Elizabeth: April 1588, 1-15

Pages 573-593

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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April 1588, 1-15

April 1. M. H. de L'Hospital du Fay to Burghley.
As your health does not permit me to see you, to fulfil my master's commands, I have thought it needful to write this to you, praying you to look at it, and to grant the King of Navarre thereupon the favour and friendship which he has always promised himself from you.
I have been sent hither by him chiefly for three things: to thank the Queen humbly for the favour and assistance which she has granted him hitherto; to inform her to whom must be specially imputed the blunders which have occurred in the conduct of the last foreign army which we have had in France, and finally to give her to understand the present state of the King my master's affairs, and learn what aid she is willing to give him in the future.
The first point I have already fulfilled, and I believe that her Majesty is well satisfied therein.
As to the second, I send you a copy of the discourse which I have drawn up since coming hither of what has passed from the time of the entry of the Germans into France up to their retreat.
It is most true, as you will see if you will take the trouble to read it, that the fault was not on our side, and for my part, I am ready to submit it, written and signed with my own hand, to be disputed, if need be, before all the princes of Christendom.
For the third point, I am assured that if you will aid the King, by your good advice to her Majesty, as much in the future as you have done in the past, I may depart from hence better satisfied for him than [otherwise] I should be. You well know the state of his affairs; that it is beyond the power of his enemies to undertake anything against him provided he be supported, but also that it is out of his own power to sustain alone the brunt of this war. He must therefore either seek the means of bringing it to a speedy end, or he must have succour:— succour which at this time he is more able to employ to advantage than ever during this war; whether from the advantages that his forces and his party received from winning the battle of Coutras and other small but happy successes which he has since had; or that for the same reason his enemies are weakened, as also greatly harassed and broken by pursuing that foreign army; so that if they had had, or might now have to sustain a fresh attempt, they could not have done it in France.
If then the King is to be succoured, it can only be by means of the Queen or of the princes of Germany, or both together, and to this end he has dispatched me to her Majesty and has also sent to them.
My charge was to show her Majesty that the obligations received by my master from her in the past bind her to continue them, and that her time and trouble, and the money she has spent will all be lost if she does not give him the means of making an advantageous peace; whereby he shall be enabled to repay her money and by many services to acknowledge her friendship: That England is as it were the head of the Christian religion; that the King of Navarre and his party are an arm thereof; aye truly the right arm, and if this arm be cut off, the head will be enfeebled and unprotected: That there is question in our civil wars not only of religion but of the State: That putting aside the common cause of conscience, the King of Spain has a great interest in preventing the King of Navarre from ever being called to the crown of France, because of the Spanish pretensions; and her Majesty has also a great one, not to suffer the Guises to invade her on the ground of the Scottish quarrels and the designs they have always had upon her State. Thus, she must aid the King of Navarre in such sort that he be not only maintained as regards his own party, but that he may preserve his hopes and right of succession to the crown, since she sees that the King of Spain, her enemy, openly supports the party of the Guises. For if she be still at war with Spain, she has very great reason to desire our preservation, for her own safety; and if she makes peace, she must yet always fear war so long as there is a Pope; yet these dangers may be kept at a distance by giving us a more liberal aid.
On the other hand, if she abandons us in time of war it is certain that her enemies, after achieving our ruin, will be the more ready and desirous to turn against her with all their forces. And if she leaves us in time of peace, she may be assured that having finished with us, they will not wait long before beginning a new war against her. By these reasons I have shown her Majesty that she ought to succour the King of Navarre and have humbly prayed her to do so. I have put before her the Estat of the army which we asked for; the commodities with which, of our poverty, we would furnish it, and what we hoped from the princes of Germany, chiefly from her example. She desired me to specify the sum which we asked for. I did this without any charge [from the King], having no order for the limiting of her liberality.
To all this I received a very cold answer, and such as I am greatly perplexed how to disguise to my master; so as to make it acceptable to him, and thus prevent his necessity from constraining him to fling himself into a dangerous course.
I am commanded to continue my journey into Germany, to solicit the princes, with the assurance that when her Majesty should see what aid and succours they would give my master, she on her part would consider what she ought to do; wherein she promised not to fail.
I put entire confidence in the word of so great a princess, but I conceive the princes of Germany less well affectioned to my master than the Queen. I believe that she has greater means than they, and that she is the head of those of the Religion; they only an arm, and that arm, moreover, often asleep. I think that even if they were grown quite cold as to helping us, the example of the Queen would warm them; but I do not believe that if we lost the affection of the Queen, his Majesty would be able to recover it by the example of the German princes.
In conclusion I said to her that it must always be for her to begin; and to our own reasons I added one peculiar to herself, viz.: that it is to her interest not to let it be thought that those of the Religion can have any other head or that we can be aided by other help than her own.
But in spite of all these reasons, her Majesty persisted in her resolution. If she continues therein (which your good and wise counsels may prevent) judge whether I shall not be constrained to take it for a refusal and a miserable one. I know that she must hold her own State more dear than ours. Charity begins at home, and as one of our proverbs says La chair est plus proche que la chemise. If she shall say frankly (if it be so) that the wars she has to support, and the charges she herself is at, prevent her from doing anything for us, my master could not complain of her reply, provided also that her Majesty would be pleased to consider that in this case we are to be excused if we seek some new counsel. But to entertain him with des ambages; (fn. 1) not to give us the means of defending ourselves by arms and to take away our hope of thinking of repose in some other way;—I know not, Monsieur, if my master will not find that a little hard. Either her Majesty has resolved to succour us or no. If the first, the more promptly the better, before his expences grow higher; while our enemies are worn and harassed by their pursuit of our foreign army, and we ourselves feel the fruit of our victory. Undoubtedly in the present state of affairs, we can do more with ten men and a hundred crowns, than, six months hence, with three times that number.
