Elizabeth: May 1588, 11-20

Pages 611-624

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

May 1588, 11-20

May 11. The Queen to the French King.
"Mon tres cher frere, Combien que mes frequentes, necessaires et affectionées admonitions, advertissements et offres ne vous ont en rien esmeu a vous inciter a faire ce qui a ceste heure se monstre par trop amere experience avoir esté expedient pour vostre estat et seureté; Nonobstant, je ne me puis contenir de vous mander ce gentilhomme, pour vous exprimer le crevecueur qu'en mon ame je sents pour cest inique accident, et tel que Prince au monde ne patira sans punition bien aperte et actions dignes de Roy qui se veult faire craindre des coulpables, et aymer des fidelles.
"Au nom de Dieu, estoupez les oreilles a tels qui vous font craindre les ombres quand vous vous devez mettre a la claire veue [margin au clair veu] du soleil. Vous me pouvez hardiment croire que ne suis d'aultre partie que la vostre. Et pleust a Dieu que tous les vostres en apparence fussent de mesme. Je vous suplie, faites moy cest honneur de lire cestecy vous mesmes, sans secretaire, et donner favorable audience a ce porteur aussy secretement que bon vous semblera. Et soyez asseure qu'il est confidant et sage et secret. Ne vous voulant plus fascher, je prieray le Creatur a mains jointes vous conserver en longues anneés."
Vostre tres asseurée bonne seur et cousine.
Endd. "11 May, 1588. Copy of her Majesty's letters written with her own hand to the Fr. K. and sent by Mr. Tho. Bodley." ½ p. [France XVIII. 88.]
May 11. Nicholas Pierson, deputy, and the Assistants of the English Merchants Adventurers resident in Stood, to the Company.
They have already been advertised of the reports "touching the Hamburghers' preparation of ships . . . to lie in the river of 'Elve' before and below the Swing, for demand of ton and beacon money etc.," which pretence of theirs appears (by very certain information) to go forward; "it being confirmed on Wednesday last by the general meeting of the burgers, who uniformly have given their voices to spend life and goods in the maintenance of their privileges"; and have appointed as chief commissioners to go in the said ships two of their lords, viz. Christopher Burckholt and Henrick van Sprekellsen and two burghers, namely Joachim Wichman and Henrich Rensell, with two captains: "all which the said Mr. deputy lately made known unto the boroughmasters and syndicus of this town, who, though at the first [they] would scarcely believe the Hamburgers durst attempt the same" yet having been by them imparted to certain of the lords in Senate, it was there resolved to send their Syndicus to the Bishop of Breme and his council, now at Fourde, to complain how that not only the Hamburgers had lately demanded ton and beacon money from three ships of Hull, within his Grace's jurisdiction, and the like of the lords of this town; but also of their fresh pretence. Moreover, they forthwith yesterday sent one of their senators secretly to Hamburg to take knowledge of their proceedings.
And at the Court of Assistants it was agreed to advertise the Company of the premises and whatever may be further understood concerning the said cause.
This morning one of the Boroughmasters, with the Syndicus, who last night returned from Fourde, have been with Mr. Deputy and told him the answer of the Bishop's Council; viz.: "that his Grace is minded to maintain and defend his jurisdiction upon the 'Elve'; so as, to that end, the 'Dome Deuken', chief of the said Council, is appointed to be at Fourde upon Monday next" (as also the said Syndicus), when earnest letters from his Grace to Hamburg shall be written and sent; "to admonish and forbid them not hereafter to do the like or use upon the same any force or violence; which by no means he will allow or tolerate . . ."
And the lords of this town promise to send a secret messenger towards the sea, to attend the coming of the English ships into the 'Elve', and deliver to them (before their coming up) such letters as are thought necessary to be agreed upon; and further will do all in their power for their defence and maintenance, which though the Assistants believe they will do their best endeavours to perform, yet they doubt not but that the Company "will have such careful consideration thereof as the naughtiness of the cause requireth," for unless by the said Bishop and other neighbour estates the Hamburgers be enforced to more quiet, they will not cease every way to vex and hinder the English trade; animated the more thereto by a Netherlander lately come hither as commissioner from the Prince of Parma.—Stoad, 11 May, 1588.
