Elizabeth: August 1588, 26-31

Pages 159-178

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 22, July-December 1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to access the page scans

This volume has gold page scans.
Access these scans with a gold subscription.Key icon

August 1588, 26-31

Aug. 26. James Digges to Burghley.
Thanking him for obtaining the Privy Council's letters to the Lord General, who has accordingly given to him the oversight of the musters and controlment of the checks. "An unextricable labyrinth" will result in the accounts if no auditor be appointed; so he advises that "some discreet, honest, sufficient, person skilful in accounts," be sent over before the next full pay is made or the next warrants authorised, to make some settlement with the States concerning the repayment (if her Majesty still hopes for it) and to hear the manifold complaints. A permanent resident auditor should then be sent over "to keep perfect accounts between her Majesty, the States, captains, and creditors," and to relieve the Lord General of the task of hearing and judging requests and complaints, which now wastes so much of his time.—Midleburgh, 26 August, 1588.
Postscript. As this motion will be greatly disliked, as restraining some "unordinate gain expected," he hopes for "favourable interpretation, honourable protection," and concealment of his name, and that, before any sinister reports against him are believed, he may be heard in his own defence. Owing to his "sincere and strict courses," which the Lord General desires him to continue, many will seek to obtain his removal from this office.
Signed. Add. Endd. 1¾ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 179; the cover f. 182.]
Aug. [26?] James Digges to [Walsingham?].
Thanking his honour for obtaining his last despatch with the lords of the Privy Council's letters for his continuance in the "office of musters," with convenient entertainment; which the Lord General has accordingly granted by his patent, wherein the entertainment is set down part certainly, part uncertainly and to be fixed by the Privy Council. Sends a copy of the patent, together with his own suit, to his brother to impart to his honour. Great efforts are made with the Lord General, and will be made there, to displace him, because they find he will "take no pleasing courses." His rival is one Webb, who makes friends by promises of mildness, which he would perform regardless of the Queen's service: his past life shows that he knows how to make his profit out of an office, and moreover, he has promised a creditor,— William Ashenden of Kent—to repay 500l. in one year were he made commissary of Barghen. Encloses special considerations concerning musters for the Privy Council to consider and apostille.
Here is no news: all are "standing at the gaze looking which way the game will go, and where it is likeliest the hare will start again, to pursue the chase with full cry." Everyone is full of admiration for the "peaceable, united, quiet, government" of England in such times as these especially when, at such great cost, so many men are levied "unacquainted for the most part with the due obedience of martial discipline," and this all "without any resemblance of tumult, mutiny, commotion, or sedition, especially where so great 'treasurs' and factious 'partes' were expected and promised in all quarters." The example has so moved "these inconstant people," that, persuaded by lord Willoughby's efforts, even the most obstinate towns have come into line, willingly contributing to the common preparations by land and sea, offensive and defensive.
"Utrecht, Frysland, some part of Gelders, the towns Overyssel and in the Veloe, who long disjoined ran single courses by themselves, are now upon conclusion of a good accord, deputies being sent into most places to articulate and perform the same."
At the Lord Willoughby's persuasion the garrison of Getrudenbergh has drawn blood upon a superior enemy force. The garrison is loyal to Willoughby's but "irreconcilable unto the States" and recently put itself in arms against the burgomaster and others who practised to yield the town to them; this also the Lord General has pacified.
The Lord General was at Barghen two days ago (fn. 1) taking order at the States' request for the safety of it, as a siege is feared: seven 'Dutch' companies, and victuals, are being sent there.
Ostend also prepares for a siege.
The Prince of Parma during the last 16 days has embarked and disembarked his full force, marched it towards Brabant, retired again, sent his regiments into garrison and then suddenly concentrated his forces, "threatening most places, but attempting none, holding all in fear." The islands fear he will use his shipping against them, whilst Guelderland, Overyssel and the towns beyond Utrecht expect his army to be turned against them. " So that of these uncertainties, no certainty can be conjectured."
The Spanish Armada is expected to return to Black Nease, there to wait till Parma is ready to put forth with these present spring tides. Nothing has been heard of the Armada for 20 days. "If he forslow the opportunity of these tides, it will be too late for his small boats to put to sea this year upon these coasts, as all mariners know."
The Admiral Nassau has been away from the 'flote' for 12 days preparing new forces, and has now rejoined with 10 or 12 men-of-war of Zeeland and expects 50 sail or more from North Holland and others from Dorte, Roterdam, Delph, etc.—Middelburg,—August, 1588.
Signed. Endd. 2¾ pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 54.]
"Doubts to be considered of, resolved, and apostilled by the right honourable the lords of her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council for her Majesty's benefit and better service, and reformation of evil disorders in the affairs of musters in the Low Countries."
"Whether the Governors of the two cautionary towns shall not muster their guard and the officers their retinue allowed extraordinarily by her Majesty; or that they shall be paid (in favour) without check as they expect, all refusing to show them at musters or present their names (saving the lord Governor of Vlissing); or what course shall be taken therein?"
Whether the 800 shot sent over from Vlissing, Utrecht, and Berghen-up-Zome, shall be continued in pay as soldiers of the bands in those places?
How to prevent her Majesty being doubly charged thereby, the bands being meanwhile filled up with strangers by the Lord General.
"How the captains shall be paid for their arms and furniture sent over with the said soldiers, for that they say many of them were in their debts largely, and nothing good unto most of them upon a full pay. Every captain valueth his furniture at 80l. sterling, and their bands disfurnished by this means of arms for that sort of weapon, for want of money and credit to supply them."
"How the weakness and defect of the companies in the cautionary towns shall be supplied, considering it is not thought meet they should entertain any more strangers, as other garrisons are permitted?"
Whether any bands in the cautionary towns beyond the 1400 specified in the Contract, shall not be accounted part of "the auxiliary army for the field," to be dealt with as the muster-master was heretofore commanded?
