Letter ID: 1366
Reference: BL, MS Harleian 287 fol. 190r-193v
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/1366/008
Date: November 1591
Note: The letter begins on fol. 192, and after fol.193v continues on fol.190r.
Copy of: 1088



Later Addition: November 1591 33 Elizabeth Netherlands

Later Addition: It seemes this Letter was never sent. see back side which seemes to bee Sir Thomas Bodleys own hand.

Having lately understoode, aswell by those letters which yow have written to the states, and to your frindes in these countreis, as by divers other meanes of assured intelligence, that yow determine very shortly to ad- dresse your selves to the forsaide states and in the name of the Emperors Majestie to motion some agreement between them and the Spaniard, I have thought it very requisit for discharge of my dewtie to my Souveraigne lady and mistresse the Q. Majestie of England, who hath bin pleased to honour me, with the place of her Counsailor in this Councel of state, and for those principal respects, which I beare in all humilitie to the Emperors Majestie between whom and my Souveraigne all offices of amitie have bin alwaies intertened, to prevent your comming hither with such advise as this place, and my function will affourd.

It is ten moneths agoe that the states of these countreis, upon advertisment receaved of your purposed voiage then, to the like effect as nowe, for the advancement of a peace, directed presently their letters, both to the Emperors Majestie and to certaine Princes of the Empire, to the end they should surcease from poursuing that intent; for that it tended altoge- ther, as was effectually declared, to the ruine of their state, and to the Enemies sole advantage. It was hoped therupon that the reasons then alleaged, which made a plaine demonstration of many daungerous inconveniences, that were like to growe upon it, had dissuaded his Majestie from following his designe. But forasmuche as that hope is altogether frustrat, to the exceeding great griefe of the foresaide states, and of as many heere, or wheresoever as are ether embarked in the self same cause, or perfitly acquainted with the state of their affaires, I doubt not but that they of themselves will be as carefull, as is possible, to forecast the very woorst, that they may not be surprised by the glavering offers of the Enemie. Nevertheles for the readier prevention of all that may happen, and for the better acquitting of my charge and duty to my Souveraigne, I am to signifie more unto yow, concerning this treaty which yow purpose to negotiat, then hath bin happely expressed in any letter of the states, or otherwise imparted to the Emperors Majestie and to yow. What it was that moved the Q. Majestie of England, to undertake the protection and defence of these Provinces, fol.192v

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I thinke there is no doubt, but that the Emperors Majestie doth knowe sufficiently and according to his wisdome doth approve her proceeding. For she hath not dealt in secret and covertly, but proceeded with all integritie, and by publicke declaration, in which her reasons are proposed to the censure of all the worlde. But what passed in accorde between her Majestie and this people, and in what conditions ether partie is subject unto other, that is it which I suppose is wholy unknowen to the Emperors Majestie and to yow, or not so knowen in every point, as hath bin solemnely by them, and reciprocally contracted. It may therfore please yow to be informed, that among other articles and couvenants it is a spe- cial point agreed, that nether the General nor Particular states of these provinces, shall enter into treaty with the common Enemie the Spaniard, nor with any Prince or Potentat in his behalf, without the privitie and assent of the Q. Majestie of England. And to as many as are heere of her Majestie ministers, be they Gouvernors of townes, com- maunders in the feelde, or other officers of trust, there is nothing re- commended more precisely to their charge, nor more effectually sett downe in the othe which they have taken to their Souvraigne and this contrey, then that they shall observe, and cause to be observed to their uttermost endevor, the forsaide article of the Treaty. By vertue wherof I doe declare by these presents, and notifie unto yow, that wee are all of us determined to discharge the services of credit committed heere unto us. And though wee knowe there is no doubt, but that the states of these contreis doe finde their owne prospe- ritie, and can see the afflicted state of those Provinces and towns, that are not of the union: for which it is to be presumed, that they will not disesteeme, or not /but/ sufficiently esteeme those extraordinary graces, with which God hath so often, and nowe so very lately, blessed their ex- ploites: but rather will goe forewarde with a greater courrage against the Enemie, both assaulting him by force, and impeaching his un- just and fraudulent designes. Nevertheles, as if wee knewe not that intention of the foresaide states, we are thus muche of our selves to signifie from hens, that unles yow come autorised to this treaty of peace with the allowance and warrant of the Q. our Mistresse fol.193r