Endd. by Lawrence Tompson. 2 pp. [Hamburg and Hanse Towns III. 4.]
May [after 13–23.] Advertisements from France.
It is advertised from the Court by letters of May 23, stilo novo, that the King is resolved to prosecute the Duke of Guise with all extremity. By a Declaration of the 20th he discharged the people of Paris of all blame for the tumult, laying the whole fault on the Duke and the League, who intended to have surprised his person.
"That for the avoiding of effusion of blood . . . he was content rather to forsake the town, and to call for the assistance of his good subjects in some other place to revenge the indignity offered him . . . and is minded to desire the assistance of all Princes his allies." He hath about 2000 gentlemen with him.
The Duke of Guise has sent nobody to the King to excuse himself, but follows the enterprise; has taken the castle of Vinsayne [Vincennes] and put a garrison in it.
The Duke of Aumale besieges Boulogne, and has "made battery with 40 cannons." It is hard to put succour into the town, as they have occupied all passages and are above 4000 men.
Endd. "12 May" in error. ½ p. [Newsletters IX. 41.]
May 16. Buzanval to Walsingham.
The bearer, the Sieur de Cœdor, claims to have received great wrong by an English ship which robbed a Breton merchant who was bringing him money. It is certain that the Breton ship was plundered by an English captain named Leye, who makes war without any warrant. If, by his honour's favour, the said suppliant could obtain justice from those whom he knows to have his money, he might have means to pursue a very useful enterprise against the League, of which he has already spoken to his honour, and which he desires again to lay before him. Prays that he may have audience and assistance.—London, 16 May, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. ½ p. [France XVIII. 89.]
May 17. Stafford to Burghley.
Not wishing to trouble his lordship with a long account of the late stirs, he leaves it to the bearer Lillye, who is well instructed and has seen a great part of them, and whom he sends over expressly to make an ample relation thereof to her Majesty.—Paris, 17 May, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [France XVIII. 90.]
May 18/28. M. Gourdan to Lord Admiral Howard.
Would not have ventured to trouble his honour but for his kind recollection of him and his offers of service. If there should ever be an occasion when he could do anything to pleasure his honour, begs that he will command him.
Hopes that those of Boulogne will maintain themselves. In the answer which he had from the King upon the letter written to him by Mr. Walsingham, his Majesty gave him to know his pleasure on seeing thereby the kind friendship which her Majesty bore to him.—Calais, 28 May.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. Seal of Arms. [France XVIII. 91.]
May 19. Lord Admiral Howard to Walsingham.
We came this morning into 'Bollen Rode' with as goodly a company of ships as was ever seen here.
About nine of the clock, the Duke "Domall" sent one with his commendations and to say that if there were anything I would have out of the Low town, I should command it.
Also he desired to know whether I were come as a friend or an enemy. "I answered him that I was very sorry to see such a man as the Duke was, to so far forget his duty to his sovereign king and master as he did; and that I desired no other pleasure at his hands but that he would remember his duty, and forbear to deal thus against a principal town of his master's. And that the Queen's Majesty my mistress could not like well of it, nor suffer the King, her good brother and friend to be thus dishonoured by his own subject. I also said that if he did not remove upon this warning that I gave him, it might be that ere it were long he should repent it. And where he desired to know whether I were come as a friend or an enemy, I told him, as a friend to the King his master, but as an enemy unto any that was false or undutiful to their Prince. The messenger desired me that I would send one of my own to deliver the message. I was glad to have that occasion offered, and so I sent Captain Roberts, whom I knew could deliver the message well, and that also could take view and notice of things." He was met and very courteously used by the Duke's lieutenant, who, on hearing his errand, carried him up to the Duke's lodging, which is at your old 'ostise,' The Arms of France. The messenger sent to me, going before him, told the Duke what I had said. "The Duke sent a gentleman down to Robartes [sic] to pray him to excuse him; that he could not speak with him for it was his sick day, and that he was very ill; and that he would send him the message by his lieutenant. Robartes answered that I did not refuse his messenger, and therefore [he] would be glad to deliver the message himself." The Duke sent word that if he would come tomorrow he would hear him, but seeing that he did not mean to see him, he gave my message to the lieutenant.
