Elizabeth: June 1586, 1-10

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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'Elizabeth: June 1586, 1-10', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 1-9. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp1-9 [accessed 15 April 2024]


June 1586, 1-10

Recommending the bearer, Mr. Smith (a very honest and forward gentleman, who has been at charge for horses brought over by him), now going into England for men ; also Mr. Dormer, already gone for the like purpose, who deserves very well for his goodwill and forwardness in the service and has also been at great charges in furnishing his company of horse. Prays that he will show them both what courtesy he may.Arnhem, 1 June, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. p. [Holland VIII. 68.]
June 3/13. Extract from the Resolution of the States-General, concerning the entertainment of the Lord General, to be furnished by the several States. 13 June, 1586. Signed by Aerssens. Dutch. 4 pp. [Ibid. 69.]
June 5. Paper endorsed, "State of the army, from the 11th of April," And in Burghley's hand, "by the Auditor." 1 sheet. [Ibid. 70.]
"I humbly crave pardon that I wrote so hastily in my last letter of better news from Grave than succeeded in deed ; but I wrote none other than was brought to me, as Sir Thomas Hennege heard also. But it is like that your Majesty hath heard before this shall come to your hands how shamefully and villainously he that had the charge of that town, being the strongest fortified place of all these provinces, delivered it into the enemy's hands upon three hours' battery and a simple show of an assault without loss of men or any lack meet for such a defence ; for as it was a place very commodious for our part, so, as your Majesty hath been advertised, there was never town or fort better cared for than it was, nor better relieved sundry times with great adventure of many mens' lives, though it pleased God to give success with small loss to us, but with very great to the enemy ; and the town so fully relieved and succoured with all things as the Captain could desire no more, both for men, victual and munition, but sent me his letters of assurance not to care for it for one five months. Nevertheless, fearing the worst, knowing how earnestly the Prince sought it and hearing, as I did signify to your Majesty that he meant to come in person and besiege it with all his force, I thought good to gather as many as I could of our forces, as well to empeach chiefly that enterprise as to recover in the mean time such forts and holds as did greatly annoy us by the rivers of Rhine and the Waal, as also to build a new fort at the partition of both these rivers to keep Nimegen and some other his towns from relief. All which took good effect, for I took in fourteen days all his forts and castles (but Nimegen) that did offend us ; and kept still the chief of my force before Nimegen, being but nine English miles from Grave, to give it any succour it should want, letting the Captain daily hear from me, as I did from him, as did appear by his letters sent me of great comfort on the Wednesday, and he gave it up upon Thursday, the next day after, in so lewd and beastly sort as did plainly discover a traitorous practice. For he would not suffer any thing to be done after the Prince was come that might make any defence ; beside, his best captains and soldiers were never made privy to his parley with the Prince before he had first sent to him, neither abide any man to tell him that he might easily hold it. As soon as it was delivered, he and the captains went to a town called Bommel, a place that the Prince doth more desire than ten Graves, for it is the entry into Holland, Utrecht, Gueldres and Brabant. This honest man was gotten to this town by colour that his mother and his wife were there, but by all likelihood to have practised with the people, and to have put them into some sudden fear of the Prince's great force. But the townsmen so hated his fact as albeit he would have told a smooth tale for his defence they would not hear him, but turned him to me to the Camp where I was, being not a little glad, seeing he had played so much the traitor villain, that he was come to my hands, for I meau to proceed with him according to his deserts. This act of his forced me presently to disperse my little army for the safety of other places, to whom forthwith I sent men, as to Bommell first, to Hoesden, to Venlo and Arnhem, these being the places that lie best for his purpose, and most like he will soonest attempt, having all his forces and artillery now together. He was on his way with five thousand men toward Bommell, but I had sent twelve hundred men thither the night before, with some horsemen to lie hard to the town, and so he returned, and with all speed went toward Venloo, whither also I had sent a thousand footmen and six hundred horse, but I pray God they come in time, for the enemies are much nearer than where I lay. They have also since made offer toward Hoesden with the rest that lay about