Elizabeth: November 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: November 1586, 11-20', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 223-239. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp223-239 [accessed 24 April 2024]

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November 1586, 11-20

Although I would not be importunate to your lordship, I cannot but pray you to give her Majesty the letter I have written to her, and also to communicate to her what I wrote to yourself. [On the desirability of a negotiation ; the importance of granting the Prince of Parma's condition concerning his envoy ; the scruple as to whether the said Prince has authority from the King to treat ; his friendship for her Majesty and sincerity in this business.] On the other hand, it being clear that the Queen is far from wishing to have differences with the king, and would not wish to do to him what she would not have him do to her, there is no doubt that a way being found for them to come to an understanding these two noble crowns would shortly embrace each other with the holy kiss of peace ; by means of which a new world would be born, the Burgundian mistress (amica), so long divorced, returning to the loving embraces of England, and new espousals being celebrated, as it were, between these realms and the afflicted Low Countries, they being free from foreign soldiers, and mutual commerce and free traffic re-established. Her Majesty may be assured that very different results will follow from treating by means of his Highness than by others who might be sent from Spain, there being no one there who, more than he, could influence the King ; and who, from his old affection to the Low Countries will do more than is imagined to pacify them. And as a good Prince, he will esteem himself happy, after so many wars, to be the author of so blessed a peace ; whereupon he may joyfully return to repose in his own dukedom. In conclusion, having promised his Highness to let him know her Majesty's mind as soon as possible, I pray your lordship to obviate the danger lest too long delay be ill-taken, and that orders may be given at Dover for a ship to go to fetch the personage who is to be sent ; knowing how eagerly they are awaiting the coming of good news. And as, from this great desire, on that side of the sea, there may arise a general talk of peace it is not to be expressed with what joy it would be received by all, and thus would follow the common saying, vox populi, vox dei.—London, 11 November, 1586. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1½ pp. [Flanders I. 101.]
My confidence in your Majesty's clemency giving me hope that you will not take amiss my poor writing and that your innate good disposition will lead you to be pleased to accept the proposal of the Prince for entering into a negotiation, I pray your Majesty, as soon as possible to make it manifest that if the Prince, in the name of the King, shall send in good earnest to treat you will give ear to it, and that the personage sent will be welcomed, with the intention of not giving up any honest means, both for the pacification of the Low Countries and for the safety of her own dominions, of making a firm peace between your Majesty and the King of Spain ; without allowing any doubt which you might feel about the authority of the Prince to retard so blessed a business. And if your Majesty would deign to give me credit to go on your behalf to satisfy this Prince of your good will God is my witness that I should be most faithful on my return in giving you a true account of what you might promise yourself in the matter. And if your Majesty may say that one must begin before one can finish ; I hold it for very certain that if the affair were once set afoot by the coming of the said personage, it would (as the Prince himself said to me) be very speedily brought to a conclusion..... I do not believe that he would undertake it without commission, and by all that I have seen and hear of him (as also what he ordered the President to say to me at the instant of my departure) I am very sure that on behalf of the King he will give your Majesty every satisfaction..... And for my part (poor worm as I am) if I had the riches and more than the riches of Crœsus, I would dare to venture both property and life in assuring your Majesty that—a way of entering into this treaty being once made—you will find the Prince entirely sincere, and that he will do very much to unite two such noble crowns in peace without giving you the least cause of mistrust in any thing, but will graciously consent that bonis avibus et auspiciis, some one shall shortly be sent to treat, as well for the repose of your royal person as for that of the commonwealth. —London, 12 November, 1586. Add. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. I. 102.]
Praying him, in giving the above letter to her Majesty, to use his influence that the matter may be done as quickly as possible, and not in such a way as to irritate again the healed wound of the offence taken by his Highness from her last letter. Having considered what his Lordship said yesterday, he believes that it will favour the business not now to stand on any scruple as to the Prince's authority, much less to go into particulars about the indemnity and other matters touching the States of the Low Countries, before commencing the treaty ; hoping most strongly that in these, as in other points, due satisfaction will be given her, and that she herself will be the one to decide on it ; calling to mind the saying of Solomon :—quod qui observat ventos non seminat et qui pluvias timet non metet. Wherefore, in this holy affair, he does not fear any other difficulty than too much delay in settling it on foot, as anything which may be found wanting during the negotiation may easily be arranged for.—London, November 12, 1586. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. ½ p. [Flanders I. 103.]