One thing in my message I have forgotten: that "I desired to know whether he had any commission from the King to do as he did. The Duke sent this answer:—That he nor the Duke of Guise did nothing but that which the King did like of, and marvelled why I should examine him so far as I did. This was all his answer; but still desired that he would come to him again tomorrow."
Even as Robartes came with this answer, the wind came into the west, so that I fear we must put into Dover Road or the Downs, though I would fain go to the westward.
The Duke has laid battery to the High Town. He has had forty pieces from Abbeville, and this day they have shot on both sides about forty great shot. So far as I can learn, he has 4000 footmen and 1200 horse, "but Roberts saith those that he saw are the vilest rascals that ever was seen." I believe succour will come to him from the Duke of Parma.
Methinks it were good for her Majesty to write to the French King "that to put the world and his own people out of doubt, to proclaim the Duke of Guise a traitor. I think it would draw away from the Guisards much of their forces. Methinks the King should not be afraid to do it now."
I thank God we are all well. The first wind that lets me go westward I will not lose. "From Bollyn Rode, beginning to weigh, the 19 of May."
Postscript. "All the great ships of her Majesty doth oversail all the whole fleet, pinnaces and all. God bless them, they are most worthy ships."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [France XVIII. 92.]
May 19/29. M. Du Pin to Walsingham.
As M. de Buzenval will have informed you of the state of affairs here, I will not weary you with a long letter; but as I have heard that some persons have reported to you certain things concerning me, which seem to have been invented either from lack of other matter or from calumny, I have written the truth to M. de Buzenval, and should have troubled little about it, as a thing said without foundation, if it were not that there is no one in the world to whom I would rather render an account of my actions than to you; nor of whom I more desire to be held in good esteem and favour. I pray you therefore to believe what M. de Buzenval will say to you, and to rest assured of my very faithful service, and that no one in the world more truly honours you or is more devoted to you and all that concerns you. Whereof I desire no other witnesses than the honest and honourable men with whom I have consorted, and who have seen [sic] and heard me on this subject.—La Rochelle, 29 May, 1588.
Holograph. Add. Endd. French. 1 p. Seal. [France XVIII. 93.]
May 19/29. Madame de Rohan to Walsingham.
You have obliged me in so many ways, and also by the trouble you have taken in sending me a safe-conduct from the Queen, and arranging for a lodging for me, that not being able otherwise to acknowledge all your kind offices, I must content myself by thanking you very humbly until some way presents itself of doing you better service, when I beg you to believe I should engage therein as heartily as anyone whom you have laid under the like obligation.
I must tell you that when I wrote to you of my intention to take my journey thither, I was expecting a reply from the court to know what agreement they would make with me for my property which they detain, in case I left the kingdom; which reply I have not been able to receive, on account of the disturbances lately arisen, and especially the taking of Paris by the Duke of Guise, these having changed everything, and made me more uncertain what I ought to do than I was at the beginning. I wished to inform you of this, that, my journey being so doubtful, nobody may be put to any inconvenience for me, either as regards the ship or the lodging, where I should have been very glad, had I gone thither, to meet M. de la Noue, who is one of my best friends. If the state of public affairs allows me to come to a more certain resolution, I shall not fail to tell you of it. Meanwhile, I beg you to continue your favour and friendship to me, for which I thank you with all my heart, and above all for that which you have been pleased to grant me in memory of my mother.—La Rochelle, 29 May, 1588. Signed Catherine de Parthenay.
Signed. Add. Endd. "From Madame de Rohan." French. 2½ pp. [France XVIII. 94.]
