Elizabeth: February 1588, 16-28

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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, 'Elizabeth: February 1588, 16-28', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588, (London, 1927) pp. 517-529. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no1/pp517-529 [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Elizabeth: February 1588, 16-28", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588, (London, 1927) 517-529. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no1/pp517-529.

. "Elizabeth: February 1588, 16-28", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588, (London, 1927). 517-529. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no1/pp517-529.

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February 1588, 16-28

Feb. 16/26. Advertisements from Paris.
News is come from Poland of a great overthrow given by the Prince of Sweden to Maximilian, the Emperor's brother, and that he is taken prisoner.
The King has sent Bellievre and La Guische to those of the League to persuade them to come hither to consult about the war of Poictou. The gent. sent to the King of Denmark is not yet returned.
26 Feb. From letters of the King of Navarre's servants it appears that Montmorency was not at the Assembly at Montauban; but that the King has sent the Viscount of Turenne to him.
It is thought here that those of the League will not come hither, for the King draws companies of men at arms near to this town.
It is written from Geneva that 'Switz' [Schweiz] and another of the Popish cantons are about to make open profession of the reformed religion.
Duke Joyeuse's body arrived the day before yesterday and lies where Monsieur's did. It is to be buried with the same pomp, and, as is thought, with greater charges.
Duke 'Mompensier' arrived the evening before last. It is thought he comes about the matters of Sedan.
Endd. 1 p. [Newsletters IX. 36.]
Feb. 19. Paper, endorsed by Burghley "A memorial sent out of France from M. Malvas," and with date; in relation to the threatened Spanish invasion of England.
For the most part, a sudden and daring attack may give the attackers the victory; but forces which have to cross the sea, and can be seen coming from afar, should have their first design broken, and not have time given them to be victorious.
The Spaniards are chosing the time when they see that France has her hands full, and can only sigh over her own misery.
But the English Queen must firmly resolve to defend herself, as she has done hitherto, and to use every means given her by God, nature and her country to resist this enterprise.
Firstly: so far as possible, there must be no one within the country who would favour the enemy, and above all, she must provide diligently in the northern parts that the Scots do not give aid either by intelligence or force; for it may well be that the first and most sure conquest might be made on that side by means of the said Scots, who are both brave and daring; know all the ways into England, and have already carried on practices with the English of the North. Wherefore she and her Council must endeavour to make sure of all the nobles and people there, and to raise companies both of horse and foot of those who can bear arms, and take their oaths. She must also send to the north other forces which are beyond suspicion, and any now there who are doubtful must be sent elsewhere. But in such matters, one must often govern oneself au doigt et a l'oeil.
The chief fortresses and bulwarks of England consist in the strength of her men in battle, and in her number of good vessels, the finest and best equipped in the world; good captains and good fighting men, artillery and shot and all things needed for their use. It will have to be left to the wisdom of the Admiral and his captains whether to go out to meet the enemy or to await them in the Straits, to see which route they will take; whether to the right hand of the coast of Scotland, or to the left, on the western side; or whether they should divide, in order to keep a look-out on all sides; for, if the Spanish army is as great as they say, they could attack in divers places and by divers leaders, amongst whom is the Prince of Parma, who has as much hope of making this conquest for himself as for his master and the King of Scotland. In any case, a descent must be favoured by the wind, by the sea, and often by the land, otherwise it is in danger of disaster.
On land, the English must entrench and fortify, and bring forward their forces to fight where they can be at the most advantage, and must leave no victuals where they can be taken by the enemy, who cannot have much cavalry; wherein the English army will always have the advantage, and which they must keep in good order, and never let them fight in line, as they did in old times, but by squadrons and double ranks and in squares, as the King of Navarre did in the battle against M. de Joyeuse. (fn. 1)
The Queen should at once send into Germany to levy two or three thousand good horse reiters, employing the princes, her friends, in the matter. They could be embarked in the maritime towns and come over very quickly into England, the said levy being kept as secret as possible. Also one of eight or ten thousand lansquenets may usefully be employed. And if the Queen pays them every month, they will bring no disorder into her kingdom, but, on the contrary would leave there [i.e. by spending it] all the money given them and would observe military discipline, which they have never done in France, where they were only paid the first month, so that they had to subsist as they could, which both caused disorder among themselves and made them abhorred by the people.
