Elizabeth: November 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: November 1586, 1-10', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 214-223. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp214-223 [accessed 21 April 2024]


November 1586, 1-10

Having miraculously recovered my health somewhat, I presume to let your honour know the little appearance I, your poor and faithful servant see as yet of my liberty, though often I receive most comfortable letters, "yea already 50l. sterling," from Sir Fras. Walsingham. It is about nine weeks since Mr. Bodenham came from the Prince of Parma, and told me that the governor of Dordrecht's son, prisoner in Luxembourg under the old Count of Mansfelt, (fn. 1) was by no means to be exchanged with me for Pedro Cibiur, desiring me to write the same to Sir Francis and beseech him that Cibiur might be presently sent to Calais, for my relaxation and some other Englishmen here prisoner ; saying he himself would write also. I accordingly wrote and gave the letters to him to be sent, which was done, though before they came to Mr. Secretary's hands, Cibiur was already sent to my lord of Leicester, as I have learnt by a letter of October 10 from his honour to me, "advertising me besides that he had written to Bodenham to procure that I might be set at a reasonable ransom. After my often sending unto Bodenham to come to me he came, but I found him no way desirous or willing that I should enjoy my liberty till Cibiur enjoy his. I find by Mr. Secretary's letters that he is persuaded I receive great favours and friendship of this 'renegat' and double Bodenham ; but I do daily, to my great pain and grief, taste and see the contrary, and shall yet more, I fear. To induce him to some good and short end, as well for Cibiur his friend as for me, I told him that if he would obtain me leave of this governor, that I might repair to your honour, I would here take my oath, either to set Cibiur free at liberty or to yield myself here a prisoner again." He agreed, but demanded sureties for 10,000 French crowns, in case either 'willingly' or by any accident I should not return. A friend here, Thomas Beale, a merchant, offered to pledge body and goods for me, but his goods did not amount to so much and he was refused. I have prayed him to trouble no more about it ; "his friendship hath been such towards me in this my misery, as I shall be beholding to him so long [as] I live." Perceiving Bodenham's double dealings, I desired to hear the Governor speak, "who at my request came unto me, and told me in few words that I deceived myself to hope for my liberty in exchange of Cibiur. True it was (said he) that at the first, if promise had been kept in England, I had been long since at liberty, but now....Cibiur was in the Governor of Dordrecht's house, kept only to release his son." Moreover, he had order from the Prince to keep me till he had further direction. I begged him to solicit for this, and he promised to do it, seeming to pity my miserable case. Bodenham maintains the contrary of all this and whom to believe I know not, and must leave the whole to the Almighty. If your honour would hasten my liberty, "it is but to send a trumpeter to the Prince of Parma to demand of his Highness what he will resolve of me ; for these men may not of themselves exchange or ransom me," and if I should be ransomed they hope to have thousands of me. I am of nothing more sorry than that I cannot as I would yield you faithful service, but hope my daily prayers for you will be heard.—Prison at Dunkirk, 1 November, 1586, stilo antiquo. Postscript. By Dr. Josephus Michely, who departed in July last I wrote to you of a matter touching Capt. Brakenbury and one Thomas Trent, the bearer of these. He is released, friends here being sureties that within half a year he will send the money for his charges. I doubt not you have had conference with him, but how you or his Excellency like of it, I know not. He is poor, but I believe right honest, and able to do good service. Here has been long prisoner one William Shaping, ship's master of Margate, who, when his ransom came not, had great irons fastened to his legs. If serving in a man of war, he might by his skill and perfect knowledge of this coast annoy these towns ; and hearing that the captain of a man of war of this town, with many soldiers and sailors are prisoners at Ostend or Flushing, I pray you to deliver to this bearer either the captain or one or two others, sufficient to release him. Trent may safely come hither again, by whom I may know your pleasure. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Flanders I. 100.]
