December 1578, 21-31


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'Elizabeth: December 1578, 21-31', Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 13: 1578-1579 (1903), pp. 352-368. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=73388 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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December 1578, 21-31

'All my trust' was to have found you here, which was the cause I did not send the enclosed letters by Robert the post, who came over with me from Dover, where I waited seven days for a wind ; so it is no marvel if your letters are of an old date. With what instructions I am sent, you will well understand by the letters I send herewith. If it had been your fortune to be here at my arrival I should have been glad to confer with you before I went either to the Prince or the Duke. I came yesternight late, and have not yet spoken with either of them, awaiting certain here with whom I would gladly communicate before I deal with them, in order that I may better 'pass' the negotiation committed to my charge. I have not leisure now to send you a copy of my instructions, as I gladly would, but mind to send you shortly if I do not come myself. The Almighty prosper your endeavours and grant you a merry Christmas.—Ghent, 21 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. X. 89.]
Dec. 21. 457. ROSSEL to DAVISON.
Her Majesty and yourself have been able in the course of three months to judge 'with what foot I have travelled' in my continuous correspondence, pursuant to her pleasure as you assured me of it. Pray let me have letters in conformity with my request, that I may in the sequel resolve to do yet better ; albeit I am sure that few others have offered you more rare or more secret occurrents. That will suffice. Pauca intelligenti. I had written the letter enclosed in this packet on the 18th, having been assured by a gentleman that he was starting. I did this in haste, having learnt the contents of it from a good quarter. It will not be out of place in discussing affairs, though the intercepted letter states the contrary ; albeit the Prince's intent was not to make Monsieur lord generally, but reserving the most part, to dissemble the whole ; of which I gave information long ago, and this the future will disclose. It is the case that truth is the daughter of time, and time brings infinite changes. The disunion of Artois and Hainault, started by our French, has been remedied by the arrival of the Viscount of Ghent at Arras, and by the Marquis of Havrech going back there ; the people having agreed to continue the general union if they are not compelled to the 'Religions freidt.' When the Viscount arrived at Arras, la Motte was thinking to enter in order to settle the admission of the Spaniard, according to the letters of the Prince of Parma. His design and that of the Bishop of Arras having failed, they have withdrawn with their accomplices to Gravelines, where la Motte is said to be assembling 1,500 soldiers to help the Walloons, whom he is thought to have practised at the conference he had with Montigny ; who is diverted from that purpose and the soldiers too, who being set up with some fair pay will return to their obedience to the States, even in spite of their chief. There has been talk of employing me to do this, but the Estates are saying nothing about the possibility of bringing the Walloons back, till the Gantois are doing their duty. This alteration of Artois and Hainault will be put entirely to rights by the convocation of the States-General agreed on for February ; to which effect letters are being diligently sent out. Then the election of a new lord will be decided if peace be not granted by the king. It seems to me the aim of good patriots is not to support M. d'Alençon in this : as he has well perceived, notwithstanding the assurance he has had in the treaty which I sent his Majesty. On this occasion he sent M. des Pruneaux to Antwerp, who had audience on Friday, the 19th, before the Estates, the Council of State being present. There was a long discourse about the greatness of this master and his services to the country, and how he had received from the Estates no honour or benefit worthy of them ; inasmuch as everything was done without consulting him, especially the settlement of the troubles at Ghent, which had not been communicated to him, nor had he been asked for his advice. He protested his resentment, with threats. To which it was answered that there was a want of proportion in matching (n'estoit bien ballancé pour les esgaller) the services which he propounded with the honourable offer made in the last treaty, and that his representations should be considered. And as I think, he will not be kept long without being packed off with less solemnity than on former occasions ; for he has been entirely discovered, and cut off from his pretensions. Which will bring us into a state of bitterness towards him, considering his arrogance and fashion of speech. In fine I hope he will be dismissed, and his support dispensed with. You will hear from Mr Davison how Ghent is being pacified. It will suffice to tell you that when M. de Sainte-Aldegonde was reporting the agreement from the Prince, a prelate told him that the churchmen had been forced to renounce their privileges ; and that for all the Prince's protest against Embise and his adherents he habitually caressed and made much of him in public and in private, which he could not deny. Upon which he held his peace. As I said in my last, the Emperor's ambassador tired of waiting to have an opportunity of conference with the Prince of Parma has left Louvain to find him near Maestricht ; where he is encamped with troops and artillery, thinking to intimidate them of the town. They being well agreed, and having plenty of provisions and not much money, are not afraid of the Spaniard, who is swaggering in this way more from vain-glory than chivalrous feeling. On Friday morning Count Bossu was given up by the doctors, and at the solicitation of some whom I know to have little affection for the Prince was persuaded to receive (sic) auricular confession, and make a codicil ; being quite unconscious. This was done from two motives ; one to make the Prince think ill of Count Bossu in whom he had confidence, and meant to give him one of his daughters ; the other to put heart in the papists, who as I said are diversely machinating. Our army is dispersed from Breda and Austrade [qu. Ousterhout] all the way to Guelders. The reiters have been offered a month to get rid of part of them, with promise of two more in a month's time to their officers. This they were not willing to accept, but wanted three months in full, and for the rest, viz. four months, hostages to take into Germany ; which is not the custom here, though it may be in France. I perceive they will have to accommodate themselves ; for the means of living here are not like France, where the abundance is in the country. Here everything is in the towns. I send you no occurrents from France or elsewhere, being sure that her Majesty's ordinary ambassador performs that duty.—Antwerp, 21 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 3½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 90.]
