Elizabeth: December 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: December 1586, 11-20', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 266-282. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp266-282 [accessed 20 April 2024]


December 1586, 11-20

After the last conference had with your honour about the matter of William Colston merchant of Bristol, we promised to recommend his cause very earnestly to the Council of the Admiralty, "whereby he might have the better expedition," which we have done in the best sort we might. But the said Colston objects either to accept out letter or to go into Zeeland himself, "for fear to be there abused," although he need not fear any such thing. Wherefore we now send you the said letter, thinking he may the rather accept it from your hands ; it not being in our charge to give him here any further satisfaction. London, 11 December, 1586. Signed by Nyevelt, Valcke and Ortell. Add. Endd. English. p. [Ibid. XI. 64.]
"Presently after my lord's departure we proceeded to the muster, the 22 of November, which in part was effected, but in many places excused by reason the commissaries could not pass for ice ; and some companies Mr. York refused to let pass muster." I send you a note of them all. The Council, aggrieved at finding the companies at her Majesty's charge so weak, obtained of my lord that some of those discharged at their pay should be used to reinforce them, which we have done, and also made a thorough reduction of those in the States' pay ; copies of both of which I send. Having been shut up in Zeeland this great while by the ice, I came hither yesterday and hear that her Majesty's treasure will not reach to account with the soldier past Sept. 12, so that the pay now made will scarce discharge the creditors, "the soldier remaining three months behind and utterly unclothed.... By this want, I shall not be able to employ any part of her Majesty's forces (which is now the chief strength we have) to any service ; a thing that I doubt not but by such as will not leave to malign me shall be imputed to my slackness..... "My lord, after his departure hence, sent a note to Mr. Digges to solicit the States to depute some persons to enter into account with her Majesty's treasurer for the charges past, which I have procured, and I trust shall be shortly ended..... "As I did presume, so I find Sir William Stanley and Mr. York here to oppose themselves against me, for Sir William's own men have openly given out that he acknowleges no superior authority than his own, which he himself hath also confirmed by his own speech to the 'Magistrate' of Deventer, as by the copy of their letter your lordship shall see (fn. 1) ; as also what stir he hath kept with the inhabitants of the same ; a matter of great consequence, and which hath called the English government greatly in question, and will be complained of to her Majesty. And besides, he maketh no answer to any letters that I have written to him. In one commission of his, he is authorised to command all the garrisons of what nation soever in the countries of Guelderland and Overyssel, the two chief frontiers upon the enemy, in far larger sort than I am ; vaunting that he hath yet a greater commission than he hath showed. Mr. York coming through this place, came not once to speak with me. How insolently he hath written to the Council, your lordship shall perceive by the copy of his letter. (fn. 2) What hindrance these factions will breed to her Majesty's service, I will leave to your lordship's wisdom to consider, humbly beseeching you to assist me either to have ampler commission, or else that some other may have my place that better please my lord of Leicester ; to which end I have also written to his lordship..... "I understand from my brother Thomas that the portions of land appointed to my place in Ireland are very small and that the manors of Mallow and Tralee (Mallo and Trally) are not yet appointed to any.... If I may have them at such conditions as others do take lands there, I will think myself greatly bound to your lordship."The Hague, 12 December, 1586. Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. Seal of arms. [Holland XI. 65.]
Enclosing : "Copy of Mr. Digges' presentment of the musters." 1. A note of the musters passed in September, 1586, by commissioners of both nations, and warrants passed on them "by commandment from my lord" ; viz. of the companies in the following towns, with names of captains. Bergen-op-Zoom.7 companies ; 1008 men. Ostend.5 companies ; 739 men. Flushing.4 companies ; 631 men. Ramekins.1 company ; 146 men. Brill.2 companies ; 293 men. Arnhem.2 companies ; 269 men. Memo for this last that one company was no longer there and the other, newly mustered, 99 men.
2. Note as above, of bands mustered 22 November, not mustered in September. Dort.2 companies ; 263 men (but of these 68 absent). Delft.1 company ; 156 men (44 absent). Doesburg.2 companies ; 334 men (13 absent). Zwoll.2 companies ; 290 men (one captain has passport from his lordship to carry all his company over). Arnhem.1 company ; 101 men. Rotterdam.1 company ; 185 men (passport ut supra). Weeck.1 company ; 153 men. Schedam.1 company ; 80 men (25 absent. The captain, Sir Roger Williams has warrant to be paid without check). Wagening.1 company ; 113 men (absent 47). Naerdem.1 company ; 230 men. Sconce.Captain York. (Refused to muster). Bergen-op-Zoom.3 companies. Not mustered. Brill.1 company. Not mustered. Berck.1 company. Not mustered. Arnhem.1 company. (Warrant to be paid for 100 besides officers and passport to Captain Turvile to carry over his company).