If, on the contrary, which God forbid, her Majesty has resolved not to aid us, it seems to me that her affection for the King demands that she should tell him so at once, without disguise, in order that we may take thought for ourselves, before the results of the war constrain us to demand not a composition but mercy.
Nevertheless, between these two extremes, I chose what seemed to me a middle way. I prayed her Majesty to put 100000 crowns into Germany, without obligation to employ them for us, but only to appoint them to go thither.
For these monies, being there, may not only be useful for her own affairs, but the report of their being already disbursed by her for us would have made me much bolder in pressing the princes, and this example would have been marvellously helpful to me. And when her Majesty had seen by our negotiations with the princes some progress made in our affairs, it would then have been time enough to order that her fund should be employed therein.
Truly, I very humbly prayed her that she would be pleased to send with me some man of quality, who might report to her what we had done with the princes and on whom she could rely, so that, having heard his report, she would be able to judge if she should employ her money in Germany or no. With this proposal, I offered, on our part, to have 50000 crowns sent into Germany within three months, with protestation that until her Majesty were entirely assured that the said sum was there, the King my master would agree to be in no way succoured or aided by her.
These, Monsieur, were the offers I made, but her Majesty proved obstinate, refusing not only to send money thither, but to let me be accompanied by some gentleman of her own, who might have countenanced our negotiation. That is, refusing me not only the means, but the favour of a word.
I know not Monsieur whether, upon reflection, her Majesty may not find that it is of some moment to her so suddenly to grow cool towards the King of Navarre upon his change of fortune. The princes of Germany may refer me as easily to the succour of the Queen as she refers me to that of the princes. If I rest content with her reply, I cannot refuse theirs, if it be to the same effect. And thus, running from one to the other, all our time will be spent in useless negotiations while our enemies are energetically carrying on the war against us.
This is God's cause, in the defence of which it is more honourable to be first than last. It is also the cause of her Majesty, who will more quickly feel the effects of the preservation or of the ruin of the King of Navarre than will the princes of Germany. And what shall I say to them when I reach them? What news shall I take them from hence? What will they believe of me? And when I have returned to you, what will you believe of me? Fabulœ.
I have received commandment from my master to address myself particularly to you, as what he asks depends particularly on your charge. He knows well that in all other affairs the Queen does nothing without your advice, but that in matters of finance she almost entirely governs herself by you. And because of the long time during which she has made use of your service in the government of her state, has very great confidence in your experience and fidelity. The King my master having long proved your good affection to himself, has great cause to rely upon your credit, friendship and good-will. For this reason I much wish that I could have spoken more privately with you, being moreover charged to inform you of certain particulars which concern yourself.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley's clerk "1 April 1588. M. du Fay to my lord" and by Burghley "Being sent from the King of Navarre. A defence of the King of Navarre upon the departure of the Almains out of France." French. 5 pp. [France XVIII. 54.]
April 1/11. (fn. 2) Advertisement from 'Bullen.'
There is about 'Abvyle' some 700 of M. 'Domale's' company, that lie scattering in the villages, and some in the suburbs of the town. There is no intent to besiege 'Bulloigne.'
The apparent cause of their coming was "that M. Domale would have the government of Pycardye for the Duke of Guyse; and division being in the towns between him and Duke 'Pernowne'" for it, this small number was sent to be put where they might be received into the said towns. "'Abvyle' is doubted to stand for Guyse, but hath not taken any garrison for him." It is doubtful what Mutteryll [Montreuil] will do. Bulloigne will not receive any men for 'Domale', yet suspected what they will do. 'Amyance' [Amiens] stands firm against him. The King is at Paris.
"This day or tomorrow the Queen Mother meets with M. 'Domale' at Soyssons to pacify the matter, and to withdraw him out of Picardy. If he shall refuse, it is said the King will levy forces against him. There is a very great power that lies in Artois, from St. Omers as far as 'Namewer' [Namur] whereof there is footmen 25000 and 4000 horse, all for the Prince of Parma.
M. Gourdayne's ship is laden at 'Callyce' with wheat and rye for Spain, and two ships preparing at Bulloigne to go with it.
A Scottish captain is come from the Spanish ambassador at the French court with letters for Scotland, and one Lentroppe with him and a Scottish priest whom my man met in 'Mutterell'. They were in Bulloigne on Monday and so passed by land to Callyce. The Captain's name is Simple. The priest is chaplain to a French nobleman, and says he is going to the Bishop of Rosse.
Endd. "Ad: from Bullen, 11 April, 1588. 3 pp. [Newsletters IX. 38.]
April 2. M. de L'Hospital to [Walsingham.]
Monsieur, it is for you to do your duty. I yesterday left her Majesty undecided whether to send one of her gentlemen into Germany to countenance my negotiation. I believe that a word of advice from you would determine her. I only ask for words. An verba quoque negabitis? You would be right, Non soletis verba dare. But for this time, since you cannot do better, give me at least the favour of your words. If, at this assembly of the princes at Hamburg, her Majesty may be pleased to have some one of her own, who would assure those people of her good will towards us, I feel certain that this example would greatly rouse them and that we should be able to accomplish something. And I am convinced that this is in your power.
Her Majesty has promised of her own accord to write by me to Duke Cazimir. I beg you to remind her of what I had the boldness to say to her: that it was needful for her in this letter, to give him to understand the confidence she had in me, that I might speak to him the more boldly when he sees that I do so not only in behalf of the King my master, but of her Majesty. She has promised me to do so. I am extremely vexed not to be able to see you, but it cannot be helped.
Holograph. Endd. with date by Walsingham's clerk. French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 55.]
April 2/12. "Advertisements from 'Roan' of the preparation of the King of Spain."