I have saluted his Excellency from you and given him your message. He answered that he had written to you, and that he would be very glad to see you here, promising to procure the dispatch of your obligation. I have also recommended it to M. de Villiers, who promised to do what he could. Mr Daniel Rogers arrived yesterday from her Majesty ; I will write nothing of his errand, since you are or will be better informed of it than I am. I had the honour of knowing him in England, and hope to be able to discharge my obligations to him by serving him while he is in this town. The act of amnesty and the Religions-vrede is to be published tomorrow ; but I think it will be badly kept unless his Excellency sees to the execution and practice of it before he goes and does not take order to have the course and authority of justice restored. This is no less necessary than difficult, considering the license that has been given to the people ; whence both the necessity and the difficulty. His Excellency has the wisdom to see to it, and the will also. They are strong here upon the means to get the reiters out of Flanders and disbanding the useless and superfluous men-at-arms. Plenty of money will be needed to satisfy them. The four Members hope to furnish a good sum to get rid of them. They are still awaiting the reply of the Walloons, with hope that they will take the side of reason. Still it is feared that they are a little embittered (enaigris) by what happened two or three days ago in the quarter of the Liberty [of Bruges], to wit that one of their companies having occupied a castle belonging to Baron d'Obigny and committing great insolences and oppressions against the neighbouring villages was pursued at the sound of the tocsin by a vast number of peasants, till it was forced to retreat to the castle, and ultimately to quit it ; the men coming out with swords and daggers only, under promise of sparing their lives and putting them in security. But another troop of peasants meeting them disarmed cut them all to pieces and burnt the castle, notwithstanding the terms made with them by the lords of the Liberty. The way to excuse this is to disavow it : and to write to that effect to M. de Montigny, as has been already done by the Prince and the lords in question. M. de la Motte lately sent some 20 deputies to M. de Montigny to offer him the post of General of the Catholic army, making him plenty of fair promises if he would help to maintain the pacification of Ghent. They say he has refused, but coldly enough. He has been to Mons to talk to the Duke, who seems desirous to employ him to arrange the agreement. He has sent all the French away from the Walloons ; it is said that 18 companies have already withdrawn and only 800 men remain. M. de Capres has handed back the government of Artois to the Viscount of Ghent, who had done much good at Arras, and is now at Hesdin. There is still hope of keeping this body united.—Ghent, 21 Dec. 1578. Add. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 91.]
Dec. 21. 459. WALSINGHAM to DAVISON.
Her Majesty has this last week dispatched your suit ; not without some little difficulty, because she thought it would not do you that good which your present state requires. To remove this, which would otherwise have been a hindrance to it, I promised her you would be content with it, not minding to be troublesome to her in further suits. The bonds which you are to receive from the States, and which it is thought here are to be delivered into your hands, should be sent over, for due contentment in that behalf ; and therewith some note what satisfaction is made to Spinola. Her Majesty marvels that she hears nothing of her letter to the Prince of Parma, whether it be delivered or not ; looking to be made acquainted what has been done with it. The advertisements you send do not come so seasonably as is looked for at your hands ; your duties herein been 'prevented' by some others' diligence. You have to be careful to satisfy such expectation as is conceived of you.—Richmond, 21 Dec. 1587. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 92.]