The reiters might be made into two squadrons, mixed with the English horse and foot; as also one or two battalions of lansquenets.
The Queen must have safe magazines for all her provisions, and above all things she and her commanders must keep good order (grand police). Also, she must have men who can speak well, to animate and encourage her people and troops. And it would be well that her Majesty should sometimes show herself; reserving always a good band, both of horse and foot, for the safety of her person. And if she levies lansquenets, she should keep two thousand with herself.
As to the forces of England, there are probably two or three hundred thousand persons between the age of seventeen and sixtythree, who can bear arms in defence of the life and honour of their Queen, country, property, families and children; and in order not to fall into slavery and be at the mercy of a stranger, who would give employment to none of the nation save for betraying his fatherland. There is no place on earth where the men are more strong, healthy and 'gaillard,' easy to obtain and ready to bear the utmost hardship with great courage.
Item, it may be held for certain that England is very strong as regards the arms used in old times in the country; as bows and black bills, shovels and spades for making intrenchments and strongholds at need; and there are none who have not these things, wherewith the peasants may help; and even the women, in case of need, may defend their homes with the said black bills. Wherefore the Queen should have more of these bills made with all speed, very sharp and with long wooden handles, as also spades and shovels, which those who carried the bills could take with them; so that they could entrench themselves any where; which would help greatly in the defence of the country.
Item. As England is much longer than she is wide, forces may be the more easily dispatched to defend and fortify the coasts where the enemy might make a descent, and so their army be crushed and lost, if all in England do their duty, the North be well seen to and the Queen do not spare her treasure, at this time when she has the chance of curbing the presumption and design of the enemy.
Endd. by Burghley. French. 4¾ closely written pp. [France, XVIII. 23.]
Feb. 25. Stafford to the Queen.
[Explains that he writes in the Lord Treasurer's cipher, fearing she may have lost her own.]
"I spake yesternight with the King, who sent for me by a man quite unknown, to a house that I think I can guess at again, though it were in the night, and that he brought me far out of the right way to it; where I found nobody in the chamber but himself. In the house I heard folks, but nobody saw me nor I saw nobody, for he that brought me tarried not in the chamber. The King began with me that he had sent for me (according as he had sent me word the last day) and upon the trust and confidence that he had in me, and upon the faithful assurance I had given him, both in your Majesty['s name] and mine own, that whatsoever he delivered me, I would send it directly to your Majesty's own hands, and that you would do what lay in you for the good of France, and keep it to yourself, so that it should never be spoken of nor heard of, that he had dealt thus secretly or confidently with your Majesty or any of yours. I told him that, when I made that offer unto him upon some speech that was used to me by some of his, and that I durst promise that your Majesty would keep it most secretly, if either I delivered it myself or sent it to your Majesty, to your own hands; that though I had then no commission to deal (because your Majesty's so often offers to do good had been so little set by) I had notwithstanding presently after I had said the word made a dispatch to signify what I had done. That your Majesty had made answer unto me of avowing me; that your good will was as it had ever been unto him; that your Majesty would continue so still, and that for the secrecy of it, your Majesty did assure that whatsoever he did deliver 'confidently' to me to write to your Majesty, that I did assure him; and that whatsoever lay in your Majesty to pleasure him, any way that was within the compass of your power, or within possibility to do it with honour, that it should be done; that all things delivered to me should never be spoken or heard of; that all princes did use counsel in all things of any weight; that your Majesty's custom was to do so too, as reason was, but that your Majesty had those faithful wise and secret counsellors that whatsoever your Majesty did communicate to them (whereof there were not many that your Majesty used in those great matters of weight and secret) that though your Majesty gave them no charge at all, they were so discreet as they would easily know what were fit to be done; but that I was sure if your Majesty did communicate it with any, you would give them that particular charge, and take that assurance of them as they neither would nor durst but observe, and withal that if he would not, I durst assure that your Majesty should never deliver to any that which he delivered to me, but to herself; and further, that whereas some used some speeches to me in the beginning, and Pinard (the last day he came from him) had cast out such a word, that your Majesty did make these offers now to him to make profit of his dealing with your Majesty now, to advance the treaty of peace with Spain that your Majesty was in hand withal, to make your bargain better, that I did protest to the King from your Majesty that your Majesty never had such a meaning; not so much as such a thought. That there were evil-disposed people to break the amity between France and England that had those inventions, which were their only drift; that I durst assure him upon my soul that your Majesty never had such a thought.