[Before May 20.] "Abstract of the broken letter found about the Jesuits that came from Rochelle the 20 of May 1588."
"Christo Salvador. Coming for Nantes from Bilbao, the chief town of Biscay, in Spain, we were the 19th of February: six days were we quasi in profundo, coining [sic] we cast over board; the 4th of March we were received into Rochelle and imprisoned, where we have been now 10 days, from hence we are departed: business in Spain being well ended is by this my taking and trouble [ruined], crosses, tokens and books all pilled and taken from us: it grieveth me we cannot [sic]: we will particularize hereafter, the letters of the King and of Don: before we come ashore will be some trouble to us, except our other get them again with ease: the copy which we sent you would be good for us: our brother desireth to die, and I desire to be with you: but is in this life: we hope yet not to be separated in the other. If you hear of our imprisonment instruct us what we shall do or how you will advertise us by letter or otherwise; good father, loving mother be of good cheer (as we are) we cannot day nor night forget you (forget not) these points hindereth our letters to you, we cannot send as we desire: we are ignorant of crime which riddeth us of much fear, our business, but we know the malice of the ghostly enemy, from which we do not desire to [sic] this give Sion his blessing. Confirma hoc deus que operatus es in nobis."
Endd. as in headline. ½ p. [France XVIII. 95.]
[The divisions by semi-colons probably indicate the breaks in the letter, while the brackets suggest cipher, as do also the incoherencies in the text. The document has been bound up at the date when it was taken from the Jesuits in England, but it must have been written on March 14 [n.s.] in prison at Rochelle, as the writer distinctly says they have been there ten days (from March 4). The next phrase "from hence we are departed" is evidently part of a sentence referring to their departure from Spain; where their work was well ended, but now, by their capture, brought to nought.]
[May 19
Date of presentation.]
Instruction given by Duke Casimir to his envoy, for the speech to be made to her Majesty on his behalf. [The introduction is to the following effect:—]
As to every one, most serene and Christian Queen, is manifest the very sincere actions of the illustrious lord John Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine, administrator of that Electorate and Duke of Bavaria, to no other end than the conservation and increase of God's honour and the safety and peace of Christendom; his Highness having in this cause many times exposed himself to every sort of danger and carried out enterprises with the whole strength of his forces:—I therefore doubt not that with the same devotion he will always be most ready to embrace whatever may do your Majesty any service and tend to the welfare, greatness and reputation of yourself or your states. . . . And as it has been many times seen that by the death of a good King or Prince, not only his own state suffers disturbance but also religion and the service of God; so it appears that today your Majesty is the only support of the truth and of those who make profession thereof.
To whom God has given the will, no less than the very sufficient means to favour, liberate and preserve the poor Christians scattered in all parts of the world. You only have sufficient forces valiantly to resist the tyrants and to break their cruel designs, and not without reason have all faithful oppressed Christians of Europe their eyes fixed and their hopes resting upon your Majesty, from whom they implore aid, and are persuaded that without it, they will be utterly ruined.
Thus the Prince my Master, although he knows well that his own weakness cannot withstand so many powerful enemies, believes that by the aid of God and the favour of your Majesty, they will be able to resist their enemies' fury and bring their affairs, now almost desperate, to a happy end.
Some months ago, your Majesty was given to understand, by means of Dr. Junio, the state in which the German army which had entered France in the service of the King of Navarre then found itself, and the purpose for which it was led into that country; he setting forth both the necessities of those times, which in every way required that those arms should be afresh strongly supported; and that in order to succour them it was needful to make ready a second expedition; which your Majesty not only approved but consented to contribute certain sums of money. But the sum being small; not more than 40,000 florins, and these moreover, as was believed, not yet paid; and there having come the news of the unhappy issue of things in France.
