Elizabeth: December 1587, 11-20

Pages 451-461

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3, April-December 1587. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.

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December 1587, 11-20

Although many men doubt that the preparations in Spain and here are for invading England, yet when it is considered what number of men is requisite for so high an enterprise, the amount of victuals, horses, munition &c., necessary, the infinite numbers of ships for the transporting of these, and whence they shall all rise if Holland and Zeeland be kept assured to her Majesty ; also where shall be their place of rendezvous ; where they shall harbour if storms arise, where shall be their magazines for victuals, &c. ; "and if it shall be concluded, as it must needs be, that either in or out of these parts or nowhere ; then must it follow that these preparations are but shadows and scarecrows to terrify her Majesty, thereby to draw her forces out of these countries, whereby they may be supplied abundantly of things requisite for an invasion. It may be objected that the States having some of them disjoined themselves from his Excellency, have an intention to make their own peace, which if they should do, her Majesty assuring this island to herself, as she may take just cause to do, and [sic] may keep it in despite of all her foes, and it shall be always able to prevent all dangers that may grow or hap to England, and of itself defray the most part of her Majesty's charges. "But if her Majesty would have an end of these lingering wars, then this next August to bring 10000 "rutters," and 20000 footmen for three months into the field, and let them begin to spoil, waste and burn Brabant, Artois and Flanders, and to take no towns but Dunkirk and the sea towns along to Flushing, and so let them go home again through Gueldres ; half pay and the spoil will content and enrich the whole army. "This is a most easy charge and sure war, and will reduce all the country at her Majesty's devotion, or else starve them the next year following ; and in ten years they shall not be able to recover it again. Experience of this was had when the rutters were last here in the great camp when Duke John died, (fn. 1) where there was only meat and forage taken, without wasting houses or 'dorpes' [villages], and to this day they have not recovered it again ; but must have perished unless ourselves had nourished them. "I would to God it might please her Majesty only to venture my Lord Willobie, now our General, in the execution of such an action. I assure myself 'of' a very happy success would follow, to her Majesty's great honour and renown, and to the safety of England..."Floshing, 12 December. Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 157.]
Resolutions taken on this date. (fn. 2)
1 "That the Commissioners appointed for the treaty with the Duke of Parma may stay until her Majesty shall receive the States' answer from Mr. Herbert.
2 "That for the hastening of their answer it shall be meet that Mr. Herbert should be directed to urge them to yield their answer at a day prefixed, with protestation that receiving not the same to come away, and to desire that an act may be made of the said protestation. That it shall be convenient in the mean time to advertise the Duke of Parma of the cause of the stay of the said commissioners.
"The letters communicate towns [sic].
"The States to be solicited for ships. (fn. 3)
3 "That touching the government of these countries, it shall be convenient that the Lord Willoughby should be limited by Instructions, only to deal in those things that concerneth the regiment and government of her Majesty's forces, without intermeddling in any thing that concerneth the government of the said countries. That it shall be convenient also that signification be made to the States that her Majesty finding their little respect that was yielded unto the late governor, the Earl of Leicester [Margin, as correction or alternative [finding them] "not yield the authority agreed by contract, nor the authority given by themselves to the Earl of Leicester"] hath thought meet to direct the Lord Willoughby to forbear to deal in anything that concerneth the government of those countries, having appointed him only to have the oversight and charge of her own forces serving in those countries." Draft, corrected by Walsingham. Endd. with date. 1 p. 2 lines. [Ibid. XIX. f. 159.]
Thanks him for his continued love and favour as regards his "bad estate in this place." If he thought he could do her Majesty service, would refuse no travail, but sees that all things remain desperate. The soldiers "are put to provand, which is almost spent." There is scarce money to relieve the garrison of Flushing for a month. "The other garrisons must run away, mutiny or starve." Beseeches him to solicit for some treasure to be sent over. The States are at the Hague. Has heard nothing from them, and has thought it best "to stay" hitherto, hoping for further directions from home. "Counts Hollock and Maurice have ridden all this while in the fleet besides Biereflete. There is nothing yet done, neither by them nor the enemy. There is some likelihood his great army will dissolve like snow, and then there were some good if with joined forces, both from home and on this side" they should strike in time. For the rest, has commended to his cousin Stubbs to solicit for him.Flushing, 13 December. Postscript. Recommending the bearer, Capt. Morgan Wolfe, who is "very discreet to use both his pen and his sword." Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 161.]