Yesterday there arrived here a Breton called Roderiges Heymande, who thirteen days past left Cales [Cadiz] in Spain, where both French and Flemish ships were stayed until the Spanish fleet should have departed. So that if a ship of 'Marcelees' [Marseilles] had not touched there, none could have come out of Spain by sea; which stay was made that no news might be carried to England.
He says there may be 200 sail of ships, nearly all being at Lisbon, but fourteen of the greatest gallions at St. Lucars. There are said to be 30000 men ready to go aboard, and the common bruit was that the gallions would depart from St. Lucars about the 10th inst., and the rest of the fleet on the 15th or about the end of this month.
"The news was there that the Duke of Medina, Admiral of Spain, had already received the King's packet; which was not to be opened till he should be at sea . . . so that no man could certainly say to what place they should go." The common bruit was that they were to land in Scotland, but of this there is no certainty.
The party now arrived says that corn and victuals in Spain were very reasonable for price, and plentiful; and this year, there was like to be great store of corn, by reason of the moist spring.
As to Sir Francis Drake, "he said that whilst he was at Cales [Cadiz], the Spaniards made two alarums and put themselves all in arms because they saw certain great ships making in towards the Bay, which they were in doubt had been Sir Francis Drake's.
"And for this one's opinion . . . he thinketh that the Spaniards will never be able to accomplish their determination, being too weak at sea; and I do not doubt but God willing they shall be overthrown, for God no doubt will fight for his church, to the overthrow of Antichrist."
Endd. 1 p. [Newsletters IX. 39.]
[April, beginning of?] The Queen to Duke John Casimir.
This gentleman, the Sieur de la Fay, being charged by his master, our good brother the King of Navarre (who, from his fidelity and prudent carriage holds him as one of his best servants) to go to you on his behalf, we have not wished to let him depart without our letters and to beg you—as you have already shown your good affection towards his Majesty, as a prince adorned with every virtue; and who, by his piety deserves to be esteemed by all those who value honour and virtue— that now more than ever you will give him your accustomed friendship and affection, and will likewise treat effectually with the other princes of Germany, who are well affectioned to the common cause and to the preservation of the house of Valois (with which the princes of the Empire have long been allied) that they may not brook that those of the League should have the means to prevail and to ruin it, or to bring about the ruin and extirpation of our good brother, the Most Christian King, who, as the chief of that house is the one mark at which they aim, in order to destroy it, whatever pretext they may make to the contrary, under colour of religion; seeking by the ruin of all those well affectioned to the common cause to promote themselves; a thing which assuredly all the Princes of Europe should take to heart, and be assured that the ruin of this royal house will bring near to them their trouble, although they think that the fire is far distant from them. And inasmuch as we are given to understand that you have still in your hands some part of the contribution given by the princes friendly to this cause in Germany; and that those of the League are determined this year to make a final effort to crush the said King, who (to all human appearance) has not the means to make head against them without outside aid; we very earnestly pray you not only to consider how the remains of the said contribution may be employed for the raising of fresh forces, without, however, diminishing any part [made] for the defraying of the charges incurred last year, and very ill employed, for want of some prince of quality to command the troops (a thing entirely against our expectation, seeing the agreement and capitulation made in this regard) but also to consult and treat with the other princes, and persuade them to increase their contributions, in case that there does not remain enough for the levy of forces sufficient to stay and bridle the attempts of those of the League, and prevent them from accomplishing their designs against the King our good brother. And so, having no doubt either of your sincere affection or of your diligence in undertaking this affair, as duty and honour demand, we pray God to assist you in the carrying out of this business and in all your other actions.
Endd. "April, 1588. This letter was first penned in English by Mr. Secretary; but her Majesty did not like to write in such particular sort of points, lest that the letter might be intercepted. So that another was made, but of compliments, to Duke Casimir, and sent by M. de la Fay." French. 1 p. [Germany, States V., 72.] [Printed as showing more than any pre vious letter the attitude taken up by the Queen in relation to the French King. It was probably drawn up before M. de l'Hospital took leave of the Queen on April 2, though he did not leave England till later.]
April 3. M. de L'Hospital to Burghley.
I yesterday took leave of her Majesty, and left her with some inclination to countenance my negotiation by sending some one of her own to the assembly of princes at Hamburg. In God's name, help to determine her to do so, since your affairs will not suffer you to aid us with money. It is at least the best thing you can do for us at this time. I know you can do everything in a much greater matter. In this, which is of so small consequence, and needs but a word, I am convinced that if you so advise her, it will be done. Believe me there is need for it, if you do not wish to desert us entirely.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley with date. French 1 p. [France XVIII. 56.]
April 3. M. de Damberey to Walsingham.
Mr. Ratcliff's reply will show you what he has been able to do in regard to your recommendation of Madame Rohan, whose journey depends upon the arrangement of her affairs. I am sure she will act in all things by your advice, into whose hands I commit her. I hoped at once to have sent her your reply and the safe-conduct you have had drawn up for her, but hindrances have arisen. If there be anything else in which I can serve you, I shall be happy to receive your commands.
Signed. Add. Endd. "4 April, 1588." French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 57.]
April 5. Stafford to the Queen.