3. Note, ut supra, of horsemen present at the muster. Deventer.2 companies. "His lordship's cornet," and Capt. Thos. Shirley. (For the first, "Mr. York would not let them be mustered.") Amersford, the Earl of Essex.91 men. Zwoll.Lord North ; Sir Wm. Russell ; 154 men. Doesburg.Sir John Norreys ; 80 men. Arnhem.Sir Robert Sydney ; Capt. Michael Dormer ; 115 men. Lochem.Sir William Knoles ; Sir Philip Butler ; 89 men. Sir William Pelham. (Not mustered because he was not in his garrison). Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XI. 66.]
Another copy of the above. Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XI. 67.]
In my last I wrote of some good hope of appeasing the dissension at Utrecht, but I since learn that the more men travail in it the less they prevail and the more obstinate they find the magistrate and captains. "Mr. Hotman signifieth unto me that the Count of Culemberghe and Herman Modet the preacher are found to be secret persuaders of the rest not to relent but to proceed to the depriving of that member called the Ecclesiastics, so as what is done by the Elector and the Count 'Newnare' with some of the Council to further a pacification among them is countermined by those two. All men judge that great mischief will follow thereof, together with the loss of the town, whereof I am right heartily sorry." Those here lay the fault to our charge, and this day six deputies of the States General, coming to the Council as their manner is, demanded Ringault to be delivered to them (according to an apostile of your lordship in that behalf) and being answered by me somewhat to their misliking, broke out in speech to the following effect : "That your lordship for particular men's causes had put in hazard divers provinces ; namely, for appointing a receiver in Friseland, contrary to the liking of the States of that province, you had put in hazard the disuniting of that province from the rest : That for the unlawful electing of a burgomaster of Utrecht, the town was put in such dissension as it is in danger to separate itself from the union of the other provinces : That for the giving of a Receivership of the contributions of Brabant, against the opinion of the Council, the said contributions cannot be gotten, and the soldiers assigned to be paid out of them are ready for lack of pay to run to the enemy ; and that these commissions were procured by surreption, without the consent of your Council. These and other like voices of reproach and discontentment are cast daily in our noses. "Touching Ringault, I do not know what to do with him. I would be loth to commit him to their hands to be justiced according to their purpose ; as I would likewise be unwilling to be quarrelled withal for him ; having now taken upon me the witholding of him from them. They urge the execution of your lordship's postile, which being refused they will ascribe it to a lack in your lordship and therefore I do most humbly beseech you to give me your speedy direction what I shall do with him ; as also that you will use the knowledge of these advertisements to the best for yourself and as little to my prejudice as may be.The Hague, 12 December, 1586. Unsigned. With marginal notes of contents by Leicester. Add. Endd. 1 pp. [Holland XI. 68. Also Archives XCI., p. 17.]
Praying his honour to return by the bearer the two papers left in his hands concerning the employment of the contributions of the States of the Low Countries, as he needs them for a communication which he has to hold with Mr. Athy, on the part of his Excellency, and he has no copy of them. Will send them back again if desired.London, 13 December, 1586. Add. Endd. Fr. p. [Ibid XI. 69.]