"He told me upon that, that he would assure himself upon my promise that I and your Majesty would perform it in all points: that he would deal plainly with me and lay this state more open to your Majesty than ever he did to any: that he was very well contented your Majesty should take advice of any her secretest counsellors whom it pleased her; that he knew she had them that she did assure should do nothing passing her commandment; that he wished with all his heart to have given of his blood that he had the like, that would depend upon nobody but upon his will, his affairs should not (as he termed it) pendre à la balance as they do.
"That whereas the last day he sent me word by Pinard the answer that he did make, it was Queen Mother and his whole Council's peremptory advice, standing upon it that it was not fit that he should desire your Majesty to meddle between him and his subjects; that thereupon he made the answer, and desired me to send it away, as I did by John Fourier, that nothing might be suspected that I hoped of anything else from him but that he would deal more plainly with her Majesty, beseeching her with all his heart to do it and without making known to any that any request came from him, because they of the religion, as he said, could keep nothing secret, and that she would persuade the King of Navarre to have a care of his estate, and to accomodate himself with the French King, in such sort as the League might have no more pretence to ruin France and him both.
"Whereupon, I replied to him the impossibility that it was for the Queen's Majesty to deal with the King of Navarre in religion, for the reasons that I had both told him the other day and after to Pinard and which the King by himself in this action might very well consider. That her Majesty, I durst answer, would do what she could any way, but to persuade the King of Navarre any more to change than she had persuaded him to take it, that it was a thing she would not meddle in. That if his own judgment would make him do it, for the good of his estate, that you would not meddle with conscience nor with his soul. He answered me that he would deal as plainly with me as if I were his ghostly father; that as in truth he was so much addicted to his religion as withal he would it had cost him a piece of his realm and part of his blood, that all the world but especially France were of it, so he was not so much a bigot (as he termed it) which in English is over superstitious, that he would rather let France ruin and himself than suffer liberty and exercise both, as he had both done and would do again with all his heart, but it was now out of his power to do it or to put France in peace if he heard speak of religion as things stood. That he dealt plainly with me that his last hope to have done that was by the reiters' means, who, if they had either had valour or discretion might have made the League upon their knees ask that which they had b[r]oken [?] (fn. 2) in arms, which was that he expected and looked for, and was the only cause that he would take no knowledge of many offers I made from the Queen's Majesty to stay them if he had desired it; and that he had given them all the means they desired to have done it if they could have taken it, and to have kept themselves far enough from him as he kept himself from them till they would needs come to seek him, and by their own evil government had put him to that plunge that all the world marked him almost with their finger, and the League had almost overthrown them quite; whereas they had afore them twice or thrice in their hands to have done the like with them, and have ended all in a day, if they had had judgment to have taken it; and when they had failed of those occasions, if they had ravaged Lorraine and those places of Champagne and Burgundy that were addicted to them [the League] and left none unspoiled that were any way adherents to them, they would have been glad to have prayed, and he would have made as much [sic] have prayed for peace as they had sought the contrary; but that instead of annoying them, they came to seek him out, and let themselves be brought so low to his hands as either he must have given the League the vantage they desired over him, and have left them the honour of all besides, that he was constrained to do as he did to take the honour out of their hands, and yet let them lay (said he) their hand upon their consciences, those that were saved owe the King their lives, considering the state they had let themselves be brought in by the others, and that now all hope of any good that way was taken away, for that they had let them learn the way that was never thought on afore, to ruin as many armies of Reisters as ever come into France without fighting, and which he cannot impeach them of without he make himself a party against them, which cannot be; and that therefore, it is not any way possible to have them do more good but harm henceforward, by giving the contrary party (if they come to the help of the one) a colour to call in other strangers for their defence, that he feareth worse; and who shall be good soldiers, well governed and well paid, and that shall have all the towns they have at the entry and in France to back them and at their devotion; so that now, whosoever would be the cause of their return, if they could be brought to return (which he doth not believe) would be the cause of the utter subversion of the realm and therefore the utter undoing of the state, and therefore he desired her Majesty to consider that as one that loved him, as she assured and had reason to do—in respect that the love of them one to another were profitable to both—and to be a means that the colour of maintaining of arms may be taken away, which cannot be except the King of Navarre yield to him in religion, for keeping the League without colour of arming, did cut their throats, for they were brought into that beggary as in peace they had not meat to put into their mouths, and every day more and more lost some of their most affectionate servants.