"Whether books of accounts and warrants for the companies in her Majesty's pay shall be made up without musters taken by the States," whose last general muster was on October 12 last? The last warrants or general musters were almost a year ago.
Whether the strangers enlisted in the weakened bands be continued without the States' agreement, "being plain against the Contract?" The States continually refuse to answer on this point.
Whether payments, etc., shall be according to the new establishment before the States have allowed thereof, lest they pretend breach of Contract "to cross her Majesty upon reimbursement?"
Whether captains absent without passport or beyond the time allowed them, shall not be 'cassed'?
"Whether captains living absent from their companies may let and farm the same unto their lieutenants or others for a yearly rent or pension?"
How many soldiers may be allowed to attend their captain to England? Some demand 10, some 12, some more, and would have them passed and paid at musters.
There are other matters remaining unresolved as well, between the States and her Majesty, wherein she may receive much harm and the service be hindered. The States should be dealt with by some experienced person while these matters are green.
Endd."— (fn. 2) August, 1588. Points wherein their LL. resolution is to be known touching the musters. Set down by Mr. James Digges." 2½ pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 180.]
Aug. 27. Christopher Blounte to Walsingham.
Excusing his not writing on account of his absence at Berk far from ordinary means of sending. It is here reported, to his disgrace, that he informed Walsingham particularly of every man's band: he remembers writing of the strength of the horsebands "in gross," because he feared her Majesty, if she needed their service, might be deceived if she expected them to be as strong as the numbers she allowed in pay here. Also he grieved that the allowance made no distinction between weak bands and strong,—which may explain why some did not complain, as he did, that it was impossible to maintain a company upon the ordinary 'lends.' They have petitioned the Lord General to communicate to the Council their request for some relief. (fn. 3) If none be given, he (Blount) desires leave to retire from this service in which to maintain his company he is enforced to leave his horses from his own saddles and clothes from his own back in gage. Their wants breed discredit not only to themselves but to their prince and nation, and make these people dislike them, for they say that the Queen of England pays well and that the soldiers do ill to seek relief of them. Every captain of horse that knows how otherwise to bestow himself, seems weary of his charge.
The prince's army is said to have left the coast; but, "he is a soldier, and will seek all means to deceive." When he is out of hope of the Spanish fleet, or when his forces are committed to some siege, then may his renunciation of his English enterprise be believed. The horse bands of Sir Robert Sydney, Sir John Borowes, Captains Morgan, Shurleye and the writer, are appointed by the Lord General at the States' earnest request, to go with Shinke to revictual Berke. The place is of no importance for the defence of the United Provinces being too far up in the country to annoy an enemy besieging the frontier towns nearer home, that is those "within the river called Isel and none beyond his sconce." However Shinke desires it as it would increase his contributions, and the States' seem careless of the fate of the English or their leader. Hopes at his return to hear some relief has been granted, or else leave to retire from this service and to serve her Majesty in some other place for which Walsingham may judge him to be fit.—Middleborowgh, 27 August.
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2 pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 183.]
Aug. 28. Lord Wyllughby to Burghley.
In his last letter he recommended Mr. Stubbes for the place of auditor and comptroller of the checks. As he learns that Webbe labours for the place of comptroller of the checks, to which the Council recommended Jaymes [Digges] he desires that, if Stubbes be not appointed, Mr. Digges may be allowed rather than Webbe. Has granted Digges his commission herein, although he suspends it until he hears from the Council.—Midleburgh, 28 August, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. ⅓ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 188.]
Aug. 28. Lord Wyllughby to Walsingham.
Is well assured of the truth of the enclosed request of the captains of the cavalry here, and hopes present relief may be granted. Again asks for some certain direction from the Council concerning Berghen, which he is still assured the enemy means to attack.—Midleburgh, 28 August, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal. ½ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 185.]
The petition of the captains of the horse-bands to lord Wyllughby.
Their companies are weaker than he expected them to be, because of the continual decay of horses by service and otherwise, for whose replacement her Majesty has made no allowance. The captains' credits are therefore greatly hazarded unless in the end her Majesty assist them. Moreover the weekly lendings are inadequate, for a full band—rating the ordinary soldiers at 5s. apiece, gentlemen at 8s., etc.—will consume the whole, leaving nothing for extraordinary expenses such as the repairing of arms and saddles and present payment for 'cughfore.' The captains accordingly desire some present relief or else to be allowed to resign their charge.
Signed, Chr. Blounte, A. Sherleye, Math. Morgan, Ed. Russell, Nycholas Parker. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 186.]
Aug. 29. Sir William Russell to Walsingham.
As he hears that the States have earnestly solicited her Majesty to reduce this garrison, and as the expectation of an attack by Parma upon Bergues-up-Zom will give them an excuse to seek to draw troops hence to its relief, he begs Walsingham to frustrate their suit and to prevent any reduction of this garrison. Otherwise he desires to be revoked, for, owing to the Estates' secret practices to repossess this place (already manifested by Mr. Killigrew and Mr. Lovell), the discontent of the burghers, and the attempts to bring disorder among the garrison,—which will be renewed should Bergues miscarry,—this place cannot be held securely for her Majesty with a smaller garrison than heretofore.
Although by the contract her Majesty ought to have half of the artillery recovered from the Spanish ships, yet the States seem much to mislike his 'staying' a mere eight pieces for the strengthening of this town.—Vlisshing, 29 August, 1588.
Signed. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. 1 p. [Holland XXVI. f. 194.]
Aug. 29. Sir William Drury to Burghley.
