Elizabeth: September 1586, 11-20

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: September 1586, 11-20', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 155-162. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp155-162 [accessed 14 April 2024]


September 1586, 11-20

The enclosed letters for you were brought to Utrecht, addressed to the camp, and "lest in your absence they should become good prize," I thought good to stay them and return them to you in England. News here there are none, save that our 2000 reiters with 3000 foot are at Breame and marching to us with all speed. "How welcome they are to the country (already far surcharged), you know as well as myself." If you do not procure my coming home by Michaelmas, I shall be half undone. And if (as I think) you do not wish to come hither, I pray you send William Herle. You have left behind you an honourable opinion which I will confirm to my best. "If ever God and her Majesty allot you hither, you will find yourself very welcome to all that are honest ; which is a good comfort to all that are to negotiate in a strange country...." "New fears do here daily breed new discourses ; viz : that our excessive charge here of our great camp was to cause towns to revolt unto us ; but now that charge will be lost (though we overthrow the Prince) for that we have lost the opinion of justice." May God turn all to the best. When you take order for your own money in the hands of young Smith deceased, I beseech you also make a little provision for mine. "I pray you take your pleasure of my poor pleasures at Clapham, where though you find a widow's life and cold cheer in mine absence, yet if you vouchsafe to hasten me home, I will make amends with philosopher's cheer and free discourse. Utrecht, 12 September. Postscript. "Little Dannet is not yet returned. Here come divers letters to his master, the which I would they were in his hands. I beseech you inquire secretly whether her Majesty did indeed write to the Count Newenar touching the banishing of them of Utrecht. Here are many things fathered upon her Majesty, which if it be not so it is great pity," for it may do great harm if she mean to take on her the sovereignty. Add. to Wilkes "at the court or at his house in Cornwall." Signed. Endd. 1 p. [Holland X. 15.]
(1). We have looked for your return these six weeks, which is why we have not advertised you of occurrences here. You have doubtless heard "of the erection of the Finances for the better husbanding of the money furnished by the countries," of which Jacques Ringout is treasurer. As also that Mr. Paulus Buys was imprisoned at Utrecht and certain persons whom we have always esteemed, and yet esteem true and faithful to their native country, commanded to void the town : That we and the deputies of Zeeland (finding ourselves much aggrieved by his Excellency's placcard, concluded without our knowledge on April 4), have sought moderation thereof you will see by the Remonstrance hereto annexed, upon which he has resolved to our contentment, but the resolution not effectually performed, as Ringout and Steven Peret vaunt themselves. Our remonstrance on other points you will see by the second paper enclosed and what resolutions are taken thereupon. If these are not better observed, we shall be driven once more to make remonstrance to his Excellency. M. Wilkes, her Majesty's ambassador has been particularly informed by the Council of State of the good endeavours of the provinces and namely those of Holland in performing all that was promised as well in obedience as in furnishing of moneys, for his Excellency has not only received all sums due, "but likewise dealt upon the months to come," both for victuals and money. We have informed his Excellency that we contribute as much as is possible, and therefore hope that her Majesty, upon Mr. Wilkes' report will augment her promised succours, and with the first, make over some good sums for maintenance of the camp ; for else it is to be feared the great number of troops in the countries "will much sooner work the utter ruin and decay than the defence of the same, for of unpaid men no service is to be had." His Excellency and all the lords, both English and of these countries have been in the field three weeks, with intent to raise the siege of Berck, but the German horsemen not coming so soon as looked for, his Excellency besieged and got Doesborrow and certain places in or about the quarter of Zutphen. We trust, on the arrival of the German horsemen (which we look for from hour to hour) more good exploits will be done, "but without money, men cannot be kept in office." Doubtless you know of the imprisonment of Steven Perret, a man who "played bankrupt" more than twenty years ago, has often been imprisoned for debt, and has been driven to make open cession and resignment of all his goods. For making a seditious libel, in 1583, which was printed in Antwerp, he was condemned to do public penance, whereupon he was released. But presently "he set his spirit awork again, and by letters of Ringout, employed the same against those that were in the country's service, anno '84." After leaving Antwerp upon its yielding up, when Ringout was in England, he corresponded with him. Shortly after the coming of his Excellency, he sought all means to bring him into suspicion by the Estates of the country ; propounding many novelties to him for levying of money, wherein he shamefully slandered the States by injurious and untrue reports. After Ringout's arrival here, he hath found means to get in better credit by his Excellency, and laying their heads together, they agreed in April last that whatever they got by anything propounded to his Excellency should be divided between them. He sought of his Excellency the twentieth penny of all yielded by his pretended inventions, and Ringout drew up an octroi or warrant, and got his Excellency to sign and seal it, without knowledge of the Council or secretaries, that he should have the thirtieth penny. "They have also taken great pains to charge the course of the common means which so laudably and with such great trouble by authority of his Excellency of worthy memory [were] brought in train, and so to bring it into collectation, thereby to intrude themselves....to farm any of the said general means." They have also travailed by all means to set misunderstanding between his Excellency and the Estates and the Council of State and so to get him to do what served their intent, "applying unto themselves and their friends....many offices and receipts." All this we have imparted to Mr. Wilkes, that he may show her Majesty and her Council what these two spirits are ; and have also sent deputies to his Excellency, with request to have Ringout also imprisoned "and the law pass over them both as disturbitors of the common peace and estate of the country....It seemeth that the proceedings begun at Utrecht which they have vaunted shall go forward in all places, are wrought by the advice of these and like spirits." We would gladly know if you do not mean to come over, that we may take better order for our correspondence with you.The Hague, 22 September, 1586. Signed C. de Rechtere. Postscript. Desiring him to aid John Simons, skipper of Amsterdam, touching his goods, "robbed" by a pirate named William Wyse, from the ship called the Great Culenborch, in which their "brother in Council," Dirick Jhonson Louck is a partner. English translation, 3 pp. [Holland X. 16 I.]