"I answered him as before that I knew the Queen's Majesty would do what she could and what was reason to bring things to peace and to keep them in it; but by that means I saw not how she could do it; for first, to open her mouth to the King of Navarre of that point I saw an impossibility; next, though the King of Navarre would do it, though she did speak to him of it, I knew not how he could do it, for upon the Prince of Condé he had no power; and if Navarre and Condé would both, there were great numbers in France of the Religion, and great numbers of towns and strong houses over whom, if the King of Navarre did that, he should have no more commandment, and then were the colour of religion taken away no more than before, for all the King of Navarre and Prince of Condé's changing.
"He answered that if Navarre and Condé were changed, the rest would easilier be brought to think upon their consciences and to dispose themselves to obey in time; that though that were not, if the two next heirs were Catholics, but especially Navarre who was the next of all (whom in the end, what brags soever any made (if it were not for religion) [he] would ever and should acknowledge him to be so), these mischiefs that are happened now under the colour that they have taken, and the terror that they have put into men's minds by that of the overthrowing of catholic religion, by the successors that are Huguenots, should cease, and the League brought again into the same state they were in in Monsieur's time, at which time, they could not find means to have this colour to put out their horns, and to that state they should be put to again to make them pull in their horns (if that cause ceased) and to their utter overthrow.
"To the which I answered that there was a probability in the reasons, if there were a possibility to bring them to pass, but if it pleased him (as he had honoured me already to put this confidence in me) to give me leave to tell him my opinion, I did assure him that I did [qy. see so much] probability in them as if I were of the King of Navarre's counsel, and that he did command me not to meddle with his conscience, but to counsel him the best way for the conservation of his state, and the preservation of his person; that it should be the first counsel I would give him to do [that] which the French King desired, but if I were of the French King's counsel, I would rather be torn in pieces than counsel him to desire it, but rather do what I could to impeach it, if the King of Navarre had any such intent, and would rather wish him (seeing I had seen by proof that pretext of religion could give them that had no interest to the succession such an authority as they had gotten, as neither the King by his possession nor the King of Navarre with the hope of his succession could put them out of it), to desire rather that the King of Navarre should remain as he was, to have that Religion to be a bar to impeach him of attempting any thing at this time, than in taking that way to make him the sun rising clear, to make him to be worshipped, and to take the eclipse quite away that did serve for an object to darken his light. That I protest[ed] unto him that I did think it, and so assuredly think and durst hazard my life that the King of Navarre neither had nor ever would have such a thought (what means soever he might have to do otherwise) yet I did think it more wisdom to shut up a treasure house with all the keys and bars that could be found, to impeach them that would rob it, if they had a mind to it, than to leave the doors wilfully and negligently open, to set a thief's teeth on edge, and to make him have a mind to it; and so in this would rather counsel him to hazard the pulling down of them that had no interest after himself, and to permit, for so necessary a respect, so necessary an inconvenience in France, than, in taking so necessary a thing away (which he [the French King] should desire to be, if it were not) to incur the hazard of the greater in avoiding of the lesser. That I desired him to pardon me, for I protested I said no otherwise to him than I would advise your Majesty, if you were in the like case, with the like circumstances.
"I assure your Majesty that he gave the hearing at leisure, and was in a study without answering me a good while. At length with thanks he told me that everybody could rule a shrewd wife, but he that had her could tell worst the way how to rule her; that that was his case, but that he had rather hazard the pulling of them down with the King of Navarre's turn, which he saw a possibility in, and stand upon those hazards, than in letting them have that colour still, to make it an impossible thing to pull them ever upon their knees, but to see them strengthened in despite of him daily, and which he cannot else remedy (as things stand) but with the hazard of an utter overthrow of himself and France. That as for Navarre, having once taken the pretence of his religion and then foregone it, the pretence of Catholic religion would never serve him to hurt him [the French King] in his time, and that though he would bring the League with all his heart as low as he could, he would never so utterly overthrow them [but] that if Navarre should enter into any such intent, he could quickly raise them to help him to impeach Navarre of any such attempt.