"Upon my lord of Leicester's departure, according to his Lordship's pleasure, John de Castillio was released ; and having received the better part of his ransom and taken the Burgomasters' words here for the rest, I pray to know how you will have the money disposed. Some freebooters of this town very lately took an English seminary priest (fn. 4) and three soldiers, and slew a Scottish colonel, in the way from Brussels to 'Brudges.' They had very few letters, and only on private affairs save one English one, "which showeth that the Prince's preparations is thought altogether too weak for England, but is rather to attempt somewhat either against Ireland, this town or this island, or some towns here about Vere." The priest as yet protests ignorance of the enemies' determination, but as he is likely to be acquainted with other matters, and may upon longer imprisonment confess somewhat, I desire to know your pleasure what whall be done with him. I pray your furtherance that this garrison may receive some pay, they being in much extremity for want of it ; also that I may be freed from this place and that you will remember me for the office of Lieutenant of the Ordnance.Flushing, 15 December, 1587. Postscript in his own hand "The priest's name is 'Grine,' a gentleman of Essex." Signed. Add. Endd. [Ibid. XIX. f. 163.]
Seeing the States' answer to her motion to have them join with her in the intended treaty of peace is so long delayed, she desires him to let them understand that she finds this very strangeseeing that they were long before made acquainted with the matter by the Earl of Leicester, their governor and by other meansand that it gives her just cause to think that it proceeds from "a kind of contempt, for the matter itself...ought to have moved them (if they carried that love and zeal to the well-doing of those countries as outwardly they pretended) to have taken both thankfully the said motion and to have yielded speedily unto the same" ; which falling out otherwise, shows that some of the chief guiders of that government care more for their particular passions than for the general good. For, considering the state of the country, nothing can be so profitable for them as a good and sound peace, the proposal for which proceeds from a Prince who has proved as careful for their safety as he who professes to love the country most. If therefore he has not heard from them before the receipt of this, he shall fix them a day to yield their resolute answer, and if he does not then receive it shall return with all speed into England, giving them a copy of his protestation in writing and requiring an Act to be made to be shown to her. And whereas she has been informed with what small respect her cousin the Earl of Leicester has been used by the States, especially since his last repair thither, "through the practice of certain ambitious and factious persons" ; and forasmuch as she reputes wrongs and indignities offered to him as done to herself, considering the place be held, she has thought good that he should resign his government into their hands, and has caused him to make an instrument which she sends herewith ; desiring Herbert to deliver it into their hands, and withal to let them know that although such person of quality as she should send as her Lieutenant General should, by virtue of their contract with her "have a kind of superintendency and authority in the government there," yet considering their hard usage of the said Earl, in not permitting him to use the authority by their own contract given to him, she has by special direction inhibited Lord Willoughby (whom she has appointed lieutenant of her forces) to deal or intermeddle in any thing that concerns their civil government, finding no likelihood that they will permit him, being inferior in dignity, to use the same, when they prevented her cousin of Leicester, whom they had voluntarily made their governor general, from using the authority they themselves had given him. Copy. Endd. with date. 3 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 165.]
"These times and places are become so quiet there is nothing to report save their misery, which is such that having spent her Majesty's store there, they were driven six days ago to feed on the magazine of the town ; and how far this may tend to the prejudice of the place, his honour may conjecture. Those who have hitherto willingly given them credit are now desperate of recovering their own, and dare not trust them any further. The enemy's preparations seem to tend to some greater enterprise than he has yet attempted, or than this country can give him. Prays earnestly that if it be against any place in which her Majesty is interested, he may be thought worthy with his band to be employed there ; much more desiring to spend his blood in her Majesty's and his country's service than his days thus idly in obscurity.Bergen op Som, 16 December, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 167.]
Note of the accounts of the Tellers of the Exchequer from 9 to 16 December, 1587.
[Rich :] Stonley. In hand and receipts 9476l. 3s. 5d.
Payments :
To John Hawkins esquire, treasurer of the Admiralty towards the charge of certain of her Majesty's ships at sea for six weeks
1118l. 15s.
To James Quarles for victualling the same 1131l. 17s. 6d.
To Francis Guilpyne for the charges of dinner in the Treasurer's chamber for the Lord Treasurer, Barons and other officers of the Exchequer sitting there for her Majesty's affairs the 9th of this present December 6l. 18s. 6d.
Total spent 2257l. 11s.
And so remaineth 7218l. 12s. 5d.
[Henry] Killigrew, his weekly remain 5726l. 9s. 10d.
paid nil.
Taillor. In hand and receipts 7346l. 9s. 8d.