As to the first, I can truly affirm that there cannot be attributed the least blame, or lack of having made every necessary provision for a well organized expedition, and I hope that your Majesty will now be fully informed, both of the particulars of the disgrace, and also of the cause thereof, which may be said to have been the just anger of God, by reason of our sins, which too evidently began to reveal itself, when having left Germany our army found itself in Lorraine; forasmuch as, from the very beginning, by reason of the shortness of provisions, all were oppressed by hunger and the intolerable lack of all things needful; whence arising infinite sickness and weakness, it is incredible how the number of captains and soldiers diminished from day to day; nor could they obtain credit from anyone. And it might truly be said that the Swiss, even before their rebellion and agreement with the enemy, were not more than a third part of those who came out of Switzerland. And to these difficulties was added the further inconvenience that our people could never have any certainty regarding the affairs of the King of Navarre, or know where they were to seek him or assemble our forces together; (as your Majesty well knows by divers captains, who dared to speak against certain Frenchmen) which arose from the calumnies and false informations of Segurio [Segur], the King of Navarre's ambassador, given to that King in order to alienate his mind from the Germans, and fill him with mistrust and suspicion. On the other hand, it is not unknown that certain French counsellors at war, instead of conducting them straight towards the King of Navarre, lost time by leading them all backwards [i.e. down instead of up the river] into the enemy's country—where even the most despicable town or castle either stood out or spoiled all things necessary for their provision—having always the enemy hard by on all sides, and not knowing whither to direct themselves or what end they might have to expect to such exceeding labours; it would be more to be marvelled at if they had been able to escape safely than to see now their purpose so ill and unfortunately ended. But the incurable trouble, and that which brought with it the entire loss and ruin of the said army was the shameful falseness and avarice of the Swiss, who, forgetful of their own faith and honour, and not making account of the many admonitions and remembrances of their reiterated promises, made an accord with the enemy, abandoned to his mercy their German companions, who, by their infinite pains and losses sustained heretofore appeared already almost reduced to nothing, were not competent by themselves to do any notable act or memorable enterprise. For which treachery, so unworthy of the name of Swiss, the Canton of Zurich punished with death three of their captains who had been participators of their wicked counsels; and the fourth, who had fled, was by them banished with ignominy, and they having treated in so many diverse manners with the Germans and brought about so grave inquietudes; not contented with their due pay; no one that knows well their humour and practice will find it strange that these were at last drawn into disobedience, and as it were rebels to their superiors. So that in this they do not deserve excuse and that no cause whatever can be so weighty as to be sufficient to divert them from honour and duty. But it is certain that the captains will no longer find in the army those who will listen to them, or who moreover would wish other than to be careful for his own safety. For which cause, upon the defeat of some of the reiters at Aulneau, the rest were forced to take their departure, and return ignominiously to their homes.
By this my true discourse may clearly be understood that of all the many disorders and unhappy accidents which happened to our people in France, it could not have been hoped that his authority might have been sufficient to reform the disobedience of the malcontent soldiers; who, in similar occurences, with lack of pay and food, have dared to expend their rage upon the person of the General, without consideration of the rank and dignity which he bears.
2. But on the contrary, his absence from Germany might have exposed to the greatest peril his State, the Electorate, the churches therein and generally the Reformed Religion in all la Magna [i.e. Germany.]
Those German princes who, contrary to the disposition of the Golden Bull, contrary to ancient usage and to all reason and good order, claim to meddle in the Palatinate; to handle matters and rule the affairs of the Electorate, might have, by that means, have occupied the lands of the Electorate, and suddenly extirpated that holy and true religion which his Highness for many years has cherished there with such care and solicitude.
In place of which, the errors and heresies which have been with toil cleared out would be anew introduced not only among the vulgar people, but, what imports much more, in the mind of the young prince Frederic; it being to be believed that some might be moved to this, in order to show their desire to defend his cause. Already there had begun to be negotiations for sending reinforcements of arms into France to support the first army, to which end his Highness' presence was much more important in Germany than in France. These considerations therefore not only moved him to stand firm in his own territories, but gave occasion to the said ambassadors of the King of Navarre to release him, in the name of the said King and of the Gallican church from his obligation to go personally into France; which encouraged him much not to abandon his own affairs; so that his Highness remains out of France not less by the persuasions of the French themselves than from the above said very urgent reasons. Little to the purpose would it be to say in this place that having formerly made two journeys personally into France without suffering any harm, he might do the same again; seeing that his father of glorious memory being then alive and holding the countries, was able to provide for all events, and appease all dangerous movements.