"I desired him to pardon me, that it was my zeal to have peace and quietness that made me bold, and to have those things done for the 'effectuing' of it that were possible, and to avoid all inconveniences that might come to impeach so good and so necessary intent for the good of both the realms. He told me that he had opened himself so far as he never had done to any stranger, and but to few in France, and so few as, if he did tell it me, I would scarce believe it; that he did trust upon my word both of that I had given him from myself and in your Majesty's name; that if he were not kept promise withal, he never would have dealing confidently with your Majesty nor any of yours; that he protested to me no living creature did know of my coming but he that brought me, nor he nothing of the matter, nor never should any know more. That if ever it were heard of, he will quite disavow having seen me, and have cause to do me all the disgraces that he can, and never to love your Majesty more, but to hate you as much as he loveth you, if you (fn. 3) deal well with him in this, and put your helping hand to the setting France in quiet, and the pulling it out of the mouths of them that make it a prey to strangers on all sides; that he being out of danger within France, may help his neighbours without, which he protested to do in any need and never to fail them; that his enemies were hers if it [were] well looked into; that she may first help him, because she is in quiet and hath means to do it if she would; and that he bid me assure myself he knew, and more than he could tell me, and therefore desired you to put your helping hand to it; that though his Council, and especially Queen Mother dissuaded him to desire it at your hands, as a thing unhonourable to him to desire that you should meddle between him and his subjects, yet he did secretly by me desire and beseech you, and that he should think himself beholding to you for it and most of all for doing it upon his request, and keeping secret that he hath requested you, (fn. 3) as I have promised; for there was nothing would so much vantage the League against him as to have known that he had conference in this sort with your Majesty or any of yours. (fn. 3) That his case, (if it were well weighed) were both to be regarded, pitied and helped, that he had not many to trust unto, when his nearest failed him, and they that with all kind of bonds were most tied unto him; that he had gone with me further than he had ever with any, or ever meant to do again, and therefore put me again in mind both of mine own promise and my promise in your Majesty's name, both for yourself (fn. 3) and your (fn. 3) Council; that if you communicate it to any, you take assurance of them that it should never be heard of; which I did again promise and protest, both in mine own name and for your Majesty; and I know your Majesty will, and so I humbly beseech you to perform it; or else all confidence in your Majesty and all means for me to do you any service, is taken away for ever.
"This being done, he fell with me into very familiar speech of many things of your Majesty, of your (fn. 3) government; of your (fn. 3) Council; (fn. 4) to which things I satisfied his demands in such sort as was fit for me. Then of the Queen of Scots and her death, which I was glad he fell into, because I know there hath been great cunning used to keep that still in his mind against your Majesty (as he himself confessed, and that particularly) for I think I left him satisfaction of it better than he hath had, and especially for your quite ignorance thereof, and mere unwillingness to it, which at the first he smiled at, as not believing it, asking if it were possible? For the which I gave him some reasons which in my poor judgment I thought fit, that I dare assure you he thinks better of it than he did, if he believe it not altogether. From that, how he was pressed and by whom, and among the rest forgot not Queen Mother, that it stood upon his honour to revenge it, but especially to help the King of Scots, and to egg him to it; whereunto I paid him with such reasons as I could to make him probably to see that their intents was nothing less than to care for that. His [the French King's] towns they took in the mean time, and other things they did daily, show that well enough. He confessed it, and sweareth by no small oaths that if the King of Navarre be brought to that, that he may help Navarre, or that he may have Navarre to help him, that the marks shall remain of it, but that their colour was such and so printed in men's minds by art, that the least stir in the world (that not being taken away) cantoneth his towns and putteth all (fn. 5) his state in hazard.
"That perchance the world might wonder at his manner of dealing hitherto, but his state was not as other men's, nor French humours as other people's; that as things stood, he had no way to save himself whole but that, and if Navarre do help, he will take another course, and be beholding to Navarre and his friends that shall move him to it. If not, he must needs keep the same course he doth to save the stake, and doth swallow many things against his stomach to win time and do that way that which he can do no other way.
"From that, he fell into this peace treating with Spain, which I found he did not believe was meant of any side, for of your Majesty's side, he could not believe you believed it could be, and that he knew assuredly that the King of Spain meaneth it not, or at the least, if he do, it is but to serve his present turn, and to be at quiet for the time, to trouble France, where he hath begun, for he protested by all the protestations that could be, that since this treaty began, he hath been continually pressed by the King of Spain, and is yet daily, and by others too, to join to attempt against your Majesty.
