Elizabeth: June 1586, 11-15

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Elizabeth: June 1586, 11-15', in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 2, June 1586-March 1587, (London, 1927) pp. 9-18. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol21/no2/pp9-18 [accessed 13 April 2024]


June 1586, 11-15

June 12. THE PRIVY COUNCIL to SIR WALTER MILDMAY, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The Earl of Leicester having of late, at the request of the Estates of Holland, written to them on behalf of one Philip Bishopp, a merchant of the Low Countries, whose goods are said to have been unjustly attached by some officers of the port of London, Sir Walter is desired to take order therein, that the inhabitants of the United Provinces, now received into her Majesty's protection, may enjoy the benefit of all ancient treaties without unlawful interruption.Greenwich, 12 June, 1586. Copy. 1 p. [Holland VIII. 80.] [Given at length in Acts of the Privy Council, 1586, 1587, p. 148.]
June 12. Note of "divers sums of money issued by Mr. Treasurer at wars and out of her Majesty's receipt, to be reimbursed to her Highness" by the States. Total 16,200l. 7s. 11d. With marginal notes, partly in Burghley's hand. Endorsed with date. 1 pp. [Ibid. 81.]
June 13. Three papers endorsed with this date by Maynard : (1) "A reckoning how her Majesty's pay for a year, to begin the 12th of November, 1585, and to end at the like day of November, 1586, shall be performed." Draft, much corrected by Burghley. 1 pp. [Ibid. 82.]
(2) "Sums paid under the charge of the Earl of Leicester, and what is due the 11th of June, 1586. 2 pp. [Ibid. 83.]
(3) "Touching the state of the forces in the Low Countries." Already arrived and mustered, 40 companies at her Majesty's charge, and 21 at the charge of the States. In Vlissinge 6 ensigns ; in Brill 3 ; Bergen op Zoom 14 ; Amersford 2 ; Wageningen 1 ; Arnhem 2 ; Ostend 7. Drawn down into the Bettowe at first 19 ensigns ; now lately come out of England 7 more ; in all 26. Almost all the English horse (save Sir Phillip Sidney's cornet) are also in the Bettowe, to the number of 800 and more. Further endorsed by Burghley, "Mr. Digges' certificate to the Victualler." p. [Ibid. 84.]
"If it hath not been (my most dear and gracious lady) no small comfort to your poor old servant to receive but one line of your blessed hand writing in many months for the relief of a most grieved, wounded heart, how far more exceeding joy must it be in the midst of all sorrow to receive from the same sacred hand so many comfortable lines as my good friend Mr. Gorge hath at once brought me. Pardon me, my sweet lady, if they cause me forget myself, and not to find well what tune I am in, only this I do say with all humble and most dutiful thanks to your most excellent Majesty, that the beginning and scope of all my service hath been, is, and shall be, next God, only to content and please you. And if I may do it, then is all sacrifice either of life or whatsoever well offered for you. "I must likewise ask pardon most gracious lady to say a little to some particular points set down in your second letter, but not any whit to the defence of that which so misliketh you touching your former offence taken, but referring all as from the beginning to your Majesty's own goodness ; but some other things there be very needful for your Majesty to be both satisfied and informed of. The first is that you are persuaded that by some other name or under some other condition I might have the same and as much authority as by the name of general governor I have. Because Sir Thomas Heneage is very well able to answer this point, I will the less trouble your Majesty withal, and yet I think if I would have displeased your Majesty more justly, and have contented these people more gladly I could have done so, but finding your Majesty above all other things minded to have no more attributed to yourself but the only helping and assisting those countries, without further taking upon you either sovereignty or protection, forced me rather (the necessity of the cause then considered) to take the matter upon myself than to use the authority under the name of your officer, which was the thing in the world the States and provinces stood chiefly upon with me, that I would take the government absolute, under the name of your lieutenant and minister here, whereby then in deed I had fully concluded your Majesty either a sovereign or protector. But otherwise, as is well known to Mr. Heneage and all men here, it was not possible to have the authority which your Majesty could like I had without the name of absolute Governor, but in such sort as was given me, and yet had I it not by that name of absolute Governor, but a government absolute granted unto me, over and beside that authority which your Majesty had appointed unto me ; which authority they might have given to any other and must have done ; and but for that, it is well known, both the Count