Nov. 13/23. Resolution of the States General (fn. 1) that for direction of the contributions of the Provinces, his Excellency shall appoint four persons out of the Council of State, from different provinces, who, together with a treasurer chosen by him from those nominated by the States General, shall have the oversight of the distribution and employment of the aforesaid contributions. It being understood that the Instructions for the same shall be drawn up with the advice of the States, and that the aforesaid college or the Treasurer, together with one or two of the secretaries shall employ some clerks for the better ordering of all things, but that the said clerks shall have no voice in the college nor power to sign any of the ordinances or discharges.—23 November, 1586. Signed by P. de Meer, president, and countersigned by Aerrsens. Endd. Copy. Dutch. ½ p. [Holland XI. 14.]
Another copy, in French, of the above. [S.P.F. Archives XC., p. 48.]
Nov. [before the 14th]. Directions by the Earl of Leicester for a speech to the States before his departure. He thinks it strange that they have not yet signified their resolutions as to their commissioners, or whether he may certainly assure her Majesty that they will go at all ; and have imparted nothing what their points of dealing with her Majesty shall be ; which, considering the place he holds, he ought to be acquainted with. Nor have they sought any conference concerning their affairs, whereby he might be able the better to satisfy her Majesty and advance their cause. He cannot "but with grief expostulate this matter unto them, seeing the time so passeth away without any profit in this behalf" and his departure so near that no time is left for better satisfaction ; which they must know to be matter of great consequence to him, and that he cannot be contented "to be passed away as slightly," without any regard of himself, her Majesty or their own causes, not knowing how he may answer "much less satisfy her in any one point of their greatest affairs." It doth 'thole' him greatly to be forced to pray at their hands what they should desire at his ; the "want" of which will be theirs more than his ; for he has often put them in mind of the need to deal with her Majesty speedily, and this long before he thought of going into England. They must esteem him very simple if they suppose he can conceal "that they have some other design than to proceed with her Majesty ; for else so present and so urgent occasions would not be let slip. "And further you may declare unto them that I shall be able to make better report of the love and good inclination of the provinces of Frise, Guelders, Overyssel and Utrecht than of them of Holland, who of themselves have made offer of the sovereignty to her Majesty." In Leicester's handwriting, with marginal notes by Wilkes. Endd. "Novembris, 1586. A speech used by his Excellency to the deputies of the States a little before his departure towards England" ; but from the last sentence it would appear that it was to be made by Wilkes. 2½ pp. On the covering sheet, the following notes by Wilkes, apparently of the States' reply :— Sovereignty. The power of his Excellency. They have desired his Ex's. stay. Hoping that he would not go the journey, they had appointed two ; then finding that his Ex. desired greater number, they named four more. They have put in deliberation the sovereignty, with a greater number of assembly. No province may treat to grant the sovereignty apart but jointly ; it is contrary to the sworn Union. The succours to be dealt in, and not sovereignty, by cause she hath refused. Schauen, Nivelt, D. Sill, Menen, Valke." [Holland XI. 15.]
Nov. [before the 14th.] Notes in Wilkes' handwriting, of "Remembrances for his Excellency."
1. To give warrant to Mr. Treasurer for full pay of the garrisons of Flushing and the Brill, according to her Majesty's Instructions to Thos. Wilkes.
2. "Sithence there is some order taken in the matters of P. Bus and Ringault....to take order also for the qualifying of the placcard for the traffic of these countries ; being a special article in the said Instructions."
3. As the States stand upon the completing of the numbers in her Majesty's pay, and as thereon will depend the clearing of the accounts between her and them ; to take order for the one and the other, and to appoint the Treasurer and Muster-master to remain here till they be finished.
4. To remember, that, in the appointing of a fit person to take command over all her Majesty's forces, "he do give him a commission wherein may be remembered her Majesty's original commission to his Excellency, by virtue whereof, the authority and government may be established in the same person.
5. To advise whether it be meet that the said Lieutenant "have jointly any kind of absolute authority for the whole government here, as well for the civil as military," and if not, "to procure the other to be laid upon some principal person in whom his Excellency may have some interest."
Endd. 1 p. [Holland XI. 16.]
Nov. 14/24. Memorials exhibited to the States General, on behalf of his Excellency.—24 November, 1586. Fr. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. XI. 17]. [Printed by Bor, bk. XXI, f. 73.]
Another copy from Leicester's Letter Book, dated 23rd November. Fr. 1 p. [Archives XC., p. 90.]
Nov. 14/24. Copies of, (1). The Act of the States, ordaining that during his Excellency's absence and in view of his promised speedy return, the commandment matters both of policy and war shall be in the Council of State. All despatches made by them to be in his Excellency's name, and such as he is accustomed to sign to be signed "by command and authority of his Excellency" by Count Maurice and one of the members of the Council. All governors, chiefs, generals, colonels, ritt-masters, captains and soldiers in pay of her Majesty to be expressly commanded to obey all such orders. They pray his Excellency to agree to this, and to issue commands accordingly. The Hague, [14]—24 November, 1586. Signed by Aerrsens.