Before the receipt of yours of the 4th I had written three or four to you which have been delayed by contrary winds. In them I reported faithfully the course of proceedings here since your departure, and although it be painful to me, in respect of my perpetual attendance in Council, from which I dare not be absent one moment, yet, if encouraged by your lordship I shall do my best to satisfy you therein. "It is come to the ears of the States here that Bourgrave hath greatly depraved them and your Council to her Majesty, wherewith they are greatly stung....and that he hath undertaken to disprove the report of the state of their things delivered unto me by your lordship's Council at my first coming hither, whereat they are no less moved, and do avow they will make it appear that there is nothing therein delivered that is not true ; and say that they were not then able to certify so much of truth in the particulars of their charges as now they are which they mean by a new declaration to testify to her Majesty and your lordship. "I am heartily sorry for my part to hear likewise that there is a great fault laid to my charge in receiving those things from them, and that your lordship had not perused them before my coming away, to which I may answer....that I brought them to you to Eltem with a desire that your lordship might have perused them which then you refused to do, willing me expressly to go and deliver such things as I had received. True it is that your lordship wished I would have stayed awhile to see what might become of your voyage into the field, to the end to make some report thereof to her Majesty at my return" but I answered that I had received orders from her Majesty by Mr. Edmond Yorke, who came to me to my lodging at Utrecht, to hasten home with all speed. Yet if it had pleased you to command me to stay I would willingly have done it, for thereby I might have excused it to her Majesty, but (give me leave to say) "I did not perceive any great disposition in you to bestow the time to peruse so large volumes of matter as then I laid before your lordship..... Howbeit, if your lordship in your conscience shall this notwithstanding (which I protest to be true) think me justly worthy to be charged with any blame....I am contented to bear whatsoever you shall think fit to lay on me and to endure your displeasure until I may deserve your lordship's favour again." I find by the postscript of your letter that Mr. Ortell denies having said anything to her Majesty or her Privy Council from the States to your lordship's disadvantage, and I will not charge him with any such matter, for I have heard him often grieve that your lordship conceived heavily of him ; but if he denies having informed the lord Treasurer and Mr. Secretary of the matters of Paulus 'Bus,' of Ringault and of the hardness of the Placcart, let me be thought lewd, and for verifying the truth, Mr. Secretaries Walsingham and Davison or one of them have the papers he delivered on that behalf. If I could justly charge myself with having spoken falsely of your lordship, I would submit myself to your pardon and crave mercy, but my soul and conscience are clear of any such crime and therefore I beseech you not to mislike that I stand upon my justification. I know that some, at my last coming over, advised you to beware of me, suggesting matters against me and fathering speeches upon me which I protest to be untrue, and it was not without cause that I besought you at Dordrecht to let me know whether some person had not informed you of matter "sinisterly" against me but it pleased you to deny it, with protestations of your honourable opinion of me, which opinion I would willingly endeavour to continue, if my poor labour may be pleasing unto you, but "would be loath to travail, thinking thereby to please, if to the contrary I should displease." And so, craving pardon for my length in matters displeasing to myself and, as I think, nothing toothsome to your lordship, I take my leave.The Hague, 13 December, 1586. Copy. 2 pp. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 14.]
Dec. 14. STANLEY to WILKES. (fn. 3)
"I have received divers letters from the authorization there, signed by yourself, and one from you, particular, wherein you admonished and threaten, yea before you have heard my answer or reasons. First for the former letters .... the satisfying and bringing to pass of the contents thereof hath entertained me till now ; but finding....that already you threaten I have gone so far as to shame the terms of my commission ; the which I doubt not but according to his Excellency's meaning to execute and discharge with my honour....first I assure you I have maintained justice and that severely, else hardly the soldiers would have been contented with bread and bare cheese, which is not the custom of the Spaniards. Next, for the possessing of myself of the keys of one port, I pray you judge whether I had not reason, both for the better advancing of the service and security of the place ; for in my judgment you ought well to look into the nature of the strongest parts here, and the nature of these people, who thrust out the Spaniards and Almains, and afterwards never would obey the Prince and States. Next you allege these burgers to be the actors and authors of the receiving of garrison. No, only his Excellency and Sir Phillip Sydney made the foundation, afterwards finished by others, so likewise, I would be the most sorriest man that lives that by my negligence the place should be lost, or by my want of judgment the service hindered, and I to go to service and have the ports shut after me ; wherefore found good and so [did] the Lord Marshal that I should seize of the great tower and ports, [by] the which with the raveling before, I am able to confirm my entry. If I meant evil, I needed no keys, for here is force ; but the evil they mean I fear because they seek to fortify themselves with means to do it ; so that in rendering my retreats, I must stay my forces within, and so hinder the service upon the enemy when any convoy should pass for Zutphen ; or else go forth with thus many arriere thoughts to be shut out, to have the companies left within thrust forth ; in fine, to put in hazard the losing of the town and ourselves ; the which point if they had no evil meaning they should both agree and like of. "Next, for the assembling of the garrison, never but once, the day of her Majesty's coronation ; yet my duty commands me to visit them once a month. For any extortion or exactions, I had never any complaints, either of drawing of swords or imprisoning of their burgers. True I have been earnest with them when they have refused the commissaries of the vivers to brew, so that the staying of that was the occasion that many poor soldiers drank water of "moleted yesse" [qy. malted yeast] whereby many died and took sickness. And for my courtesy and humanity towards the new magistrates, I refer me unto themselves, but I think they sent some 'retrisian' [i.e. rhetorician], which could allege of little grief and speak pitiful ; and truly I find your ears have been as pitiful, in so timorously allowing and condemning ; for I assure you that her Majesty hath not a better servant nor a more faithful in these parts ; the which I have and will prove with my flesh and blood, although I know there be divers flying and false reports spread by my enemies which are come to my ears ; but I doubt not my virtue and truth will prove them calumniators and men of little. So good Mr. Wilkes, I pray you consider gravely, give care discreetly, and advertise into England soundly ; and for me I have been and am your friend wherein I may ; and glad to hear any admonition from one so wise as yourself.Deventer, 14 December, 1586. Postscript. "That which I most doubted at his Excellency's departure was the hard measure that now I find from you there. You content me so well here with your good favour and money, that if you will discharge me of my promise made to his Excellency, I will accept the benefit of my passport and depart with my troop with all my heart. We have had here these two months but 10l. for a company, but have lived upon half a pound of cheese, both captain, officers and soldiers. And for myself, these five months I have received but 50l. and 70l., and live here I protest at three pounds by the day, which my wealth will not long hold out ; but yet, God willing, I will never fail my promise to his Excellency ; whatsoever I endure, it is for her Majesty's service and for the love I bear him. Signed. Add. [to Sir John Norreys]. Endd. by Wilkes. "Sir William Stanley's indiscretion. Answer to mine of advice to carry himself wisely at Deventer. 1 p. very small close writing. [Holland XI. 70.]