His great crosses at home—" and from thence made no less here"—have hitherto made him hesitate to send intelligences into England of the enemy's designs, though this his government is exceptionally well placed for learning of them. However, he communicated his intelligences to her Majesty's Lieutenant here, and will hereafter write directly to Burghley if he desires it. Is confident of his ability, with the favour of her Majesty and her Council, to answer for this place as well as ever Sir Thomas Morgan would have done, and would be sorry that experienced captains here should (in respect of Morgan's supposed sufficiency) be 'disabled' as insufficient to warrant the place. More than two or three are here able to do as good service as Morgan, who would be glad to use their helps and advice if he had the place and it were attacked: and these men would rather serve with the writer than with Morgan. Hopes that his "miserable and disgraced estate" may by some few lines of recommendation from her Majesty to the States General and the Council of State "be graced again."—Bargan-up-Zom, 29 August, 1588.
Postscript. His wife presents her humble duty to Burghley and thanks him for his inquiry of her estate sent by Mr. Wyett. The enemy is daily expected before this town, as he is "partly discomforted to do any good with his fleet for England this year," and already has sent some 12,000 horse and foot into Little Brabant "which is not four and twenty hours' march from hence, little more than 12 hours march."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 1½ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 190.]
Aug. 29. The Governor and Deputies of the Estates of Utrecht to the Queen.
They have done all they could, according to her commands, to remedy all misunderstandings with neighbouring provinces and between themselves, and have signed and sworn to observe certain instructions and commissions made to this purpose. They desire her to hear them before she decides any suits which any from this province may make to her. Their desire is to live and to die at her feet.—Utrecht, 29 August, 1588, stilo veteri.
Signed, Strick. Add. Endd. Frenchp. [Holland XXVI. f. 196.]
Copy of the above; enclosed in the following letter to Walsingham.
French. 1½ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 198.]
Aug. 29. The Governor and Deputies of the Estates of Utrecht to Walsingham.
Requesting his good offices in presenting their letter to her Majesty, of which they send him a copy.—Utrecht, 29 August, 1588, stilo veteri.
Signed, Strick. Add. Endd. Seal of arms. French. 1 p. [Holland XXVI. f. 199.]
Aug. 29. Edward Barton to [Walsingham ?].
Encloses a second copy of his last, of August 15. The report of Morat Bassa's release was untrue, for the plot by which the captain of the castle in Persia where he is imprisoned, was to enter the Grand Signor's service was betrayed, and the captain beheaded. The Grand Signor, when Morat Bassa was first taken, seized all his goods, worth two hundred thousand ducats, and would not spare him thereof even the 15,000 demanded for his ransom.
Feret Bassa, the general, has obtained licence to build two fortresses in Caravag and Gengien about Revan, which would prevent the incursions both of Georgians and Persians. A Persian plot to prevent this and to seize Ferat Bassa under colour of an embassy to treat of peace was frustrated.
Hassan Bassa arrived on the 21st and was given the charge of the Arsenal and all offices belonging thereto, which he found completely out of order owing to the negligence or rather lack of wit and wisdom of his predecessor Ebrahim Bassa. He made an oration admonishing every man to look diligently to his charge, "certifying them that, from his infancy having been trained up in the like affairs as well under his master Oluchalye as also in Argia, Tripoly, and Tunis in his own government, he knew how to command and what to look for at their hands," and warned them that such sleights would be punished. He also commanded "that no officer should pay out money but that first he did bring it before him and certify to him to what use it should be employed or defrayed." Hassan visited also all the Bassaies, and at Ebrahim Bassa's house he tarried "two large hours" but could get no audience. Barton sent his 'drogueman' to ask Hassan Bassa to appoint him some convenient time for an audience, and received answer that he would inform him after he had kissed the Grand Signor's hand, which he did on the 27th, giving him in show only a small present of 30 pieces of silver plate and 50 garments of silk, having bought the office, it is said, for three hundred thousand ducats.
The "Papisticall tyranny" of the Emperor's ambassador, who forces his servants of the religion to attend mass, and also vexes "some with the smarting blows of the curbach or ox-pissell and others by imprisonment in bolts and chains." One of his cooks has been three months in prison, and his servants flee rather than serve him, although these barbarous people force any Christian they find without a safe-conduct outside Constantinople either to 'renege' or be a slave.
Jaffer Bassa is said to have ranged with 5000 light horse to the suburbs of Ardevill and burned all the villages thereabouts.
Awaits Hassan Bassa's pleasure to speak with him touching her Majesty's affairs this next spring, "whether the Grand Signor will accomplish his promise made in his last letters to her Highness, or not."—Rapamet, 29 August, 1588.
Signed. Endd. 22/3 pp. [Turkey I. 52.]
[Before Aug. 28.] Supplication of the soldiers of Ostend to the Queen.
The soldiers, as well gentlemen as private, humbly represent to her Majesty that they have long held this garrison and been in great penury (the inhabitants being too poor to provide them with the relief and lodging usual in other garrisons), "lying upon straw, the better part scant that, much less fire, not so much as candle to answer the allarums" which are hourly expected and had in winter time. Leaving further report hereof to her Majesty's late Commissioners, by whose benevolence they were better relieved than they had ever been during the last two years or hoped to be again, they show that they are now again in distress, chiefly because of Henry Cox's exactions when he supplies "provant victuals," whereof a certificate is annexed for the perusal of the Privy Council. "The hard and miserable estate" they endure has compelled them to take 'under hand' their Governor, captains, and all other officers, who might have foreseen and avoided the extremity which so long has grievously oppressed them, "without any penny pay." Assuring her Majesty of their readiness to yield up their lives in her service, they pray that they may be allowed six months' pay wherewith to 'cherish' themselves and supply their wants: also that they may be granted her pardon under her "accustomed seal."
Endd. 1 p. [Holland XXVI. f. 201.]
Aug. 30./Sept. 9. The King of Navarre to Walsingham. (fn. 4)
Credence for M. de Pujols, his chamberlain, brother of the late M. de Pybrac; sends him to congratulate her Majesty on the happy success which God has given her.
Holograph. Add. Endd. with date by Walsingham's clerk. ½ p. [France XVIII. 161.]