But what avails it to use words, when the facts cry out that but for the presence of our Prince all would have gone to ruin. The army of the Duke of Guise and the League were already being led into Burgundy to cut in pieces the remnant of the Germans who had got away safely through Savoy; had sacked the land of the Comte de Montpelligardo and were determined to attack the Palatinate, which would no doubt have been done if the warlike preparations of his Highness and Divine Providence had not intervened in time.
As to not having procured in his place some other chief, he had vainly tried to do so among the Princes of the Empire, but Duke Otto of Luneburg excused himself by reason of his infirmity; Duke Philip of Groppenhagen because he was in the service of the Duke of Saxony; Joachim Ernest, the old Prince of Saxony of happy memory, having the will to do it was prevented by age and infirmity, and his young son Christian by his youth and inexperience. Certain others, as the Count Albert de Barbi were also solicited, but with the same result. His Highness then consulted Duke William of Hesse, who proposed the Baron von Dohna as a man of skill, courage, experience, zeal and piety, alleging the example of the Marshal of Hesse who in 1561 conducted a like army into France with great success. But before appointing the Baron, his High ness sent his deputies to the places of muster; referring it to their free discretion to elect such chieftain as would be acceptable to them all. He would have desired above all things that the Duke of Bouillon might be General of the Germans as well as of the French; but that not being pleasing to them, they by common consent elected the Baron. Thus, if it had pleased God for the fruit to be conformable to the seed, the result would have been all that his Highness desired. . . . .
But the enemies are so great; viz. the Pope, the Emperor, the Kings of France and Spain, the League and all its adherents that his Highness is today as a mark whereat all aim their poisoned arrows, and it is daily seen that on this side the Rhine the army about Bonn and on the other side the Marquis of Burgau and the Duke of Guise stand ready to assault the Palatinate; the whole weight of the defence whereof would be upon his shoulders; for even amongst those who profess the Gospel, there are many in whom the will would not be wanting to take away both his life and his state; while others either from poverty or cowardice, would not dare to come to his aid.
Wherefore, seeing that, having accomplished his ruin, the Pope, the King of Spain and the League would have freed the way to attack your Majesty and others making profession of the same religion, his Highness implores you not to abandon him in his extremity but once more to lend your aid to the common cause, which your Majesty may do more than ever by the means given you from God by reason of the difficulties in which the King of Spain finds himself; being amongst other things occupied in the attempt to liberate his cousin, the Archduke Maximilian, which he can only do by going to war or by the payment of a large sum of money for ransom.
There are two ways in which your Majesty may aid the common cause, and at the same time insure your own safety. The first is that as by holding the city of Bonn, the enemies forces are divided, you should render the [continuation of the] siege impossible, or at least very difficult, by urging those of the Low Countries to take action, and by sending succours to Col. Schenk, as his Highness has already done, not only of money but of victuals, artillery and munitions, spending therein more than 15000 florins, and keeping the Rhine closed, to the end that the enemy would not be able to obtain any commodities thereby: the which he never could have done in these perilous times without your Majesty's authority and the letters from you which the said Colonel showed to him.
The other way might be that your Majesty would be pleased to deposit in some place in Germany about two hundred thousand crowns, in case of need, which might be taken up and spent for such purposes as make it needful; as, for instance, if your Majesty should wish to make use of German horse and foot, in which case the money might be taken up and conveyed to the place of muster; or again, if you wished to give fresh aid to the King of Navarre these same moneys might be employed. And lastly that if necessity required, his Highness should be permitted to make use thereof for his own affairs; in which last case he would bind himself to repay to your Majesty so much as he had taken and as security, would pledge to you his lands and state. [Further suggestions for provision of money by your Majesty; the raising of troops which would thereby be made possible, and the good results which would follow.] Without such aid it will be impossible for his Highness to withstand the power of his enemies, would be in danger of utter ruin, and so might be driven to make peace with them. But he feels assured that your Majesty will never permit a Prince so devoted to you, to be, for want of your aid, constrained to throw himself into the arms of his worst enemies.