(2) "Demonstrations of those of Holland and Zeeland unto his Excellency concerning the navigation and negotiation." English translation, 7 pp. [Ibid. 16 II.] [Calendared from a Dutch copy under its date, July 16/26. See p. 88, supra.]
(3). "Articles set down by the States of Holland and the deputies of Zeeland unto his Excellency, favourably to consider of the placcard of the navigation." (fn. 2) 1. Pray him to consider that the prosperity of their countries depends upon the maintenance of navigation, whereby their trade of merchandises and handicrafts are carried on ; so that if it ceased, Holland and Zeeland would be the miserablest of the Low Countries, as his Excellency will more at large understand by their "Demonstrations." So that if in time their subjection and contributions to their princes and governors have been given on condition of being allowed free navigation both east and west, it being understood that without it, their State could not have been maintained and consequently they could have paid no contribution.
They well understand that the Interdiction to frequent or traffic into the Low Countries held by the enemy is not only against the inhabitants of these countries but all nations, and so make no difficulty in regard thereto.
2. Even so they are resolved (though to the great prejudice of the countries) to make no difficulty "of the Interdiction done to the inhabitants of these countries not to traffic in any haven of Portugal, Spain or other in possession of the enemy, so as her Majesty's pleasure be to make the like Interdiction unto her subjects and execute the same."
3. But considering that she does not think good to hinder the inhabitants of France, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Eastland and other countries from navigation into Spain, Portugal and other havens held by the enemy to the westward of France ; and that those countries cannot themselves hinder it without her authority and aid ; so that the inhabitants thereof will bring (as they have already begun to do) all sort of merchandises into Spain, &c., and from thence to the neighbouring countries, and will pass by these lands, (which from their situation have been as a barn and warehouse for these goods) and consequently that the interdict will not prejudice the enemy but only affect these lands which will be deprived of their shipping, merchants, sea-faring men, cunning artificers and almost all those who depend upon the sea-traffic and trade : (fn. 3) it is necessary in all equity and for the preservation of these countries that the placcard should be modified, and that the aforesaid people should bring the said merchandize into these countries as is permitted in England.
4. It is also right and reasonable that the inhabitants of these countries, who heretofore have traded into Spain &c., and who through the arrest of their goods in Spain, have not been able to get their goods and outstanding debts, should be allowed to receive the said goods again in these lands, without their being subject to arrest and confiscation, according to the said placcard.
5. Likewise it is needful for the conservation of these countries that all goods, as well victuals as others, brought from strange countries hither, may be carried into allied and neutral countries, both by the inhabitants of these countries and strangers, upon such convoy money as shall be agreed upon.
6. Otherwise, such goods not being allowed to come in, not only would the enemy have no hindrance, but these countries, and others by means thereof would come into penury and lack of such goods, as daily is found by experience. Also, by this placcard, rye, in this country, has gone up from forty-seven gulden to sixty-three.
7. Touching the export of grain and munition to allied and neutral countries, the States agree that his Excellency should license or prohibit it, at his discretion.
8. But they would have such export to be allowed not by licence but only by convoy-money, as during these wars for divers reasons has been customary ; albeit the convoy-money of any goods brought into places very near the enemy may be brought higher, as, to convoy the vessels to the said places, more ships of war must be maintained.