Aug. 30. Instructions for Sir H. Norrys, (fn. 5) being sent to Ostend.
He shall inform the garrison there that her Majesty, when she heard, from certain of her Privy Council, who had been informed by the Burgomaster and by Colman (the bearer of the garrison's supplication), of their mutiny and the imprisonment of the Governor, captains, and officers, would have dealt severely with them had she not considered that their action was due to passions stirred up by mutinous spirits rather than to disloyalty or intelligence with the enemy.
As regards their principal grievance, the abuses in the provisioning of the garrison by Cox, the victualler—her Majesty, upon a complaint made by Sir John Conway, the governor, (whom they have therefore greatly wronged), had already sent letters, 13 days ago, ordering that Cox, who was then at Flushing, should be charged with these offences. Norrys shall tell them that Cox's faults in no way excuse them for proceeding by violent means instead of dutifully petitioning their Governor, or the Lord General, or some of the Privy Council; but in view of their protestation of loyalty, her Majesty has resolved not to deal harshly with them. She has therefore appointed lord Willoughbie to examine their grievances, and one man from each company is to be sent to state their case before him at Flushing where prompt and due redress will be granted. Any captain or inferior officer whom they can justly charge with any abuses, shall also be sent thither for trial.
As one of their complaints is that the captains and mustermasters have received payment of lendings for full companies although their companies are in fact not above a half of their proper strength, Norrys shall, after showing her Majesty's great care to have their grievances redressed and their arrears of pay answered, point out to them the danger and probability of an enemy attack upon them while they are still in their present confusion, and therefore urge them to release the Governor to command them again. If they desire a pardon, they must submit to her Majesty unconditionally, it being unfit for "subjects of their quality to capitulate or stand upon terms with their natural prince and sovereign": her Majesty's wonted clemency towards her rebels, both in England and in Ireland, should persuade them to submit in this way. They are to be warned against following the example of the late mutinies of Holland, though, the mutineers being mercenary men and strangers, the offence was less heinous.
If he cannot persuade them to release the Governor, and if he finds himself strong enough, he may release him by force, and may send to lord Willoghby and Sir William Russell for reinforcements. He shall require them also to allow Sir Walter Waller to go to answer before lord Willoghby the soldiers' complaints. Barney and Pygott are to be sent in safe custody to Flushing and thence to England.
Draft, headed "Instructions for A.B.," added to and corrected by Burghley, the whole of the last paragraph being in his hand. Endd. "Minute of the instructions for Sir H. Norrys, being sent to Ostend, 30 August, 1588." 6½ pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 203.]
[Aug. 30?]. Heads of the instructions for A.B.
The Burgomaster and Coleman have informed her Majesty of some hard usage of the garrison of Ostend. The Lord General to examine this. One of every band to be chosen and sent to him: the muster-master, treasurer, captains, and victualler to attend. Captains and other inferior officers against whom they complain to be sent also. The Governor to be freed, for the safety of the town: that some of the captains may be allowed to assist him. Humble submission a preliminary to pardon: they must not capitulate with their sovereign, nor follow the example of the mercenaries in Holland.
Undated. Endd. ¾ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 387.]
On the dorse is written "After my hearty recommendations, Sir Henry Lea, who hath made a kind and friendly report. . ."
Aug. 30. The Queen to Willoughby.
Being informed on August 28 by a Burgomaster of Ostend and by one Colman, a private soldier in one of the bands there, of the late disorder there (arising out of the troops' discontentment at their want of pay and victuals), and of their imprisonment of the governor and most of their captains and leaders; her Majesty has appointed lord Willoughby, Sir William Russell, and Henry Killegrew "being of our counsell," to hear and examine the soldiers' 'greeves' against Cox the victualler, the Treasurer and his deputies, and the muster master. The soldiers are to send one man from each band to Flushing to lay their griefs before him, and "some other officers as they can or will charge." He shall cause Cox, and the commissary for the musters of Ostend to attend upon him to answer their charges. Sir Thomas Shirley, Treasurer of her Majesty's forces in the Low Countries will be sent thither shortly, and in the meantime Sir Henry Norrys has been sent to stay the disorder and obtain the release of Sir John Conway. All captains absent from their bands have been ordered to return at once to them. Enclosing copy of the soldiers' "greeves and supplication" and an answer made here on behalf of Cox. Referring to the judgement and care of Willoughby and his assistants such further measures as shall be necessary to the safety of that town, especially in view of the nearness of the enemy.
The Council of the States should be earnestly moved to lend some aid to the burgesses for the strengthening of the town and to grant to the garrison "such aids called service as in other garrisons they are accustomed."—Given under the Signet, at St. James, 30 August, 1588.
Copy. Endd. 12/3 p. [Holland XXVI. f. 211.]
The complaint of the soldiers of Ostend against the victuallers.
"A certificate of the excessive, unreasonable, and unconscionable gains which Henry Coke exacteth of the soldiers in the garrison of Ostend by delivering unto them provant victuals: together with an advertisement what rotten, unsavoury, and unwholesome victuals he hath there issued to the said soldiers."
When between March 31 and the middle of July last, best wheat was usually sold in the English markets at 12d. the bushel, which, reckoning 70 bushels to the last, is 3l. 10s. the last; at that time Coke exacted 14l. sterling.
[Margin:—"It cost 9l. a last, after 18s. a quarter; freight, 1l.; difference in measure, 30s.; for portage, toll, and convoy money, 5s.; for house-room, and turning every last, 2s. 6d.; for freight and portage from Flushing to Ostend, 8s. 6d.: sum is, 12l. 6s. besides the charge of shipping at London."]
During the same period, best salted butter was 3d. a pound, i.e., 13s. sterling the firkin of 52lb., in England. Cox charged 18s. the firkin, "and the butter so stinking and loathsome as not fit for men to eat."