[Concerning an estimate which is not complete, but of which his lordship shall shortly receive a more correct copy. Money paid or imprested to certain companies of horse and foot.] Being come to Middelbourg "yesternight," he is employing himself to the receipt of her Majesty's treasure, and the money due from the merchants. Has this day received a letter from the Lord General for the disbursement of money to victual the ships and pinnaces here attending his lordship. As he is to see it done by tomorrow or next day, he guesses his lordship's coming will be speedy.—Middelburg, 3 November, 1586. Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. Holland XI. 1.]
I cannot express my sorrow at the lamentable accident to M. de Sidney, or venture to come to you, fearing to renew your grief, and knowing well what your State and your honour and your family on the one hand, and we ourselves on the other have lost in a person so well-beloved and from whom so much was to be expected. But I am assured that your wisdom and patience will bow to God's will, and the rather that he has died in that cause. If I can in any way do you or Madame your daughter service with the States General or individuals, I beg you to command me. I send you letters just received from the Admiralty of Zeeland, in reply to those to them from your honour and others of her Majesty's Council ; praying you to peruse them at your convenience and to lend a helping hand in the affairs of M. Treslong, assisting the poor gentleman with your usual kindness, that he may at last emerge from his calamities and miseries. Touching the coming of the deputies, Messieurs Valk and Menyn, as also of other occurrences in Holland, I have as yet no particulars. So far no vessels have arrived from thence, but they are hourly expected, when I will not fail to advertise you of all worthy your knowledge.—London, 3 November, 1586. Add. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Holland XI. 2.]
[A long letter of sympathy on the death of Sir Philip Sydney.] His great humanity and gentleness, both to themselves and to all the inhabitants of their town ; treating them so affably, guarding them from the oppressions and outrages which war so often brings, cause them to be infinitely indebted to his honour, to Madame their governess, his daughter, and all his house. Know not how to offer consolation having so much need of it themselves ; for they are left as sheep without a shepherd, turning hither and thither, and not being able to persuade themselves that they will ever again have such a lord for their governor, or knowing how they can subsist without him. Hope that, having received such incomparable benefits from his honour without asking for them, he will not now forsake them but will embrace their cause the more straightly, that their cruel enemy may not have reason to believe that he has gained his end. Wherefore they pray him to lend his helping hand, that her Majesty may please to provide them with a gentleman of quality and fitting for the place. They learn that when their Governor was leaving them to go to the war, being asked on behalf of her Majesty, the United Provinces and this town, what should be done in case of any disaster happening to him, he gave for answer that in such case, he knew no lord or gentleman better qualified or more proper to succeed him than Mr. Thomas Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford ; making a long recital of his good qualities and gifts. Have also heard that he had a very high opinion of Mr. Edward Dyer. They do not wish to press his honour, but pray him favourably to remember their town, that it may be provided with such a governor as the interest of her Majesty and its own welfare requires.—Flushing, 13 [qy. 14] November, 1586. Signed, A. Oillarts. Add. Endd. Fr. 1¼ p. [Ibid. XI. 3.]
The favours it has pleased your honour to show to the United Provinces in general and this town in particular encourage us to turn to you at this time when we find ourselves in as great perplexity as has ever happened, confident that you will help us. There is no need to narrate the valour and noble virtues of the Baron de Sidney our governor ; his high courage in the face of the enemy, causing him oftentimes to regret that he was not always there ; how by day and night he studied means to enterprise something against the said enemy ; his humility in accommodating himself to all, both small and great ; with what kindness and gentleness he received all complaints made to him, and defended the inhabitants of the town from oppressions and outrages. We know how you esteemed him ; we know, and alas, feel what we have lost, and have no hope of remedy, if our remedy is to have one like unto himself. And we should greatly fear the result, were it not that our said Lord, when leaving us for the last time, recommended as his successor, in case anything happened to him, M. Thomas Russel, being assured that among all the gentlemen who followed his Excellency, none was better qualified for this place, if it please her Majesty to commit it to him. The name of his father, the late Earl of Bedford is pleasing to all who make profession of religion, and the report of his humanity and gentleness flies through all these provinces. Or otherwise, Mr. Edward Dyer is a man of such quality and experience as your honour well knows. Leaving the whole to your wise discretion, and humbly praying you to use your accustomed favour to this town, and to lend a helping hand that the place of our late governor of noble memory may be so filled, that the service of her Majesty and the welfare of these poor provinces and this town may be provided for.—Flushing, 14 November, 1586. Signed, A. Oillart. Add. Endd. Fr. 1¼ pp. [Holland XI. 4.]