To Nowell Sotherton, clerk of the extracts in the Exchequer, for extracting forth the fines of recusants, &c. 20l.
To John Jenkins, messenger 13s. 4d.
20l. 13s. 4d.
And so remaineth 7325l. 16s. 4d.
[Robert] Freke
In hand and receipts
6827l. 0s. 2d.
Paid to the Earl of Oxford as part of his yearly payment of 400l. 250l.
And so remaineth 6577l. 0s. 2d.
Sum total of all there remains 16 December, 1587 26847l. 18s. 11d.
Endd. 2 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 169.]
Dec. 17. Draft of resignation, by the Earl of Leicester of his offices of Lieutenant General of her Majesty's forces, and Governor-General of the United Provinces. [In this first draft is a clause thanking the States for the confidence they have shown him and the honour they have done him, but this is marked for deletion]. London, 17 December, 1587. Endd. French. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 171.]
Dec. 17. Copy of the above, as corrected.
Endd. French. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 173.]
Stating that he reposes his whole confidence in his honour, both as regards his coming away and the procuring of the office of Lieutenant of the Ordnance. Wrote lately touching certain prisoners taken by freebooters serving under Capt. Littleton's company, amongst whom was an English seminary priest named Greene. Asks to know what his honour would have done with him, and prays his favour for the said Captain Littleton, being one who will deserve no less.Vlishing, 18 December, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. XIX. f. 175.]
I understand by Captain Brakenbury your friendly proceeding with me, and assure you that you shall find me thankful. "My desire is that you will remember the present time and this place with due consideration. It standeth else in great danger and despair. The Prince's forces lie very near and very strong. Being disappointed in his first intention and purposes, he must and will do something to satisfy the world's expectation and the country's desire, which is nothing more than that he should free Ostend. "His preparations both for a siege and surprise are wonderful ; which he hath brought to Odingborrough being but two English miles from us." Their forces, 17000 strong lie within five hours' march of Ostend. The Prince is still at Bridges with all his Council and nobility, and sometimes goes to Newport and Dunkirk with small companies. "This place is ill provided if he should sit down before it ; and hardly bested though he never attempt it, if you relieve us not." Except some rye in the States' store there is no provision of any kind in all the town to serve the garrison ten days. "The burger this four months hath traded nothing in fear of the enemy's attempt and by reason the passage is unsafe by sea. They have lived all that time past of the Queen's store for their ready money, and now both soldiers and burghers will want together...If we have not weekly supplies by your orders either of money or victual, to hold the soldiers contented, I see not what will become of the place... "Here is order from Mr. Bromly, merchant, for the use of Sir Walter Waller's company, 107 cassocks, 120 pairs of Venetian hose, 120 pairs of cloth stockings...This much Mr. Bromly desireth me to advertise you of..."Ostend, 18 December, 1587 stilo Anglie. Holograph. Add. Endd. by Burghley's clerk. 1 pp. [Ibid. XIX. f. 177.]
Dec. 19/29. CORNEILLE COELS, imperial notary, to THE QUEEN.
Offer of his "Salomonicque traduction" as a proof of his respectful duty, praying that God may so stretch out his hand to her that she may not fail in faith ; lose hope or forget charity. The Hague, 29 December, 1587. Add. Endd. French. 2 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 179.]
Dec. 19. DE LOO to BURGHLEY.