Grave, but I had put in five hundred men, so that I suppose they will not hastily besiege it, and myself am also now come to Bommell, where, God willing, I will do all mine endeavour to make it as sure as I can, not doubting but I shall find them well inclined ; albeit, to be plain with your Majesty this delivery of Grave hath shaken a great many of them, specially by such bruits and reports as the enemy doth daily spread abroad to the great discouragement of these poor afflicted towns, who for their only last refuge have cast themselves into your Majesty's hands, and are now made believe that your help shall be taken away from them ; and I think no less but the rest of the higher sort have had too long the same conceit, and I know they greatly fear it. High time it is that a more assured course were taken (my most dear lady) in so weighty a cause as this is, wherein your Majesty hath engaged yourself very far. The people and their dispositions were known well enough before ; for as they then wanted comfort, so do they now need encouragement. And their errors not so much to be condemned, as the benefit may grow by them is to be regarded, and surely either the many and great consultations used with your Majesty for this matter, gave some just persuasion of needful maintenance thereof for your service, or else may it prove a hard adventure to take such a cause in hand and leave it to adventure ; for these be dainty and dangerous people to deal withal, specially when they shall be desperate of their hope and disappointed of their help. I must say truly ever to your Majesty, I do find some of the best sort as honest and as thankful as ever I knew men, and some others as perverse and as ingrate as might well be spared out of all good company ; but these are yet such men as are able and do most hurt, and albeit I have great cause to doubt no small alteration here 'or' long, yet do I nothing doubt, if matters be carried as they should be and may be, but all things will succeed to that end which I have always myself wished and others have desired ; but that manner of dealing must neither be prolonged nor trifled withal ; for if your Majesty will trust me, I humbly then beseech you to think these men begin utterly to despair of your Majesty's good assistance. And a most apt time offered even now for the lewd and bad disposed persons to work their feat. And for that your Majesty doth think that they should not be informed that there is a peace in treaty between you and the King of Spain, I will let you thus much know ; that this very day there be letters come from Antwerp, and also an English merchant, one John Byles, who doth affirm the same to me to be true, that there be two men lately come out of England, the one an Italian called Augustino Grafino, the other Andrea de Loze [i.e. Loo], a Fleming ; and they both have given assurance to their friends and merchants in Antwerp that the peace stands upon conclusion presently, and that your Majesty is very earnest in it ; and this Grafino went to the Prince to his camp, and carried with him a present of two geldings and two greyhounds, and very openly, touching this matter, do they both deal. Then may your Majesty judge what cause these men shall have to think, hearing this and putting all their affiance in your goodness hitherto as they have done. I will not presume to advise your Majesty ; but I trust it shall not offend you to put you in mind how honourable it shall be for you to deal graciously with these countries, whom it hath pleased God to move to protect and defend from the violence of their oppressor, and to be well informed before you suddenly shake them off, which way you may best either reform that you mislike in them, or with your most honour be well delivered from them. And herein, under your gracious correction, I would add my simple opinion in wishing some sufficient discreet person of credit to be sent hither, who may both fully understand the present state of these countries and proceed on your Majesty's behalf as you shall find meetest for your own best satisfaction ; whereto my service to the uttermost of my power shall be most faithfully employed. And pardon me, most gracious lady, if I be so bold to beseech you to hasten the sending of some such person, for there is great and very very great need of it, if you will stay the dangerous course like here to be taken ; being in doubt that I shall be driven to clap up some very safe, in the mean time, lest too soon, some such seditious practice be set 'abroch,' which will not so easily be stopped when I would. And now having troubled your Majesty overlong, and yet not said all I should say, I will for this time make an end, meaning forthwith to send to your Majesty again.".. Bommell, this 6 June. "I have the examinations of divers, both captains and soldiers, which I will send forthwith to your Majesty, to prove the lewd villainous dealing of Hemert, governor of Grave, and of some captains also, but the soldiers are most willing and ready to have spent their lives there." Holograph. Add. 8 pp. [Holland VIII. 71.]