This bearer, Dr. Bartholomew Clerck, one of her Majesty's Council here, having important business of his own in England, I licenced him to go over a month ago ; but the States entreating that he and their commissioners might go over together, he has waited till now. As however his affairs require his speedy departure, and myself, upon important causes to be imparted to her Majesty, meaning to repair presently into England, and the deputies with me, I send him to give you knowledge of our "present following."—The Hague, 4 November, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. XI. 5.]
Nov. 5/15. "Breve Remonstance du droict par la Chevallerie, Nobles et villes d'Hollande et Westfrize de toute ancienneté usité audict pays, pour le maintenement des franchises, preeminences, privileges et louables usances d' icelluy pays." "Imprimee en Flaming au temps du Gouvernement du Conte de Leicestre et traduit en François par ung Conseilier d' Estat du pays avec des Annotations sur quelquez articlez de la dicte Remonstrance quotisés a la merge qui sont dignes de consideration. Et en la derniere page se trouvera ung aultre petit discours contenant l' origine des Estats du pays bas et leur authorité par ung aultre Autheur." [The first part is dated from Haerlem, Oct. 16, 1586, "By ordinance of the States of Holland," and signed by C. de Rechtere. The second part is dated November 15, 1586.] MS. copy of the printed pamphlet. Endd. by Burghley. "16 October, 1586. This is also printed 15 November, 1586" ; and by the secretary "The Remonstrance of those of Holland and Westfriseland touching their liberties and privileges." 14 pp. [Holland XI. 6.]
Nov. 6/16. Ordinance of the Earl of Leicester for publishing and putting into effect the articles concerning the union of the Churches. His Excellency—being assured that all or the most part of the States of the United Provinces, according to the zeal they have always borne to the honour of God and the true Christian Religion, will approve of the acts and articles drawn up by the last synod at the Hague, and that these are already put in effect in many places—has, upon ripe deliberation by those of the Council thought fit, by these presents to ordain and decree that the said acts and articles shall be put into effect throughout all the said Provinces and inviolably observed ; And commands his said Council of State to have this done as soon as possible. Without prejudice however in the future to the right of each province in particular if any should claim it upon the institution or representation of the ministers, schoolmasters or otherwise, that each shall remain as they were before, without being anywise prejudiced by the same.—The Hague, 16 November, 1586. Signed by Leicester and countersigned by Gilpin. Extract certified as correct by Aerrsens. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. XI. 7.]
Another copy of the above, in Leicester's Letter Book [S.P.F. Archives XC. p. 29.]
Nov. 7/17. PIETRO BIZARI to WALSINGHAM. From the singular reverence which I have for long felt for the Earl of Leicester, and for the great worth of your noble son-in-law, Sir Philip Sydney, I have had printed an epigram and epitaph in praise of both, and although their arguments are different, they are contained in the same page. I send them to your honour in testimony of my good will towards them ; and at the same time pray you not to forget me as to the confirmation of my patent, by the favour of her Majesty ; and when obtained, to send it to Sir Emanuel Demitrio.—The Hague, 17 November, stilo novo. Postscript. I learn from Germany that the protestant Princes in the Diet lately held in Luneburg resolved to meet again towards the spring at Spire, to renew the Schmalcaldic League and to restore the banished of Augsburg ; to make the king of Denmark King of the Romans, and the Elector of Saxony General of the Camp. Endd. Italian. 1 p. [Holland XI. 8.]