"I have received one of the 3 and another of the 8 of this present, being of one contents, for the changing of the garrison in the forts, a thing so necessary, I will do as hitherto I have done, assist and further that place ; for I assure you, if great care and diligence had not been used ; considering how in time of necessity, when the river was frozen, the sudden withdrawing of the forces, the evil provision, the unwillingness of these people to furnish vivers, waggons and other wants, the which without a travail extraordinary of myself and patience of my brother York, might have put the place in danger, and as then....I furnished the place with cavalry and infantry, for I know the troops there to be marvellous weak, so likewise I will forsee for sending of some companies there as he shall find sufficient..... You can judge how hardly I shall cause any to go to the said forts, considering they have been so often promised pay and so long without, besides the misery of the place is so well known so as we must be fain to take such order as the necessity of the time will permit. Touching the 'causing' [qy. cassing] or reforming of those six companies, I pray you ordain some commissary, whose office is for such actions of discontentment of poor Captains, harassed and overcharged, for certain reports made by some of mine. I have given none any commission of either aye or no, so trust I that Sir John Norris, my good friend, hath given no authority to any of his ; to report that we here have demanded a church to say mass in. And for my person, it is ready for her Majesty's service to discharge all honourable actions amongst which I prefer the charge which it hath pleased his Excellency to lay upon me ; trusting that both yourself and every virtuous subject of her Majesty will 'vertouse' himself, according to the authority committed unto every several charge.Deventer, 14 December, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. by Wilkes "Sir Wm. Stanley : reports of demand of a church to say mass." p. [Holland XI. 71.]
They are this day advertised by two persons coming from Zutphen, that a lieutenant of the garrison of Deventer has been for two days in Zutphen, where he had much intercourse with Taxis and made good cheer ; and that they have concluded something together which may greatly tender to the disadvantage of these countries and especially to the town of Deventer. Seeing that the lieutenant has returned to Deventer, and Taxis gone at once towards Frise, they pray his lordship to take such measures without delay, as the preservation of Deventer requires. They are also informed that the Irish are great papists, and in close friendship with the burgers of the Roman religion. We have warned those of Deventer of this, hoping that they will be on their guard as much as possible. It were not amiss for the English garrisons here to be changed, seeing that the enemy (by virtue of the correspondence they are said to hold with some of the strangers in the town) have twice set out with intent to surprise it. The letter annexed hereto, for General Norreys, is to the same effect as the above ; we pray you to send it to him. Arnhem, 14 December, 1586. Certified copy. Endd. by Wilkes. Fr. 1 p. [Ibid. XI. 72.]
Another copy of the same. [Ibid. XI. 73.]
Dec. 16. HOTMAN to WILKES.
