Letter ID: 0962
Reference: BL, MS Cotton Galba D VII f.266r-268r
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0962/008
Date: 23 August 1590
Note: On fol.226r there is the signature AAA.



Later Addition: Belgia 1590

Later Addition: Belgia 23 August 1590 of dunkerck

Later Addition: bis

May it please your good L. within these three daies there came /one/ unto me, whiche was pensioner, nine yeres past, in the towne of Dunkerke: a man unknowen to my self, but esteemed of others very honest and religious, and qualified besides, for other good partes. Sins his comming out of Dunkerke, his chiefest aboade, with his wife and familie, was first in these quarters, and after- wardes in Dantzicke: from whens he returned about nine monethes sins, and keepeth nowe at the Hage: having competent meanes to main- tene his estate. The cause of his com- ming unto me, was to lett me understand, that if her Highnes were desirous, to surprise the towne of Dunkerke, he would disclose unto me an easie, and a readie meanes, and suche as her Majestie with a very smalle charge, might put in execution. He desired only to have it secretly caried, and if her Highnes shall re- fuse to deale in the action, that then it may remaine, and not be notified to others. For the atchieving of the enterprise, is would be requi- sit, uppon pretense given out, ether of sending more assistance into these contreis, or of the like attempt, to embarke at Dover, or some other part there adjoining, to the number of 1400 men, or thereabout. Whiche are to be landed by night with shalloppes, in two several places neere the towne: to witte a fiveth part of the number, or so many more or fewer as shalbe thought ex- pedient, neere unto the way that leadeth from ostend and Nieuport, to the Est gate of the towne: fol.266v

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and the rest at the Downes, whiche are opposit to the North /west/ port. With good circumspection, and a fitte opportunitie of tide and winde, it may be done very safely in bothe places, so as by night they shall not be descried, by the watche of the Estbulwarke. The lesser number being landed, whiche they maye easely doe, as neere the towne, as they list, they are to marche directly in the forsaid way, whiche is gravely and good, towardes the Northest tower, for which they shall have guides assigned, and about the distance of 5 or 6 passes from that tower, they shall finde the towne dicke but 3 foote deepe, so as they may passe it, and make an assault, at the same instant as the rest of the souldiers, shall enter the North /west/ gate of the towne: whereto they shall be conducted, by skilfull persons, thorowe the downes; having nothing to stoppe them from approching the gate, but a chanel of 30 or 40 passes, wch is drie in a lowe water: having only in the middle, where there is, for almost 5 yardes breadth, be- tween 2 and 3 foote depth of mudde: whiche inconvenience may be quickly holpen with 2 or 3 strong hurdles. The port itself is made in the forme of a lattise, or grate, with two leaves, or half partes, whiche are shutte /a crosse/, with an iron chaine, not three inches thicke, and come not so neere, but that a man with ease may enter between: besides that the chaine may be soone broken, both it and the gate being rusty and old. Moreover five or six passes within the gate, there is a faire stone paire of staires, sufficient large, for two men to mount in a front, whiche bringeth directly to the standing fol.267r

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watche, on the market place: and from thens there is a plaine way to the towne house, where there is also an other corps de garde, whiche having bin dealt withall, the Estgate being neere at hand, may be easely seased, and entrance made for the rest without. The successe wherof, and of all the exploit is the lesse to be douted, for that there are not in the towne, as we are informed, above 300 souldiers in Garrison: and the burgers all unarmed, and desirous of libertie, and trafficke. Also, to the end her Majestie may be throughly assured, that not only the meanes, to perfourme this action, are suche as he proposeth, but that his meaning is cleere, and syncere, and voide of all occasion, that may minister suspition, he declareth unto me, that there is no man privy to this ouverture, but one only gentleman in Flushing, whiche hath borne sometime the office of an Eschevin in Dunkerke, a man of good credit, and courage, and zelous in religion. And in case her Highnes be resolved to embrace the enterprise, and shall finde it expedient in respect of further conference, and more assurance, that one of them bothe, or bothe together, should come into England, they are willing to doe any thing, that shall be required. Withall they offer to goe themselves in person with the forces, to leave their wives and children behind for pledges, and to marche the formost in the entring the towne. Likewise if her Majestie for her more satisfaction, and to be better informed of the true site of the forsaid portes, passages, advenues, and other necessary places, shall determine to send some fitte person fol.267v

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to take a praecise viewe of all the towne, they will also take order, for some other of their owne appoin- tment, to goe with him, and to shewe him all that hath bin signified, and whatsoever els is pertinent. In the meane season, for the better understanding of his plotte, I caused him to pourtray the towne in a rude forme, and to adde those notes, and expla- nation unto it, whiche I will send with this letter to your L. Considering that the states ofthese contreis, by reason of their shipping, mariners, and souldiers, of which they have sufficient, and al- waies in a readines, are better furnished of meanes, to bring this mater to passe, then her Majestie I urged him to tell me, what had moved him herein, to seeke sooner to her Majestie then to the contrey. Whereto he answeared that for Holland, and Zeland, whome the rest of the Provinces are accustomed to followe, they have maliced the good estate of Flanders, and if any towne of that Province should falle into their handes, they will ether neg- lect the custody of it, as they did of Sluis, or lett it come to povertie and ruine, as the towne of Ostend, and suffer none of them, at no time, to enjoy any trafficke. For these and other like causes, although her Majestie should reject his motion, he hath no disposition to deale with the states but will rather attend, till some convenience be offered to effect it otherwise. Howe muche her Majestie may be steeded, by having that place, it is easie enough for any, to conjecture in generall. But I am certified in particular, that the villages adjoining, are 300 at the lest, whiche fol.268r

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are all in contribution, and doe not yeld so litle rent, by common estimation, as 2000 li sterling by the moneth. But for the towne it self, whether this be the way to put the Enemie from it, whiche hath bin signified unto me, and whether it come her Majestie to passe, to undertake it presently, I knowe your L. can best, and soonest resolve. For whiche it may please yow, to consider upon it, and if yow finde it so muche worthe, to acquaint her Highnes with my letter. Also that whiche is desired, and I have promised, is an answear to the party of her Highnes intention, whiche I trust your L. will vouchesafe, to returne with the soonest. And so for this present, I take my humble leave. From the Hage. August 23 Anno 90. Your L. most humbly bounden, Tho. Bodley