Nov. 8/18. Regulation by his Excellency concerning the troops, before his departure towards England.—The Hague, 18 November, 1586. Fr. 1 p. [S.P. Foreign Archives XC. p. 79.]
Nov. 8/18. State of War, as well for the ordinary garrisons of the United Provinces, as also in order (if need be) to be able to draw some competent number into the field, or for other exploits of the war. Arrete by his Excellency before his departure for England. Total, 55,300 in garrison ; 18,500 can take the field ; 3,100 horse. The Hague, 18 November, 1586. [The original said to be signed by the Earl.] Fr. 12½ pp. [S.P. Foreign Archives XC., p. 80.]
Nov. 10/20. Orders taken by the Earl of Leicester and the Council of State for avoiding abuses in the musters by the captains &c. in regard to the following points :—
1. The neglect in passing musters when ordered.
2. Allowing their men to mix with those not in the service.
3. Giving passport without good reason or insufficiently signed.
4. Taking disbanded soldiers into their companies without due passports.
5. Men quitting their companies without passport and captains receiving the said men.
6. Receiving burghers of the garrison towns or men of foreign nations into their companies.
7. Receiving money for the pay of their soldiers and retaining part of it for themselves.
8. Disorders in levying contributions and "safe-guards" from the country subject to the enemy ; hindrances of passage of boats, merchandise &c. ; oppressions of those in the countries under their obedience &c.
9. Further orders concerning undue hindering of boats, merchandise &c.
10. And oppression of or exactions upon the inhabitants living in obedience.
11. The giving of patents by chiefs or governors for the change of garrisons unless in urgent necessity. The Hague, 20 November, 1586. Signed by Leicester and by Gilpin on behalf of the Council of State. Copy. Endd. Fr. 4¼ pp. [Holland XI. 9.]
Nov. [about the 10th?] Paper endorsed by Burghley's clerk "November, 1586. Things necessary to be considered in the office of the Muster-Master."
1. The checks being duly taken by the Muster Masters, there will be money enough to pay the field officers and to spare ; and it will enforce the captains to keep their companies full and and well furnished.
2. The entertainment of the Officers of the field not perfected and set down. The Muster-masters should have them enrolled in their books.
3. The lists or rates of her Majesty and for the voluntary companies to be made one.
4. The lists of her Majesty and the States to be all one, not only for daily pay of the soldiers, but the pay of captains and officers to be rateably set down.
5. Always provided that the Muster Masters of the English join with the Commissioners of musters for the country, to muster the Dutch and Scots together, to avoid deceits and for saving of the treasure.
6. To set down the daily pay of cannoneers and their rates, captains and officers. [Margin. Already done.]
7, 8. The same for the myoneers and pioneers.
9. "To cause only general coin to go by act or proclamation at the same rates as they shall be received, and at one rate throughout these Low Countries. [Margin done already.] [With reasons given for some of the proposals.] 1½ pp. [Holland XI. 10.]
Nov. [about the 10th?] "Entertainment of the head Officers of the Army" in the United Provinces, being a list of Officers and officials, but without any figures attached to them. Dated by Burghley's clerk, "November 1586." 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 11.]
Nov. 10/20. Remonstrance to his Excellency by the States General, upon certain abuses during his government. 15 articles, with his apostiles thereupon. Dated 20 November, 1586. Copy. Fr. 15 pp. [Ibid. XI. 12.] [The substance of this is printed by Bor (bk. 22 f 264 b.) with a few variations.]
Another copy, in Leicester's Letter Book. [S.P.F. Archives XC., p. 31.]
[Nov. 10/20.] A brief, by Lord Burghley, of the above Remonstrance of the States to the Earl of Leicester, with his answers.
1. "That the numbers of 1000 horse and 8000 footmen promised by her Majesty may be filled up. That the States may be privy to their musters and payments. Answer. "The Earl hath had always a desire to satisfy these points, and requireth that some persons qualified on the part of the States may have regard thereto.