Maurice de Nassau, the Count Guillaume and the Count Meurs had been all three my superintendents and governors in deed ; and no other way in the world to control it but this they took, and I am assured your meaning never was to have me here your General at their commandments, as so I must have been ; and so of late upon the knowledge of your Majesty's mislike it hath been sought to make it so by some of their practices of this country that are bound to your Majesty and by your means to me also. But having your countenance I doubt it not to disappoint their devices well enough and better than perhaps your Majesty doth suppose. For I can assure your Majesty upon late very good proof the hearts of these people be yet with you, and die to think you should leave them, as divers lewd reports are given out. "An other matter your Majesty doubteth is that I have caused your treasure to be paid for these men to your loss, but I beseech you, have not that opinion of me. It is true your treasurer hath very forwardly of himself paid out divers sums to the English bands in the States' pay, and without any warrant from me, as shall appear by the dates of them ; only one for Ostend upon the saving or losing the town at my arrival first, which either he received again or might have done long or this. And after he had thus paid divers bands, and the cause why he did so I do also know, even for his own profit ; and so hath he almost in plain words confessed unto me, I have granted him my warrant at his own suit, but specially to save your Majesty the money, that by showing my warrant it shall appear their debt due and to be answered again to your Majesty, as being general to you both, and though not so much, yet have they also disbursed upon need some money to men in your Majesty's pay, as doth appear upon my warrant to their treasurer also. Beside, where it is doubted that your men that come over shall be turned to your charge, I will thus much affirm to your Majesty, that there is not a man yet come over but hath received his full conduct money of the States, and so shall that which is laid out for Sir William Stanley be presently paid also upon his men's arrival. Nay, I have gone further, finding the enemy so strong, our present need so great, and the States so slow in all their preparations, as I have agreed with the Mr. [of] Gray [?] for a good number of men, as I received advice from your Majesty a good while since, finding these country men in deed no men for war to trust unto ; and therefore I do haste to increase our numbers of English and Scots, for they be known men that will fight. These men, will I see the States shall pay ; and if your Majesty's gracious countenance had maintained me, I would have been in better state both to bridle the States and to withstand the enemy than yet I have been, albeit I thank God and your Majesty, (fn. 1) I begin to be prettily accompanied now with men, only lacking governors and leaders, specially a marshal, having had neither marshal nor any governor almost in our camp from the beginning : a matter of great importance, and a matter I have long and oft called upon but never relieved, and I must still say to your Majesty, it had been better to have wanted the use of twenty thousand pounds than the service of Sir William Pellam here this long ; it is not only an unsufferable want to all our people, but the enemy hath bragged of it. I do assure your Majesty by the allegiance I owe you, I know the prince of Parma hath spoken it some months past, that he was sure that neither Pellam nor the lord Grey should come, nor that any more men by your licence or muster should pass, which falls out somewhat too true, to our discomfort, but if yet either Pellam or my lord Grey or rather both may come, I trust your Majesty shall reap the greatest honour and good by it. But first Sir William Pellam, for he is readiest, for God's sake and your own honour's sake, let him come. We have now some numbers increased, but no man fit for such a government as Sir William Pellam is able to discharge. I beseech your Majesty, trust me and believe me, there is not one, no, not one for it, whatsoever you have heard or may hear, or of whom soever, that I know, to be employed at this time here. I find it, I feel it to my great hindrance, and no less danger every day. I know here be worthy and very valiant gentlemen, but for so great a charge believe me there is not one yet here for it, I am loth to hinder any man ; it hath not been my custom to your Majesty. I beseech you that all men may have their deserts, and your poor army here comforted. Let all the haste possible be used with Sir William Pellam, whose coming with that worthy gentleman Sir William Stanley, I trust with those that be here, your Majesty shall hear well of. And to end this, if I see not all your money laid out by my warrants for the States fully repayed, albeit they were drawn now by me to get the assurance at their hands for it, let me lose my credit with your