Letter ID: 0696
Reference: Hatfield, MS 29/97
Citation: DCB/001/HTML/0696/008
Date: 04 January 1596
Copy of: 1277



Endorsed: Copie of my lettre to my L. Tresurer January 4 95.


May it please your good L. Upon the reading of your lettre of the 15 of December which came to my handes the 28 before I did pro- cure the meeting of the States, I founde it very requisit to speake with Master Barnevelt: that if so be, he could be wonne to undertake his former offer, we might jointly cast a plotte, to sette the mater forward, and also make, if neede required, some special addition, to the forme of that verbal, which your L. had conceaved. But I should use too many wordes, to make a full reporte of his answeare unto me, The chiefest were to this effect, That his forwardnesse and zele, to doe service to both sydes, had bin termed in england simulation and cunning: that the state of their affaires, since he and I talked, had bin notablely changed: and that the College of the States was waxen very jalous of his dealing in this mater (albeyt he did not thinke, that they knewe the particularities) so as nowe the second tyme to intermed- dle in the same, it was to hasard overmuche his cre- dit in the Contrey, if it should not succeede to their generall lyking: which he had no reason to put in adventure, sith it touched him no more then every man besydes. This was so in debate for 2 dayes together: but yet in the ende, with very muche a doe, and in many sortes of persuasions, he made me this answear, That although it were apparant, that sins the tyme of that ouverture, there had many thinges hapned heere, which were evident impeachements to the course that he proposed, yet he continued in his hope, that to stand in good assurance of her Majesties amitie, and to obtaine a full release of all her demandes the Contrey might be drawen to yelde to some offer beyond their abilitie: wherein he would take paines to satisfie her Majestie by all the wayes he could invent: howsoever there had passed just occasion of discou- ragement: but yet it was not in his power to finde so ready meanes, to attaine to that he would, fol.97v
as when it was integrum. For which it would be behoofull to have a litle patience, till his fellowes might be wrought by convenient degrees, to allowe the proposal. It was also to be thought on, that he of all others, might not nowe, as at first propounde, the mater in their College, but if I would bethinke me, howe to sette it once a foote, I should see every daye by his care- full proceeding, that he forslowed no occasion, to second me soundly. Wherupon I tould him, that my Commission would not beare, that I might use any speeche in their publike assemblie, of any newe motion, as proceeding from her Majestie but yet I would adven- ture after tyme, as I had uttered her pleasure unto them, to cast out a worde in general termes, by way of proposing any privat opinion, and with a true protestation, that I had no Commission from her Majestie to doe it, to suche effect as this, That I had weighed with my self, very often and throughly, as muche as they could alleage, in excuse of their refusals, and that I sawe notwithstanding, how backward soever they had shewed themselves, that they might easelie devise, to satisfie her Majestie and make no dangerous diminution of the strength and welfare of the Contrey: and if after upon this, in their privat consultation, he would take a fitte occa- sion, to provoke his Collegues to a conference, and to send some two or three, to knowe the meanes that I could [plott] to give her Highnes contentation, I would then, as of my self breake the ice unto his handes, and recommend suche an Ouver- ture, although I meant to make it better, as we had in communication. Of this kinde of proceeding, he tooke good lyking, so as 3 dayes agoe obtaining audience of the States, after I had imparted the pointes of my char[ge] I came to deliver my pryvat advise, as I had former- ly used in many other causes, with their approbation but alwayes with a preface of submission to their judgement fol.98r
and with a special protestation, that I spake but of my self without the notice of her Majestie. I requested them to thinke, that although for the present, her Highnes had bin pleased, for some greater considerations, to see me to say litle, and to winke at their dealinges, yet sith it was a mater that touched her in honor, in regard of her earnest, and often poursuite, and the censure of the worlde which would followe upon the issue, she would not so give it over, but when the season served for it, they might be troubled with the fruites of a Princes indignation. So it might befalle, that these Spanish preparations would prove but a scarrecrowe, that the Enemie might otherwise be driven to his shiftes, by some notable dommage; or that they in their affaires, might attaine by some attempt, to a great amendment of their manes: in any of wiche whiche cases, they were to imagine in their wisdome, that it would cost them very deere, so that her Majestie might per- ceave, that it were not to ruine the State of their Contrey wheras nowe, if they would, they might prevent it all in tyme, with some kinde presentation to be made by their Deputies, suche as she might accept with her dignitie and honor, and they affourd with willing myndes, without the imparing of their Estate.

I had no suche occasion, to knowe their Estate, as they themselves, yet of somewhat I was certaine, and could cleere it unto them by plaine demonstration, that the contrey was provided of competent meanes, for a reasonable offer, so as if they would but falle to fashion a project, and recommend it to the people with some caution and care, as they had the skill to handle it well, it was lyke enough to passe without any opposition.