"I did answer him that I could not tell what to think of that, but I knew it was extremely pressed by the King of Spain, which he asked me again if I were certain of it, and I assured him, which I think he believeth; and withal I assured him that your Majesty would do nothing to the disadvantage of him and France, whatsoever you did else, which I think he believeth, but yet feareth this colour of treaty, whether it bring effect or no, it will [give] Spain leisure to trouble him, which, as he saith (and hath reason) is neither good for him nor your Majesty: and withal told me somewhat short he had respect to you, and that he almost alone had held again[st] all the world, in that both at home and abroad nothing might be done to annoy you (and that in truth I know to be true) ; but that if your Majesty had no respect to him, in the end natural reason must needs carry him away to look the best he can to himself, and draw him to that which he will ever do unwillingly, whensoever he is constrained to it. I assured him still of your Majesty's good will, and that the proof of it would show it. He desired me it might be so, for effects must be that which must show it, and sware a great oath he would requite it.
From that, he complained of his merchants' taking and spoiling daily by English men, a thing that all the world cried out of him for, and that he bare as long as he could; that besides the subjects of France, whom he ought [i.e. owed] a care and respect to, to preserve, it was an indignity to him, which ministered colour to the evil affected to pique him daily against your Majesty. To be short, he desired reason for things past, and order that they may happen no more, for he desired no cause of jar, and that he would give none. I assured him of it; that things past could not be remedied, but that justice should be done, and order given that no such inconveniences hereafter shall happen; and withal took occasion to tell him mildly that his ambassador in England made things worse than they were, which showed no goodwill to maintain good amity. He told me in that point he had cause given him; but in other things he told me plainly, Il n'est qu'un sot, and that but for Villeroy's sake he would make him known so; but that he would not disgrace Villeroy, and thereupon told me that particularly the ambassador should by no means have an inkling of this, no more than anybody else. I assured him of it for all the world, and desired him to be out of doubt of it.
"From that he talked of the Count Mombeliard's and Wirtemberg's levying of men, to be revenged of that the League had spoiled in their country, but he is not of opinion that they have courage enough, and told me with these words:— Ils ne sont que des coquins, qu'ils ne viennent et qu'ils ne ravage [sic] tout, le diable les emporte. I cast out some words to see if he would be offended if a new army came into their frontiers to spoil them, so they came no farther. I promise you (I cannot assure you of it) but I think he would not be discontented at it, for these were his very words:—Le diable les emporte qu'ils n'y ont demeuré dernierement, canailles qu'ils sont; et ne venir chercher leur malheur a ceux qui ne les demandoient pas, sans faire rien de ce qu'ils devoyent et pouvoient aizement faire. Thus he ended, repeating unto me again the assurance that I had given him of the secresy of this; the assurance of his friendship to your Majesty, in despite of any counsellor's enticement (fn. 6) if you gave him cause of your part, and means to do that which [were] good for both, and that he might stop their mouths that meant nothing but deadly harm to them both.
"Thus I have been long, long, but your Majesty must pardon me; it was my duty to make a plain relation to you, for to nobody else I could, by [my] promise . . . I have used all the art and capacity I had to sound him, to make him speak and to satisfy him . . . . I am not wise enough to advise your Majesty what to resolve upon in it, but I think he hath dealt truly in most things, and according as he meaneth I would wish your Majesty to do what you could well do to content him; for I am of that opinion that there will hardly be ever in France a King of a disposition fitter for England, for surely he hath a desire, if he can live in peace, to attempt nothing against England or any else. But your Majesty had need to take advice of yourself, which indeed is the chiefest of your Council, and of the wisest else you can take advice of, . . . for if in doing part of that which he desireth, your Majesty's request were made a colour to the King of Navarre to do more than you would have him to do, and to take you at your word, and to make your Majesty to be his excuse to the world, I am not wise enough to judge what good or harm that might bring you. The King's words make me suspect something, and many other circumstances make me to suspect more, and particularly seeking of Navarre's folks what they judge of his disposition maketh me doubt most of all; and advertisements that I have from divers places confirm me more, whereof some be certain, some I cannot certainly assure you of, of both which sorts I write plainly to Mr. Secretary in a particular letter of that, because I have kept your Majesty so long as I am ashamed to keep you longer. . . ."—Paris, 25 February, 1587.