June 6. Paper endorsed by Burghley, "6 Junii, 1586. The accounts in generalty of the receipts and payments of 79600l." 2 pp. [Ibid. 72.]
June 6. Further notes of payments in Burghley's hand and endorsed by him, "Memorials of certain points, 6 June." 1 p. [Ibid. 73.]
June 7. "The allowances [per month] unto principal officers of the field, contained in the contract provisioned between her Majesty and the States." Fourteen items, ranging from the Colonel General of the foot at 4l. perdiem to the Commissary of the victuals and Master of the Carriages at 3s. 4d. Total 300l. per mensem. To these, Burghley has added 6 'muster marshals,' at 10s. per day. Endd. with date. p. [Ibid. 74.]
June 7. "The numbers of the men [English] in the pay of the States," in each province. Total, horse 1800 ; foot 24,800. The charges of the foot amount in English money to 25718l. 13s. 4d. per month, or 346042l. 13s. 4d. per year. The charge of the horse is not given. In Maynard's hand. Endd. p. [Holland VIII. 75.]
June 7. "A memorial for Mr. Atie, for matters to be declared to the Earl of Leicester." His lordship may give order that the two bands of 200 apiece belonging to the governors of Brill and Flushing may be reduced to be part of the 5000 footmen comprised in the contract between her Majesty and the States, and that these governors may be ordered to furnish the Lord General with the said number of 400 in time of necessity, or as many thereof as he desires, "and that they be such as the two governors may best spare." (fn. 1) To deal with the States for the allowance of the principal officers in the field, according to a motion made to the commissioners "du Valch" and Paul Buys at the Lord Treasurer's house, the Lord General being then present, which the commissioners seemed "to allow of." That the reckoning between her Majesty and the States for the 3000l. disbursed by the Lord General's warrant may be cleared ; and the extra 290l. disbursed for the pioneers allowed. To take order with the States that the river of Ems may be free for traffic. In Maynard's hand. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Ibid. 76.]
In my last I told you what had happened to me so far. I am still here, being seized by a sudden indisposition just when I should have set out with Secretary Cosmo (fn. 2) for the camp, and having since had no means of going safely ; as the horsemen of Bergen scour about everywhere, and it is hardly possible to escape them. But the return of the cavalry of this place is hourly expected, and as soon as they arrive, M. de Champagney has promised me an escort of twenty lances. Even if I had gone with Secretary Cosmo, it would probably have availed little for the advancement of my business, as he only arrived at the camp the day after Grave surrendered, when the Prince was so fully occupied that he would have been little disposed to give audiences. Meanwhile, M. de Champagney has three times advised President Richardot and his Highness of my arrival, and that I bring with me enough to satisfy him to enter into communication with the Queen, if he will be pleased to send the personage as he promised ; and has asked to know how I might be sent safely ; the answer to which is expected every hour. The Prince passing by this town on his way to the camp brought to M. de Champagney the King's patent, appointing him Chef des Finances (a very high office, not usually given to any save to the chief knights of the order of the Fleece) and confirming him in the government of this place. I find him as desirous for a good peace as it is possible to say ; but he cannot show it unless some ground be given him for writing of it to the King and to his brother in Spain. To show you how zealously he has sought occasion to make an opening for the said communication, I send you copies of two letters which he has written to the Earl [of Leicester], and which he gave to me to read, supposing that his Excellency would have sent them to