2. (fn. 2) "That according to the 23rd article, there be no forces of strangers levied by the Earl as governor but with the consent of the States ; for they fear that otherwise the numbers may be more than the ordinary and extraordinary will suffice to pay them. They require that the numbers may be reduced to such order as the contributions may answer or else there will follow great confusion. Answer. "The Earl will reduce the numbers as required so as there may be money provided to pay ; for which purpose he requireth the States to enlarge their contributions.
3. That no governors of towns be named by the Governor, but upon the presentation of three names from the States, and that such as have been otherwise appointed be revoked. Answer. "He will revoke such as hath been so named by error and as touching [Colonels] Senoy and Cleerhaeghen (fn. 3) the Earl did but continue them, as they were appointed by the Prince of Orange.
4. "That discipline be set upon those soldiers who do now spoil the country and villages. That no soldiers do pass up and down but by conduct of some commissary, and that the offenders be punished. Answer. "The governor is sorry for that is past, and desireth that the Council of the State may give order to reform this, and to appoint a provost of the field or a "Rowede" [i.e. Ruward].
5. (fn. 4) "That the payment of the garrisons of the frontier towns having been smally paid these nine months may be better satisfied ; considering that a fourth part of the contributions of Holland and a half of Zeeland may suffice for the garrisons of those countries ..... Answer. "The States may well consider why the garrisons have not been better paid ; and for maintenance of such an army with its dependencies, and comparing the means that have been given it shall appear by the accounts that the money has been well employed. And hereafter order shall be given as far forth as the money will bear them.
6. "That no impositions be put upon any [of] the countries without the consent of the States ; contrary whereunto there has been an unequal repartition made upon the towns for the levy of chariots and pioneers, to the great surcharge of the same. And therefore they do require reimbursement for those expences according to the accord made for the 300,000 florins. Answer. "The Governor never meant to charge the country against their privileges, though he found cause of grief for lack of chariots and pioneers. And yet he hath done nothing without advice of the Estates, neither thinketh it reasonable to reimburse the money paid for the chariots, having not accepted their contributions but in case of need to be better succoured.
7. "For that it is contrary to their privileges and to the Pacification of Ghent that none of the inhabitants should be inquieted in justice but before their ordinary judges in the country, against which divers have been called before the Council and sent to others, and some also have been put to the inquisition and disposition of unknown persons, they require the same commissions may be revoked. Answer. "The Governor had never meaning to impeach the privileges and customs of the countries, but if he shall be duly informed, will give order for the remedy thereof, and that they shall be observed hereafter.
8. "That the public amity of the provinces may be maintained, and not diminished as of late it hath been at Utrecht within these four months. Therefore they require that the magistrates of all towns may be maintained in their amity. Answer. "This of Utrecht concerneth a matter in fact, the decision whereof may be ended by amiable conference betwixt the States and them of Utrecht.
9. "Where for these forty years the countries of Holland and Utrecht have been united, and that the government of Utrecht hath of late, before the government of the Earl, been separated from that of Holland : they require that the Count Maurice may be preferred to that of Utrecht, being governor of Holland. Answer. "This likewise would be remitted to the decision of the States General, and if there cannot be accorded, to be remitted to the Queen's Majesty.
10. "That the inhabitants of the country may be permitted to traffic freely to the countries allied and neutrals. Answer. "His Excellency will remit the consideration thereof to the Council of Estates to provide good order, so as regard may be had rather to public than particular."
Endd. by Burghley. "Remonstrance to the Earl of Leicester before his return, by the States." 3 pp. [Holland XI. 13.]


  • 1. The son of M. de Muys, bailly of Dordrecht. Count Peter Ernest of Mansfelt was governor of Luxemburg.
  • 2. In the "Remonstrance," the matter of the musters forms article 2 ; so that in the "Brief" each is thrown wrong. Also the last three articles are not included.
  • 3. Written "Elderhay" by Burghley.
  • 4. From this point the paper is in the handwriting of Burghley's secretary.