Dec. [22.] 460. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
Last night at 7 o'clock Count Bossu departed this life, having been seven or eight days sick of a burning fever ; the loss, generally sorrowed in respect of his particular virtues, being esteemed so much the greater for his country, 'by how much' the choice is harder of a personage sufficient to occupy his place in commanding the States' forces. These, having among their home-bred nobility no one of fidelity and value fit to succeed him, or a stranger whose credit is not suspected, are driven at this time to the 'hard exigent' ; because the siege of Maestricht, which as we hear the enemy has now 'belayed,' gives them a new occasion to 'redress' their army. The success of the truce proposed by the Emperor's ambassador, now at Ruremonde with the Prince of Parma, and of the commissioners sent to the Walloons, is still in expectation. Des Pruneaux has returned hither from the Duke of Alençon, the copy of whose letter to the States I send herewith. To-morrow he is to deliver his whole charge in writing ; which I will not fail to impart to you by some man of my own within a day or two. The Bishop of Arras, who chiefly 'treated' the reconciling of Artois with the king, is dismissed as we hear unsatisfied and unheard ; but I hope little of reducing those provinces to their former habit unless by some extraordinary remedy. La Noue is sent to Mons to make fair weather with Monsieur on the part both of Duke Casimir and those of Ghent. He [qu. Monsieur] is said to be making preparations in Germany for 3,000 reiters and 9,000 lansquenets, where otherwise his continuance must needs breed confusion.—Antwerp, the Dec. 1578. Draft. Endd. 1 p. [Ibid. X. 93.]
461. Another draft of part of the above. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. X. 93a.]
Dec. 23. 462. The DUKE OF ANJOU to the STATES-GENERAL.
Various reasons having presented themselves calling for my return to France, I have thought good to dispatch to you M. de Dampmartin, master of requests in my household, to inform you of the same, and to assure you of my zeal for the good of these countries, wherein I am resolved to persevere wheresoever I may find myself.—Mons, 23 December, 1578. (Signed) François. Copy. Endd. in a somewhat later hand : From the Count Lalainge at Mons, 23 Dec. 1579. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. X. 94.]
Dec. 24. 463. The DUKE OF ANJOU to the STATES-GENERAL.
M. de Montlouet, my chamberlain and councillor, having returned from the Lords of the Leagues, whither, as I sent you word, I had sent him with regard to what occurred in the Free Country, I have desired him to go to you, to let you know the success of his negotiation, or what resources you may expect from that quarter, as well as my care and singular affection to all that is for the welfare and preservation of these provinces.—Mons, 24 Dec. 1578. (Signed) François. Copy. Fr. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 95.]
464. Another copy of the above. Endd. in Fr. and by L. Tomson. ¾ p. [Ibid. X. 95a.]
Dec. 27. 465. "Instructions for you, Messire Jan de Bourgogne, Lord of Froidmont, Councillor of State, and you Maitre Gilles Martini, doctor of laws, and Secretary of the town of Antwerp, upon what you have to represent on our behalf to the Duke of Anjou."
First, you shall declare that the Estates of these countries are much grieved to hear that he is resolved to leave the country, recognizing as they do the great benefits received through his presence. They had hoped before his departure to have had an opportunity of showing him how much they felt bound to do him service, and by testifying their gratitude, witness to all the world how highly they value those benefits. They had hoped on the other hand that he would at this juncture have remained the person who would by his authority have aided the States to compose the differences between the Walloon and those of Ghent, where on either side they were unwilling to hear reason. Wherefore they beseech him so to settle his affairs that he may still be able to continue present here, without depriving them of the fruition of their hope. They will feel themselves much honoured, and will endeavour by all possible means to lose no time and to give him such satisfaction as he merits and the benefits they have received from him demand. If however it is impossible for him to stay longer on account of his private affairs, or the state of the realm of France (wherein they would be grieved that any difficulty should arise), they can only thank him very humbly for his kindness and assure him that they will always be ready to do him service. They hold to what they promised in the last treaty, to do their utmost to get the assembly of the States-General to agree to the articles of it, and see that they are called together or with the shortest possible delay. Meantime they beg him to have them recommended to his favour, as he promised ; and to add to the obligations he has laid them under, will he kindly cause the remainder of the French troops to withdraw from Flanders, so that a good arrangement may be made? They will then be grateful to him not only as the defender of their liberties, but as their pacificator.—Resolved in the States-General, 27 Dec. 1578. Copy. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 2 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 96.]
I used the familiarity of true friendship towards you in asking you to present my letter to her Majesty, and you showed to me the fruits of a sincere friendship. On the one hand I feel myself happy to have met with such kindness, while on the other hand I shall lament my fortune till I have a chance of repaying it. I have heard from Mr Rogers, who has been very welcome, both on account of the knowledge I had of his virtues and especially because he was sent by you, the message you gave him for me. I am sure he will explain to you the present state of affairs. But inasmuch as it is difficult to represent to the life how things have passed, while it is very important that this should be known in England, I have decided shortly to dispatch one of my people from whom you will learn the very bottom of what has passed, and my ideas for the future.—Ghent, 28 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. X. 97.]