(2). Act of authority by his Excellency for the directing of the contributions by four persons to be chosen by himself and a Treasurer, in accordance with the Act of the States General [see p. 225 above] 23 November, 1586. [This is endorsed by mistake as relating to No. 1.]
(3). "Act of authorization (fn. 2) made by his Excellency" giving powers to the Council of State in his absence. 24 November, 1586. French. 9 pp. in all. [Holland XI. 18.]
Another copy of (3) above. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid. XI. 19.] Another copy of (1) above in Leicester's Letter Book. Fr. 1½ pp. [S.P. Foreign Archives XC., p. 47.]
Another copy of (2) above, in Leicester's Letter Book. Fr. ½ p. [Ibid. XC., p. 48.]
Another copy of (3) above, in Leicester's Letter Book. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid. XC., p. 45.]
Nov. 14/24. Answer of the States General to the above questions. To the first and second, they say, that until now they had hoped his Excellency would defer his departure, as they have often begged him to do, thinking it very necessary at this present conjuncture ; but having heard his final resolution to the contrary, they pray him to take with him the letters they have written to her Majesty, and of which they give him a copy. And by his proposal and advice, they have resolved to send deputies to her to pray for further succours from her. Their Instruction is also drawn up, as his Excellency has seen by the copy thereof. It has since been thought good to increase their number, and Holland has named Johan, Sieur de Schagen, Bersingerhorn &c., Guillaume de Zuylen de Nivelt, Sieur de Aertsberche &c. and Mre. Nieasius Sille, doctor of laws, counsellor of Amsterdam. Those of Zeeland, the Sieur Pierre de Rycke, counsellor of the said States and from Frise, Withye de Camminga, knight ; to whom shall be given such ample charge as the deputies at the Assembly of the States General have power to draw up. Which commissioners will be able to communicate to his Excellency all things further which shall be resolved, and by his advice to prepare and do whatever shall be required, as they will be expressly desired to consult with him in everything ; praying him to assist them with his authority and favour. On the third point, concerning their further contributions to the war, they pray him to assure her Majesty, her Council and the Parliament, that the States General and the several provinces having already resolved and promised to do all that in them lies for the preservation of the true religion and their own privileges and liberties, will not fail to continue their contributions according to their power, until God, by the aid of her Majesty shall deliver these countries from this war, as has been done by those of Holland and Zeeland for the space of fourteen years. And although consent to the contributions at first was only for three months at a time, then for six, and now from year to year, this was not done with intent that the consent should not be renewed. Yet, as the state of the country might in short time be greatly changed, by invasion of the enemy ; devastation ; great inundations (to which Holland, Zeeland and Frize are very subject) mortality or other like accidents, they cannot assuredly promise the present rate of contribution for several years. Nor can they take into account that formerly their aids to their princes were granted for three, six or even nine years, seeing that this was in times of peace and under very different conditions. Nevertheless, the States hope that before the expiration of the current agreement, they will be able to consent anew to the continuation for a year of the promised contributions, although they are hardly supportable, as they hope her Majesty will be duly informed. But knowing well that they are labouring to the utmost of their power in order to make head against the enemy and force him to quit the field, and thus prevent the disunited provinces from getting in their harvest ; and that the contributions drawn by the enemy from the low country may be taken by these ; many towns recovered, and by these means an end put to the war, for which God gave them a very good opportunity last year, and they have a still better likelihood now, by reason of the great dearth of victuals in all the towns held by the enemy ; the States hope that her Majesty will be moved to take this opportunity to heart (by the aid of his Excellency) for the protection of these countries, and, that in the coming season a sufficient camp may be set up and maintained for five or six months to oblige the enemy to quit the field. And should it please her to augment her promised succour of a thousand horse and five thousand foot to two thousand horse and ten thousand foot, the deputies of the several provinces pray his Excellency to advertise the States timely thereof, and to require their consent to the erection &c. of the said camp, hoping to obtain from the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Frize, 200,000 florins a year for a period of three years ; by which in addition to all the other contributions, a camp might be formed of 2000 lances, 2000 reiters, 500 carbines, 12,000 or 14,000 footmen, 1000 pioneers, five or six hundred carts and the necessary train of victuals and ammunition ; whereby many towns of the enemy might in very short time be taken, and great contributions drawn therefrom. On the fourth point, viz. what resolution they would take if the King of Spain offered a peace [&c.], they declare that they undertook this war for the defence and