Letter ID: 0159
Reference: TNA, SP 84/32/1 f.1r-3v
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0159/008
Date: 01 April 1589
Note: There is a small florilegium on the address leaf.
Copy of: 0810


Addressed: To the right honorable my singular good Lorde the L Burghley, Lorde highe Treasuror of England.

Endorsed: primo Aprilis 1588 Rx 9 April from Master bodeley Gertrudenberg

Later Addition: 1 April 1589 31 Apl 89 [[q]88]


It may please your L. As at the writing of my last, the towne of Gertrudenbergh continueth besieged. The first attempt that they without gave against it, was on the water side with fire workes, and other artificiall engines, wherewith they had filled a shippe, supposing by it to have cast downe a great part of the walle, and to have sett many houses a fire. But it pro- ved in triall a weake devise, scorned at by suche as stoode uppon the walles, and that litle harme that it did fell uppon themselves. There folowed uppon it a long batterie, whiche continued divers daies, and some nightes, untill the breache was esteemed reaso- nable: and then sundrie of the chiefest in place, as the Count of Holmes, Count Philip, Mareshall Villiers, and others gave the assault with a great furie, comming to it with flatte bottom boates. But they were forced to retire immediatly, finding the resistance of the garrison very resolut and desperat, and the meanes to assault out of their boates, full of comber and disadvantage. The Mareshall Villers was shotte into the knee, but like to recover it quickly. The two Viceadmirals of Holland and Zeland were shotte into the armes: which it is thought they will be forced to cutte of. A brother of Monsieur Brede- rode was slaine, and divers captaines besides, of good account and service, partly slaine, and partly hurt: as also a great part of Count Maurice gard and of the common souldiers. Uppon the newes of this repulse, this Councell of state made request by their letters sent to the camp, to the statesdeputies there, that they would use my presence and assistance for effecting some accord: Wherto they never made answear, since, the nor since the siege beganne never writ hither to any of these assemblies for any advise. Ne- vertheles for a further discharge of my duty in this place and for that it was a common speeche of the people, that Sir John Wingfild, that had intelligence with the ennemie I writte a letter to Sir John whereby I requested him to fol.1v
be advertised from him, if any likelyhoode were left, among those in the towne, that I might be an in- strument of a good composition. I required him further in her Majesties name, to take a speciall care, that the towne might not falle into the ennemies possession. This letter I sent open to the camp, desiring it might be sent, or suppressed, as the Count and the rest shold finde most behoofull. Howebeit thei sent it immediatly, and with muche a doe it was receaved, and the answear given not by Sir John but by the rest, That they would have no further dealing with her Majestie or any of her ministers, for that my L. Willughbies proceedinges were discovered sufficiently. The cause of which answear proceeded hereof. The Count not wil- ling to come againe to the assault, thought by other practises, to make a division among those of the garrison, and theruppon sent a certaine Act unto them, whiche my L. Willughby long since gave unto the Count, to assure him of his good meaning for the deliverie of the towne into his handes. The sighte of that Act made a soddaine alteration among them. For wheras before they pretended still to hold for her Majestie they began then to disclame, and to use railing speeches against my L. and the Inglishe nation, that went about in that order to betray them. And howe they intreated Sir John uppon it I knowe not yet certainly: but it is bruited abroade, that thei have him in custody. My letter comming thither, uppon the delivery of this Act, tooke no other effect: and since continually, they have answea- red the ennemies fires, and sent unto them three out of their garrison, to Capitulat about yelding up the towne: with whome it is also said, that the Duke himself being come to Breda hath had conference, and hath already skirmished with the Count. Heeruppon both he and the rest there very muche fol.2r
perplexed, sent yesterday to the Councell hither, requesting that I would come in person, and make triall, if better successe would come of it. I made answear, that if that course had bin taken at first, when her Majesties name was used and respected in the towne, I douted not, but they might have bin brought to some tolerable conditions. But nowe, the ennemie being come to the walles, it seemed a desperat case: nevertheles I referred my service to the Councels disposition, requesting them to conferre many mens advertisments together, touching the state of the towne, and then to resolve, as they should thinke best, about my imploiment: wherein they bestowed some time presently, and found it all too [late], expecting letters every houre of the ennemies entrie, and the re- trait of our men. Not to troble your L. with the relation of all particular accidents, uppon the occa- sion of this enterprise, and the unhappy successe, there is nothing heere but feare, and troble, and confu- sion, aswell among the better sort, as the common people, some fewe crieng out against Sir John Wing- fild and the Inglish nation, but the farre greater part against the autors of the action: whiche I can not yet learne, to have bin any other then the Count, barnevelt and Villiers: but Barnevelt in speciall, whose greedy desire of revenge against those of the towne, and my L. Willughby hath wrought this effect. Moreover their delivery of my L. Willughbies Act is generally condem- ned as a dishonorable dealing towardes my L. and very inconsiderat in respect of themselves. For by it they excluded themselves from all kind of hope of any good composition. All their allegations in excuse of this Exploit are very frivolous and fained. They say that those of the towne have bin practising a long time with the ennemy That the losse of the towne is of no suche importance, as men commonly give out, That the inconvenience whiche would have ensued in other garrisons, if fol.2v
the insolence of those of Gertrudenbergh should have bin wincked at, must needes have done them greater harme: with other like shiftes and devises both untrue, and of no moment. In effect the state of these Provinces, is weaker at this present, then it hath bin these many yeres, and unles by her Majesties extraordinary assistance and counsell it be pre- sently holpen, there is like apparance, that they can hold it out long. The losse of this towne of Gertrudenbergh, the absence of her Majesties Lieutenant, the withdrawing of forces, and the imperfection of this government, are great opportunities to drawe the ennemie onward, and to dismay the people. In which respect I doe expect nothing more, then to knowe her Majesties intention: the want whereof, I must needes confesse to your L. doth somwhat discourage me, as it is also a lett that I can not negotiat so effectually, nor extend my ser- vice to so many good purposes, as otherwise I might. Wheruppon I beseche your L. againe as in my last, that some speedy order may be taken for good correspondence, referring the re- lation of these occurrences to her Highnes and to my LL of the councell, to your L. wisdome and good pleasure: wherewith I take my humble leave. From the Hage. the 31 March 89 styl. vet. Your L most humble to commaund Tho. Bodley.


Postscript: It is nowe written hither, that the ennemie is in earnest Parle, with those of Gertrudenbergh, and hath gotten the posession of those fortes without the towne, whiche Count Maurice had made: who is departed with some part of his forces to- wardes Williamstat and Tertoll, where the ennemies comming is also feared. It is further advertised out of Brabant, by some that are there with the ennemie, and geve intelligence hither, that there is some practise towardes between Schincke and the ennemie: Whiche is not signi- fied with any other circumstance. Notwithstan- ding these men heere promise him so litle, and then perfourme so slowly that wch thei promise, Using him every way very hardly, as I dout in the end it will falle heavely uppon them. The like is signified hither against Capten Salisbury of Berghen Up Some, that he hath some intelligence with the ennemie: wherof I have certified Sir Thomas Morgan and the Captens there, wishing that he might be removed, Untill he come hither, in person and justifie his cause: for that this councell of state hath had continually a vehement suspicion of his doinges, and will charge him, as it seemeth, with divers particularities. April 1.