I should have gone with M. Parasis, but this morning, the Monsieurs [i.e. Magistrates] of the town have asked me to a dinner, so that I shall not start till tomorrow, hoping to be with you on Sunday. They are deputing certain of themselves to advertise his Excellency of what has passed, and M. Deventer has communicated their letters to me. The count of Moeurs departed yesterday, who (between you and me) has so comported himself in this affair that he has displeased all the magistrates some of the captains and all the ministers, of whom he has spoken very ill, and having given hope to certain of the captains that he would have some of the banished men brought back, which promise he has not kept, he now finds himself in ill favour even with those who, at the beginning, were for him. You would not believe the evil, violent and unseasonable procedure of one and another in these affairs. And in conclusion, the Count delivered them two questions ; on the keeping of his oath and on the admission of the Ecclesiastics to the affairs of state ; to which the Sieur Modet and others replied in four or five sheets of paper, which I have not yet seen ; so that our difference is being fought out, thank God, rather by the pen than by the sword, and I have some hope that no trouble may result from it ; at any rate, so soon as is feared. The Comte de Moeurs, at his departure, ordered them to negotiate together, either here or at Duerstede, near Wijk, where in old times they used to hold the Estates, but I see no intention on their part to obey him. They are however willing to refer all to his Excellency, as they will inform him by their deputy. Modet has preached quite openly against the Count, but without naming him, and M. the Elector has rebuked him strongly for having thus spoken of you. I send you the Elector's letters to yourself, who is the sole friend of our party ; for as to the Count, I swear, I have never heard him say one word in favour of your nation, but on the contrary, at table and in presence of everybody, he scorns and asperses both their actions and their valour ; and finds nothing right whatever, done since the coming of his Excellency. He said quite openly to the captains that Arnhem had been sold by the English garrison but for the arrangements he had made there. Also that Deventer is in danger of being lost by the Irish papists being there, and holding intelligence with the papists burgers. In short, he is a very bad Englishman, and thinks it a great diminution of his reputation and authority if they ever return here.Utrecht, Friday morning. Add. Endd. by Wilkes : "16 December, 1586. Mr. Hotman ; evil speeches used by the Conte de Moeurs against the English nation." Fr. 2 pp. [Holland XI. 74.]
I have written at large in answer to your letters of the 3rd., and fearing their interception in the common post have given them to one Mr. Hety, an honest gentleman by whom they will come to you as soon as this. My lord governor has written both to me and the Council to hasten over the rest of the deputies, but I see no great diligence used to dispatch them. "God send our great cause at home a good issue for the safety of her Majesty and the realm, but I fear her Majesty will hardly be wrought to assent to the execution of the Scottish Queen to be done according to justice, and if she should be prosecuted upon the proclamation, I think in my poor opinion it will be no small blemish to the honour of her Majesty and the justice of England. Howbeit, I hold it fitter to be done than not done..... If I might receive some abstract of her crimes and the manner of proceeding held against her,....I should hold myself greatly bound to you, and I suppose it would do good here, to satisfy many men that hold the course taken against her somewhat strange, considering her quality &c.The Hague, 14 December, 1586. Copy. p. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 18.]
The bearer, Captain Richard Wingfield, who has been with his company in garrison at Vlissengen ever since Sir Philip Sydney took charge of that town, "hath by some indirect dealing towards my Lord General (as it may be supposed) been put out of her Majesty's pay ever sithence the 12th of April last" though neither cassed nor put into the States' pay ; whereby he is left to bear the charge of his whole company, and has run into great debt with the burghers. I have dealt with the States for him ; but they allege that it is contrary to the contract that they should pay any company in the cautionary towns. Wherefore he has intreated me to pray you to be a means that his entertainment may be answered by her Majesty ; otherwise he is undone, and those of the town will be discouraged to lend anything to the soldiers. "The gentleman is valiant and wise, and hath served her Majesty above a dozen years in Ireland in all degrees, from a common soldier to a captain."The Hague, 16 December, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XI. 75.]
By the copy of a letter enclosed, written to Count 'Nieunare' from the Council of the Duchy of Gueldres and county of Zutphen you will understand "of some intelligence suspected between a lieutenant of some companies of our nation in Deventer, who is said to have access into the town of Zutphen, and conference with Taxis the governor." I forebore to acquaint you with it before, upon a like information given to your Council, hoping that upon admonition from hence the same should have been amended. It was informed that Mr. Zouche, lieutenant to Captain Rowland Yorke, had been sundry times into Zutphen, whereupon the Council wrote to Mr. Yorke to have regard to it. He made an answer unfit to be given to the executors of your authority in your absence, copies whereof have been sent into England, and I suppose imparted to your lordship. Whether the lieutenant mentioned in the letter to Count Nieunare be the same I know not ; but if you would give some speedy direction to the governor of the fort and to Sir William Stanley, I doubt not but the disorder will be reformed ; and in the mean time we will write to him and to Mr. Yorke likewise, "although I am of opinion that it will be little regarded, because I see the authority of your lordship and this Council so slenderly respected....which maketh me weary of my place and of the country ; whereunto I trust your lordship will provide some speedy redress.The Hague, 16 December, 1586. Postscript. Captain Richard Wingfield is going over to be a humble suitor to you to be restored into her Majesty's pay, because the States refuse to give him allowance for the time he hath been displaced, alleging that it is contrary to the contract to pay any companies kept in the cautionary towns. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XI. 76. Also Archives XCI., p. 19.]
Dec. 16/26. ANDREA DE LOO to the DUKE OF PARMA.