preservation of the true Christian religion, and of the privileges and liberties of their country ; and that having by all means tried to come to a reconciliation with the King of Spain, with conservation of the said true religion and privileges, they have during many years found that such reconciliation is utterly beyond hope ; and are still assured that no treaty could be made with that king without the extirpation of the said true religion not only in these countries but in the neighbouring kingdoms and countries, to the ruin and subjection of their estate and the great concern of their neighbours : praying his Excellency so to work with her Majesty that no means of reconciliation with that king shall be treated of, nor any communication with him be entered into ; seeing that even a simple communication would be prejudicial to these countries, as regards the common people, who are heavily weighed down by the great contributions for the war, and having often but little discretion might easily be seduced into dangerous views. On the 5th point, touching the alliances and correspondence of the States with the King of Denmark and other princes &c., they declare that long ago, such contracts and alliances were made, and are still maintained, although the King of Denmark in spite of the said treaties, has, during these wars, imposed heavy imposts upon the inhabitants of these countries for their ships passing through the Sound ; and though often required to desist from them has never done so. But they declare that, besides God, they have had no support from, or correspondence with, any king, prince or neighbour since the treaty made with her Majesty ; nor have any now save from her and his Excellency, on whose protection they entirely rely. On the 6th point, concerning the union of the provinces, they declare that between the United provinces there is a solemn contract made and sworn called the Union of Utrecht, being the foundation on which rests the defence of the country, and that the said contract remains in force in all points not changed by common consent, saving what was attempted by some in the town of Utrecht, which the Estates hope will, if need be, be redressed by the authority of his Excellency. Touching the last point, viz. how many ships they could equip for her Majesty's service if she were attacked by the King of Spain, they reply that the aid of ships to be so given is treated of in the contract made with her Majesty, to which they refer themselves ; trusting to conform themselves thereto, and in this event, to do their best endeavours for the service of her Majesty. Resolved and replied by word of mouth to his Excellency, November 24, 1586. Signed by ordinance of the said States General, C. Aerssens. (fn. 3) Copy. Fr. 9 pp. [Holland XI. 20.]
Another copy of the same. Fr. 5 pp. [S.P.F. Archives XC., p. 100.]
Nov. 14/24. "Memories sur les apostiles de la Remonstrance des Estats d' Hollande, Zeeland and Frise, avec les apostilles de son Excellence, en date du 24 de Novembre, 1586. Copy. Fr. 4½ pp. [Holland XI. 21.]
Another copy of the above. [Ibid. XI. 22.]
Also, a copy in Leicester's Letter Book. [S.P.F. Archives XC., p. 41.]
Nov. 14/24. Restriction of the authority given to the Council of State by his Excellency, enumerating the points on which they were not to have full powers.—The Hague, 24 November, 1586. (fn. 4) Fr. 1 p. [Ibid., p. 44.]
Nov. 14/24. Instructions from his Excellency for the Commissaries of Musters, both of her Majesty and the United Provinces, according to which they must precisely regulate themselves.—The Hague, 24 November, 1586. French. 7½ pp. [Archives XC., p. 91.]
I pray you pardon my not writing by Dr. Clarke, whose departure was sudden and my leisure then little. The treasure came safely and is in the Treasurer's hands, for whom I hope her Majesty will receive a more perfect account than hitherto has been made. The treasurer and muster-master are to stay for a time after my lord, to clear the accounts with the States, who complain that her Majesty's forces have never been mustered with the privity of any commissary of theirs as agreed. The muster-master affirms that he has often "required" one from the Council of State, "but could never have any, until lately when they appointed some whom however the States General refuse to allow, saying such commissary should be appointed and sworn by themselves" ; so as the muster-master not addressing himself to the States at every time of his musters taken, hath bred a breach of the contract, and will breed a confusion in the accounts." This bearer, Mr. Webbe, appointed by his Excellency clerk of the check here, desires to discover to you some matters concerning her Majesty's service. I pray you give him favourable hearing. Mr. Henry Killigrew will inform you of the state of these countries, being best able to satisfy you by reason of his experience here.— The Hague, 15 November, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XI. 23.]
Nov. 15. Paper endorsed "Du Fresne his answer to the matter of Anticipations, offered to her Majesty by Mr. Wilkes, 15 November styl. vet."
1. Anticipations for money taken on interest for the payment of certain garrisons ; for victuals, arms &c., and for raising a company for Col. Schenk. 16,463l. 13s. 4d. [Margin. This specification is made void by the list annexed hereto.]
2. For setting up a camp and levying 2000 reiters ; over and above the monthly contribution of 200,000 florins, already disbursed. 30,000l. [Margin. The Receiver-General, de Bie has accounted for this and the next article.]