[Margin:—The butter cost 3l. the barrel, i.e. 15s. the firkin, besides other charges.]
Best Suffolk cheese then cost in the markets 1½d. the pound: Cox supplied "rotten, stinking, and unwholesome cheese, not fit for men to eat, at 3d. the pound."
[Margin:—It cost 48s. the 'waye' of 228lbs.: freight, houseroom, and charges came to over 8s., besides the loss—almost a fourth part—from decay.]
The beer he brought could be bought, if it were good, for 5s. the barrel, i.e. 7s. 6d. the hogshead, in London: he charged 18s. the hogshead for "most bad and exceeding sour beer," and the soldiers pay also 6s. the hogshead in excise.
[Margin:—Cost, 5s. the barrel; the cask, 2s.; freight, 1s. 6d.; leakage, 2s.; besides house-room, etc.]
He delivers ¾ last of wheat weekly to each of the 11 companies, i.e. 8¼ lasts in all: this cost him in England, at 12d. the bushel, at the most 29l. sterling: he sells it at 14l. the last, i.e. 115l. 10s., a gain of 86l. 10s.
He delivers weekly to each of the 11 companies, 4 firkins of butter at 18s. the firkin: were it of the best, instead of being so bad, he would gain on the 44 firkins 11l. sterling.
He delivers weekly to each of the 11 companies, 800lb. of cheese at 2½ stivers the pound, i.e. 10l. sterling for each company: the price in the town is 1½ stivers, so Cox gains 44l. weekly.
He delivers weekly to each of the 11 companies, 5 hogsheads of beer, i.e. 55 hogsheads at 18s. each, which is 49l. 10s.; his gain, 28l. 16s. 6d.
Cox thus gains weekly, 170l. 6s. 6d., and moreover the victuals are "neither wholesome nor good for men to live withal."
[In the same hand as the marginal answers: The above answers show Cockes' gain is not unreasonable. Most of the butter and cheese was of the best to be had in Holland. He undertook to supply victuals at the prices ruling in the Ostend, not in the English, market.
[Signed G. Lecester.]
With rough calculations by Burghley. 1 p. [Holland XXVI. f. 212.]
A copy of the answers alone, with slight differences; and adding a statement that the victualler's deputy upon delivery of the butter, cheese, and beer, required anyone who found it unsatisfactory to return it and take better.
Endd. by Burghley, 29 August, 1588. 2 pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 216.]
[Aug. 30?] Memorial by Burghley.
To send to Flushing.
Sir Thomas Shyrley, lord Willoghby, and H. Killigrew to move the Council of State that some of their commissaries for musters may join with her Majesty's muster-master to view the numbers at Ostend.
The burgomaster and the garrison's commissioner to return [margin: "with Sir Ed. Norryce." Sir Char. Blunt struck out] and to move the soldiers to send to the Lord General etc. at Flushyng one from every band to exhibit their complaints concerning want of pay, the abuses of Cox the victualler, and want of 'provant,' assuring them of a favourable hearing and of the punishment of offenders. Also to require them, in view of the danger of a siege, to release their governor.
This to be signified by writing under the hands of the Council, declaring that her Majesty was the more inclined to believe the complaints against the victualler as she had already heard somewhat thereof, and had given order for their redress and to punish the victualler. Money was also sent to them and was at Midleborogh 14 days ago. Sir Thomas Shyrley has been sent with treasure to Flushyng to pay them as soon as he knows the numbers and what is due to them. If Sir John Conway cannot be released, then to offer Sir Edward Norrice or some other to take charge of the town.
To cause Cox the victualler to answer the soldiers' complaints. "The sergeant-major, and such Ca.."
Holograph. Undated. Endd. by Burghley. 2 pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 214.]
[Aug. 30, last date.] Sums of money paid to Sir Thomas Shurley since 1 February, 1586–7:—
1 and 7 Feb., 1586–7 4,364l.
7 and 14 Feb., 1586–7 3,290l. 13s. 4d.
14 Feb., 1586–7 31,500l.
In June, July, August, Sept., Oct., 1587, as paid by the Merchants Adventurers to the companies at Flushinge 4,549l. 2s.
1 May, 1587 30,000l.
1 May, 1587 5,000l.
8 June, 1587 [Margin:—Sir Roger Williams] 200l.
9 June, 1587 4,000l.
15 June, 1587 26,000l.
20 June, 1587 6,000l.
19 Aug., 1587 30,000l.
15 Nov., 1587 10,000l.
12 March, 1586–7 [Margin:—L. Buckhurst] 200l.
17 Aug., 1587 [Margin:—L. Buckhurst] 414l. 17s. 5d.
19 Oct., 1587 [Margin:—D. Herbert] 100l.
25 Feb., 1586–7 [Margin:—Captain of Slues] 600l.
7 Jan., 1587–8 11,000l.
1 Feb., 1587–8 600l.
1, 2, and 18 March, 1587–8 34,686l.
27 March, 1588 10,333l. 13s. 4d.
11 April, 1588 1,600l.
12 April, 1588 1,000l.
13 April, 1588 1,600l.
27 May, 1588 18,000l.
14 and 30 Aug., 1588 12,000l.
Endd. by Burghley, "1588. Receipts of Sir Tho. Shyrley." 1¼ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 209.]
Aug. 30./Sept. 9. Examination of Councillor Damhoudere.
The fiscal of the council of the Admiralty of Zeeland saw M. de Damhoudere, councillor-extraordinary of Flanders, a prisoner in the house of the provost of the English at Flushing. Inquired for M. Ringout whom the prisoner knew well as he had been in the financial service with his (the prisoner's) father, M. Zoos Damhoudere: had not seen him since 1580. The Prince of Parma through councillor d'Assonville more than a year and a half ago expressly forbad the council of Flanders to proceed further in M. Ringout's cause; this order was obeyed.