I have heard at length from Mr Rogers her Majesty's reasons for commanding Mr Davison to say to me what he did from her ; wherewith I remain content, out of regard both for her Majesty whom I honour and desire to serve, and for yourself whom I know to be devoted to the common cause. Yet I will tell you that feeling myself to be in my conscience and my behaviour very far from what has been published about me not only in England but everywhere else, it has been difficult for me to believe that either her Majesty, or you upon whom he threw the responsibility, can have directed him to say what he did, without being properly informed of the facts. I know well that neither her Majesty, nor you, nor any one in England can know what goes on here except by the reports. You will hear no doubt from Mr Rogers, who has been clever enough to get information from the Prince and myself that the opinions formed of me have been inopportunely based on suspicions and jealousies. I am thinking of sending to her Majesty him who knows these things to the bottom, whom I now recommend to you.—Ghent, 28 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 1½ pp. [Ibid. X. 98.]
Dec. 28. 468. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
I continue to set before you all occurrents, good and bad indiscriminately ; inasmuch as time, a halting messenger, clears up all things, as I hope he will do with my advices when the successive events are considered. Meanwhile I await news of the receipt of my packet of the 7th, in which was enclosed the last treaty made with M. d'Alençon, with his answer of the 1st noted on it. In this I called myself to mind, and asked that I might have assurance of her Majesty's good will, that I might more willingly employ myself in her service. Awaiting this answer, I send you what was discussed in the Estates on the 7th, where you will see what means I have of doing her service ; First, the speech of the Emperor's ambassador Count Schwarzenberg, the Prince of Parma's letter to the ambassador, the articles of peace sent by the Prince of Parma to those of Artois, the letter of the States-General to the States of Artois, their letter to the Viscount of Ghent, and the letter of M. d'Alençon to the same. Also a letter of credence sent by the Duke of Alençon to the Estates for M. des Pruneaux his ambassador in ordinary, and the speech of the said des Pruneaux before the Estates on the 19th. Also the proposal made by M. de Sainte-Aldegonde on behalf of the Prince of Orange, wherein is to be noted the complaint of those of Guelders etc., conformably to my advices, and another harangue made on the 27th on the matter of his departure. If I could afford to keep a regular copyist and supply what was necessary I would represent all that takes place in good form. After reading all these documents and the occurrents that have taken place during this time, it will be possible to recognise not only the state of things here, but that of the powers (potentations) of Europe, especially France and Spain. The Duke of Alençon foreseeing that events here would not follow the fickle fashion of France, after sending des Pruneaux to reside here and remain with the Estates, has decided to retire to Anjou, asking the Marquis of Havrech to advertise the Estates of it. He says it is not from any dissatisfaction with the Estates but because he foresees the way affairs are drawing. He therefore leaves his ambassador to represent his goodwill to the public service ; telling them that the king his brother sent for him because several provinces are revolted in France. This statement arouses my suspicions, though as I have advertised you before those of Burgundy and other provinces were displeased with the king and had asked advice of the Prince of Orange about choosing a chief who could be of service to them in avenging the oppression wrought on them by the king ; which would agree. His departure was fixed for Monday, or Tuesday the 30th. It has since been slightly changed and he went on Saturday the 27th ; because five provinces, as it is said, have risen against the king, to wit, Britanny, Normandy, Picardy, Champagne and Burgundy. Others add Languedoc, Provence, Dauphiné, and the Vivarais. It is feared that his retirement may delay the peace and that the enemy will be more elated. The partisans who supported him find themselves kept back from their designs, and the principals are already seeking the help of their friends to 'repatriate' themselves and come back into favour ; among whom is the Count of Lalaing with sundry followers. Those of Hainault who under his protection aimed at disunion are seeking to return to favour, and have sent 30,000 florins to the Estates on account of their moyens généraur ; assuring them that provided they are not forced to accept the 'Religion Wlictz' they are willing to continue in the Union as before. Those of Artois have done the same. The business at Ghent is still unsettled on two points. The Prince wished the Gantois to take the Catholics under their protection, which they were unwilling to do, though they would take an oath one to the other. The other difficulty which is not yet got rid of, is with regard to the amnesty. The Prince wishes to except from it the murder of the bailiff of "Vas," and the attack on Bonivet, inasmuch as it is being enquired into. The Gantois on the contrary want an amnesty for everything that happened during the troubles. Our army is in the same state as when I wrote last. As for the