Later Addition: November 1591

we must all in general, and every one in particular stand against yow, not only with good arguments of reason and persuasion, but with all the meanes that we can make, by any violence or force to disturbe your attempts: and that without attending or expecting what the Contrey shall resolve. This message, I knowe, may seeme unto yow straunge, considering that the intention of the Emperor tendeth onely to a Concorde, which is a mat ter well worthy of his wisdome and puissance, and a thing to be embraced of every good Christian. But suche is the bonde of our alleageance to our Souveraigne, the importance of our othes in respect of the Contract, and our duties, in general to the cause of these contreis, that without our Princes dispensation, we may not swarve from this course, which I have signified heere unto yowe. Nevertheles, to say somewhat to the mater, for which your comming is intended, albeit it is not my principal purpose, nor a subject to be handled in so short a letter, yet the cause being general and yow indifferently affected, to make a fruitfull composition, and that without any pre- judice to one side or other, upon this oportunitie of writing unto yow, I hope yow will vouchesafe to consider upon the growndes, for which this people will refuse to come in treaty with the Spaniard. First they say, It is certaine, whatseover is averred by any to the contrary, that the King of Spaines disposition is wholy opposit to peace. And this is proved apparantly by a common observation, which is in every mans discourse, that there is noe warre at this day in any part of Christendome but is directly or indirectly sturred and maintained by the K. of Spaine. What example can be plainer, then his present partaking in the kingdome of France? where without a just occasi- on /or/ pretext of just occasion, he endevoureth to depose the right ow- ner from his scepter, and all under collor of zele and divotion to the Romishe religion. And if that be all his cause, as his pretence is no other, would the Emperors Majestie have this people to imagine, that the kinge of Spaine can be pleased, to permitte unto them, over whome he clameth a right and absolut autoritie the use of that religion for the extirpation wherof he poursueth a forraine Prince with all the actes of hostilitie, that he can possibly practise? His purpose fol.193v

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is too manifest: he mindes to make holy day with the states of these contreis, till his maters in France succeede to his minde, and then his hope is, undoubtedly, that not onely these Provinces united, but England and Scotland, and every part of Germany, or of any other contrey, that is different from him in religion, or disjoined in faction, shall accept of suche lawes as he for his benefit shall prescribe unto them. But let it be admitted, that his desire to be at peace, is in deede so sincere, as all men knowe it is dissembled, It is not integrum no more to the people of this contrey, to condiscend to his demaunde. For their obedience unto him was renoun- ced long agoe, as to a most cruel and unaturall Tyranne: for which they so- lemnly proceeded to a publicke Abjuration, by a special forme of wordes: which not onely the Magistrats and officers of every towne but every one in a manner of the meanest of the people hath vowed to observe. And their vowes to that effect have bin continually confirmed, with as many let- ters and bookes, and publicke Actes, as have bin published ever sins. Besides as I have shewed, they are bounde by a special league to her Majestie of England, the onely Prince in Christendome that hath protected their estate with the daunger of her owne, not to deale in any motion for accord- ing with the Enemie, without her notice and avowe. And for her better assurance, as well of that as of other conditions, they have put in to her custody in lieu of caution and pledges, such places for townes, as there are not any belonginge to the states of these contreis of greater importance Whiche if her Majestie should convert to their uttermost annoiance, pro- voked therunto by the infraction of their pactes, no doubt their forces are so slender, that their present florishing state would quickly come to ruine. There is also this to be considered, that seing the Frenche King is notoriously wronged by the Spaniardes oppression, and is lincked to this nation in the qualitie of his cause, and they have hitherto assisted him with suche reliefe as their state is able to affourde, it can not any way concurre with the honor of their actions, besides the multitude of perils to which they may be subejct, to assent to any peace, without his special ap- probation. But to suppose, if yow please, that they may, if they list, growe in amitie with the Enemie and may revoke whatsoever they formerly done, or contracted to the contrary, and that without any prejudice to themselves or to their neighbors, yet this were nothing to these contreis, to make them hearcken to a peace. For not onely the better sort heere, and such