As regards the peace which is said to be in treaty between your Majesty and the Spaniards; if his Highness could believe it ever to be possible that an honest and secure agreement could be made with them, so great is his love of peace that so far from opposing it, he would diligently aid in bringing it to pass. But fearing greatly, and not without reason, that the Spaniards seek only, under colour of peace, for new occasions of treachery, and thereby to be enabled to wait for a more opportune time to crush both the churches and your Majesty, he cannot conceal that his strong opinion and desire is that your Majesty should keep your arms in your hand, and not trust yourself to such an enemy. For so many are the injuries, disgraces and dishonours that the English nation has offered to the Spaniards, that it is impossible for that King ever to forget them; and not to take revenge therefor so soon as he should find opportunity notwithstanding how many agreements and reconciliations might intervene.
Your Majesty knows that ever since he was a boy he has been taught never to keep faith with those whom his Inquisitors repute to be heretics; and also knows the ancient ambition of that nation to bring all Europe under subjection to that monarchy; wherefore peace with such an enemy would mean nothing else than that your Majesty would be bound, while the enemy would be free to take advantage of any opportunity to harm you; no promises or oaths being chains strong enough to bind and hold in his inordinate desires; and he not making so much account of open war as of clandestine treacheries; as may be seen by the Italian advertisements communicated at divers times to his Highness. (fn. 1)
Necessity might compel your Majesty to give such an advantage to the enemy; but do you not hold at your devotion all the ports and the best [strong] places and regions of Holland and Zeeland? Or does there lack the power to defend them from the violence of the Marani? (fn. 2) And if peradventure the Spaniards —the better to cloak their deceit—should consent to such conditions as should give to your Majesty full security, and to the Low Countries free exercise of the Religion; together with the observance of all their ancient privileges (the which, however, his Highness cannot think will ever happen, or that your Majesty would wish to accept such a pact) yet in this case, he earnestly prays your Majesty that you would deign to include in such a treaty his Highness, his nephew Frederick, and all the other German princes who have ever taken part in the wars of the Low Countries; so that the Spaniard may not injure any one of them without infringeing the Pacification.
It remains to say a few words on the state of France, seeing that a little before my [i.e. the envoy's] departure from his Highness there arrived an ambassador of the King of Navarre, to beg for aid from that Prince, who, knowing himself not capable of such an enterprise, is awaiting the resolution of your Majesty, seeing that from the other German Princes there is little to be hoped for; and that the hope which he had of the King of Denmark is now, it is feared, altogether quenched. However that may be, it seems to his Highness that the church of France cannot or ought not to be left unaided, and that it is necessary to unite more closely with it, in view of the union of the papists, who (as newly now is seen by the taking of Bonn, the siege of Neuss, and their contributing among themselves, in favor of the Bishop of Liodio, [i.e. Liege] twelve times more than the ordinary tax of the Empire. And they will unite daily so much the more when they see us proceed amongst ourselves with so many differing counsels and actions.
If the articles lately resolved on in an assembly at Nancy by the Duke of Guise and other princes of the League should be approved and accepted by the King of France, as they hope, it is not to be seen how much harm and damage it would do to us all; seeing that amongst other things, it is demanded of him that he should openly declare his desire to be of their League; that the Spanish Inquisition shall be introduced into France, and the Reformed Religion utterly abolished in his dominions.