In the matter of the peace, he said that the English had demanded a suspension of arms, which the Prince of Parma had refused; he also refused to repay her Majesty's expenses on behalf of the rebels. He understood that her Majesty meant not to separate herself from Holland and Zeeland, and that the negotiations broke down hereupon, as the King would not tolerate the religion. Expected the negotiations to be resumed owing to their awe of the might of Spain and to their dependence upon the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and other western markets for the export of their cloth. Being asked how any treaty could be made regarding the United Provinces without their consent, said that were the King, and the Prince of Parma, to regain the towns of Walcheren (now in English hands) by a treaty with her Majesty, the rest would soon be reduced.
The original signed by the fiscal, and countersigned, J. Nicolas. Endd. French. 2¼ pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 192.]
[Between Aug. 27/Sept. 6 and Aug. 30/Sept. 9.] Advertisements.
It is reported from Lisborne that 60 Easterling hulks have been stayed there and appointed "in warlike manner" to follow the Spanish Armada with victuals, etc.
A Breton has just arrived at Calis who reports that he discovered the like number of ships (which he imagines to be those from Lisborne) off the Breton coast.
Three of the Spanish galleys are said to have perished, and the fourth has saved itself in Bayon.
A Spanish galleon is aground at Blavet in Brittany, but they hope to recover her.
The Duke left Dunkerck hastily on Saturday, the third of this month, it is thought to rescue Breda which those of Holland are said to have surprised.
On the last of July, the first and second of August, a ship of war went out each of those days from Dunkerck to seek the Armada. On the fifth of this month three more warships went out for the same purpose, laden with powder and munition. [Note in margin, in Burghley's hand: "Wherefore serveth Justin with his shipping of Zeeland?"]
The Duke is said to have gone to Brussels. On Saturday last the third of this month, the 66 companies of Spanish footmen which were embarked at Dunkerck, removed their ensigns from the ships and marched to Dixmuyde. "The Spaniards are in a great rage with the Duke for their tossing up and down, for that they say it is to no purpose." The horse companies are to follow the others, and the 48 companies of Wallons and Almans, which were embarked at Neweporte, are also retired to Dixmuyde, "but the bruit is that they mean to embark the next spring."
The Marquess del Guasto with his horsemen went on the 4th towards Brabant. Sundry in the Duke's camp report that they are to march towards Groeninghen, and there is some talk of Cassemier coming down.
On Saturday last, the third of this month, a pinnace arrived at Dunkirk from Spain, reporting that 60 or 80 great ships of war were coming. Also the victuals, artillery, and munitions still remain aboard the ships at Dunkerck and Newport.
The galleon St. Philip, "after long fight," has gone aground near Neweport, "from whence those of Holland and Zeeland have taken and carried away. The maestro del campo was captain of that galleon, who is scaped."
Endd. as above. Undated. 2 pp. [Newsletters IX. f. 85.]
Aug. 31. Edward Barton to [Walsingham?].
Prefixes copy of his thanks for his honour's favour in obtaining his preferment. Will now begin a brief discourse of the relations between the Grand Signor and his neighbours. First, for Persia. The old Sophie, after the loss of Tauris, resigned the "dignity imperial" to his son, with Casbin for his seat royal instead of Tauris, himself retiring to Horosan, whence he was shortly expelled by Usbec the great Tartar. The young Prince, undismayed by the peril of his empire, and trusting to his soldiers' loyalty or to the hope that some of the Christian Princes confederate with the Grand Signor will revolt, persists courageously in his country's defence. He has divided his power into two, sending one army towards Babilon to prevent the junction of Cigal with Ferat Bassa, and the other towards Tauris to resist the invasion which is being prepared there. This boldness encourages the Persians, and moreover many who went over to the Turks have learned their infidelity and greedy avarice, not only receiving small favour but being spoiled of all they have; this likewise hardens the hearts of the others to defend themselves to the last. The Emperor is a year in arrear with his tribute, whilst his frontier captains make daily incursions upon these people and they retaliate. Yet both parties suffer it patiently, the Turks being hindered by the Persian, and the Emperor wanting stomach. "The King of Poland maintains the Cassackes against this, and this the Tartar against him, whereby there is continual controversy between them, these taking very grievously the favourable dealing they use with Maximilian. . . . The Venetians also at times have played their parts, as three years past by taking the galley of Romadan Bassa with an infinite treasure in it, even the whole riches of Fesse and Tripolie of Barbarie, which he had sacked; and now lately by killing 200 Janissaries and Spahies and razing the foundation of a castle which these had built five foot high in their own territories between Zara and Sabenico; the former of which injuries was remitted for the expense of a little money, the latter as it is said never came to the Grand Signor's ears, so that whether he be ignorantly blind or subtly wink I cannot tell. Once [sic] this I am sure, when the Persian war ceaseth, he hath such sufficient quarrels against every of them as there is none that can assure himself of his favour, yea, be they knit in never so firm league he is not bound by his law to maintain the same longer than shall stand with his profit and advantage, and doing otherwise offendeth against his devilish prophet Mahumet's commandment."