When your Highness was at the siege of Berck [Rheinberg] I earnestly solicited you, as for the general so especially in favour of the poor merchants (who are being utterly ruined) that it would please your Highness to send to treat of an accord with the Queen's Majesty, or at the least to make answer to her letter to you, in order to continue the design already begun by means of the overture made by your Highness ; but at that time the misfortune and troubles of war not suffering either the one or the other to come to pass, I returned into England with the signification which your Highness in the end gave me of your inclination for tranquility ; which, although not ill-liked, either by her Majesty or those lords, yet it appearing that it would not comport with her dignity to ground herself upon my word alone, to give me answer whether she would be willing to give ear to any personage who might be sent to her to treat of an accord ; and to hold such good correspondence with your Highness as should be answerable to so pious and charitable an action as to conclude by your means, on the part of the King, a firm peace with her Majesty ; as also (I judge) for that your Highness had left yourself [too much] offended to reply to the letter written to you esteeming thereby that you were out of liking with the matter (fn. 5) and being also doubtful whether your Highness had sufficient authority from the King to treat of and conclude the peace :no other thing could I obtain than to get the letter written by Mr. Controller which your Highness has seen, and found not to be of such substance as the great importance of the matter required. I pray your Highness to tell me speedily what you would desire for your better satisfaction, (fn. 6) but the further to facilitate the matters desired by all, and to lose the least time possible (good opportunities being lost with time, and on the other hand, difficulties in the carrying on of the negotiation daily increasing) if it should please you, for the benefit of the common cause, and moved by compassion for so many miseries, now to answer the said letter, (fn. 7) the world in general would be your debtor ; or else to permit M. de 'Champenye' to write what seems good to you, as well touching your authority as otherwise. And whereas the said M. de Champenye has asked me whether I had any other Instruction, and what her Majesty demanded (fn. 8) I will tell your Highness honestly that I have no other Instruction than the discourses made to me many times on the part of her Majesty by the Lord Treasurer ; that is to say :that she desires nothing more than to see the Low Countries in tranquillity, observing their due reverence and obedience to the King of Spain ; whom (he said) she does not wish to prejudice in any sort ; but seeing these people grown desperate by reason of the violences of strangers (whereby England itself also receives hurt) and all the potentates adjoining living in distrust, especially her Majesty, whose realm (he said) they have divers times sought to disturb ; rather than see the Low Countries in the hands of any other prince than of the House of Austria (as it had been seen they desired to yield themselves) her sole thought had been to prevent it by soliciting the King to temper the hard dealing and new practices in the government of the said Low Countries, and this failing, she had resolved to deal with her neighbours, and endeavour to maintain the traffic, treaties (as well particular as general) and other leagues which there have been from olden times between the realm of England and the Low Countries and their natural princes respectively, having no hope, if those countries should in desperation come into other hands than her own, that these things could be conveniently maintained or restored. And that this has been the will of her Majesty (the Lord Treasurer said to me) has been made manifest to the whole world not only by her actions but by her protestations and by her own justification ; the Lord Treasurer adding moreover that she being bound first to her own preservation and then to that of her subjects, would gladly see all the Low Countries again yield themselves to their due obedience to the King of Spain, under the government of the born natives of those countries, who are indeed patrimonial vassals of the King ; removing the mistrust on both sides by the withdrawal of the strangers who were the cause thereof, and leaving the governments, forts, administrations and public commands to the said natives, as it seems to her Majesty ought in reason to be done, for the better quiet of all and especially for the satisfaction of Germany (the Low Countries being a circle of the Empire). And with thisher Majesty having also the promise of the States of the Low Countries [and] that the King of Spain will not go to war against the realm of England, (fn. 9) and the word of his Highness, with confirmation by the King, on which she trusts (imputing to his stranger ministers (solely) the evils aforesaid) ; she will be willing (quoth he) to restore things to their former state ; demanding also, in regard to the expences incurred by her (as all know) entirely for the sake of the said tranquillity, that the States shall give her sufficient assurance for her satisfaction, according to the conditions agreed upon touching that matter. Likewise that her subjects shall be indemnified for the losses sustained by arrests of their ships and goods in Spain and Portugal. This (most noble Duke) is the true substance of what I remember to have understood and noted of the discourse held with me in confidence by the said Lord Treasurer on the part of her Majesty, as also by Mr. Controller, upon which I pray your Highness to consider what expedient may be best, as well for the service of God as of the King and Queen, and for the public good ; and to be persuaded that I am not so much carried away by my zeal for the common welfare as not to ground myself upon the very evident signs which I perceive of the sincere procedure both of her Majesty and of the lords there, who on my solicitation have laboured therein ; as also (on the other hand) I do not believe myself to be at all deceived in the sincerity and good disposition of your Highness. And without promising anything for myself save to be an honest man and true to my word, I pray you to be pleased not to take amiss what has been done with a good intent for the general tranquillity.Brussels, 26 December, 1586, stilo novo. Copy by de Loo himself. Italian. 2 pp. [Flanders I. 106.]