For which respects, in the Prince's judgment it would be well that your Majesty should send to the King of France, to advertise him in friendly manner of the state of affairs, and to incite him by telling him of the information lately received that the house of Guise was seeking to deprive him of the crown royal, and of his state, as now he may more clearly understand, when—by the death of the Prince de Conde, poisoned by their usual treachery—the house of Guise feels itself as much strengthened as the house of France is weakened; theirs having few enemies, and his but little support. And moreover, that it may be their intention thus to cut off the branches, in order that they may, at their better leisure, gain possession of the tree.
Is it not they who, having armed themselves with Spanish forces—the most ancient and chiefest enemies of France—have set his kingdom in a blaze; and are now seeking its final extermination, in order to warm themselves by its ashes. If he allow them again to master Jametz and Sedan, now put into his protection—besides the infamy which would accrue to him thereby —what security would he have that the Guises would not attempt the same on the city of Metz, and by means thereof, take from the King all hope of aid from Germany.
It behoves him therefore to reject the said articles propounded by the League, seeing that it is for him to give and not receive laws; to sustain his own people; not those who have applied themselves to the upholding of tyrannous and foreign inquisitors; and to preserve his countries in peace, not as would those who desire to see them in perpetual confusion: granting security of life and conscience to those who desire only to serve God and obey their King; removing all those sworn to the League and all servants and pensionaries of Spain, and commanding the Duke of Guise and his partisans to put down their arms and yield themselves to their King in absolute obedience.
And that, in such case, his own forces not being sufficient, your Majesty would not fail to succour him as will certainly do the Protestant Princes of Germany.
These remembrances, coming from your Majesty, his Highness believes would not be in vain; but now, there having happened unexpectedly so many disturbances in France, by the taking of Paris and the flight of the King, it is believed that they will have to bring forth much more fruit.
The cities of Jametz and Sedan are greatly to be considered, there being within them, in extreme danger, the daughter of the Prince de Conde and the Duchess of Bouillon; the latter of whom, in a letter full of tears, lately commended her safety to my Prince.
And since the King of France, from the beginning of these troubles, sought to unite with your Majesty against the League, and might perhaps anew solicit you or the princes of Germany, his Highness . . . greatly desires to know what are the thoughts and counsels of your Majesty, in order, in this and all other things, to govern himself thereby, so far as is in his power.
Memo. by Burghley at the end of the document. "19 May. Answer was made by the Lord Burghley . . and Mr. Secretary Walsingham to the Duke Casimir's servant, sent to her Majesty with this Instruction." (fn. 3)
Endd. Italian. 27 closely written pp. [Germany States V. 77.]
May 19. Notes by Burghley upon the preceding document, endorsed by him: "The contents of the legation of the Duke of Casimir's agent."
"The excuse of the defection of the army in France.
"The Baron [Dhona] was chosen by the army.
"He could never hear from the King of Navarre.
"The Duke stayed for the defence of his country and for a second preparation.
"For Bonn, Martin Schenck.
"Two hundred thousand crowns in some places of Germany, to serve both for the Queen's Majesty, and if need be for the Duke.
"Four thousand crowns at Frankfort.
"Against the peace.
"To send into France to the French King, to move him against the League.
"Articles of the League at Nancy.
"Jamais [Jametz] and Sedan to be succoured.
"The taking of Paris by the Guises."
Endd. 1 p. [German States V. 78.]
May 20. Captain Bornstra to Walsingham.
According to his honour's orders, he has put into writing the secrets of the communication he had with Don Bernardin de Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, in Paris, and prays him to read them and take them to heart, in order to avoid the danger which is at the door.
His expences in journeys, posts etc. have amounted to more than 200l. sterling, of which he has received nothing yet. Spirituel, master of the posts at Dover would have him arrested for what he owes him, spent in the service. Prays that his debt may be satisfied. Asks for money to go to Rotterdam and bring hence the prisoner Dieric Jan Evertssen.— London, 20 May, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. French. ¾ p. [France XVIII. 96.]


  • 1. Probably those calendared on p. 556 et seq. supra.
  • 2. A nickname for the Spaniards (Florio).
  • 3. The envoy sent was Dr. Peter Denais. See p. 593 above.