Majesty. And yet I say it again, the money paid without my knowledge, and so was much more &c. "Two other matters I am further also to answer your Majesty inthe one for the not paying by the States of the two hundred thousand florins a month agreed upon, wherein I must needs say that they have paid that two hundred thousand, but that I stand upon of late with them is two hundred thousand more, which they long since agreed on, and I sent word thereof to your Majesty, and herein indeed they have been very slack, but if your Majesty will pardon me to speak the truth of that story, it grew only upon Sir Thomas Heneage coming with the message of your displeasure, for, from that time till this they have not only sought to hinder that agreement but to intermeddle wholly again with all things which did appertain to my office and place they gave me. And to withstand them, to be plain I durst not, and they have applied it diligently since to work that conceit into every man's head else, yet it is now brought in for a shift to save the vile traitor Hemert, that so villainously delivered Grave into the enemy's hands. They have alleged by his friends that I am no competent judge to direct his cause, not being governor of the provinces, your Majesty having disavowed it to the States, neither is this true. But yet I hope it shall not save him, for I will rather run home than such a wretch should escape justice ; but the last two hundred thousand florins, notwithstanding all delays I have now, I think for fear partly of the forces I have together, and partly for doubt of the people's malice toward them, they offer both that and more in time to be paid ; and be your Majesty assured, both for all the former and for any other cause there shall no charge be cast upon you, only I beseech you for your honour's sake, and for the service sake, observe your contract, and you shall see that I will see the rest performed, to what charge soever it grow. "The other matter is to satisfy your fear for over hasty fighting with the enemy, considering the great difference between our forces. Your Majesty in deed doth give both princely and very gracious counsel, and God forbid but it should be obeyed, as for my part, I will both remember your pleasure, and give order to others to do the same. Only upon extremities it must please your Majesty to tolerate with some adventure, as at Grave, when the relief was sent to it, there was no remedy but to adventure a fight, not to seek willingly to fight, but to defend the enemy at such a time. The like is now for Venlo, a place besieged by the Prince with all his forces. There must be some adventure, or else it will sure be lost. And yet there shall be as substantial dealing as men can possibly devise. To the relief whereof I do send three thousand footmen and a thousand horse, as well to take all advantages to help the place, as to comfort and defend three other towns joining to Venlo, which if they should not be relieved, would be lost as soon as the other were gone. They be Guelders, Wachtendonck, (Wayttendon) and Berck. Neuss (Nuse) is an other also, which two last be towns standing upon the river of Rhine, and at this present we have the river free from Dordrecht to Cologne without any let or stay in the world ; and God sending sufficient force in time, I doubt not the keeping it so. And for fulfilling your Majesty's pleasure, I dare assure it shall be with all due and honourable consideration as yourself would wish it to be. The Lord God ever comfort you, and bless you for the comfort I receive from you. I can yield no more but to rest a faithful, true and most careful poor wretch for you with my continual prayers whilst I may speak or breathe. Utrecht, thisJune, 1586. I beseech your Majesty to pardon my long and hasty scribbling in this sort." Holograph. Two seals of arms but no address. 7 pp. [Holland VIII. 85.] [Probably written on the 14th. Leicester arrived at Utrecht on the 13th, where he received letters from the Queen by Nicholas Gorge (see letter of 24th, below). Hemert was beheaded on the 18th. Extracts from this letter are quoted by Motley (i. 454, 458 ; ii., 23, 24, 38).]
June 14. Notes by Burghley concerning payments to or for the Low Countries, and endorsed by him : "14 Junii, 1586. At Barn Elms. A memorial how to clear the account for Holland." 2 pp. [Ibid. 86.]
June 14/24. Memorial headed in Flemish as given in by the deputies of the States of Holland at the assembling of the States General, July 2, [n.s.] 1586 [sic. but the document is dated at the Hague, June 24, 1586] (and in a different hand), concerning the differences in the contributions between Holland and Zeeland. Signed by de Rechtere. Copy. Dutch. 2 pp. [Ibid. 87.]
June [15.] "Copy of a letter in Latin from her Majesty to the Council of States [sic]." GreenwichJune, anno 1586, regni vero nostri, 28. 7 pp. [Ibid. 88.]
Draft for the above letter, in English, much corrected by Burghley. 6 pp. Endd. by him "15 May 1585" sic. [Ibid. 89.]