general peace, the Emperor's ambassador has written nothing since sending the letter from the Prince of Parma ; according to which he has gone to Ruremonde. The Duke of Terra Nova has arrived at Cologne, where are also the Bishops of 'Wersebourg' and Cologne, who with other deputies may come at any hour to meet Count Schwarzenberg and the Prince of Parma. The meeting of the States-General continues, and ten new ensigns will be made and placed in Brussels. They are discussing the appointment of a non-suspected colonel, to act as governor in the place of the late M. de Bossu, who died on the 21st. I thought I had told you that the king had made the Prince of Parma heir to Don John, both of his jewels and furniture and of the marquisate which he had in the Duchy of Milan, in consideration of his renunciation of claims to the Crown of Portugal. He gives him also the citadel of Piacenza, and will maintain him as governor here. His mother the Duchess of Parma is dead ; also the Duke of Alva. There are four who have been governor, dead in three years. The king of Spain, desirous of the Crown of Portugal, has summoned the Estates of Spain and laid before them the right of succession to it, asking for their support in conquering the kingdom. He has referred the matter to his council, the Estates finding it too much burden to furnish supplies for the war against the Flemings ; and they feared that after the conquest they would be served the same as the Flemings. I told you that the people of Guelders, being disatisfied with Count John, had presented a petition, by the tenour of which you will see their aim. They want him removed from the government. I will pass over other details. In the matter of the arrièreconseil a complaint has been made which you will understand from the articles propounded by Sainte-Aldegoude. Since writing, I have got hold of the speech pronounced by M. de Dampmartin on the departure of Monsieur, but time does not allow me to send it. Also the views of those of Artois on the peace, which came this morning. It would be essential to her Majesty's service to be able to send extraordinary dispatches while things are in their present state. I hear that M. de Ville will be commander-in-chief in place of M. de Bossu, and the Marquis of Havrech grandmaster to his Highness.—Antwerp, 28 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. Fr. 5 pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 99.]
We have been very sorry to hear from M. de Montlouet your intention of leaving the country. We regret it all the more because we recognise the singular benefits we have received from you, as M. de Froidmont and Martini the Secretary of Antwerp will more fully declare to you ; whom we have required to transport themselves to you with all speed.—Antwerp, 28 Dec. 1578.
On the same sheet :—
We have heard by the report of the Marquis of Havrech the resolution of the Estates of Hainault and their efforts to bring about a good issue. And as you hold the chief place among them and since the beginning of the expulsion of the common enemy have done your best to restore our country to liberty, we request you to continue therein, as MM. Froidmont and Martini will declare to you.—Antwerp, 28 Dec. 1578. Copies. Endd. Fr. 1 p. X ¾ p. [Ibid. X. 100.]
Dec. 29. 471. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
The suspended agreement with the Walloons keeps us in doubt what train matters will take, though we hope the better because the Duke of Alençon, chief motive of their revolt, partly malcontent with his cold success here, partly despairing of any better, but chiefly diverted by the home troubles of his country, is now shrinking from them, and about to return with as little honour as profit of his summer's service. But for his farewell he meant to have played a French part with those of Mons if his purpose had not happily been prevented, as you may perceive by the enclosed.— Antwerp, 29 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. ½ p. [Ibid. X. 101.]
Dec. 29. 472. DAVISON to WALSINGHAM.
As I closed my packet I received yours by Mr Carleil, which was the better welcome in that it brought with it the long-wished tidings of the dispatch of my particular cause. You have so much bound me that I neither wot with what words to give you deserved thanks, nor how I may recompense you for the least part of the favour I have received at your hands. Therefore as a poor creditor (sic) I beg you to accept my humble devotion in part of payment till God enable me to redeem my bond with some agreeable service. I would by this my man have acknowledged my thankfulness by letter to her Majesty ; but I had by the advice of Treasurer Schetz stayed him already 'with the longest' in hope of some good news from the enemy's camp touching the ambassador's negotiations. With my next I will not forget my duty in that behalf. Her Majesty's letters to the Emperor, with those to his ambassador and the Treasurer, I have given to the Treasurer, who promises to dispatch an express to Count Schwarzenberg with them. Her former one to the Prince of Parma I sent by a trumpet, with a servant of the Emperor's ambassador that went for safe-conduct. I have as yet received no answer though I wrote to the Prince offering to convey his letter to her Majesty at any time. I think by some of the ambassador's folk to hear from him.—Antwerp, 29 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. 1 p. [Holl. and Fl. X. 102.]
Dec. [29.] 473. DAVISON to BURGHLEY.