Cannot see but that the Grand Signor earnestly desires friendship with her Majesty, "as well for the marvel he hath of her Majesty's sex to be ruler of so valiant a people and wisdom to govern them so politicly, as especially for that her Majesty nor hers worship not idols as other Christians (which bring them in great contempt to him and his): insomuch that he often hath desired the furtherance of her Majesty's enterprises by sending out his navy against the King of Spain, had not his viceroy, or rather viceroys, poisoned with Spanish pelf, likewise enchanted him to the hindrance thereof," persuading him with terror of the Spanish power and pointing to the troubles with Persia. All are agreed in thus selling their master's honour for their private gain, and nullifying the amity with her Majesty; any who speak differently, do so only because their bribes are small or because they hope for a greater booty by enterprising in her Majesty's behalf. This is but natural, "for how can any born of so base and unknown parentage, nurtured in such blasphemous heresies, and brought up in most detestable wantonness and vice, come either to the true worship of God, knowledge of themselves, or carefulness of the honour of their master or benefit of their country; whereby it happeneth that such milk as they sucked of their master in the 'saraglio' being infants, such fruits, yea, and worse, if worse may be, do they yield him when they come to bear rule. So that notwithstanding the Grand Signor's late promise upon her Majesty's last letters to send his aid in her Highness' and Don Antonio his behalf against the King of Spain this next spring, yet there is small hope of any performance thereof if first either the Persian wars cease not, or the barking mouths of these Cerberous whelps be not stopped, which the Grand Signor his schoolmaster wisely by his experience and knowledge of their traitorous minds foreseeing, counselled the lord ambassador to procure Don Antonio to send hither one of his sons for pledge of 200,000 ducats towards the charge that should be defrayed in setting forth the navy." This proposal, though inspired by good affection to her Majesty, would entail extreme expense, and peril both to the kingdom of Portingal and to him that should come here as pledge; for the Grand Signor might detain him continually and use him fraudulently to usurp the kingdom for himself. Such has been his dealing with the Tartar, "of whom formerly the one brother coming to require aid against the other, he sent forth his power in his furtherance, placed him in his kingdom, and brought the other brother to be there resident, till either the placed did die or did displease him; which stratagem we again saw played this last spring for the Prince of Tartarea dying, and one of his brethren there resident in Constantinople affecting the place required the Grand Signor his furtherance therein which was granted and he violently placed and the other brought back in his room to expect the like occasion and the Grand Signor his devilish pleasure, using also the like policy with the Princes of Wallachia, Bugdania, and Moldavia: the placing of those by like subtlety, he hath in his power, keeping the nighest of their blood continually in the city or other sure place, whereby the said dominions be tributaries and in great fear and awe of his displeasure. And the like for the great power and excessive pride these are of, is to be feared and doubted of Portingall following that counsel." It would also be very expensive, as a large promise to the Grand Signor must be supplemented by bribes of at least half as much to his viceroys, who are the only hindrance to the enterprise, and this besides the customary present upon first arrival. All this would come to a large sum, unless, like the Pistolets who promised more than he could perform, it is meant that if they succeed payment will be made out of the spoils, and if they fail, it will not be made at all. If his honour were of this opinion, the best course would be "to send hither as privily as might be some man of account belonging to Don Antonio, well-known to Don Alvaro Mendas, (Portingall Jew here resident in good favour), with three or four diamonds or rubies in rings to the value of three or four thousand pounds to be given to these for presents if they procure the going forth of their master's navy; and Don Antonio his letters besides secretly to the Grand Signor, the Viceroy, Mehumet Bassa, the Beglerby, and Hassan Bassa admiral, promising great rewards if they restore him to his kingdom." Would only show the stones, making fair promises, and would not give them until the fleet were at sea. They should be entrusted to him and kept in his house, lest the agent fall into the company of the Spanish sect and the secret be betrayed. The conditions should be that if they restore Don Antonio they should have the stones and whatever he promises them; if they send out their navy but fail to restore him, they should keep the stones alone; if they do nothing, they should get nothing. The stones should not be mentioned in any letters of Don Antonio or her Majesty, but to give him and the bearer of them power to dispose of them when and to whom they think meetest. Writes this "not for counsel but for advice," but his past experience, having opened "more gates than one to the Grand Signor," makes him confident of success if his honour adopts this plan. Desires a prompt answer, as this letter will not reach his honour until early October, and he would need to know what action to take in February when the navy will be prepared for sea. Craves pardon for his boldness and rudeness, being "never much acquainted with the inditing of the former letters sent to your honour but only exercised in the brabbling matters of this heathenish barbarous court."— Rapamet, the last of August, 1588.
Copy, enclosed in his letter of 13 Sept. Endd. in the same hand. 5 pp. [Turkey I. 53.]
[End of Aug.?] "The names of the several bands of Ostend."
"oThe Governor's band.
Sir Edmund Carey, ever since December.
Sir Edward Norris.
Sir Charles Blunt, since December.
oSir Walter Wauler.
Mr. Thomas Knowles, since June.
oCaptain Huddie.
oCaptain Suderman.
Captain Wingefeild, since January.
Lord Audley, since December.
Captain Lambert."
"The Governor with three Captains. Seven Captains absent." Endd. Undated. Annotations by Burghley (in italics). ⅓ p. [Holland XXVI. f. 98.]
[End of Aug.?] "Captains that have companies in the Low Countries, now here in England." Sir Edmund Carey, Sir Edward Norris, Captains Lamberte and Knowles. [The name of Sir Charles Blunt has been heavily struck through.]
Undated. Endd. " The names of the captains of Osteeand." [Holland XXVI. f. 207.]
[Aug. ?] Abstract of letters from the Low Countries, with the answers, July and August, 1588.
From [Killigrew.] July 21. (fn. 6) Excuses the dealing for Shenk: her Majesty's request could not be performed. Fears Berk and Bonne will be lost. Doubts possibility of reconciling Count Maurice and Sir William Russell. States will be unable to levy any extraordinary contribution, their sea-charges are so great. Fears a disunion of the provinces.
Answer. Regrets the loss of the service of so valuable a man as Shenk. The enemy, seeing his designs against England frustrated, will probably attempt somewhat by land in Geldres, which would very likely be lost in that case. "That I do not think that he will attempt any of the maritime places, the Queen and States being strongest by sea." They had a false alarm of a descent in Scotland: "that the K[ing] showeth himself constant in his religion and in his affection towards her Majesty, who sent a gentleman with a most kind offer of assistance." Wishes the Count Hoenlon could induce the Duke of Saxe to undertake the defence of those countries, but sees little hope of it. La Noue writes that no good is to be looked for from Ger[many].