3. Also, granted to his Excellency. 10,000l.
4. Ordinary contribution paid and consumed in the months September—December ; which the States declare was disbursed for the charges of English, Irish and Scottish companies lately brought into this country and entertained by his Excellency's orders, of which no particular account has been given. 80,000l. [Margin. This must be understood reasonably. Much is employed, monthly, and does not come under the head of anticipations. (Gives a long explanation of the matter.)] Memo. Most of the garrisons have received no pay for four months past, nor any means of satisfaction from the ordinary contributions, by reason of the anticipations of the said four months ; the whole payment for which equals 144,786l. 5s. [Margin. Explanation of the manner of these payments.]
6. More for provision of a month of victuals for the camp, for which the accounts are not yet perfected. [Margin. The accounts not yet given in.]
7. Also the payment of our English and Irish companies, being fifty-one in all. [Margin. The payment is seen by the states (i.e. lists or accounts), excepting some sort not yet given in.] Note by Arthur Atye, in Latin. Du Fresne in his abstract (fn. 5) (?) prays that the specifications contained in this paper may be written out, excepting those of the 300,000 florins for which Dominus de Bie has already satisfied him. French. 1½ pp. [Holland XI. 24.]
Nov. 15/25. Letter from the States General to her Majesty. Regret at Leicester's departure. Ask that he may return as speedily as possible and for the continuance of her favour, excusing their failure to reward the earl and the gentlemen who accompanied him as they would wish because of the heavy charges of the war. —The Hague, 25 November, 1586. Fr. 2½ pp. [S.P.F. Archives, XC., p. 105.]
Nov. 16. Paper endorsed "List of those that remain in pay," and by Burghley "11 November, 6400 footmen, 1000 horse, 1586." Footbands in her Majesty's pay from 11 November, 1586, ratified by the Earl of Leicester, 16 November, at Rotterdam. 40 companies, with names of captains. Total, 6400 men. Horsebands in her Majesty's pay, from 12 October, 1586, forward ; ratified ut supra. 11 cornets, with names of captains. Total 1000 men. The names of [the captains of] English companies remaining at the States pay ; ratified ut supra. 24 companies. 3 pp. [Holland XI. 25.]
Informing him of the arrangements made for the government of the countries in the Earl of Leicester's absence ; viz : the political power with the Council of State, acting in his Excellency's name ; the charge of the English troops with Sir John Norreys ; that of "the troops of the strangers" to remain with Count Hohenlo ; but "the chief charge in field upon occasion of service against the enemy" to be left to be given by the Council of State to whomsoever they think fit to appoint. "The Count Hohenlo doth show himself opposite to my lord's government here, and an enemy to our nation ; and it is greatly to be feared that he will presently attempt some dangerous alteration" ; therefore some governor of quality, wisdom and experience should be sent with all speed, lest all should come to confusion ; for though united by contract, they are much distracted in mind and affection. What the deputies are to say to her Majesty I leave to their own report. Sir John Norreys entreats me to give you some testimony of his demeanour here, lest, by sinister information of such as envy him, you might conceive amiss of him. "And truly, my good lord, besides the value [i.e. valour] wisdom and many other good parts that are in him, I have noticed a wonderful patience and modesty in the man, in bearing and tolerating many apparent injuries done unto him....contrary to all reason, to disgrace him." I pray you continue your honourable opinion of him, "for I dare avouch that the Queen's Majesty hath not a second subject of his place and quality so able to serve in these countries as he."—Rotterdam, 17 November, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. 1¼ pp. [Holland XI. 26.]
"The voyage of Sir Francis Drake into these countries is not like to be unfruitful, althouth at his arrival he found no disposition in the States and people at all to assent of his motions. They cannot yield to assist his voyage with any general conbribution ; but are contented to deal with the inhabitants of the principal maritime towns to furnish in every of them a ship or two, according to the ability of the merchants there residing" ; from whom they expect a speedy answer. So that if Sir Francis is to return to the Indies, he will doubtless have some good assistance from hence. "Of what necessity it is that the Queen's principal enemy be attempted that way, your lordship can best perceive, but we find it more than probable here that if he may enjoy his Indies quietly, he will make her Majesty and these countries soon weary of their defence. I have partly instructed Sir Francis Drake of the state of these countries ; and how and in what state my lord departeth hence, he hath best discerned by his own experience," wherefore I refer you to him. [Urges the speedy sending of a governor [as in previous letter] and of Dr. Clarke or some other of judgment and diligence, that he himself may not be "left alone in Council."]—Rotterdam, 17 November, 1586. Postscript. Desires to know if he shall put her Majesty to any charges by sending over letters or dispatches, as he is not warranted thereto by his Instructions, nor able himself to bear the cost of messengers. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 27.]
