Letter ID: 0374
Reference: TNA, SP 84/44/84 f.89r-93v
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0374/008
Date: 02 February 1592
Copies: 1097 0996 



Endorsed: Copie of a lettre to your L. the 2 of February 1591.

Later Addition: 2 February 91/2


May it please your good L. In the conference desired by the Emperors Ambassador, wherof I made mention in my laste to your L. I should be over tedious to recite every point that passed heere between us. But yet as much as is material I thought good to advertise with the first opportunitie. All his speeches tended to feele what I would saie to his proposal of a peace, and by mee to understand, how her Majestie and the States were affected in the matter. But because I would not feed him with a frivolous hope, of knowing that by me, which I knewe not yet my self, I let him plainelie understand, that, for her Majesties inclination, it was unknowen unto mee, and likewise of the States, I could not speake but by conjecture. But in case hee would acquaint me with the principall drift of his present Ambassade, and with the qualitie of those conditions, that are intended to bee offered, I would then as a private parson, and by waie of communication tell him franklie my opinion. Upon this hee protested, that as alwaies hee professed, and his father before him the reformed religion, so hee could not but tender the cause of these countreis: and in that respect would rather suffer any miserie, then become an instrument for the Spaniard, whom hee hated from his heart, to ruine their estate. For which his purpose was no other, but to deale, as I requested, verie roundlie and syncerely, and to disclose the whole dessigne of this present legation. Howbeit hee requested mee to take it of him, as privately spoken, without any commission: upon confidence onely that I would deale againe as roundlie in retourning my opinion. First for himself, his present charge was no other, but to negotiate with the States, that the rest of the Ambassadors mighte have licence to come hether: or if they mighte not be permitted to come unto the Hage, that some fol.89v
place should be assigned upon the frontiers, or at least that they would send their Deputies to Collen. For the rest of the Ambassadors, their commission was no other, but to induce the States to a Treatie: and that a Treaty being admitted, they were to send againe unto the Emperour for some furder instruction; not having yet receaved, any articles, or matter to propose unto the States. But yet hee thought, that in the end, the motions to be made would come to this effect; That seing there was no hope to reconcile this people to the K. of Spaine, whome by waie of abjuration they had excluded for ever from the rule of these countreis, they should therfore condescend, to unite them selves in one with the rest of the 17 Provinces, and al in general to acknowledge the Emperor for their Souverain and after his decease the heires of his bodie, or for faulte of such heires, to make choise in his famelie, of whomsoever they moste desired. Hee delivered this but as a plott, not accorded as yet with the K. of Spaine, but projected by great personages, who, if the Treatie bee accepted, make it easie enough to compas either by procuring a mariage between the Emperor and the daughter of Spaine, and the inheritance of these countreis to bee given in dowry: or by some other such persuasion, as, hee was well assured, would take good effect. So that if the righte of Spainewere derived to the Emperor, and such other conditions admitted withall, as the States mighte indent for their furder securitie, there was no occasion to his understanding, why that either the people of these Provinces, or any of their allies, should stand in any doute of the puissance of the Spaniard.

As touching the premisses I made him this answear, that first for his owne sute I sawe no likelihoode of leave, for the rest of the Commissioners to come unto the Hage fol.90r
or to any place upon the confines. They were many in nomber, and some of them, they knewe by former expe- rience, to bee verie ill affected to the cause of these countreis, and not any but himself well instructed in religion. By reason wherof wee should alwaies bee in feare of their couvert proceeding, and corrupting of the people. Moreover there were many respectes, for which I thought they would refuse to send any man to Collen. For the Brute alone of their sending mighte cause an alteration among the commons of this Countrey; and might turne to their prejudice both in England, and in Fraunce: where the occasion of their sending would bee knowen to a fewe, but moste men would imagine, that they had yeelded alredy to an actual Treaty with the Ennemy. And if their errand were no other, but to worke this people to a Treatie, it mighte aswell bee parfourmed by one as by many, and as soone by their letters as by their presence. For they should not need to dout, but that this countrey would bee forward, if her Majestie with whom they had contracted, and the french King, who was greatlie interessed would assent therunto. And for my self I was persuaded, that if the Emperor would endevour by vertue of his imperial autoritie among christian Princes, to cause by the Pope, and King of Spaine to withdraw their forces out of France, both the Queene and the king would presentlie and willinglie hearken to any treatie that might stand with their safetie. And until such time as that bee don, it was in vaine, to my thinking, to make any motion to them, or to this people: Astouching that project of reducing these Provinces to the Emperors obedience, being don in that order as hee had declared by resignation of the King, and suche covenants accorded as were meet to bee required, as far fol.90v
as I could conceave in a matter of that moment, and so newly proposed, it would not be rejected. But yet I thought it would prove a tedious peece of worke. For to send first into England and France to persuade their Majesties to embrace a pacification, and then to use intercession with the Pope,and with Spaine to revoke their forces; and after to capitulate upon the points of making over the inheritance of the Countrey, it would require such lengthe of time, as I see litell cause to expect a good issew. Againe considering how the King shalbee touched in honor in the end of so many yeares warres, and after the consumtion of so great a treasure, to bee forced by a handful of people, and by his owne vassels, to surrender his title in so many Provinces, it is to bee presumed, that hee will use as many shiftes to protract the time, as every lighte occasion shall minister unto him: that if he happen to prevaile in some battel in France, hee will presently retract all these offers of the Emperor. To reherse what hee replied unto every part of my speeche, were to comber your L. with unnecessarie matter. In the end he concluded, that hee thought, as I had said, there was nothing to bee hoped in dealing with the States, unles England and France were first sollicited, and cessation of armes procured in France. That had also bin alwaies the opinion of the Emperor, who, he knew, was desirous to have made his motion there at first, but that no intercession was used unto him, and of himself hee had no cause. For in the sending of his commissioners to deale with these Provinces, he was moved unto it by the Princes of Germanie, being also bound therunto, in as muche as these contreis depend from the Empire; and were alwaies concluded in the circle of Burgundie. But if the States would be parsuaded to fol.91r
write unto the Emperor, and certifie expreslie that without the notice and assent of England and France, they wil not harken to any motion: hee did not make any dout, but that the Emperor therupon would fraime his course to their content. This is the somme of a longer conference, of which I humbly beseech you to consyder, what is fitt to be imparted to her Majestye, and if any imparfection bee noted in my dealing, to excuse it with a worde of your honorable favour. and so I take my humble leave. Hage. February 2 1591