English translation of the preceding, but with many variations, the chief of which have been given in the footnotes above. Endd. by Burghley. "And. de Loo to the Prince [sic] of Parma after he came from the siege of Berk, with a report of the speeches of the Lord Treasurer to de Loo." 2 pp. [Ibid. I. 107.]
Dec. 17. WILKES to SIR WILLIAM STANLEY at Deventer.
As I was bold lately to write plainly to you as my good friend and entreat you to prevent the inconveniences feared to ensue of the offences taken by the inhabitants there, even now, as you will see by the copy of a letter from the Council of the Duchy of Gueldres and the county of Zutphen established at Arnhem, to Count Neuenaar, "they advertise that a lieutenant of some English company at Deventer hath had access to the enemy at Zutphen, and that the Irish of your regiment (being for the most part papists, as it is supposed) do enter into very straight league with the papists of Deventer, whereby there are grown some conceits that there is intelligence with the enemy to betray the town of Deventer. Albeit I trust there is no such matter, yet considering of what importance the same is, and how much it doth concern your own honour and the safety of these countries to prevent all such mischievous attempts as might be made to surprise the town," I send you a copy of the letter and pray you "to inquire carefully of the lieutenant mentioned in the same and if there be any such that without your privity resorted to the enemy, that you will cause him to be punished, and to have a careful eye to the Irish people, that they neither deceive you nor offend those that are well affected within the town.The Hague, 17 December, 1586. Copy. 1 p. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 20.]
Dec. 17. WILKES to THE QUEEN. (fn. 10) Stating that there is come into his hands the copy of a letter from the Prince of Parma to the Bishop of Liege, dated of the 24th of last month, by which it appears that there is still in hand some bloody purpose against her Majesty's person, as by the same here-inclosed may appear. Trusts that God's mercy, with the "good providence" of her self and her Council may discover this to her, as he has done many other treasons heretofore ; but it seems by the letter that though the exterior of the practices against her be discovered, yet the marrow thereof is not yet known, whereby her enemies doubt not but to achieve their horrible purposes against her. Pray God to preserve and defend her, and that she may see the ruin of all who seek her destruction. The Hague, 17 December, 1586. Copy. p. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 21.]
I presume to recommend to your lordship this bearer, Captain Price, one of those that have been hardly dealt with since my lord of Leicester's coming over, who gave his office of Serjeant Major to Sir William Reade, "in respect of whose former long service, he contented himself therewith ; and when there was a motion of Sir William's return to England, he was, by my lord's consent appointed to execute the place again in those troops that first went out with me, and promised that he should have his place again after the departure of Sir William. Notwithstanding, his lordship hath given the place unto Mr. York, who is neither a man of that service that this is, nor so pleasing to the most part of those that serve here" ; wherefore I beseech you to stand his good lord if he have occasion to crave your favour. The Hague, 18 December, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XI. 77.]
Recommending the bearer, Capt. Wilson, who on some occasion of his own is going to England, and craves a letter to his honour, "being also one that thinks himself hardly dealt withal, having served so long as he hath done." Begs that he may be shown all lawful favour.The Hague, 18 December, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. p. [Holland XI. 78.]
Having on my departure, twice tried to find your honour, I was so unfortunate as that each time you had gone to the Council, and must therefore trouble you with this, to thank you with all my heart for pleading my cause, as to my commission in the Council of State ; which benefit I hold to have proceeded from your honour's hands, and for which I shall remain your grateful servant all my life, hoping to show by effects how much I have at heart the service of her Majesty and his Excellency.Dordrecht, 28 December, 1586. Signed, N. Gow. van Eyck. Add. Endd. Fr. 2 pp. [Ibid. XI. 79.]
Dec. 18. Letter from the Council of State to the Magistrates of Hamburg. Regret inability to withdraw fleet from the Elbe as desired because it appears that the Spaniards are suffering from a great lack of necessaries and they fear worse in time to come, whereby they would be prevented from concentrating their army in one place and would be unable to defend their towns, so that there is good hope of finishing this cruel war successfully if supplies are prevented from reaching the enemy. This will be very easy if this fleet in the Elbe is active, whence the enemy has been trying to ship a large quantity of wheat, by various devices, so the presence of the fleet is necessary for the defence of the Provinces. Beyond doubt, if the Spaniards conquered the Provinces they would destroy the liberty of Hamburg. So if they will consider their own safety and old friendship, they will not desire the destruction of their neighbours because of some slight inconvenience to trade.The Hague, 18 December, 1586, stilo veteri. Latin. 2 pp. [S.P.F. Archives XC., p. 109.]