9. They understand that the present state of affairs requires that double certificates, bills of lading and charter-parties must be used for those who trade into France, because the inhabitants of these countries have suffered reprisals and arrests by the French ships of war, both of the French King and the King of Navarre ; so that touching the same, some modification ought also to be made.
10. It is also to be noted that most of the great ships of these countries, are already sold and out of these lands ; by means of the publication and execution of the placcard, and that these countries have always occupied themselves with building, buying and selling of ships, wherein the wealth of some of the towns of Holland doth wholly consist ; so that the interdiction of buying and selling of ships is not serviceable but hurtful.
11. And they cannot think it well that the poor fishermen, who in peril and hazard catch their fish and herring at sea at great charges, should be forbidden to bring them into other countries, to their undoing and contrary to solemn promise, if they should be hindered directly by staying or indirectly by so intolerable burdens as imports no other than a direct interdiction.
12. They do not think it convenient that any placcard for navigation should be made or published otherwise than provisionally, as war brings many alterations.
13. In like manner they hold that in consideration of the export of fish, herrings, butter and cheese, which of old time have been accounted as the mines of Holland, and which are taken or made in such numbers by the inhabitants of these countries that of some the hundredth and of others the fiftieth part cannot be consumed therein, so that they must be wasted if not transported, it is absurd that the export of these goods into allied or neutral countries should be restrained under pretext that they would be transported to the enemy, for it is not likely that, so resolute an enemy who can well provide himself with victuals, and has all France and Germany from whence to draw what he needs could by such means be brought to reason.
14. To prevent the dearth of butter and cheese in these countries order should be taken that so soon as a half barrel of butter should reach the price of 52 shillings sterling, and a hundred-weight of cheese, 14 shillings sterling, (fn. 4) which is a reasonable price, the transportation thereof might be stayed.
15. Upon all which points the States and deputies aforesaid pray his Excellency to have a favourable regard, protesting that in the moderation sought by them they have no other thought than the furtherance of the service of her Majesty and his Excellency and the conservation of the state of these countries, which, they are assured, without moderation of the said placcard must fall into uttermost ruin and misery. English translation. 4 pp. [Holland X. 16 III.] [The original Dutch version printed in Bor, bk. XXI, f 46.]
(4). Remonstrance by the States of Holland and deputies of Zeeland to his Excellency, concerning certain points of the treaty between her Majesty and the Low Countries. English translation. 7 pp. [Ibid. 16 IV.] [Calendared already from a French copy. See p. 90 supra.]
The enclosed being written to her Majesty by Count Edzard about some private cause recommended to him by my Lord of Leicester, wherein he finds himself grieved by my Lord's usage of him ; and we being unacquainted with the matter, I desire to understand what you know of the said cause, "and that you will set down a brief extract, out of the enclosed declarations, of the substance thereof."Windsor, 15 September, 1586. Copy. Endd. p. [Ibid. 17.]
Sept. 18/28. JOHN GILLES to THOMAS STOOCKES, merchant of London.
"By yours I understand of the great threatening of our cause, and how dangerous it should be for me to come into Zeeland. I am sorry, for I shall not be able to do the good service I would, nor to maintain my poor family, if I must lose my trade. [Concerning certain speeches which he had been persuaded to make by one who is of kin to his Excellency. Mentions the Lady Arenburg and "Sir Francis"]. For news, about eight days ago there was a small skirmish between our men and the English, "so as the Prince lay underfoot, but after the coming in of his horsemen, the matter went hard, and....there is three ships with hurt men brought to Maestricht and to 'Ackon' [Aachen]. For certain in the camp hath been a great mutiny, for money and for victuals, so as two Spaniards of good house are beheaded and one High Dutch captain." The Prince was in great danger in the mutiny. The town of Bergen is said to be in some distress, but the Prince is risen from it, leaving three strong bulwarks, "and with them the beseiged to 'hough' it out, but I hope God will assist them," The Hollanders have sought to rescue it by water, but of ten ships of war they lost five. Forty mariners are gone hence to man the ships and twelve good pilots are going overland to Hamborow to bring certain ships to Calais, Dunkirk or Newport, which are laden with corn by merchants of this town. They are all assured, so if one of three come in the merchants shall gain. The dreath grows daily greater ; wine at 40s. the verdell [i.e. quarter] and wheat at 50s. the [? cwt.]