More than a month past, my lord of Leicester resolved to leave the commanding of her Majesty's forces with Sir William Pelham, and gave me licence to pass over with him. But three days ago, he altered his purpose, and hath ordered me to stay here ; which order, being for her Majesty's service, I am ready to obey ; though I would willingly have been there at his arrival, to justify myself against those informing against me ; and as I know the root of that former malice is not withered, I pray your lordship to continue me in your good opinion and protection, and that, if anything should call my honesty or reputation in question, I may come over to clear myself. I defer to write to you of the state of her Majesty's forces and those of the country, as also what course my lord has left for the government ; the one because we are about to take muster of them all ; and the other because my lord has so barred me from the Council that I am not so well instructed in his proceedings as I hope to be in short time. I have not yet received any commission, though I attended his lordship to his ship. "It is promised to be sent me, and in the mean time I understand that my lord hath granted separate commission to Sir William Stanley, Rowland York and others, exempting them from obeying of me ; which, if it be true is only done to nourish factions, to interrupt any better course in our doings than before hath been." Therefore I pray that if I remain here, I may receive my commission from her Highness, whereby I may give better account of her service. "It is no small confusion that we shall fall into, upon the discharge of a great many English companies, which are cassed and lack money to satisfy them. Among all the horsemen that are at her Majesty's charge, there is not left here any one captain ; the infantry very poor, and yet for anything that I can see, for all her Majesty's treasure late sent over, by the time they are mustered, there will be three months behind unpaid. The country stood never in more dangerous terms ; the enemy reinforceth himself from every quarter, and we are grown odious to our friends." I will shortly write more particularities, and meanwhile desire your lordship to inform yourself from my brother Edward.—Rotterdam, 17 November, 1586. Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Seal of arms. 2 pp. [Holland XI. 28.]
On leaving for England recommends to them the advancement of religion, good relations with the allied Provinces and loyalty to the governor, the Count of Newenar, the only way to win her Majesty's heart for their defence which the quarrels between the States General and the deputies of their Province over the refusal to have the seigneur de Deventer as burgomaster of Utrecht had done much to forfeit. Had appointed him to that office and determined to uphold him.—Dordrecht, the 27th of November, 1586. Copy. 1¼ p. French. [Holland XI. 29.]
Nov. 18/28. LEICESTER to the [STATES GENERAL].
Concerning certain false and mischievous rumours put about touching the reasons for his journey to England, which are likely to cause dissension and division among the loyal and can only serve the interests of the enemy. Asks them, in the interests of the country, to resist such rumours by all proper means, causing his previous declaration and this one to be circulated by the magistrates in the towns of their Provinces, and to announce that his journey, by God's help, is for the benefit of the country, to uphold the Christian religion and defend its liberties against the enemy.—Dordrecht, the 28th November, 1586. Copy. Dutch. 2 pp. [Ibid. IX. 30.]
Since it has pleased your Majesty to summon the Earl of Leicester to England ; and knowing that the furtherance of the common cause demands that his absence should not be long ; I desire by these lines humbly to pray that you will show such favour to these United Provinces, as to send him back as soon as possible, that the difficulties which might otherwise ensue may be avoided by your Majesty's authority and his presence. On my part, I will do my utmost duty and continue in my affection for the service of your Majesty and these countries, whereof I doubt not you are well assured. And seeing that in this service, and by the misfortune of this war, I am stripped of my property, I pray you to hold me, with my wife and family in your favourable esteem and to show yourself always our patron.—Dordrecht, 18 November, 1586, stilo juliano. Holograph. Add. Endd. Fr. 1¼ pp. [Ibid. XI. 31.]
I regret extremely the death of the Baron de Sideney, and my grief is much increased by hearing of the sudden departure of your Excellency for England, whereby we lose a true lord and father of our country, for however short a time you may be absent, we shall feel it presently ; but we must hope that it will be for her Majesty's service, and that these countries may be favoured thereby. I am so ill that it is not possible for me to pay my respects to you, and thank you for all the benefits which the town of L'Escluze, my regiment and I myself have continually received since your Excellency's arrival in these countries. As long as our hearts beat, we shall ever remain your very humble servants ; and I pray you to recommend us to her Majesty, for I fear the States General will have little care of us, as they have many times shown, although L'Escluze is a good and fine place, very fitting for the assuring of Zeeland and the regaining of Flanders ; and also that the enemy would draw a very great treasure from the said country, were it not for the impediment offered by L'Escluze and Ostend to the North, West and South quarters. Her Majesty may rest assured that this town, my regiment and myself will remain her very humble servants, and as faithfully obey her as can any of her own subjects. I hope your Excellency will have received my letters by the Sieur de Meetkerke, my lieutenant-Colonel, and seen the instructions and will, before his departure, give orders for what is fitting to be done in this matter. I now send the Sieur de Maulde, son of the late M. de Mansart, with the Pensioniary, to supply my defects humbly praying your Excellency to take my excuses in good part, and to grant them audience for what they will declare by word of mouth.—Castle of L'Escluze, 29 November, 1586. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2¼ pp. Seal of arms. [Holland XI. 32.]