I wrote urging an answer to her Majesty's requests ; whereupon I understand the Duke wrote to the Secretary Cosimo that the Count Mansfeldt, Count Arenberg, M. de Champagney and President Richardot were to answer me in his name. Yesterday afternoon these lords with Signor Cosimo, the Audiencer and Secretary Garnier sent for me to say that I should inform her Majesty. (1) That if she would send her deputies quickly, the Duke promised to treat with them for the concluding of a peace, agreeably to his first resolve and although he was much displeased to have been so much put off, yet he still remained of the same disposition, in sign whereof I should be given a new passport, which the Duke had sent [Margin, by Burghley "dated 12 Dec."] (2) As to the place, his Highness would prefer Berghes to any other, seeing that he will have occasion to be mostly about those parts. (3) For the suspension of arms ; that upon the assembling of the deputies, this should be the first thing that should be determined. When I gave the reasons for going to Ostend, the President replied : you have heard that the Duke would prefer the other place ; and Count Mansfeldt then said that what the President had declared was all the commission they had from the Duke and for the rest, the said President would treat with me more at large. And so, in the evening going to his house, he declared to me that her Majesty might rest assured that on her first dispatching her deputies, his Highness would send the King's commissioners to conclude the peace ; and that they should if possible go to Berghes ; though at Ostend or elsewhere they would be welcome (the place remaining in her choice) and orders had been given all along the coast for their proper reception, The cessation of arms (he said), should be treated of and granted as soon as ever the deputies assembled, the Duke having no intention, during the treaty of taking any hostile action. For the armada of Spain, the President solemnly swore to me that he had no knowledge of its intended coming, and that the treaty being once entered upon, they would not fail to hasten to write into Spain, and to inform his Catholic Majesty thereof, for the stay there also of any hostilities. I went this same evening to M. de Champagney and to Signor Cosimo, who assured me of the same, Signor Cosimo saying that it would be well, if possible, to please the Duke by going to Berghes, as being nearer to Brussels, where the Royal Council is. And this morning, going again to the President, I took Morris with me, that he might himself hear what the President said to to me, who, at my request very willingly told and affirmed to him everything. I think it no small thing to have obtained so much, especially as the Duke went away not too well satisfied. I have asked them to give me the answer in writing, but they did not think it necessary, and that her Majesty and the Council there should give me credit, as they had done. Morris heard this and the President, told him plainly, that the deputies will be very welcome and that the passport (enclosed) has no limitation as to place, so that I hope (and believe) that they may come wherever they please, even if it were to the Sluis, and thence to Bruges. And being in some harbour, the time and place for the treaty will be very easily agreed upon, and the long desired peace may very quickly be concluded, and the sooner the better ; assuring your lordship that here the intention is perfettissima, and praying you that I may, be speedily extricated from the great anxiety in which I find myself from the heavy outlay and loss which daily increase upon me ; though as it is for the public, I shall be the better for it in the end. I shall be very glad to know whether when the deputies are in treaty, there will remain anything for me to do, as I wish to return to my house and affairs which are going to ruin and to my family who are left desolate of all things by my long absence. The letter for Ostend is sent by a trumpet, and he will bring the reply to send to you. If the safe-conduct is not yet signed by her Majesty, the President would have it altered as in the annexed copy, but if already done, it may be left as it is. I pray for a speedy reply concerning my return home.Bruges, 19 December, 1587, stilo antico. Add. Endd. by Burghley as "brought by Morris, that is sick at Dover...Rec. 26 December. Answer was made to this, and a passport sent from [sic] the Spanish Commissioners by Pyne of Gravesend." Italian. 3 pp. [Flanders I. f. 380.]
Dec. 19. DE LOO to THE QUEEN.
Believes they have reached the end of this long journey ; if she will be satisfied with the Duke's reply, as his Highness certainly desires to please her and order her deputies to be set out. She need not be uneasy in so doing, she will not find herself deceived, but on the contrary will learn what affection, honour and respect his Highness regards her and she will find (as the proverb says) Che li riuscira meglio in pane che in farina. (fn. 5) For the rest refers to his letter to the Treasurer.Bruges, 19 December, stilo antico. Add. Endd. by Burghley. Italian. 1 p. [Ibid. I. f. 382.]
The bearer Mr. Atye will so amply inform you of the State here that I need write the less. For the treaty of peace, I do not see that my lord Ambassador shall receive satisfaction, for they are obstinately bent to defence, and rather than alter their purpose would be "void" of her Majesty's succours. "I speak of these of Holland. We are advertised that they have some purpose to make us weary of Flushing and the Briell, whereof my lord ambassador and I have given knowledge this day to the governors . . .and the like is intended against Sonoy in North Holland. Our government here is not of such experienced men as were to be wished, and there be two gone home of late that can tell how to deal with the humours of these men very well ; to wit Sir John Payton and Colonel Morgan. If you have need to send any, they will do good service. . . For their government they mean to advance Count Maurice and the Count Hohenlo, and to weary strangers by all the means they may. They prepare to content their soldiers ; 6000 new cassocks and as many slops ; all this to appear after my lord Ambassador's departure. God had need to fight for them, for they have no town well furnished, nor any garrison well paid, and the provinces not best united. And yet hope they to do wonders, because God hath heretofore preserved them by miracle. They hope much of the good success in France, and upon the death of the King of Spain, and are now encouraged, thinking their navy by sea prevented the Duke of Parma's purposes. Also they are certainly advertised that Sir Martyn 'Skent' hath by surprise taken the town of 'Bon,' above 'Collen,' which will hardly be kept. With my lord of Leicester they have dealt most unthankfully, even in the despatch of Mr. Atye. I think they will use her Majesty little better in the demands I am to make for restitution of moneys disbursed out of her treasure for their service, whereof I shall be able to advertise your lordship by the next, having hitherto no good opportunity to deal therein. To show they have small devotion to treat, they have suffered this enclosed [wanting] to be published without controlment. . .I would her Majesty had a good peace, and that they had power to their wills to continue the wars until I persuaded them to peace. . . I would pray your furtherance to my revocation, but that I think the Council of State shall dissolve the 4th of February by some form of government they have conceived'Delphe,' 20 December, '87. Holograph. Add. Endd. 3 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 181.]