. The Prince has drawn his camp nearer Wesel, to be better victualled and near the Hollanders' camp. Some think he will fight ; others that he will not so venture all, "for all the country depends but upon one overthrow, for there are no towns victualled and the whole country gapes for a better world, they care not which way." Doesbourg is taken by the English and it is reported that his Excellency lies before Zutphen (Sytfyn) and that the Prince is gone to recover Doesbourg, but I think not. Here is extraordinary news from England, but by what means we know not. The Dutch post went first to 'Carrel Lanfranches' [Carlo Lanfranchis] and was there two hours before any merchant in the town knew of it. There ought to be some regard taken of some conference in the town of Ameence [Amiens] (fn. 5) in France, for there assemble, all the spies, to wit out of Italy, from Paris, out of these countries, out of England and Scotland and from all parts....and there are all things concluded and shut. There come to this town daily soldiers, Walloons....which make up all the ancients [i.e. ensigns or companies] full both in this town and all other places. What the meaning is we know not. Also all entertainers and soldiers, Scots, and Englishmen and of all sorts are warned to go to the camp. There would [i.e. should] be some order taken for our English soldiers, for they run away from Barrow [Bergen] to Breda and so come through this town, with ten, twenty, thirty at a time ; and as many as comes, "Dragonne" (fn. 6) gives them passport and sends them through France away to Calais and other places. They 'would' [i.e. should] be talked with in England, for it is a great shame....There is one William Mydeltonne, which is a great dealer with one Hugh Owen. Yet was this Mydeltonne about five months past with his Excellency, and.... hath sent certain things to his Excellency by one Hans van op Bergen. This Opbergen is but a spy for some on this side, and he is now in Holland." The matter should be looked into. "Here begins persecution again, for a professor of the Lutherian's religion is taken upon sufferance of preachers in his house and christening of children. The man is sore 'pyned' [qy. pained i.e. tortured] and hath confessed much, so as he is like to die for it. Ca[pt]. Pygot remains still prisoner in the castle of Gaunt, and we know not what will become of him. It is done upon [torn] the running away of two or three Englishmen without passport." I earnestly pray you to let me have a letter to his Excellency or to "Justinus or Morysyous" [i.e. the Counts Justin and Maurice], for passing 20 verdels of corn for my house. It will be to victual my own house only and I doubt not but that those who show me the favour will shortly think it well bestowed. "If our friends need anything from hence, either disbursing of money or tapestry, spare me not for I can do it....[for] though my ability be small, I have good friends. "There would [i.e. should] be respect had to Andres de Loo, for I know there is dealings between him and 'Lanfrancke.' I could wish some good answer concerning the lady of Arenberghe, for that is the mean to pass other matters. "The force of the Prince for certain is but 3000 Spaniards, mingled with divers nations, which are his chiefest footmen, and many musketeers among them ; more 4000 Walloons and 2000 Germans. So as 9000 foot is the most ; and for horsemen 30 cornets, most Albenes and Spaniards. These are the lances that he doth trust unto. Ten cornets Walloons and Netherlanders ; this is all. And every cornet is sore diminished, for from 60, they are come to 30 in a cornet, one with another. "For this two or three days, since the news of the coming of the post and of the treason revealed in England, they are sore discouraged ; and this day news is come that Sutfine is like to give over and that those of 'Gertogenbourg' hear the cannon play at it. Also....that the Prince of Portingale's son is sent for into England, to take some enterprise in hand. This news our English Catholics have, but I have not seen the like discouragement on this side among the Italians. Now is time, if we had men in Flanders." Again I pray you to remember my corn, and the Lady Arenborg's matter, as also my boy. Postscript. The host's name in 'Amyence' is called Jan Couverner at the sign of the Cardinal. There all spies resort." Dated in headline. Endd. as "answered 5 November." 3 pp. [Flanders I. 96.]
Recommending the bearer, Richard Smith, who "being aged and weak for service" and an old servant of her Majesty, is a humble suitor to her "for a knight's room in Windsor."Camp before Zutphen, 20 September, 1586. Postscript in his own hand. This poor man has painfully served her Majesty in the wars, and "seeing so many less worthy persons do come to those reliefs, I pray you be good to this man that hath deserved so well." Add. Endd. p. [Holland X. 18.]


  • 1. This and the following translations are all in the same hand and numbered(last eduka) 14 ; the others being evidently enclosures mentioned in this letter.
  • 2. Probably a translation of the "further points annexed" mentioned in their Remonstrance of July 16-26. See p. 90 supra.
  • 3. The sense of this passage (and some others) has been taken from the original in Bor. The translator, having missed the words "dese landen," gives only a very confused rendering.
  • 4. In the original Dutch version, 26 and 7 gulden respectively.
  • 5. Margin. "Kept till the 30th of September."
  • 6. i.e. Mondragon, now governor of Antwerp. This fixes the place from which Gilles writes.