From [Killigrew]. July 31. (fn. 6) That order may be taken for continuance of lendings. States unable to pay ordinary garrisons; much encouraged by English success against the Spanish navy.
From the Princess of Orange. July 24 [N.S.]. (fn. 6) "Sendeth me M. de la Noue's letters," and has found a way to convey replies safely to him. Desires him to remember M. de Theligny.
Answer. Has answered La Noue and sent it by M. Palavicino who has a steady means of conveyance. Has remembered M. Tylygny, and has got into his own hands certain prisoners of mark. She should get the States to reserve Diego Piemontel for M. Tylygny. His desire to do her service, out of his love to her father and the prince her late husband as well as for her own kindness to his daughter Sydney.
From lord Willoughby. July 30. (fn. 6) "Some doubt was made for the sending away of the 1000 men, lest it should be an occasion to dissolve the companies. A proposition made for some extraordinary contribution."
Aug. 3. (fn. 6) That the 1000 be sent back if not needed, as the Duke seems "to intend somewhat upon those countries."
Aug. 6.* No money left for lendings.
Answer. There was a general dislike here of the States' slackness in setting forth ships, showing themselves careless of their own safety and ungrateful to her Majesty. The 1000 sent over under Colonel Morgan are to be returned within four days. False news of descent in Scotland. Cannot yet learn what has become of the navy; all men of judgment think it will not return this year, but for more surety (until more is known) the Lord Admiral is to continue at sea with 100 sail. The States should levy the extraordinary contributions to strengthen themselves against the Duke's extraordinary forces. "That Bergen would be presently supplied of his wants."
From Sir William Russell. July 25.* States hasten their shipping.
July 26. That the men taken from his garrison be returned. Those of Flushing have taken two Spanish ships.
Aug. 2. That care be had for continuance of weekly lendings. The States complain that they lack powder for their own use: a merchant of Middleburgh promises him a good quantity shortly.
Aug. 6. "The States promise to send some powder from Amsterdam."
Answer. The States' delays in setting out shipping, which, it is hoped, will now be little needed. False alarm from Scotland: constancy of the King, and his offer to her Majesty. The 700 men to be sent back shortly. "That so long as we shall be the strongest by sea, it is not likely the Duke of Parma will attempt any maritime places, and therefore likely he will go into Gelders." However, Berghen should be supplied, "whereof the L. Wyl[oughby] is put in mind." Order has been taken for the continuance of the weekly lendings. They hear nothing of powder, either from Amsterdame or the merchants.
Killigrew. July 11. Recommends M. van der Warck sent over about reprisals.
Burnham. July 25.* Price of armour. St. Aldegonde says he has no credit with Count Maurice: "he is very poor, and minded to go into France to offer his service to the K. of Navarre," upon which desires advice.
Aug. 1.* Shortage of powder. Flushing garrison weak, so men should be sent thither.
Aug. 2.* "Hath received 200l. of the Merchants Adventurers."
Aug. 8. "The armours will not be ready this month. The D[uke] withdraweth his forces from Dunkirk toward Sluce." Mr. James Boyl, a merchant of Middleburgh, would be a suitable person to bring powder to England.
Answer. Prices of armour have risen, owing to "the provisions made here by our English merchants." Hopes the armours will come over safely now, "the neck of the Spa[nish] practice being broken." Is sorry St. Aldigonde has so little influence, for he desires earnestly the reconciliation of Count Moryce and Sir Wm. Russel: Vyllyars the preacher could do much to bring it about. Cannot advise St. Aldigonde to go into France at this time: "I will take some course that he may be provided of some means to maintain him." Will move the reinforcement of the cautionary towns' garrisons, "which will be performed with some difficulty." Will see the Merchants Adventurers paid. . Will now have leisure to get powder from Hamburghe.
Gilpin. July 13.* Only contains advertisements of Gertrudenbergh.
Answer. To thank him. Now the enterprise against England has been frustrated, an attack on Gelders is likely: maritime places unlikely to be attacked.
Higham. Aug. 7.* "That he may have the weekly lendings as well as others, or else some imprest upon his pay. That Mr. Digges hath not sent him the muster-rolls."
Answer. No allowance can be made from the weekly lendings, as he is to be paid out of the checks: Sir Thomas has no money to make an imprest. Mr. Digges "shall be ordered to send them over."
Captain Brown. Aug. 7.* "Desireth me to keep so much credit in store with the Treasurer, as he may have upon his pay at his coming over, 150l. . . . ."
Answer. The Treasurer has no money, and her Majesty's recent heavy expenses, make such payment difficult.
Mr. Stubbes. July 30.* "Containeth nothing but compliments."
Francis Veer. [Aug. 3.*?] "Compliments."
Captain Fremyn. Aug. [3/13].* "Being discharged of his entertainment there, and minded to retire himself from thence, he desireth to have mine advice what course to take."
The originals of the letters marked with an asterisk are calendared under date: the rest have not been found. The answers, in Walsingham's hand, in the left-hand margins. Endd. "An abstract of the Low Country letters, Aug., 1588." 5¼ pp. [Holland XXVI. f. 110.]
[Aug.] Remembrance for Lord Willoughby.
That his honour would obtain for Wylloughby some allowance for intelligence, which is very chargeable to him.
That he may have a warrant to make warrants for the interim between Oct. 12 and the beginning of his commission.
Endd. as above, Aug., 1588. ¼ p. [Holland XXVII. f. 234.]


  • 1. Willoughby was at Bergen on Aug. 24th Then paid a brief visit to Zeeland and was back at Bergen before September 2nd. Cf. H.M.C., Ancaster MSS., pp. 176, 178, 180.
  • 2. MS. torn.
  • 3. See below, p. 163.
  • 4. Printed in Lettres Missives, viii. 339.
  • 5. It was Sir Edward Norris who was actually sent to Ostend, see p. 187.
  • 6. note