They should therfore looke unto it, and speedely take hold of this offered opportunitie, and not spare a litle labor, to compound so great a mater: wherein I for my self, would be readie, when they would, to communicat further, and to yelde any ayde in other sorte, concurring with the duetie and credit of my place. fol.98v
To that which I declared in her Majesties name, they made me this answear, That they mervailed out of mea- sure, at the sharpnesse of my message, when as they in their lettres had so plainely reported the State of their affaires, as they thought it impossible, if her Highnes had vouchesafed, to ponder every reason, with the exquisit ballance of her princely judgement, but that she would have given way to their true alle- gations. They would consider further of it, and as occasion might be offered, I should knowe their reso- lution. And as for that, which I had uttered, of mine owne proper motion, they tooke it as procee- ding from affection unto them, and of inward desyre to make a crooked arrowe streight: for which they gave me many thankes: but yet touching the mater, they found it very ticklishe to be bruited abroade, that they and I were in talke howe to finde out a way to dissolve the Contract with her Majestie and to [.] /take order for/ rem- boursement: which might be hurtfull to themselves for not being autorised, and perilous also otherwise, for pushing on the people to some other alteration. Nevertheles they would resume it, and discusse it among themselves, and after a while, I should have worde, howe farre they durst proceede.

I had presently therupon some further talke with Master Barnevelt, by whome I was informed, that the answear made unto me, went currant in their meeting, as taken to be grounded, upon the very true reason, and cir- cumstance of thinges, as their State standeth nowe, and in the nature of this cause, for which the matter yet required some time of digesting, which he would sette forward the soonest he could, and travel to effect it with his greatest dexteritie. For if so be his Collegues whould be urged very hastely, he thought that out of question, they would either not give [eare] or if they should, and should not lyke it, it were ra[ther] more to be renued. Wheruopn he would endevor not directly by persuasions, for that were too open, but by fol.99r
other kinde of preambles, to prepare underhand the humor of his fellowes, which would be therfore the harder, because they are not one mans children, and hardly meete in one conceat, in the weightiest causes of the Contrey.

The lest contributing Provinces, as Guelderland Overissel, Utrecht, and Groeninghen, are none of the stiffest in refusing a peace, and have nothing [so] muche feeling of her Majesties offence, as Holland and Zeland, that stand upon their trafficke, and can quickly make the reckning, to howe muche danger they are subject, if her Majestie would be drawen, to make tryal of her puissance. Nevertheles because Holland and Zeland, by reason of their greatnesse, give the Lawe in a maner to all the rest, he will first take upon him to sounde the chiefest sort of them, and if they will comprehend it, as beneficial for the State, he will make the lesse doubt of the residue of the Provinces. It cometh happely to passe, that he is newly nowe ap- pointed, with certaine principals of Holland, to goe presently for Zeland, about some publicke causes, which he doth account will keepe him away, some ten or twelve dayes, and give him very good leasure, for maneging this mater with those of that Province. And there wo[uld] be then after about a fortenight, a full meeting of Holland, where he is bent to doe his best, and thereafter as he findes that these are affected, he will /both/ in hand with some others, of the other lesser Provinces; and when the tyme shalbe for it, he will procure to have me called to explicat my meaning, in my former proposition, and then after to conclude and determine upon it. So as I am in good hope to knowe of or on, within fower or five weekes. Once I hold my self assured, that there wilbe no diffect in Master Barnevelts endevors, who is ve[ry] earnest with me, that there may be no speeches, of this that he intendeth, nor no mention of his name, as of [a] plotter of this Project, which will rather disadvantage, then advance her Highnes service, and may peradven- ture purchase him a number of bitter foes. It fol.99v
It may also more endanger, then further this mater, for me to deale with others, aswell as with him, unlesse that some men of themselves, will give the first occasion, as hath bin done by Barnevelt. Againe I finde it not so easy, where mens natures are so jalouse, as they are in this Contrey, and so fearfull to listen to any newe devises, to gette them sod- dainly to tast a point of suche consequence, as will bereave them of the benefit of a singular Treatie, with a Prince of so muche power, whose countenance and aide hath main tained their Estate, so many yeres together, against the force of suche an Enemie. For Which I take it to be best, till the mater shalbe riper, to use the helpe of one alone, who is already gayned for it, and for his credit and experience, doth serve in steede of many others: as lykewyse I must say, that for his soundnesse of dea- ling, I have had it in trial for a number of yeres, in very many causes, in which I have found him often harshe in respect of his cariage, but alwayes very trustie, in regard of perfourmance, where his promise hath bin past. And so I trust I shall have cause, to re- port in this case: wherof I will advertise, as occasion shall be given, having nowe no other mater for the affaires of this State, nor for forraine occurrence, that doth deserve to hold you longer. For which I take my humble leave. From the Hage January 4 95

Postscript: Their purpose was heere to have sent their Deputies for En- gland, about the first of the next moneth, which is talked of no more, no as farre as I can learne, is not intended nowe at all, for the speeche that I delivered in the name of her Highnes unles that happilie this be granted, wherin I am busied at this present.