her Majesty ; not having forgotten the favours received from her, and nothing in the world being more pleasing to him than to be able to serve her, and to be the instrument for coming to a good accord ; offering to employ all his powers, provided that he may have some small ground to show that he is not moved for his own sake to take part in this business, being already by many too much suspected. Therefore if her Majesty would write him three lines, on his kindness shown daily to the English and his reported goodwill to her service, and that she has always known him to be wellinclined, especially when he lately treated with her (which she might say she holds in memory), it would suffice to incline him to work with his Highness, and to employ his brother to do good offices with the King ; all with reputation to her Majesty, as truly seeking nothing, together with President Richardot (also a Burgundian) save to pacify those countries with these, to reunite them as in times past, and to free them from foreign soldiers. Not having had letters from the Camp for some days either from their being too much engaged, or that the messengers have been takenhe does not know which way his Highness will take. I believe that shortly important matters will not be wanting whereof to give notice to your Excellency,Antwerp, 14 June, 1586, stilo novo. Postcript. Since writing the above, a letter is come from Genoa of the 7th of this month, telling of the arrival there of the Spanish galleys, with a million and more of gold for the war here. [The following is in cipher, very closely written, with decipher interlined. A copy of the decipher is attached to the letter.] And that the King of Spain had forbidden goods of any sort to go out of Spain or Portugal to England, or any English merchandise to come into their ports. War is much feared, and they are diligently arming everywhere. I see by letters shown to me that all the kingdoms of Spain have offered the King aid and service in order to revenge themselves upon England. Amongst other things, he [Champagney] has said to me that he conceives it to be not only a great evil for England to have so long delayed to get into communication, but that all these countries will run into such calamity as is most feared and be absolutely under the government of strangers. And as the said Champagney was speaking with me very confidentially, he went so far as to say that he fears the Prince of Parma may not be inclined to send anyone to England, because they had intelligence from France (written thither from England) that the Prince was about to send some one, but that the Queen only pretended to desire an accord in order to mock at them ; which matter had also been shown to Lanfranchi (under date May 4 and 6) saying that the Queen had caused it to be said to that King that she desired an accord ; and that a person would be sent to her, whom she would make a show of feeding with hopes, and go on treating in that way, without the idea of doing anything ; all which I beg may be kept secret, or I should fall into great trouble. [Here the cipher ends.] I send your lordship a copy of what was written to M. de Champagney of the taking of Grave. [See p. 695 of vol. xx. of this Calendar.] It was believed that his Highness might turn towards Arnhem, the principal town of Gueldres, where the Earl of Leicester was. God dispose all things for good, and send us peace ! Tomorrow morning I set out to go to his Highness, the horsemen having arrived last night ; and by what Richardot writes to Champagney I hope that by God's help the matter will succeed better than is expected ; it being negociated from hence by letters from the said Champagney, who would favour me warmly, and act with good sense in the business. Antwerp, 17 June, 1586. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 2 pp. [Flanders I. 86.]
Annexed. The decipher above mentioned. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. 86a.]