Difficulties have fallen out in the treaty at Lannoy between the deputies of the States and Walloons which have so far suspended the issue of their negotiation. It is the harder to compound as the practices to overthrow it are greater. If they agree there is good hope of repairing the 'crased' union of the provinces and the confusions that have happened in the doings both civil and martial. If otherwise, I know not what could happen more mischievous to the country, since it must needs bring forth a general division which will advantage their common enemy, disable themselves to resist, and push forward some provinces either to cast themselves into the arms of the French, or to make their peace with the Spaniard. All this depends on the good or ill success of this treaty with the malcontents. On the part of the French the danger seems to grow less, because the ill-success of his doings here and the renewed troubles in France gives the Duke occasion to hasten his return and discharge this country of a suspected guest. He has sent Dampmartin hither expressly to signify so much to the States, as you may see by the copy of his proposition which I send ; an accident in my opinion of as great advantage to the whole country as his presence has been unprofitable. But to keep them in good devotion to him he has M. des Pruneaux to remain here as his resident ambassador, who has laboured the States underhand to give the Duke some satisfaction before his departure. Whereupon they have 'advised' to dispatch M. de Froidmont and one or two others to him (of whose charge I cannot yet learn the particulars) ; whom he awaits at Condé. What the States of Artois will determine in their assembly, put off till the 28th, which was yesterday, is yet in 'expectation.' Meanwhile they have restored the Bishop of Arras, who was sent by the Prince of Parma as an ambassador to work their reconcilement with the King, to his place and 'livings,' and continue under a pretext of sedition to persecute such as they know to be of the religion, followed therein by those of Douay, Lille and other places ; an ill presage of 'entertaining' the union, which the Henuyers nevertheless pretend to affect, as they have lately signified by the Marquis of Havrech, who returned hither last Thursday. So that the accord newly made at Ghent may be really and effectually observed. Of Count 'Swartsberg's' success with the Prince of Parma we hear as yet nothing certain. The report is that the Archbishops of Cologne and Triers, the Duke of Wirtemberg, and other commissioners from the Emperor, together with the Duke de Nova Terra, are on the way hither to compound these troubles ; though the issue be as much suspected as a peace is desired. The intelligence which the enemy had in Maestricht being discovered, that attempt seems for the time disappointed. Howbeit he remains about Limburg and his forces for the most part 'alongst' the river between Maestricht and Liége, for some other enterprise thereabouts, it is conjectured. By such as come in, we hear they put to death at Namur, on Friday week last, Mr Egremond Ratcliffe and one Graye for the matter whereof they were charged upon their first coming over ; notwithstanding that Don John before his death gave orders for their release. There has been a report of the levying of horse and foot in Germany for the Duke of Alençon ; but for what they were destined is uncertain. At Ghent all seems to go well between Duke Casimir and the Prince ; a thing suspected of the Catholics. And because divers reports have been spread of the ill intelligence between them, the Duke has written to the Princes and Churches of France in excuse of his proceedings at Ghent, imputing them to a zeal for religion ; though in the handling he confesses some error, as one not well acquainted with the state of the country. The religious peace published at Ghent last week I forbear to send you, because I think you have ere this received the same from Mr Rogers. La Motte has put himself into the field with 10 ensigns of foot and 200 horse ; some think to be revenged on the peasants for the murder of his deputies, sent 8 or 10 days ago to the Walloons with instructions to capitulate with them, and slain on the way. Others suspect an enterprise upon Berghen St. Winoc, which is the worst provided of those frontier towns. Others think he has some intelligence with Capres for surprising Arras. But we shall hear more in a day or two. In Guelders it is thought there is some alteration in brewing by the Catholics, of whom the principals have presented a request to the States against the government of Count John of Nassau, chiefly in respect of his innovation of religion in divers parts of that country.—Antwerp, Dec. 1578. P.S.—Since finishing this, I hear that the Duke of Alençon under colour of his departure from Mons had intended a surprise of it, having destined some of his train to seize upon one of the gates at his going out, and so to let in certain companies which he had laid in ambush in a wood hard by. Which being first suspected and afterwards discovered by the townsmen, it made his farewell so much the colder. Now he waits at Condé for the States' deputies, whose message is so qualified upon this news that I think their coming will bring him as little content as the former did. The Emperor's ambassador, by letters received an hour ago, puts the States in hope that his labour will bring forth some fruit. Endd. by Burghley's secretary. 2¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 103.]
Dec. 29. 474. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
Identical with the above. Draft. Endd. 2½ pp. [Ibid. X. 104.]
Dec. 29. 475. DAVISON to the SECRETARIES.
[Letter missing, but no doubt that of which the last is a draft.]
P.S.—After I had sealed the enclosed I received advice from Ghent that the Prince finds more difficulty in compounding those matters ; and it is not without suspicion that some new sedition will happen among them.—Antwerp, 29 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. by L. Tomson. ½ p. [Ibid. X. 105.]
Dec. 29. 476. ROSSEL to WALSINGHAM.