I enclose the copy of M. de la Noue's letter, (fn. 6) which I know your honour will be glad to see. "My lord ambassador is likely to have no answer to his desire, for these men will not yield to treat for peace...and for the government they have as yet taken no order, but as I hear propose to set up the Count Maurice, and the Count of Hohenlo for his lieutenant. I have written to his Excellency to persuade for the surety of the cautionary towns, whereof there is great need, and sure we be weakly assisted here. . . therefore send over Col. Morgan and Sir John Payton as soon as you may conveniently, for they both are best acquainted with the humours and manners of this nation." [Taking of Bonn by Schenck]Delphe, 20 December, '87. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holland XIX. f. 183.]
I am forced (being presently to go to Delphe to my lord Ambassador) fearing my sister's departure before my return, "to let them pass with their errors, and so to commit both them and myself to your wonted favour. I cannot pass over the inconvenience we daily fall into here by want of pay to the soldiers, which unless it be remedied, will force this town and garrison, being now fourteen months unpaid, into great hazard. The officers have gone so long upon credit to relieve the soldiers that they can be trusted no longer ; for the poor burgers, to give them credit, have mortgaged the best of their goods, which not being able to redeem, they have forfeited, to their great impoverishing and discontentment. The soldiers, lacking this help, grow impatient, and murmer when punished for thefts, alleging their wants, neither can any severity restrain them from daily committing such insolences until their wants be supplied. Therefore I entreat your honour's help for a present supply and some better course hereafter...If the order appointed by her Majesty and directed by your honours might be observed... there could nothing happen in this place that should not effectually satisfy her and your honour." I think my lord governor will write to the Lords.Bryell, 20 December, 1587. Signed. Add. Endd. 1 p. closely written. [Ibid. XIX. f. 185.]
Sir Thomas Sherley would give me, at his departure, but a month's lendings for my company, which I have brought from a very weak band to six score strong, and have armed most part of them at my own charge. The month is now ended, and we have nothing but what the burgers of Utrecht will lend us ; who, for love of her Majesty and his Excellency,albeit the money with which they relieved sundry of our companies last year is not yet repaidhave granted us a fortnight's lendings, after which we shall hardly have means to entertain our soldiers. The burgers do not give us as much as we weekly pay our men, allowing me but 15l. a week, and I am driven to pay three or four pounds out of my own purse besides, and have been at great charge in taking up men to strengthen my band, as also to arm them and others of the company whom I found unarmed. I fear Mr. Treasurer will scarce restore me what I disburse unless your honour will favour me by speaking to him of it. I shall sue to you shortly to be a means to his Excellency that in recompense of the great charges I have been at in raising and making strong the company, he will give me these two months without check. I found but sixty men in the band when I took it, and now they are a hundred and twenty. "The men we entertain here, if they have served any little time and have any money in their purses. . .stand so on points (because we cannot compel them to serve at her Majesty's allowance) as the most part we are driven to give them gentlemen's entertainment until we can provide ourselves of others or else to keep our bands weak, so that I have tant de la noblesse deschiree in my band as my wealth much decreases at their nobility. . ."Utryke, 20 December, 1587. Holograph. Add. Endd. 1 pp. [Holland XIX. f. 187.]


  • 1. Don John of Austria, who died 1 October, 1578. The reference is to the force of reiters under John Casimir who were in the Netherlands at that time.
  • 2. In the Acts of the Privy Council, N.S. Vol. XV., p. 301, the names of the 9 members who sat on this day are given, but no proceedings entered.
  • 3. These four lines are inserted in the margin.
  • 4. Named Green, see below ; possibly John Green, mentioned as being in custody at a somewhat later date. Law : Jesuits in the Reign of Elizabeth, p. 136.
  • 5. She will like it better as bread than as flour.
  • 6. Of Oct. 9th. Given in Part i. of this Vol., pp. 389-92.