"On Sunday last Pinart came to me according as I writ you in my last that the King had said that he should; whereas first I told him, according as the King bid me that upon the speech that he had used to me from the King, that your Majesty (fn. 3) had made me answer in such sort as I did think that the King had great cause to think himself beholding unto you. That seeing that it pleased the King to send him to me, that I could show him the letter first written with your Majesty's own hand, as I told him, and so he took it to be. Afterwards I read unto him the contents in French in all points, saving the beginning I turned it in reading as though it had been an answer upon the speeches he brought me himself last; and the leaving out that point which I writ to you in my last the King commanded me to leave out. When he had heard me (for I read as though I had read word by word as it was in the letter), the first word he said when I had made an end, he began with a fair oath, Vertu Dieu, voyla une femme c'est la, and added withal that he desired of God that he had broken one of his fingers that the King and they all together were as wise as your Majesty. He desired me that I would let him take an extract in short of the arguments as they were set down in order with the reasons to them, for he protested that he never saw more sufficient nor weighty arguments in his life, and therefore he desired to have them in their order, that he might not in the carriage of them mar for want of his memory that which he saw so sufficiently set down; which I did again repeat unto him, and he himself very diligently and orderly set down the principal points, and omitted nothing that might carry weight; and so going away told me that he would deliver it presently to the King's own hand, who, he thought, would communicate it with the Duke of Guise and some very private persons, and perchance resolve after to propound it in an open council, when he knew not how any honest man could refute any argument that was there; but that one difficulty would be found very great, of how to do it, for fear of the general revolt of the chiefest and greatest towns in France, who have been so far lulled asleep with their pretenced colour of religion, that they are only kept in with the King stiff standing upon that point as well as they; which if he should be found the least in the world to halt in, or to lean from that never so little, he did put himself in a hazard of losing them all in a day.
"I told him there was remedy for all things if they were wisely looked into, and that of the two, better suffer an inconvenience than hazard so great a mischief as [was] preparing every day if the King looked not to them in time. The next day but one after he came to me again; told me from the King that he thanked your Majesty; [but] it was unpossible—without the point of religion and that the King of Navarre would yield to that— that the King could resolve upon anything. That he desired your Majesty to counsel him to obey the King's will, and that you would do as the King had given you example, not to help to maintain the King of Navarre if he would not agree to it; that as he should have cause to be beholding to you if you did use that courtesy to him, according to the league between you, so if you did strengthen them contrary to his will, he should have cause to take it unkindly.
"I answered him that I was sorry to see the King so evil counselled, to weigh no better so great a matter, nor to take more profit of so kind an honourable offer; that seeing the King would cast himself away and his Council permit him to take no remedy, that I thought your Majesty would seek to preserve yourself, and not to go [sic] for company; that you had done all that you could to help him to preserve you both, that seeing there was no remedy, nobody could save them that would lose themselves; that seeing that, that for the preservation of your own state you would let slip no way that you could find fit; that for persuading the King of Navarre to obey the King ever in all he could, you had never given other counsel; but particularly to persuade him to change his religion, you neither would nor could do it. That for not maintaining them, you had satisfied the King with the truth of that which was past; that for that which was to come, you knew how to maintain the league and that you would do with a good-will; that threatening should make you do neither more nor less; that if the King were carried away with such counsel as I saw he was, that they would, if he take not heed to it, bring him shortly to that state that he would neither be in case to do his friends good nor his enemies harm. Pinart answered me almost with water in his eyes: Nous sommes tous perdus; sommes point capables de raison, but desired me that this might not pass him and me; that he was ashamed to see things carried as they were; that there was a great difficulty without doubt, but that they took a way to make more difficulties rather than to help any. That he could say nothing but to pray to God to have mercy upon them; that he could not think but that the King had some feeling, what show soever he made; that he saw it by his countenance; that he took the paper away with him in his own hand; that perchance he would think of it better apart. I told him that I thought it was the last thinking that ever your Majesty would think, to send him offer of that cordial counsel and courtesy to take it so slightly. I could be but sorry for it; and he, in show as sorry as I, departed. I answered the roundlier to him for two reasons; the one that I received a billet sealed, from the King with his own hand the night before, almost at twelve o'clock, wherein he writ to me by the same man that brought me twice to the King, whom I cannot know of all men to have ever seen him about the King. He writ to me not to be amazed what Pinart brought me; that it was that he looked for aforehand at this time. That the King kept the paper that Pinart brought him to show them one day to make somebody blush. Desired that your Majesty might be kept in the same terms to him as he had desired me when he saw me; that time might fall out ere long that your Majesty might be desired of that which you offer now; that if one difficulty were not that I knew of, he would speak another language. Desired me to keep promise with him both for mine and for your Majesty, keeping this secret, to answer somewhat roundly to Pinart and to send him back this billet sealed presently by the same bearer; which I did, and writ underneath that I would do his Majesty's commandment; what your Majesty would do [or] think of it I knew not, but for the secret keeping, I did assure him of, both for your Majesty and myself, upon my life.
"Another thing that made me answer somewhat roundlier was that I was advertised from a place of importance who was at the Council, what was said and who broke the neck of the King's acceptation and which way; and how the King never went away more stomached at anything, and snatched the paper out of Pinart's hand that had it to read, and went away in a great choler. There was at the Council Queen Mother, Epernon, Villeroy, Pinart, (fn. 4) Believre and no more, where as I can assure you, they all shrugged up their shoulders and could not choose but say they never saw a wiser discourse; and all that they could bring for difficulties was the point of religion and the hazard of the towns. Queen Mother mumbled out a word which she could not keep in that your Majesty did it more for to distract the King's head upon such dangerous points as them that you set down than for any good effect to follow of it. Villeroy did 'grommel' (fn. 5) out such a thing, but he durst not speak it full out. The King grew in a choler and said he would fain hear better but that he was kept on with delays and in the mean time they grew still great upon him. Queen Mother desired that he would but stay the return of the Cardinals and that things were so that temperance was it that must win it and not heat, for he would mar all. The King went out in a great choler, and bid her make the answer how Pinart would. And so the answer was commanded to Pinart as I have written to your Majesty, and Queen Mother and Villeroy were they that made it so raw, and the reasons they gave of it were that if your Majesty would make her profit of giving out any answer the King gave you, there might be given nothing that might give either the King of Spain or the League any cause to suspect any intelligence between the French King and your Majesty, that you might thereby advance your affairs with the King of Spain or make the League be more in suspicion against the French King, and that a word that carried some kind of threatening if your Majesty helped the King of Navarre would keep you from it, for that you would not now offend the French King for fear of remembering the matter of the Queen of Scots, which last was Villeroy's advice, and I know he hath had it from the French ambassador [in England]. Besides that, I know that the ambassador's wife's folks that came afore have been so impudent to give it out to them that have asked them there how the ambassador and his wife were used in England, that they were very well; that your Majesty durst do no other for fear the Queen of Scots' death should be remembered by the French King. Knowing of this made me to answer somewhat roundly when Pinart brought me the answer, and if your Majesty, either in speaking to the ambassador, who perchance may have some charge to speak to you the same that Pinart spake to me, doth answer reasonably short, without taking knowledge that you know anything of anything, but only that which Pinart brought me, which I sent you, and that you make it known that it shall be the last offer, seeing it is no better taken, and that you will look to your own preservation without fear of anything, it may be, if he report it truly, it will give the King occasion to make them know that they deceive him. But your Majesty, under your correction, must not be aknown that you know anything of the ambassador or his wife's speeches about that matter of the Queen of Scots, for neither it would be so honourable for you to take knowledge of it, and besides, it would be very nearly guessed whence I had it, and so breed a shrewd turn to them that both are willing and can pleasure me best here for your Majesty's service.