Hearing that an extraordinary messenger is starting, I determined to let you have M. d'Alençon's latest letters of credence sent to the States through M. Dampmartin together with his speech about the Duke's departure ; where you will see the feigned occasion of the same. It is in fact quite other, being the ill entertainment and reception that he has had from the people of Mons ; and his fear of receiving some affront by reason of the customary tyrannies and menaces of his people, as indeed ensued on the day of his departure. He had requested those of the town to escort him with 300 burgesses, who volunteered for the duty. So when they were under arms, certain better advised said that it would be well before starting to reconnoitre if there was no ambuscade or plot to surprise the town, to the ruin of their posterity. It was at once decided to send the provost of the merchants to inspect the roads through the neighbouring woods ; where were discovered 8 or 9 companies of foot and 200 horse. The provost returning in haste seized two sentinels, who when he made as though he would take them cried mercy, and said that the ambuscade had been arranged to surprise the town when the burgesses were out of it ; and that all the villagers who passed by had been stopped and kept prisoners in the wood. All being discovered, they of Mons on learning it disarmed all the French, and took the keys out of the possession of M. de Lalaing ; who being much offended, pointed out that such an insult (escorne) should be offered to traitors. They told him that he was not much better. M. d' Alençon in extreme distress was finally with much entreaty allowed to leave the town, and went to Condé, where he was hardly received, and where he still is. Such was the exit of our defeated French. As a consequence some right-minded people (bons esprits) and I have managed so that all the French will be broke and dismissed ; alike those who have commended themselves to favour and all the others. It will be carried out before the Prince returns. In like manner will be carried out the resolution to make a regiment of 12 ensigns to guard the States-General who are to meet at Brussels. Their colonel will be Count Egmont, and he will take his orders from the Estates only ; to whom he and his captains, who will be selected by them, will take the oath. News have come to-day from Count Schwarzenberg that on arriving at Ruremonde he was welcomed and caressed by the Prince of Parma, who has deferred the progress of the peace-conference till the Christmas festivities are over. He gives good hope of peace. I will send the articles on the last of this month. During this important conference the meeting of the Estates it would be for the good of her Majesty's service to send extraordinary messengers, as I said in my last.—Antwerp, 29 Dec. 1578. P.S.—I omitted to say that we shall have a truce and armistice ; and they allege that M. de 'Champaignie' will be set free at the solicitation of the prelates and Catholics. All this before the meeting of the States. Add. Endd. Fr. 2¼ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 106.]
Dec. 29. 477. DAVISON to LEICESTER.
Five or six days ago I received yours by Mr Rogers, and should have gone at once to Ghent if I had not been let by indisposition. Being now better I mean to go in a day or two ; though I hope to find things on such good terms between the two princes that I shall only have to confirm to them the affection you have always borne to them and the cause they 'pretend' to advance. So I will not fail to discharge the duty of an honest servant of your lordship.— Antwerp, 29 Dec. 1578. Draft. Endd. 2/3 p. [Ibid. X. 106.]
Dec. 29. 478. POULET to BURGHLEY.
Though my troubles have of late been such that I find myself unapt to do the offices which duty requires, I could not forbear to trouble you with these few lines which will serve only to assure you of any unfeigned goodwill ; and indeed this country ministers small occasion of writing at present. The provinces continue obstinate in their demands and in some parts show by their preparations that they will not be forced. The Bishop of Ross has had long whispering with the House of Guise, who are now assembled, from the eldest to the youngest, at Dijon. And as this assembly is suspected by many here, so it is not to be doubted but that this good bishop and this other good company have left nothing unconsidered that may tend to the prejudice of her Majesty and her country. The king was advertised on Christmas Day at night that Monsieur was on the point of coming into France. Villeroy was dispatched to him to persuade him to come to the Court, which he will not do, as I am informed by his ministers here ; intending to go through Normandy direct to Angers. Extend your favour to me for my revocation. Unless any successor be named these holidays, I fear lest new alterations may keep me here longer than were convenient.—Paris, 29 Dec. 1578. Add. Endd. 1 p. [France II. 91.]
Dec. 479. [POULET] to [WALSINGHAM.]
When I consider the absence of Queen Mother and the impossibility of her return in a short time ; that Monsieur does nothing without her ; that the king has no money, and can get none, but by shifts and devices ; that there is no likelihood of this summer passing without civil troubles ; that it is necessary to spend money at home ; and many other things not needful to be recited, I am forced to be of opinion that upon the next news from Queen Mother, 'the English voyage will be broken.' You must not build upon d . . . . es. You know our French doings are inconstancy itself. I find many here concur with me in this opinion, yet they hear nothing but the best of the doings in England. I am not worthy to give counsel to these French princes ; but if I were their subject, and they would hear me, I would tell them that in my simple opinion they ought to have answered with all frankness the difficulty proposed by her Majesty. The contrary seems to threaten that they will be angry if the mislike upon the interview proceeds from her. Apparently rough notes ; but endd. by L. Tomson : Conjectures to show that M. voyage will be broken off. ½ p. [Ibid. II. 93.]