Since, in the time of your embassies, your honour was pleased to reckon me in the number of your friends and servants, so far as to keep me in your household when Brill, my birthplace, was taken possession of for her Majesty ; and seeing also the familiar acquaintance which had always existed between you and my father-in-law, Counsellor Buys, the extreme necessity in which we now find ourselves plunged, makes us bold to write this to your honour, in the name of our unhappy mother and ourselves, praying you not to forsake us in our extremity. Last July, at Utrecht, a few of the meaner sort, not being of the magistracy, and having no authority or any public charge, beyond the care of the gate and watch of the town, and bearing the name of captains of the burghers, so far forgot themselves as to dare to arrest our father, a councillor of State chosen by his Excellency, and imprison him in one of the public buildings in the town ; making themselves guilty of lese Majesté by laying violent hands on a servant of the Prince (as all counsellors of a prince are reputed). On his Excellency coming to the Hague shortly afterwards, the whole being by us put before him, some deputies were sent to Utrecht to enquire into it, who went first to the Comte de "Nyennaerde," the governor, and afterwards to the magistrates, who alone have authority for such an arrest ; but they replied that the matter did not touch them and that they would not move in it. The commissioners then demanded of those who had seized him why they had done so, who replied that they desired to send the causes of their action to his Excellency. Whereupon we applied to his Excellency praying that he would be pleased to order the said captains to release our father, and if any had accusation or charge to bring against him, they should do it before his Excellency and his Council. To which his Excellency replied that although he had felt himself privately offended in several points by our father, he had not known of, and much less given consent to his apprehension, and would give the warrant we demanded. Whereat we being astonished, replied that if he were heard in his own defence, we hoped he would give his Excellency entire satisfaction ; who a few days afterwards sent letters commanding the captains to set our father at liberty, or send him to the Hague ; but they did neither the one or the other. We then applied again to his Excellency, but in spite of all our solicitations have so far obtained nothing ; on the contrary, he is kept such close prisoner that none of us have had access to him, nor has he been allowed ink and paper, wherewith he might petition his Excellency or her Majesty, a thing not usually denied to the most apparent offenders of these countries. And having in August last obtained an apostile from his Excellency to our petition, praying that our mother and we his children, might be allowed access to him in presence of a deputy of the magistrates, four were deputed, three of whom were his enemies and had been present at his arrest. Moreover, they removed him from the place where he was into the public prison, to a little place which was nothing more than an entrance to where the other prisoners were, declaring that it was done by order of his Excellency. Our father having been kept for three months in this pitiful place, where we were only two or three times admitted to speak to him, and he had no means at all of writing ; at last by our solicitations, he was a week ago removed to the house of the lieutenant Escoutette of the town, upon exhorbitant caution, and even there had not liberty to use ink and paper ; nor have they ever declared the causes of his imprisonment, nor made any judicial suit, which they were bound to do the third day after the arrest. But knowing no colour for holding him longer without cause in prison, it seems that of late they desired his Excellency to allow them to bring their accusation before the provincial Council of Utrecht, who, in reason, cannot be his judges ; for as Councillor of State these should be his Excellency and Council ; or otherwise, as a subject of Holland, he recognises as judges only the provincial Council of Holland, or the magistracy of Leyden, of which town he has been an inhabitant and citizen for five and twenty years. Moreover, the said captains our adversaries and their adherents rule and command in Utrecht, without any way regarding the provincial Council or the legitimate magistrates and governors of the town, so that even the States cannot hold their free assemblies, wherefore we cannot trust a judgment given by the said council in a town at the mercy of our enemies, and hope that his Excellency will not consent to their demand, but that before any further course of justice, our father may be liberated. To obtain this, seeing that we have here tried every means, and are almost in despair, we are driven to apply to her Majesty, praying that by your intercession, she will be pleased to write a word to those in Utrecht for our father's deliverance, upon the above-mentioned security to appear before his judges when required ; remembering the good offices done by our father, as she knows, in this last journey to England, followed by such happy results, nothing doubting that from the respect they bear to her Majesty and the benefits received and expected from her, they would submit to her pleasure. Otherwise, we remit him altogether to her wisdom, it sufficing us that by letters or other means our petition may take effect, the equity whereof appears by the opinion here annexed. Only we pray that it may be done with the approbation of his Excellency, which is dearer to us than anything in this world ; it grieving us much that our father is in danger of losing it by the sophistries of his enemies, he himself having lately declared that nothing has distressed him so much as falling into his Excellency's ill-graces, to whom he thought to have done the best offices he could devise, though we cannot deny that to his regret his affairs have sometimes had other issues than he desired. But if it had pleased his Excellency to disclose the particulars in which he had not given satisfaction, we should all have prayed for mercy ; as we now pray that you will be pleased by your intercessions to persuade her Majesty (his Excellency being already departed) after hearing the particular causes in which he feels himself offended, to deign to hear our father in his defence, before abating her good opinion of him, and that after satisfaction has been given by him, a happy reconciliation may follow by means of her Majesty's authority and the intercession of your lordship and other noblemen.—The Hague, 30 November, 1586, stilo novo. Add. Endd. Fr. 4¼ very closely written pp. [Holland XI. 33.]
