his accusers, who directly "avouched" the informations against him. And as, in the course of the examinations, the ambassador himself was charged with privity to the conspiracy, she gave orders to the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Leicester, her vice-chamberlain and secretary Davison to repair to London on Thursday the 12th instant, to communicate these informations and confessions to the said ambassador; who meeting them at the Lord Treasurer's house was let to understand what cause her Majesty had to apprehend his servant; what matter was fallen out against him, and what both he and the others had confessed, to the touch of his own honour, whom Stafford had directly accused to have been a principal mover of the enterprise to him; the other conspirator, Moody, expressly charging des Trappes ("sent to him from his master with many fair offers and promises") of treating with him of the means to relieve the Queen of Scots by taking away her Majesty's life; for which divers devices were spoken of, as by the abstracts of their confessions may appear. And albeit at first he denied the matters alleged against him, yet finding the proofs such as he could not avoid (Stafford charging him to his face of being the first mover of him to this attempt and des Trappes affirming under his own hand that he had done nothing but with his privity and by his commandment), he was driven to maintain that though he knew thereof, he was not bound to reveal it to any save the King his master, except by his orders; a very dangerous assertion for a person of his place and quality, especially at a time when conspiracies against her Majesty's life have been so often attempted.
In respect whereof, as she cannot but greatly dislike the continuance with her of a minister so dangerously affected (where he may take occasion to deliver what the ambassador himself confessed touching the receiving of Babington the day before he was apprehended) he is to let the King know that although she has more than just cause to have dealt sharply with his ambassador, yet she had so much respect to the honour of her good brother that she has forborne to proceed further till she had made the cause known to him, who she hopes will take such order therein as in honour, justice and friendship to her appertaineth.
Having delivered all these things to the King, he shall also take occasion to remind him of her often urged request for the delivery of Morgan and Paget, she having looked for better satisfaction than she has received either from her servant Wotton (lately sent to him) or from M. Bellievre, notwithstanding the justice of her demand and his own promise in that behalf. And as these persons are well known to him to have been the chief instruments in all the late practices against her life, she hopes he will make no more delays or difficulties in delivering them to her, as he tenders the continuance of her love and affection.
Lastly, as some arrests have lately been made in France of the goods of her subjects trading thither, he [Waad] is to inform himself of their causes and particularities, and deal effectually with the King for their discharge, lest she should be constrained to grant the like to them against his subjects.
Copy. Endd. 3¼ pp. closely written. [France XVII. 6.]
The Queen to Stafford.
Having sent this bearer [Waad] to acquaint the French King with the causes of our late apprehending of des Trappes, and to communicate to him what fell out upon examination of him and his confederates "in charging the honour of his ambassador here"; and forasmuch as the opening of these matters must needs draw in some mention of William Stafford, your brother, with whom the said ambassador has been a dealer in this unhappy practice, which we know cannot but be very ungrateful to you, both from your natural affection for your brother, and for the honour of your house and name, "a thing the more grievous to ourself in respect of your mother, whose sorrow, being so near as she is unto us, cannot but add some affliction to ours, as for your own person, occupying the place you hold":—Yet since it greatly imports our service, we doubt not but that you will give all due furtherance to this gentleman; leaving it to your discretion whether, when presenting him to his Majesty, either to stay or to withdraw during his audience, "the cause being so unpleasing as it is and ought to be unto yourself."
Minute. ½ p. [France XVII. 7.]


  • 1. i.e. Sédan.
  • 2. i.e. Soisson. The symbol for T given instead of S.
  • 3. Waad started for France between the 15 and 19 Jan. (see Acts of Privy Council, 1586–7, p 289) and reached Paris Jan. 25, o,s.