Holograph, very neatly and closely written. Add. Endd. 8 pp. [France XVIII. 24.]
[Walsingham (also in a very neat hand) has inserted the decipher above each of the cipher words, [not always quite correctly] no doubt before giving the letter to the Queen to read; and has also marked certain passages with the trefoil which always denotes that letters or passages of letters were to be brought to her notice. On the inside of the covering sheet has been added, no doubt by the decipherer, a copy of the cipher alphabet employed in the letter. This being a very important State Paper, is given in extenso, except a few unimportant phrases at the beginning and the end.]
Feb. 26./March 8. Don Pedro de Mendoza (fn. 7) to the King of Spain.
From my last, your Majesty will have seen the practices which the Duke of Ferrara has set a-going, and which, as they seem to me of some importance, I am endeavouring to get an account of. I have been advertised that the Duke of Ferrara has sent by Don Cæsar d'Este to the Cardinal Grand Duke to keep alive the negotiation, showing a desire that they two and Mantua should make a league; grounding it (by what is reported to me) on the need which they have, by this means to secure themselves against the monarchy of your Majesty; and thereby to be prepared for whatever the Pope may attempt, . . . .
I believe that he of Ferrara desires to surrender to the said Don Cœsar his heirship to the Cardinal Grand Duke and to him of Mantua; with whose forces and his own he supposes he can defend himself in case difficulties are put in the way of the succession to his estate.
They tell me that the Cardinal Grand Duke will not receive any Spaniard into his forces, and that those who have remained in them are infirm and old.
Ambrosio Spinola, who went on behalf of this Republic to visit the Cardinal Grand Duke has returned, with abundance of good words and offers. They have settled the matter of the title and I agree to this proposal; and the other day this Signoria anew desired me in their name to pray your Majesty to be pleased to grant them this grace, which they would esteem for the greatest they could have; for the causes which I have already spoken of.—Genoa, 8 March, 1588.
Endd. in Italian as copy of a letter from the ambassador of Spain resident in Genoa to the King his Master. In Phelippe's hand, and probably a decipher by him of an original which he has not always found it possible to solve. Spanish. ¾ p. [Genoa I. 2.]
Feb. 28./March 10. Stephen Powle to Walsingham.
Has sent his honour 31 letters since the 6th of May last, but most were only of the ordinary occurences, and only two were of especial moment; one, of Oct. 31, concerning the discovery "of a most heinous intent of Giraldi, a Bergamasco, who departing hence about the latter end of June in the ship called La Stella Evidale, (fn. 8) was cast away on the coast of Wight about Michaelmas last." The other contained an answer to his honour's of Oct. 15, wherein he endeavoured to satisfy his three demands. The letters of 20 December were sent by 'Bonna' to Nicolo di Gozzi in London, and a copy in Mr. Farrington's packet, a merchant dwelling in Lothbury, not far from St. Bartholomew's Lane.
The bearer of this, Mr. Stephen Rodway, who (at the writer's request) "undertook this last summer's travel into those dangerous parts of Italy, and made that discovery of Geraldi," (as by his letters sent to Padua and forwarded to his honour appeared) will tell of the writer's estate and manner of living, both for charges and danger. His earnest request for a commission from her Majesty or the lords of the Council, to give security to his weekly writing, and also for larger allowance, has not been without urgent occasion.
Sends no advices herewith, as his ordinary letters will be delivered long before these.—Venice, 10 March, stilo novo, 1588.
Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Venice I. 25.]


  • 1. i.e. the battle of Coutras.
  • 2. Walsingham translates this "ben," but the ok signs are quite plainly written.
  • 3. These words not in cipher.
  • 4. Spelt, not symbol.
  • 5. The sign for o used in mistake, instead of that for a, Walsingham gives it as "his whole state."
  • 6. Written "counselor intisment." Walsingham, not catching the meaning, has rendered it "counsellor in his realm,"
  • 7. Son of the commander of Castelnuova. Naples; sailed with the Armada and was killed on July 29-Aug. 8. See Cal. S.P. Spain, 1587–1603, p. 445.
  • 8. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1581–90, p. 423. It is there printed Stella Vidale, but in the MS. there is a letter before the V.