"Thus hath your Majesty things how they have passed, though your Majesty's wisdom is so far above anybody's that can advise you that nothing can be added to your own judgment; yet under your Majesty's correction my poor advice is, as it was in my last, no way in the world to expect any thing of certain from hence, not [but] that I think of the King as well as he can wish but I see his courage so weak that he will be able to do nothing, what will soever he hath, and that by little and by little, Queen Mother will bring him so far in, that what list soever the King, he shall be brought to what she listeth; and would have your Majesty only to think of your own preservation by all means, which is the only thing, I think, you have to trust to, and to annoy them by all reasonable means possible that will, if they may, annoy you. And yet both in keeping promise with the King to keep secret all things, that he may not mistrust your Majesty for anything, if occasion present otherwise; and also in keeping your self ready but not trusting upon it at all till it come, to embrace any good occasion that the King shall take upon the friendship that your Majesty hath offered him, which may come and time may bring, though for my part, considering his fearful nature, I look not for, and yet nothing unpossible unto God," whom I pray with all my heart to inspire you what is best to do, for I think "there is great likelihood that the devil has let loose all his cheaues and set his ministers a-work. God preserve all Christian princes, and specially your Majesty . . . ." Paris, 5 April, 1588.
Postscript. "Since this letter written, I have had advertisement of that which passed in Queen Mother's chamber, where there was nobody but the King, Queen Mother and Montpensier, as your Majesty may see by a letter I write to Mr. Secretary, for fear of troubling your Majesty too long; and other things whereby I see that I am still constrained to presume to advise your Majesty to build nothing upon the French King's courage, but to seek what you can best for your own estate any way; only not to offend him in any thing but that which you must needs do for your own safety . . ."
Holograph, unsigned. 5 pp. Without covering sheet. [Apparently the copy spoken of as enclosed in Stafford's next letter.] [France XVIII. 58.]
April 5. The Queen to her cousin the Duke of Petit Pierre.
The matter of his letters brought to her by the bearer have given her very pleasing testimony and confirmation of his zeal for the welfare and advancement of her affairs. But it grieves her to hear that any discord and coolness should have arisen between his cousin, Duke Casimir, and himself. For at this time, when the common enemy is watching them so closely, and spying out every opportunity and chance which may offer itself for ruining the cause of Religion; it cannot be but of very evil and dangerous consequence that the princes and potentates making profession of the Gospel should be at strife or on ill terms with one another. Wherefore, she cannot but exhort him, as a prince zealous for God's glory and the common welfare of the churches, to agree to a sane reconciliation and mutual understanding with the said Duke; which will redound to the benefit of public affairs, and to the honour of them both; being as they are, both branches of the same stem. As to the marriages and alliances which he proposes, she acknowledges very specially thereby his zeal and affection for her welfare and prosperity, which she will always heartily reciprocate when any opportunity arises to assure him of her affection and gratitude.—Greenwich, 5 April, 1588.
Copy. French. ¾ p. [Germany States V., 73.]
April 5. Nicolas Kaas to Walsingham.
Although he doubts not but that his honour will have learnt, by the letters sent to her Majesty from his colleagues of the Council of Denmark, of the very sad death of his late lord and prince, Frederick II., King of Denmark [etc.] of pious memory, yet he cannot do other than signify it to him by his letters. Into what sorrow and weeping the premature death of so pious and excellent a king has thrown this kingdom and especially the Queen, the royal children of unripe age, and indeed all the inhabitants of the kingdom, his honour may easily understand. For the rest, as to him, a man of so great wisdom, it is well known how much it imports that these two renowned kingdoms of Denmark and England, especially in these very turbulent times, should still be bound together by the close bonds of friendship, as they have hitherto been, and as yet are joined; so it is needless for him to be admonished of it.
Yet from his great love of the fatherland, peace and the public tranquillity, he exhorts and beseeches his honour to be all which by his authority he may effect, in order that the ancient union between their Majesties of England and Denmark may be still enjoyed, and transmitted, safe and entire, to all posterity; wherein he himself also, so far as in him lies, will not be wanting.—Anderschow, 5 April, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. Latin. 1¼ pp. [Denmark I. 107.]
April 7. Stafford to Burghley.
"By the copy of the letter which I send your lordship, you may see what poor fruit is to be hoped for of our King's small courage and the other's cunning . . .
