Letter ID: 0006
Reference: BL, MS Cotton Galba D X f.8r - 10v
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0006/008
Date: 04 February 1593


May it please your good L. The people of these contreis, and chiefly those of Zeland, have bin spoiled muche of late by the shippes of warre of Dunkerk: wherby the trafficke of their marchants, and specially the trade of the fishermen there is letted exceedingly. For they of Dunkerk are able to make to the seas 8 very good shippes in warlicke sort, and provide them very thorowly of men and munition. It is also understoode that the Count of Arrembergh is now at this instant a suitour in Spaine, that further force of shipping may be sent unto them. Which all men thinke they shall obtene. For the King was ever carefull both of keeping and increasing the shipping of Dunkerk: as hath appeared heeretofore by divers of his lettres, which have bin sent to the D. of Parma, and intercepted in this contrey. This hath sturred those of Zeland, to looke in time into their state, and to consult upon some meanes, to prevent the danger that may follow. For their fishermen are many, and are not able to continue, if their fishing chance to faile: that if some order be not taken for their present reliefe, it is to be expected that they will mutine on the soddaine, and it hath bin heere in former times, that they have bin caried in suche cases with a violent revolt, so as no endevours would suffice to pacifie their humours. To meete wt this mischief in time convenient, they can finde no better course, then to imploye all their forces, to conquer the towne. For though their shippes that lie before it, doe somewhat stoppe their comming fourth, yet they can not lie there in the deepe of the winter: and in sommer they can not hinder, but many will abroade: which parhaps in continuance may grow to suche a power, as with the aide of their neighbours in Britaine and Flanders, they will be able to go thorow with some singular exploit. There are some of that Province, that come purposly hither to acquaint Count Maurice with this mater and some others fol.8v
heere in Holland: to the ende it may goe forwa[rd ] assent and assistance of the rest of the Provinces [.] it is but handled by way of privat communicacion a[.] fewe of the chiefest: who are able notwithstanding [.] parsuade with the residue. The designe [.] of Zeland for besieging the towne is approv[ed by] those to whom it is imparted. But these are [.] doubtes that they cast in their conference. F[.] I have written in my last to your L. the resolucion [.] take by those of Friseland, to shut up the passag[e of] Groeninghen and Linghen: which they hope they shall [be] able, with those troupes that they have of their owne rep[.] as making little doubt of reducing the towne, [.] for their purpose in that behalf, and sufficient supp[ly] of requisit provision, they have surcharged their Pro[vinces] with a speciall contribucion, above the extraordinary sum[mes] which they doe otherwise yeld, as the rest of the Provinces [.] ding to their quote, to the general charges of the co[.] So as where they were accustomed, to furnishe with 3000 souldiers, there will be so many wanting [.] this enterprise of Dunkerk. Secondly th[ose] of Holland in their general meeting have determi[ned] long agoe, to blocke up Gertrudenbergh: which is [.] to them of so muche importance as your L. kno[weth] And how the townes will now be wonne, to put of [the] attempt, it is somewhat to be doubted. [.] could come so to passe, that both exploites might be [.] there would be no question. But that upon Dunkerk [.] a choise season, when the seas are calmest, and [.] heate of the summer: so as hardly by conjecture, [.] after or before, there will be time sufficient to [.] with Gertrudenbergh. Nevertheles it is priv[.] fol.9r
concluded in this assembly of the chiefest, that considering the necessitie of subduing those of Dunkerk, the townes shall be moved to relent in some sort. For they will put in triall with all the speede they can devise, what may be done against Gertrudenbergh, before the season serve for Dunkerk: and they are not out of hope, to effect their desire. The point of greatest consideracion, is how they shall be able in regard of their meanes, to undertake the siege of Dunkerk. For if they take it once in hand, they must come so prepared as they may be well in state, to attend the comming of the Enemy. Whereupon in projecting what is requisit unto it, they doe recken that they must not be served with fewer then towardes 12000 foote and 2000 horse. To make up that number, they may not account to have any out of Frise, nor yet out of Utrecht, Guelders, and Overyssel (which are all in one intent) unles the forsaide passage betweene Groeninghen and Linghen can be stopped up before the time, whereof the apparance is not great. All the rest that can be spared out of Holland and Zeland, and their garrisons left in good safetie, will hardly reache to 6000 foote, and 1600 horse.

Heerupon they have agreed, that their purpose in this mater, and their meanes to parfourme it, should be signified unto me, and that I shold be requested to make it knowe unto her Majestie and to propose in their behalf their petition unto her, That her Highnes would be pleased, in consideracion of the dommages done to her subjectes, which are like every day to growe to be greater, and of the irreparable inconvenience that may fall to these contreis, if their fishing be impeached, to assiste them for so long as the siege of Dunkerk shall continue, with two or three thousand of her people, by whome they are in hope not onely to attene, to be masters of the towne, but to make it a place of notable annoiance to the Enemies designes. They can /not/ write, as they fol.9v
would, to her Highnes themselves, because it is not [.] to any publicke assembly: but I thinke they will ta[.] that Count Maurice shall doe it by informing Master Car[on .] referring her Highnes to his declaracion. [I] have likewise dealt with Master Buzenval, to advertise [.] what is meant to be done, and to intreate for all the a[.] his estate can affourde. They were also mind[ed] as I am secretly told (but not with their privitie, tho[ugh I] know it for certaine) to move her Majestie to graunt [.] Regiment of 2000 Englishe souldiers for the service [of] these Provinces, to be heere intertened at the Charges [of the] contrey, of whom they are desirous to constitute co[.] Sir Francis Vere: whose cariage among them, hath so fi[.] humour of all sortes of people, and hath so much [.] their affaires, for advise and for valour, as it see[meth] by their speeches, it is most for his sake, that they [.] to have the Regiment: but so much the more, because [.] that meanes in the Enemies conceat, they shall be [.] as heertofore to enjoy her Highnes succours in defense [of] their cause, which they know doeth much advantage [.] countenance their actions. But for certaine they [.] destitute of men of Counsail and conduct for M[.] exploites, having no man of their owne in any p[art of] these contreis, that is like in exparience, and so well [.] for their purpose, as is Sr Francis Vere. But bo[th .] will make this motion unto me, they have thought [.] it best to see first, what answear they shall have [.] touching the continuing, according to the Contract, Majesties assistance: whereof I thinke there will be in Count Maurices lettres. I have no[thing] to certify of any other mater, but that Count Philip [of] Nassau, being gone from hence a moneth agoe, w[ith] 1200 horse and 15000 foote, to wast the lande of [.] fol.10r
bourgh, hath sette fire in divers village and relligious houses, taken divers good prisoners, and as it is reported (for he himselve hath written nothing) hath surprised the towne of St Vitt, which belongeth to Count Maurice by the right of his mother, but is no place of any wealth or importance otherwise. How Count Philippe will be able, to make his retraite without losse of his people, it is doubted in some sort, the Enemy, as wee heare, preparing to come to him: and yet the bruite is given out at this very instant, that he and all his troupes are re- turned into Guelders. And thus I take my humble leave. From the Hage. February 4 1592.