My last to you was on the 25th. Since then, there are the speeches as follows. La Motte, it seems, seeks to be revenged on those that killed his lieutenant ; but as the speech goes here, he does not venture 'to fare to do the feat,' for he lies upon the river that goes to St. Thomas, and some report he is returning home again. All the Frenchmen that are with the Walloons are packing out of the country as fast as they can, and carry with them many waggons richly laden, beside a number of young 'colts of horse and mares' ; so these have been good wars for them. Also it seems la Motte lacks money, for he begins to make the 'dorpes' bring him in money as they are 'of a billet.' Such is the speech of those come this day out of those parts. The Prince has written to the Lords of this town of good hope of agreement with the Walloons. To-day is the last day of their parley. The speech here is that the French news already makes the Walloons to faint ; which God grant it prove so in the end. It is feared by most here that these troubles in France are but a covering to gather men together to send on a sudden into these parts. Yesterday Mr Daniel Rogers sent me two great packets of letters to be sent to England, which I sent away this morning.—Bruges, 31 Dec. 1578. Add. 1 p. [Ibid X. 108.]
1578. 481. Institution and statutes of the order of Saint-Esprit.
Copy in hand of Poulet's secretary. Endd. with Walsingham's mark. Fr. 27 pp. [France II. 92.]
1578. 482. Summary of Davison's negotiations in the Low Countries in 1577, 1578 (sic : but seems to refer to the crents of 1584). Drawn up apparently for Sir J. Williamson. 3½ pp. [Holl. and Fl. X. 109.]
1578? 483. 'An answer to the Spanish ambassador's request in the behalf of John Wolters and Nicholas Hausman, Low Countrymen.'
Forasmuch as the States of the Low Countries have by letters dated in August last recommended the cause of the said John and Nicholas as persons acknowledging themselves to be under their jurisdiction and consequently comprehended within their bonds, the ambassador has no cause to trouble my Lords of the Council any further with the matter. Yet it may lawfully be answered that since the said Wolters and Hausman have sought their remedy against the sentence of the Judge of the Admiralty by appealing to the Court of Chancery, which is the ordinary taken in like cases both in this realm and in the Low Countries, where the said sentence may be reformed, as the Judges of that Court shall find sufficient cause to lead them thereto ; the plaintiffs having of their own motion submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of that Court, ought to be satisfied with their own choice, and neither trouble my Lords of the Council nor my lord ambassador any longer.
In the margin :—
As to what the king my master's rebels terming themselves the States of the Low Countries write to the Queen, her Council, or other Ministers in recommendation of whomsoever it pleases them, it shall suffice that I, as the king's minister, bear witness that the said plaintiffs are the king's good subjects, and further them accordingly ; for it is in the power of kings and sovereign princes only to receive their subjects into grace and favour again when it pleases them, how grievously soever they have offended. To the second, the king's said subjects finding themselves greatly wronged by the judges here, supported by the Queen's authority, would be very simple, having according to right and reason sought my help, if they suffered themselves to perish in prison rather than appeal ; which is a sufficient reason (the action against them being so unjust) to stay further proceeding by the ordinary course of justice in causes that are so near to matters of state. Otherwise the same course of proceeding will be held in the king's dominions against the Queen's subjects whenever any of those whom she has declared rebels commence any action by letters of procuration or other public instrument. And herein I cannot but find myself grieved that in six months' space I should be unable to receive an answer from my Lords of the Council whether they take William of Nassau with his adherents and the towns of his faction to be rebels or no to the king my master, as they have so long since been declared by him and his ministers by as many placards as have been published and are daily renewed against them. In writing of L. Tomson and another of Walsingham's secretaries. Endd. by the former : The Spanish ambassador's reply to the Judge of the Admiralty's answer in the matter against Wolters and Hausman. 1 p. [Spain I. 16 bis.]
1578? 484. A statement of the succession to the Crown of Portugal, from King John the first, who 'married with the Lady Phillip daughter to Duke John of Lancaster.' Apparently drawn up soon after the battle of Alcazar. 'The Lord Don Lewes . . . never married, but begot a child by one honest woman, and (sic) was called El senior Don Antonio, which died in their journey with the King Don Sebastian.' 'Lord Henrick at this present King was born the last of January 1512 . . . and so by this account he shall be 67 years the last of January next.' Endd.: A defence of the pedigree of the king of Portugal. 3½ pp. [Portugal I. 14.]