I wrote yesterday by way of Calais as also on the 4th by the courier, Bon Compagnio. Now other letters have come to M. de Champagney from the Sieur Richardot, saying they will be glad to see me, upon which I have told the captain of the cavalry that I should need an escort of twenty horses and lances. I cannot start until tomorrow, both because of putting the soldiers in order, and to give time for M. de Champagney to write. So far as I can tell by these last letters, his [qy. Richardot's] intentions are good enough for me to hope for some favour ; and his support, together with the letters of credence which I shall carry with me from M. Champagney and some of the chief men of the land, my friends (all of whom have influence with M. de Richardot) will be of great assistance to me, [the next part in cipher, deciphered, and with copy annexed] in removing some suspicion which they have that the Queen is not acting fairly with his Highness (by the advices from France of which I told you in my last) ; although I judge them to belong to the same school as that supposed to be from Champagney to the Queen, as to which I have with much emphasis made plain the contrary. And if it please God that he should be sent, I am very sure that the Queen would find in time that no one in the world would be able to do her more grateful or worthy service. But as he himself is doubtful in the matter, so I also have my fears, not only because of the high rank he holds, being made chief of the finances of the King in all these countries ; but also from the jealousy which some here still have of him, that being a Burgundian he will wish too much to favour the cause ; as indeed he does desire to do what he can, that the countries being freed from the foreign soldiers, affairs made be put once again into the state they were in, in the past ; all his thoughts and desires tending to no other object. And likewise President Richardot, also a Burgundian, who as I believe your lordship knows was for a long time in Spain with Cardinal Granvelle, by whose persuasion the king sent him to the Prince of Parma ; and he found him a man of such worth that he let him manage everything save matters of war ; and both one and the other seek to work for putting all things into quietness. [Here the cipher ends.] Meanwhile we wait to see what God will let come to pass for his own glory and the general welfare. It is believed that Venlo will not make much head against his Highness, and, by what is seen and heard there seems nothing to prevent his quickly taking one place after another, all along the river. Finally, your lordship may rest assured that on my part, the loyalty which I owe to you will not be wanting, and if affairs have not the success which I desire (and hope for) it will at least be some satisfaction to me to have endeavoured it pro virile with all the earnestness possible, leaving the issue thereof to God.Antwerp, 18 June, 1586, stilo novo. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 p. [Flanders I. 87.]
Annexed. The decipher above alluded to. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. p. [Ibid. 87a.]
Having appointed Mr. Digges to go over into England with the rest for making up the accounts, and supposed he had been gone long since, I now find that he stays to deal with the States about some matters wherein I see not that he shall do any good, for the States (before dispatching with him) would have a general muster, which is impossible, as the companies (by reason of the accidents of Grave) are dispersed into divers places, and even if together, there could not be a general muster without general pay. Wherefore I send him away presently, that your lordships may be satisfied in things of more present importance.Bommell, 8 June. It may please you to consider the poor soldiers' necessities here, that they may be relieved. Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. p. [Holland VIII. 77.]
I have not wished to lose the opportunity of your man going over to you, to offer my humble services both to her Majesty and to your honour, which I would fain do both with my body and my life if I can once get out of this unhappy prison, in which these "Messieurs" are obstinately determined to let me waste away, without any respect to the favourable letters of her Majesty and his Excellency on my behalf, to whom I freely acknowledge that I owe my life and honour ; hoping, ay, being confident, that by their continuation I shall shortly obtain my much longed for deliverance, in spite of the machinations of my adversaries, which you will understand fully both from Mr. Ambassador Heneage (Hennits) and this bearer ; by whom also you will hear the news of this country, whereof in this dark and solitary prison I could give you but a poor account. Middelbourg, 18 June, 1586, stilo novo. Signed. Add. Endd. Fr. 1 p. [Holland VIII. 78.]
June 10. Petition of the Merchants Adventurers, "touching the receiving of her Majesty's moneys here and answering the value thereof again in the Low Countries in the moneys there." First, as the angel now goes current there at 16s. 8d. and the English shilling at 20d. Flemish, that the same may be established by proclamation. That all other moneys of gold and silver that hereafter shall go current there may be proclaimed to go answerably to the English angel and shilling, rateably to what they are found to hold in fine gold or silver. And that in any new coinage made, the standard may be set there uprightly, "so as 33s. 4d. Flemish may justly answer 20s. English." That then, for 20,000l. delivered here may be paid again there to her Majesty's use 20,000l. and 20,000 marks Flemish ; and so no loss to her Majesty nor to us, saving what may "turn upon us by reason of the difficulty that will be to provide money there." And as to provide so large a sum suddenly would greatly hinder our trade, and (to the hurt of the whole commonwealth) bring down the prices of our country commodities : that half the money may be paid again in the Low Countries six weeks after being delivered here, and the other half at the end of six weeks more. Endd. with date. 1 p. [Ibid. 79.]


  • 1. Added by Burghley.
  • 2. Cosmo or Cosimo Massi.