"By your late letters sent unto us by our servant Sir Thomas Heneage we find you seek to excuse your urging of our Cousin the Earl of Leicester unto the accepting of a title of more absolute government than by our own speech delivered here to the Commissioners of the States, and by special words contained in our contract, you might conceive any just cause to think that we could like or allow of ; which you pretend to have proceeded of the abundance of the goodwill you did bear us, the great liking you had of our said cousin, and also of the very necessity of your estate moving you thereunto, and yet you do acknowledge (for that the same was done without making us first privy and having our consent thereunto) that therein you were justly to be blamed, and do crave pardon for the same. "As we cannot, upon this acknowledgment of your fault, being grounded upon such causes as you allege, but remove our former mislike we had of your proceeding therein, yet when we look into the little profit that the common cause hath received hitherto by the yielding unto him rather in words and writing a title of a kind of absolute government, than the effect of the authority mentioned, for that we understand that, notwithstanding the form of the grant, he can neither be made thoroughly acquainted with the true state of the affairs there requisite for such an office as hath been given him in name by the General States, nor yet receive the due performance of such contributions of money and other necessary reliefs, as well ordinary as extraordinary as were specially promised unto him, both before the acceptation of the government as also many times sithence, insomuch as for lack of due satisfaction of things promised, he hath been enforced to employ part of our treasure sent over thither for the payment of our own people and forces, to pay and relieve such other forces as were entertained by the General States, and were employed in divers of their towns, and left, without money or victual, to the danger of the places which they held ; and also he hath been in like manner forced to make payment to divers general officers appertaining to the field and not comprised in our contract with our money, that was limited to pay our own forces, besides many other like burdens laid upon our said cousin contrary to our expectation ; which manner of proceeding falling out contrary to the promise made to us by the Commissioners of the States at the time of their being here, hath given us cause to mislike not so much for the title itself, as for lack of performance of most part of things of importance whereof the title carrieth a show, yea of things most necessary for the defence of the whole country against the enemy and to the danger and loss of the common cause, a matter that without speedy redress on your parts, to be given by your solicitation to the States General, cannot but breed both imminent peril to all these countries, and dishonour to us. And therefore we have thought good plainly to let you understand, that unless we shall find the said Earl our Cousin, whom we have cause for many causes dearly to esteem, better respected and assisted by the States General and that by your solicitation, than hitherto he hath been ... We see no reason why either we should like of the title...nor yet continue the action itself in this uncertain manner, that cannot but breed peril to the cause, comfort to your enemies, and great discontentation to us. So on the other side if we shall hereafter find that presently and without delay the States General shall yield by performance of their promises satisfaction to us, by making the Earl our Cousin, accordiing to that is requisite for him, more thoroughly acquainted with the state of the affairs of the whole country than we find yet he hath been, and namely to understand perfectly the estate and power of all the finances, revenues and contributions, by what name so ever the same are called, that are or ought to be taxed, firmed, collected, paid and disposed for the public service both by sea and land, that thereby he may aforehand perfectly see and understand how he and you together may be able to maintain a sufficient [po]wer both by sea and land, not only [to] defend the enemy but to offend [him] also as necessity shall require,... and furthermore that you so deal effectually with the States General as that respect and obedience be procured unto him, as may strengthen his authority in truth and substance for the public weal for the country, which is the only request that we have in this cause, rather than in title and utter [i.e. outer] appearance, whereby the former great disorders, confusions and lacks may be hereafter avoided :then can we be well content (for that you pretend otherwise by change or revoking of the said authority, there may fall out some dangerous alteration in those countries) to yield as well to tolerate the continuance of the said authority, as also to assure you and the States General that they performing these conditions afore mentioned, we will not fail on our part to continue and perform the assistance promised to the uttermost as it is contained in the said contract, so long as the necessity for your defence, security and liberty shall require the same, and whereas we are informed that in sundry parts of those countries the people are underhand practised withal by some ill affected, and they also in some part corrupted, and in some part cunningly by false reports abused by the enemy to withdraw the hope they ought to have of the continuance of our promised defence, as by certain bruits given out and dispersed by letters, messages and such like, that we should seek to make some peace underhand for ourselves, without regard had of their surety, whereunto as we are informed there is some credit given.We are to let you know