Later Addition: vid. supra fol. 190


Later Addition: November 1591

Later Addition: vid infra, fol.192

and suche as are most conversant in the affaires of their gouvernment but every simple person of vulgar understanding can lay before you many reasons and can make it evident by proofes that are familiar to all the worlde, that there can be no Assurance in any peace with the Spaniard. They have alwaies obser- ved, and doe observe every day by their owne experience, and by the examples of others, by the letters of advise, which they have taken of the kinge and by all his proceedinges with them and with others, that all his promises and proposals are captious and counterfaict, tending onely to entrappe and to gaine a littel time, that by abusing their credulitie, he may watche a fitte occasion to be revenged upon them. This they have tried in former times by the trea- cherous Treaties of Breda, of Marche in Famine and of Collen, of which and other like the memorie with them is so freshe, and the dommages so great which they have sustened by the losse of divers townes and Provinces, and by the daungerous alterations, which the Enemie with his cunning sette a foote among the Commons, as if they trust him any more, they might seeme to be be- refte of all goode use of common sense. But besides the examples among themselves, they sawe the other day in his dealing with England a most palpable patterne of Spanishe falshoode and deceat. For even then, and at the same instant, that his ministers were emploied to persuade her Majestie to a peace, by proposing unto her very plausible conditions, he armed a Navy to the seas, which in his Lucifers pride he termed Invincible, to make a conquest of her kingdome. But howe that wickednes was punished by the mightie hand of God, it is knowen er this to all the worlde, and it will be recorded to all posteritie. Againe by Gods good providence they have had the hap- pines of late to intercept certaine letters subscribed with the Kinges owne hande and addressed to Don Guillaume de St Clement his owne Ambassador in the Emperors court, by which it doth appeare, that howsoever his offers are outwardly disguised with the cloake of Pacification, the secret drift of his hearte, and his inward intention is full of malice and imposture. In effect all his actions are directed by that most unchristian, and barbarous maxime, That with an Hereticke there is no faith to be observed. Whiche infamous point of doctrine was most wickedly devised by the Pope and Popishe Princes, to serve their wordly turnes: distrusting as it seemeth the truth of their owne Religion, As if God were not able, their cause being just, (as they are per- suaded) and their party being greater by many multitudes of people, to uphold their estate without the breache of common faith. But if this be so maintened against Heretickes in general, what application will be made fol.190v

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by the king and his favourers against the Heretickes of this contrey? Which have taken armes against him, have renounced his religion, solemnly deposed him by way of Abjuration, and delivered unto others the possession of his landes. It is certaine, in conclusion, howsoever all his offers are masqued with faire promises, and sette out unto the shewe, they are inwardly full of guile, and of a daungerous double meaning. But thankes be to God the people of these Provinces have a special insight in their owne estate, and give a singular judgement of the nature of these motives of the Em- perors Majestie. They have felt so often the smarte of those roddes of the Spanishe Pacifications that they can rectefie their courses by their owne experience, wherby they knowe, as I have signified, That first the Kinge hath no willingnes to estbalishe any peace: secondly that it is not in their power to admitte any treaty: and thirdly that they can have no securitie by any composition. And yet againe to presuppose that the Kinges intention were entire and unfained, that the contrey heere were at libertie to make their owne peace, and that the Kinges proceedinges had given no occasion to incurre so great suspicion, yet to returne againe to that which is the cheifest occasion of my writinge unto you, Unles yow shewe for your comming the liking and permission of her Majestie my Souveraigne, I must needes forwarne yow as before, That as many of us as are heere of her Majesties subjectes, doe resolve to withstand yow, as perturbers of the amitie between her and the contrey. And in that respect every man in his charge will accomplishe the duties of his faith and obedience, by forcing yow from hens. And though I speake in this sorte very plainely and roundly, beinge bounde therunto by mine othe and alleageance, yet I rest out of doubt, that your singular wisdeomes will expounde my meaning to the best, and being somuche preadvertised of the strict alliance and contract between her Majestie and these contreis, will forbeare upon it to goe forward with your voiage intended. But if it fall out so in truthe, as in semblance is pretended, that the Kinge of Spaine ether weried with his warres, or reduced to extremitie, or findinge in continuance that God doth not prosper his dissembled proceedinges, shall be willing now at lenght to speake as he thinketh, and to stipulat a firme and a durable peace, there is no other kinde of meanes to effect his purpose, but by causing the like proffers of peace, as are made to these Provinces, to be presented in like sorte to her Majestie of England fol.191r

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to the Kinge in France, and to as many other Princes as sitte complaininge at the helme of one common cause, and runne in danger to be drowned in the bottomlesse gulf of the Spanishe Ambition. To this there is no doubt but the Kinge will condiscend, if his minde and meaning be cleere and upright, and this is it which her Majestie my Souveraigne, the states of these contreis, and every forraine Potentat will most wil- lingly helpe forewarde, with all the meanes of assistaunce that they can minister unto him. fol.191v

Endorsed: Project of a lettre which I purposed to send to the Emperors Ambassadors

Endorsed: Thomas Bodley Ambassador with the States of Holland to the the Coppy of his Lettere writen to the Emperores Ambassadores, November 1591 33 Elizabeth