Letter ID: 0544
Reference: TNA, SP 103/35/110 f.286r-287v
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0544/008
Date: 22 February 1595
Copy of: 0467


Extract of my letter to my L. Tresurer 22 February 94. To that effect that I writte the 15 of this moneth, there have bin certaine deputed in the meeting of the States, to come in conference with me about my proposition: and this they have delivered from the rest of the Assemblie, That they were greatly parplexed, through those demaundes of restitution, not knowing how to frame the course of their proceeding. For though they can not but acknowledge, and doe it most willingly, that through her Majesties succours (next to God) they are in farre better state of securitie and assurance, then they have bin heertofore for manie years together, yet they have not attained to that abilitie and power, as they can therewithall discharge their debte unto her Majestie. They alleadge many letters, but nothing so much, as the intollerable burden of their extraordinarie subsidies, which have growen upon them more and more for these 4 or 5 yeares, and are raised of late to a very highe summe, occasioned in parte by their offensive exploites, and partly by their often and chargeable relieving of the French King in his manifold distresses. By reason wherof they doe inferre that the chiefe contributing Provinces are farre in arre- rages, and pay excessive summes of mony for the use of that they have borrowed. [.] And though it might be surmised that they have aided the King, not so much in regard of his urgent necessity; as de gayete de coeur, and to winne his affection for hidden respects, yet they protest therupon with very great vehemencie, that they were evermore farre from suche jollitie, and would not have him to enjoye a foote in their contrey. For that which drewe them on, to helpe and assiste him, was the generall consideration of his condition and their owne: and they made this account, that for as muche as her Highnes did support him with her forces, if they in like maner should straine their Estate to uphold him a little, it would both be a meanes to save him from falling, and to divert the Enemie from themselves: whereas otherwise, if those of the league had pre- vailed against him, these Provinces at the last must have borne alone the weight of these warres, and then bin subject in the ende, and her Majestie no lesse, to an apparant great number of most parillous fol.286v
inconveniences. And whereas it may be argued that their late reduction of so many good townes, hath both greatly assured the state of these Provinces and richely augmented their generall meanes, wherby they are inabled to some portion of remboursement, they make remonstrance to the contrarie, as if in every of those Provinces they had rather bin surcharged, then any thing eased hitherto: and that by reason of the excessive charges of newe garri- sons, of necessarie reparations, fortifications, and other extra- ordinarie occasions, and because the boores contribution is but very little bettered of that it was in former times. Moreover they say they finde it in debating very doubtefull and dangero[us] in what sorte they shoulde proceede, for the answearing of her Highnes to my proposition. For in a matter of that quality to make a resolut answeare, without the privity and good liking of the Provinces and people, they dare not of themselves, and it will not stande for good: and then to acquaint the vulgar sorte with her Majesties demaundes, were to make it also knowen to all the Enemies Provinces, and so to all men in generall: whereupon it would be bruited, That her Highnes hath withdrawen her accustomed assistance, and hath requyred present payment of her monies disboursed: which they are mightily all afraide would turne very quickly to their infinit detriment: aswell for that the Enemie, who is now in all apparance at a very great afterdeale, will be hartened therby, and put in practise newe designes, and multiplie his forces by all possible meanes, as because on the other side the people of these countries will be cast downe in courage, and despayre in withstanding the puissance of the Spaniard. For where they might have hoped after so many yeares endevours, so large contributions, and so many late victories, to reape some solace and ease of their burdens and travels, if now they should parceave that for manie yeares heereafter, their taxes and exactions will fall a great deale more heavy, then they have bin heeretofore, first by meanes of their ordinary and extraordinary charges of the warres, and then by the losse of her Majesties forces, and most of all by this remboursement, it were greatly to be doubted, that they will runne fol.287r
a wrong course in the heate of theyr dislike. For that is it which they affirme to be a principall cause of their late intertay- ning of this English regiment, that the actions of their warres might be countenanced allwayes with the name, and opinion, and reporte of assistance continued to them by her Highnes in so much as they pretend, that for the most the meaner multitude are not otherwise yet informed, but that they serve as a parte of Auxiliarie forces, and are in paye of her Majestie. So as allways they have founde in all the time of these troubles, that they have not onely made warres, and annoyed the Enemie with the ayde of men and monie, but with very opinions and conceates, that they were favoured and protected by the greatnesse of her Majestie.

I made my aunswere to this effect, That as touching those pointes which they had proposed, to manifest unto me their want of abilitie, they might very well presume, that her Highnes had examined those reasons already, and that their Agent in England had pleaded them often, and that she thought them in sufficient, to dissuade her from her purpose. For where they doe complaine that the Annuall burden of their extraordinarie contributions doeth lye so heavy upon the contry, it was easy to demonstrat, that the contry was in case to parfourme a greater matter. They have nowe in contribution, which they had not heeretofore when they treated with her Majestie the greatest part of Brabant and Flanders, the Omnelandes, the Drent, Twent, Linghen, the landes of Lim- bourgh and Walkemborgh, and sundry other quarters, which yeald them every moneth a very riche revenue, besides that Guelderland, Rutphen, and also Overissel, doe pay a farre greater subsidie, then in former times. They are also enriched exceedingly by reason of theyr imposts in townes lately taken, as in Nieumeghen, Zutphan, Deventer, Stee- nwich, Breda, Hulst, Steenberghen, Groeninghen, with other fortes and places of speciall importance. Moreover they fol.287v

Later Addition: 1594/5 February 22

have had of late yeares a wonderfull augmentation of their customes and tolles, by meanes of their fishing and trafficke by sea, which was never so great as it is at this present, nor this contry was ever so full of inhabitants, nor frequented of forraines so has hardly houses in most places can be heyred for mony. These were evident and knowen meanes, as there were many more besides, to shew the wealth of thes contryes, that if the revenues thereof were not greater then the charges, yet no dout they are equivalent. They could not judge otherwise, howsoever some discoursed, but that her Majesty both spake and thought very honorably of theyr succours sent for France. Never the les[se] it is a great presumption, that it cometh of great abondance, when any contrey shall make warres and winne upon the Enemy, and yet spare of their stoare to helpe other Princes. For which her Highnes had good cause after so many yeares aide, the consumption of so much treasure, and the losse of the lives of so many of her sub- jects, for defence of these contreis, to call for restitution. But how much she would demande to be presently restored, I could not say upon certainty, though I thought it might be lesse, then they paradventure made account. For so that order might be taken for good payment heereafter, it would suffise for the present, by some little good beginning, to shewe their thanckfull inclination to give her good satisfaction. And where they made it a question, whether it were expedient, as their present state standeth, to imparte so muche to the people, it did but carrie a shewe of a dilatorie aunswear. For her Majesties demaunde was justly made and kindly presen- ted, and if the Deputies of the Provinces would accompanie the same, with suche kinde of parsuasions, as they knewe in their wisdomes how to appropriat, it would eyther be accorded or nothing ill interpreted.