"I have sent Mr. Secretary, and desired him to show it your lordship the villainest book that ever was set out, for there [is] not possibly another yet to be got; they be sold so secretly. I am, as I write to him [in] a perplexity what to do; whether to complain earnestly or to seek to have it suppressed, or by fear kept to have it come no further abroad than it is. I have resolved to deal with Pinard, to show him the beginning and the ending, which is most villainous, and by the example of that which was done in England when Simiers was there, which they have set down, though falsely in the Epistle, wish that he would move the King, either by punishing it as that was, or by suppressing it at this time, show the like good part to her Majesty. And that I take the best course, considering the time, and will follow it till I have further direction . . .
"I beseech your lordship to give me your advice, both for the demanding my leave to come home, which is now time, and for that which I writ to your lordship in my last of what you think best for me to do, having, in anything that toucheth me, resolved to rule myself according to your lordship's advice." If what I wrote to Mr. Secretary and your lordship a good while agone might not be spoken of till I come into England, I should do well enough."—Paris, 7 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France XVIII. 59.]
April 9/19. M. du Pin to Burghley.
As M. de Mouy is about to depart, who is no way inferior in valour to his late father and brother, I take advantage of the opportunity to greet you and to assure you once again of my devotion to your service. M. de Mouy will inform you of the state of our affairs, and the occasion of his journey. The constancy, virtue and magnanimity of this Prince are rare and worthy of being favoured and aided by those princes who have the means thereto, and are interested in his preservation and that of our churches. The efforts and cunning of our enemies are very great, but God, who is stronger than they are, will dispel them. M. de Mouy will also give you to understand what M. de Reau has done in his journey into Switzerland and Germany, and by your wisdom will decide what ought to be done
Add. Endd. by Burghley "19 April, 1588", but as "brought in June." French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 60.]
April 9/19. M du Plessis to Burghley.
M. de Mouy, who will I know be commended to you by the memory of his family, whose features and merits he inherits, is going from the King of Navarre to your Queen on special affairs, of which I am assured you will feel the importance, namely the advancement of the true religion and the maintenance of those who are oppressed for the same. By God's grace we keep our bark afloat in the midst of all these storms, and we can truly say that our pilot looks upon them siccis oculis, save as he is touched by the miseries of the people. God aids him by his spirit both against the designs of his enemies and the more dangerous temptations which are offered him. You will have learned the great loss we have had by the death of the Prince. The manner of it was deplorable in itself and detestable in its authors: quod optimum patrentandi genus, I hope by God's help, we shall have justice done.
At the same time, there has been taken an assassin urged on in the first instance by the Duke of Lorraine, and afterwards by the Grand Prior, brother of the late Duc de Joyeuse to take off the King of Navarre. You will see his deposition and in a few days the trial will begin. Such are the proceedings of our enemies, practised as they have been heretofore against the Queen, your sovereign, to whom may God give long life, for the good of Christendom and of us all.
Being assured that God lives and reigns over men, I believe that ere long we shall see his judgment upon such people; and I pray your lordship to take under your charge either the cause of the afflicted, which is common to all, or that of his children [pupilles] which has always been your particular care.— La Rochelle, 19 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley as "brought in June 1588." French. 1¼ pp. [France XVIII. 61.]
April 9/19. M du Plessis to Walsingham.
M. de Mouy will tell you the state of our affairs, if you will be pleased to hear him. I beg particularly to recommend him to you, for the good qualities which he inherits, of zeal, piety and virtue. He is almost the only man in our foreign army who had nothing to do with the capitulation and who took the same course and resolution as M. de Chastillon. He is full of desire to do well, and never wearies, although his wound inconveniences him greatly. Therefore he deserves help, and if my recommendation, may be of service to him—we being near kinsmen—I pray you let him feel the benefit of the friendship you have testified for me, and which I shall ever be ready to reciprocate.
God has taken the Prince from us in a horrible and detestable manner, by which you may judge of the proceedings of our enemies. Our church has lost in him a most useful and indispensible chief; and a support to the King of Navarre which cannot be replaced. We must pray God to increase his spirit, as, truly, he has already done his courage. But also there is need that you should increase the proofs of your affection, which cannot manifest itself more seasonably than in this adversity which it has pleased God to send us in our just defence of his cause.
Very particularly, Monsieur, I desire ever to be honoured by your friendship, and that you will rest assured of my devotion to your service.—La Rochelle, 19 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 62.]
April 10. "Declaration of James Garret, a trumpeter lately come forth of France."
Going into France from Sir Thos. Layton, he arrived at Rochelle about five months since, and was entertained by Captain Dalgate, captain of the Duke of Bouillon's guard; "the ritters then being come into the country."
Was taken prisoner "at the battle of the Almaynes" by one Monsieur La Shattera at 'Shattullion', (fn. 6) who was the chief governor of Berri and of the Duke of Guise's army. Was in prison two months and all the news he could learn was that the Almains were come into the country and that the Duke's chief desire was to have M. La Shattera with him, "and did thank his father [sic], the King of Spain that he had sent him 18000 Spaniards and Italians for to be joined with him."
Heard that he had a bastard son, who was leader of the army for England, as was thought. They were conducted to M. 'Domall' [d'Aumale] in Picardy, which M. 'Donnall' [sic] and M. 'de Pernowne', governor of Normandy are not friends, each seeking the superiority over the other, and the Guises and 'Donnall' have sworn 'Pernowne's death.
Three armies go down for Rochelle; led by Monsieur La Shattera, Marshal de Byrowne, and another whose name he forgets; the other army in Picardy remains there still. "The Guises, the Prince of Parma and the Spaniards are all as one in the Holy League.
It is thought that Calais will be besieged, as M. de Pernowne is governor, and his captains will not yield the town to M. de 'Donall' and the Spaniards. The governor of Dieppe has got in powder and shot and all the country stands at defence. "And lastly, the Spaniard doth come with all the force that he can make; and for Paris they say that they have 30000; where the Duke of Guise will command; and their intent and full hope is only upon Scotland.
The Duke of Guise's son doth marry the daughter of the King of Spain, who has promised to leave his kingdom to him, after his own death.