that if any credit be given there to any such bruits, we cannot think ourselves so well nor so thankfully dealt withal by such either over credulous or ungrateful people of those countries as we looked for, and as we have and do deserve ; for they and all others ought upon the experience had of our long government to think that besides the regard we carry to the conservation of our own honour (which we hold most precious) we are not so void of understanding as to conceive that any peace between us and the king of Spain can prove good for us, that should not also comprehend the surety of those people in those provinces united, whom we have professed publicly to the whole world to defend. And yet to make our actions plain, honourable and sound, we do not deny but that there have been sundry overtures both from Spain and from the parts on that side the seas now held by the Prince of Parma and Spaniards, made unto us of peace, which we thought not meet (contrary to the manner of all other princes in like cases) utterly to reject, and yet was there never to this time other answer given on our part, but that upon message sent to know whether we would be content to have a general peace, it hath been said that they which have moved these questions may plainly understand our meaning by the sight and perusing of such a declaration as we have made and published to the world, both of the just causes of our actions in giving aid to our neighbours afflicted, for their and our own sureties, and also of the remedies required for pacification of these great troubles ; and other answer until this day was never given on our part to such as have moved us to hearken to any pacification, howsoever others have for their advantage given out contrary reports. And therefore you may assure both the States in General, yourselves and all others to whom it may seem convenient to be known for their better satisfaction against any forged reports or any actions of particular persons that 'percase' may be more busy to deal herein than we do warrant or allow ; that unless we shall see good ground to think that any overture of peace shall be accompanied with the common surety of us and these countries, howsoever they may be uttered to us, shall never by us be received. And therefore we look that you and the States of those provinces in general should both seek to suppress the said malicious and cunning bruits, as also remove such sinister conceits as hath been wrought in the peoples' heads there by the giving out of the same. And so for other matters referring you to such further particulars as both our Cousin the Earl and the bearer of this our letter, who is fully acquainted with our mind in these causes shall impart unto [you], whereof we doubt not but you will have that due regard that appertaineth, we commit you &c." A later draft in English, incorporating the alterations in the previous one, but with further corrections by Burghley. In Maynard's hand. 5 pp. Endd. by Burghley, and dated by him "May 15" but the May cancelled, and June substituted. [Holland VIII. 90.]
Not being ignorant how precious time is to your lordship, witholdeth me from troubling you so often as otherwise I would. What the enemy does or attempts, or "by what comforts he leadeth his discontented and ill-fed companies to attempt so many difficulties through such hazards," I know you hear diversely, but amongst all his means to persuade them, "this seemeth to be his 'shotanchor," that where the comfort of this people depends wholly upon her Majesty's relief and support, her disposition is now so cooled, as evidently (he says) appears both by the many disgraces which my lord has received from her, to the great blemish of his authority (without which nothing can soundly be done) and also "by the slack payment of that small number wherewith she hath charged herself towards their aid ; whereupon he concludeth certain hope of continual gain and winning," for so long as my lord is unable to 'front' him in the field or drive him from the siege of towns, so long will this people be without heart and courage, and be inflamed with comfort and hope of victory ; whereas if her Majesty would credit what not only my lord but every man of judgment here sees, there is no doubt but that with this one summer's war, she might conclude an assured peace, with what conditions she pleased. If the enemy were once driven from the siege of one town, you would soon hear of such revolt of cities from him as would utterly dismay all his people. The number he can carry into the field is not above 9000 foot and 3000 horse at the most, and those "starve for victuals" ; so that if her Majesty would vouchsafe but a little more support, there is no doubt of happy success. This is cried for by all the common people, but "as touching those whom they call States" it is generally conceived that an endless war is what they desire and practise for in many cunning ways, as Sir Thomas Heneage can inform you, "whose careful, dutiful and discreet carriage of himself in these parts deserveth no small commendation." The enemy has a wonderful gate opened to him ; there are here many false brethren, of whom I fear me Paul Buys will not prove the punye. (fn. 2) Utrecht, 15 June, 1586. As you tender the cause, send Sir William Pelham over ; here is too great need of him. Add. Endd. by Burghley as received "by Mr. Cox, 5 July," 1 p. [Holland VIII. 91.]
Recommending Captain Selby, who has begged him to thank his honour for past favours, and pray him for further aid, that his suit may be dispatched. The gentleman is both sufficient and takes great pains to discharge his duty.Utrecht, 15 June, 1586. Signed. Add. Endd. p. [Ibid. 92.]


  • 1. The following passage, concerning Sir W. Pelham, is quoted by Motley, United Netherlands, II. 38.
  • 2. Qy. "puisne," i.e. least.