I have received three letters from you, all dated the 17th of this month, of which one, addressed to Sir John Norreys contains an answer to my former letter of friendly advice "containing no threat (by your leave) but some persuasions unto you to give the inhabitants of that town as little cause as you might justly to grieve them, whose complaints to this Council were very bitterly delivered against you....which were not delivered here by any Rhetorician, but by letters from the magistrate, addressed to the Council. And if it please you again to peruse my letter well, you shall find I do not therein prejudicate or condemn you, for I have always held you so wise and discreet as at that time I did not believe anything written against you, and made answer for you in the Council that I thought the informers did you wrong. Howbeit, perceiving by the complaint and by some confirmation of others that you founded yourself greatly upon your commission to warrant you to intermeddle with their policy ; and that you offered by authority thereof to call for the contributions of the country....I thought it not unfit to peruse the copy of your commission....wherein I protest before God I had no purpose to hurt or offend you ; and considering the advice I gave .... was private between you and me, and proceeding of my good love towards you, meseemeth you have done me a great deal of wrong, not only to take it in so evil part, but to charge me, as you do by your letter in scoffing manner with lack of discretion and want of good meaning toward you. And sithence my letters have so offended you, assure yourself you shall not take a second occasion by the like, for my goodwill, to mislike of me. I trust I shall be as well able to warrant my advertisements into England as any other shall their actions whatsoever. There hath been as great care and instance used here for money and other things to relieve your wants as any way might be, but the lack of money hath been and is such as it hath not been possible to help you and others in as great extremity as yourself. There was not a denier left at his Excellency's departure and sithence many ways have been attempted to get money to satisfy you and the rest but few have prevailed, howbeit there is now at the last coming to you some pay. You are to consider that neither I nor any of our nation here that I know of hath these men's purses at commandment, and therefore whosoever will resolve to serve here must be contented to lack where it is not to be had.The Hague, 18 December, 1586. Copy. 1 pp. [S.P.F. Archives XCI., p. 21.]
Since writing about the lieutenant of Deventer, he has received the enclosed from Sir William Stanley, whereby the truth of the matter is as fully answered as may be. The money promised to be delivered within twenty days comes in so slowly that the soldiers suffer hunger and want in all places, "especially at the fort before Zutphen, where they have died extremely with hunger and cold." At last some money has been sent to relieve them and as it is received, it is sent to the companies. Must still put his lordship in remembrance of the necessity of the presence of a governor, for he sees daily more and more that without it, all will come to confusion.The Hague, 18 December, 1586. Copy. p. [Ibid XCI., p. 23.]
Has received a letter signed by his honour, by which he sees that it is proposed to reduce two companies of his regiment. If this is done, he cannot fulfil his oath to his Excellency to guard the quarter where his lordship did him the honour to make him his lieutenant, and the places on the other side the sea [i.e. the Zuider See] which were also given into his charge. If it were sure that the winter would pass without further frost, it would be more than necessary to have these two companies again, seeing that by order of his Excellency, and with the consent of Count William of Nassau, he has allowed one from Enchuysen and another from Hoorn to leave these quarters ; the affairs of which his honour will hear more at large by the bearer, Commissary vanden Broucke.Medenblick, 29 December, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. by Wilkes. Fr. 1 p. [Holland XI. 80.]


  • 1. Probably their letter of Nov. 21Dec. 1 (p. 241 above.)
  • 2. See under date Nov. 30Dec. 10 (p. 246 above.)
  • 3. Addressed to Sir John Norreys by mistake. The bulk of the letter is printed by Motley, United Netherlands, II., 154-5, but not with complete accuracy.
  • 4. Addressed to Wilkes in mistake.
  • 5. In the translation which accompanies the letter this passage is omitted and in its place is put (after the word "required," the following "neither having brought with me that credit whereunto credit might firmly be given," which does not occur in the letter.
  • 6. The translation here inserts "and I will write it over presently."
  • 7. Added in the translation : ("the time then of warlike impediments not suffering the same").
  • 8. Added in the translation : "and also what assurance she would have."
  • 9. The meaning here is confused but the wording is quite clear"E con questo, havendo la serenissima regina la promessa delli stati de paesi bassi, che'l Re di Spagna non prendera guerra contra il regno d'Inglaterra, e la parola di sua Alteza &c."
  • 10. Printed by Motley, United Netherlands, II., 115-6.