Endd. 1 p. [France XVIII. 63.]
April 11. "The declaration of John Awstlyn, which was sent forth by me for discovery the 28th of March, and returned the 11th of April."
"The 14th of March departed from Dieppe and Fecamp 17000 men armed, and are gone to Dunkirk.
"The 29th of March arrived in Newhaven [Havre] two Flemish ships and one Scottishman that were bound to Lisbon, and in 'Cast Cales' [Cascales] met with the King's army laden with corn, where they were stayed by the General, whose name they know not," but giving him a hogshead of salmon were released, and by stealth came to Newhaven.
"Also in January last, arrived in Newhaven a nobleman out of Scotland, whose name is John 'Makemillion', and is in great credit with the Guise.
"About the 18th of March last, there passed by the Seinehead, that fisher-boats did speak withal, of Spanish shipping but four great ships," and forty small pinnaces bound to the eastward. The pilots of 'Kilbeafe' were aboard them.
April 4, two ships of Newhaven arrived here from St. 'Lucas', which were at sea in the King's fleet, who took from them four pilots and sailed in their company from "Cast Cales" to the Isles of Bayonne, and there harboured to the number of 360 sail.
The 9th of April there came home to Newhaven two pilots released by sickness from the fleet, who said "they were hardly examined for all harbours and roads in England, and especially for the Downs and the North country, but what their pretence is, they can learn nothing. He [sic] hath of soldiers to the number of 50000 men.
March 26, the King of Navarre took prisoner the son of M. de la Mars [qy. La Marge] who was chief of the Guise party, and slew many.
The 13th of January last arrived at Newhaven Mistress Babington, whose husband dwells within eight miles thereof, serves the Guises and hath from them 800 crowns a year.
[Ships arriving or making ready there.]
M. la Carewge [Carrouges], captain of Rouen, who serves the King, and his son, on the third of this month are "fallen at great discord in the city, and procession sung throughout the city upon the Guise's side, whose part M. de Carewge's son doth serve. And the cause of falling out by credible report is because the King doth overbear his commonalty with excess new custom; that is to say for every ox being killed by any man 20d.; for every calf, 16d., for every sheep 14d., for every lamb 10d.
One Monsieur la Dolva, who aforetime fled from the Guise to the King, is now returned to him and takes the part of M. la Carewge's son against his father. The Guise has put his governors in 'Sherbrook' [Cherbourg], Newhaven, 'Deepe' and 'Feckham' [Fécamp] and all the good towns thereabouts.
Endd. 1¾ pp. [France XVIII. 64.]
April 12. Stafford to Walsingham.
There is no fresh news from any place save that I yesterday saw in a letter from Nantes that a Venetian ship had brought thither an Englishman who had been a prisoner in Spain, had "been aboard the army" and could tell all particulars of it, but was now gone into England. If so, by this time you will know more than I can send you.
The Spanish ambassador gives out that the army will go out in the beginning of next month; but it is gathered from one who speaks somewhat 'confidently' with him, that—it not being strong enough to do all which was determined—part will go towards Ireland, and if they find commodity, seize upon it, and if not, "for their reputation . . . show to attempt somewhat after this great bruit, and though they execute nothing, they shall keep yet the world in opinion that they had a great meaning." This I can assure you he said, but whether it was done cunningly to distract men's minds, or to make show that he knows more of his master's secrets than he does, I know not.
Many think "that their great elephant will bring forth but a mouse, and that the great processions, prayers and pardons that are given at Rome to them that shall pray for the prosperous success of this army against England, . . . will be to no great effect, and that the King of Spain in his sleeve laugheth at the Pope, that he can make such a fool of him, to make him to make processions and to give out pardons to pray for an enterprise of a thing which he never durst think of in deed but in show, to feed the world.
"The Cardinals (fn. 7) are expected here tomorrow, and Monsieur Bellievre either tonight or tomorrow. As I am advertised even now, M. de Guise is gone back to Chalons. If it be, it is that which we desire here, though one of M. de Bellievre's charges was to know if he would come hither to advise for some way to make war. But the next day after he was gone, to put them in a fear of coming hither, there hath been a quarrel picked that they of the League had some attempt against the King, and upon that their houses searched, so that twenty at the least of the chief that favoured that party are gone out of the town; the watch having been ever since Saturday doubled and 'tripled' every night. And besides, if the Duke of Guise had stirred from Soissons to come hither, the King had gone to St. Jermains, whither it is certain that M. de Guise will not be come between those rivers. So that we here live nobody knoweth how. I pray God that between jest and earnest there come not in this town some great disorder, which is greatly feared."
Monsieur d'Epernon sets forward on Monday or Tuesday next, to go into Normandy.
"At Rouen there hath been a great practice this last week, under the colour of processions, to have cut all the king's officers' throats and them that either are or hath been of the Religion; and this was practised by the clergy; but Monsieur Carouges very wisely both provided for it by a strong guard he set in all the quarters of the town, and besides, assisted himself to all the processions with a very strong guard about him; whereat the clergy is marvellously animated against him.
"The Earl Morton is gone away from hence with but [one] only man with him; having left the rest of his train in his house here in the town; and it is thought he is gone into Flanders. Colonel Simpell is gone also with him, who never was away from the Spanish ambassador, and Morton himself was there late the night afore he went. Howsoever he cometh by it, he hath ventadoe (fn. 8) [his] house here, well furnished with stuff and hangings new bought, and good silver vessel both upon his 'cobber' [cupboard] and his table.
"Monsieur d'Albin [? d'Elbene] goeth to Florence to congratulate with the Duke in show, but in effect to see if he can find a disposition to hearken to the marriage of the Princess [Christine] of Lorraine to propound it, the matter between her and Duke Nemours being quite broken off, with a great discontentment of Madame de Nemours towards the Queen Mother; whereupon she is dislodged out of the Queen Mother's house, and gone to lie at her own house.