I forgot to speak with the Council of Estate for one of these to keep the seals, albeit I told Mr. Valk of it, but he is here. My opinion is that the old Chancellor [Leoninus] is the fittest for many respects, though I think for his own part he hath more need of some liberal consideration for his great travail and expenses this year taken than of any troublesome offices to be added, except some good profit might grow thereby ; yet if he shall accept of this, for my part, I wish he may have it. I pray you recommend me to them all even most heartily, letting them know that never man of what nation soever hath more faithfully and more sincerely served than I have done these countries committed unto me, and albeit my good will might be darkened through many wants whereof I may well acquit myself from proceeding from me, yet do I love them so well and wish the cause such prosperity as I cannot but put them in mind that they and the States, and the States and the provinces united may have such timely correspondence together as some of their wants may be hereafter by their wisdoms better prevented than I had them supplied heretofore. And that my earnest and hearty affection shall assuredly remain toward the cause and shall not be discouraged for any 'my none' particular whatsoever. Howbeit, it hath been no small grief unto me to see the noblemen and gentlemen of my country so hardly dealt withal at their departure, and promises broken with them for their assurance for their due pay, wherein, they were content to release some the half, some a third part and every man one part or other ; for some that deserved well....had nothing at all. How great a touch this must be to me, who brought all these men to serve and adventure with me their lives and spend their goods in their service, I will leave it to themselves. And what minds our men shall have hereafter to serve them, God knows. I think they never dealt so with any before, that they denied to give them bills instead of money, when they lacked money. I saw them more careful to preserve the credits of them who foully deceived them, even as much as their whole service was worth....than I found in them to satisfy these our men that had spent more pounds than the others had done pence ; and spent their blood, many of them, where others never came to blows. But it is possible that some (but I trust but very few) that be not so well satisfied with me as I have been desirous to content them, would procure such indirect discouragements as might in a sort cover their dislike, and I will hope that such few shall hardly circumvent so many wise, grave and well-affected patriots and counsellors from a true course for their own benefit. "I must pray you and require you also to be very careful in satisfying the States touching Ringault. I did promise upon mine honour he should be brought back again, and so I have done ; but I will be no butcher to the greatest monarch in the world, much less a betrayer of a man's life who I caused myself to be apprehended to please them.... What some of themselves have sworn and vowed touching his death you know, and I pray you declare ; for as I will keep promise with them for the person of the man so do I look to have my honour regarded at their hands, seeing more malice than just desert indeed against him, although I take the man to have faults enow, but not capital." I pray you give such directions as you find requisite for his safety. I will not write how the weather hath letted me ; but I shall be at the Brill to-night. I entreat you to procure that the bands for those gentlemen who have money due to them be sent forthwith after me. You must procure a true note of all sums the treasurer there has paid them, as well of the Lord Marshal as to others, that I may know what is paid to those men going over with me now. Pray send me "those copies that I left behind which were to pass between the States and me, and also mine own copy that I wrote which you spake and noted, as also the copy in French which I willed Ottamon [Hotman] to translate." Let me know how Count Hollock proceeds. It were not unfit for her Majesty to hear also of it.—Rotterdam, 20 November, 1586. Holograph. Add. Endd. 4 pp. [Holland XI. 34.]


  • 1. Printed Japikse : Resolutien der Staaten Generaal, Vol. V., p. 437.
  • 2. Noted in the margin as the "Act of Restriction" (which modified it) in error. The substance of both is given by Meteren (Bk. 3. ff. 264, 265).
  • 3. Printed by Bor, bk. XXI, f. 73 b.
  • 4. The substance given by Grimstone : General Hist. of the Netherlands, p. 930.
  • 5. Written "exc.," apparently for excerpla.