"It is thought certainly that the Queen of Navarre will be brought to come into these quarters; but they that do know her well do not think that she will either trust her mother or her brother."—Paris, 12 April, 1588.
Postscript. "Even now word is brought me that the Spanish ambassador had yesternight letters of the 4th April from Madrid, whereby he is advertised that the army was not yet departed then, but that the Duke of Sidonia was come to Lisbon, and meant to depart in the beginning of the next month. How true this, I cannot yet assure you.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVIII. 65.]
April 12/22. The King of Navarre to Walsingham.
Monsieur de Walsynghant, quand ce ne seroyt que le temoynage que me randes de la vertu et merytes du Chevalyr Wyllyams, vous pouves panser quyl seroyt le tres byen venu et que je nan voudroys fayre autre anqueste; mays sa bonne reputasyon est sy connue outre la syngulyere afectyon quyl fayt paroystre an mon androyt, et dont je me sens ynfynymant oblyge, que ce me seroyt un tres grand contantemt de l'avoyr pres de moy, sans lescuse legytyme quyl a de demeurer avec le Sr. Drak, pour le servyce quyl doyt a la Reyne vre souverayne, et an une sy bonne expedytyon, sy autre commodyte se pnte de lamener ycy, croyes Monsr. de Walsynghant, que je mettray peyne tant pour lamour de vous que pour sa valeur de luy fayre tout le bon traytemt quyl me sera possyble. Je vous prye fayre toutjours estat de mon amytye et croyre que je suys vos tre byen afectyonne et mylleur amy Henry.—La Rochelle ce xxii. avryl.
Holograph. Add. Endd. with same date by Walsingham's clerk. French. 1 p. [France XXII. 66.]
[This is printed in Lettres Missives du Roi de Navarre, ii. from an old copy, under date [Aug. 25]. It is reprinted here because the copy does not preserve the King's own spelling. The suggested date is no doubt given because another letter (also from an old copy) on the same subject, is given as so dated, but probably this is a copyist's error, as the King's own dating in the original is perfectly clear. At the beginning of April, Drake was urging the Queen to let him go out on an expedition to the coasts of Spain.]
April 12. Geffrey Le Brumen to Walsingham.
Hears from the Havre that no one has arrived there from Spain. The governor does not declare openly for the League but they see by his carriage that he favours it.
They write from Paris that the King of Spain has lost his wits and that the Infanta governs the State; that Messrs. de Bellievre and de la Guiche have had nothing to do with the Leaguers; that the Cardinals of Bourbon and Vendosme are gone to Soissons to the said Leaguers and that Queen Mother is to follow them. It is doubted that the Vicomte of Turenne is dead.
The present bearer Videcoque, who has made the rockwork for her Majesty by his honour's direction, intends to depart on Sunday or Monday at the latest with the ambassador's children. He prays his honour to dispatch him, and to settle up his business of the said rockwork. He is going into Berri, to the ambassador's houses, for the raising of the waters.—London, April 12, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 67]
April 15. Buzenval to Walsingham.
Thanks him for and accepts his offer, praying him to intercede with the Admiral, that the English ship laden some time ago with wheat for Rochelle may have leave to depart. They would receive a double benefit thereby, for Rochelle would be provided with corn, and the valet-de-chambre of the King of Navarre would be able to take her Majesty's letters and the dispatch which M. du Fay and himself have written to the King their master, for the said ship is to take up the bearer of them either at the Rye or one of the neighbouring ports.
Has also a second request to make, to obtain permission for the merchant who is to transport the wheat granted by his honour's licence. He only wishes for two barks of thirty or forty tons, for which he thinks it will be easy to obtain leave, they being of small importance for the service of her Majesty. Since the surprise of Marans, from whence came the corn for Rochelle, the town will be reduced to great straits, now that the King of Navarre is there and all his court, wherefore he prays his honour to be friendly to them in the matter.—London, 15 April, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 68.]
April 15. M. de Mouy to Walsingham.
The first time I had the pleasure of seeing your honour, you were good enough to promise to let me know when it would be well to speak to her Majesty of the affairs of Sedan and she herself deferred her reply until she should have had news from France. Now, hearing that she has done so divers times, I venture to write this to beg you to remember me, and advise me what to do. For having sent the King of Navarre's letters to the Lord Treasurer by M. de Busanval, who has also communicated to him the business of Sedan, I believe she is entirely informed thereof, and fear she may be annoyed that I have not told her myself. Wherefore I desire to have the honour of speaking with her once more, in order to deliver my charge, fearing moreover that further delay will bring down complete ruin both upon Sedan and 'James' [Jametz]. For the League having come to an agreement with the King, and knowing this place to be in dispair of aid, will not fail to turn their forces into that quarter to hinder the harvest, and attack them with all fury, and without doubt will prevail against them, if help be not given. And it must be speedy, or all will be in vain. It is the only thorn in their foot between the river Loire and Germany, and the only means remaining to us for establishing ourselves in France and throwing back the war into their country. You know of what consequence it is for the Low Countries and how it would prejudice Spain, whose only desire is to have the place. I pray you let me hear from you.
I have spoken to M. Geofroy [le Brumen] of some other part of my charge, wherein I pray you to favour me.—London, 15 April, 1588.
Holograph. Signed "Mouy." Add. Endd. "15 April." French. 1 p. [France XVIII. 69.]


  • 1. windy discourses; beating about the bush.
  • 2. Style doubtful.
  • 3. The symbol for the Queen (79) is translated your or her Majesty as the context requires.
  • 4. All these names are expressed by symbols.
  • 5. Fr. grommeler, to mutter.
  • 6. Claude de La Chatre, at Chatillon-sur-Seine.
  • 7. of Bourbon and Vendome.
  • 8. Sic. vendido.